Let’s eat: the latest in hospitality news

18th January 2021 | Eativity editors

Most of us are back into the swing of things after a nice break, and this includes the stars of our hard-working hospitality industry. New and revamped menu offerings are being created for hungry diners looking for something a little different, while a focus on locally- and ethically-sourced produce remains at front of mind for our creative and innovative chefs. We check out some of the latest news on the restaurant scene, including a new Melbourne cafe that specialises in cheese toasties (oh, yeah) and ethical eating; a plant-based menu that showcases local NSW produce; and a dining collaboration that offers Melbournites gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners with a modern Indian twist.

There’s a new cowboy cafe in town

Few meals truly hit the spot like a fresh, gooey toasted sandwich and a well-made coffee. Slinging exceptional brews and toasties that will have you re-thinking the Aussie staple, Prahran’s newest cafe, Head Honcho, is out to prove just that.

Sitting in a secluded spot just off Chapel Street, Head Honcho is the brainchild of James “Chooka” Pettenon and Fintan Redmond – two hospitality young guns with a passionate focus on their product, the community and the positive effect they can have along the supply chain. The team proudly serves ethically-sourced and expertly roasted beans from Rumble Coffee Roasters, with milk from inner-Melbourne’s only micro-dairy, St David Dairy.

Keeping in line with the cafe’s intimate nature, the menu consists of seven toasted sandwich creations. Although the selection may be limited, these are far from your average corner-store sambo. For cheese lovers, wrap your hands around the Greenhorn – a moreish, three-cheese trifecta stuffed with Swiss gruyere, Australian mozzarella and cheddar.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can’t go past the Vaquero, a Tex Mex-inspired toastie filled with black beans, avocado, smoked scamorza, jalapenos, red onion, tomato puree and crunchy, spiced corn from Savour & Grace. Or for those with a sweet tooth, go for the Cowprint, which oozes a gooey choc-hazelnut and white chocolate filling. The milk loaf from STREAT bakery perfects each toastie, adding the perfect crunch to every bite.

A new age of hospitality at Mister Percy

Sydney vegetarian neighbourhood wine bar Mister Percy has been given a new year shake-up. The 100 percent vegetarian, produce-led neighbourhood nook has welcomed Head Chef Courtney Blyde and Venue Manager Antonio Di Munno, who will lead a fresh chapter of heartfelt hospitality within the walls of this centuries-old wool store.

Blyde (Mary’s Pizzeria, The Apollo, Cho Cho San) will draw his influence from fresh local produce sourced through family-owned and -operated Farmer and Son. He’ll see Mister Percy’s carefully handpicked wine list pair perfectly with a produce-led, vegetarian bistro-style menu designed to share with a selection of small and big plates, sides and sweets.

Signature dishes include vinegar glazed onions, sour cream and nut loaf, which is inspired by the classic flavour combination of sour cream and onion, and served with a side of Blyde’s mother’s very own more-ish nut loaf.

Blyde’s new menu is part of Ovolo’s commitment to going vegetarian for 365 days in all its restaurants and bars. As part of Ovolo’s “Year of the Veg”, Mister Percy’s food will celebrate fresh and locally-sourced produce, ethical eating and conscious cuisine.

Collaboration between Pope Joan City and ISH

Melbourne’s Pope Joan City will re-open its doors today, following a temporary closure due to last year’s extended COVID-19 restrictions. To celebrate its return, Pope Joan has joined forces with Gertrude Street Indian restaurant ISH to create PopeISH: a six-week collaborative menu of classic PJ all-day dishes, inspired by the flavours of India.

For breakfast, think Kejriwal Mumbai-style eggs with truffle cheddar and spring onion; Punjabi Bhurji with spiced chilli, tomato and onion; and Parsi three-egg omelette with spiced pork sausage, scamorza cheese, tomato green chilli and potato rosti.

Lunchtime will see PJ’s signature sandwiches still reigning supreme, but with a special ISH twist. Diners can still nab everyone’s favourite Pope Reuben, but it’s got some serious competition with PopeISH newcomers like masala fried chicken sando; Fillet o’ISH and Vada Pav – deep-fried potato dumpling on a homemade milk bun.

Plates of cured kingfish, garden salad and vegie terrine are also on hand, along with sweet mouthfuls of Ansari Indian ice-cream or Pope Joan’s beloved rice pudding and cake trolley.

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