New year. Brew beer. It rhymes.

So. Hey there!

2015. The big two-zero-one-five is here. What a year it will be.

This is the year that I, JP, will become JT. Gonna be a wifey. And no, I do not believe any form of bride diet will be entering my JPosphere. But I’m sure you knew that already. Food glorious foooood. Still in a bit of a food coma from the bday degustation (‘digger-station’ according to fiancé) last night at The Grand. But you can hear about that later.

Rambles. Ok.

So it’s raining. And chilly. And I’m drinking cold brew cawfee. Seemed like a good idea at the time. And now I have goose bumps. Remember those books? Not talking about them in that sense….just remembered those books. Could never read them before I went to sleep. Such realistic books, especially ones like the hammerhead stalking the kids in the lake. Mhm. Prime territory for hammerhead sharks – lakes….
Right. Whoops. Where were we? Yes the weather. Oh, Melbs.

I was sposed to go lawn bowling tomorrow for my birthday. Oh Jessica. Planning an outside activity in Melbourne in summer, you silly lady. Of course it’s predicted to rain.

This year I do indeed plan on providing you with even more rambles about delicious foodie experiences. And yes, I will continue to use the term foodie as long as I love food. And bacon. I heart bacon. That won’t change either. Oink.

Came to work this morning and managed to lock myself in the fire stairs. Again. You so clever. Older and not a lot wiser.
That’s me for now. Wishing you all the best for 2015 and I will be coming at you with more rambles oh so soon.

Peace out.

JP x

Yum Cha, Italiano style.

Ni Ciao.

Yep. JP, you have officially lost your marbles. Or have I? When people are throwing around concepts like Italian Yum Cha, it’s time to merge languages. Ni Hao + Ciao….you get me? Yep, quite clever really….maybe.

Italian Yum Cha, you ask? What happens when a hatted restaurant decides to take their 9-year-straight-hat off, go a little cray cray and take food fusion to the next level. As part of Good Food Month, the Grand in Richmond thought they’d add a little Mario & Luigi goodness to the art of Yum Cha.

I’m all for it. 1. Because the food was damn delicious. 2. Because you can eat many, many portions and noone’s judging coz they’re doing exactly the same. Welcome to Italian Yum Cha.

I ventured to the Grand on Saturday for a lovely grazing lunch with Fiancé and our tummies were growling with excitement. Barnie, owner of the brilliant Grand greeted us with those pearly whites and we went on a mini tour upstairs.

Upstairs is a fantastic space for private dinners, birthdays or even a hens party which was taking place on our tour. No naked men there though. Nawww. My brain was also trying to pick numerous events I could have dinners in the dark, old school rooms and feast on the Grand’s best dishes.

We were soon seated in the Dining Room for our meal and from the get go, service was brilliant. Sorry to say I don’t know our waiters’ names but they were all fantastic. And there’s nothing better than ordering Italian dishes from someone who knows the language. Fantastico.

We ordered a Prosecco (because it’s Prosecco) and a beer (because it was a stinker of a day) and perused the menu and drooled over food arriving on the tables around us. First off, love the concept and was so appreciative that the waiters walking around etc didn’t mess with the atmosphere of the place, still a fantastic space to dine and have a brilliant afternoon. We were very spoilt throughout the meal and received many dishes on the house, but trust me, that didn’t sway my ‘judgements’ at all. The food was all just that good.




Whilst perusing and sipping, we also received the ‘italian answer to green tea’, aka of course, an Aperol Spritz. This took me back to my Italian travels and sitting in little courtyards in Firenze, sipping on Aperol Spritz for a couple of euro. Mhm. That was the life. This is too!



Ceviche time


We started off with the Kingfish ceviche with enoki mushrooms. Loved the flavour of the fish paired with the texture of the mushies. Mhm. Delicious. This might take the gong from Chin Chin as my favourite Kingfish dish. Oooooh. Big call, JP, big call. Nothing beats fresh fish in my books. This was done brilliantly and they let the fish do the talking. Oh that sounded rather lame but you get what I mean.



Antipasti love


In my books, you can’t have an Italian meal without some kickass cured meats, and so when that arrived at our table, I was one happy little pretend-italian. 2 words for you my friends, wagyu Bresaola. Delicious meats. What more do you need? Well we of course ordered more but yes could definitely have just had 15 plates of Prosciutto and Bresaola.



House baked bread. Drool. 

Another thing I can’t possibly go without for more than a few hours, is bread. And when pane della casa is offered with olives and a chickpea & rosemary tapenade, well, my mind is made up for me! Side note. Rookie mistake on ordering the bread. Yes of course it’s brilliant and I probably would have missed it if it wasn’t there, but after the 10th or 11th dish, the bread was looking like a bad choice for tummy filling space. Buttt, don’t regret it. I didn’t like the fresh baked bread, said no one ever.



