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Melbourne - 7 Days

Prix Fixe for dinner. Any of the other three for lunch.

Mar 31, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne - 7 Days

Never rated Pope Joan

Mar 27, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne - 7 Days

Spanish: Anada, Lourinha, Casa Ciuccio

La Luna is a restaurant with good steaks, it has its own ageing room. Menu is online. Station is a pub that happens to be good at steaks, not a restaurant. I am in a minority, but think Rockpool is an overpriced steak venue with mediocre provenance. LL easy to get to - 96 tram and a 5 minute walk.

Fish: no equivalent, fish and chips are universally mediocre unless you get down the coast.

Sunday night is a hard ask. First, there is nothing near Southern Cross anyway. Second, Sunday in the CBD is dead. I know that Chin Chin and San Telmo are open. You can either get a tram down to SX, or just get a taxi to the airport rather than the skybus and suck up the extra $20.

Mar 24, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne - 7 Days

Yes, there is something about the tram data and Google - there was an article on it recently.

Public Transport Victoria has a journey planner, but have only used from a computer. I use Train Trapper and Tram Hunter on Android, I think they have slightly different names on iPhone - but they are more about what time is the next tram etc rather than journey planning

La Luna is BYO (with substantial corkage) - their wine list is good, but Rathdowne Cellars is a few doors up if you wanted to take a really good bottle.

Definitely St Crispin over Estelle.

Mar 23, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne - 7 Days

Steak - Charcoal Grill on the Hill, La Luna, Middle Park Hotel, Station Hotel in Footscray. Depends how much you want to pay. And of course all the South AMerican places if you wanted more than just steak or a cheaper cut.

Brunch - there are so many places, and they are all pretty similar. Just base it on where you're going. My personal favourite on Brunswick St is Madame Sousou because they can make hollansaise properly.

Mar 22, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Reims Champagne houses

Is Ruinart definitely open? - their website says their closure has been extended

Of the two you suggest, Taittinger would be my pick - but is there a particular reason you want to do two houses?

Mar 22, 2014
mr_gimlet in France

Melbourne - 7 Days

Definitely St Crispin. You also need to do Prix Fixe, Sibley's new restaurant. For outstanding Italian, Rosas Kitchen. Di Stasio has been going for 25 years, and clearly doing something right - always worth a lunch there. Oh, and Brooks - really underrated CBD place, quite avant garde - think sort of David Toutain inspired.

Lost track of whats open/ closed at the casino, but they both Bistro Guillaume and Rosetta have lunch deals - I've done both, think Guillaume is better value but the room at Rosetta is nicer.

Bar Americano is probably the pick of your list, but I prefer the Everleigh

Coffee - you should probably pick up one of the Padre stable and maybe Proud Mary if you are on Smith Street anyway.

Huxtaburger is fun if you are there, but I wouldn't make a special trip. Obviously cheaper than Rockpool.

Overall, the trend in Melbourne is to more casual, no bookings places - a lot of 'new' places are closer to bars with food, because that's how you make money. You can't move for "izakayas" (alleged) on Smith Street.The dude food trend is also still around but becoming less annoying. So there isn't a lot new at the top, interesting end since your last visit.

Mar 14, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Dinner for 10

What price range, and how important is wine?

But you are in the CBD - there are, literally, hundreds of places to choose from. You'll need to give is some better pointers to narrow it down.

Mar 06, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Critique my itinterary - Visit late March

I like the look of Shiori - how busy are they in terms of reservations? Is dinner much better than lunch?

Mar 04, 2014
mr_gimlet in U.K./Ireland

Le Cinq: Lunch or Dinner?

I was charged full freight until I queried it (it was on the menu for lunch as an extra when I went) and then it was adjusted

Feb 24, 2014
mr_gimlet in France

2014 Michelin

Was planning on going in a few weeks, I hope there isn't a stampede and they don't put the prices up

ChefJune, did you ever write up your visit? I can't find anything on the Board

Feb 24, 2014
mr_gimlet in France

Favorite train food, knives, mustards from Paris and Reims, Part 3

Was more intended for the Laguiole buyers

Feb 13, 2014
mr_gimlet in France

Favorite train food, knives, mustards from Paris and Reims, Part 3

Just remember if you are taking Eurostar or AVE in Spain that knives of any kind are not allowed. As you might anticipate, this is policed less in Spain and anally in UK.

