Westin’s Modern Twist on the Traditional High Tea…

Scrumptuous delights at The Westin's High Tea

Review as featured on Only Melbourne

It’s refreshing to attend a high tea service that focuses on the contemporary in terms of style and the foods and beverages on offer. Situated in the refined Lobby Lounge of the Westin Hotel Melbourne, a contemporary high tea is served from 3-5pm daily.

Start off with a special brew of Jing Tea, served in see-through glass tea pots and oversized cups. Watch as your fragrant tea ‘blooms’ in front of you. I sampled from a wonderful collection of teas including the flowering jasmine peach tea, whole blackcurrant and hibiscus fruit tea and the lychee red iced black tea – a perfect accompaniment to the mouth-watering delicacies beautifully presented on a three-tier Art Deco inspired stand.

The Westin is committed to preserving wellness in travel and has such created a high tea that is based on super foods “>The Westin is committed to preserving wellness in travel and has such created a high tea that is based on super foods. Super foods are known for being health-enhancing and rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are fruit, vegetables, grains and proteins that are known to improve wellbeing and longevity. In addition, the Westin caters to food intolerances including the supply of gluten-free and dairy-free products, catering to vegetarians and those with other dietary requirements.

To start, I sampled the savoury offerings, which included a roasted chicken, mayonnaise, bacon and tomato in mini baguette; mini smoked salmon bagel with lemon dill aioli; pumpkin, capsicum and olive tapenade on white bread; and peppered roast beef with avocado, rocket and horseradish mayonnaise on a soft bun. These savoury appetisers were beautifully presented with well-matched ingredients.

I then proceeded with the soft and sumptuous scones served with strawberry jam and freshly whipped cream. If this indulgence wasn’t enough, I then moved down to the bottom tier full of delectable delights, which included: vanilla crème brulée with chocolate and nut wafer; mascarpone and fresh fruit tartlet; lemon meringue slice; coffee, chocolate and hazelnut roulade; and a pistachio macaroon.

Those with a sweet tooth will be in seventh heaven and can balance the sweetness with the array of Jing Teas and coffee included.
A pleasant afternoon experience at the Westin, showcasing a modern twist on the traditional high teas around town, and at $45 per person, you will receive exquisite food served with a smile and exceptional service.

You’ll only need to burn off the calories afterwards with a walk along the Paris end of Collins Street!

The Westin

205 Collins St, Melbourne Vic 3000
Toll Free: 1800 656 535
Phone: +61 3 9635 2222

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Strange Currencies @ The Melbourne Fringe Festival

Showing as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Strange Currencies is a play about unrequited love between eight Melburnians.

Emerging playright Harley Hefford has written a witty screenplay that explores everyday themes of love, lust and awkwardness associated with chasing unrequited love. Director Michaela Bedel perfectly cast passionate actors who executed their roles with gusto and passion to a T.

Benjamin Watts played Michael, a dreamy poet who was pursued by the gorgeous Melanie (Georgia Walters), who in fact was admired by David (Jordan Katelanis). Infatuated by Melanie’s beauty but not her reciprocal interest, David who works at a call centre, attracts one of his callers Christie (Joanne Redfearn) into making him a sale but instead, accidentally made her believe that she is in love without ever seeing David’s face. When comedic Rolex (Adam Laidlaw) steps in with his ‘ability’ to predict the future, he tries to tell David that Christie is his. Yet, unexpected drama ensues which changes the course of events. Numismatologist Mill (Sam Browne) is too infatuated by Melanie but decides to remain with his ‘duck’ Pieta (Hindi Zarkovic), mother of Cirque (Cazz Bainbridge). Pieta encourages Cirque to get a job at the cafe, leading Cirque to belive that she too can attract boys like Melanie.

All too confusing? Definitely not! Catch the limited season this week…

Booking information:
Date: Tuesday 5th – Saturday 9th October 2010
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Irene Mitchell Studio
44 St Martins Lane, South Yarra
All tickets $18

Review for Only Melbourne

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29th Apartment, St Kilda

Review for Only Melbourne

Located on trendy Fitzroy Street, this New York themed kitsch bar lives by the saying, mi casa es tu casa (my home is your home), in that 29th Apartment’s décor boasts standard homely items like a bed, bath with DJ decks of course and cereal boxes alongside an extensive range of liquor on their bar shelves.

