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To market at Oxford Larder, Melbourne

A new cookware store full of beautiful yet practical things for the home and kitchen opens in Collingwood.

When the owners of South of Johnston café decided to open a new business only a stone's throw away, their knowledge of the Collingwood market came in handy.

"There's so much apartment living in the Collingwood area, and they're all full of busy professional people who don't have time to cook, but want to look like they actually do cook," says Simon Carver who, with partner Stuart McKenzie, is opening the doors to Oxford Larder this week.

Part café, part food shop and part "kitchen merchant" - for anyone not hailing from the Collingwood area this translates as "homewares shop" - Oxford Larder will be chock-full of items such as copper cookware, French preserve jars, and artisan ceramics that people can put to good use or simply look at.

Former interior designer Carver's interest in beautiful yet practical things can be seen in the stoneware from local artist Andrei Davidoff, Redecker brushes, Falcon enamelware (in a specially chosen duck egg blue) and Le Parfait preserve jars, down to the Stanley flask ("an old-fashioned brickies' labourer flask") in navy blue.

With just 16 seats inside, and 12 outside on the corner of Oxford and Peel Streets, Oxford Larder's locavore menu comes from Glenn Bourke, a chef who's something of a specialist in health-conscious food shops (Organica in Hawksburn; Spoonful in Armadale). Carver calls the menu a mix of French and Nordic: think fermented carrot salad with currants and vinaigrette, a Nordic potato waffle with smoked salmon, beetroot pickle, soft-boiled egg, lemon and dill, and La Madre Bakery buttermilk buns with cold-smoked salmon and bread and butter cucumbers.

The pickles and preserves will be available for take-away (in those fancy French jars) and pre-packaged things such as pork and apple braise and vegetable dhal can be taken back to your Collingwood warehouse apartment.

Carver and McKenzie flew solo on the design for SoJo, as they call it; this time around they enlisted the help of interior architects Pipkorn and Kilpatrick, who have used Driza-Bone material for the cutlery pouches and soundproofing.

"It's rural Australiana meets urban sophistication," proclaims Carver. 

Oxford Larder opens on Tuesday 28 June.

Oxford Larder, 18 Peel Street, Collingwood, Vic, (03) 9417 3675,


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