What’s new in Aussie food this week?

20th November 2020 | Eativity editors

As Melbourne emerges from an endless strict lockdown (sorry, South Australia), the hospitality industry is also gearing up to welcome back diners. While every Melbourne eatery deserves a shout out, we’ve picked two that have reimagined themselves while stuck in a COVID-induced hiatus. We’ve also found two Melbourne food industry achievers who’ve managed to make some waves this year, and score some much-needed recognition.

Of course, nights in will still be fairly common for the foreseeable future, no matter where you live, so we’ve found a few foodie delights you can enjoy at home, brought to you by the ever charming Adam Liaw. And since no meal is complete without dessert, we’ve also got some sweet news from a couple of Aussie favourites.

In little over a year of operation, Ostēr has formed a loyal network of dedicated diners.

Hosting back on the menu for Ostēr Eatery

Ostēr Eatery was named for the Italian word “to host”. For owners Osvaldo Tognella and Nicola Romano, it’s been a long time waiting to return to what they do best.

On November 4, after months of forced hiatus, the Melbourne restaurant welcomed back diners with a slew of newly imagined dishes. Months of lockdown in 2020 were fruitfully spent by head chef and co-owner Nicola Romano, who has finessed an all-new menu inspired by his northern Italian roots.

But Ostēr alumni will be pleased to see the venue’s signature dish of casoncelli – silky plump pillows of pasta from Lombardy – remains, with a twist. Romano pipes the pasta with brown butter, grated breadcrumbs, vegetable stock and Heidi Tilsit – a rich, dense cheese with a nutty overtone. A light Heidi Tilsit foam covers the dish, which is then topped with crispy pork sausage meat and fried sage.

Ostēr Eatery is located at 76-78 Bridge Road, Richmond. For more info or to book, head to ostereatery.com.au

Riché will offer old favourites along with some new Asian delights.

Riché arrives to revitalise Richmond

Also to be found on Bridge Road is Riché – a creative, Asian-inspired eatery set to become Melbourne’s next destination cafe. Previously known as OTTO Fine Food and Coffee, co-owners Alger Liu and Allen Goh saw the business’s slower days caused by COVID-19 as an opportunity to rethink their position and “launch a more location and demographic-specific brand and offering” to suit the needs and tastes of Richmond locals. The result is Riché: a trendier, more elevated dining experience that still retains its core philosophy of bringing the best in food, coffee and service.

While still serving typical brunch fare, Riché’s menu also boasts luxurious, restaurant-quality dishes with strong Thai and Chinese influences. Riché has also launched special DIY kits, so people can recreate some of the eatery’s signature dishes at home.

Riché is located at 3/189 Bridge Road, Richmond. For more info or to book, head to riche3121.com.au

The Lilydale masterclass series was inspired by the surge in home cooking this year.

Join Adam Liaw on a road trip, or a masterclass

Small towns are at the heart of regional Australian life. The worst bushfires Australia had seen in a century devastated many of these areas over the 2019-20 summer, affecting lives and livelihoods. In his new series Adam Liaw’s Roadtrip for Good, the popular cook unearths some of the best food Australia has to offer, making mouth-watering Asian-inspired dishes with the produce he collects along the way.

Liaw is also inviting Aussies into his kitchen as part of the Dedication You Can Taste virtual cooking masterclass series in partnership with Lilydale. The exclusive cooking class is open to the public, but only to the first 250 registered RSVPs. Attendees will cook Liaw’s own creamy chicken saagwala and have the opportunity to ask questions along the way.

Adam Liaw’s Roadtrip for Good premieres on SBS Food Wednesday December 2 at 8:30pm. The series is available after broadcast on SBS On Demand.

Liaw’s Dedication You Can Taste masterclass will be held on November 26 from 6:30 to 7:30pm. You can register here.

Mr Yum lets you dine out without having to handle any cash or menus.

Aussie food achievers recognised

David Zahlan of Melbourne’s Alexanders Fruit Market has been chosen as one of 20 LinkedIn Top Voices 2020, in recognition of driving the conversation in a changing industry.

Alexanders Fruit Market has attracted attention due to Zahlan’s novel approach to social media and marketing, never seen before in grocery retailing. Through sharing “slice of life” moments and insights into the industry, and connecting with colourful characters around the shop, he’s become a hit with the public and professionals.

Zahlan has amassed over 10,000 followers on LinkedIn, 7000 likes on Facebook, and has seen a total reach of over 7 million views since the beginning of 2020.

Also in Melbourne, start-up Mr Yum has been included alongside five multinational tech giants in a $20 million Victorian government program that will help businesses rebuild after lockdown and prepare for “COVID normal”.

Mr Yum provided a solution for dining in a pandemic through a digital menu and contactless ordering. By scanning a QR code or tapping an NFC chip, the web-based platform lets customers register for contact-tracing, then order food and pay via their smartphones, reducing contact with staff and eliminating the need to handle cash or menus. 

Same delicious lollies, with just a touch more cultural sensitivity.

Nestlé announces new product names

Shakespeare famously penned the line, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, and it seems this theory also works with lollies. Nestlé has confirmed Red Ripper and Cheekies as the new names of its Allens Red Skins and Chicos lollies. The announcement follows Nestlé’s decision to change the names due to overtones which were “out of step with the company’s values”.

Red Ripper and Cheekies will appear on-shelf in early 2021.

Light up a homesick Aussie’s day with a sweet care package.

Tim Tam sends a taste of home to Aussies abroad

Around 25,000 Australians will be stuck abroad without a way home this Christmas. If you know someone who’ll be missing home, why not send them a special Aussie treat?

Tim Tam will be sending 100 care packages to Australians stuck overseas. Each care package will include a Christmas-wrapped pack of Tim Tam Original biscuits, a reusable hot beverage cup to use for the iconic “Tim Tam Slam” ritual, a chocolate-scented Tim Tam candle and a pair of warm and fuzzy Tim Tam socks.

To win a care package for a friend or loved one, find this post on the Tim Tam Instagram page or this post on the Tim Tam Facebook page. Nominate and tag a deserving Aussie that’s far from home to receive a free Tim Tam pack, simply by commenting on the post.

Winners will be notified by Tim Tam on Instagram to confirm delivery details.