Friday, July 25, 2014

WINTOUR&GUINNESS HEADS NORTH OF THE CITY TO NORTHCOTE & GRABS A BITE TO EAT AT BARRY

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur so I do apologise for the lack of blogging. There has been so much happening this end, I can't for the life of me know where to begin. After around eighteen months of anticipation, my parents finally arrived safe and sound into Melbourne at the beginning of July and pretty much, the two weeks that followed were a non-stop marathon of great restaurants, cafes and bars. So with that, I thought it best to put together a few little posts about some of the great places I've been over the last two to three weeks. So grab yourself a hot drink and settle down and prepare to drool over some delicious food. First stop, we're hitting Barry in Northcote.

Northcote is one of those funny areas. I remember when Grazia Australia was kicking about, a year or two back and the HBO series Girls was the programme du jour for the cool kids. In one particular issue they wrote about some of the elements which they felt made Girls such as success, focusing in particular on the cool areas the girls within the show frequented. The publication named Northcote  as the Australian equivalent to Brooklyn and having not visited the area I immediately jumped in the car and went to see what all the fuss was about.

That first trip to Northcote was a disaster to be honest and I wouldn't have bothered venturing back there if it hadn't been for all the rave reviews I had read about Barry recently. Immediately upon arrival, I could sense it, I knew this place was going to be good and a surge of excitement rushed through me. Despite the large crowd waiting outside the cafe, the staff were excellent at handing the hoards of people queuing for tables and after what seemed like five or ten minutes we were directed to our spot on the communal bench which I really liked.



I know there are those people that like to have their own space and don't want to be too close to other people, but I am huge lover of communal tables in cafes. I love the hustle and the bustle of a cafe and you really don't get that sitting over in the corner of the room away from everything.

So we started off with coffees whilst we looked at the menu and thank God we did as it took quite a while for us both to decide. There is a huge variety of dishes to choose from and eventually I opted for the California Superfood Salad which was made up of tri-coloured quinoa, shredded kale, wild organic rice, coriander, charred corn, salted ricotta, black turtle beans, heirloom tomatoes, jalapeƱo, goji berries and spicy lime vinaigrette. You can order the dish with tuna however I opted for a poached egg. I'm not one to usually pick salads but I couldn't have picked anything better. The salad was bursting with flavour and with each and every bite I felt myself questioning whether something this good could actually be good for you.

Kevin ordered the crushed avocado with thyme roasted grapes, heirloom tomatoes, goats cheese, seeds, toast and a side of chorizo. The smashed avocado dish is a cafe staple here in Melbourne and it amazes me how so many places can get it so wrong - but Barry got it so right. It was everything you wanted and more in a dish, with each bite better than the last. And that chorizo, don't get me started.  I have never tasted chorizo so good.

Along with the service and the impeccable interior space, this place is firmly within my top five cafes in Melbourne after just one visit. Yes folks, it is that good.

Barry
85 High Street
Northcote 3070
www.barrycoffeeandfood.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WINTOUR&GUINNESS ON 124 SHOES ARTISAN FOOTWEAR STEPPING INTO THE EMPORIUM MELBOURNE


I was delighted to receive an invite the the opening of the new 124 store at Emporium Melbourne a few weeks back and had been looking forward to a night of Italian beverages, lusting over shoes and meeting the team behind the store - especially as I loved their other store just off Little Collins Street. That was until a work commitment had me in the office until late that evening. And although I didn't get the chance to see the new store, I wanted to give you guys a taste of what you can expect when you finally get to check it out.



124 brings artisan footwear, handmade in premium grade leathers from some of Italy's best craftsmen to Australia. Anthony Barbieri and Neville Colaianni, the team behind 124 Shoes, what with over 35 years of experience between them have curated a great collection of exclusive, contemporary style  footwear for both men and woman. Identifying a gap in the market, Barbieri and Colaianni started 124 with the aim of providing a brand that fits between the luxury and the mass market. 



Central to 124's philosophy is its offering of timeless, non-seasonal footwear. Each style of shoe is only produced in a limited number, so throughout each season there are continuous drops of various brands arriving every six to eight weeks.



Many of the brands carried by 124, such as Shoto, Buttero and Lago, are family-run boutique manufacturers who have generations of experience and share 124's passion for traditional construction techniques combined with contemporary design. The duo even travel to Italy three to four times a year for product development and buying trips, and to cultivate relationships with the manufacturers themselves.



