Massi

Intimate Italian dining is back in Melbourne’s CBD, thanks to Joseph Vargetto’s latest project, Massi. Named after his youngest child, Massimo, the unique space is a little slice of Sicilian heaven, delivering authentic European fare every day of the working week.  

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Since the success of his first venture, Mister Bianco, Joe wanted to further share his passion for quality Italian food with local businesses, tourists and the CBD clientele. Inspired by his recent travels to places such as Padua, Verona and Bergamo Alto, his vision was to pay homage to the elegance of the region by offering good food and wine to the Melbourne community.

Start your day right with colazione, otherwise known as breakfast. Massi is the kind of place where you can get a quick morning espresso fix with a delicious Italian pastry to go, or take a stool to quietly watch the world go by.

By midday, enter the warm, understated space to watch the chefs at work, slicing salumi or terrines to order in Massi’s ‘Crudo’ corner. For those wanting to enjoy a slower lunch, there’s a wide range of authentic menu items available. Warm up your palate with a selection of antipasto, including sweet fried peppers with nduja, fried stuffed olives, and Bacala mantecato. From here, drift off to Sicily to indulge in a rich cavatelli, served with slow-cooked pork shoulder ragu and white beans; black spaghettini with vongole, blue swimmer crab, garlic and chilli; or ricotta gnocchi with salted speck, radicchio and truffle cream.

There’s also the tempting crumbed veal cotoletta, served with porcini sauce and crispy onions; or the pan-fried Barramundi fillet with saras baby carrots ‘a la greque’.

In true Italian fashion, the desserts are a highlight of the dining experience at Massi. Choose between the Sicilian orange cake with ricotta cream and citrus segments, lingua di gatti with dark chocolate, and the ever-popular tart of the day. All desserts are designed to be shared: why choose one when you could try them all?

Massi hosts an aperitivo hour every day from 4.30pm. Those wanting to greet the evening in style can relax with a drink from the exciting range; from prosecco spritz, to wine and beer, there’s something for everyone.

Joe’s food is simple, elegant and comfortable, much like the restaurant setting itself. With warm, chocolate tones, leather-bound booths and golden light fixtures, Massi is endlessly inviting, with friendly, attentive staff to match. The restaurant also offers a licensed bottle store, with an extensive museum of select wines to be purchased. So there’s no need to fret; you can enjoy a bottle or two of the beautiful wine you’ve enjoyed over lunch or dinner at home too.

Joe’s passion for creating quality Italian food ensures that Massi is a dining destination like no other. With a motto like ‘non mangiamo vivere… viviamo per mangiare’, meaning ‘we don’t eat to live… we live to eat’, how could you go wrong?

 

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Words by Jesse Thomas

Pidapipo Gelato Cakes

Our legendary gelato friends at Pidapipo have launched a new range of gelato cakes that will surprise and delight you. Inspired by classic recipes, these cakes are both deliciously nostalgic and completely game changing.

The Raspberry and Rose Bombe Alaska is sweet, sultry and almost too pretty to eat. On a bed of chocolate cake, the fragrant raspberry cream gelato flirts with floral rose gelato. Italian meringue swirls around this pale pink gelato base, which is then blowtorched by the chefs, just to heat things up a little.

What do you get when you mix banana, toffee and gelato? Pidapipo’s Banoffee Pie is a play on the traditional English dessert, and consists of layers of caramel, rich banana gelato and subtle vanilla semi-freddo, sitting atop a biscuit base. Dressed with sticky, caramelised bananas and lashings of chocolate, the Banoffee Pie is made to share- between you and yourself!

The Bacio and Chocolate Bombe Alaska has the Midas touch; the outside is piped Italian meringue, torched to create little peaks of caramelised deliciousness, decorated with glittering, golden foil. Cut it open to discover the tower of indulgent bacio gelato, sitting high and mighty on a chocolate cake base.