Damn delicious suppli


I told you. It just keeps getting better and better. We were offered Suppli di fungi porcini al tartufo aioli and I immediately started drooling. Simple words – porcini mushroom arancini of sorts with, wait for it, truffle aioli. I’m just going to let that sink it.

I loved these. The suppli were packed full of mushroom flavour with a crisp, thin outer coating on the outside. I tried to go all foodie on Fiancé and tell him why I like them so much, but he was too busy trying to steal the third piece without me noticing. Eagle eyes here mister, you got no chance.



Rabbit raddichio ridiculousness.


Next up upon a recommendation of the waitress we went with the Insalata di coniglio e radicchio.Aka the bugs and radicchio salad complete with popped parmesan and walnuts. I rarely have rabbit, and the smell once again took me back to lazy dinners in Italy. I really liked the flavour of the poached rabbit and the bitter radicchio was a great addition. I’ve become a big fan of the purple leaf thanks to the Grand actually. Had a calamari, radicchio and plum salad a while back in the pub area of the Grand which was delicioso. Loved the popped parmesan too.

The food kept coming and after reading through the epic wine list, I settled on a Barbaresco Nebbiolo Langhe. My favourite of the red wine varieties and this label was no exception. Fantastic wine from Barbaresco complete with beautiful glassware.  Definitely a fantastic wine for a Christmas present if you’re searching. Yep, I’m now a gift suggestion provider as well. So many hats.



I’ll just let you stare for a while. 

Aside from the suppli, we hadn’t even looked at the hot food options as yet so we next decided on the Guancie di bue con polenta.  Beautiful braised ox cheek for those playing at home. Now I have never been a huge fan of polenta since being on exchange in Firenze in high school and mistaking polenta for mashed potato and wolfing it down, only to realise it was actually maize. HOWEVER, sit in with some braised ox cheek and you have a winner. The ox cheek was just melt in the mouth perfection and the polenta was baked just enough to give it almost a crust. Ooo yeh. That’s the only phrase that can describe it. Ooo yeh.

Because I’m a sucker for a good meatball, we also ordered the polpette di vitello. I say ‘we’ ordered, but let’s be honest, Fiancé knows that I’m going to just go ahead and order and it works out pretty damn well! These weren’t just average meatballs, the flavours were so rich and cooked perfectly so as to not dry out the meat. Bravo to the chefs, again.



Thaaaat’s amore.

Oh mio dio, the food just keeps coming. It was like a silent agreement that Fiancé and I had that we would definitely need to order at least 2 pasta dishes. Hey, it’s Italian Yum Cha. It’d be rude not to.

First up was the Instagram-acclaimed Gnocchi al burro e salvia. Potato Gnocchi goodness with brown butter and sage. These were like the best little pillows money can buy. I would sleep on them if I could. But then I would get butter in my hair or maybe just eat my pillow, and then I wouldn’t sleep well, which would make me tired the next day, which would bring on hangry pains early and no one would win. So let’s just keep them on the plate.

I don’t often order gnocchi but oh so glad we did. So delicious. Al dente. Potato perfection. Can’t rave about these little fellas enough. I thought I had found my favourite dish of the day. But I was yet to meet the next player.



Duck and fresh pasta. Mhm.

I admittedly could have ordered absolutely any of the pastas on the menu but the agnolotti d’anatra con cavolo nero, uva e grappa definitely caught my eye. Duck Agnolotti with black cabbage, grapes and grappa. Not your average pasta dish and it definitely didn’t taste like your average meal either. Once again, pasta was al dente, meat was delicious and the additional of the cavolo nero rounded out the flavour. My dish of the day. Ok my savoury dish of the day. Fantastic.



More pasta? If we must.


The final savoury dish that came out on the waiter’s recommendation was the pachetti di mollica con granchio. Breadcrumb pasta parcels with spanner crab. Once again everything was oh so well cooked, but must admit this wasn’t up there for me. Think it was definitely the texture of the crab with the breadcrumb pasta that just didn’t appeal to me, but hey, Fiancé loved it! The crab was so well cooked and you knew it was fresh as, bro.  They did look fantastic on the plate as well. Just made you want to dig in.

Meanwhile, the Nebbiolo was going down oh so nicely and we were enjoying the people watching in the room. A gorgeous little girl had seemingly grown tired of her pasta and was staring at us for a solid half hour. Tried to play a staring competition with her but she won, hands down.

When I relinquished the title of staring competition champion, it was time to engage that 2nd or 3rdstomach and get ready for dessert. It’s italian food. The dessert is going to be amazing. Oh, and in case you were worried, it was de-vine. No words.



Nougat Semifreddo. I’ll take 7.


First up was the semifreddo al torrone. Nougat semifreddo. Haven’t had a semifreddo in a long, long time and it was very welcomed. Delicious texture, not too sweet. Rather heavenly really. Enough crunch to add another texture but not take over. Mhm. One to try for those playing at home.



