Southgate is home to fifteen diverse restaurants, bars and eateries with cuisines ranging from German to Tasmanian to modern European. As most of Melbourne chases the sun north of the equator, Southgate’s stable of international chefs, bartenders and venue managers share their favourite destinations to get you dreaming of your next getaway.
Rome, sweet Rome.
There is no place like Rome and La Camera’s Venue Manager Paul Scidone has no shortage of magnificent places to visit whilst on an Italian getaway.
“I first visited Rome when I was five years of age and even though I am a little biased as my family are all there, it’s still the most amazing place to visit,” says Paul. “I never get sick of sitting in any of the main piazzas in Rome. Piazza Di Spagna, Fontana Di Trevi, Piazza Novona, Campo di Fiore, Il Panteon, Il Colloseo…the list goes on! You could literally spend a whole day in each of the piazza and see the world go by.”
One of Paul’s fondest memories of a trip to Rome with his family was in 2013 when he decided to make an everlasting memory with his kids, setting up mini nets in all the main piazzas in Rome, hitting it out in front of bemused spectators. “We nearly got arrested twice, but it was well worth it!!” says Paul.
In 2004 Paul and his brother Lino, along with Arbel El Sharafy, decided to go on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Since then La Camera, which has been family owned and operated since opening, has been one of Melbourne’s sought out location for a truly unique Roman-style pizza. While their famous recipes are disclosed only during their cooking classes, Paul shares a traditional version of their pizza dough recipe, which instantly transports him back to Rome.
La Camera’s Traditional Pizza Dough Recipe:
Recipe for 1 L water using fresh yeast:
Please place into a mixing bowl
1 litre of tap water
10 gr of fresh yeast
2/3 of 1.8 kg of bakers flour
Add last 1/3 or less until dough have right look and feel (about 3-5 minutes of mixing)
Add 30 gr of cooking salt (about 3-5 minutes of mixing)
Add 30 gr of extra virgin olive oil (3-5 minutes)
The dough must look nice and firm, smooth, not too dry not too wet, sticky enough to leave mixing bowl clean, must have no sign of air bubbles inside.
Dough must rest 30 minutes before you start portioning it and dough balls must rest outside of fridge 4 hours for immediate use or 30 minutes for next day/days use.
The luck of the Irish
Southgate’s iconic Irish pub P.J.O’Brien’s has long been a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Venue Manager Cian O’Neill last visited the Emerald Isle over the Christmas break. Just outside Ireland’s capital of Dublin is the glacial valley of Glendalough. “Glendalough is a small village built around a Monastery that is quite amazing and has some brilliant and beautiful views of the countryside,” says Cian.
Cian suggests taking some time out to visit the countless Distilleries; most recently the Teeling Distillery, which opened in the centre of Dublin and celebrates Dublin’s long association with Irish Whiskey. Not far from Teeling is the Guinness Storehouse. “The Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate is also a great little tour as it is the original brewery of Guinness,” says Cian.
When back in Melbourne, Cian sips on a Hot Whiskey to remind him of home. “It is a very simple recipe to make and it’s the perfect way to warm up a cold winter’s evening,” says Cian.
P.J.O’Brien’s Hot Whiskey
1 tsp sugar
Slice of lemon
Miyako Japanese Cuisine & Teppanyaki offers an authentic Japanese experience by master chef Francis Ng who has trained extensively with Japanese head chefs. Francis recommends visiting Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido. It’s bustling capital Sapporo is Japan’s fifth largest city and is known for its beer offering and exceptional skiing conditions. In winter, Hokkaido’s wild natural landscapes and sensational powder snow are popular with skiers, while in summer, adventure seekers visit for the scenic canoeing and fishing on Lake Kussharo, hiking up Mount Asahi, the hot springs in Toya Onsen and the lavender fields of Biei. And of course, there is the food. Francis’ insider tip is to try the fresh hairy long leg crabs. “There is no other place that can serve them as fresh and tasty,” says Francis.
For authentic Japanese cuisine with a view without the need for a passport, Miyako’s stunning location offers beautiful views over the Yarra and city skyline with the option to try the theatrical experience provided by the teppanyaki chefs as they juggle utensils and set food on fire whilst preparing your meal.
Francis brings a little taste of the Japanese magic to Melbourne with a dish perfect for winter: Aka Miso Nikomi Ramu 赤みそ煮込みラム (Braised lamb in aka miso). Miso means “fermented beans” in Japanese and there are hundreds of different types of miso. In Miyako’s dish, “Miso” or dark red miso is made from a higher proportion of soybeans and is fermented for up to 3 years, giving it a saltier and deeper umami flavor. As a fermented food, miso provides the gut with beneficial bacteria that helps to stimulate digestion and energise the body especially during winter when the human body is slower in digestive absorption. Lamb is energy tonic in winter as it can improve blood circulation and warm up the body from the inside. The lamb is the dish is slow cooked for 4 hours in the dark red miso and accompanied by vinaigrette pickled cabbage.