Forget the traditional winter pumpkin soup, and give Pidapipo’s Pumpkin Pie a little love. Sweet and spicy, this gelato cake is drizzled in rich caramel sauce, and finished with a delectable confection of house-made pecan croccante, fresh from the stovetop. Smooth, creamy and golden orange, this dessert will make your heart feel warm and fuzzy.

Celebrate everyday with Pidapipo gelato cakes – mangia Bene!

Pidapido’s gelato cakes are available now in store. 

 

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Words by Jesse Thomas

Crux & Co.

The newest kid on the block, Crux & Co., has just opened in South Melbourne. The menu works a balancing act between sweet, flaky, buttery pastries and Korean inspired savoury flavours – the crux of the matter is which one to start with!

The brains behind Lights in the Attic, Kevin Li and Oggie Choi, have come together again to produce one of Melbourne’s finest fusion dining experiences. With Brunetti’s ex-head pastry chef, Louise MK Lee; Manchester Press’ ex-head barista, Yutaro Mitsuyoshi; and James Julian, known for his outstanding work in places including Chingon and Two Birds One Stone, this cafe has an all-star cast.

Let’s start with the coffee. Yutaro works his magic with Five Sense to create a dynamic range of coffees to choose from. From the classic flat white, to single origin espresso and rotating, microlot filter brews, every preference is catered for.

Moving to something sweeter, there’s a dreamy range of flaky pastries, tarts and cakes available in the pastry cabinet. Louise and her kitchen elves create treats that are out of this world; their delectably indulgent eclairs are sure to tickle your fancy.

The menu offers up a whole other world of dishes to delight your tastebuds. Choose among the French toast served with mixed berries, nuts, natural honeycomb, mascarpone and vanilla fairy floss; and the Scotch quail egg, served with arrancini and falafel, on top of a potato rosti and mixed bean and chilli concasse; or the Bisque benedict with tiger prawns, poached eggs and lobster bisque hollandaise, served in a house-baked squid ink roll, and much more.

Designed by renowned architects EAT, the 60s-inspired cafe comes to life through curves, form and materiality, using a blend of metal work and cork. With James and the attentive front-of-house team, this is the kind of place you can escape to when everyday life gets to be a little too much.

While the cafe seats up to 110, once word gets out, it’s sure to be a hit. If you’re after a breakfast or brunch, or a sweat treat after a morning workout, Crux & Co. is the place for you.

 

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Words by Jesse Thomas

Yo-Chi is Bringing Frozen Yoghurt Out of the Cold

Yo-Chi has long established itself as the place to go for frozen yogurt, but this winter it is excited to launch a new, made-to-order winter menu called ‘Yo-Chi Creations’.

In an exploration of creativity, community and friendship, the team has reached out to local makers and shakers including Clark St Roasters, Monsieur Truffe, Gewurzhaus Spice Merchants and The Original Cone Co. to collaborate and create several new menu items, perfect for warming you up!

Lava ‘Nother is a volcanic explosion of flavour. Fresh strawberries sit on a bed of warmed dark chocolate, drizzled in raspberry coulis and chocolate soil. Under the yogurt, you’ll find a hidden, sweet surprise in the form of an oozy, rich raspberry molten cake.

If you’re in a need of a little loving this winter, take out the On A Winter’s Day. A frozen custard swirl, smothered in warm apple and raspberry crumble and crushed almonds, topped with a strawberry and rhubarb compote to make your heart sweet and tender.

Ready, set, yo! Try out the Waffle On – it’s so delicious you’ll realise why it’s gone so fast. With a crispy, fluffy waffle, chocolate peanut drizzle, maple syrup and a sprinkle of cornflake crunch, it’s then topped off with fresh banana.

For something a little simpler, ask for the Espresso Yo-self. Vanilla frozen yogurt swirling in some of Clark St Roaster’s cold-brew coffee is the perfect blank canvas to unveil your true self.

