Book Review – FLAVOURS OF MELBOURNE by Jonette George

Flavours of Melbourne Synopsis

Flavours of Melbourne by Jonette GeorgeFlavours of Melbourne explores Melbourne’s nooks and crannies, upstairs and downstairs and through the complex laneway system. Beautiful photography, history, recipe, street art, restaurants and bars – all come together in this exciting new book about Melbourne’s food and wine scene.

Showcasing restaurants like Guy Grossi’s Florentino and Merchant, Martin Pirc’s Punch Lane and Aaron Whitney’s Portello Rosso are showcased with stories about their history and what makes them legendary today. Bars like Madame Brussells, Rooftop Cinema, Bar 1806 and Emerald Peacock, to name only a few, are also featured, sharing information about their secret cocktails and venues.

For the locals who want to know, and the visitors who want to view Melbourne through the eyes of a local, this book is a must-read, and an exceptional guide to what’s on offer in food and wine.

344 pages, 38 x 32cm hardcover with dust jacket, coffee table book


What first strikes you about Flavours of Melbourne is its bright and inviting dustjacket imagery which I was pleasantly surprised to find is mirrored on the actual hardcover of this weighty book.

It features an introduction by Melbourne food and wine personality Rita Erlich, the photography of Brad Hill and a lovely section on the history of Melbourne, including historical timeline and sepia photographs.

The main body of this coffee-table book is split into chapters, each showcasing a particular laneway or arcade. A map is provided along with historical background to that location, photos of street-art found there and the notable restaurants and bars. Each restaurant and bar is then given special focus including interior photographs, their chefs specialities and contact details.

Flavours of Melbourne exudes an eclectic cosmopolitan vibe without being over-styled. The photography, a large portion shot at dusk or in the evening is earthy, moody and raw.

The city skyline is featured and open shutter ‘movement’ shots convey the vibrancy of the city’s nightlife.

I particularly enjoyed the quotes from chefs and fascinating shots of street-art — hidden treasures seemingly reserved for the most astute observers.

Down a Melbourne laneway through an open door I smell a coffee brewing, and food not seen before.

Today I find the beauty in grimy, bricked up walls, painted over with murals until the council calls.

These historic alleys once dives for crims and thieves, today they are celebrated like golden autumn leaves. (Jonette)

The book is easy to navigate with helpful contents listings by laneway name and by the featured venues signature recipes. And those recipes — absolutely mouthwatering. Some of my favourites include Grossi Florentino Cellar’s Tortellini Di Zucca and Bopha Devi’s Amok (traditional Cambodian steamed curry).

Flavours of Melbourne is a quality coffee-table book sure to keep you and your guests enthralled. The pages are refined but not gloss, in keeping with the funky and earthy vibe of the compilation, and the red ribbon page marker is a lovely touch. Whether you are a Melbourne resident or just someone looking forward to visiting Melbourne one day like me, Flavours of Melbourne is well worth a look.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

BOOK DETAILS: Flavours of Melbourne (Booktopia) ; Flavours of Melbourne (Smudge Publishing)

Genre: Non-fiction

Author Information: The unique bond of mother and daughter has inspired a series of books showcasing regions of Australia. With a passion for food, wine and all things local, Jonette George and Daniele Wilton have explored the Mornington Peninsula and the Bellarine Peninsula and beyond, in an attempt to highlight the wonderful fruits to be found in our backyard. Danielle and Jonette each hold a degree in Communications and are both avid writers, designers and publishers. (Smudge Publishing)

Other reviews of Flavours of Melbourne: ANZ LitLovers ; The Age

* My receiving this book for free from Smudge Publishing via Quikmark Media did not impact my ability to express my honest opinions having read the novel.

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