Melbourne has established itself as a designer city, and not just at the top-end restaurants. Even our takeaway coffee counters are exquisite.

As our design expectations are raised, the flipside is that it’s becoming harder to distinguish the real deal from the clones. If your barista wears a leather apron, does that guarantee they’re making good coffee? Do Edison light bulbs equate to inventiveness?

And if a new cafe chooses not to pursue this now-familiar aesthetic, does it risk being overlooked?

In our cover story, Katya Wachtel interviews four leading Melbourne design studios, a prominent cafe owner and a successful restaurateur to find out where these design trends come from, why there is demand for them and what Melbourne will look like in coming years.

Also in this issue, Sofia Levin goes back in time to find out how six popular menu items got on our plates, Maddison Connaughton goes on a hunt to crack the best egg dishes in Melbourne (beyond breakfast) and Ben Knight shows us the best bottle shops at which to pluck a wine off the shelf and drink in-store. Speaking of boozing, Jesse Gerner of the newly opened Green Park shows us how one bottle of vermouth can double up to be in both your cocktail and your dinner.

Ben Hart reflects on the past five years of literary hub The Wheeler Centre, we play hooky at the gallery for our latest fashion shoot with photographer Saskia Wilson and stylist Stefanie Ingram and Georgia Booth hangs out with four ladies (each with a razor-sharp wit) from your new favourite folk-country band.

Read all about it and more in our brand-new autumn print issue. It's free and yours to keep.

Enjoy!

Tacey Rychter,
Editor.