Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013

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I love when the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is happening. My favourite events are the express lunches where diners are offered a 2-course lunch for a fraction of the usual costs. I went wild last year and had 6 express lunches for $35 per meal. This year I decided to be a little more frugal and selective and settled for 2. It is interesting that the express lunch this year is $40. I’m afraid I may be reluctant to continue this practice if prices continue to increase.

Apart from the express lunches, I also partook in Mamasita’s “A Mexican Tour” and one of the coffee seminars held at the Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar.

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The Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar
Queensbridge Square,
1A Queens Bridge,
Southbank
Vic 3006

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The Urban Coffee and Brew Bar is held at Queensbridge and cafes rotate on a daily basis to serve up coffees and dish out quick info sessions. The set-up of the bar was to mimic that of a coffee plantation: coffee crates and pallets with tropical greenery decorated the large red stairs, transforming it into a terraced, lush, outdoor café. By day, coffees and pastries were offered, and by night, alcohol and light dinner nibbles were handed out by reputable cocktail bars. Fakeboo and I signed up for “Around the World in Eight Coffees”, organized by Auction Rooms. We were offered 8 brewed coffees in a ‘chronological’ fashion: starting from the birth of coffee in Ethiopia, to Kenya where coffee started to become more enterprised and to Brazil and Columbia, where the majority of coffee was produced in bulk, and sadly without much care.

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We tasted (or were pointed out) the differences in each coffee. Tasting notes such as lemon peel, apricots, blackberries and savoury tomato were described, and unfortunately lost on my unrefined palette. Instead images of Hainanese Chicken Rice and hazelnuts were conjured in my mind.  We also discovered how tasting notes can change with the addition of milk or even when the coffee had cooled.

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It was a great learning experience.

I returned sometime later to show the set-up to The Angmoh, another lover of coffee. It was run by St. Ali that particular day. Champion barrister Matt Perger poured my milk, but alas there was no latte art due to the undying queue.

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Sarti
6 Russell Place
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9639 7822
Sarti on Urbanspoon

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Fakeboo and I paid Sarti a visit on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon. The temperatures were soaring high, and we were leaning towards the lighter dishes offered on the menu. I decided to have the goats’ ham salad and fish of the day, while Fakeboo opted for veal schnitzel and pistachio panna cotta.

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(Left) Goat ham, pickled vegetables, squacquerone cheese and roasted macadamia nuts
(Right) Fish of the day – seared tuna, baby tomatoes, goats’ cheese

My dishes were wonderful. It was my first time having goats’ ham and squecquerone cheese. The ham was wonderfully cured without any gaminess and the cheese reminded me of a squeaky “Laughing Cow”. The tuna was beautifully cooked and the sweet tomatoes contrasted nicely with the goats’ cheese.

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Veal cotoletta, marinated peppers and lemon marmalade

Fatboo enjoyed his veal. It was crumbed and fried to perfection. The marinated peppers were a good touch, but unfortunately the lemon marmalade provided an unfamiliar flavor and even brought about thoughts of detergents and cleansers.

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“Pistachio panna cotta”, caramel salted popcorn

The panna cotta was served in all its wobbly goodness. While it was very smooth, the pistachio flavor might have been a tad overwhelming and possibly leaned towards artificial. The popcorn concluded our meal with a sweet crunchy note.

Bottega
74 Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9654 2252
Bottega on Urbanspoon

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My 2 boyfriends and I had lunch at Bottega on Grand Prix Saturday. Trams near my home had been disrupted due to the racing event and we had to take a bus into the city. The bus stank like a rancid gym locker, and the inconvenience of getting into the city made me frazzled and grumpy. Furthermore, I was starving after having completed a BodyCombat class followed by a walk/run session with The Sausage around the Tan. I was hangry.

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(Left) Fresh sardines in ‘soar’, squaquerone, piadina and saba
(Right) Spicy and char-grilled pork ribs, apple and cabbage salade, house made BBQ sauce

Thankfully, service was efficient and food was quickly dished out on warm heavy plates. Fakeboo’s entrée was slightly on the odd side. Our Asian tongues weren’t accustomed to the fish and cheese pairing, but The Angmoh thought it was pretty good. The ribs however, had a lovely smoky flavour, and the meat was tender and fell off the bone easily.

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(Left) Crispy duck leg, barley, beetroot, oranges and macadamia
(Right) Spinach and ricotta cannelloni, braised lamb shoulder, swiss gruyere

The mains were of exceptional quality. The barley was cooked to perfection and the handmade cannelloni was simply beautiful.

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Amaretti and pavesini tiramisu

Our last dish of tiramisu was alright. The almond essence in the amaretti was slightly overpowering and the mascarpone a touch too sweet.

As most of our dishes were impressive, I certainly think Bottega deserves another visit.
I enjoyed the events that I attended in this year’s MFWF and anticipate more deliciousness in the following year, hopefully without an abrupt price hike!

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5 Comments

Filed under CBD, Coffee, Italian, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Southbank

5 responses to “Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013

  1. fatboo

    “My 2 Boyfriends”… Ha ha ha!! Love it! =D

    We definitely have gone easy on the MFWF events this year compared to last year’s. I hope they won’t increase the prices of the meals any further.

  2. I kept it really low this year.. hahaha on your two bfs :P

  3. Bahaha, two boyfriends, lucky girl. ;)

    Lunch at Bottega sounds wonderful, will have to put that on my express lunch list for next year!

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