Ahhhhhhh. (Angels sound) 


You drooling yet? If you’re not, I’m afraid we can’t be friends. I bombolini. Aka JP’s new vice. Ok not really my new vice. Donuts and I have had a love hate relationship since I was a little tacker drooling over the cinnamon donut machine at Donut King. PLEASE do not think I am comparing these glorious balls of heaven with Donut King. Once again, mio dio/ermagherd. Delicious.

The bombolini were filled with crema pasticcera and oh the glory of it all. They were incredible. So good in fact, we ordered them again. Yep, we are those people. Hey, you try them and tell me honestly that you don’t want another one.

I’m sitting her drooling. Such a good look, JP.

Overall, a spectacular afternoon and it was all topped off by the amazing service of Barnie and his team. Nothing better than good service and it enhanced the whole experience. Damn delicious italian food. Not much more I can say. Make sure you get there when it returns to try all the things. All of them.




Grand Hotel Dining Room on Urbanspoon

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RIP Phil Hughes.

So very unlike me to be serious, but I am sitting here trying to figure out how to feel about it all, so I’m going to write it down. Reading today that Phil Hughes had passed away, felt like a big kick in the guts. A freak accident and two days later, we’ve lost a fantastic sportsman and young man. I don’t know why it affected me so much and after hearing the news, I just sat there, staring into space.

It was his passion, his attitude towards every element of the game, and the fact that on Sunday, he would have turned the ripe old age of 26. My age.

What he has accomplished by this age is a testament to his character and upbringing and should encourage all young people to get out there and live every moment. I’m definitely guilty of suffering from first world problems, and sweating the small stuff, but moments like this make you sit back and put everything in perspective. Come on, do the same. Smile at someone tomorrow, help out someone carrying a heavy bag, give your seat up to someone who looks tired. Start at the small stuff. Live every moment. He did. We always say we are going to be, but, if nothing else, use this as a kick in the pants to get up and make the most of what you’ve got.

I spoke to a couple of mates after the news broke today and they had the same feelings as me. ‘Devastated’, ‘I feel sick’, ‘just sitting here stunned’, ‘shocked’. He was our age. Seeing ‘1988’ in those images sent shivers down my spine. He was taken from his family so young. Too soon.

On AM radio this evening, Ian Healy rightly said the name of bowler should be ‘whited out’ from the incident. One can only imagine what the poor guy is experiencing at the moment, and having his name everywhere would only make the anguish continue. Couldn’t agree more.

This has been a very weird experience for me. I have never met Phil Hughes. I’ve seen him play but that’s as close as I got to ‘knowing him’. Test tons, test ducks, we went on that roller coaster with him.

I can only imagine what his poor family is going through and I join the rest of our community in sending prayers, condolences and a great big hug to them.

Rest in Peace, Phillip Hughes. You champion. Test match centuries galore and a damn good bloke.

Taken from us too soon.


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Noodle Night.

The clouds were coming in. The sun was shining. It was starting to rain and the wind was picking up. Just your average day in good old Melbs.

Fiancé and I were off on our first doodle date. Yep that’s a dinner noodle night date. Aka a doodle date. Google may disagree so I don’t recommend looking it up.



The night noodle markets have invaded Birrarung Marr for the 2nd year and this year they’ve come with a much larger artillery. The big boys of Kong and Chin Chin (Chinniny chinniny chin chin eroo) have added their star power to a much larger line up in 2-0-1-4 and the food is pho-nomenal. Oh the puns.

Our doodle was with (not so)Fat Tony and his lovely Lau and we of course also brought along our ability to eat all the food. And that’s what we did.

Unfortunately Melbs’ weather didn’t really come to the party so we ducked and darted under umbrellas, to get to as many stalls as possible before the rain had soaked through the clothes. The things we do for food.


Chin Chin  

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon


Sticky Pork on your fork.

Our initial wanderings took us to the top of the hill where the sensational Chin Chin was sitting proudly. Small crowds were gathering so we thought we would hit up the king pin first. Fatty & I went with the Sticky Pork deliciousness and Lau & fiancé went with the Massaman.



Massaman lovin’

Both summed up as freakin delicious. They really can do no wrong. The pork was so well cooked especially considering how much they are churning out at the markets and fiancé was almost licking his bamboo bowl of massaman juices. The sticky pork also had a bit of kick which was most welcomed. Wanted more. As per usual.

With the smells of Asian delights drawing us in 15342 directions, we made our way to the lower levels and was immersed in the smells of Wonderbao, Mamak, Hammer & Tong…gah the list goes on.


Wonderbao on Urbanspoon


Pork Bao wow wow wow

The others went with the Pork Bao from Wonderbao and were raving about the fluffy bun and succulent porky, so what more can you ask for. I wandered back and forth trying to decide what to choose. Oh the decisions! Even a plain roti sounded oh so tempting.


Charlie Dumpling

Charlie Dumpling on Urbanspoon



Check out them peas.