The duo's commitment to premium products has seen 124 build a strong following of admirers across Australia and whilst they only stocked three brands at the beginning, they now stock more than ten diverse artisan brands exclusive to 124. I'll be hitting the store soon and I would highly recommend you do the same. 

124
Shop 201, Emporium Melbourne
287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Telephone: 03 8609 8286

Monday, July 14, 2014

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE NEW AFFORDABLE SPORTSWEAR COLLECTION FROM TOPMAN



Sportswear is fast becoming the most lucrative area within the fashion industry. Fashion brands such as Lorna Jane, Lululemon and The Upside have fast become the go to brands for those wanting to look stylish whilst hitting the gym or the yoga studio. With an emphasis on cut and style Topman is eager to tap into this lucrative category by launching a new sportswear collection. 




Fit and functionality are integral to the ethos here, with each piece designed to maximise the movement and comfort of the wearer through displaced seams and mesh paneling. Fusing this ideal with authentic sports fabrics and Topman's style aesthetic, they've produced a strong 20 piece capsule collection rich in colour and texture. 




The range includes mixed panel tech and marl gym tees, running leggings and a bold signature print, all of which boasts technical materials, dry-tech wicking technology and breathable nylons. With the likes of 2XU, The Upside and Lululemon charging contemporary fashion prices, Topman's affordable pricing means that guys can now look stylish in the gym even when on a tight budget. Check out the promotional video and link to the website below.




Check out the collection here.

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE SPRING SUMMER COLLECTION FROM WITCHERY AND THE NEW CAMPAIGN FEATURING AFL FOOTBALLER JIMMY BARTEL

Last season Witchery produced in my opinion, one of their best collections yet. Living in Melbourne I'm a sucker for a lot of black and there were multiple options that would have looked wonderful in my wardrobe given I had had a never ending shopping budget. This season, yet again they have produced a fantastic collection of pieces - which I will no doubt be coveting for the next few months. 

With Arizona Muse grabbing the majority of attention over the last few seasons, acting as the face of its female line, its great to see Witchery using some well known personalities as the face of their new Spring Summer menswear collection. Hair Stylist Richard Kavanagh, Architect and Interior Designer Nick Tobias and AFL Footballer Jimmy Bartel are seen as the best within their respective fields, each showcasing a collection of casual pieces that are soft, elegant and light. Perfect for the Australian climate.

Perfect for the everyday, some of the pieces are best paired with tailored pants, jeans or chinos in dark shades (you'll never see me stray too far from the dark colours), finished with a cool pair of sneakers, a relaxed leather boot or a pair of chunky brogues (which Witchery do so well). Like my views on Australian magazines, I am so happy to see three Australian guys picked to be the face of the brand. Australian has some incredible talent and like Sportscraft's recent advertising campaign featuring Olympic Swimmer Michael Klim and Fashion Model Samantha Harris, its time to showcase it. 
For more information on the new Spring Summer collection from WitcheryMan, check out www.witchery.com.au

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE AUGUST ISSUE OF VOGUE AUSTRALIA FEATURING MODEL, TV PERSONALITY AND PHILANTHROPIST SARAH MURDOCH


I will continue to say it, Australian magazines should be featuring the best of Australia on their covers. I think we're covered with the international magazines if we want to see Jennifer Lopez or Angelina Jolie, talking about the same old thing. This month Vogue Australia have placed Model, TV Personality and Philanthropist Sarah Murdoch on its cover in an elegant ballet inspired shoot which I am loving. 




The mother-of three, married to Rupert Murdoch's eldest son Lachlan for the last 15 years, was appointed International Ambassador of the Australian Ballet Company in 2004 and is deputy chairperson of The Australian Ballet raising awareness of the dance.


On the cover of the magazine, Murdoch's eleventh time adorning the publication, the blonde wears a pink long-sleeved Dolce & Gabbana dress with black polka-dots, while a pair of baby pink ballet slippers adorn her feet. Go to www.vogue.com.au to see a short film showing all the behind the scenes action.

The publication is currently on sale at all good newsagents. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

WINTOUR&GUINNESS TAKES A LITTLE BOYS TRIP TO GEELONG AND THE LITTLE CREATURES BREWERY

So I went to Geelong for a weekend with some friends not too long ago. I had meant to write about it sooner but for some reason the piece never materialised and the photos I had taken got pushed to the back of the metaphorical pile on my laptop. Now that I have a little time off and I am able to steal a few moments away, I thought I should finally get something up about the trip and specifically our visit to Little Creatures Brewery

A few months back in December I wrote about my trip to Perth and specifically the Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle. It was one of the most amazing foodie places I had been in Australia and I, along with the others thoroughly enjoyed our visit. 