The 29th Apartment bar has now officially welcomed a café into their apartment, boasting a delectable tapas style menu and gourmet pizzas – all made from hand-picked market produce.

With a kitchen open until 3am every day, Head Chef Nathan Wood brings a plethora of experience to the 29th Apartment from his early days working at Michelin rated restaurants like 1 Lombard Street and Pied a Terre.

In celebration of the 29th Apartment Café launch, Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the theme du jour. Waitresses were dressed like Audrey Hepburn look-alikes and served the following five-star canapés:

  • Escabeche of Crystal Bay prawn perched on caramelised fennel with avocado mousse;
  • Organic steak tartar with quail yolk and crostini served with fried liliput capers;
  • Spanish eggs with chorizo, black pudding, broad beans, Romesco sauce and herb pecorino crust;
  • Twice cooked pork belly with micro cress and a balsamic apple reduction;
  • Ceviche of Hervey Bay scallops with blue cheese panacotta; and
  • Chilli cucumber wonton with roasted peach puree and a palm sugar glaze.

The bar heats up on weekends with groovy house tunes and boasts a relaxing atmosphere and makes for the perfect place for your next function.

29th Apartment

29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda 3182

03 9078 8922


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Lotus & Ming

Lotus & Ming was established by Karen Lavecky in 2002 after gaining inspiration from her travels that a fresh approach to Asian food was needed in Australia. Lotus and Ming are the new must-have fridge filler for any function or party. From Sesame Barramundi spring rolls to mini BBQ pork buns, Lotus and Ming offer an incredible range of gourmet Asian dumplings, spring rolls and sauces, and have added modifications to classic asian recipes. So you can now bring your dim sum home without the little carts!

Karen Lavecky, founder of Lotus & Ming

On modernising the traditional concept of the trolley yum cha…

I was inspired to create a beautiful range of dim sum that people could easily take home and enjoy without effort or guilt… so when you bite into a Lotus & Ming product what you are tasting is the pure product and true flavours.

"Using frosted pvc allows our customers to see the products before they open the box at home" - Karen Lavecky

On Lotus & Ming varieties and the fun of taste-testing…

I wanted our customers to have choice and to pick from over 20 different varieties. We are constantly testing our products and my freezer at home is always full with dumplings and spring rolls. Just last week we created a choc-caramel crunch spring roll in the kitchen!

On her favourite variety…

I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite but heading into summer, I am loving our Deluxe Seafood range right now – best enjoyed with a bottle of pinot gris in the sunshine.

On her style of entertaining…

Relaxed, hearty and fun.

Winning this year’s Best New Food Service Product Award, Lotus & Ming supplies premier food service and retail outlets such as David Jones Australia, Hilton Hotels, Thomas Dux, Costco Australia and Compass Group.

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Fleur Wood’s, Food Fashion Friends: Recipes and Styling for Unforgettable Parties

“At home I have a kitchen shelf buckling under the weight of cookbooks…but I have always felt that one title was missing” – Fleur Wood

Designer Fleur Wood’s stylish book, Food Fashion Friends doesn’t deserve to be filed away with your 101 cookbooks but instead be on display for all to admire. Fleur has done all the prepping in terms of food, music, décor and general styling tips needed for various occasions. Some may be straightforward, others intricate and sophisticated, but at least you will know how to approach hosting the quintessential dinner party, the relaxed weekend brunch, an elegant afternoon tea or a heart-warming dinner. There are recipes for soufflés, new twists on old favourites like marble cake and the ultra-sophisticated pheasant roasted with truffles by Chef Matt Moran.

So tie up your apron and get ready to out-do Bree Van de Kamp in absolute style!

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Chambord Shine Awards – Melbourne

Last night I attended the much anticipated Chambord Shine Awards – Melbourne Runway Showcase at Melbourne’s prestigious Long Room, located at the Paris End of town.

