Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema Opening Night: Sundae Sessions Charity Launch and Reader Giveaway!

Ben and Jerry's Openair Cinema

Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema

Summer is coming and what better way to celebrate the start of summer than to be surrounded by delicious ice cream whilst listening to your ultimate summer soundtrack being played live right in front of you, all before settling in to watch your favourite movies in the warm outdoors!

If that sounds like your perfect summer night, you’re going to want to check out Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema, back again this Summer!

Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema is kicking off their summer season on Sunday 1st December at St Kilda’s South Beach Reserve with one very exciting opening night party / charity event / live gig / movie screening all rolled into one! There will be a live music act by Gyspy & the Cat, complimentary Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to keep you cool as well as free seating hire so you can get comfy for a screening under the stars of the new romantic comedy About Time.  In addition, all ticket sales proceeds are going to WWF’s marine turtles initiative.

Tickets on sale now, available to purchase online for $37 and thanks to Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema we also have a double pass for one lucky reader!

To enter, you need to complete the following three steps:

1. Like  Melbourne Darling’s Facebook page

2. Like St Kilda Openair Cinema Facebook page

3. Click here fill out the Email Signup to keep up to date with Melbourne Darling!

Good Luck!

Entries close on Thursday, 28th November. Winners will be notified on 29th November.


Melbourne Darling xo

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Muse of the Month November 2013: The Lindy Charm School Headmistress – Chrissy Keepence

Chrissy Keepence

Chrissy Keepence

Miss Chrissy is Melbourne Darling’s Muse of the Month not only because she is a refreshingly fine example of embodying grace and lady-like charm in today’s modern world, but because of her inspiring passion for empowering girls of all ages to enhance their own, natural outer & inner beauty through the best of vintage styling, etiquette and manners.

I was lucky enough to attend one of her engaging and fun filled vintage workshops by The Lindy Charm School of Girls (review coming soon) and Chrissy shared with me some personal reflections and thoughtful words of advice on vintage styling in the modern world:

Why do you think there is suddenly such a cherished appreciation for all things vintage?

Not only do the eras between the 1920’s to the 1960’s epitomise the glamour, style & the razzle dazzle we all crave in our lives, but these eras represent times of strength, stoicism, innovation, rebellion, fun and edgy designs in hair, makeup, clothing, ideals and lifestyle.

Instead of looking to be just ‘on trend’ many individuals now look to be individual, different and cutting edge and vintage styling ticks all those boxes as most vintage is individual. However, I do think the media recycles it into the mainstream every few years but this gains exposure for the next generation who may otherwise not always get on board. In this case, I think it is a good thing that every few years a Hollywood Starlet walks the red carpet in a Vintage Gown with Old World (as they call it) hair and makeup and just like that, Vintage styling is popular and in demand once again. Lastly, the increase in education and interest surrounding the concern to save our environment leads individuals to more likely take on the old-fashioned ‘make do and mend’ mentality. As a result, the re-use, re-cycle and up-cycle trends become more popular and mainstream.

I think I was born in the wrong era!’ I have heard this statement a lot and I also wonder whether this is something you hear often from ladies who take part in your classes? 

I do hear that a lot from ladies. I believe that some of us are just ‘old souls’ and this is why we gravitate to an old world. Most people who attend the classes feel they develop a sense of belonging when they are surrounded by vintage styled & vintage loving women who share the same enjoyment in defining, finding or just embracing their own individual vintage style and it’s lovely to watch their confidence blossom.

I had a young girl of just 13 years of age attend a workshop last week. She was not interested in iPhones, iPads or iPods as there was no ‘I’ in ‘us’ and it was the group aspect of ‘us’ that she was enjoying – so cool. She loved being surrounded by a group of women of all ages, excited to learn all the hair and makeup techniques from the 40’s and 50’s. All the women in the room embraced and relished in the brush up of manners, etiquette & good posture and their feedback was that they all admired it and they all wanted to see more of it in the today’s modern world.

