All posts tagged: Gastronomel

Bar Nacional, Collins Square – it’s a ‘Si’ from me!

From the ridiculously good-looking celebrity chef Pete Evans,  together with  the man responsible for the legendary ‘beef on toast’, and chicken-skin butter with pull-apart bread at Little Hunter, comes Spanish venue, Bar Nacional, located at Collins Square, the new development at 727 Collins St. Chef Gavin Baker (ex-Fat Duck…swoon!) is at it again,  with inventive techniques, and flavours set to blow your mind and woo your tastebuds.  He’s also funny, passionate, and despite being from North Carolina, does a great Cockney accent, mostly when the food comes out, when he exclaims proudly “innit gaw-geous!!”  Manning the Josper oven and sending out seriously more-ish plates is Chef Alex Drobysz, who is ex- Bistro Moderne (Daniel Boulud) and Gordon Ramsay, and lovely bloke into the bargain. My first meal at Bar Nacional was a Monday lunchtime, followed up with a long Friday afternoon/evening session, so I’ve managed to sample almost all of the menu, a fact of which I am infinitely proud. The menu starts with a Charcuterie section, including chorizo, lomo (beef tenderloin) and 3 types …

Villa Gusto – La Dolce Vita

Around a sweeping bend on a road in the Buckland Valley (near Bright, about 3.5 hour’s drive from Melbourne) nestled under Mount Buffalo, you’ll find Villa Gusto – a little slice of Italy right here in Australia. Offering divine luxury accomodation, taking inspiration from southern Italy and filled with gorgeous rich tones, authentic tapestries and centuries-old antiques (and Bvlgari toiletries in the bathroom), Villa Gusto has 7 suites to choose from, all looking out over different parts of the garden, with views to the majestic mountain above. The ornamental garden also includes a large chook pen (nicknamed the Penthouse) full of lovely brown hens who obligingly lay their eggs for your breakfast, as well as a big organic veggie patch, overseen by a super-friendly lady by the name of Signorina Fellini, a large silky tabby-cat. We arrive for dinner promptly, as our host Colin has advised us the meal begins at 7pm sharp. If you’ve had a wander around the garden or taken a seat on the terrazzo beforehand to take in the view, it’s …

Breakfast by the Bay – The Strand

A warm Spring morning in Melbourne is indeed a thing of beauty, and even more so by the glittering waters of Port Phillip Bay. Zip over the West Gate Bridge, or arrive by bike or boat if you’re so inclined, and explore the glorious waterfront of Williamstown. Its rich maritime history is evident, from the warship HMAS Castlemaine berthed at the jetty which is open to the public, to the canon perched on the grass facing Melbourne across the water, to the ship building yards and lighthouse.   Williamstown is also home to some varied and interesting eateries,  and my favourite so far, with arguably one of the best breakfasts in the area,  is The Strand.   On this particular Saturday morning, the terrace beckoned us with its stylish outdoor furniture, coffee aroma and menu of breakfast classics with a twist, including poached egg, served on lovely toast, and adorned with beautifully prepared enoki mushrooms with just a hint of truffle oil. We also tried some fantastic home made hashbrowns, some seriously good hollandaise, bacon with relish, …