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The Butcher gets a facelift: Peter Bouchier’s new look

After what looks like an expensive facelift, Peter Bouchier, the butcher, opened to the delight of its regulars. Its neat brass trimmed glass meat cases, terracotta tiled floors and clean white tiled frontage and walls, with butchers replete with tweed flat caps takes you back to a bygone era……..quite a timely reopening. While the horse meat scandal swirls around Europe and shoppers flee the supermarkets and rush back to the local butcher, Peter Bouchier cuts a handsome profile as very local and very trusted.  When they say King Island beef, they mean King Island beef!

Thier dedication to service was also demonstrated by offering regular customers a home delivery service while the shop was closed for the one month long facelift.

What is special about this butcher is the knowledge that comes with the serving – I have never been disappointed with any of the impromptu recipe ideas they have been quick to suggest.  For those less adventurous there are enough ‘stick in the oven’ or ‘simply pan fry’ options.

Stonnington was always well served by Hawksburn Village – now it is another reason to keep you there!

If only Stonnington Traders can get their act together to improve what sad and tired Toorak Village offers.

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a wonderful array of options

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the window display with butcher’s apprentice


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A top breakfast spot!

In amongst the grungy back streets of Fitzroy is the uber cool Hammer and Tong. A transformative space with exposed beams, light filled corridors and money plant hangers and the smell of a successful kitchen. Great vibe!

Sitting in the corridor across the road from the United Fireman’s Union building with its amazing graffiti can be mesmerizing but so are the imaginative combinations of breakfast dishes served up with a surprise (like popping candy bits or tapioca dust or…..) ……washed down with carefully selected teas and coffees and a choice or 4 freshly squeezed juice combinations.

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The black sticky rice with fresh mango sprinkled with honeycomb bits

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nothing conventional about this Ploughman’s lunch

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whipped yoghurt with berries with tapioca dust and glass of grenadine

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a great light filled space


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Graffiti walls provide visual energy

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More graffiti walls in full view of diners

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great attentive service

Hammer and Tong know and love their food and it shows!

Hammer and Tong 412 on Urbanspoon
412a Brunswick St Fitzroy

Melbourne, Vic 3065


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For a super casual asian eating experience in Melbourne try Cookie.  Up a couple of dimly lit stairs you enter into a cavenous beer hall style space with 20 foot high ceilings and a truly electric buzz. Food comes thick and fast.  However this is not a place to lounge and linger – it is to eat and go.  The food is sensational in small plates and big plates. Relatively inexpensive for the quality of food. Be warned however, you may not find it easily as it is not clearly sign posted. It is in the 3 story Art Deco Curtin House masked somewhat at street level with two dollar discount shops, convenience stores and tourist trap souvenier shops along Swanston street.  Worth a visit.

scallops with tofu and pomelo

pork and crab salad with betel leaf wraps

03 9663 7660

252 Swanston St
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At last great coffee arrives in Toorak Village………

Sensory Lab coffee  is finally serving in Toorak.  And served with such cheer. Toorak Food Store tucked away in one of the several lane ways off Toorak Road in the village opened 5 months ago after careful planning by the previous owner of Jones the Grocer – Marcus Leonard.

TFS offers the beautiful Piper Street Deli Foods (the Pork Terrines are my favourite), pork pies and meats from Andrews Hams (organic female pigs only).  Breads are from Noisette.And of course the coffee is superb!

Small but big in ambition, the TFS is a welcome new addition to the village which is starting to shake off its tired, old school feel.


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K+B, Healesville: for all your kitchen and butcher temptations

If you are browsing the vineyards in the Yarra Valley, you must make a stop at K&B  – providores extraordinaire.  They are owned by the Healesville pub but nothing about it is pub-like.

The butcher stocks great meat including beautiful black angus beef from the Valley which they are happy to chill pack for you for your trip home to Melbourne. Then of course there is a great cheese selection – some regional and the great provisions that you would only find in some of the most chic providores of Melbourne. Jeff and Michelle who tend the counters know their stuff………and eager to help you choose from the wide range of products.

everything from olive oils, deli offerings, sauces and chocolates

the butcher's counter

more kitchen delights

the cheese counter

Kitchen & Butcher

258 Maroondah Highway



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The Belle of the Valley……….Bella Vedere

the view looking out onto the rambling organic vegetable gardens

This must surely be the best place to dine in the Yarra Valley. Bella Vedere is a cooking school as well and it shows. The wine list and menu was a delight to browse and so hard to choose from the variety of regional produce on offer.  Sporting an open style kitchen with 3 chefs busy at work, under the close eye of chef owner Gary Cooper, the restaurant has a warm cosy period feel.  Although let not this ambience fool you into thinking this was just another country style restaurant. It is sophisticated and polished act.

The pastas were great – the squid ink linguine with cuttlefish could have been more al dente but otherwise perfect flavours.

open plan kitchen

squid ink lingiune with calamari and tomato

grilled sardines

rabbit with a cider and grained mustard sauce on mash

The wild rabbit with apple cider and mustard sauce and pancetta (apparently a all time favourite of regulars) was a delight and so were the grilled sardine with breadcrumbs.

Portions were generous and serving staff knowledge of the regional produce used in all the dishes and the method of cooking was excellent.

If we had to make the only negative comment it would be the 2 young children (of the owner perhaps) joining in to serve guests which was a bit unnerving in such a polished restaurant.

This is definitely somewhere to wow your overseas guests.

874 Maroondah Hwy Map.8f4e489

Yarra Valley
Bella Vedere on Urbanspoon

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Mandala Winery delights

the winery restaurant and cellar door

Lunch at the MandalaWinery in the Yarra Valley was surprising on many fronts. The white wines were exceptional and the food showed  fine dining quality prepared with unmistakable valley produce.

every dish showed a level of detail that you would generally not see in a winery restaurant – this had more of an open airy cafe feel to it with great views and unpretentious service. Portion sizes for lunch were perfect.

The entre of carpaccio of kingfish with a radish and lime dressing was wonderful and so was the beetroot salad with goats cheese from the valley.  The mains were cooked to perfection – the vegetarian smoked heritage tomatoes with couscous was a wonderful light lunch option. The saddle of lamb was cooked perfectly pink.

Desserts were skilled – the pistachio cake with marinated strawberries and yoghurt gelati was great and so was the white chocolate brownie both artistically plated and as tasty as it looked!

beetroot and goats cheese entre

carpaccio of kingfish with radish and lime dressing

lamb saddle with capsicum coulis and roasted shallots

white chocolate brownie with berries

the dining room looking out

the surrounding vineyards

Mandala Winery

1568 Melba Highway, Dixons Creek,

Yarra Valley

+61 3 59652016
Mandala Wines Restaurant and Lounge  on Urbanspoon

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