Forum Fresh

A gentrifying catchment with a diverse cultural profile represented the opportunity for an expanded fresh food offer at Belmont Forum in Perth, WA.  Anchored by an existing Coles and Woolworths, this newly opened precinct now includes fresh local seafood, a second store for an iconic Perth butcher with a cult following for American style BBQ, a large market style Green Grocer, bakery and Asian BBQ speciality, a design make over for an exisiting popular Asian grocer, plus a tiny jewel in the crown provided by La Belle Patisserie which appeared to go into overdrive the minute the first cronuts and croissants were taken out of the oven on opening morning.

Engaged by The Perron Group to create 'welcome statements' and another layer of interest to this new fresh food precinct, POD commissioned beautiful solid oak ladders, pallets and wheelbarrows for the purpose of telling food stories based around this vibrant new retail mix.  The custom visual merchandising combined faux and fresh along with locally sourced vintage props. Wheelbarrows filled with produce 'fresh from the veggie patch' promoted all retailers, added an element of fun for this family focused market, and tied in with the citrus and herb garden in the new outdoor children's playground, located just off the precinct.

Sincere thanks to the Perron development team headed by Graeme Glass, JLL's Alexandra McAuliff and Kate Whytelaw (a human dynamo who made the 6 months of tenancy consultancy and onsite delivery totally seamless - grateful beyond words), Simone Pirovich and her Work Shop Dine team, Dean Jones & Michael Bushby from Vicinity Centres plus all the wonderful retailers who gave us their trust and came on the design and delivery journey to bring this precinct to fruition.

Concepts, creative and delivery by POD.

#belmontforum #freshfoodprecinct #placemaking #visualmerchandising #retaildetail #designlayers #theperrongroup

Belmont Forum Food Perth

Raw and Activated

A small fruit & nut shop with a good story to tell has moved in next to Tea Drop in the South Melbourne Market.  Reclaimed wood, old grape picking baskets and boxes, a sprinkling of worn metal trugs combined with  prices on wood blocks (a big yes to the sign writer) create a simple and effective backdrop for all the goodness in those brown paper bags.

Reflecting the farm where the fruit is grown in northern Victoria, Happy Fruit captures the feel of the drying shed.  I like it!



Street Art

The streets of Hanoi teem with bicycles, many of them ridden by street vendors carrying fruit and flowers. It’s amazing to see them gracefully pedal past on bikes piled high with colorful cargo, but the impact is lost amid the chaos of Vietnam’s capital. That’s why Loes Heerink photographs them from above. Only then can you can see just how much they’re hauling, and how colorful it is. “They’re works of art,” Heerink says.

Street vendors are everywhere in Hanoi, selling everything from bananas to brooms. Many are rural women who come to the city seeking a better life. They start each day around 4 am, hit the market to buy goods, and spend the day riding about selling their wares, earning just enough to survive. “Life as a street vendor in Hanoi is not easy,” Heerink says. “They don’t get appreciated as much as I think they should.”

Heerink is Dutch and started riding when she was 5. When she went backpacking through Vietnam in 2011, the vendors immediately caught her eye. She moved to Hanoi the following year and tried photographing them, but never liked the result. Then it occurred to her to photograph them from above. Working from a balcony or one of three bridges near her apartment, Heerink would watch the street below with her Canon 6D, catching vendors making the morning rounds with baskets full.

She photographed 50 vendors in three months, each image capturing the beauty and grace of the street vendors who bring a splash of color to the cramped streets of the city.

Words  by Laura Mallonee. Images by Loes Heerick.  

Article re-posted from Wired magazine.

#podfinds #visualmerchandising #freshproduce #loesheerick #vendorsfromabove

VM Food Hanoi

Premium + Popular


Haute couture is the French term for high fashion and refers to the creation of exclusive made-to-order clothing. The pieces are made from high quality, expensive fabric and sewn together with painstaking detail by the most experienced and capable seamstresses. Where does the creation of haute couture take place? In an atelier, of course. The French word translates to workshop. It is the place where the artist creates.

Frites Atelier is where Michelin Star chef Sergio Herman creates his haute couture fries. A chef's studio, if you like, that draws inspiration from both the traditional French brasserie and Dutch culture. Internationally acclaimed Studio Piet Boon's design pays homage to their homeland with bronze Frederik Molenschot stoves sitting alongside hand-turned Cor Unum ceramic jars which dispense sauces worthy of a Michelin Star for their no preservatives or artificial additives alone. Only the best organic Zeeland clay potatoes and produce is used.

A regal crest and staff kitted out in Fashion for Companies clothing has resulted in a luxury chip shop like no other.

If you want to enjoy the guilty pleasure without the calories you can find plenty of photos good enough to eat at: and

 #PODfinds #pointofdifference

Botanical Baker


You could be forgiven for thinking these baked botanical beauties are actual terrariums. I think they are stunning - just 'wow'. They are even more impressive when you discover they are decorated with buttercream and not fondant icing, and the bakery is based in Indonesia (for the non baker ... buttercream in a hot tropical climate is not a match made in heaven).  You can find this very clever cacti cake maker, Ivenoven, inLippo Karawaci, Jakarta ... or follow the food artist on

Spotted on

 #PODfinds #pointofdifference

Designer Dogs

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According to the Animal Health Alliance, Australians spend an enormous $8 billion per year on their furry family members. The RSPCA also estimates that the average dog costs roughly $13,000 over the course of its lifetime.

If I was a pooch, I'd vote for parents who live in South Melbourne.

The Pet Grocer (TPG) has been a stalwart of the South Melbourne Market for many years now and got the mandatory hipster interior makeover a couple of years ago. TPG has upped the design ante a hundred fold and unveiled a flagship store a mere tennis ball toss away on Coventry Street.