Anna Campbell Designs

Sipping French Martinis, Chambord® Lime & Soda and French Manhattans together with gourmet canapes offered a sweet start to an evening of glamorous fashion.
The Awards showcased designs from eight of Melbourne’s hottest designers – Alexi Freeman, Michelle Czech, Limedrop, Anna Campbell, Stacey Christie, above., Jolet and MLY BLACK LABEL.
Acclaimed actress and director Gracie Otto hosted the awards, introducing creative works from the designers.
Judges Emily Power from the Herald Sun, Kate Vandermeer from Daily Addict/iSpyStyle, designer Joe Farage from Farage Style and Kate Mansour from Chambord deliberated before selecting Anna Campbell and Jolet to move onto the final in Sydney on the 31st of August with guests voting for Limedrop as the People’s Choice finalist.

Jolet Designs

The ten finalists nationally will be given $1000 and six weeks to create a Chambord® inspired design for Spring Racing Carnival. They will be flown to Sydney for the Chambord® Shine Awards™ final to be held at Sydney’s historical Strand Arcade on the 31st August. Here they will display their creation for a panel of industry experts, media, designers and fashion conscious celebrities.

Limedrop Designs

The grand prize of Chambord® Shine Awards™ in 2010 is bigger and better than ever. The winning designer will get to show their design to 2,000 consumers at the Strand Arcade’s “An Evening with Our Designers”, the design will be worn by a fashion forward celebrity during Spring Racing Carnival and they will also be able to show their own collection at Australia’s largest consumer fashion festival in 2011, thanks to Chambord®.

Melbourne sure was a spectacular night full of gorgeous fabrics and creative craftmanship. Viva la fashion!

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Date Night (Movie)

On MEAP Careers website
If you thought this was another predictable comedy, think again. Shawn Levy’s Date Night stars hilarious Steve Carell (The Office and The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Tina Fey (30 Rock) as an average married couple from Jersey who decide to change up their weekly “Date Night” at the local restaurant, and head to Manhattan’s hottest restaurant, The Claw, in the hope of rekindling romantic sparks in their marriage.

Out of touch with the need to make a reservation at the swish Claw, Phil (Carell) and Claire Foster innocently take a no-show’s reservation made by the Tripplehorns. With humour poked at the Foster’s stealing another booking, they dine at the best table in the house, as the Tripplehorns of course!

As it turns out, the real Tripplehorns are a thieving couple who are being hunted down by a pair of corrupt cops who work for the DA of New York and the mob. So into their scrumptious dinner and many glasses or red later, the Foster’s have their date night discretely interrupted in a case of mistaken identity.

Forced into a back alley without even finishing their risotto, the Foster’s embark on a wild and crazy series of adventures to save their lives and their marriage. Big name actors like Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Leighton Meester, Mark Ruffalo and JB Smoove make for an all-star cast in this comedic drama that is sure that make you rethink your next date night.

If Phil and Claire were worried that their marriage was on a boring downslide like their friend’s, they were wrong. Date Night proves that underneath the daily routine, the Foster’s still have a burning spark in keeping their marriage strong.

Date Night never stops for a dull moment in 88 minutes. Carell and Fey boast strong characters and deliver their lines wholeheartedly. Their chemistry is true and matched perfectly. Mark Wahlberg will keep female viewers wide awake staring at his perfectly crafted pecks (as Phil Foster makes reference to in the film). Director Levy mimics Minority Report’s touch screen drag technology used by Wahlberg’s character, security expert Holbrook Grant – an unnecessary touch but impressive at the same time. And credit to Fey for surviving all those action shots in heels!

Definitely worth seeing – 4.5/5.

Release Date: April 9, 2010
Rated: M
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Shawn Levy
Screenwriter: Josh Klausner
Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Leighton Meester, Common, Taraji Henson, Kristen Wiig, Ray Liotta, Mila Kunis, Mark Ruffalo, William Fichtner, Olivia Munn

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The Olsen – An Art Series Hotel

The opening of The Olsen Hotel in Melbourne’s prestigious South Yarra was sure to open with a bang to say the least. Bright lights and upbeat sounds from a three-piece band welcomed guests to this exclusive and modern hotel. Exquisite rooms were opened for visitors to admire, each displaying some culture and entertainment. On level 14 – penthouse suites, an artist was dabbling in life drawing, in another room was a poet, and another the crème de la crème of living – the John Olsen Penthouse Suite.

