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Destination Dining

Hotel Frangos - Daylesford
Destination Dining, Travel

Must Map: Daylesford, Victoria

It’s sort of impossible to say you’ve ‘done’ Victoria without having toured the Great Ocean road to sight the Twelve Nine Apostles, quaffed a few tasty numbers in the Yarra Valley, ventured down a dark alley to a an unsigned restaurant / bar in Melbourne and had your worries blissed away in Daylesford. We recently explored the area to investigate what it has to offer. Want to do the same? Here’s our Must Map for Daylesford…

Daylesford - Must Map

MUST TASTE

There’s no denying it, Daylesford is a foodie’s delight.

Sault Restaurant - Daylesford

Breakfast & Beer

Quirky café with fresh and healthy local produce – friendly staff. New menu on the day as chef had broken his hand so all items were the ones he could cook one-handed! Old comics line the booth seating to keep kids amused. Recommended: potato hash brown, beetroot, goats cheese & greens.

Jimmy’s Bar

Attached to Frangos and Frangos, Jimmy’s Bar is cosmopolitan enough to pass for a city bar, but cozy in the kind of way only a somewhere in the country can be. The perfect spot to start (or finish) your night.

Passing Clouds Winery - Daylesford

Passing Clouds Winery

Cold climate vineyard and winery in nearby Musk backed by two generations making wine sine 1974. Award winning pinots (closer to French style than typical Australian pinots due to climate and methods), beautiful unoaked chardonnay and a rather special organic syrah – round off the delicious selection. Don’t forget to say hi to the aptly named vineyard dog called Nillo as in temperanillo.

Sweet Decadence

Hands down the most decadent hot chocolate you’ll ever find, alongside handmade chocolates, all in a cosily inviting coffee shop on cold/wet day.

The Chocolate Lover

Sweet tooth not yet satisfied, or just looking for a delicious something to take home with you? A The Chocolate Lover you’ll find utterly amazing chocolate creations, beautifully presented to wow the lucky recipient (or -ahem- delight yourself).

Sault Restaurant

Picking your favourite part of Daylesford is rather like being asked to select the most exquisite star in the night sky, but if we had to pick one, Sault would very likely win the crown. If you can tear yourself away from the view of a delightfully lit verandah taking in views of the lake, you’ll find Sault sports a Spanish chef, offering a tapas style entrée menu followed by a beautifully presented more traditional mains menu using regional seasonal produce. Not one to overlook a single detail, coffee is served with delectable and unique white chocolate and lavender cookies.  Despite the very fine surroundings, Sault is refreshingly child friendly (whilst being carefully sensitive to other diners) supplying high chairs, crayons and books to entertain little minds.

Sault Restaurant - Daylesford

MUST DO

Need a break from all those massages and munchies? Oh, OK.

Daylesford

Convent Gallery

A former convent which now boasts a series of spaces; chapel, retail, café, gallerys, one penthouse accommodation and museum. Some untouched parts such as the hall next to the bell tower, formerly used as the nuns infirmary, gives you a glimpse of the past. Beautiful windows and atriums throughout flood the convent with light even on a wet and grey day.

Perhaps it’s a case of define intervention, but here we found the lightest and most delicious scones we’ve ever had. The genuinely amazing Morroccan orange cake, coffee and scrumptious teas are also worth a mention.

Of course, there is a major focus on art, with several of the spaces hosting numerous exhibitions as well as consignment pieces throughout the building with an emphasis on emerging artists.

Relaxed home-style accommodation is also available here in a separate house – monastiraki.com.au.

 

MUST HAVE

Don’t go home empty-handed! Take a little Daylesford with you.

Scones in Daylesford

The Mill Markets

Collectables antiques, vintage, fashion & industrial as far as the eye can see – sift through the kitsch for finds. Here’s where you’ll discover those treasures you’ll brag about to friends for years (and generations) to come.

Brick Lane Bazaar

An intriguing store selling true retro, collectables, vintage, vinyl and jewellery – not the usual junk you tend to find in many towns.