I ended up landing on Charlie Dumpling, and although the fried chicken wings sounded divine, I thought I’d be healthy (for now) and try the cured salmon with soba noodles. So brilliant. So simple. Nothing better than simple stuff done well. The salmon sashimi was delicious and hey, who doesn’t love wasabi peas! Well JP, I’m sure there are a few people who don’t like them but we will  just accept this error in their judgement and move on.




The entertainment at the night noodle markets is fantastic, and I’m not just talking about the groups of people huddled around their food taking photos at every angle. We all do it, don’t lie. Music, atmosphere, millions of cultures meshing, it’s great. Brilliant night out.




On our travels we grabbed a couple of bevvies and of course I had to go for the pretty cup and have had a Tanqueray and Tonic. Don’t know how much Tanq was in the tonic, but hey, it was still yum.

Lau was starting to slow down in the eating race and was holding out for some very traditional Asian churros but the three of us kept pushing on into the savouries.


Mr Miyagi.

Mr. Miyagi on Urbanspoon



Mr M. says eat all the things.

I had seen many an Insty photo of the Mr Miyagi (wax on wax off) taco. Aka the sushi taco. Aka the taco shell made of tempura nori. Damn delicious. There was kewpie, there was salmon, there was rice there was Sriracha (maybe)…all in a crunchy taco. Mhm. Mexicasian. It’s catching.



I’ll take half a pig thanks.


On our wandering travels, fiancé was kept mesmerised by many a foodie walking around with giant meat shashlik type things and so he was on a mission to find it and Hoy Pinoy was the answer. However he was completely distracted by the giant pigs on the rotisserie and ended up ordering essentially a big plate o’ pork. And what spectacular pork it was. So flavoursome, not dry at all, mhhhhm.



Friiiied chicken. Drool


Fatty went with some delicious fried chicken drumettes (apologies don’t know much about these fellas) from Palar Palam (my bad, guessing at the name….) and as the theme of the night continued, they were awesome too! Check out those thangs.


St Ali 

St Ali on Urbanspoon


Coconut Affogato deliciousness.


To keep with the traditional Asian theme, Lau got her delicious churros and fiancé and I decided on coconut ice-cream affogati from St Ali. Oh yes, that was definitely a good idea. Fantastic ice-cream, super creamy and the coffee…well it’s St Ali so they can do no wrong when it comes to the caffeinated stuff.

Overall a super dooper fun night out and a great spot to laze around and eat a ridiculous amount of food on a summers evening. Definitely worth checking out.


Peace out.



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It’s the most wonderful time of the year….for foodies. Good Food Month has landed in Melbourne allowing us all to gorge ourselves with food with the excuse of a fancy titled month. Here here! Along with the lovely month of foodiness, comes the Taste of Melbourne festival of which I ventured to on Saturday with my Feyonce. Mhm. He’s that awesome, I am giving him Beyonce rights. Coz he liked it and so he put a ring on it, woah oh oh….yep sorry back to the food.


The foodies prepping.

I was ridiculously excited about this fantastic festival and purchased many a Crown (taste currency) so I could eat all the things. And that we did.


Paul Louis in plastic. Stylish.

We sipped on some Paul Louis as we perused the map and planned out a couple of key eating spots. There are so many stalls spruiking their fare as well so make sure you head along next year to grab some goodies.

First for the food, I made a beeline for Mr Claws. Or should I say I lobster rolled to Mr Claws. Ba-zing! Brilliant pun work there JP. The new concept for Daniel Wilson and the Huxtaburger team was causing quite a raucous! They definitely didn’t disappoint.


Buttermilk Mr Claws.


Spic-ae Mr Claws.

As I wear the pants, I took on the spicy lobster brioche beauty while Feyonce went with the buttermilk variety. Both were chockers full of fantastic lobster meat and mine had a slight kick of chili. Could have handled more chili but understand they want to please the crowds! I would have preferred a baguette sized portion of this bad boy but stuck to one as there were so many other stalls calling my name….


Sippin’ vino in the sunshine

Love a festival such as Taste. Everyone in attendance is just there to enjoy the day and eat as much as possible in their 4 hour window. It definitely was my happy place.

Gazi on Urbanspoon



Feyonce had heard a lot about the soft shell crab souvlaki from Gazi so that was where he headed next. Look at that bebeh. Crispy crabby goodness in a fluffy souva. Mhm. I unfortunately can’t comment on the taste as it was inhaled before my very eyes. That was Feyonce’s dish of the day though so that must mean it was damn fine.

Nieuw Amsterdam
Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

Whilst he ventured to Gazi-land I waited with the masses to get some sweeeeet pork hock nuggets from my main man Nieuw Amsterdam. Rocked up the front to order my nuggets (x2…for Feyonce too….maybe) and the lovely lady recognised me as a lunch guest from a couple of days prior. OK ok. I admit it, Cmac and I ventured there for a very indulgent Reuben last week.


Hello, lover.

