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New collaborative cookbook 'Friends of STREAT' sheds light on young chefs who have rebuilt their lives through hospitality

‘Friends of STREAT’, the new cookbook by Melbourne-based social enterprise, STREAT, recently launched at QV’s Meat Fish Wine. To celebrate, guests were treated to an abundance of espresso martinis, bubbles and canapés. With 45 top Australian chefs chipping in to share some of their favourite recipes, this hefty 320+ page hardcover offering is dedicated to the many hundreds of young people that have participated in the STREAT program thus far.

Biggie Smalls - Collingwood (Melbourne)

Are you ‘old skool’ or ‘new school’? That’s what you’ll need to decide when you enter Shane Delia’s newest dining concept, Biggie Smalls, which launched in Collingwood late last week.

Meatworks opens in South Melbourne

Meatworks could soon become the best thing to ever happen in South Melbourne's food scene. Housed in a renovated old 1930’s panel-beating garage, this warehouse turned pleasure palace for carnivores will be opening its doors in four stages across the next few months. Grass-fed meat is the name of the game and with influences from both the East and the West, the brand new eatery will surely not disappoint.

Dutchess Restaurant & Bar - CBD (Melbourne)

Perched atop the crown of Melbourne’s oldest pub, The Duke of Wellington, is a glamorous Manhattan-inspired dining lounge by the name of Dutchess. Despite its location across the road from Federation Square, the restaurant feels miles away from downtown Melbourne, evoking the signature vogue style of nightlife in New York City.

Dumpling Masterclass - Din Tai Fung (Melbourne)

For those who love their dumplings, stepping into Din Tai Fung creates the same childlike, wondrous glee that you’d get from walking into a chocolate factory. The awe is almost palpable as diners press their noses against the glass walls of the kitchen, catching a glimpse of the masters creating the world’s tastiest dumpling fresh in front of their eyes. That’s right, the restaurant is home to the famous xiao long bao, so you can imagine our excitement when we were invited along to participate in an exclusive Dumpling Masterclass last week.

Drinking with the AU: Battle of the Brews - The Crafty Squire (Melbourne)

While this city has long had a formidable reputation for producing craft beers, it may come as a bit of a surprise that nestled in Melbourne CBD amongst tall, nondescript buildings is one of Victoria’s best breweries. Previously the Portland Hotel, The Crafty Squire is Melbourne CBD’s only working microbrewery, producing none other than the distinguished James Squire brand. Its namesake pays homage to the life of Squire, a story that is told in snippets throughout the historic pub. Transported to Australia as a convict on the first fleet in 1788, Squire became the first successful cultivator of hops in Australia and also founded the nation’s first commercial brewery.

Eating with the AU: Rosella's 120th Birthday - Cremorne (Melbourne)

Who doesn’t love a bit of tomato sauce on their meat? If you’re like us, then a barbecue is nothing without the good ol’ richly flavoured condiment and it just won’t taste right unless its the one whose name is shared with a colourful native bird, Rosella.

Eating with the AU: Night Noodle Markets - Birrarung Marr (Melbourne)

Last week, we popped into one of Melbourne’s most popular events of the year – the Night Noodle Markets. Despite the predicted wild storms, the weather was wonderfully warm and humid, seeing a large crowd taking to Birrarung Marr to feast on mouth-watering offerings served up by some of Melbourne’s best-known restaurants. Renowned for its selection of outstanding favourites and hard to find specialties, the hawker-style bazaar at the banks of the Yarra River offers a wide range of choice to visitors including barbecue skewers, all sorts of fluffy bao, tasty dumplings and scrumptiously imaginative desserts.

Drinking with the AU: South American Pisco Tasting - Harley House (Melbourne)

The summer weather is well and truly here, with long days giving way to balmy, sultry evenings. While your first instinct to cool down may be to reach for a standard gin and tonic, an exotic newcomer on the Australian market has captured the season with an unprecedented level of versatility. You may not have heard of it before but it is soon to become your go-to drink when the temperature soars. We’re talking about Pisco – a Peruvian brandy that is about to take your world by storm.

Eating with the AU: Mr Ramen San - Mid City Arcade (Melbourne)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock in hibernation for the past decade, then you’ll be well aware that Melbourne is in the midst of a ramen revolution. All along Russell Street in the CBD, there are queues of people lining up come rain or shine, hoping for their next fix of this ubiquitous Japanese dish. Whilst deep in our ongoing search for the perfect bowl in the city, we stumbled across Mr Ramen San in Chinatown’s Mid City Arcade – a location that remains largely adventurous to those not already in the know.

Drinking with the AU: Oktoberfest - Munich Brauhaus (Melbourne)

Munich Brauhaus has long had a formidable reputation for bringing the best of Bavarian beer, food and culture to our tiny corner of the world. With Oktoberfest currently in full swing, revellers have gathered every night this month alraedy at the revered bier-haus to show off their dirndls and lederhosen with glee. Exploding with German creativity and world-class beer, this is one bustling occasion that is not to be missed.

F&L News: Dinner by Heston opens at Crown Towers (Melbourne)

Heston's Ice Cream Trolley Dinner

It was a sad day when Melbourne had to bid farewell to the Fat Duck. However, die-hard foodies have been rejoicing to news that the enormously celebrated London restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, has officially opened its doors at Crown Towers as of this week, thereby marking Heston’s first permanent restaurant outside of the UK.

F&L News: Melbourne welcomes new event space 'A Secret Garden by Tommy Collins'

Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s CBD lies A Secret Garden by Tommy Collins, the newest venture by caterer and entrepreneur Tommy McIntosh. Teaming up with the Little Vegie Patch Co, the space includes a stunning marque, container bar, outdoor atrium, and rows of beautiful green planter boxes. With breathtaking 360 degree views of the city, decadently delicious canapés, and champagne and cocktails; this really is the perfect event space leading up to the summer season.

Eating with the AU: The Brownie Bar - Hub Arcade (Melbourne)

Look away if you’re on a diet because Melbourne has received its first gorgeous, drool-worthy chocolate brownie café – and it's the perfect place for a date.

Drinking with the AU: Brewmanity Launch Party - Beer DeLuxe (Melbourne)

It’s no secret that Melbourne has seen an explosion in its thirst for craft beer over recent years; and if you love your footy, then there’s no doubt that you’ll also love your beer. But what if you could have a beer and contribute to bettering the state of the world at the same time? If the thought of knocking back a cold one while doing good and having fun along the way excites you, then you’ll be happy to know that AFL legend David Neitz has partnered with Federation Square’s iconic venue, Beer DeLuxe, to introduce Brewmanity – a refreshing, independent and handcrafted pale ale developed to raise funds for some very notable causes.