Bodega Tapas Restaurant & Bar

Bodega Tapas Restaurant & Bar, if you haven’t had the joy of visiting it before, is a little restaurant on Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills that plays the rock so loud you’ll be tapping along to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Royal Crown Revue faster than you can say chimichurri. Chefs/owners Ben Millgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz also have Porteno – South American grillhouse to the stars.

The Argentine-style empanadas at Bodega in Surry Hills are a triple-whammy of pastry deliciousness. It’s lucky they come in threes, because it’s impossible to stop at one.

A warm welcome by maitre d’ Sarah Doyle and a stylish and tight team offer friendly and professional service adding to this wonderful dining experience. It is this combination of superb food, a vibrant atmosphere and great staff that has wowed patrons since 2006 when Bodega first opened its doors.

The menu draws inspiration from Spanish and Argentinean food, wine and culture and is therefore designed with sharing in mind. In creating the menu, the chefs draw on fine dining experience and use fresh, quality produce. Expect to see dishes, such as, Argentinean-style beef empanadas with salsa criolla, steamed pork belly with warm salad of onion and shitake mushroom, and seared scallops with pickled Wagyu tongue, cabbage and celeriac salad. The plates range from $6 to $26 with most people reaching contentment after three plates. The wine list is another of Bodega’s features, with an extensive array of Spanish and South American wines that have been carefully chosen to complement the food.

Bodega Tapas Restaurant & Bar Address: Shop 1/216 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills 2010

Price per person including drinks $51 to $100

Openning hours:
Dinner Mon-Sat 6pm-late;
lunch Thu-Fri 12 noon-2.30pm

The Moor’s Head, Thornbury

Located in a former warehouse, The Moor’s Head is Joseph Abboud’s (former owner and chef at Rumi) latest venture. The relaxed menu is a twist of Middle Eastern cuisine and pizza. Opposite Thornbury theatre, the restaurant will seat up to 40 guests.

Melbourne’s The Moor’s Head, sister restaurant to the renowned Rumi, is a Lebanese-Turkish pizza house basing its offerings on one of the best bread-doughs I’ve eaten.

The Moor’s Head’s food is of radical freshness, but I suspect that ingredients come in the back door and go out the front in stomachs, of course quicker than at most places.

The Moor’s Head Address: 2/774 High St, Thornbury
Hours: Wed-Sun from 5.30pm
Price guide:
Small plates $4.50-$12
large plates $16.50-$19
dessert $9

San Telmo in Melbourne

San Telmo is a new and exciting restaurant and bar, inspired by not only a love of Argentinian food and wine, but also Argentinian’s vivacious lifestyle and rich culture.

Melbourne’s first parrilla brings Argentinean cooking over hot coals to Melbourne with it’s opening today on Meyers Place.

Upon entering San Telmo, you will immediately become aware of the 2.5 metre parrilla (char-grill), where fire and smoke create the unique flavours on offer in authentic Argentinian menu.

Melbourne’s very own San Telmo is truly inspired by its namesake – rustic, bohemian, brimming with antiques and one-off finds collected by the Parker brothers on their travels in and around Buenos Aires. You can count on each item having a story behind it too, such as the entrance doors, which were bought from a wrecking yard after being salvaged from a mansion in San Telmo.

San Telmo is a smoking hot good time with an impressive range of authentic booze to boot.

San Telmo Address: 14 Meyers Pl, Melbourne 3000

Nearby Stations: Parliament

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 7am-late
Sat 12 midday-late

Movida Terrazza Turns to Paco’s Tacos

With a full revamp and new menu, Frank Camorra and Andy McMahon have turned Movida Terazza into a Mexican cantina, Paco’s Tacos.

Paco’s Tacos serves a selection of soft shell tacos and other mexicany snacks as well as sangria, jarritos soft drinks and so on.

There isn’t a lot of seating (maybe 30 or so seats) but there are also some stand up bars towards the back. It was pretty busy when we visited on Tuesday and I would put money on it getting a whole lot busier before too long.

Paco’s Tacos Adress:
Level 1, 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne (access via Little Bourke)

Mon to Wed 12pm–4:30pm
Thurs & Fri 12pm–late

Pandora’s Box

Orange’s sister restaurant in Windsor, Pandora’s Box, closed very suddenly a few weeks ago.

Pandora’s Box is the new sibling to local stalwart Orange, which opened in 1997 as a cafe and gradually expanded in area and ambition. Now its bistro dinners rank alongside eggs and coffee. Pandora’s Box takes it up a notch. There’s a serious wine list with lots of lesser-known wines and there’s chef Matthew Germanchis, who’s come straight from MoVida and, before that, a stint with UK chef/lab rat Heston Blumenthal.