I have had to run across the road from St Pancras before now to post knives to myself.

Feb 13, 2014
mr_gimlet in France

Where to take group of 10-12 ppl in Melbourne -- last-minute dinner reservation

Big queues at N2 on Friday nights....

I hope your group enjoys Commoner - it is often overlooked as a really nice, hospitable evening out. Jo, the owner, was one of the pioneers of the London gastropub movement and makes a really welcoming restaurant.

Feb 12, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

In Paris on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday 2014. Where should I eat?

Are the Friday and Saturday issues as well?

Feb 09, 2014
mr_gimlet in France

Where to take group of 10-12 ppl in Melbourne -- last-minute dinner reservation

Booking a seafood place is too risky - too many risks with allergies and food preferences. Better to pick somewhere with a cross section of dishes including seafood.

Closest you'll get where you are is Esposito at Toofeys on Elgin St. Used to be exclusively seafood, now just seafood heavy

Narrowing down based on your group size, I'd suggest the courtyard at The Commoner, upstairs at La Luna, a long table at Scopri or the big table at Hellenic Republic. Might be a difficult ask at this short notice, but try them.

Feb 09, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

It's less about bars and more about what kind of restaurant they are, casual places where people come for beer and a piece of chicken are more likely to open later. You can usually get the same at a bar as in the restaurant if the kitchen is open.

If you want something very Melbourne, go to the Supper Club, have some charcuterie and sit on the roof.

Feb 06, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Opening hours are a bit weird and I have never understood it either. Seems to depend on the area - places on Brunswick St and Smith St seem to open later than the CBD for example. I guess its the interplay between eating, drinking and fighting - CBD can get very nasty after midnight. But i agree that 'late' doesn't normally mean 2am.

I would say 11pm is a good guess, though my local Asians are all day affairs closing at 10pm. There are a couple of OK places in the City well known for opening late: the Waiters Club (I think), Supper Inn, Red Pepper. They basically cater to chefs finishing up and wanting to eat. Sydney's equivalent is the Chinese roast meats place whose name I forget.

But there are lots of newer places that push the envelope to midnight, generally with a bar scene: Mamasita, Chin Chin, Supper Club, Meatball and Wine, Movida and (weekends) Mamak.

Sure Smith St/ Gertrude has equivalents.

Feb 06, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Do you think VDM has that much of an Australian feel about it though? I feel like I am sitting in a nice Paris 1* and spending three times the money.

Entirely personally, I just don't find it unique enough to justify the dollars. Of course, that's in the context of advising someone visiting or travels enough to other countries and restaurants.

Feb 04, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

My view is that VdM is high risk for the money. It's a superb restaurant, but it's basically Michelin-style and I would rather eat at a starred restaurant elsewhere for less money. It is one of Melbourne top handful of restaurants though, I am just not convinced you will find it different enough. Estelle, St Crispin or Woodlands might fit the bill better. Breathtaking view.

I'm still not sure on Northern Light. they've certainly got good PR but how good are they really? Bars with expensive Asian-influenced food are spring up along Smith Street, I can see the attraction of the business model but it might well be this year's flash in the pan.

So did all the logistics work out for Brae? The train timetable didn't look very lunch friendly but if you worked something out, I wouldn't mind knowing if it can be done without a car.

Feb 04, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Yep, depends if you have iPhone or Android. TramTracker and TrainTrapper are the two for trams and trains respectively. The PTV also has a journey planner which does combined journeys but it's more of a planning tool than on the go.

Your hotel will have Myki starter packs which have a map in. They basically have enough stored value for a day but it's good not to have to fuss around with the machine first time.

