Running amok

Amok is the name of the modern Cambodian restaurant I went to on the weekend for a catch up with my PR friends from University and we are celebrating a milestone anniversary this year in terms of years since we graduated with plans afoot to catch up later in the year down at the beach.

Image via Amok Restaurant

The restaurant isn’t in the north-east but if you are venturing out south of the Yarra – it’s highly recommended and the chef is ex-Coda and Tonka.  Dishes are designed for sharing and we had a number of different salads with squid and salmon, slow roasted pork ribs, wagyu beef and popcorn fish along with lamb cutlet starters and shared desserts.  With drinks, we all ended up chipping in $50 each which included a tip.

It’s the second weekend in a row I’ve taken the Eastern freeway and while I will say now they are first world problems – the roads are a nightmare at the moment.  Last weekend, when heading to the city for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I found myself in the middle lane of the freeway (which usually becomes a right turning lane into Hoddle Street) where it splits between Alexandra Parade and Punt Road.  To my horror, the lane proceeded to disappear with barriers suddenly appearing right in front of me while I was driving at least 80 km per hour.  I had to veer into the left lane and it was only pure luck that no-one was driving alongside me in my blind spot.

Last night was even worse in that while I remembered to get over to the extreme left this time – again there were barriers in lanes coming off the freeway where you could only turn left onto Hoddle Street and only two lanes to actually drive down – one of which was the bus lane.  Returning from Windsor to Rosanna I got stuck in the detour on Burke Road as they are currently asphalting the Heidelberg Road roundabout.  Aargh!

Image via VicRoads

And don’t even mention the new P-turn to go right on to Hoddle Street!  I have an English friend who has only just come to terms with hook turns in Melbourne and I must admit even as an experienced driver, P-turns are a whole new level of surprise.

I did have a look at the new Rosanna Level Crossing today while getting petrol and I am really hoping it’s ready at the end of the month – it looms pretty large if you’re turning left on to Turnham Avenue from Lower Plenty Road so I’m looking forward to the finished product (as most locals are) given it’s all pretty unsightly at the moment.  The price of progress…



ACMI’s new exhibition based on the adventures of Alice in Wonderland has just opened and I hope to visit over the coming months – I’ve always been a bit enthralled by the characters, imagination and surrealism of the whole story and remember seeing a pantomime as a child where the scene of Alice falling down the rabbit hole has stayed with me even as an adult.  I love the premise of the exhibition Imagine a world where nothing is impossible, which resonates strongly with me as one of Mr Rosanna’s own quotes is Anything is possible.

Image via KaBloom

A wonderland of a different kind is the KaBloom Festival of Flowers currently on at the Tesselaar Tulip Farm and I think it would definitely be worth a visit to see all the other flowers they grow at their absolute peak.IMG_7129

I’ve had a really busy start to the year (I know I keep saying this!) which included going to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Saturday night, which is still on in Melbourne this week.  My friend Colum was hilariously funny and my La Trobe workmates and I joined him for dinner at Fonda Mexican in Flinders Lane after his gig at nearby Tasma Terrace.  The food was excellent (you do have to order at the bar) and the music even better – we had a great night out and were the last to leave.  I obviously don’t get out enough!

Image via

On another random note, this beautiful Art Deco house at 318 The Boulevard in Ivanhoe East has just come on to the market and I love that the owners have retained its original features and done a pretty sympathetic renovation restoring it to all its glory.  Enjoy your week.

A Garden State

It’s been a really busy start to the year and I can’t believe my next Bold Thinking Series lecture – Michael Kirby on Health, Law & Sexuality is on next week at the NGV Great Hall, which holds 600 people and we are almost at capacity.  La Trobe University has been bringing out the big guns in terms of names with former PM Paul Keating being the keynote speaker at the Ideas & Society lecture on our role in Asia the Trump era, run by Emeritus Professor and public intellectual Robert Manne, at the Melbourne Recital Centre this Friday.  This event sold out within the first week or so of being advertised.

Image via Speakeasy HQ

I also out went out on Sunday night with my workmates to see my Irish friend Colum perform in his show Improv Against Humanity (based on the naughty card game) as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  Before the show, we tried for a table at Supernormal in Flinders Lane, which was super crowded and so decided to go to the Garden State Hotel (on the former Rosati’s site), which was also going off when we entered.  The resident DJ was spinning some pretty groovy tunes so it was a shame we couldn’t stay for a dance – we opted for a basement booth table away from the noise and ordered counter meals after walking into the restaurant, which was more pricey.

Image via Speakeasy HQ

Colum’s gig had been shifted to Speakeasy HQ past the Waterside Hotel in Flinders Street – it’s Melbourne’s only dedicated vaudeville venue (and art gallery) located upstairs with a lounge bar outside the stage area and is housed in a former gold-rush era bank building – I was admiring the beautiful patterned ceiling while I was there.  And the gig?  It was very funny and improv performers are brave souls indeed – so quick off the mark….let’s just say that the words ‘semen’ and ‘dolphin’ were put to good use over the course of the evening.  Colum is not my only talented work friend, I discovered another friend Michelle used to be a high school teacher by day and a salsa dancer by night!  Next time out there will definitely be a bit of boogie-ing on down.

Image via Garden State Hotel

If you attended a Dawn Service this morning, I hope you managed to have a restful afternoon this Anzac Day.  It’s been nice to pause and reflect.

Image via Garden State Hotel

Let the festivals begin

While the cooler weather may put a dampener on things – the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival all start in the next week.  A couple of my work colleagues take improvisation or ‘improv’ classes on a regular basis and I’m looking forward to seeing one of them in action at the Comedy Festival.

Immerse Your Senses image via Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

There are also a number of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events that all sound interesting including the Coburg Food Race and Sagra al Veneto (at Bulleen’s Veneto Club turning 50 this year) starting this Friday 31 March while the Master Hellenic Cooking (Hellenic Republic Kew), High Tea at the State Library and A Day At The Club (Merricote pops up at Thornbury Bowls with 70s menu classics) events taking place on 1 and 2 April also sound great.

Image via Ticketek

There’s also a related La Trobe 50th Anniversary event The culinary journey of Greek Australians dinner taking place at Elryos in Camberwell on Monday 3 April, featuring Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, Head of School of Allied Health and author of The Mediterranean Diet cookbook who will also be speaking at one of my Bold Thinking Series scheduled later this year.  If I wasn’t going out this weekend I would have booked into this one!

I’ll be back with more later this week.  Stay dry…

Image via
Image via Booktopia