HOT: Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

Middletown cafe in Prahran brings strong brunch credentials to competitive eat street High Street as it’s the second cafe by Randy Dhamanhuri and Valerie Fong of Operator 25 in the CBD.

Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

The large cafe is underneath an apartment block and the first thing that captures your attention is the wide and high windows. If you grab a street-facing stool it’s great for people-watching (or in my case, car and tram spotting with a three year old).

Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

Once inside it’s the cool colour palette I love. The patrician blue matched with bright white gives the place an airy, elegant and almost maritime feel. For me it evokes the Ralph Lauren and Gant set and holiday houses in Cape Cod and the Hamptons. Though apparently the styling has been inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and hence Middletown is not named after a town in Connecticut after all but is a play on her ‘commoner’ surname.

Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

The menu though is all Melbourne. It’s everything I love about cafes in this city – a creative menu that goes beyond eggs and toast, all day offerings and a strong drinks menu with coffee by Code Black, matcha lattes, fresh juices and healthy smoothies. The head chef  Dilpreet ‘Gilly’ Singh has previously worked at Top Paddock, Kettle Black and Two Birds One Stone.

Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

For a savoury option I try the duck leg, which is ostensibly on the lunch menu but it’s available all day. The duck is crispy-skinned and the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. I cannot get enough of it and seriously consider ordering a second serve! I love the sharp celeriac remoulade that accompanies it, which cuts through the richness along with the tiny pops of sour cherry.

Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

For my dessert I have the coffee waffles, already doing the rounds on Instagram. Two fat waffles comes piled with ‘textured’ strawberries in all shapes and forms, a squeeze of truffle honey and vanilla ice cream. While I love the texture of the fluffy waffles and the mountain of strawberries, I cannot detect any coffee or truffle flavouring at all, which means that is turns out to be surprisingly bland dish.

Another option for sweet treats is the glass cabinet filled with goodies from Cobb Lane. The muffins and sandwiches are made in house.

Middletown, 229 High St, Prahran

The only other query I have is with the pricing. The duck leg is a high-end restaurant dish, something that you’d expect to pay $30+ for in a restaurant. It is only $22 at Middletown and for the quality ingredients and techniques it is the bargain of the year. In fact, all the lunch dishes are $18-$22.

On the other hand, the waffles are $17 which is relatively expensive in my experience. My kale, spinach, avocado, coyo and almond milk smoothie is $11. Granted the latter is so thick and large it could count as a meal in itself, but I’m not sure when smoothies starting inching into double digits.

Middletown is another great addition to Melbourne’s brunch scene, with a beautiful interior and interesting menu that will have you returning again and again. My tip is to head straight for the lunch menu, any time of day!


HOT Tips:

  • head straight to the all-day lunch menu;
  • three high chairs and pram access;
  • no disabled toilet;
  • limited street parking, particularly hard to find on High Street.

 Middletown, 229 High Street Prahran 03 9530 2288

7am-4pm weekdays

8am-4pm weekends

Middletown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: We Will Rock You, Regent Theatre, 191 Collins St St, Melbourne

We Will Rock You Melbourne

Photo by Jeff Busby

Brought to you by Nuffnang and We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You, the worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton, in now playing in Melbourne for a limited time.

We Will Rock You first premiered in London’s West End in 2002 and since then there have been 3600 performances in the UK, it has received 3600 standing ovations and it was crowned UK’s favourite show at the Olivier awards 2011. It’s been seen by over 6 million people in the UK alone and over 16 million people worldwide in 28 countries.

It is returning to Melbourne after its 2003 season with what seems like an updated script with more contemporary references and relevant-right-now in-jokes.

We Will Rock You Melbourne

Photo by Jeff Busby

The show is a stadium style experience, with a ‘wall of sound’ band (including two drum kits in action!), high energy, dazzling lighting and Queen’s legendary hits; We are the Champions, Radio Ga Ga, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Somebody to Love, Killer Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now, Under Pressure, Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites The Dust – and of course We Will Rock You.

The anthemic songs are definitely the highlight and scaffold a flimsy, preposterous plot line involving a dystopian futuristic world where rock ‘n’ roll and live music is banned. But there’s an underground rebellion of rock lovers fighting against synthesized pop and being told what to do – and naturally they triumph, restoring music to the world.