Gourmet Larder

Stock up here for a delicious weekend in.

Frangos and Frangos in Daylesford

MUST STAY

Daylesford may just be the world’s capital of gorgeous boutique accommodation options. We’ve narrowed it down to two of the best.

Frangos

Frangos and Frangos

Equal parts quirky and luxurious, this gorgeously boutique hotel is richly decorated in heavy fabrics, perfect for a decadent weekend in. If you’re a fan of interior design, you’ll love the adventurous stylings here… and if you love your first stay you can collect the set – each room is styled differently and all contain Jim Frangos pieces.

Lake House

It’s famous for a reason folks, not least because you can walk between the hatted restaurant and your room. Come. Stay. Find out why.

 

Download a large high-quality version of the map to print here – Daylesford – Must Map 

The bar at Cecconi's
Destination Dining, Eat & Drink

Cecconi’s: Melbourne’s Underground Secret

Melbournians are a spoiled bunch. When it comes to dining establishments, every single segment of the market is overflowing with options – fine dining, casual dining, breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between there are more choices than anyone could reasonably get through.

Only here could a restaurant as exquisite and long-standing as Cecconi’s successfully go under the collective radar. In fact, with it’s subterranean location in one of Melbourne’s most prominent laneways, a visit here makes you feel like you’ve truly unearthed one of the city’s best kept culinary secrets.

We were recently invited to celebrate the new at Cecconi’s as the restaurant and bar unveiled both their new fit out and Autumn menu. Spoonfuls of deliciousness for the foodies and design aficionados abound.

Images courtesy Tim O’Connor

A visit is, of course, essential. Just don’t leave without sampling an Aperol spritz, made in authentic Verona style, the duck, the risotto… oh, look, just go. Eat. Drink. Enjoy. Anything you pick will be spectacular.

If you’re not in Melbourne anytime soon however, the kitchen were kind enough to share their recipe for tiramisu for you to recreate at home. Get ready to impress.

Tiramisu at Cecconi's

Cecconi’s Tiramisu
Serves 10.

INGREDIENTS

Filling

75 grams castor sugar 200 ml Marsala
4 eggs
500 grams mascarpone 125 ml Galliano

Coffee mix

500 ml espresso coffee 125 ml Strega
125ml Kahlua 1-tablespoon sugar

Sponge finger biscuits 10 glasses
Cocoa, for dusting

page1image4712

METHOD
To make the filling, place sugar, Marsala and eggs in a metal bowl and whisk over a bain-marie until mixture thickens. Place the mixture into an electric mixer and continue whisking until cool.

In a separate bowl, soften the mascarpone with the Galliano and then add to the cooled egg mixture. Whisk together until the mixture reaches the consistency of whipped cream.

Combine all the coffee ingredients.

To assemble, soak the biscuits in the coffee mixture, then place at the bottom of each glass, forming the first layer. Spoon over some of the mascarpone mixture, then add another layer of soaked biscuits. Continue layering until all the ingredients have been used, ensuring that the last layer is mascarpone.

Dust with cocoa and serve.

Cecconi’s is located at 61 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia. Bookings can be made online.

Melbourne - home of some of the best restaurants in the world according to user reviews on Booking.com
Destination Dining, Travel

Foodie Capitals Of The World

Barcelona

Booking.com isn’t short a review so they recently decided to put all that juicy information to good use. If you’re a foodie, or better yet, a destination diner (that is, someone who’s willing to travel just for the food), you’ll want to know about this list. Ladies and gents, allow us to unveil the Booking.com list of the best foodie cities in the world.

