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Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.

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Where Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best Chefs
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Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Country Road café and concept store, Sorrento

Country Road Sorrento

Country Road Sorrento

Is 40 the new 30? If fashion and homewares powerhouse Country Road is anything to go by, the answer is yes. The company celebrates its 41st anniversary this year, and the opening of its shiny new concept store and café in the seaside town of Sorrento suggests that slowing down isn't part of the plan.

Country Road managing director Sophie Holt says the move is "a natural progression for the brand" as it puts further emphasis on the lifestyle side of the business and opens more outlets in what she calls resort locations.

The Sorrento store, which features the company's full men's, women's, children's and home collections, is housed in the town's old post office - a rustic red-brick building built back in 1905.

The adjoining café, Post 3943, is operated by local organic specialists The Sisters, and offers a bright menu spanning the likes of corn fritters with avocado and feta for breakfast, lunch basics such as daily changing salads, baguettes, soups and savoury tarts, plus cakes and coffee. There's an emphasis on locally sourced produce, some of which is even hand-picked from the gardens surrounding the store.

"Combining the café with retail in the one space is a new and very exciting concept for Country Road," says Holt. And it's something the company hopes to expand on in the future.

"[It] provides our customers with that true lifestyle experience of being able to both shop and relax with friends over a coffee," she says. "Judging from our opening weekend, it's something they're really enjoying."

Country Road Sorrento, 10-16 Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento, Vic, (03) 5984 0674

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