Look at that fella. If you are yet to experience Nieuw Amsterdam or their Reuben awesomeness. Go. Now. Make sure to demolish your chips. They’re heavenly. And there’s Sriracha mayo. I’ll let you drool before I go on. The nuggets were fried to perfection and the pork hock was so soft and mmm. Ah dear, I want some right now.



The wandering continued, and thankfully the heavens didn’t open up as predicted. To rest our weary legs from all the eating so far, we jumped up into the Munich Brauhaus bier kart and had a couple of Munich bevvies whilst people watching. The bier kart had a mind of its own for a while there and continuously edged closer to a nearby tent. I had visions of a fantastic YouTube video of us plummeting through the festival, but unfortunately the kart’s handbrake stopped that from going down.


Mamasita on Urbanspoon

A lot of people (ok, maybe 3 people and my friends monkey) have questioned my dislike for Mamasita. I mean, we’re not enemies…maybe just frenemies, or friends that do that high pitched “Hiii” when they run into each other when they haven’t had a chance to run in the opposite direction.  I just don’t rate it and think waiting on the stairs could be spent at a much better Mexican place. SO I thought I’d see if my opinion had changed and ventured to get a fish taco from the Mamasita stand.

IMG_1900Fish taco. No dice. 

Sorry. Still don’t get the hype. Yep, understand their line was ridiculously long and so they were pumping out the tacos. But it wasn’t up to par, sorry signor. The texture of the taco itself is probably what gets to me and the lack of ‘filling’. Still rate Senoritas above it. (Meyers Lane, check it out).

Whilst I was talking to myself and wondering why I spent my beloved Crowns at Mamasita, Feyonce had ventured to Brooks and sampled their wallaby dish.

Brooks on Urbanspoon


Cured Flinders Island Wallaby with oyster cream, yoghurt and dill.

What a dish. Think the jury is still out on this one. The wallaby was delicious with the hint of oyster…but it was just too cold. I feel like goldilocks.  The yoghurt/oyster cream might have just come out of the freezer, and although I’m not sure if it was meant to be served that way, Feyonce and I unfortunately weren’t fans of it. Would still give it a go at Brooks though with the full kitchen power behind the meals.

With all the stands at Taste, it’s definitely hard to stand out but Vinaceous wines definitely caught our eye. Mr Vinaceous was explaining that although based in WA, they travel around a bit to find the best vineyards to source for their wines. Moving around a lot…make segway to a travelling circus….


Vino time.

Bam. Check out that label. 7 different wines with 7 different personalities. Admittedly, if I saw it in a store without trying it first, I’d be a bit sceptical, but these are some delicious wines. We sampled the Blanc de blanc, the Shiraz and the Cab Sav and ended up buying a mixed dozen. Tasty wine with labels that definitely get you talking.


Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon



There was one line that we hadn’t hit up yet and we both knew it was time to sample the Burger of Huxta.  I’d ventured to Huxtaburger before, always choosing the Denise (the hot one ha brilliant marketing)…but Feyonce has never sampled it. We both went with the Huxtaburger Jnr which was “realllly yum” – according to Feyonce. Succulent meat patty, right sauce ratios on the baby bun. Yep that’s what we felt like. Massive line too, so a well cooked, hot, fresh burger was very welcomed!

Pope Joan
Pope Joan on Urbanspoon

So, we of course had to end on a sweet treat. I’d heard about Pope Joan’s ‘Mr Wilkie’ but have never sampled. So I was uber excited to give him a go. Surprisingly there wasn’t even a line, even though it had scored top dish at Taste. The hoards were after their #bpxmas selfie at the Burch and Purchese stand right next door. Yep their sweet treats would be ridiculously delicious, but com eon people, branch out!

 IMG_1916 IMG_1917 IMG_1919He’s number 1. 

What a dessert. I would go to Pope Joan just to get this smoked yoghurt. Freakin’ amazing. I wanted a whole tub of it. Brilliant flavours, thrown together to create the world’s best McFlurry-type-thing. Bravo, Popey. Bravo. Definitely was my favourite dish of the day, with the Lobster Roll taking out a very, very close 2nd place.

Fantastic day out, and although a tad pricey for some items, definitely worth it for the atmosphere and the chance to have all these maestros in the same space. Portion control issues were in overdrive all day and loved every minute of it…except for the fish taco. Ouch.

Bring on #tasteofmelbourne 2015.  I’ll be expanding my stomach in anticipation.

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Jasper. Jetsons. No Jasper, JP. Jasper.

Jasper. Makes me think of the Jetsons. Isn’t their dog named Jasper? Oh wait, nope. Google tells me it’s Astro. So no real idea why I thought of the Jetsons when I went to the Jasper. Anyway, the Jetsons have no connection to the Jasper, in the slightest, so I am going to stop talking about George, Jane, Judy, Elroy and Astro. Right now.

Back to the Jasper! A few bloggers and I were invited to the Jasper Hotel on Elizabeth St last week to sample the new menu and check out the new ‘digs’. Previously the YWCA, (do do do do do do it’s fun to stay at the…), the Jasper took over in early 2000 but it has recently had a facelift and looks fantastic.


