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The Taste of Melbourne is finally here again. This would be my third year running in attending the festival and my first time there at the opening night!

Opening Night … It’s OPENING NIGHT … (in the tune of The Producers)

Sorry! I got a little excited with the event.

Yayy!!! Despite being ill (I’m on heaps of medication, so this is written when I’m really happy and high!) (Hence the over usage of exclamation marks), we managed to drop in for a visit to the event.

Let me regale you with the food we managed to sample from restaurants that we have had on our list. I did miss out on St.Katherine’s Fried Chicken and was really bummed out about this, as I was told many times by others that it was as absolute must have!

Of course I had to pay the Stokehouse stand a visit. I am in love with them at the moment. Unfortunately, I did miss out on the Espresso Martini this year. The Boy said I had to as I was sick 🙁

But we did have the very delicious Seared Scallops, Green Chilli Aioli, Almonds, and Celeriac Remoulade (12 Crowns). I highly recommend this dish if you love scallops. The crispy almonds really made this dish come to life.

We then dropped by Sarti and ordered the Slow Cooked Suckling Lamb, Pearl Barley Salad and Truffled Pecorino (12 Crowns). Surprisingly, the Boy (who does not like lamb) enjoyed this dish more than I did.

The problem I had with this was that it was really dry. Sure the meat was tender, but I felt that it could have done with a little sauce or gravy (jus, if you fancy 😛 )

As we walked around upstairs, we found The Millswyn. I had the beautifully Cured Regal King Salmon with Pickled Daikon, Lime and Vanilla Cucumber (10 Crowns). This was really delicious. The salmon tender, and the pickled vegetables very refreshing.

The Boy had to order this when he saw the The Millswyn menu.

10-Hour Braised Beef Cheeks with Beetroot, Spinach and Field Mushrooms (12 Crowns).

He mentioned that the beef cheeks were nice and tender (mostly due to the 10 hour long braise). The Boy compared upon the similarities to Maze’s ‘Tongue & Cheek’. It was close to it. Beetroot and mushroom made a nice accompaniment, adding the juicy and sweet factor to the dish.

Remembering the great dining experience I had at Libertine’s late last year, I convinced the Boy to stop at the Libertine & Le Traiteur stand.

We ordered the ‘Toulouse Cassoulet’ – Confit Duck, Garlic Sausage and White Beans, Oven Baked (12 Crowns), and happily declared this to be the dish of the night for us and would happily sit in front of the fire eating this heart warming dish.

We did quite well considering we had munched all the way throughout the festival on free samples and drinks in and around the show.

To see more of what we ate and what we saw, please view the gallery below.

On our journey around the Taste of Melbourne event, we found Luxbite and their amazing showcase Macaron Tower 🙂

Untill Next Year… I can’t wait to head back to the 5th Taste of Melbourne event!

Notes and Tips:
Save time queuing, go online at and pre-purchase tickets, crowns and special offers. What are crowns? Crowns are the currency to pay for the food (works like coupons at a fair; so $1 = 1 Crown).

So these are the details you will need to read if you would like to attend the Taste of Melbourne 2011.

Loosen your belts and bring forth gluttony (only a little bit of course)!

WHAT:      Taste of Melbourne – Melbourne’s Ultimate Tasting Menu
WHEN:      Thursday 15 September – Sunday 18 September 2011
WHERE:   Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, Nicholson Street, Carlton
PRICE:       Advance Tickets start from $25.00 (or $30.00 at the door)

Session Time                                              Afternoon Session                  Evening Session
Thursday 15 September                                      –                                       5.30pm – 9.30pm
Friday 16 September                              12.00pm – 4.00pm              5.30pm – 9.30pm
Saturday 17 September                         12.00am – 4.00pm              5.30pm – 9.30pm
Sunday 18 September                            12.00pm – 5.00pm

Taste of Melbourne Tips
Start early. Plan your day. Wear loose comfortable clothing :) Average spend per person (if you’re not too greedy like me) would be around $40 per person (entree, main, dessert, and a drink). We did spend around $60 for the both of us this time, but we didn’t have anything to drink and shopped on produces with cash/credit (some of the stalls do except cash/credit).

You could also walk around and sample all the different types of food and wine showcased by the different producers and wine makers. We had Regal Salmon, Meats from AusFresh, Teas, Coffee, Alcohol, Wine, Cheese, etc.

Check the Taste of Melbourne website to keep yourself updated on the timetables and events/cooking demonstrations which are being held. For example, Gourmet Traveller Taste Kitchen is where you can expect cooking demonstrations from your favourite chefs, while the Gourmet Traveller Chef’s Table is where you get the opportunity to have an informal chat with your favourite chef over a glass of wine. Both events have limited spaces and are on a first-come-first-serve basis. So check the schedule/timetable and organise your day if you don’t want to miss out.

Lastly, enjoy and have fun :)

Getting There
Off street parking is available or you could park in the Melbourne Museum carpark.

Alternatively, you could catch a train to Parliament station and take a leisurely stroll to Carlton Gardens or catch the tram 86 or 96 :)