For the vegans, Yo-Chi has got you covered! The Chi-Netto is heavenly layers of peanut on chocolate, on peanut on chocolate, on… coconut frozen yogurt, served in a waffle cone by the Original Cone Co. and topped with a shard of salted peanut chocolate bark.

Warming up this winter has never been so chill.

Yo-Chi’s winter menu is available 12pm-11pm everyday in Balaclava, Carlton and Hawthorn and will run until Spring.

yochi.com.au

 

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Words by Jesse Thomas

Recipe Collection: Root Veg

Root vegetables: friend or foe? While some of them are a little intimidating, these strange-looking vegetables that emerge from the ground are actually packed full of flavour and nutrients.

Full of antioxidants and vitamins, root vegetables are said to help cleanse your system. The balance of slow-burning carbohydrates and fibre also helps to regulate your digestive system, while keeping you feeling full. On top of that, these superhero vegetables are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. With winter in full swing, and these beauties fresher than ever, it’s the perfect time to try your hand at cooking up a root vegetable storm. Here are five delicious recipes to get you started.


SWEET POTATIO ROSTI SERVIED WITH ZUCCHINI RIBBON, TOMATO SUGO, POACHED EGG AND HALLOUMI

For something a little sweeter, this recipe for sweet potato rosti from Fordhams Milkbar is sure to put a smile on your face. As an excellent source of vitamins, sweet potato can play an important role in digestion.

After cooking both types of potatoes in water until they’re just over halfway cooked through, grate both the sweet potato and potato into a mixing bowl with spring onion, thyme, corn flour, chickpea flour, olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a large frying pan, and drop four portions of the mixture into the oil to cook on both sides until golden brown.

Layer up the sweet potato rosti with tomato sugo, herb oil, zucchini ribbons, grilled halloumi and poached eggs. Sprinkle with some micro mint and baby sorrel and you’ve got a delicious, colourful breakfast.


ROASTED JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES SERVED WITH CONFIT PARSNIPS, TRUFFLED WHITE ONION PUREE, PARSLEY OIL, SPRING ONION ASH AND CHIPS

Jerusalem artichokes are fleshy, bumpy root vegetables from the sunflower plants family, which boasts a slightly nutty flavour. This recipe from Transformer combines the Jerusalem artichoke with another of its root vegetable friends, the parsnip.

Respectively known for their high amounts of potassium and folic acid, Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips are a match made in heaven, especially when prepared with white onion, parsley and spring onion. Roast the artichokes in a little oil, salt and pepper for 45 minutes, and then heat the parsnips in oil with peppercorns, fennel seeds and orange zest to let the spices and aromas infuse into the vegetable.

Following this, add the parsnips and a knob of butter to a pan over high heat, followed by the artichoke, spices, and salt and pepper. Let the grapeseed oil and onion come together over medium heat, and then blend, adding butter, salt and pepper and truffle oil to create a beautiful onion puree.

For the final elements, allow parsley and silverbeet leaves to infuse into the oil for the dressing, and roast some spring onions at the highest temperature until they are completely black. Zig zag the artichoke across the onion puree and lean the parsnips across the artichoke for a dish that’s more art than food.


SPICED HEIRLOOM CARROT WITH WATTLE CRUMB AND YOGURT

Carrots would have to be one of the root vegetable family’s most popular members. These beauties are crisp, sweet and packed with nutrients to help you out.

To warm up this winter, try out the Spiced Heirloom Carrot recipe by Yellow Restaurant. Wondrously bright and bold, this dish uses three different coloured heirloom carrots that are oven-baked in a paste of coffee, cocoa, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and bay leaves.

In a separate pot combine carrot juice, shallots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger, cardamom, all spice, cloves, cumin and coriander seeds to create an exotically infused soup.

Blend macadamia and sunflower seeds together, add ground, whole wattle and barley flour and blend some more. Create a dough by adding flour, salt, chilled butter and egg white, before baking it in the oven to make fine crumbs to top the carrot bonanza. Pipe yogurt into pieces of dehydrated olive and roll to form gnocchi-like shapes.

