'STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS' - 5 Tips from those who’ve been there:

With the new year on our doorstep, have you made the resolution that you will do what you love? Will 2016 be the year to start your own business, call the shots and live your passion day to day? Before you take the plunge, have a read about how four ordinary people made 2015 the year they brought their idea and passion to market and achieved amazing success. 

The Original Chai Co.

Gauri Vohra and Apoorv Sahani missed the traditional Indian chai that they grew up with when they moved to Melbourne. After making some for themselves at home, they realised there was a gap in the market, for a real traditional chai where the spices are ground and kept separately from the tea leaves and decided to sell their chai, starting their retail days at the Queen Victoria Market. In 2015, The Original Chai Co. got a little rebrand, some shiny new tins and branched out into online retail and sold out of product before the Christmas!

Gauri: Listen to the experienced, no matter how innovative or out of the box their ideas are; as a new business owner, one can learn and plan around the mistakes and suggestions made. 

Apoorv: Surround yourself with a great team, that works with you on every level

So 9

This year, So 9, a design-led Vietnamese eatery, opened up in Waterloo, a suburb transforming from an industrial park to chic suburb. So 9 features family style, authentic flavours, with stations throughout the restaurant where you can see the different types of food being made, in a refined, yet welcoming Scandinavian aesthetic.  So9 was listed in the Fave 5 new restaurants for 2015 by Urban List.

Kim Tran: Love what you do. Keep your goals realistic and expect to work hard. 

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Cocofix

The mission is simple, bring 100% natural and fresh coconuts to everyone, wherever and whenever they need them. We’ve tried them ourselves, they’re simply some of the best drinking coconuts we’ve ever had (and we don’t say that lightly). Whilst Cocofix coconuts have started appearing on fruit stands around town, in 2016 expect a subscription delivery service and Cocobikes delivering the goodness at the beach and at festivals.

Steve Wilson: Surround yourself with positive people. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Think big and be brave!

Delhi Streets

Delhi Streets brought flavour filled, accessible and fun Indian food to the Archway in the CBD, from freshly made naan bread, to curry platters giving you a taste of everything. From opening, Delhi Streets has been well received, and was awarded The Age Good Food Cheap Eats Award for 2015; showing that Indian food can be relevant and fun. 

Charan Singh: Follow your passion, not the money! If you’re happy doing what you love, money will follow you. You will make mistakes, but if you learn from them, you’ll never fail!  

Make 2016 the year your big idea gets off the ground, click here to see how…

5 Outstanding Hotel Restaurants

As we enter the holiday season and end of year break, many of us look to get away for a little while to rest and recoup before the upcoming year. Whether it be travelling around locally, heading interstate or overseas we find ourselves making use of hotels and encountering the inevitability of hotel dining.

Gone are the times, however, where hotel dining meant a trio of dips in the lobby or a tough room service steak. Some of the best hotel restaurants on offer are working hard to shake off the old perception of what a hotel restaurant can be, with beautifully designed spaces and awesome cuisine. Here are some of our favourites, locally, interstate and overseas: 

Mezzanine Breakfast Bar

Alex Hotel, Perth

Image Courtesy of Alex Hotel

Image Courtesy of Alex Hotel

Northbridge’s boutique Alex Hotel boasts a number of fantastic communal spaces including a lounge, espresso bar, roof terrace and wine and dining room. However, it is their Mezzanine Breakfast Bar that is the real star. With pastel ceramics, modern wooden furniture, and floor to ceiling windows which flood the space with natural light; it’s a stunner. We love enjoying a hearty continental breakfast with fresh baked goodies to start our day here.  

Clyde Common

Ace Hotel, Portland

Image Courtesy of Avila/EPDX

Image Courtesy of Avila/EPDX

Located on the ground floor of Portland’s Ace Hotel, Clyde Common is a modern European style tavern, opened by Nate Tilden and Matt Piacentini in 2007. The Clyde Common features cuisine inspired by Europe, with hearty meat dishes such as duck, beef heart and venison. With refined wood furnishing, leather couches and warm lighting, the space is inviting and relaxed; but the real centrepiece is the award winning bar with fantastic cocktails and a specially curated wine list. A favourite with locals and visitors alike. 

