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Destination Drinking

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

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).


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.


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.

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.

Melbourne Coffee
Destination Drinking, Travel

Top 10 Coffee Cities

Trieste, Italy

Trieste, Italy made number 10 in the list of top 10 coffee cities around the world.


Living in Melbourne, I’ve all but given up on drinking coffee when I travel. It’s generally the time I switch to green tea to avoid total disappointment. It seems like no where else in the world can do coffee like we do in Melbourne, Australia. (OK, there are some exceptions – Italy sort of knows what they’re doing and there’s this one place in Indonesia…).

So it was very interesting when we received an email recently from saying they’d compiled the reviews of  travellers across their site and determined the top 10 cities in the world for this very delightful beverage.

The top of the list? Melbourne. [Insert self-five here]. There were however some surprises. No Florence? And a US destination?! The full list below… what do you think?

Top 10 Coffee Cities


Thank Krug It's Friday
Destination Drinking, Extreme Luxury

Thank Krug It’s Friday

Lui Bar Melbourne

Is there any better feeling than late on a Friday afternoon? The maximum amount of weekend and all its delicious possibilities still lies ahead… Whilst it can sometimes be tempting to slink home on a Friday evening, indulge in a bottle of something, your home delivery of choice and a movie, the sure-fire, proven* method for extending that weekend-eve feeling is a Friday night outing.

Now, drinks with your colleagues is almost always an option, but if you’re looking for something more special, allow us to introduce the latest in decadence from Krug. Originating at The Punch Bowl in London, the purveyors of fine Champagne have now teamed up with Lui Bar at Vue De Monde in Melbourne to bring you Thank Krug It’s Friday. Until the end of December you can enjoy a flute of Krug Grand Cuvee alongside a gourmet West Australian marron bun for $75.00 AUD (or $250.00 AUD for half a bottle).

Our little secret? It’s not just Fridays! Head on up any night of the week to indulge in this little luxurious delight. No reservations required.

Lui Bar is located at Vue De Monde, Rialto Tower, Level 55, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne. For more, visit:

Thank Krug It's Friday

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


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.


Atico Behind Bar
Destination Drinking, Travel

¡hola Atico


It’d be fair to say that Melbourne, Australia is famous for a few things. Coffee, graffiti art and without a doubt, sneakily-placed cocktail bars. So it seems utterly reasonable that the back of Fonda restaurant at the Windsor end of Chapel street should be home to the new speakeasy-esque tequila-friendly Atico.

All dim lighting, exposed lightbulbs and fish tacos, this isn’t your average tequila bar.

We hit Jim Sherry, co-founder of Tequila Tromba and Atico devotee with one of our 5 x 5 interviews to get the lowdown.

The Lifestyle Department: Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Jim Sherry: The growing popularity of Mexican food and drink in Australia is a great inspiration, because it lets us know that we are on the right track.

Also bars and bartenders contributing to the development of the tequila drinking culture.  Despite the recent trend, tequila is quite a traditional spirit; so to see young bartenders at cutting edge venues, serving innovative tequila creations is terrific.We at Tromba pride ourselves on tequila education, but it’s really down to the industry to pass these ideas on to their guests, and they are having a great influence on the international tequila conversation.

TLD: What do you want to be doing in five years?

JS: I’m doing it now, which is pretty cool. Introducing Tromba to tequila drinkers of all levels of experience and passing on our drinking philosophy and my general passion for the agave spirit.

Looking to the future, and hopefully we can achieve this within 5 years, I’d love to open the Tequila Tromba distillery and take the burgeoning trend of micro-distilling we are seeing with whiskey and gin, to the world of tequila.

TLD: Five essential cocktail cabinet ingredients?


  1. Tequila Tromba Blanco (obviously)
  2. Fresh limes (pretty hard to make a margarita without them)
  3. Agave syrup (impossible to make a Tommy’s margarita without it)
  4. Grapefruit bitters
  5. Matt Clarebrough, from Local Craft Spirits (if you can fit him into the cabinet)

TLD: Five people you’d like to share a drink with?


  1. Marco Cedano, Master Distiller of Tequila Tromba
  2. Any or all of Nick Reid, Eric Brass and Rodrigo Cedano, my partners in crime
  3. Don Javier from La Capilla, Tequila (tequila legend)
  4. Phil Bayly (tequila legend)
  5. Bill Murray (all-round legend)

TLD: Describe the cocktail menu at Atico in five words.

JS: Classic tequila. But not as you know it… (sorry, that’s 8 words). 

As if to prove this last point, Jim was kind enough to share a Tequila Tromba cocktail recipe with us for you to try. Trust us, it’s not what you think of when you think of tequila.


Atico Cocktail

Atico is located at 144 Chapel Street, Windsor. Walk confidently through the restaurant and up the stairs at the back… you’ll find it.