If you want to live it up like a star, treat yourself and your deserving guests to a stay in the John Olsen Penthouse Suite. Immerse yourself in the spa deck overlooking the glorious surrounds. Or in the cooler months, sit by the fire with a satisfying coffee, courtesy of the coffee machine in your state-of-the-art kitchen. Space is no concern with many bedrooms and accompanying ensuite, you would be sure that you were living the high life.

The Olsen Hotel offers guests 229 elegant five-star suites that are infused with the lyrical works of revered Australian landscape artist Dr John Olsen. Breathtaking mural and sculpture greet you on arrival and large prints adorn all hallways and suites. This boutique Melbourne hotel is complimented by a day spa and two delicious restaurants.

One can sleep soundly on Art Series Signature bedding, plunge into the spectacular glass bottom pool with Chapel Street shoppers below, work out in our state-of-the-art gymnasium or step out for some retail therapy. These South Yarra accommodations offer plentiful natural light and are thoughtfully appointed with 42” flatscreen televisions, wireless internet access and complete kitchenettes. For a longer stay settle into an exclusive art inspired residential suite.

Olsen is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest living painters and won the Archibald Prize in 2005 for his portrait Self Portrait Janus Faced.

A self-confessed epicurean, John Olsen has a deep appreciation of fine food and wine.
The Bluebottle restaurant name is a tribute to Olsen’s magnificent painting Popping Blue Bottles, inspired by his childhood days spent on Bondi Beach and his love of the sea.

Experience The Olsen – revel in the art of creature comforts.

PHONE: +61 3 9040 1222
FAX: +61 3 9098 1556

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L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival – Fashion Collections 1 – Metalicus

Fabric has no existence without design - Starryeyed Chameleon

With a Skinny Cow in my hands – the new brand of ice cream that is – together with my lucky LMFF ticket to the much awaited Fashion Collections 1 Metalicus parade presented by the City of Stonnington, I was excited to preview the new ‘Move’ Autumn/Winter 2010 Collection by Metalicus.
With pen and paper at the ready, I seemed to be the only journalist eager to note down the latest offerings. Everyone else was too busy web surfing or texting away on their Blackberry or iPhone, even the guy that sat next to me who appeared as uncomfortable as ever!
Fashionably late, well 25 minutes actually, the lights dimmed and the music blasted to what turned out to be a 25-minute fashion parade that was beautifully produced and managed to keep all eyes on the merchandise.
The designers at Metalicus designed fashionable pieces that looked comfortable and wearable without compromising on style.
In a nutshell, this is what I observed:
*color blocking has resurfaced from the 1980s
*rouched leggings are still in – I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair!
*bright colors of orange, pink and yellow were teamed with classic colors of black, grey, navy and white to create contrast with edge.
*not too sure about the new ‘Move’ bag though.
*for those with good looking legs, show them off in cropped shorts, worn with a tee and cardi
*and for those with an eye for detail, there is a pullover with diamond cut outs at the sleeves.
*remember – layer, layer, layer – but not if it is going to make you look like Violet from Willy Wonka!
*see how he mismatch of color works on you but I am definitely not sold on mixing orange with pink and yellow with pink, or red with pink for that matter.
*brighten up a dull winter’s day by mixing dark leggings with with a two-tone cardi and ankle boots. Once again, if you’ve got the legs this look will work for you. Otherwise, swap ankle boots for knee-length or above-knee boots.
*whoever thought that the David Jones logo would resurface from the 1980s. My take on this – if you don’t work at DJs, don’t be surprised if you’re friends refer to your leggings as DJs legs! And the same goes for the rip-off Burberry patterned tights – leave this one to Burberry.
*For something refreshing, add a touch of cool mint and white over a grey pinafore or mini. A hint of lace in their range will add a touch of femininity to your look.
*the cut out is back and no, it’s not the look to adopt if you want to bare your flesh. Remember – layer is key so add a touch of color under a cut out dress that leaves room for the imagination.
*I am of the same opinion that patterns of checks and stripes shouldn’t be mixed just as orange and pink should never be teamed together. Choose one pattern and one bright color and work with that. Add a touch of bling in a statement bangle or cocktail ring for that wow factor – instead of looking like the bag lady with checks on your legs, and striped above!