To keep things a little fun, the cities are illustrated by photo only. To get the names you’ll need to scroll to the bottom. See if you can guess them all! We guarantee there are some here you haven’t thought of (click to enlarge)…

Best Foodie Cities In The World

How did you go? Here’s the list…

BEST GOURMET FOOD
Paris
Rome
Barcelona
BEST RESTAURANTS
London
Melbourne
New York
HEALTHIEST FOOD OPTIONS
Filzmoos
Obergurgl
BEST TRADITIONAL FOOD
Rome
Istanbul
Lisbon

 

Mister Zimi - Shot at Motel Mexicola
Boutique Budget, Destination Dining, Destination Drinking, Extreme Luxury, Travel

Must Map: Bali, Indonesia

Ah, Bali. If you’re Australian it’s easy to write off this idyllic location as an alcohol-soaked cheap getaway but as we recently discovered, it’s so very much more. To celebrate the first flight of their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, we joined Jetstar in Bali and unearthed more gems than can really fit on one map. When flights are Jetstar-priced, what’s stopping you from trying them all?

Presenting our Must Map for Bali… edition one!

The Lifestyle Department - Must Map - Bali

MUST TASTE
There are many local delights to be sampled when you’re in Bali, but if you’re used to enjoying an assortment of different cuisines, there’s no need to stop when you’re here.

Finn's Beach Club

Finn’s Beach Club – Uluwatu

BABA’s at Hu’s Bar (Seminyak)
South-east Asian cuisine, sumptuous cocktails and plenty of people watching in this enchanted garden. Don’t miss the laksa. 

Motel Mexicola (Seminyak)
For some good old-fashioned Mexican in er, Bali. Sit on the street, soak up the heat and knock back a taco and tequila or two.

Sea Circus (Seminyak)
If you’re thinking performing sea monkeys, you’re going to be disappointed. Neither a circus nor on the sea, Sea Circus is great for sipping, supping, brunching and lunching. Get to it.

Cafe Zucchini (Seminyak)
Cute little cafe sporting the sort of menu that wouldn’t be out of place in Melbourne or San Francisco. Easy choice when you’re up to your eyeballs on local cuisine.

Revolver Espresso (Seminyak)
Where is the good coffee in Bali? Here. Here it is. Down an alley, of course. 

Chandi Restaurant
Oh Chandi, your satay, your ginger sorbet, your jugs of cocktails, your private dining room and soothing air conditioning. Can we take you home?

Finn’s Beach Club (Uluwatu)
Imagine you could walk into one of those idyllic restaurants in magazines – built on the beach, surrounded by baby-blue warm waters and serving sumptuous food. You can, it’s Finn’s.

Ibu Oka (Ubud)
Do you love pork? Really, truly, love it? Then this is the place for you. It’s not fancy, but it is packed with enthusiastic locals gorging on pig.

Bebek Bengil AKA Dirty Duck Diner (Ubud)
Where do locals go for duck? Bebek Bengil, that’s where. Take a seat in your own private hut, share some dishes and take in the view of the rice paddy (and one curious, lonesome Bottle Brush tree).

 

MUST DO
Not one for kite surfing? No problem. No one in Bali will think any less of you for doing… well, nothing. 

Sundara Bali - Jimbaran Bay

Sundara Bali – Jimbaran Bay

Potato Head (Seminyak)
Everybody goes here. You should probably go once. People will ask if you went. There’s a pool and a bar and you can see the beach.

Sundara (Jimbaran Bay)
Happy Hour by a lotus flower just metres from the beach? Yes please. Sundara is part of the well-appointed (and charmingly gated) Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay.

 

MUST HAVE
There are now a plethora of gorgeous boutiques to choose from in Bali selling everything from clothing to homewares and art. Seminyak and Ubud are particular hotspots. Try these three on for starters.

Mister Zimi - Shot at Motel Mexicola

Australian / Indonesian label Mister Zimi – shot at Motel Mexicola

Mister Zimi (Seminyak)
A glorious accident if ever there was one (the name Mister Zimi is a mashup of husband-and-wife team Zoe and Jimi), Mister Zimi concocts the sort of pieces you’ll love to wear in Bali, and then keep on high rotation when you get home.

Enfant Paradis (Seminyak)
The Enfant Paradis store is a welcome relief from what can be sweaty, same-y shopping in Seminyak. Pick your way through the stepping stones and open the door to a mercifully air-conditioned, beautifully designed mecca of good smells.