To serve, pour the carrot soup into the bottom of the plate, with the spiced carrots next to the yogurt-stuffed olives, and decorate with herbs.


FIREPIT PUMPKIN SERVED WITH WATTLESEED CHEVRE AND SPICED MACADAMIA

Step right in and meet our good friend, the pumpkin. Although not technically a root vegetable, it’s in good company with the rest of the tubers, often appearing next to them in recipes and benefitting from many of the same cooking methods.

Street ADL in Adelaide has created a recipe that heroes the pumpkin in a way like no other. Simply place a whole pumpkin in the oven to cook until soft, before charring it on the BBQ to produce that beautiful smokey, caramelised flavour.

To complement the texture of the pumpkin, mix some macadamias through chilli powder and cayenne pepper for a hit of spice. The addition of chèvre rolled in wattleseed and olive oil, and some saltbush brings the dish together.

For a finishing touch, dehydrate some parsley before combining it with grapeseed oil to create a deep green dressing to dot around the plate. Deceptively simple, this spectacular dish is a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds, and will leave you wanting more.


BEETROOT, GOAT’S CURD AND SESAME TUILE

A superfood among superfoods, beetroot is the dark horse of the root vegetable family, in addition to its deep purple colour it is full of antioxidants. Best roasted, steamed or shredded raw, beetroot has a beautifully earthy, sweet flavour to warm the cockles of your heart.

From Stray Neighbour, this recipe calls for both red and golden beetroot served with goat’s curd and sesame tuile. Cook the beetroots until tender, and then peel them by hand, or with a paring knife if needed. Create some magic by preparing beetroot four ways.

Firstly, boil some beetroots with vinegar, verjuice, caster sugar, mustard seeds, cinnamon, star anise and water to create pickled candy beetroot. Then, slice the baby red beetroots in quarters, and set their leaves aside to be pickled in the remaining pickling juice.

Slice golden beetroots into quarters and dip them in a marinade of hazelnut oil and sesame seeds. Finally, cut the remaining red beetroot into cubes, and place them into a small pot with smoke powder and Cointreau until the liquid has evaporated.

Serve with goat’s curd and sesame tuile, and ta da! A delicious, artfully presented dish that is good for you inside and out.

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Words by Jesse Thomas

Garden State Hotel

In the heart of cosmopolitan Flinders Lane, Garden State Hotel is a behemoth of a gastropub: with four different drinking and dining areas, including a lush, multi-levelled beer garden, it’s got something for every occasion.

Taking its name from Victoria’s alter ego as ‘The Garden State’, the 700-seat venue is unlike anything else in the CBD.

Sand Hill Road, the hospitality group behind the beautiful hotel, has gained a reputation for creating interesting, dynamic transformations of unexpected spaces. Comprised of brothers, Matt and Andy Mullins, and Tom Birch and Doug Maskiell, it has a long line of successful gastropubs to its name, including Richmond Club and the Bridge Hotel.

With Garden State, the awesome foursome were excited to breathe new life into a particularly special location. Through their travels, they discovered the two things Melbourne is world-renowned for: laneways and incredible gardens.

The sprawling, multi-level beer garden takes centre stage, but greenery nestles its way into the space from the outside. With three large ficus trees that dominate the venue, a vast oak pergola adds an earthy, modern touch to the historical building. Established as a textile mill in 1886, the Sand Hill Road team has maintained the original façade and a majority of the distinctive saw tooth roof.

Techne Architects, the design team behind Fonda and Tonka, came on board to help create a venue that paid homage to this historical location. Enormous, yet homely and intimate, Garden State Hotel is built on a model of community pubs, and aims to be a meeting place for friends, family and colleagues.

On the ground level, you’ll be greeted by a traditional public bar, adorned by exposed brick walls; an enormous island bar; booths and bar tables; and a large, double-sided replace. Behind this lies a beer garden. There’s also a self-order kiosk that delivers toasted sandwiches and snacks in no longer than six minutes for those who are busy, hungry or both.