Circa

The Prince, Melbourne

Image Courtesy of Taste of Melbourne

Image Courtesy of Taste of Melbourne

Located in St. Kilda, a little closer to home, The Prince Hotel’s Circa features a restaurant and bar that are an education in beautiful minimal design. The bar in particular features a naturally lit atrium with a botanical installation, bringing the outside, inside. Head chef Ashley Hicks has created a menu which is seasonally informed, with a focus on fresh local produce. Whether you need a sit down meal or just want a drink at the bar, Circa is a must visit. 

L.A. Chapter

Ace Hotel, Los Angeles

Image Courtesy of Bon Appétit

Image Courtesy of Bon Appétit

The second feature from Ace Hotel’s on our list comes from their Los Angeles location and the carefully cultivated brasserie that is L.A. Chapter. Partnering with Jud Mongell and Ken Addington, of Brooklyns Five Leaves and Nights and Weekends, the menu takes a mostly european angle with exotic twists, focussing on locally sourced vegetables and seafood. The design is an eclectic mix of colours and textures with chequered flooring, tiled and stone walls, suede couches and a sheet metal bar. 

Bills

Adina Hotel, Sydney

Image Courtesy of Mademoiselle In Sydney

Image Courtesy of Mademoiselle In Sydney

Bills second location opened in 1996 under the Adina Hotel in Surry Hills, and continues to be the benchmark of a great hotel dining space and cafe. Opened by chef and personality Bill Granger, the renowned breakfast menu draws both locals and visitors with their popular scrambled eggs and ricotta hotcakes. The design is light filled and lively with bright colours, wood furnishings and an open kitchen. From pick up coffee and juices on the go, to sit down brunches and business lunches, there’s something for everyone here. 

 

Convenience IS the New Premium

Convenience: the state of being able to proceed with something without difficulty.

 

Do you ever wonder why 7-Eleven charge so much for basic groceries and toiletries? Or why supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths sometimes have take-away food outlets inside them? Or how valet parking is a profitable business? The simple answer is convenience.

 

Convenience is the reason that we are willing to pay $4 (FOUR DOLLARS!) for a small bottle of water at a vending machine. It is also the only plausible reason for paying to take the fast lane at a theme park. Convenience has always been valuable to consumers, but now more than ever, companies are adapting to consumer needs, and taking advantage of the convenience premium – that extra little bit that they can charge because their product is less difficult to get and use.

 

Convenience is a particularly pertinent topic around this time of year. As we all feel the approach of silly season, it becomes increasingly attractive to be able to conveniently and easily buy what you need (want). Need to shop for Christmas presents? Do it online, at home in your PJs. Want to look for somewhere to meet up with friends and family during the holidays? Google it, at home in your PJs. Want to compare flights for a vacation? Check Webjet, at home in your PJs.

 

The convenience premium isn’t just about looking at things online, at home in your PJs. As the convenience trend grows, all sorts of businesses are trying to make their offerings more easily accessible and easier to use. Here are our 5 favourites:

 

Green Press

Image courtesy of Green Press Instagram (@greenpress.co)

Image courtesy of Green Press Instagram (@greenpress.co)

It’s not always easy to eat healthy, purely because it takes time and energy to cook healthy meals and then clean up. Green Press takes the hassle out of eating clean, by sending their delicious salads, cold pressed juices, acai bowls and much more directly to your door. Simply order before 11:30am and they will deliver it to anywhere within the Melbourne 'Free Tram' zone by 1pm. Too easy.

 

Dashlocker

Image courtesy of Enthasis Design Group

Image courtesy of Enthasis Design Group

Coming out of New York, Dashlocker is the all-encompassing locker that looks after (almost) all of your needs. You can simply put your suits for dry cleaning, clothes for laundry, and shoes for shoe shining in the Dashlocker at any hour of the day, and they will come back squeaky clean (or shiny). You can even send your mail to a locker! The convenience doesn’t stop there though; you can sign up for Dashlocker for free online with the tap of a button.

 

Homeplus Virtual Stores

Image courtesy of 5minutemarketing.com

Image courtesy of 5minutemarketing.com

Tesco’s South Korean leg, Homeplus, uses virtual stores to take the hassle out of grocery shopping. These virtual stores are set up along the walls in train stations, where customers can use their smartphone to quickly pick out their groceries on the way home from work. By the time they arrive at home, their purchase is already waiting for them.

