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Mr. Moneybags ($50 Plus)

La Salut

Movida was the restaurant that kickstarted my love affair with wine bars and fine dining over 10 years ago. And although I’ve lost count of the number of excellent meals I’ve had since, Movida will always hold a special place in my heart for introducing me to the magic that is good Spanish cooking. Unfortunately that love has lain rather dormant since my move to Sydney, which is well-known for not having much in the way of authentic Spanish cuisine. However all that may change with the opening of Bar Salut, which promises an authentic Spanish tapas bar experience inspired by ‘a hot summer spent in Barcelona’, by a chef who’s spent 7 years at Movida no less!

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The Gidley

Last year, I had big plans for my birthday – I was going to head to Bistecca and order a huge hunk of steak to comfort myself over the necessity of turning yet another year older. But of course, we all knew how that panned out. Like pretty much everything last year, those plans were ruined by covid, and I didn’t end up getting my steak until about September. Thankfully, this year things are looking a lot better, and I managed to get to their sister restaurant, The Gidley, exactly on my birthday!

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Pentolina

The worst thing about being away from Melbourne during Covid – aside from not seeing my friends and family and y’know, the death and disease – was the fear that all the amazing restaurants I’ve yet to try will have shut down during my involuntary exile. And whilst many restaurants certainly bit the dust, Pentolina was not one of them, and now dining is (more or less) back, it seems just as popular as ever. Pentolina embodies everything I love about dining in Melbourne – its unexpected retro glamour tucked away next to a parking garage, the effortless old-world European comfort it exudes, and of course, the warm welcome and hospitality from each and every one of the staff.

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Continental Deli Bar and Bistro

For our annual end-of-year shebang last year, I decided on dinner at Ms. G’s. However there was another strong contender for the occasion, and that was Continental Deli Bar and Bistro. On paper, Continental is pretty much everything I love – a wine bar with a range of clever share plates and charcuterie, all served in a relaxed and decadently European setting. First impressions certainly lived up to my hopes. The beautifully classic interior was jazzed up with the most intriguing and charming range of pieces, including boughs of local greenery, framed retro-styled posters, and an enormous hand-drawn picture of a blue fin tuna. But if you ask me, the most attractive features would have to be the deli cabinet…

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Tres a Cinco

Remember what I said about being devastated over missing out on many a Melbourne restaurant whilst I was stuck in Sydney due to Covid? Well one of the restaurants that I was most upset about not getting to eat at was Bar Tini, the brainchild of Frank Camorra, aka the father of Spanish food (and tapas in general) in Melbourne. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to get myself to Bar Tini, it had shut down, and that boat has sailed forevermore. But it’s not all bad news; for once it’s not Covid that took down Bar Tini, at least not directly in any case. Being both an amazing chef and a shrewd businessman, Camorra realised that as popular as…

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Ms G’s

I have a personal vendetta against course-based fine dining that Sydney stills seems to be so very fond of. As far as I’m concerned, 4 dishes served in procession is just not a good use of a few hundred dollarydoos, not when there’s the option of a table-full of share plates, or dozens of exquisite nibbles served degustation style. Thankfully, although the high-end restaurants in Sydney tend to prefer stuffy, traditional-styled dining, there are a few places that eschew that old-fashioned habit, and Ms G’s was one of the first in the city to do so.

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