posted in: Casino, Local, Restaurant on November 20, 2014




The Star, 80 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont 2009
(02) 9777 9000 or

Pizzaperta is the combined creative vision of Italian architect Vince Squillace, the Godfather of modern Italian cuisine in Australia Stefano Manfredi and restaurateur Julie Manfredi Hughes.

Pizzaperta will be the visual fireplace of The Star Sydney, emanating a warm earthy glow from the entrance of the modern glass casino. Exposed brickwork, natural timber and the central wood-fired pizza oven will extend an inviting glow to locals and visitors in the Pyrmont area.

Squillace was inspired by contemporary Italian dining spaces during a five-month family sojourn to Rome earlier this year, most notably by the capital’s Gusto restaurant, an institution in that city and one of the world’s first industrial restaurants.


posted in: Hotel, Local on November 14, 2014




The Langham, Sydney

89-113 Kent St, Millers Point 2000
(02) 9256 2222 or

The Langham closed its famous Kent Street doors in July, 2014 to undertake a $30 million grand transformation. It will re-open this December.

International design firm GA Design, has worked direct from London with luxury building experts ICMG and The Langham Executive Team.

“GA’s vision, in conjunction with The Langham brand power, is set to create a new addition to the Sydney luxury sector that will transcend the market,” says General Manager Sonia Lefevre.

“No expense has been spared in creating this elegant harbourside retreat for our guests.”


posted in: Alfresco, Local, Uncategorized on November 14, 2014

lady on boat


Star Clippers

(02) 8913 0797 or

Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers has launched its 2015/16 programme, featuring romantic cruises from three to 24 nights on its three stunning true sailing ships, with sailings between November 2014 to March 2016.

Star Clippers operates three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels. Visiting ports often untouched by larger cruise ships and offering passengers the activities, amenities and atmosphere of a private yacht, Star Clippers is recognised as one of the premier speciality cruise lines.

Passengers can enjoy the romance of sailing on board a true tall ship in a relaxed atmosphere with high standards of service provided by an attentive crew. All three ships have expansive teak decks, swimming pools, informal dining, a Tropical Bar on deck and a piano bar. They are large enough to offer first class accommodation and dining, but small enough to call into intimate ports, untouched by large cruise ships.

The two smaller ships, Star Flyer and Star Clipper, take 170 passengers each, with a crew of 74, while Royal Clipper carries 227 with a crew of 106.

The three ships will sail in the Caribbean in winter (Star Clipper from St Maarten, Royal Clipper from Barbados and Star Flyer from Cuba) and in the Mediterranean and Aegean in summer. In addition, there are one-off sailings between Barbados and Panama (on Star Flyer); transatlantic crossings on all three ships in spring and autumn; and mini-cruises in the Mediterranean from three to five nights in addition to the longer sailings.

Find destination information at the Star Clippers website.


posted in: Hotel, Local, Resort on November 14, 2014

Mercure Gold Coast Resort - lobby

Mercure Gold Coast Resort - refurbished room image

Mercure Gold Coast Resort

Palm Meadows Drive, Carrara QLD 4211
(07) 5555 7700 or

The Mercure Gold Coast Resort is set for a major renaissance following the completion of a dramatic multimillion dollar hotel upgrade this month.

The extensive redesign and upgrade is the first major renovation at the property since it opened its doors almost 17 years ago amidst the Gold Coast’s “Green Belt” and five affiliated championship golf courses – Lakelands, Palm Meadows, Robina Woods, Colonial and The Glades.

General Manager Jamie O’Donnell, says the enhancements reinforce Mercure Gold Coast Resort’s strong position in driving a new generation of sports tourism and business for the region, beyond the beach and hinterland.

“Astounding guests with the transformation and restoring the hotel to its former glory is a project I’ve been very proud to lead,” says O’Donnell. “We’re delighted with the result, and Mercure is now poised to reclaim its place as one of the region’s premier sports, events and leisure destination hotels”.


posted in: Local, People, Pub on November 13, 2014



Grosvenor Hotel

10 Brighton Rd, St Kilda East 3183
(03) 9531 1542 or

Veteran publican Rabih Yanni has taken over Grosvenor Hotel in St. Kilda, following the successful sale of The Point Albert Park earlier this year. Yanni has made subtle changes to the menu, drinks list and culture, to fit his philosophy of sharing and celebrating over food and wine, and has some more changes in the pipeline.

The Grosvenor Hotel is building a solid reputation among meatlovers and today races through 200 kilograms of beef per week. While the kitchen’s commitment to sourcing, ageing and preparing premium cuts continues to develop, Yanni is focusing on 100per cent natural, grass-fed Victorian beef, with a loyalty to Gippsland. Steaks are dry aged for 40 days to achieve maximum flavour.

Adding to the attraction of the local, will be a general food store. Yanni is dedicated to offering conveniences to his patrons and the store will provide a range of produce, from cold-pressed juices and gourmet cheese with bread from local baker Danny Chirico, to the Grosvenor’s own beef cuts and 7 Apples gelato.


posted in: Function Space, Local on November 10, 2014

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Alto Event Space

GPO Building, Cnr Elizabeth and Bourke Sts, Melbourne 3000
(03) 9281 1400 or

Alto is unveiling its new interiors following a refurbishment by Kate Hannaford of Moth Design. Kate, who works across a range of design disciplines, was briefed to create a space that was multifaceted yet pared back, allowing brides and event planners to project their own aesthetic and theme.