All in all, I would rate the parade an 8/10 as I was impressed with the designs and use of fashion forward looks for the current season.

The finale was well executed but the models appeared like they were memorising their designated stance. And I would have loved the designers to join the beautiful models onstage to greet their impressed fans.

Well done Metalicus. I only hope that you add more cotton to your range instead of dominating it with nylon pieces. Not particularly good when one’s body temperature increases!

Hot: finale dress with bell sleeves that were fitted at the wrist
Not: mismatch of bright colors – a definite faux pas.

This season is about multi dimensional layering, incorporating pieces that make life a little easier for you. Bold stripes, fluid fabrics, sassy bodysuits, spotty prints, lacey tutu’s and easy silhouettes.
Inspire yourself. Live your kind of life. Wear your kindness on your sleeve.
Be comfortable. Be yourself. Layers upon layers of colours upon colours. A mixed palette of deep purples, cool mints mixed back with warm, cozy oranges and browns. – Metalicus

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The Cullen Hotel Melbourne

It has been a long time coming for a stylish boutique hotel to land in Prahran. Inspired by daring and unconventional contemporary artist Adam Cullen, The Cullen is the first of a handful of upcoming Art Series hotels to impress not only Melbournians but business travelers and visitors after accommodation that is set to impress with its modern fittings, collection of art books and art gallery home to Cullen’s original works.

More than $300 million will be spent on the six hotels in Melbourne honouring great Australian artists, including painter Charles Blackman, landscape artist John Olsen and the winner of the Archibald Prize in 2000, Adam Cullen.

With The Cullen having opened its doors only this month, ambience and vibrancy is far from dead. Akin to Jackson Pollock’s ‘drip’ technique which broke the ice for the Abstract Expressionist Movement in America, Adam Cullen’s trademark fluorescent drips and rainbow smears line the entrance where the mosaic life-size cow greets you.

This $48 million, 115-room boutique hotel boasts ever-so-friendly staff and an in-house curator, Jane O’Neill who has worked with Cullen between 1996 and 2000 and curated his work in three independent contemporary art exhibitions. Roadkill, ghouls and violence and mostly tamer pieces are some of the controversial subjects that inspired Cullen’s 450 works of art (including original paintings) that line the hotel walls.

Although bustling Prahran Market is across the road and busy Chapel Street is metres away, the hotel offers a relaxing art exhibit kind of feel that is quiet but ever so enthralling. But this is not where the excitement ends.

For your added convenience, each hotel room is equipped with a small yet compact and useful kitchenette complete with stove and microwave and filled with goodies from Prahran Market. Kartell Ghost armchairs, iPod dock, art books that smell new and plasma TV with dedicated Arts Channel are some of the features that definitely set out to spoil you.

And if that wasn’t enough for the design conscious, forget about a solid dividing wall between the bathroom and where you lay your head to rest. Cullen has treated you to a frosted glass bathroom screen that is watermarked with an original design. Forget light being totally blocked out when the bathroom is used during the night – such sacrifices are made in the name of art and design.

In keeping with the art theme, the hotel has bikes and Smart cars decorated with Cullen’s work for guests to hire and explore surrounding areas. The hotel also has in-house personal fitness advisers: former Hawthorn footballers Shane Crawford and Ben Dixon. Merkas Health provides guests with a relaxing and therapeutic massage within the privacy of their own room. And for guests in need of some TLC for their hair, let Nathan Weymouth from in-house Ornate Salon style your tresses.

The Cullen’s ground floor, Euro-designed The Terrace has already drawn in coffee-goers that appreciate a good bean and put in a little unpretentious effort into dressing as if they were holidaying at a resort town. Next door, the much anticipated Asian dumpling restaurant, Hutong will please foodies with gastronomic delights with its restaurant and bar.

The enfant terrible of the art world, Adam Cullen has definitely made his mark in Prahran as an exciting contemporary artist who shows no fear in breaking boundaries through art.

The Cullen
164 Commercial Road, Prahran, VIC 3181
Contact: +61 3 9098 1555

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