The legendary Melbourne Food and Wine Festival returns next year, celebrating the very best of Victoria’s culinary culture from 31st March to 9th April 2017.
We’ll be the festival’s official ‘Crawl ‘n’ Bite’ partner, offering a range of bar, restaurant and neighbourhood crawls to help you discover the best of Melbourne’s vibrant foodie scene.
And where best to start your adventures than Victoria Harbour itself? Full of hidden gems, the waterside precinct has something to suit every taste.
Located just outside the CBD, where Collins and Bourke meet the water, and right in the free tram zone, it’s easy to head down and sample some of the delicacies on offer.
Here are some of our favourite Victoria Harbour eateries that deserve a place on the top of your foodie festival bucket list.
Pass a plate!
A trip to A25 Pizzeria, otherwise known as Non Solo Pasta, is like taking a Tuscan mini-break without stepping foot on a plane! Owner Remo Nicolini is dedicated to bringing you the best in casual Italian dining. The trick to delicious, authentic Italian fare? To get the basics right.
“Seventy per cent of a good pizza is the dough,” Remo tells us. “Fresh yeast, water, salt and type 00 flour; that’s all you need.”
Well, that and patience. At A25, they let their dough rise for around 72 hours, making it light and delicious.
Remo’s not afraid to experiment and try new things either. Take the ‘Bunga Bunga’ pizza for example, which istopped with Italian mozzarella, tomato, Berkshire sausage, porcini mushrooms and parmesan. Or how about an ‘Ink’ pizza, with a base made with squid ink, topped with calamari, tiger prawns and pecorino? Yum!
Even better, Non Solo Pasta also has options for those who eat a gluten-free diet, with homemade gnocchi and gluten-free pizza bases available on request.
Inspired by three generations and influenced by local produce, BANOI offers traditional Vietnamese street food with a distinctively Melburnian twist - Head Chef Michael Nham’s specialty.
From tempura soft shell crab and Vietnamese tacos stuffed with slow cooked pork belly or grilled garlic and soy chicken, to grilled lemongrass pork loin and steaming bowls of pho, Nham’s wholesome and mouthwatering fare is served up in homely, welcoming setting.
‘Banoi’ translates to ‘grandmother’, and Nham’s restaurant recreates the atmosphere of family mealtimes in his grandmother’s small apartment in South Melbourne.
“We’d come together every night, 20 family members sitting around a table cloth spread out on the floor enjoying the taste of home, prepared fresh each day,” says Nham.
That explains the focus on good food and good company!
When it comes to coffee, Code Black know their stuff. Owned by Joseph Haddad, the man behind the Cafenatics stores around Melbourne’s CBD, the focus is on high quality craftsmanship.
Code Black is involved at each stage of the coffee-making process, from selecting high quality beans from international growers, from Ethiopia to Guatemala, carefully roasting it, and bagging it to be bought wholesale and used in their cafes in Brunswick and Victoria Harbour.
If you’ve always fancied yourself as a barista, you should know that Code Black do more than roast and blend their own coffees. Code Black is a laboratory, a workshop, and a hub for coffee connoisseurs, and their expert consultants are on hand to help you try your own hand at the dark art.
And if you get hungry, Code Black has a range of delicious treats on offer, from cakes to pastries. Our favourite is their chocolate cupcake with a raspberry centre, topped with a raspberry macaroon!
Say ‘ciao’ to Saluministi, a boutique Italian salumi bar in the heart of Victoria Harbour. From home-made authentic Italian salumi, carnivorous share platters, simple and tasty paninis, and decadent desserts, you’re certainly in for a treat!
The brain child of business partners and brothers-in-law Frank Bressi and Peter Mastro, who have been making salumi their entire lives.
“Our menu is full of family recipes. We wanted to give people a taste of what it’s like ‘growing up Italian’ whilst at the same time putting a modern twist on our favourite traditional dishes and experimenting with new flavours and styles,” Bressi tells us.
Book your tickets to the Crawl ‘n’ Bite Waterside Wonder tour, a guided culinary and cultural tour through Victoria Harbour. Hosted by wine expert Max Allen, your tour will kick off with a porchetta cooking demonstration, a dish and a matched drink at Saluministi. This will be followed by a chat with Allen on the indigenous history of Victoria Harbour and Yarra River over a glass of wine. You’ll end your tour with lunch at A25 Pizzeria, joined by celebrity chef Raymond Capaldi.