Monday, February 22, 2016

East

While most of Melbourne was probably in the city for White Night on Saturday, I found myself out east in Town Square at Eastland to be precise.  My best friends are now geographically dispersed all over Melbourne so the half way meeting point is suburban Ringwood.  I was actually pleasantly surprised when I got there.  I'm glad I drove to the car park with a local, as that in itself was confusing - driving all the way up to the entrance for car park 5 and then up a couple of ramps.
It was twilight when we arrived at the Town Square itself and the place was packed!  Lots of people everywhere enjoying al fresco dining with a great vibe (take a jacket if you go as it gets breezy and I got caught out without one) and the design itself is glorious - upmarket, sophisticated and very stylish.  I felt like I'd arrived in the middle of some happening international city centre not the outer eastern suburbs!  There are a number of high end retail shops surrounding the Town Square and then a number of very good city dining establishments that have moved into the Town Square development including Jimmy Grants, Huxtaburger and Paco's Tacos to name but a few.
The girls and I grabbed a drink downstairs at The Cellar Door, which also has a groovy roof top vegetable garden and bar and tattooed barmen to boot.  No lemon lime and bitters here - it's for serious wine drinkers only although I managed to get myself a lemonade.  We then got a table at Japanese restaurant Kyoto where we had a late dinner catching up on news.
And while it didn't feel like suburbia when I arrived, when we were asked to vacate the restaurant before 10pm and exited to find the Town Square looking more like a ghost town - that's when I knew we were still in the burbs!  My friends and I managed to order some gelati at Levezzi Gelateria (try the hazelnut flavour)  for dessert before that too closed up shop.  I'd definitely go back again earlier in the day to check out the shops and have an earlier dinner or catch a movie.  What can I say....living la vida local...

Speaking of which, I also had lunch with local interior designer Renae Barrass on Friday at Schillinglaw Cafe in Etham after briefly stopping in at Eltham Library to see Kate Hudson's Garden exhibition in the community gallery.  I loved some of Kate's lino cut prints which come in colour and black and white.

We were surrounded by a sea of mothers with babies and toddlers both in the library and outside at the cafe, which also has a sandpit especially for kids in the rear garden area.  The coffee and food are good - I had the raw beetroot salad and my friends Kal and Bruno have fitted it out beautifully.  It's nice to see something with a bit of style in suburbia!  I hope you had a great weekend.

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