Chrissy conducting a hair tutorial at one of her workshops

Chrissy conducting a hair tutorial at one of her workshops

To all the old souls and vintage inspired women out there living in the modern world of today, what is your most important piece of advice?

Make the effort each and every day to spend a few moments on yourself, with yourself and for yourself. Also, don’t be so body conscious. If you look and feel uncomfortable then find another style and don’t try too hard at something that doesn’t come easy to you. Find a look that suits you, your body, your hair, your skin and your lifestyle. Watch some old films and search fashion archives on the internet for some inspiration. You will be amazed with what you find! Even if you cannot find true vintage originals, I believe anyone can still find a vintage inspired look that suits you.

You can be subtle about it, by selecting one piece to be the feature of your outfit i.e. a gorgeous blouse from the 40s, a statement hat from the 20s, a swanky pair of gloves, even a jewel encrusted brooch. On the other hand if you are confident enough to go head to toe, I think it is most important to pay attention to the detail!

Lastly, carry with you in your day to day life a bit of the innocence and modesty that our foremothers possessed and always be charming. Don’t forget the importance of hair and makeup as well as The Lindy Charm School for Girls Oath, ‘Thou shall endeavour to always wear red lipstick.’

How did The Lindy Charm School for Girls come about?

I have been involved in the world of vintage styling and dancing for the past twenty years and The Lindy Charm School for Girls was a natural progression from teaching my own dance students how to re-create and style themselves based on the swing era, which was the music they were predominately dancing to. These home based “styling days” became so popular that I decided to take it on the road and share the knowledge around Australian, New Zealand and more recently in the US.

Most people seeking out a vintage lifestyle usually have a bit of an old soul to start with and have a penchant for the history of old. I grew up with the music and films of the 40’s and 50’s with my dad. My favourite memory growing up was Saturday afternoon movie time with him, always with a black and white Jerry & Dean or an Elvis flick on.

My eye for vintage fashion and style started then, but it was when I was introduced to the dance (“Lindy Hop”) that my passion for swing music grew, and then my further interest in the fashion and lifestyle of the 30’s and 40’s. I remember when I got my first 1940’s original crepe, A-line frock, embellished with beautiful beading. I was in heaven and I matched it with the right hat, accessories, hair and makeup. When I walked into my parents’ home, my dad teared up (and being a soldier, that NEVER happened), he said he thought his mother had walked home.

The name “The Lindy Charm School for Girls” comes from my love of the dance “Lindy Hop” The name also means I often get cute questions like ‘So, does Miss Lindy Ever attend these workshops and teach them herself?’ Since 2005, when I registered the business, I travel almost every week to a different place from my home in Queensland. My team has grown and I now have Mistresses of Style in every state in Australia. I am so lucky that my ‘assistants’ are also my closest friends and we all believe we have come together for a reason. Each special one has entered my life at different times for different reasons and there was once a saying I used to have painted on my bedroom wall from Shakespeare that was never truer, ‘your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years

What has been the most rewarding aspect of running The Lindy Charm School for Girls so far?

The feedback I receive in the letters, emails and calls saying how The Lindy Charm School has changed one’s life, saved one’s live or rebuilt a person’s confidence. It’s comments like these that are very humbling and make us also believe even more in what we are doing and The Lindy Charm School is something that I am so blessed to be at the helm of.

Where are your favourite places to visit in Melbourne?

You are indeed spoilt for choice in Melbourne and when I visit I find that the following never disappoint:

The Vintage Garage  is one of my most favourite places. Mainly because I get to hang out there often when we are doing our Pin Up/Vintage Makeover photoshoots with the amazing Brooke Orchard Photography and also because the gals Marissa and Lisa are so helpful and quirky and fun!  They also stock HEAPS of cool stuff like Bonnie Rose Vintage clothing and Fossil Vintage clothing. Both collectors have amazing vintage finds. The Circa Vintage Clothing is a store  that stocks vintage clothing that is always of the utmost quality.  Owner, Miss Nicole Jenkins is well known for being the pre-eminent authority on all things to do with vintage clothing and because of her knowledge, you don’t just buy the outfit but you learn the history behind it as well.