Milo’s (Seminyak)
If you’re after a special something for your wardrobe to remember Bali by, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better quality than Milo’s. With Italian design, Italian fabric and Balinese production, it’s a match made in heaven.

MUST STAY
From budget to extreme luxury and everything in between, Bali has a player on every base.

Semara Uluwatu

Semara Luxury Villa Resort – Uluwatu

Hu’u Villas (Seminyak)
Ah, the perfect balance of island luxury (your own private pool), party time (your courtyard can be joined to next doors’ for happy hour) and details (the linen store is air conditioned to keep everything fresh as a daisy). When can we move in? Rooms from $295.00 USD per night. 

One Eleven (Seminyak)
Chic, minimalist and luxurious… if you get sick of all that serenity though, the hustle and bustle of Seminyak is but a moment away. Only 9 rooms and they start at around $580.00 USD per night.

Semara Luxury Villa Resort (Uluwatu)
Since you’ve saved all that cash on your flight with Jetstar, you may as well go all out on the accommodation. Snaffle yourself one of these villas. Options include massage / private chef / cable car rides to Finn’s. Stunning clifftop view of ocean mandatory. Suites start from $1,188.00 USD per night.

Uma by Como (Ubud)
For the side of Bali that isn’t about the beach, you can’t go past Uma by Como. Just 5 minutes’ drive from the centre of Ubud yet somehow in the middle of the forested volcanic mountains. Rooms start at approximately $216.00 USD a night.

Download a large high-quality version of the map to print here – Must Map – Bali.

Special thanks again to Jetstar for inviting us to join their celebration. Anytime you want to christen a new plane, you just let us know and we’ll be there with passport in hand. We’re selfless like that.

Brancott Estate Heritage Centre Risotto
Destination Dining, Destination Drinking, Eat & Drink

Recipe: Brancott Estate Fresh Vegetable Risotto

Brancott Vineyard in full flourish

If you’re visiting New Zealand’s exquisite Marlborough region, wine aficionado or not, Brancott Estate Heritage Centre is a must-visit. It would be an injustice to call the space anything less than a spectacular architectural feat, with state of the art -well- everything and sweeping views not just of the area, but on a clear day, New Zealand’s North Island some 80kms away too.

Of course, if you are bit of a wine fiend, Brancott offers a tasting experience you’ll seldom have the opportunity to do elsewhere. Here, you can try five wines, all made from the same grape variety under the same head winemaker, but grown in different areas and thus different conditions around Marlborough. Even if you’re only a casual connoisseur this is a tremendously interesting experience that allows you to see (well, okay taste) first-hand the astonishing difference temperature, soil and so forth plays in the winemaking process.

If you’re not lucky enough to be visiting Marlborough anytime soon, fear not because head chef Francis Nolan was kind enough to share with us his fresh seasonal vegetable risotto recipe which we can attest is absolutely delicious. Wash it down with a bottle of the Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (approximately $21.99 AUD). Perfection!

Brancott Estate Heritage Centre Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients for risotto

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups risotto rice
  • ½ cup chardonnay
  • 3 – 4 cups of seasonal vegetables, chopped (use whatever is in season, but they used capsicum, mushroom, asparagus, courgettes, and peas)
  • 3 – 4 cups of vegetable stock (recipe below if you’re feeling so inclined)
  • 150g butter
  • ¼ cup of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: pine nuts and goats cheese to serve

Ingredients for vegetable stock

  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium leek (white and green parts), rinsed and chopped
  • 1 medium rib celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • ½ medium turnip, chopped
  • ½ small tomato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 3-4 fresh parsley stems
  • 3-4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 whole clove

Method

Begin with preparing the vegetable stock, start with heating the oil over medium heat in a heavy–bottomed stock pot or soup pot.

Lower the heat, add the onion, leek, carrot, celery, turnip, tomato and garlic, and gently sauté, with the lid on, for about five minutes or until the onions are softened and slightly translucent. Don’t brown the vegetables.

