With Georgia Spanos
The Naked European
Towards the far end of Chapel Street Windsor, lives a European-style restaurant with an energetic, electric feel. Just judging by the name, you can be sure to expect some flare. Serving an array of European flavours – cheese stuffed zucchini flowers and meatballs in sugo from Italy, jalapeño poppers and chorizo from Spain – your dining experience is the perfect glimpse of Europe with Melbourne's added charm. Just recently, the restaurant welcomes its new specials nights hosting parmigiana night (Tuesday), steak night (Wednesday) and pasta night (Thursday). I dined here with a friend over the weekend to which we enjoyed an entraining evening of people watching while sipping on espresso Martinis and catching up – cocktails are just $12 at Happy Hour too.
The Lonsdale Street Greek Festival
Did you know that Melbourne is home to the largest Greek population of any city in the world (outside of Greece)? And what comes with lots of Greeks? Lots and lots and lots of Greek food. This weekend, the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival celebrates 30 years and you can only imagine the energy the street will encompass. Cypriot street food, souvlakis, baklava, calamari and that's just the first few I've read. After you've been overfed by Melbourne's Greek community, I don't doubt you'll find yourself forced to Zorba with a Greek family or two. Maybe you will even be crowned the 'Zorba Till You Drop Competition' champion. Yes, you assumed correctly, this is a non-stop dance competition – strictly Zorba.
Los Hermanos has loyally served us tacos for years now, refusing to close its doors until all late night wonderers are fed after a night out. Excitingly, in the coming months, the restaurant welcomes Tequila School. 'What's Tequila School?' you ask, well, I can assure you it's definitely as fun as it sounds. The Los Hermanos team along with a Tequila Master (which is not just a dude who won a tequila shot competition) teach why tequila making is nothing short of an art form, pairing samples of exotic tequila's with Mexican dishes designed to bring out the beauty of the tequila flavour. Tequila school also introduces us to the many types of mezcal which in Melbourne terms is just like single origin coffee, but instead of coffee beans, mezcal sources single origin agave plants. Ta-da-da-da-da-ta-da, Tequila.
Westside Ale Works
Casey Wagner aka Seattleite Master Brewer has proudly opened the doors of his quaint brewhouse Westside Ale Works in South Melbourne. The venue is instantaneously welcoming with its humble décor of leather couches, a blackboard menu and of course, Casey, the man himself, behind the bar. There's something so genuine about this brewery. It's particularly evident when Casey pours his beer for his guests, chats about his beer, and is even known to sit down and enjoy his beer with you too. Casey has cleverly created five beers inspired by America's West Coast – hence the name Westside Ale Works. The bar has become such a spot that the Golden Fleece pub next door has extended its serving parameters and created a special bar menu. Oh, and if you were after a take away long neck of Casey's craft beers, he is cool with that too.