My favourite restaurant is Longrain on Little Bourke St. Because I had to wait until 10pm for a sitting to dine there and it was totally worth it and I have never tasted Thai food as amazing since! I have many favourite cocktail bars in Melbourne, but I have to say I’ve had the best times with our darling friends at The LuWow and Madame Brussels.

My favourite place to stay and indulge in afternoon tea is at the Hotel Windsor. My team and I presented an ‘Afternoon Tea with a Sip of Manners‘ to 150 patrons two days in a row a while back and the place left such an impression on me with its glorious surrounds.

Chrissy has done a fantastic job at guiding women of all ages to rediscover the old-school glamour and style of the early 20th century. You can meet the charming Chrissy at the Love Vintage Show in Melbourne next year or attend one of her workshops. Keep your eyes peeled for my review on the workshop Chrissy held in Melbourne recently so you can be ready to book yourself into the next Lindy Charm School for Girls Workshop in 2014 and experience the magic of vintage styling for yourself!

Men, don’t feel left out! Look out for the Suave School For Gents, an upcoming feature of The Lindy Charm School, featuring fashion, manners and grooming guidance and advice. This is currently an online feature, with hopes of it becoming a workshop in the future so stay tuned!

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Dining Review – Gelato Messina Gelateria Melbourne

I think it’s fair to say Melbourne’s excitement for gelato has just increased at least 3 fold. I feel I can justify this because as a city we’ve recently been introduced to nitrogen gelato, we hosted the Gelato World Tour last month and this past week we finally reached the anticipated opening of Sydney gelateria, Gelato Messina which opened its doors on Thursday, 14th November.

The shop façade on Smith Street, Collingwood features a very modern, sleek and minimalistic design, with dark tinted windows and its name gilded in thin gold lines above the door, it would be easy to not notice this place if there weren’t such a long line of people stretching out from its front doors. I visited on Friday night, the day after it opened and the line wrapped down the outside of the store to the next door front, so were quick to snap up a spot in line before actually deliberating whether or not we were willing to wait in such a long line. However, it didn’t take long for us to notice the helpful implementation of crowd control that Gelato Messina had in place. That’s right, this gelato bar needed crowd control. Gelato Messina would be no stranger to long lines and eager crowds, I have heard that the enthusiastic masses that flock to their Sydney stores can almost be compared to the level of hysteria that would normally be saved for tween girls at a One Direction concert. However, their highly organised method of handling the line was great. There was one gentlemen who had the task of who working his way down the line, handing out menus and pointing out the flavour ‘specials’ of the day as well as guide the flow of traffic into the store at a reasonable time.

Gelato Messina Store Exterior

Gelato Messina Store Exterior

I applaud Gelato Messina for their well organised crowd control outside their store, but once I made it to the front of the line (I am going to say it took about 10 minutes maximum) I was shocked at how quickly the atmosphere turned to a manic free-for-all where waiting to be served became an entirely different story. I was directly in front of the window encasing the high pillowed mountains of gelato where behind it stood a dozen employees in cute Breton striped tops. I was patiently waiting to be served but ended up being numerously ignored as ice-cream servers gravitated towards the most pushy, forceful, demanding customers first, despite order of arrival or length of time spent patiently waiting. So, after my experience, take this lesson from me; once it’s your turn to order, speak up, smile and be quick to lock eyes with the next available server to rein in their attention like a lasso wielding cowboy before you get trampled on or pushed back by overly brazen folk.