Add the water along with the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, parsley and clove, bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Skim off anything that rises to the surface, then just let it simmer away.

Remove from heat; pour through a strainer into another large pot or container.

To make the risotto

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the onion until just starting to brown. Add the garlic and rice and stir gently but continuously for a minute or two. Add the chardonnay and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. Finally stir in the vegetables and three cups of stock.

Let the risotto simmer for 15 minutes stirring regularly, or until rice and veggies are cooked. As the liquid starts to reduce, you will need to increase stirring to ensure that the risotto doesn’t stick to the pan or burn. Add more stock as needed to prevent the dish becoming dry, or sticking. Add in butter and continue stirring constantly. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Brancott Estate Heritage Centre is located at 180 Brancott Road, Fairhall, RD2 Blenheim 7274 Marlborough. It’s open between 10am and 4.30pm seven days a week (excluding public holidays).

Auntsfield Vines
Destination Dining, Destination Drinking, Travel

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

If you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest you’ll know that The Lifestyle Department co-founders Sam and Charles were recently lucky enough to be invited to Marlborough in New Zealand. If you’ve glimpsed even one of the spectacular photos they took you’ve probably been wondering what would constitute a good excuse to get there yourself. Well you can stop the wondering right now because we have the excuse to end all excuses.

On Saturday the 8th of February 2014, Marlborough is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival. What started out 30 years ago as a little festival that was just about the wine has snowballed over the years to a spectacular celebration involving more than 60 wineries, literally hundreds of wines and grown to include food from local producers and prepared by celebrity chefs. There’s also an increasingly popular Fashion in the Vines competition and of course, music.

Tickets to the festival are $55.00 NZD plus booking fee and include access to the festival, the culinary pavilion and tastings (yum!).

For more information visit Marlborough Wine and Food Festival online or check out the gorgeous video they recently released, below (the soundtrack is Doo Bop by Iva Lamkum who will be at the 2014 festival).



Deliciousness at Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

Marlborough Wine Festival 2009

Sakura Royale cocktail - at Sake Restaurant and Bar for September only
Destination Dining, Destination Drinking

Cherry Blossom Festival – Australian Edition

Sakura Royale cocktail - at Sake Restaurant and Bar for September only

If you’re a bit of a Japanophile but aren’t heading to the land of bright lights, noodles, onsen and kawaii anytime soon, you’ll be rather pleased to know you don’t need to go without a dose of cherry blossom festival. Modern Japanese restaurant and bar Sake is celebrating the festival from 1 – 30 September 2013.

Throughout the month you’ll find special edition sake, cherry-themed cocktails (such as the Sakura Royale, $16.00 AUD, shown above) and pop-up dessert menu items. It probably goes without saying, but any celebratory month worth its salt has a few special events, and Sake has them in spades. We’re eyeing up the September 12 cooking masterclass in Melbourne ($120.00 AUD per person) with executive chef Shaun Presland and Melbourne chef Hyunchul Kim demonstrating a range of winning dishes including jalapeno salmon, tuna avocado salad and yosee nabe (it’s on in both Sydney and Brisbane too – check the Sake Bar and Restaurant website for dates).

Just as a little aside, we’re still talking about our most recent Sake discovery – steamed prawn dumplings ($19.00 AUD for 6 pieces). These near-perfect balls of deliciousness are inspired by the Chinese shumai and served with spicy ponzou dipping sauce. They’re unlike anything else we’ve ever tasted… and we’re pretty sure they’re the perfect bar snack to go with a limited edition cocktail.

For a full list of events, menu items and to book, visit the Sake Bar and Restaurant website.

 

Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Trail - Mr Mason
Destination Dining, Destination Drinking, Travel

Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Trail

Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Trail 2013 - Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons

If you follow us on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll know we recently discovered that duck and pinot noir are a match made in heaven. This may not be revelatory to you, but what may be news is the famed Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Trail is back to celebrate the winery’s latest Pinot Noir release, but only for the month of July.