 

Hello Alfred

Image courtesy of helloalfred.com

Image courtesy of helloalfred.com

Hello Alfred is a butler for those who aren’t filthy rich, but still strive for the luxury of not having to lift a finger. Your personal ‘Alfred’ will take care of a list of errands that you write for them, freeing up more time for you to do the things you love. Hello Alfred even claims that the more you use the service, the more your ‘Alfred’ will be able to predict what you need and when you need it.

 

Maple

Image courtesy of New York Mag

Image courtesy of New York Mag

Maple is essentially a food delivery service for gourmet meals. It is only available to New Yorkers at the moment, who have a choice of meals from a menu that changes daily, on the whim of some of the best chefs in New York, who work with Maple. This service is all about bringing restaurant quality food into your home, without the hassle of trying to get a table at a fancy restaurant down town.

 

A lot of products and services that really embrace convenience, as a means to creating consumer value, are developed and only available overseas; the time is ripe for Australian companies to follow the lead of Green Press and start developing offerings that make life easier for Australians.

The 5 Most Underrated Burgers in Melbourne

Scroll through the notes on my phone and you’ll find a formidable list of over 50 burger joints, Melbourne and beyond, with a good ninety percent of these ticked off with a burger emoji. My obsession with burgers, and the burger culture of Melbourne, ignited shortly after I returned from the US, ready to see what we could offer up to rival the In-n-Outs and Shake Shacks of the world.

Suffice to say, Melbourne has the goods.

Over the past year and a half, with the help of Instagram and the countless ‘Melbourne’s Best Burgers’ lists (which I constantly feel the need to critique), I’d like to think I’ve gained the credentials to weed out some of the best spots to grab a burger in our fair city. Everyone knows of the big players that constantly deliver the goods -Easey’s, Grand Trailer Park, Dandenong Pavilion- but there are plenty of other places that aren't as well known. Here is my list of 5 underrated places that deserve more credit for their contribution to the great burger culture of Melbourne.

 

Wonky Trolley - Errol Street, North Melbourne

The 3051 (image courtesy of @wonkey_trolley Instagram)

The 3051 (image courtesy of @wonkey_trolley Instagram)

Nestled inside an old Urban Burger chain, this joint deserves way more credit for their extremely consistent burgers. The 3051, repping the North Melbourne postcode, is always a winner, add pickles and jalapeños for that essential extra flavour. 

 

Burger Boy’s - Little Lonsdale Street, CBD

The Classic Burger (image courtesy of @burgerboysmelbourne Instagram)

The Classic Burger (image courtesy of @burgerboysmelbourne Instagram)

Operating out of DejaVu Bar on Little Lonsdale, Burger Boy’s aren’t too widely known, but they should be. Their Classic burger is all you need, with their incredible patties you’ll never leave unsatisfied. Add a side of ridiculously crispy chips to top that off.

 

Lazerpig - Peel Street, Collingwood

The Lazerpig Cheeseburger (image courtesy of @giannicozzi Instagram)

The Lazerpig Cheeseburger (image courtesy of @giannicozzi Instagram)

Lazerpig is known for their amazing wood fired pizzas, and rightly so. But what you wouldn’t expect from this place is an absolutely banging cheeseburger. The Lazerpig Cheeseburger has all the simple ingredients, and with an extra patty and some bacon, with a side of hand cut fries you can’t go wrong for flavour. 

 

The Beer and Burger Bar - Swan Street, Richmond

The Beast (image courtesy of Lime and Tonic Blog)

The Beast (image courtesy of Lime and Tonic Blog)

If you want massive burgers, well-cooked, look no further than this joint. It gets a lot of local love but not near enough recognition in the top lists. The Beast is the pick of the bunch with double beef, cheese and bacon. If you’re feeling super hungry, these guys also do THE DON challenge which involves an insane 2kg+ burger with a massive side of chips.

 

Mr. Scruffs - Smith Street, Collingwood

The Beef Burger (image courtesy of Blame Magazine)

The Beef Burger (image courtesy of Blame Magazine)

Despite not being a burger joint per se, Mr. Scruffs more than holds their own. The Beef Burger is perfectly balanced with all the best ingredients that should hold its own in any Top 10. They also do some crazy things with their Chewsday burger specials if you’re into something more exotic like jalapeño poppers, chilli, brisket and pulled pork.