Gelato Messina Interior

Gelato Messina Interior

You are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to flavours at Gelato Messina which gets another favourable tick for the number of variety and level of creativity when it comes to their flavour assortment. A full listing on the regular flavours on offer can be viewed online, as well as their top 10 flavour combinations. They also Gelato Messina won first prize in the Gelato World Tour with their ‘Cremino’ flavour – salted caramel gelato with Italian meringue, gianduia fudge, fresh meringue and crushed amaretti biscuits. Once I spotted this the Specials menu, I was sold. I also tried the ‘Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit’ and what I learnt to be another extremely popular flavour, their ‘Gianduia Bianca’ – white chocolate & hazelnut gelato with hazelnut praline, pictured below.

3 scoop gelato cup at Gelato Messina

3 scoop gelato cup at Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina were thoughtful in their approach to cater to a variety of customers and specific dietary requirements. The menu’s helpful addition of the allergy checklist ensures to state which flavours contains nuts, gluten, egg, or alcohol and in addition to their indulgent ice cream selections, the menu also feature a large selection of refreshing, dairy free sorbets. They are not shy to promote their use of high-quality, fresh ingredients and this was further promoted though the design of a glass window through to their kitchen where you can watch the gelato masters churn their confectionary creations. Also look out for their cabinet of gelato cakes. I did not get to try one but they look incredible! You can see their full range of cakes online.

Gelato Messina Cake Cabinet

Gelato Messina Cake Cabinet

I found the prices were reasonable, but for the length of effort it took to order my gelato I was not settling for one measly scoop or limiting myself to sampling only one flavour (by that I also mean I apologise I do not remember the price of 1 scoop!) but at $6 for 2 scoops and only one cheeky dollar extra at $7 for 3 scoops, you can easily be persuaded for going all out and you won’t regret it later. What really makes the gelato so special is not only the unique and hyperventilating level of exciting flavour combinations. Although the flavours sound decadent and rich to the possible point of being overpowering, the gelato has such a surprisingly delicate texture and incredibly soft, smooth, buttery consistency, juxtaposed to the luscious explosion of taste bud frenzy it produces. They could have been a little more generous with their servings and the ultra-soft consistency caused it to melt in rapid time, resulting in all the gelato combining into one soupy flavour surprise. That being said, it was one amazing treat, Gelato Messina really does serve a superior level of quality gelato and I dare say that if you decide to make the trip here, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Gelato Messina 

237 Smith Street, Fitzroy.

Sunday to Thursday 12pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12pm-11.30pm

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

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Melbourne Darling’s Top 5 Picks for the Queen Victoria Wednesday Night Market

The Queen Victoria Night Market is back to excite your Wednesday night plans from now until the end of Summer. But before you race on down and make a bee line for the spiral fries like everyone else, read my wrap up of the top  5 things to do at the Wednesday Night Market this season:

1. Hammer and Tong’s Soft Shell Crab Burger

Last week I reviewed Hammer and Tong and their ever popular contribution to Melbourne’s gourmet burger scene with the Soft Shell Crab Burger. Well firstly, I advise you make the first thing you do when you arrive at the Night Market is to pinch yourself a table early, while you still can. I find the Night Market only gets busier and busier each year and the later the night gets, the increasing number of people flock to the dining areas and begin their hunt for a seat.  So before you go exploring the market stalls, I suggest you find a table with your group first and eat early in the evening.

That being said, if you were looking forward to trying the Soft Shell Crab Burger for yourself, the Wednesday Night Market is a great opportunity to do so. Hammer and Tong’s market stall is especially dedicated to pumping out those delicious burgers all night, so you’re getting the same delicious meal as you would if you were to order it in their restaurant, but for a few dollars cheaper too!

Hammer and Tong Soft Shell Crab Burger at the Night Market

Hammer and Tong Soft Shell Crab Burger at the Night Market

2. Vintage Hub

Among the sea of regular market stalls at the Queen Victoria Night Market – cheap sunglasses, handmade soaps, band t-shirts and jewellery - coconut watches anyone? This year it was refreshing to see the addition of the ‘Vintage Hub‘. Hosted by Vintage Garage, The Vintage Hub is a cluster of stalls selling an assortment of all things vintage from pre-loved and reworked clothing to retro homewares. Check out Grandma-Funk for her one-of-a-kind collection of vintage European leather patch jumpers and Vonruby for a gorgeous Vintage hairdo and makeover.