Let us start this piece by saying that the hours we spent on the Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Trail in Melbourne added up to the most awesome evening we’ve had this year.

The premise is simple.

Make a series bookings at your selection of hand-selected restaurants that have joined the trail and enjoy an off-menu duck creation with a glass of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir at each one. Devour your duck, savour your pinot and move on to another restaurant to do it all again… and again… as many times as you like.

It’s like a cross-establishment tasting menu or degustation experience. You can choose as many restaurants or as few as you can manage, but know this… those glasses of pinot are not degustation pours. They’re the full deal. Not only will you get a taste of some delicious duck and more than palatable pinot, you will also get a sample of a restaurant or two that you may not have dined at before. Experience their ambience and service in a quick blast and then move on.

Best of all perhaps, this extravaganza is held in many countries around the world. You can find it in Australia, USA, New Zealand, Japan, China, Indonesia and Philippines. In Australia alone, restaurants have been selected to join the trail in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, Port Douglas, Mooloolaba, Townsville and Noosa Heads.

The Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Trail is supported with an interactive Facebook App through which you can see participating restaurants, the dish they are serving and prices (just click on the map) as well as creating your own event to which you can invite your Facebook friends. You will however, need to call each restaurant individually to make your booking once you’ve got your numbers sorted and somehow narrowed down your restaurant selection.

Prices vary depending upon the restaurant and location, but roughly speaking seem to average about $45.00 AUD per restaurant. The price includes a duck dish and a glass of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir. You can design your trail to be enjoyed for lunch or dinner and can be held in a single day as we did or across multiple days.

As long as you drink wine and eat meat (and even if you’re not typically a duck eater or pinot drinking), let it be said that the trail is worth the effort, worth the trip and definitely worth the splurge.

Visit the Cloudy Bay website to find out more about the winery or check out the Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Trail Facebook App to find out more about the restaurants involved.

 

Anada Restaurant - Fitzroy, Melbourne
Destination Dining, Travel

Bienvenido, Añada!

Anada Restaurant - Fitzroy, Melbourne

Think you know your dining scene? Let’s test your knowledge.

Imagine an upscale restaurant that is central to your nearest major city… that is not pretentious; serves fresh and (very) tasty food; has impeccable service; offers a comfortable environment, a six-page wine list; and is not going to send you broke. Give up?

Allow us to introduce Añada in Melbourne’s Fitzroy.

Whilst more than five years old, Añada (aan-ya-da) is one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets. Seating just 38 fortunate patrons at a time (usually in two sittings per night), Añada delivers fuss free dining in a space that could be your own living or dining room. It feels like home.

The Spanish and Moroccan inspired menu consisting of 18 tapas (single serve) and 11 raciones (shared plate) dishes is perfect for grazing your way through an evening. Sustainably sourced ingredients such as wild organic oysters and mussels add a feel-good factor to the taste good factor.

Our suggestion is to let the chef feed you. Añada’s $50.00 AUD (per person) tasting menu offers a selection of 9 tapas and raciones over four courses; and their $65.00 AUD (per person) option offers a selection of 12 premium tapas and raciones over six courses with dessert or cheese. Anada also offers a supper menu from 10pm til late, with jamon, cheeses, a new cocktail menu, and tailored ‘tap’ wines.

Añada is the perfect restaurant for travellers to Melbourne, or for date night, or for catching up with friends. Actually, it is the perfect restaurant for any reason at all.

If you’re not so geographically bless however, or you’d just like a sneak peek, you’re in luck as the head chef at Añada, Andrew Fisk has kindly shared the recipe for his famous and scrumptious grilled king prawns with mojo verde, soft eggs and brik.

Añada is located at 197 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.

Anada Restaurant - Fitzroy, Melbourne

 

Anada Restaurant - Fitzroy, Melbourne

 

Anada Restaurant - Fitzroy, Melbourne

 

Anada Restaurant - Fitzroy, Melbourne - Lamb

 

Anada Restaurant - Fitzroy, Melbourne