Step inside and be impressed by the pared back space that would appear to be inspired by the Aesop school of minimalism and restraint. It's gorgeous.

Fresh bone broths, designer dried-food snack boxes, premium preservative and grain-free fresh and frozen portion control packs sit alongside super stylish accessories and natural health remedies.

I cannot even start to relay the conversation I eavesdropped on ... a doggy Mummy who appeared to have lost complete perspective of the real world. Really. I am sure my mother never gave over so much dialog or thought to the dinners she dished up her 5 kids. As this slightly bonkers (in my professional assessment) Mummy handed over her credit card for $140 worth of food for her 4-legged child I did think the world might be bordering on going completely barking mad.

You can find The Pet Grocer, 249 Coventry Street, South Melbourne.

#thepetgrocer #southmelbourne #southmelbournemarket #designerdogs

Oz Dining Trends from Dimmi

On line booking network, Dimmi, published these trends for 2016:

Market down: overall the market dropped by 2.4% with the ACT, QLD and VIC feeling the pinch the most.

Double sittings: two sittings, not one, is now common practice for restaurants. Say goodbye to the much-loved 7:30pm dining slot Australia. Bookings have decreased between 7 – 8pm by 9% on 2013/14, while the time slots either side have both increased.

Mobile boom: for the first time in history we are booking restaurants more on-the-go, not behind our computer screens. 52% of online bookings are now being made from a mobile device. 32% of all bookings are now made within 24 hours of dining time.

Corporates are back: there has been a 41% increase in online bookings, from the top 10 corporates, over the past twelve months.

Fine dining is thriving – but not as we know it: the premium market (more than $85 per head) is up 17% but what defines fine dining is shifting. Restaurants are becoming more accessible and share plates are very in-vogue.

Australians are eating out less frequently but spending more: we are eating out slightly less frequently than last year but we are spending a little more, with an increase of $0.37 on 2013/14.

Distribution channels matter: The Dimmi Booking Network generated $71 million in bookings for Dimmi partner restaurants over the past twelve months. It’s key for restaurants to get connected in order to survive and thrive.The top 3 booking channels that matter for restaurants are Dimmi, TripAdvisor, Qantas Restaurants.

Spend concern: worryingly the average spend in restaurants has increased by only $1.00 in three years. Automation is critical to reduce costs and boost profit margins at a time of increasing rent and labour costs.

Gender wars: the gender gap is closing but males still spend more than females when eating out – $61 and $53 respectively. Males also make more spur of the moment reservations, with 36% of bookings made by men in the 24 hours prior to dining. This compares to 28% for women in the same period.

The telephone is dying: 36% of all bookings for Dimmi Pro restaurants are now being generated online. Still a long way from the 70 – 80% of bookings enjoyed by airlines and hotels online, but the Australian restaurant industry is catching up quickly.

Source: / 2016 News / Australia


Simply French


Paris is Jason McLaren Jones favourite 'go to' city when looking for inspiration for a new cafe (he's delivered quite a few over the past 8 years). Entrecote on Domain Road South Yarra captures the euro mood perfectly. I love the simple signage directive showing the way to take away pastries and and coffee ... well deserved once you're circled the Tan. @entrecotemelbourne  #simplyfrench #melbournecafes

Entrecote Food Melbourne

Thai Take on Providore


Amy Chanta came to Australia with $300 in her pocket and the dream of a  better life for her 2 small children. Fast forward around 30 years and her story is the epitome of 'migrant makes good' achieved through hard work, persistence and serving up damn good Thai food.

I first stumbled across Amy's food in her Haymarket Chat Thai cafe which, at the time, caught my eye for a variety of reasons whilst wandering through Sydney's Chinatown  ... a queue on the street waiting for a table, a modern yellow logo on the shop front, an open kitchen with well presented staff cooking fresh food to order.  It was a stand out from the tired, traditional, slightly jaded and faded outlets in the neighbourhood.

Boon Cafe is her most recent venture albeit around 12 months old.  It combines Asian grocery with a cafe that offers a Thai twist on 'all day cafe' fare. For readers who know Sourced Grocer in Brisbane, Boon Cafe is pretty much the Thai/Asian version when it comes to the format.

I've visited plenty of Asian grocery shops around the country but have not seen anything like Boon with its 'now' design and cafe inclusion.  There is a cool room abundant with fresh Asian herbs, fruits and vegetables ... dragonfruit, banana blossom, tiny Thai eggplant, fresh ginger and tumeric, pre-packed fresh ingredients to make your own Tom Yum soup etc.  If you're not with me, it's sort of the equivalent of a cheese room in a European style deli if you like.

Open 7am to midnight, my experience was an early evening casual bite after a working day but I'm curious to find out more, so Boon is on my list for breakfast or lunch next time I'm in Sydney as there is plenty on the Thai inspired "modern cafe" hybrid menu that seems worthy of a tasting trip.

#PODfinds   @boon_cafe #booncafe #jarernthaigrocer

Jarern Thai Asian Grocer and Boon Cafe, 425 Pitt Street, Sydney 

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Cruffins, Cronuts, Bronuts, Donuts and Scrolls are the hottest things around despite the gluten free & 'I quit sugar' army of followers growing in numbers daily.  Eat a Scroll is a pop up on the increasingly gentrified Smith Street, Collingwood.  It's a bit 'make shift' and grungy which is perfect for the location. The logo caught my eye first (I like it) followed by the quirky, clever message on the footpath A-frame which made it mandatory that I stepped inside for a lookie see.  I didn't sample the fare so can't say if the product matches the promise.