To keep on topic, Market Lane coffee might be worth a look for another style of roasting if you as far as Prahran market, and they have a hole in the wall near DOC. There's also a great hole in the wall coffee place in the underground passage from Flinders Street station but only on weekdays.

Feb 04, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

My choices would be Padre, Auction Rooms and Proud Mary. I only go south of the river for sashimi and sake so can't comment on Dukes.

Edit: it is close to my sashimi place so i will try it next time I am there

Feb 03, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Sydney - 13 Days

Mecca on the list you gave. Also Single Origin if you end up passing through or wandering down that end of the city. I'd still recommend visiting Campos in Newtown.

Both N2 and Messina have Melbourne outposts if it doesn't fit.

Chat Thai gets extremely busy on an evening, and you can't book. They run a manual list at the front - you need to push through and sign up - and it can be anything from five minutes to an hour's wait, but normally about twenty. There are a few interesting grocery shops but not a lot else to fill your time round there, there is a pub but it's pretty average. Don't assume that getting there early will help - it's very common for people to eat Asian early. I'd probably try for around 630 but others might have better insight.

Feb 03, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

I'd still go at lunch time when it's a lot cheaper

Jan 29, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Sydney - 13 Days

Australia loves salmon, and salmon trout, because we farm really good stuff in Tasmania and that means it is inexpensive and really good. Blue eye is my favourite firm white fish.

Cheese - ah, my passion - lots of good stuff, I am a big fan of Bruny Island, and La Luna for goat. Maybe try and fit in a meal somewhere with a good cheeseboard? Or in Melbourne go to Richmond Hill or Spring Street Grocer.

Oysters - Cumulus when you are in Melbourne.

There is also a Spice Temple in Melbourne and it is open 7/7, so don't know which city would best fit your schedule.

Meat - we are still maturing in terms of sourcing a lot of produce. Provenance is the big trend over the past few years, and really top restaurants have their own gardens (Brae, Quay). Lamb has traditionally been merino, local not NZ, but now we are seeing a lot of eating breeds like Dorper. In general, we are resurrecting old English breeds like tamworth and berkshire pigs rather than having local equivalents. We tend to prefer grass fed to grain fed, as we like texture and flavour; but tastes are adjusting to the stronger flavoured meats that result from pasture grown. Grain fed often equals mass production, though, again, there are exceptions.

Jan 29, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Have to be honest and say I have never had direct or friend experience of negative vibes from di Stasio.

My suspicion on the comments is about expectations; it's a bit Parisian in style (small numbers of hard working floor staff, which could come across as gruff because they don't have time to chat. It is expensive on an evening, and I would think the portions are closer to what you'd have got ten years ago or if you are having traditional starter, pasta, main meal structure.

DOC espresso's pastas are fine, just basically the pasta of the day - and not many other things to eat... Be aware DOC Espresso is different to DOC. I think their pasta is raved about because the Lygon St benchmark is so low.

Jan 29, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

You could do it at the same time as Gelato Messina if you fancied a grazing meal. It's fine if you're in the area. Also Beatbox Kitchen is a good burger food truck that cruises the inner north.

Jan 29, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Yeah, huxtaburger isn't really anything special unless you need a reasonable fast feed in the area. Hungry Jacks has the added advantage of seats.

Di Stasio is great for a long lunch

Jan 28, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Having seen the prep that goes in at Attica, I don't think they will be able to handle requests, but you can always ask. You might find it is back on by then anyway. When I went, the dessert was an Australian native fruits dish - possibly one of the worst desserts I have ever eaten in my life.

Jan 28, 2014
mr_gimlet in Australia/New Zealand

Manchester suggestions please!

Yes, I'm with Harters on Yang Sing. It was great in the 80s when it was exotic and it was a real HK-style restaurant with uncompromising dishes, but now it is a lazy, mediocre pan-Chinese with faded decor and waitstaff with a barely disguised hostility to paying customers. I regularly get roped in to group dinners there when in Manchester, and I don't enjoy it.

Jan 27, 2014
mr_gimlet in U.K./Ireland