5 Vietnamese Restaurants with a Twist

One of our favourite cuisines to enjoy here in Melbourne is Vietnamese and, luckily, there are plenty of great places to get a bite locally. What we really love are great Vietnamese eateries with a twist, whether it be an interesting design or just a cool vibe. Here are 5 of our favourites from Melbourne, interstate and abroad:

 

So9, Waterloo

So9, Waterloo (image courtesy of So9 Facebook)

So9, Waterloo (image courtesy of So9 Facebook)

This unique restaurant combines traditional Vietnamese cuisine with modern interior design that divides the space into three stations that specialise in Bahn Mi, Pho and Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes). Look out for the beautiful watercolour illustrations by Beth-Emily Gregory throughout the restaurant that really add something special.

Must Try: They’re hard to split, so you’d have to go with the delicious pork Bahn Mi or the crispy Banh Xeo.

 

The Pho Store, Shanghai

The Pho Store, Shanghai (image courtesy of Art of the Menu)

The Pho Store, Shanghai (image courtesy of Art of the Menu)

Eccentric colour and patterns, paper collage designs and neon signs are what the design of this place is all about, making for a vibrant experience. The Pho Store specialises in - what else - but traditional Pho, served in a modern and contemporary setting.

Must Try: The Combination Pho is the winner here. It’s hearty, balanced and well seasoned - exactly what you want from a good Pho.

 

Pho Nom, Melbourne CBD

Pho Nom, Melbourne (image courtesy of Pho Nom)

Pho Nom, Melbourne (image courtesy of Pho Nom)

This joint specialises in ethically sourced hawker-style Vietnamese street food delivered in a fast casual setting. We love the use of colourful street art illustrations offset against the use of brick and cinder blocks to really bring an urban vibe to great Vietnamese street food.

Must Try: As you would expect, the Pho is great, but a real surprise winner are Pho Nom’s amazing rice paper rolls, bursting with freshness and flavour.

 

Paperboy Kitchen, Melbourne CBD

Paperboy Kitchen, Melbourne (image courtesy of Broadsheet)

Paperboy Kitchen, Melbourne (image courtesy of Broadsheet)

Despite its compact size, Paperboy Kitchen packs a punch in terms of design and food. The use of industrial style wood and concrete interior combines seamlessly with vibrant greenery, grocer store decor and an open view kitchen. The serving concept is also a winner, with a number of options available in ‘Roll or Bowl’  - Bahn Mi style or served in a bowl with rice noodles.

Must Try: The Spicy BBQ Pork is great in both roll and bowl form, and the Crispy Fried Chicken is top notch as well.

 

Ho Chi Mama, Melbourne CBD

Ho Chi Mama, Melbourne (image courtesy of Good Food)

Ho Chi Mama, Melbourne (image courtesy of Good Food)

The perfect place for a night out combines urban design, modern Vietnamese and some awesome cocktails from the bar. Neon signs, street art and classic ‘90s hip-hop cranking through the sound system add to the killer vibe. The food meets the mark as well with bahn mi sliders, black sesame ice cream and the innovative ‘phoplings’ (shanghai-style soup dumplings filled with pho).

Must Try: The phoplings are not to be missed, but our pick are the top-notch chicken skewers.

Where To Explore This Weekend - Part 2

When you hear people talking about restaurants and eateries, more often than not they are talking about what’s new or who’s just opened down the street. But what happened to the classics? The stalwarts... the institutions?

We love new concepts, but we also believe that old is gold, and that is why we’ve compiled this list of Melbourne institutions that have survived and thrived in the Melbourne food scene for many years. Take some time this long weekend to check one (or a few) of them out!

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The World's most liveable City

Melbourne is emerging as a city food precinct, which has helped stamp its position as the World's most liveable city. Tucked away in Katherine Place – just off Flinders Lane is a fine example of this. The businesses here are passionate about their craft and dedicated to delivering an experience worth sharing. We take a look inside The Archway to discover what makes this community so special. 

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Where To Explore This Weekend!

We love food. We know you do too. At Brandworks, we are always on the lookout for new exciting restaurant concepts and food spots that are popping up in Melbourne and interstate. We’ve compiled a list of neat places that we are excited about and think you should check out this long weekend and beyond.

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The American Burger is Dead... And Australia Killed It

The classic American burger is dead, simple as that. David Chang, the legendary restauranteur, television personality and owner of the Momofuku Restaurant Group, posted his 'Burger Manifesto' on the Lucky Peach website in July of this year. In this so-called manifesto, Chang claims that a burger should consist of nothing more than a white bun, beef patty, cheese and sometimes bacon. That's it.

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