Behind the beer garden on the ground level, the Garden Grill is the primary dining space. Reminiscent of a New York grill with smoky mirrors, hand- blown glass pendants and dusty pink wall-panelling, the Garden Grill serves up modern Australian cuisine, with a raw bar offering fresh seafood, including freshly shucked oysters and a selection of ceviches.

At the basement level, there’s an intimate saloon called the Rose Garden, magically decorated with French crystal chandeliers, rose bouquets, vintage vases, and giant rose motifs, hand-painted by local artists. The Balcony dining room is found on the first floor, providing a private dining space for 18 people, and if you travel up a little further, you’ll discover The Observatory on the second floor. A glamorous, light-filled space for up to 120 people, it offers views of the twinkling lights of the city, ideal for those special celebrations.

Beer garden or jungle oasis – it really depends how you look at it. Either way, Garden State Hotel has snuggled its way into the city’s heart, becoming one of Melbourne’s most popular venues.

 

Words by Jesse Thomas

Beat the Winter Blues at The Ugly Duckling

Inspired by dark and intense flavours of winter, The Ugly Duckling’s Head Bartender, Nick Selvadurai has released a new range of cocktails to get you through the colder months. Let spices of clove and vanilla, mingled with aromas of fig and pear, warm your senses in these seductive cocktails.

APPLE COBBLER

Remember cosily sitting at your grandmother’s house when you were a kid, eating homemade apple crumble? This cocktail’s just like that, but all grown up. Using a devilish blend of Bulleit bourbon and La Quintinye Blanc, spiced-apple syrup melts on your tongue before a refreshing burst of fresh lime.

Aromatic clove syrup pays homage to its Indonesian heritage in this comforting, but enticing cocktail overflowing with flavours of the humble apple. The Apple Cobbler cocktail at the Ugly Duckling is sure to be a crowd favourite.


THE BLACK NEGRONI

The gentle, herbal caramel of Sicilian Averna makes a splash in this twist on the Italian negroni classic; you’ll be buzzing with flavours of liquorice and sweet orange. Charcoal and lemon-myrtle infused Tanqueray gin romance La Quintinye Blanc in a floral pairing, reminiscent of a lovers’ walk at dusk.

Dive in and embrace both the zestiness and bitterness of the Black Negroni cocktail, and relieve your fear of the dark.


RUBY SLIPPER

Dripping with sugar, spice and all things nice, the Ruby Slipper is your ticket to a Cinderella-esque fairy tale of your choosing. Ketel One Vodka and Licor 43 waltz together while sensations of apple, strawberry and lemon watch on approvingly. A hit of gingerbread sweetens the deal and you’ll be reminded of strawberry shortcake meringue.

Filled with brightly flavoured fruits in a sea of sticky gingerbread syrup, aromatic herbs and spices, and vanilla, the Ruby Slipper is an irresistibly delicious trip to a world beyond ours.


FIG JAM

1776 old Bourbon meets fig syrup and apricot brandy to concoct a cocktail sure to entice. The secretive, ancient angostura bitters blend of sun-ripened Caribbean oranges linger through the sharpness of gingerbread to create layers of spicy melodies.

The Fig Jam cocktail will transport you to a fantasy land where mornings are filled with warm toast and sleepy smiles, and nights are flavoured by notes of sweet vanilla and tangy dried fruits.


POIRE BELLE HELENE

Indulge in this velvety, fruity cocktail brimming with vanilla and Venezuelan spices of Pampero Especial Rum. Shaken up with the oakiness of Martell VSOP Cognac and the citrus blends of Licor 43, this twist on the classic French dessert is luxurious and oh-so-delicious. Inspired by an opera by Offenbach, this cocktail features light-vanilla poached pear dipped in creamy, sweet syrup and citrus angostura bitters.

For those who like a little spice with their sugar, the Poire Belle Helene will sing to your senses after dark.

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Words by Jesse Thomas