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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Recipes by Christine Manfield
21.02.2017

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.

Cirrus, Sydney review
20.02.2017

Cirrus moves the Bentley team down to the water and into more lighthearted territory without sacrificing polish, writes Pat Nourse.

How to grow rocket
20.02.2017

A vegetable patch without rocket lacks a great staple, according to Mat Pember. The perennial performer is a leaf for all seasons.

50BestTalks brings World’s best chefs to Sydney and Melbourne
16.02.2017

Massimo Bottura and more are coming to the Sydney Opera House.

Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017

Expect Mexican-Asian flavours and an all-natural wine list from two of Sydney’s edgier operators.

Local Knowledge: Moscow
16.02.2017

Director of Shakespeare theatre company Cheek by Jowl Declan Donnellan walks us through the essential sights and his favourite cafes and restaurants of his hometown.

On the Pass: Danielle Rensonnet
16.02.2017

Bellota chef Danielle Rensonnet talks us through the current menu at the restaurant and her favourite summer ingredients.

Melbourne's Tomato Festival is back in 2017
15.02.2017

Returning for another year, Melbourne’s Tomato Festival is ripe with cooking demonstrations, talks, and produce stalls dedicated to plump produce.

Most popular recipes summer 2017

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

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

Persian love cake

Baguette recipes

These baguette recipes are picture-perfect and picnic ready, bursting with fillings like slow-cooked beef tongue, poached egg and grilled asparagus and classic leg ham and cheese.

New South Yarra restaurants

The Melbourne suburb lost some of its lustre in recent years, but is now bouncing back.

Fast summer dinners

From an effortless tomato and ricotta herbed tart to Sri Lankan fish curries and chewy pork-and-pineapple skewers, these no-fuss recipes lend to relaxing on a humid summer's night.

Long Chim, Melbourne review

David Thompson brings the heat to Melbourne with his newest incarnation of Long Chim. Michael Harden drops by for dinner.

Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."

Off the wall

Sharp, smart and just a little kooky, Hilton’s new Melbourne venture is a sleek accommodation option in the city’s burgeoning hotel landscape, writes Emily Ross.

From the moment you step into the lobby of the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf, it's clear that this 19-storey, 396-room hotel is more boutique than its mainstream Hilton siblings at Melbourne Airport and in East Melbourne. This hotel is a different beast, more akin to its sleek sister in Sydney's George Street.
 
The lobby sets the tone: contemporary, moody, very Melbourne. Dimly lit, it has a modest row of black light fittings and organic pods of seating dwarfed by towering ceilings and an expansive array of urns. Tempting aromas from the café/bakery waft from one side of the lobby; a giant wall-hanging made of Brillo pads by Spanish-Australian artist Dani Marti dominates the check-in area.

There's nothing like this lobby on the Australian hotel landscape. It's all about helping you to "transcend normality", according to Nik Karalis, director at Woods Bagot, the firm that designed the hotel in a joint venture with NH Architecture for the Plenary Group consortium. The hotel is integrated with the new Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) next door, and the buildings are central to the $1.4 billion redevelopment of the South Wharf area, until now an isolated slice of the river that links Southbank to up-and-coming Docklands.

This is just one of many new hotel developments in Melbourne, part of a billion-dollar tourism infrastructure initiative designed to help Melbourne snare a larger portion of the $3.25 billion spent worldwide annually on conferences. Gregory Hywood, chief executive at Tourism Victoria, says conference delegates typically spend five to six times more than leisure tourists. Victorian Tourism and Major Events Minister Tim Holding says the new Hilton "underscores the confidence in Melbourne as a global city".

The new Crown Metropol, which is scheduled to open next year, will add another 658 rooms to Melbourne. It's part of a wave of developments and refurbishments that will bring a total extra 2162 new or revamped four- or five-star hotel rooms to complement the MCEC. "Most of the new hotel developments in Australia are happening in Melbourne," says Hywood.

Other developments include the Grand Hyatt, which recently unveiled its new $45 million facelift, and the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto's $60 million refurbishment, which mingles gothic style with hotel designer Joseph Pang's eye for modern detail. Hilton on the Park Melbourne, at one time the glamour hotel of the city, is also about to undergo a facelift.

But back to the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf. Once you leave the almost self-consciously chic lobby and find your way to your room, the views are an absolute knockout, even from the lower floors, thanks to the hotel's location and narrow design. You'll be surprised how different the city appears from this perspective, looking out to the Yarra and across Docklands to the Bolte Bridge and the bay in the distance. Standard rooms are nearly 20 per cent larger than their equal at the Hilton Sydney or the original Hilton on the Park.

Upgrade options include "relaxation" suites, Yarra suites and apartment-style two-bedroom suites, yet the extra 8-10 square metres you get in the standard rooms over a typical room elsewhere really makes a difference. There's room for larger, open-plan bathrooms, more storage and more bed space.
NH Architecture's design director Hamish Lyon says the overall design is a culmination of thousands of hours staying in hotels around the world. "We wanted to make people feel like there was a Melbourne quality to the hotel," he explains. There are sensory surprises everywhere: textured wallpapers, sublime solid blue gum timber panelling and fine art to take in.

Plump beds are made up with quality linens, there are ingenious pop-out reading lamps in the bedheads, and desks for business travellers are long and functional. The bathrooms feature Aliseo magnifying mirrors, plenty of Caesarstone and bespoke wooden cabinetry. Every suite and apartment has an espresso machine, and the room service menu features cheese and charcuterie boards from the hotel's tapas bar, Belgian waffles for breakfast, and even popcorn for late-night movies in bed.

Downstairs, Nuevo37 is a modern Spanish-themed restaurant with a menu devised by Michelin-starred Spaniard Ramon Freixa, and Sotano Wine and Tapas Bar is a collaboration between Sydney bar consultant Grant Collins and Master of Wine Dr Ron Georgiou. Sotano serves more than 30 wines by the glass plus refreshing carafes of sangría, and classic and new-wave cocktails. Snacks cover tapas as well as cheese and cured meat boards, all taken from the cheese and ham "towers", purpose-built larders that store hams up to 40 months old.

"The charcuterie tower is really pulling people in," says general manager Michael Bourne. "And we're so busy already that we need to get a third sommelier." Perhaps South Wharf won't be so isolated after all.


THE FINE PRINT

Hilton Melbourne South Wharf
Rooms from $230, relaxation suites from $500, Yarra suites from $520, two-bedrom apartments from $525. 2 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9027 2000.

THE FINE PRINT

Hilton Melbourne South Wharf
Rooms from $230, relaxation suites from $500, Yarra suites from $520, two-bedrom apartments from $525. 2 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9027 2000.

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