Entrance to the corporate area…love those lights


Fancy camera photo of some lights and poles

For the information driven folk, Jasper is a rock/stone/hard thing found near billabongs and that ‘bush theme’ has been kept throughout the hotel with the tones used in the furniture and the style of the overall hotel. The rooms are very minimalistic and feature some very comfy beds. Totally wanted to lie down but resisted.


Room tour. Yep. We fancy.

Really liked that hallway. We were there at night and yet it makes you feel as if you’re walking through at midday with the sun streaming through window cracks. A nice change to the regular hallway.

For those of you, like me, who can’t seem to survive without checking Instagram every 2.5 seconds, all guests receive free Wi-Fi. Appelles amenities are also in the bathrooms coz hey, everyone likes to smell nice.


Brilliant courtyard space.



The old basketball court area has to be the draw card of the place though. Fantastic. Where else you can find somewhere like this in the CBD, who knows. Fantastic area for entertaining, whether it be corporate or private. The vertical garden would be seen from numerous rooms facing into the courtyard as well which is always a nice touch.

The Jasper has pinched a perfect spot for i touristi as well with a tram stop right out ze front and it sits in walking distance to pretty much everything including Queen Vic Markets and the new-ish Emporium. Managed to walk around Emporium last week and not get lost. Miracle.

Now of course to the important part. The food.


Tapas galore. Them meatballs. Mhm.


Slider trio when you can’t make up your mind.

We were served some great tapas to kick off the evening. Firstly, absolutely hilarious dining with other bloggers. There’s this sense of acceptance that everyone knows they can’t start eating until each person at the table has taken a photo of their meatballs from every possible angle, added 12 filters to see what they look like, and then probably take 5 more photos just to capture the essence of said meatball. I make fun, but we all do it. Bloglyf.

Favourites were definitely the meatballs (Albondegas de Carne) and the marinated olives (Aceitunas a la Madrileña)…I think I’m going to call olives Aceitunas all day every day now. Pretty sure I ate all the olives at our table. Sorry guys. With a head chef hailing from Brazil, there are a lot of fantastic influences on the tapas and you can get your hands on some delicious food.


Pan Fried Salmon Fillet with Sweet Corn Pure, Zucchini Flowers, Chinese Kale and Soy Mirin glaze

For main I decided on the Salmon with Zucchini flower. The salmon was probably a little too overcooked for my liking. But I would eat it if they served up the whole fish raw so you better try it for yourself. And anything with zucchini flowers is ok by me.


Prosciutto. Mmm. Crispy.

The other mains looked great and I had a little bit of food envy with the crispy prosciutto on that chicken. Mmm. Prosciutto.

Conversation was brilliant as a side note. Laughing about ridiculous topics and of course always coming back to our one true love. Food. Who had been where, who didn’t rate stuff, who had eaten the most in the past week. I reckon I was a contender for top spot in that one.

Although I, as usual, didn’t realllly need to keep eating, it was dessert time. And as others at the table pointed out, females have an extra stomach for dessert. Om nom nom.


Someone get me a spoon!

After much deliberating I went with the Vanilla Crème Brulee….because its crème brulee. Although the chocolate fondant and the Almond Pannacotta sounded ridiculously tempting.

The crème brulee was damn delicious. I demolished it in record time and also tried about 3 other people’s desserts in the meantime. Bravo, JP. Cementing your ‘portion control issues’ status in society.

Overall a great evening at an incredibly accommodating hotel. Ha ‘scuse the pun. Fantastic facilities for corporate groups in particular and a handy bar and restaurant for that area of town.

Cheers, Jasper.

(Going to be singing the Jetsons song all day now)

Jasper Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Show & Tell at Shantell.

Shantell….kinda sounds like Show and Tell, in like ‘ermagherd’ speak. Get it? Sha-n-tell. Show n’ tell. Show and tell. HA brilliant JP, brilliant.

So, to the food. I have already instagrammed a ridiculous amount of photos from our delicious meal at Shantell winery, but thought I’d tell you a bit about it anyway. Instagram is @jpandmelbs_ in case you were wondering. Shameless plug. I know.

After a 12.5 hour engagement party the day/night before, yep we like to party, we like, we like to party…the Vengabus is comin’, and everybody’s jumpin…you know you were thinking it! Anyhoo, sorry Vengaboys, this ain’t about you.

SO, as I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by my ability to become distracted by everything, after fiancé and I had our second engagement party, we were keen for a good meal, so decided to venture to Dixons Creek with our parentals to sample their fare. And what a fare it was.

My new buddies Shan and Turid, own the winery and have managed the winery since it opened in 1987. Shan is like superman, essentially. Doctor by week, Winemaker by weekend. Crazy man. But he does it oh so well. Shantell Winery produces some fantastic wines from Semillon through to Cab Savs. After sampling them all (of course), I’d have to say I was a fan of the Semillon and the Pinot Noir, although the Shiraz deserves a mention too. Yes I just named half the wines…shh..