Vonruby Vintage Hair and Makeup at The Night Market

 3. Live Music

Your perfect summer evenings at the Wednesday Night Market are made complete with festive tunes hosted by Multicultural Arts Victoria. Each week features a selection of the diverse mix of performers. From my experience, some bands are extremely funky and engaging and will invite the crowd to get up and dance. A couple of sangria’s later and you may just be more than eager to get up and join them! You can view the full program of gigs for the 2013-2014 season here.

4. Dessert

After all that walking and talking (and perhaps after the last point, some dancing too?) you would have most likely worked up your second (or third) appetite for the night, and with so many exciting and exotic variations of food on offer, you’d be glad you did! There are so many food stalls you are bound to find something to tickle your fancy, but if you are having trouble deciding, try the Creme Brulee or Lemon tart macaron from Macaron De Paris, the Dutch Pancakes or the French Crepes (just look out for the giant tubs of Nutella)

Macarons from Macaron De Paris at The Night Market

Macarons from Macaron De Paris at The Night Market

5. Sangria!

It just wouldn’t be right if you didn’t put Sangria on your list of things to do at the Night Market! Not only do Running Bull Sangria offer a red and white wine variety, but they now have a couple of stalls set up around the market space, so you can sip on your fruity wine mix whilst browsing the market stalls in delight until…

oh! Whats that? You’ve finished your cup already and you’re already on the other side of the market by now? Oh look! There’s another sangria stall conveniently located two stalls down! And on it goes…

(Or for a non alcoholic sipping treat, try the original Lemonade stands instead!)


Running Bull Sangria at The Night Market

The Queen Victoria WednesdayNight Market

Every Wednesday night from 5pm-10pm

November 6th – February 26th (excluding December 25th & January 1st 2014)

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Ask Melbourne Darling: Bachelorette Party / Hens Night Ideas for Melbourne CBD

Hi Melbourne Darling,

A few friends and I (aged late 20′s early 30′s) want to organise a fun filled hens night for our work friend who is getting married in October. We’d like a fun girl’s night out, but want to keep it classy. We’d like to start in the CBD for dinner and then head out for drinks and dancing (the bride to be likes RnB). Any recommendations will be really appreciated! Also any suggestions of what we can do to make the night a memorable one will be great.

I think there some great options you can choose from in the CBD for a fun (but classy) girl’s night out on the town for your friend’s Hens Night.
Wherever you choose to go for dinner, because there will be a group of you, I strongly suggest you choose a restaurant where you can book a table in advance, as a lot of popular restaurants in the city usually have a no booking policy, so I haven’t suggested many of these, as unless your group is extremely patient, you will not want to spend the majority of your night lining up for dinner!
I’ll  provide suggestions for three places, restaurants, cocktail bars and clubs. I think going to different venues is an exciting change of scenery and hopping from one venue to another becomes a bit of an adventure in itself to make it an exciting night! But don’t worry, I’ve tried to keep the places fairly close to each other so they are as stiletto friendly as possible!
Please note I have provided links to the Urban Spoon website entries for all restaurants and bar locations, as I find you get a more honest judgment of the venues through the reviews and votes on Urban Spoon, as I’ve been to most of the places noted, I haven’t yet written a review on my own blog about them all yet! All Urbanspoon entries also have links to the venue’s official website.
Here are my suggestions:
A wide range of different cuisines, depending on the preferred tastes of your friends, please note that calling at least a week before hand to secure a booking is ALWAYS advised…
(Popular Asian eatery)
(Thai food, similar to Chin Chin, also do great cocktails)
(Mexican food, festive atmosphere, similar to Mamasita but take bookings)
(Asian fusion cuisine, again, similar to Chin Chin, delicious cocktails!)
Cheaper options:
(great Japanese sushi train venue, small intimate space, you may be seated on a bar setting ie. not facing eachother as a group, so if you don’t mind that its a great, fun place with delicious food!)
(Authentic modern Italian and pizza restaurant)
Gingerboy. Image Via.