The group had been staying south of Fremantle in an area called Dunsborough for a few days and whilst making our way back to Perth, we decided to take a drive into Fremantle and check out the pier and its many cafes, bars and restaurants. With Little Creatures being such a Fremantle 'Freo" institution we made our way there after a walk of the surrounding area, luckily finding a spot right beside the open pizza bar. I found it hard to articulate just how big the place was when I wrote about it, the building was absolutely enormous and extremely busy. Just how I like my restaurants. 
Moving back to the recent trip, we jumped in our car early that Saturday morning, tacking a pit stop at Seven:AM cafe in Port Melbourne for coffees, eggs and pancakes before jumping on the Westgate Bridge. The drive to Geelong is quite short and with a group of guys cracking jokes and sharing stories it felt like an even shorter trip. We decided to take a walk around the city before checking into our hotel and although Geelong is considered a city, its very small. Taking a quick trip through the main shopping strip, we then moved onto the hotel where we checked in, had a quick freshen up and then made our way to Little Creatures. 

Taking a short ten to fifteen minute stroll from the hotel, we eventually arrived at the brewery. It was a little outside the main CBD area but sometimes that's a great thing in my book. It was a calm, fresh kind of day so we made our way through the winding entrance, following the yellow path towards the outside dining area but after playing musical chairs for a few moments we decided on a huge booth just inside the front door. Perfect for checking out fellow diners and the space itself. The first thing we did after ordering our first round of drinks was sign ourselves up for the free brewery tour & tasting which happens throughout the day. For someone like me who doesn't drink beer, I was still looking forward to learning exactly how its produced and distributed. 

As the tour was a few hours away we decided to have some lunch to tie us over. Yes, this may be a brewery but its also a damn fine eatery too. The food for me outshines the drink but I am confident the others would disagree with me there. I had been to the Fitzroy Dining Hall as well as the Fremantle brewery and that too was a super spot for food. I'm actually off there today with my folks after our trip to the footy. 

The entire table ordered little plates of this and that and as soon as they came, they were gone so getting a photo of each dish was pretty hard. But I got a few nonetheless. Kevin and I started off with the fresh cut chips with garlic aioli. Superb. They are consistently the best fries in Australia hands down. Its so hard to find good chips (or fries as they call them here) in Australia as so many places here are lazy and use frozen chips. Even top restaurants are known to do this. Slightly baffling I know. 

We followed this with the ribs and a pumpkin, spinach, dukkah and goats cheese pizza. The ribs were nice and charred on the outside with a beautiful smokey flavour, perfect finger food and kind of like a meat lollipop. The pizza was nice but nothing to write home about if I am being honest. The base was thicker than the traditional Italian style that I prefer and the toppings were a little bland, but I think that's just me. I think if I was to go down the pizza route again I would order a meat based pizza instead. 

While the others decided to try out some of the beers available, I decided to finish off with the doughnuts. The doughnuts came out nice and warm accompanied with a creamy lemon curb dipping sauce. Along with a strong coffee, this was the perfect way to end what was, overall a great meal. 

Before heading back to the hotel, we took the brewery tour with a small group of people. Led around by one of the brewers, we went through the entire process front start to finish. In the end we finished our visit to Little Creatures Geelong with a little beer tasting and a lot of fun trying to find our way back to the hotel. Definitely one to check out. 

Little Creatures Geelong 
Corner Fyans & Swanston Street,
Geelong 
Telephone: (03) 5202 4009

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE AUGUST COVER OF BRITISH VOGUE FEATURING AWARD WINNING DESIGNER VICTORIA BECKHAM


So I'm not quite sure why everyone makes such a big deal about Victoria Beckham not having been on the cover of American Vogue yet. Out of all the Vogue editions I am capable of reading (i.e. those that are in English) the American edition is bar far the most boring. Its all advertising and the content is more suited to titles such as Vanity Fair or Australian Women's Weekly, not a title aimed at those in their mid-twenties up. British and Australian Vogue are doing this far better in my opinion. 


British Vogue is by far one of the leading editions with Alexandra Shulman and her team consistently producing a quality publication. This month they have featured Victoria Beckham on the cover, not once but twice. Set in the idyllic British countryside and shot by Patrick Demarchelier, the August issue shows Victoria a million miles from how we usually see her; casting aside her faithful high heels and in their place, Hunter wellington boots and a floppy Stephen Jones hat. Check out the behind the scenes video below. I'm dying to get my hands on this. 

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