Pandora’s Box is an wonderful delight. Everything about this place makes you smile. The service was lovely, very attentive and welcoming.

Pandora’s Box Address: 2 Duke St, Windsor, VIC 3181

Opening hours:
Wed & Thurs 5pm-11pm
Fri & Sat 5pm-1am
Sun 11am-4pm

Colonel Tan’s

Colonel Tan’s takes its tasty Thai food up a level (quite literally); the restaurant serves diners well into the night in the lofty surrounds of Prahran’s Revolver nightclub.

Not just a nightclub, Revolver Upstairs offers sustenance to those who venture up the dark stairs for a meeting with Colonel Tan. Named for the club’s co-owner, Thai music star Tan Punturaumporn, this dining space has a clubby ambience lent by its location deep within the club, and serves up an array of affordable and tasty Thai food which is overseen by Karen Batson from Cookie and The Toff in Town. Tan was nicknamed “The Colonel” when the kitchen started serving up five spice chicken, inviting comparisons with another well known Colonel. It also seems that he has inspired the culture clash aesthetic at work; something of a traditional Thai-meets-American dining fusion.

The menu is mostly authentic Thai, plus a few random curve balls (eg rendang with roti, club steak sandwich with fries, tofu ‘whopper’ burger with peanut sauce). When I visited with some girlfriends the other week, we started with chilli peanuts ($3.50), snapper, peanuts, ginger, chilli and lime wrapped in betel leaves ($10.50), and grilled Thai sausage and cucumber with cabbage and ginger ($11.50).

Colonel Tan’s Address: 229 Chapel St, Prahran 3181

Opening Hours:
Tue – Thu 5pm – 11pm
Fri 12pm – 11pm
Sat 5pm – 11pm

Chapel St has unpaid two hour parking 9am-6pm, untimed free parking 6pm onwards. There are council carparks off Anchor Place and Cecil Place which run off Chapel St, opposite Colonel Tan’s with free untimed parking after 6pm.

Public Transport:
Train: Colonel Tan’s is a short stroll along Greville St from Prahran Station, on the Sandringham line.
Tram: Trams 78 and 78 along Chapel St stop at the corner of High St.

Melbourne’s Christmas

This Christmas, Melbourne will be unlike anything you have ever seen before. Find gift-wrapped buildings, a mistletoe bridge designed for Christmas kisses, lighting projections on iconic buildings and even a tram designed as Santa’s sleigh.

The heart of Melbourne’s Christmas decorations will be the City Square, renamed Christmas Square in December. Here you can enter a magical forest of living trees and visit Santa in his house.

While you take in the decorations, make sure you bring your Christmas shopping list or plan your festive celebrations at one of the city’s restaurants or bars. Enjoy our many free Christmas events which will keep your social calendar busy over the silly season.

Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2011


Bianca Hester – Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2011 winner

Isaac Greener & Lucas Maddock – Professional Development Award 2011 winner
Sonia Leber & David Chesworth
Clive Murray-White
Tom Nicholson
Stuart Ringholt

Civic Choice Award 2011 – this award is presented to the finalist with the highest number of votes cast by the public during the Federation Square exhibition. The recipient of the Civic Choice Award 2011 is Isaac Greener & Lucas Maddock for their work Apostle No. 2.

Lighting up Melbourne for Christmas

The 2011 Melbourne Christmas Lights Guide will help you and your family plan to see all of Melbourne’s best Christmas Light displays.

December is that wonderful time of the year when everyone wants to know where the best Christmas light displays are in Melbourne?

Gingerbread Village in Melbourne Town Hall

The award-winning pastry chefs at EPICURE’s Culinary Centre will be constructing a village made entirely from gingerbread that will be displayed at the Melbourne Town Hall from 1 to 24 December, 2011.

The village will include iconic Melbourne landmarks and gingerbread chefs getting up to mischief! With activities and plenty of treats for the kids, the Gingerbread Village by EPICURE is sure to add smiles to everyone’s festive season.

Looking for delicious Christmas gifts? EPICURE’s pastry chefs will also be whipping up tasty creations that can be purchased at the exhibition including gingerbread men or love hearts, macarons and chocolate-coated nuts. Or be a chef for a day! Pick up ‘make your own’ gingerbread house and gingerbread tree kits.

Date: 1 Dec 2011 – 24 Dec 2011
Time: 11am-6pm
Location: Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr Swanston and Collins St, Melbourne
Ages: All Ages / Family
Cost: Entry by gold coin donation.