The Shantell chef, Philip Oliver, is a freakin’ miracle worker. From my spying efforts, I am pretty sure he was almost the only one in the kitchen, and as you can see below each dish looked incredible and the taste, well, wow.

Even the seating area of the restaurant is brilliant. So full of natural light with fantastic views of the vineyard. Great space. I don’t know how people haven’t raved about Shantell already as it deserves some epic cheers. You also get a sense of intimacy, oooooh, as the place only seats about 30-40 people. That’s a guess. I was hopeless at maths so you better go check it out for yourself to see if I’m right.

Just saw Urbanspoon only has Shantell sitting at 76%. Please do not go by this rating. Go by mine! Gah delicious. Avoid the crowds at the bigger places, such as those that rhyme with Mandon and head down to Shantell.


Yes peas.

Ok so finally, I will get to the food after all my ramblings. We were given a small amuse bouche of pea soup to start and that set the day off oh so well. It was delicious. Everyone was silent. Simple pea soup with a foam consistency with a few chives on top. Mhm.

As my parents have portion control issues too, we of course had to get some share plates prior to making the big main meal decisions. Between the 6 of us we shared a Seafood share plate and an Antipasti share plate of sorts. Perfect start. I probably could have demolished both plates by myself, but I am not a regular human when it comes to eating.


Shantell Grazing Plate for 2…or 1 if its me.

This ‘grazing plate’ was once again faultless. Lots of nerdy foodie words coming at you today, it was just too good and I’m salivating writing this blog! There was cured beef, melt in ze mouth trout, marinated mushies, smoked chicken….the list goes on. Spec-freakin-tacular. Even the bread looked good….


Fantastic fresh bread, and still don’t know what the crazy crackers were!

The bread was fresh baked and oh so tasty. Most of it was gone before the share plates at the table. Bit of that fresh bread with the brie and I was in food heaven. We sat there with the brown bark-like crackers for ages trying to pick was it was but still don’t know and completely forgot to ask as I was in awe of all the other food on the table. Bad blogger, bad blogger.


Seafood Share plate…yep that’s tempura oysters.

Although it didn’t look as impressive as the grazing plate, the quality of the produce on this plate was amazing. As the ‘blogger’ I am also entitled to try more than everyone else in order to ‘capture the essence of the place properly’….yes it is a fantastic excuse to eat the last of everything. You should try it. Blogging. A perfect way to gain a truckload of weight. Should be our slogan.

The crab mousse was epic, so full of flavour, tempura oysters were fab, and even the herb mayonnaise packed a punch. Yep totally ate some of that by itself.


Standard glass shot

The conversation was brilliant of course and was accompanied by some fantastic Semillon and then Pinot Noir. Most of the chatter was about the various engagement attendees, who was with who, getting excited about awesome presents (marble cheese board say wahhhh) and of course who ate the most cake. Yep I think I came 2nd. But do leftovers the next day count?

Mains soon arrived and it was just a sea of “oooh” and “yuuuum” as the dishes came out. So many benefits of having 6 people at lunch. Main one of course being the potential for 6 different meals aka lots of photos.


Fiancé’s other love, Lamb.


First up was fiancé Beyoncé and his beloved lamb. Although he perused the menu for a while, the lamb was where his heart was. Hopefully I have a bit of that heart, considering I’m his fiancé….but I do believe most of it belongs to lamb. And our Puggle.

The Lamb Baron was served with a bean medley, diced potatoes, pea puree, confit garlic (A LOT of confit garlic) and rosemary jus. The standard “So yum” was received so that means it was delicious. And it only lasted about 5 minutes which also confirms the “so yum” standard. Mother dearest also chose the lamb and she wasn’t disappointed! Being a glutard, fine, a coeliac, she was a tad nervous about the choices initially, but with fantastic produce being served, the only dishes she couldn’t have was the pasta. Shows quality. Bravo Shantell. Again.


How do you like them scallops?


Poppa always manages to choose the dish that gets the eyes staring and this was no exception. The dill linguine with scallops, pippis, urchin, and a Semillon emulsion. Would you like some linguine with that seafood? And mark my words, I don’t mean that in a bad way!

How many times have you ordered the seafood pasta and had a couple of chunks of white fish and that’s it? This gives new meaning to the term ‘seafood linguine’. Those scallops were huge. I mean wow. The smell of the delicious fresh seafood was so incredible. I had to turn away otherwise I was going to eat it straight off his plate. Pasta was al dente to boot. No complaints down that end of the table at all.


Pork & Carrot Cake. It happened. It was goooood.

My future-mum-in-law, wow what a title, went out on a limb with this one and went with the Pork Loin that was accompanied by some pretty impressive dehydrated carrot cake, a kimchi croquette, caramelised pear, carrot and thyme puree and a grain mustard jus. So many flavours and it all went together like bacon with more bacon. She was very impressed. Wilbur was cooked perfectly as well. How that chef managed to get all our meals out hot, fresh and perfectly cooked is incredible with little to no help. Maybe there are kitchen elves. Yep that’s definitely it.