Positioned on the top floor of the iconic GPO building, the new event space draws its inspiration from the panoramic views of the city skyline. Embracing a variety of textures and hues – something that has become Moth Design’s trademark – the key element of the design is brass. With its sculptural weight and reflective qualities, brass is a fantastic metal to work with. It not only casts a warm and inviting glow, but it also infuses the space with glamour, timelessness and artisanship.

The new Alto event space comprises a versatile floor plan and a huge outdoor terrace. Lofty ceiling heights and floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide a perfect backdrop of the city lights. Complementing the interiors is food and styling by Damm Fine Food.


posted in: Bar, Café, Industry, Local, Restaurant on November 7, 2014

Some of the thoroughly engaged crew at Hophaus in Melbourne's Southbank

Some of the thoroughly engaged crew at Hophaus in Melbourne’s Southbank

Story: Dave Upson

It’s interesting talking to venue Managers and Owners about the challenges of running a profitable operation. Often the conversation swings towards the need to keep wage costs down and various other expense reduction strategies. A lot of analysis is done around the percentages of wages and margins. Of course monitoring costs is critical in a successful operation but is it sometimes done to the exclusion of raising revenue?

This kind of management is reactive rather than proactive. They will certainly take the time to “counsel” a Supervisor who lets the service staff stay on roster for too long but may overlook the opportunity of training the team to sell more product. If our strategy changed to focus on increasing the revenue from the existing patrons the wage cost percentages would naturally improve. Getting new customers in the door is a tough gig when compared to increasing the spend-per-visit of our existing patrons. The best marketers we have are our service team if they are trained to perform properly.

• genuinely engage with the customers

• identify opportunities to enhance their experience

• make that customer feel like they belong in your venue

Guests do not visit our establishments because they are hungry or thirsty. There are so many options in today’s consumer driven world and that makes it more important to stand out. What people are looking for is an experience and the human players in that exchange are critical. Food, beverage and surroundings can be swiftly devalued if the service team is not delivering what your venue promises. Loyal customers return because they remember how they felt during previous visits. Encourage your team to “play the part” of the best character that they can be in the unique experience of visiting your establishment.

Dave Upson is Managing Director of Train My Venue online hospitality and tourism training


posted in: Café, Global on October 15, 2014




Sisterfields Cafe

Kerobokan, Bali

Melbourne architecture and interior design practice Travis Walton Architecture (TWA) has been shortlisted for both the prestigious FX International Interior Design Awards and the IDEA ‘Designer of the Year’ Awards.

The firm is being recognised for its Sisterfields hospitality project in Bali. According to TWA Director Travis Walton, the brief was to create a venue that would appeal to the sophisticated international traveller and complement the luxurious surroundings, while maintaining a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors.

“The final design consists of a series of ‘pockets’ that flow seamlessly into one another, including a bright front terrace and entranceway, an airy interior dining space and a private courtyard,” Walton says.


posted in: Club & RSL, Function Space, Local on October 14, 2014

20140112 Bellwood Clubhouse1-

20140112 Bellwood Clubhouse--9

20140112 Bellwood Clubhouse--10


789 Botany Rd, Rosebery NSW 2018
(02) 9669 2828 or

The Clubhouse is situated in the up-and-coming social neighbourhood of Rosebery and linked to Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Headquarters, drawing inspiration from Surf Life Saving’s long and rich history. The interiors were designed by Bellwood Group.

Unlike the beachside feel typically found in a clubhouse setting, the bite, liquor and coffee venue is located within a mixed use area compromising of residential, commercial and industrial developments. The area is perfectly situated to welcome a venue of this nature, providing a typical Clubhouse environment and social setting for patrons.

Surf Life Saving Australia has had a strong community focus since 1907, and this along with looking back from the sea towards the city inspired the conceptual design of the Clubhouse. The venue is designed to provide the industrialised community with an environment they would generally feel when walking into a clubhouse amongst family, friends and neighbours.


posted in: Bar, Function Space, Local, Restaurant on October 7, 2014



The Wine Chapel

Burch Family Wines, 543 Miamup Rd, Cowaramup WA 6284
(08) 9756 5200 or

The Wine Chapel nestles companionably next to the existing Howard Park Cellar Door at Burch Family Wines holdings in Margaret River’s Cowaramup. It’s a premium wine tasting space, the only facility of its kind and is expected to boost the high-end tourism market’s thirst for personalised wine experiences.

“This is a place to come to share and build wine knowledge and experience the Margaret River’s rich history,” says Burch Family Wines’ co owner Amy Burch.

“It is designed for those who are looking for that little extra – who want to learn about wine, get behind the scenes and enjoy tastings in an intimate, personable environment. To experience a truly sensory indulgence incorporating the particular sounds and perfume of a working winery.”