A new lodge in the middle of (the most beautiful) nowhere. A room full of 100 giant skulls. Exceptional Japanese breakfasts. And more. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Tomas Telegramma is checking out in Melbourne in May.
Join the food “scrap” revolution
Parcs, the small but mighty new wine bar and diner by the Sunda and Aru team, is doing things differently. And excellently. Leading the charge is boundary-pushing chef Dennis Yong, who’s worked in some of Melbourne’s most notable kitchens, including Sunda, Amaru and Tulum. He wants to challenge how we think about food waste, so he’s creating clever, considered dishes with produce other restaurants might toss aside – or overlook altogether. (Seventy per cent of the menu is made from “scraps”, ranging from cucumber peels to the outer leaves of cos lettuce, to on-the-cusp mangoes.) Beeline for the signature “umami e pepe”, a riff on cacio e pepe that flips the cheesy, peppery pasta dish on its head with a secret recipe centred around miso made from leftover bread.
Set up camp
Overdue for a camping trip? Or just want to get away on a shoestring? Escape the city, pitch a tent and take in breathtaking coastlines, rugged mountain ranges and secluded bushland at these 13 new (and 28 upgraded) campsites across Victoria. Among them: seven new hike-in destinations along the Grampians Peaks Trail, which is finally fully open after more than a decade. It might just be Victoria’s most spectacular hike. And, while far from rudimentary, there’s also some impressive new hiker lodgings by Aussie designers McGregor Coxall and Noxon Giffen – these have one hell of a view. For more Victorian camping inspo, consult our guides on where to camp by the water and where to (legally) camp in a van.
Cook like Yiayia Next Door
The Yiayia Next Door story is a wholesome one – a Greek grandmother hoisting home-cooked meals over the back fence to two Melbourne brothers. But what you might’ve seen on Instagram is just the tip of the iceberg. It was when Luke and Daniel Mancuso lost their mother that their remarkable neighbour started cooking to help them cope. I recently visited the trio to find out how their unlikely friendship turned into a beautiful cookbook – a triumph in the face of tragedy dedicated to their mum’s legacy. The book has comforting classics like spanakopita and moussaka, hearty chicken and rice, and a special recipe their mum taught Yiayia how to make. I can’t wait to start working my way through it.
See these art shows
This month, you can explore the NGV, ACMI and more – after dark – at a new, mostly free festival, which sees the return of the room of 100 giant skulls that Melbourne-born artist Ron Mueck presented at the NGV Triennial in 2017. Also, a major photo festival, which only happens every two years, is taking over iconic Melbourne sites; there are large-scale installations at Old Melbourne Gaol and a show on visionary fashion photographer Helmut Newton – dubbed the “king of kink” – who shot Grace Jones, Claudia Schiffer and even Margaret Thatcher. Plus, an Aussie artist is turning an Armadale gallery into a milk bar (of sorts) for his latest exhibition, The Milk Bars Are on Me. His works are nostalgic and seriously hyperreal.
Have breakfast, Japanese style
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Broadsheet Melbourne readers love Japanese food. But your obsession runs deeper than the ubiquitous, which was just reinforced by the huge response to a recent story about Kissaten, a cosy Japanese-inspired cafe – in leafy Alphington surrounds – where your big brekkie comes in ramen form. It’s earned its place on our guide to the best Japanese cafes in Melbourne, which includes some (like Kissaten) taking an unconventional approach and others sticking to tradition. All, though, are delicious. Two of our ride-or-dies – both doing classic Japanese breakfasts of grilled fish, miso soup, steamed rice and a myriad sides – include Carlton’s Ima Project Cafe (you’ll have to line up on weekends, but it’s always worth it) and Collingwood’s Cibi.