It’s not deep but really, let’s be honest you’re just there for the music.

We Will Rock You Melbourne

Photo by Jeff Busby

The standout talents are the two female leads – Erin Clare (Heathers, Phantom of the Opera) as Scaramouche and Jaz Flowers (Hairspray, Hot Shoe Shuffle, Fame) as Oz. Their soaring vocals really bring out the melodies and emotion behind the lyrics. Hearing Erin Clare hitting the notes of ‘Somebody to Love’ gives me chills down my spine in a way that the song has never done to me before.

If you love Queen and love power rock, you will love We Will Rock You. Even if you’re not a huge Queen fan, it seems everyone has a favourite Queen song! So iconic is their body of work that I guarantee you will be tempted to sing along to songs that you may not even realise are originally by Queen.


We Will Rock You, Regent Theatre, 191 Collins St Melbourne

1 September – 30 October 2016

Tues 7pm, Wed–Sat 8pm, Sat matinee 2pm, Sunday 1pm & 6pm

Tickets from $71.07 via Ticketmaster

Running time: 2 hrs 45min with interval

Suitable from the age for 13 years and above

HOT: Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

In the middle of brick-and-weatherboard Maidstone, on the edge of grey industria, you’ll find the cafe Jack B Nimble. A rose amongst the thorns.

Jack B Nimble’s pale Scandi-chic interior and Asian-inspired fare is an unlikely, though very welcome, find when you consider its uninspiring surroundings.

Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

The interior is warm and cosy, like a stylish friend’s house, dressed with bookshelves, plants, high benches and a courtyard at the back.

Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

The menu provides for all day breakfast and ‘second breakfast’ ie larger, much lunchy meals.

I try the omelette ($19), which is normally a dish I avoid because it’s something that’s easy to whip up at home (with the added disadvantage of being generally unphotogenic!).

Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

But who has time to smoke prawns and sieve a tomato broth at home? Not I! So do make sure you try the silken omelette, wrapped up like a Swiss roll with chunky king prawns, braised leeks and a slightly spicy broth. It’s dressed with prawn and lemongrass oil, chilli, Vietnamese mint and crispy tofu puffs.

The French toast ($16) is equally artistic, with indulgent chocolate dulce de leche, poached pear, mandarin & tangelo compote, earl grey mascarpone, and a slightly bitter milo crumble.

Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

If you still have room don’t go past the madeleines. The three little cakes are baked to order (allow 15 minutes) and served with a dollop of fresh yoghurt ($8). They are warm, buttery and perfectly spongy – definitely madeleines to rival Cutler & Co’s famous offerings.

Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

The Tea and Spice chai comes brewed in a pot with soy ($4) and the coffee is made from Axil Coffee beans. Some of the sweets are made in house and the bread and pastries come from Brasserie Bread.

Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone

Jack B Nimble has been named one of Melbourne’s best cafes in the west in 2016 and it’s worth seeking out for unique brunch deliciousness in an unsung part of town.


Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone (03) 9317 9792

Mon: 7:00 am – 3:30 pm

Wed-Fri: 7:00 am – 3:30 pm

Sat-Sun: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Jack B. Nimble Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: States of Blue: West Projections Festival 2016

west projections

West Projections Festival 2016 is a free projection festival which returning for the third year in a row to light up Footscray’s streets.

From Monday 15 August to Sunday 11 of September 2016, be immersed in the colour blue through a series of video projections and sound pieces in the streets of Footscray. States of Blue: West Projections Festival will illuminate creative spaces, VU campus, businesses and public places. Discover 18+ unique sites, each showing specially commissioned artwork.

 Jo Skladzien (Small Scapes) and I are screening a video based on Lost In the Shadows, a shadow puppet workshop we held while we were artists-in-residents in the Artsbox. The projection will be exhibited every evening inside Footscray florist Botanicals on Barkly.
Lost In the Shadows - 9 (1)

States of Blue: West Projections Festival program includes four free guided walks every Saturday with artist talks and performances. Jo and I will be presenting a shadow puppet play experience in a secretive location as part of the walk designed for families on Saturday 3 September. The walk is free but bookings are essential as there are only 20 spots available. It’s currently booked out but get on the waitlist!