Wagyu. Need I say more?

Although it definitely wasn’t presented as well as the other dishes, that meant nothing when that boeuf hit the table. Future-dad-in-law was onto a winner with this delicious wagyu rump with crispy-as shallots, bacon (BACON) potato and cheese gratin with a Shiraz Jus. It was gone in record time. A clear sign of a delicious dish.

Finally it was my dish. Hooray me!


Confit Quail. I needed a flock of quails.

Of course it took me the longest to decide on which dish to choose. The Semolina Gnocchi sounded awesome as did the cured salmon with poached scampi but as I rarely choose it, I went with the confit quail and seared breast that was served with sautéed shitake mushies and a quail egg. Fantastic. I could just push the meat of the tiny bones. The shitake mushrooms were a great add in and gave that extra texture to the dish. I did my balancing skills oh so well and lifted the little egg onto the meat and then broke it which was delicious. I could have demolished the rest of the quail clan but, as we all know, I have major #portioncontrolissues, some may also say I have hashtag issues.

Everyone kept raving about how their dish was definitely the best and we were gobsmacked as to why, on a brilliant Sunday afternoon, the place wasn’t overflowing. Being one of the 2.5/1000000 places in Melbourne that you can make a reservation, I say book, and book quickly! Fantastic venue for the warmer months and there’s also a large fireplace to snuggle up next to with a glass of Cab Sav when Jack Frost visits us again. Which could be in the middle of January in Melbourne. Who knows what you’re thinking, Mother Nature.

I soon tuned out of the conversation as other tables were ordering desserts and my eyes were darting around to what everyone had chosen and what each dish looked like. Fiancé can attest to the fact that there is no point in trying to hold a conversation with me when meals are being served. I have the attention span of …something that has very little attention span when plates are arriving on tables.

As desserts were looking incredible, it would have been rude of us not to order them.


Pecan Pie. With Bacon. Ice-cream. Bacon.

Dad was tossing up on whether to order this one based on the fact it had maple bacon ice-cream. This made me think, maybe I am somehow not related to my own father. Who would reject a dish that had bacon in it? This made me concerned. Until he ordered it. Then I knew he was definitely my dad. The Pecan Pie was served with Vanilla Mascarpone and Maple BACON ice-cream. Dad was in hog heaven and powered through the pie in record time. It smelt soo goood. Little bacon bits throughout the ice-cream to boot. Bravo. Again Shantell.


Stop. Crumble Time. Do do do do do do.

Future-dad-in-law went with the Apple and Blackberry crumble which I do believe ended up being an apple and blueberry crumble….the blueberries gave it away. I was wondering whether one of them was my friend Blueb who rolled away from me at Rubiki a few weeks back. Check out that blog post if you are uber confused. The Dulce du Leche ice-cream was a great side too.



Take a breath. In and out. Now embrace the Salted Caramel.

If 2013/2014 could be summed up in two words for dessert, I do believe it would be Salted Caramel. And what a marvellous couple of words it is. Fiancé and his mother dearest both chose this after I was raving about how good it looked on someone else’s table. See my food spying ability helps everybody.

This was Salted Caramel mousse, with chocolate gel encasing it. Like Ice Magic for grownups. If that wasn’t enough drool-worthy dessert, it also came with chocolate caramel popcorn and malted milk ice-cream. So many delicious words in there, I think I’ll let it speak for itself. Let’s just say they were very quiet, and rather protective of their dessert until the plates were wiped clean.


Goats Curd. In dessert. Need I say more?

I was umming and ahhing for a longggg time over the dessert choice. They also have the option of a selection of the desserts, one option being a selection of ALL the desserts. I was tempted but this one kept jumping out at me and I am so glad it got my attention. This is definitely a dessert I’d never had the honour of demolishing prior and I will be searching for it on menus for years to come.

I present to you, the Goats Curd Parfait, with Yuzu Panna Cotta, with passionfruit curd and coriander soil. Want me to repeat? Goats Curd Parfait, with Yuzu Panna Cotta, with passionfruit curd and coriander soil. It was incredible. Like a fancy pants deconstructed cheesecake of amazingness. Both the Panna Cotta and the Parfait were to die for and I was scraping the plate by the end of it. Very rich and regular eaters should probably share it with their other half. But my other half and I eat like sumos so there was no chance of that happening!

Overall, a spectacular feast and I was even too full to visit the Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory on the way home. That’s saying something!

Lovely service, where nothing was a problem, coeliac accommodation is fantastic (top marks from my mother dearest) and what incredible food. Not only presented so well, but the flavour combination were off the chizang. Oh yes, that’s a word.

I kinda don’t want to tell you to go there, coz I don’t want to share Shantell. But hey, it’s ma job.


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