Gingerboy. Image Via.

Cocktail Bars:
I like to suggest girly cocktail bars for Hen’s nights, because a girly night out is what Hen’s Nights should be all about!
All gorgeous venues, and full of yummy cocktails! The Emerald Peacock is notorious for being strict on entry so it’s always good to have a back up option, just in case!

Madame Brussels. Image Via.

Younger crowd (18-28)
Modern Rnb and Hip Hop Music
Live Jazz / Soul band playing before 11pm
Guestlist recommended ($10 entry charge before 10pm, $15 after 10pm)
Contact Nathan on 0431 237 553 for all your guestlist needs or group packages at Club YoYo.
Older crowd (25-35)
Mix of dance music
Guestlist recommended
Cover charge (generally $15)
Older crowd (25-35)
Very pretty and elegant venue (used to be a bank!)
RnB music and Top 40
Guestlist recommended
Cover charge ($15-$20)

Silk Road. Image Via.

That being said, I’ve some of these options together a couple of suggested itineraries to help you plan out your night:
Restaurant: Sakura Kaiten Sushi or Gingerboy
Cocktail Bar: Lily Blacks or Madame Brussels
Club: Spice Market



Restaurant: +39 Pizzeria , Red Spice Road, Cookie or Touche Hombre


Cocktail Bar: The Emerald Peacock or Seamstress


Club: Key Club


Here is a link to a Google maps I created to help you see how close each place is to one another and help you plan your night.
Place the below link in your browser to access it:
In addition to that,  I think a good combination of delicious food, exotic, girly cocktails and lots of dancing will be a perfect Bachelorette Party / Hens Night for the modern cosmopolitan woman! There are always little things you can do as a group if you want to make the night a little more fun. For example, your group could all wear a matching accessory ie. a playful beaded necklace or bracelet. It doesn’t even have to be a typical flashy, borderline tawdry piece, it could all just be the same cute but inexpensive cocktail ring or wearing the same flower in your hair or flower crowns (visit Colette, or Lovisa for some cheap and chic pieces) for a nice alternative to a hot pink flashing sashes or tiaras. Alternatively, if you did want to incorporate small games into the night, it could be as simple as getting the bride-to-be and or/ guests to try an exotic food item or making the bride-to-be hold the cocktail menu and closing her eyes, she must order and drink the first cocktail her finger lands on!
Hope these suggestions assist and inspire you in planning your fun and memorable night!
Melbourne Darling xo

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Dining Review – Lip Cafe Burger Night

Lip Café is one ever busy little spot and a dear favourite amongst loyal locals for a very good reason. The next time you are in Ivanhoe, do yourself a favour and bypass the main strip of Upper Heidelberg Road and head straight to Lip Café. Located amongst a small shopping strip on Waterdale Road, this café is small in size but large in what it has to offer in delicious and high quality food and coffee.

Lip Café are usually open for breakfast and lunch, but recently they have been hosting ‘Burger Nights’ on Fridays from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. I came in one Friday night to try the burgers, as Lip is already a dear favourite spot of mine. I visited at about 6.30pm, there was no table service for Burger night, so you can take a look at the menu by the counter and order there. I am guessing this is the case because of the large amount of takeaway orders the kitchen was pumping out all night! Despite this, I found the service to be prompt and generally good.

I tried the ‘No.1’ (cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, tomato sauce and mustard), the ‘No.2′ (double beef patty and cheese with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, tomato sauce and mustard), the ‘Pulled Pork’ (8 hour slow smoked pork mixed with barbeque sauce and coleslaw) and the ‘CFB’ (Vegetarian burger – corn and chickpea fritter with avocado, tomato salsa and chipotle sauce). I was pleasantly surprised to hear that all burgers are also made on house made brioche buns. We also ordered a large serving of chips of French fries to share and for drinks, I ordered a ‘Pineapple Fizz’ (a mixture of pineapple juice with soda, lemongrass, mint and ginger).

