Eat, drink and be merry

It’s been a glorious weekend sunshine-wise and are you making the most of our relative freedom at the moment in Melbourne? I’ve started having friends and family over at our place for catch ups (or dining out at venues) including more planned as we head into the winter months, when I think it’s even more important to stay connected.

There’s not much open around here on a Monday night so I actually caught up a few weeks ago with some ex-La Trobe friends at gastropub – the Postmaster Hotel in Kew and it was a good place to go, with good food, when most other local places are closed. We’ve also had takeaway pizza from Doey’s in Rosanna, which was delicious (it’s always about the base).

Amuse bouche starters at Sunda

Mr Rosanna and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this weekend with a special dinner out at south east Asian fine dining restaurant Sunda at 18 Punch Lane in the city. I have to say, the food was excellent (set menu) – surprising, exciting and different in terms of flavour combinations, ingredients and composition. It was also beautifully presented (as you’ll see from the photos) and given the fairly minimal, almost industrial setting inside, the food was definitely the hero along with some exemplary customer service (we had three staff looking after at us at one point). Expect to spend at least $200 per head (plus drinks) if you go.

The main event (Lamb cooked two ways – delicious!)

I would go back again as food-wise it was right up there with places like Vue de monde, Maha and Gimlet. The only minuses were that Sunda doesn’t serve coffee (in Melbourne!) and the ambience could have been be upped for me (Longrain next door looked more enticing in terms of atmosphere).

Winter is coming and The Winter Village at Fed Square where you can dine in an igloo under the stars or go ice skating started the other week. There is also the Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market on Wednesday nights from 2 June, and the market is also hosting the upcoming Donut Festival on 6 June! Who doesn’t love a donut? I think the very first Spanish churros donut I ever ate (with icing sugar not chocolate) was there.

Is it a mushroom or a meringue?

It is a privilege to be able to indulge in such winter activities and I’m conscious that it’s not a fun season for those in less fortunate circumstances. I came across a sleeping homeless man around the corner from my work the other day and it’s both confronting and heart breaking to see people sleeping rough as it gets much colder. If you are in a position to donate or volunteer, there’s a local charity group called 300 Blankets who provide blankets as well as run a Soul Kitchen (temporarily closed in Preston).

Enjoy this last week of Autumn!


Field of flowers

Jobs, cars, houses and holidays – COVID-19’s come along and changed the landscape of many of these things. For my poor colleagues in higher education, this week’s federal budget offered not much in the way of assistance and until borders open mid-2022, it’s looking pretty dire for the sector. Border closures have impacted the jobs market itself with hospitality and farming affected by the lack of international workers normally here and in the professional realm, there is a war for talent and lots of movement. If there are further job losses at our universities, I am hopeful that professional staff at least will pick up jobs elsewhere – I’m not so sure about academics.

Image via Doey’s Pizza

Mr Rosanna and I are working out if we need to buy a second car – the used car market has gone up over 40% due to the pandemic so it’s actually comparable to buy a new car if you can find one. There should be more new cars arriving on our shores in the next few months but there is a worldwide shortage for the computer chips that go into them, which is affecting supply. Then there is the debate for us of family car versus small city car and if an electric or hybrid vehicle should be considered. We have started visiting dealers but it may be a long journey.

Instagram images via Boca Gelato

Even longer has been the journey to work out if we should upsize our house if we can afford it, which I’m not sure we can at the moment. The runaway real estate market has made things difficult for my millennial friends to even get a foot in the door although some of them they are now considering moving further out if they can buy a bigger place that offers more green spaces. It did make me happy to read about 500,000 more trees being planted in the western suburbs which have nowhere near the same density as eastern. It makes me sad seeing full sized blocks with trees bulldozed to make way for townhouses with hardly any greenery – it’s the price of progress and I understand the need for higher density living closer to the city but there needs to be a balance between putting as many townhouses onto a block as developers can (and do), and the environment.

As for holidays, I have no leave accrued at the moment so spring may be the season I go somewhere but many of my friends are taking the opportunity to do lots of regional day trips or weekends away (and a few more game ones have booked interstate holidays or gone to New Zealand). With lockdowns always possible, you’d be wise to always pack your laptop if you’re a professional able to work remotely. As for me I’m now in the office more days and did have a tour of Melbourne Connect during the week, which is going to be a pretty amazing space once complete. The wow factor for me was stepping into the middle of the oculus garden and looking up – I’m not the only one as a luxury car brand has chosen the same space to launch a new car in coming weeks.

Speaking of new, I’ve noticed Doey’s Pizza has opened on Station Street in Rosanna as well as Boca Gelato in Ivanhoe. When I visited Rome many years ago – I would have a slice of pizza followed by a gelato every day for lunch when walking through the Campo de’ fiori. Ah…la dolce vita – I can only wish!