Recent posts

The essence of Saint Crispin on Smith St

The essence of Saint Crispin on Smith St

A fish dish was the essence of a rockpool. The pullet egg with truffles and mushrooms like a forest floor. It was the evening before opening at Saint Crispin. And the restaurant was already hitting its stride. Chefs Scott Pickett of The Estelle and Joe Grbac, formerly of The Press Club, were working with the kind of seasoned intensity you only find in the world’s best kitchens. Rewind 5 years. Smith Street was all but a culinary wasteland being colonised […]

Croce via di Stasio – the beautiful bar next door

Croce via di Stasio – the beautiful bar next door

It’s 4.38am. My mouth is dry. My head is sore and I have hangover insomnia (as I call it). Last night I dropped in for a quick bowl of pasta at the new Bar di Stasio. And that’s where I went wrong. There has never been any such thing as a quick bowl of pasta at Cafe di Stasio nor will there ever be such as thing at Bar di Stasio, which last week celebrated its 25th year. I know […]

Acland St Cantina’s Mexican food in 30 minutes

Acland St Cantina’s Mexican food in 30 minutes

Me: Where’s the rosé come from? Waiter: Australia. Me: Where in Australia? Waiter: Somewhere in the south west I think. The staff are young, friendly and helpful at the Acland St Cantina, the latest outpost of the Melbourne Pub Group in the basement of what was once the Prince Wine Store and Mink cocktail bar. There’s no complaints there. Some of them even speak a second language – English – and as noted by @winebybrad on Twitter can even narrow […]

George Orwell’s Moon Under Water versus the real thing

George Orwell’s Moon Under Water versus the real thing

Moon Under Water, George Orwell, Evening Standard, February 1946 George Orwell: My favourite public-house, the Moon Under Water, is only two minutes from a bus stop, but it is on a side-street, and drunks and rowdies never seem to find their way there, even on Saturday nights. Moon Under Water, Andrew McConnell, Gertrude St, July 2012 Tomatom: First, the public house is called the Builders Arms and it is also close to the tram stop on Gertrude St. The entrance […]

Should I attend Taste of Melbourne 2012?

Should I attend Taste of Melbourne 2012?

Win prizes by reviewing restaurants for Google and Zagat The good news is that after years of decline Taste of Melbourne has rejuvenated itself, upgrading the restaurants exhibiting their food and moving to Albert Park. The bad news is that if the weather turns bad – and the forecast is for showers and a temperature that won’t rise above 19C – then you’ll be damp and cold queueing for your credits and food at the MoVida and Mamasita stalls on […]

8 of the biggest restaurant review takedowns ever

8 of the biggest restaurant review takedowns ever

This week a review of a TV chef’s restaurant in the New York Times went viral after a slamming from critic Pete Wells (below). These kind of reviews are as much about entertainment, especially coming from UK-based critics such as A.A. Gill, as a service to the public. Here are eight of my top scathing reviews. Please feel free to add links to worse ones in comments. Pete Wells in The New York times on Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar: […]

Takeaways from Eat Drink Blog 3

Takeaways from Eat Drink Blog 3

The SA Tourism Minister Gail Gago talks to food bloggers. Who’d have thought it? The South Australian Minister for Tourism Hon Gail Gago speaking to 90 or so food bloggers at Eat Drink Blog 3 conference. Mind you I was also surprised by Meat and Livestock’s sponsorship and more particularly their invitation to anyone who wanted to to visit a beef feedlot – I certainly plan to take up that offer. And let’s not mention the food writer who referred […]

A Mexican Table fights for Fitzroy St

A Mexican Table fights for Fitzroy St

There I am, sitting opposite someone who has had more botox than expected and a smooth, smooth forehead. It’s the polar opposite to the chef to my left who has the hairline of Mel Gibson, the intensity of Russell Crowe and a brow so furrowed with concentration that it makes Gordon Ramsay look baby-faced. We’re in the St Kilda combat zone of Fitzroy Street, defined on the North by Grey St and the South by Acland St. It’s not a […]

The new shape of food journalism and reviews

The new shape of food journalism and reviews

Some things creep up on you. Others arrive in clusters. The evolution of food journalism and reviewing in Australia is a mixture of both with the dumping of two important restaurant critics in Sydney and Melbourne, the replacement of the editors of two major newspaper food sections at Fairfax and the elevation of Yelp! as the most likely winner in the food review stakes. So what happened? First to the Yelp! news, which is really significant. The latest IOS update […]

Save Epicure. Or build something new?

Save Epicure. Or build something new?

The food and drink business has a love hate relationship with its media. They are either moaning that newspaper sections and magazines don’t write about them. Or when they do they get it wrong. Then there is the thorny issue of critics, the journalists that probably get the most stick for not rating restaurants (or anything subject to critique) quite as highly as the owners would like. When I started my own food magazine Tomato (which became this blog) eight […]