These burgers were the most non-greasy burgers I have ever eaten. They weren’t overly massive (excpept the No.2 was quite a large serving), but are the same size as you find at other gourmet burger bars around Melbourne,  however they were on average a few dollars cheaper than other places ($11- 15 dollars as oppossed to $17 +). The No.1 and No.2 burgers tasted exceptionally fresh, there were no single overpowering flavour, they were just authentically tasty burgers where you could taste each of the fresh ingredients along with the perfectly medium cooked patties and the brioche buns were soft without being too overly buttery or oily. The Pulled Pork burger was wonderful also. The pork was heavenly tender and juicy. I particularly enjoyed the full flavoured, smoky barbeque sauce that brought back food memories of the barbeque dishes I had tried on my travels in the U.S. The Vegetarian burger was equally as delectable as its meaty counterparts. The corn fritters already features on Lip’s daily menu, so even if you miss out on attending one of the Burger nights, I can highly recommend the fritters! The spicy and zesty fIavour combination of the fritters, the salsa and the chipotle sauce is brilliant. I also like that the fritters are not overly fried or crispy, the consistency is more similar to a Japanese pancake. Even if you’re not a Vegetarian, you won’t be disappointed with these fritters, and I personally prefer them over Hammer and Tong’s ever popular vegetable fritters too!

I really enjoyed the Pineapple fizz. I usually don’t like super bubbly or fizzy drinks, but with the mixture of the juice with the soda, as well as the ginger, mint and lemongrass, the Pineapple Fizz was a perfectly refreshing and tangy beverage to accompany the filling burgers. Amongst this high level of amazing food (and drink!), I will say that the French fries were pretty average. I didn’t find them to be anything special. They were quite cheap ($3 for a small serve of $5 for a large) but I would recommend skipping the fries and if you still have room left over, order the dessert instead! I didn’t get to try the pie, but it looked pretty good!

Lip Café only has two burger nights left! TONIGHT, Friday 8th November and Friday, 15th November, 2013.

I already know I want to return before Friday Night Burger Nights are officially over, so make sure don’t miss out and head down to Lip Cafe tonight or next Friday night!

Pulled Pork Burger at Lip Cafe Friday Burger Night

Pulled Pork Burger at Lip Cafe Friday Burger Night


Large Fries at Lip Cafe Friday Burger Night


Interior at Lip Cafe Friday Burger Night


No.1 Burger at Lip Cafe Friday Burger Night


No. 2 Burger at Lip Cafe Friday Burger Night


Pineapple Fizz at Lip Cafe Friday Burger Night

Lip Cafe

226 Waterdale Rd,
Ivanhoe, 3079
9499 1162


Monday – Saturday 8am – 4pm

Sunday 8am – 2pm


Burger Nights:

Friday 5.30pm – 8.30pm


Lip Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Dining Review – Hammer and Tong 412

I had been particularly looking forward to dining at Hammer and Tong 412 after reading and hearing about the multitude of glowing reviews it has received from many happy diners. Some even claimed it was the best brunch they had ever had! The result of a partnership between two prominent chefs who created a partnership after working at Vue de Monde together, Hammer and Tong is located just off Brunswick Street, at the rear of 412 Brunswick Street to be precise, which is across the road from Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew and just behind Karton, the cardboard furniture store. The main entrance and seating areas overlook Westgarth Street, so unless you know specifically where Hammer and Tong is, you would most likely miss it as if you were just strolling down Brunswick street.