HOT: Fig and Walnut, 11-13 Bellairs St, Seddon

Fig and Walnut

Fig and Walnut is a cute cafe nestled in a residential street facing Seddon station, away from the main shopping areas on Charles and Victoria Streets.

fig and walnut

The layout of Fig and Walnut is like your stylish friend’s renovated inner city Edwardian. An old fashioned frontage unfolds into two light filled front rooms, then bifold glass doors lead out onto a back deck and courtyard.

Fig and Walnut

The courtyard is a gorgeous place to hang out, as long as you don’t mind little people playing at your feet (or you’ve brought your own).

The menu is split into all day choices and lunch from 11:30am. I’ve been several times and the highlights are the grainy pancakes bursting with colour – a generous scoop of coconut ice cream and maple mascarpone, saffron poached pear, berries, walnut, pistachio crumble and maple syrup.

fig and walnut

A similar collection of poached and fresh fruit adorns the creamy pink porridge, so soothing on a winter’s day.

Fig and Walnut

The coffee comes from Fitzroy’s Industry Beans, the Greek sweets and muffins are made in house, the pastries come from Sourdough Kitchen in Seddon and the scrolls are from Sydney’s Oregano Bakery.

fig and walnut

Fig and Walnut is one of my Seddon favourites, a place with a cosy seating and a tempting menu. All of their menu is available to take away via Skip app if you need to preorder to make your train.


Fig and Walnut, 11-13 Bellairs Ave, Seddon

Fig and Walnut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

Saluministi started out as a pop up cafe/paninoteca in a North Melbourne warehouse 12 months ago and it has now found a permanent home in Victoria Harbour, Docklands.

Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

I was invited to check out the new space ahead of their opening today 26 July. My old favourites, such as the house made porchetta rolls and the bomboloni, are still there. But Saluministi now benefits from a light-filled space, a larger kitchen and a fantastic location next to Library at the Dock, the playground at Buluk Park and the new Knowledge Market creative hub.

Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

It’s clear that even after 12 months the owners have not lost their passion for Saluminsti. I watch a demonstration of how they make their famous porchetta while Frank, one of the co-owners, enthusiastically talks about how he wants to bring to diners the sort of food that he grew up with in an Italian family.

The porchetta uses pork belly and loin from Kirkpatrick’s Meats sprinkled with fennel seeds, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper then rolled up. The slow roasting process ensures that it’s melt-in-the-mouth and Saluminsti sell porchetta rolls at a 2:1 ratio to everything else on the menu. 

Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

The cafe’s focus is on doing a couple of things really well so they mainly serve paninis. The menu includes a melt-in-the-mouth free range porchetta stuffed with artichoke paste, rocket and shaved pecorino ($12), a cotoletta just like nonna’s with a vincotto mayo, Italian coleslaw and provolone ($12) and a slightly spicy pork and fennel sausage with roasted peperonata and pecorino ($11).

Saluministi Docklands

The ciabatta pillowy soft and not so crusty it hurts your mouth. Frank won’t divulge his secret supplier but did wax lyrical about the 36 hour proven dough and stone-baked bread.

Saluministi Docklands

We accompany our sandwiches with small serve of patate fritte, crispy chips zhuzhed up with fresh herbs and reggiano ($5).

The coffee is made with Lavazza and the cafetiere is a bargain. A traditional Neapolitan-style 2 cup with a syrupy crema on the bottom can easily satisfy 3 or 4 people and it comes with some biscotti for only $8.

Saluministi Docklands

Finally, try the sugar encrusted bomboloni, made fresh every day. These are Italian-style doughnuts, so a bit denser than the standard American-style doughnut, but still very light.

Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

Both the Nutella and slightly citrus crema paticcera are delicious.

Saluministi Docklands

Saluminsti serves up authentic, old school Italian goodness in an area that is currently lacking in really good quality food. The simple formula should prove a hit with nearby workers, tradesman and families hanging out at the library and playground. They are currently still seeking approval for outdoor seating and once that’s in place it’ll be the perfect place to hang out on a sunny day. Buon appetito!


Saluminsti, 892 Bourke St, Docklands 0413 082 253

Mon-Sat 7am-4pm

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