The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

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Fig recipes

Figs. We can't get enough of them. Here are a few sweet and savoury ways to add them to your summer spread.

Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Top Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2017

A lot has changed since we first published our pick of the best chefs to follow on Instagram (way back in the dark ages of 2013). Here’s who we’re double-tapping on the photo-sharing app right now.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Christine Manfield recipes

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Sleep in a Grampians olive grove this autumn

Under Sky are popping up with a luxe camping hotel experience at Mount Zero Olives this April.

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

The Press Club reborn

The Press Club, Melbourne

The Press Club, Melbourne

The second coming of George Calombaris's The Press Club may be scaled down in terms of size but it doesn't hold back on the ambition. An expensive, brilliantly glitzy room and dégustation-only menus full of fanciful, witty, interesting Greek-inspired food sees Calombaris throwing down the gauntlet to those who proclaim fine dining dead. Our Melbourne restaurant critic Michael Harden went in to check for signs of life.

So is fine dining dead, Michael?
Not if it's as much fun as this. There's a gigglingly enjoyable retro aspect to the whole experience, from the compact room, which seems to channel cocktail bars of the 1970s - horseshoe booths upholstered in soft tan leather, copper and brass fittings polished to a mirrored sheen - to the menu, which references both the original Press Club and the craziness of Calombaris's one-time Fed Square experiment, Reserve. It's not cheap, sure ($145 for five courses, $190 for eight), but all the "you get what you pay for" boxes get ticked.

Any highlights?
Quite a few, starting with a mini Hills Hoist (complete with fake grass) that comes pegged with "chips and dips" - a sliver of dehydrated salsify, a rice cracker dusted with fennel powder, and a carrot wrapped in a truffle sliver and studded with chive flowers among them - and the Saganaki Martini (an old Press Club favourite), then moving on to a quite brilliant avgolemono, the classic egg and lemon soup, served with grilled abalone and hilopites made with chicken. The Kangaroo Island marron cooked in tarama butter and served with pickled cucumbers and sprouted lentils is no slouch either.

More fun here, too. The pre-dessert is called Half-Time Orange and consists of orange segments filled with excellent orange sorbet. That's followed by Smashing Plates. The "plates" are made from meringue and have to be smashed so you can get to the pavlova-type goodies - berries, mousse and granita - underneath.

And the drinks?
Barcelona native Marc Esteve Mateu is the sommelier here and is one of the most personable examples of his kind in town. His list is hefty and contains both benchmark big-hitters and more obscure boutique stuff, but chat with him and you'll quickly end up with something delicious you haven't tried before (like a 2009 Hatzidakis "Nikteri" Assirtiko from Santorini). There's a wine-matching option too - $90 for the five-course and $125 for the eight.

The verdict?
With only 10 booths in the house, The Press Club feels both intimate and exclusive and, with the present but not invasive soundtrack of upbeat club music, there's a definite party element as well. Calombaris's theatrical and amusing dishes tap into the mood, as does the excellent service. You'll probably drop at least $200 a head but, boy, will you have some fun doing it.

The Press Club, 72 Flinders St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9677 9677.

Read more: George Calombaris recipes.

Looking for more Melbourne dining options? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Melbourne.


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