Hammer and Tong 412 is open from 7am til late Tuesday to Saturday and 8am til 5pm Sunday, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I arrived the café was already bustling for an early morning. You may recognise the bright, white interior which previously housed the restaurant ‘The Brix’ in a bright, very long and narrow setting where each square centimetre was used to fit in as many tables and chairs as possible (probably more of an issue for staff having to walk through the tight walkways all day than for patrons). We were seated quickly on a share table, luckily we didn’t have to move but I did feel sorry for the other party next to us that were made to do a couple of reshuffles each time the staff tried to fit a few more diners onto our share table. If I were to eat here again, I would recommend sitting by the windows if you don’t mind sitting adjacent to your fellow diners, as the bar seating that ran across on one side of the café was directly under open windows, which was lovely on a sunny day.

Our waiter provided us with menus and proceeded by immediately asking us if we would like to order coffees. Now, is it just me or do other people also get annoyed when they are asked for their coffee order as your backside barely hits the chair, let alone having been able to possibly even sneak a quick glance at the menu? I like to take a look at the beverage menu first and see what coffee blends they have on offer in addition to other drinks. Yes, I may be a caffenatic, but I can still function for two whole minutes to read the menu before I crash without a morning coffee. I was happy to find out that Hammer and Tong use Duke’s Coffee, but found it odd that they charge a small but never the less, additional charge of 50 cents to choose the single origin blend as usually there is no additional charge for this option.

Hammer and Tong feature two menus, a daytime menu and dinner menu. We were offered the daytime menu which featured some really interesting items including the ‘yabbie tail omelette’, ‘duck egg’, ‘pork belly’, ‘lamb ribs’ and their take on the ‘french toast’ all sounded like interesting choices but we couldn’t go past the Soft shell crab burger and corn & zucchini fritters, both which had a been majorly talked up by diners before me. I don’t think I have ever eaten a burger pre-noon before, but having heard the praise for this soft shell crab burger, I had to give it a go.

The food was served extremely fast, especially considering how busy the café was. I will admit that plated up, the soft shell crab burger appeared a little underwhelming, small and sloppy. I know it’s a burger, but in comparison to the delightfully presented fritters, maybe the presentation of the burger could’ve been helped with a small side or at least a skewer to help hold it upright and look a little more appealing. Luckily however, all hope was not lost as the taste test considerably saved the appeal of the coveted Soft Shell Crab burger. The crab meat was delicious and substantial and the brioche buns were extremely soft and buttery. In all, the burger featured a fantastic combination of flavours that tasted succulent and juicy. I’ve had beef and pork burgers but this is definitely the best seafood burger I have ever had (and actually a worthy competitor to my favourite beef and pork burgers also).

Soft Shell Crab Burger at Hammer and Tong 412

Soft Shell Crab Burger at Hammer and Tong 412

On the other hand, the fritters ended up having the opposite effect to the burger. While they was presented very well, the fritters themselves were a little bland and dry. They possibly could have done with a more corn, less zucchini ratio, as I felt the zucchini didn’t translate too well in the fritter. It just ended up tasting like a dense, bland and dry stuffing. The fried coating was also a little too thick, oily and hard for my liking. However, that being said, the dish did taste good, but I believe this all came down to the winning accompaniments of the manchego cheese, avocado and chilli tomato relish that really created that delicious pop of flavours.

Zucchini and Corn Fritters at Hammer and Tong 412

Zucchini and Corn Fritters  (without egg) at Hammer and Tong 412

Prices were average for what you’d expect for the increasingly popular breed of oxymoron dining variety, what I like to refer to as the ‘fancy casual ‘ eateries, or hipster eateries if you will. Service was quick and to the point (although maybe some better planning would have prevented the case of musical chairs I spoke about earlier). The coffee was good, although not as good as Story in Docklands who also use the same, Dukes coffee. The Soft Shell Crab burger was definitely the highlight for me, but I also enjoyed the interesting ingredients that starred on the menu, the bright sun room and the buzzing atmosphere.

Coffee at Hammer and Tong 412

Coffee at Hammer and Tong 412

Hammer and Tong 412

03 9041 6033

Tuesday – Saturday 7am – late

Sunday 8am – 5pm

Rear 412 Brunswick St.
Fitzroy, Vic 3065

View menu online

Hammer and Tong on Urbanspoon

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