Botanical Baker

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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  instagram.com/ivenoven.

Spotted on designfetish.org

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: www.restaurant.dimmi.com.au / 2016 News / Australia

 
DIMMI TREND Food
25/01/2017

Simply French

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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.

entrecote.com.au @entrecotemelbourne  #simplyfrench #melbournecafes

Entrecote Food Melbourne
10/09/2016

Thai Take on Providore

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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.

#PODfinds

Lab Lines

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This large laboratory inspired window decal for Sensory Lab by St Ali is a stand out moment on Lt Collins Street.  #PODfinds

Closure

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Sometimes in life you just need closure. This door does it for me. You can find Clement Coffee Roasters at South Melbourne Market where they peddle good caffeine and donuts just a few doors up from those famous dim sims.  #PODfinds

Curb appeal

POD Daylesford Org Victoria Daylesford Organics (not to be confused with the posh 'all white and oak' London noshery) is a farm north of Melbourne. Certified organic, they focus on sustainability and biodiversity and produce up to 40 varieties of apples a season, hazelnuts, berries, free range eggs and vegetables. Heirloom varieties with lots of different flavours and colours are a speciality. Selling their quality produce to local cafés, restaurants and through farmer's markets, you can also collect a just picked apple via their super cute roadside stall.

#PODfinds

Made in Manhattan

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I'm researching for a trip to NYC and USA later this year.  Pleased to report that a couple of Sydney lads, Giles Russell and Henry Roberts, are making their mark in Manhattan and bringing that relaxed Australian cafe style, and good coffee, to the city that never sleeps. Love the look of Two Hands (it's definitely on the list). These gorgeous images are by photographer Josephine Rozman and sourced via www.twohands.com  

Two Hands, 164 Mott Street, NYC, New York.

#PODfinds

Two Hands Food New York
27/04/2015