Binge on the world’s most instagrammed cake
The strawberry watermelon cake of Black Star Pastry is considered the world’s most popular cake on the gram. Even The New York Times thinks so. The cake, which is gluten free, is sold in slices and its stardom can be gauged from the one million slices that are sold every year.
THE MAN recommends: Reach Black Star Pastry before rush hour to taste the decadent multi-layered cake whose almond dacquoise, fresh watermelon, fresh strawberries and cream are garnished with pistachio
Get bowled over by Bondi Beach
Bondi remains an all time favourite beach of Australia. A surfer's paradise, take to the waves on your surf board or jog on its white sand. Test your agility with a game of beach volleyball or hike the Coogee Coastal Walk which rewards you with scenic vistas. Bondi also has a skate park for skateboarders, rollerbladers and BMX bikers. Spend the evening exploring the souvenir shops that dot the beach or relax at one of the many restaurants that offer a drink with a gourmet meal or casual dining, depending on your mood.
THE MAN recommends: Take a dip in the Bondi Icebergs swimming pool where the large main pool for adults gives unparalleled views of the ocean
Stay at Kimpton Margot Sydney
Australia’s first Kimpton Margot is located on Pitt Street in Sydney. It’s convenient location is walking distance from the iconic Queen Victoria Building, World Square and Westfield where brands like Gucci, Valentino, Paul Smith and The North Face are waiting for you. The hotel has an art deco theme and offers 172 accommodation options including suites.
THE MAN recommends: Ride their blue Lekker Bikes across Sydney and savour a meal at Luke’s Kitchen, their epic restaurant managed by Celebrity Chef Luke Mangan
Tour the neighbourhood of Chippendale
Chippendale has reinvented itself into a chic hub of experimental creativity and sustainability. Art calls out at every corner, sleek galleries dot the area and community initiatives keep it hip and happening. You may even find Judith Neilson who is fondly called the queen of Chippendale walk her dog. Spend some time hearing her stories.
The community has created water gardens that filter rain water, planted local trees to provide a home for native birds and converted plain walls into inspiring street art. There is also the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, the Harrington Street Gallery and the Centre that encourages journalism.
THE MAN recommends: Visit the Michael Reid Gallery and the White Rabbit Gallery for their contemporary exhibitions and performances including indigenous art works. Don’t leave without sampling a cheesecake at Koi Dessert Bar helmed by Reynold Poernomo. We recommend the matcha rose basque cheesecake with has Japanese matcha mascarpone that is infused with rose. The raspberry lychee basque cheesecake which is garnished with fresh raspberries and lychee cream is also a winner
Taste gin at The Whiskery
The Whiskery located on the Bellarine Peninsula produces its own gin called Teddy & The Fox. Combining unusual Australian botanicals, the flavours of their premium gin are a sensory treat. Produced in small batches, taste the lemon myrtle & orange which has middle notes of coriander seeds while the spice is provided by star anise. The rosemary, saltbush & walnuts gin undergoes slow distillation to make it the best G&T gin. We were intrigued by trooper & the roo where roasted wattleseed, almonds and cacao are turned into a dessert style cocktail gin. You could also enjoy the outdoors in front of the bonfire or indoors near the fireplace with a signature gin cocktail. Your options include Bellarine buck, teddy rosevelt, tango foxtrot or curious rabbit.
THE MAN recommends: Visit their cellar for an olfactory high. We particularly liked their apricots and black lime gin made with organic Turkish apricots, black limes, grains of paradise from Africa and angelica root
Get pampered at Jackalope Hotel Mornington Peninsula
Jackalope Hotel Mornington Peninsula ticks the boxes of luxury, uniqueness and indulgence. Located on a vineyard, the property’s stylish accommodation comes with a private terrace, complimentary mini bar and a relaxed soak in a Japanese bath. Catch up on your movies with freshly made popcorn delivered to your suite. If you prefer an outdoor cardio workout, head for a few laps in the heated infinity pool. There is always watching the surreal sunset over the vineyard or unwinding with a drink at the cocktail bar. Their signature blends are one of a kind and the plush ambience sets the mood for the evening.
THE MAN recommends: Don't miss the wine and dinner experience at Doot Doot Doot, their luxury restaurant. You can choose from the willow creek wine pairing or go uber indulgent with the premium wine pairing as you savour your meal that includes chestnut with pickled egg, miso falafel, oysters, local mushrooms, nettles and ends on a sweet note with peninsula honey pot
Take a wellness sojourn at Daylesford and Hepburn Springs
The scenic drive to Daylesford & Hepburn Springs is a prelude to the tranquility that follows. You may even get to spot a mob of kangaroos feeding on the lush grass of a paddock on your way to the springs. Known as spa country of the state of Victoria, the area abounds in natural springs whose mineral waters have healing properties.
Soak in pools of salt and magnesium, relax in a pool which has spa couches and end your holistic experience with the aroma steam room and hammam. Stroll along the main street which is lined with quaint shops selling knick knacks made by locals or head to one of the award winning eateries and cellar doors for a bite and drink. The organic health store has an interesting mix of protein balls, salads and pies. Take a walk around the lake and saunter to the enclosure where you can taste the spring water that is pumped up from its source.
Chug a beer at The Bob Hawke Beer & Leisure Centre
Guzzle Hawke’s Lager which is brewed using Aussie ingredients while relishing a Chinese meal in a laid back 70’s-80’s setting. Visit the Bob Hawke room which pays tribute to Bob Hawke, Australia’s former Prime Minister who drank a yard or 1.4L of beer in 11 seconds and thus broke the world record. A writing in the room mentions why Hawke drank the beer while other memorabilia trace his life and achievements. There are T- shirts and caps that can be bought as souvenirs at the centre.
THE MAN recommends: Choose dishes like pork sung choi bao, crab omelette, lucky prawn toast and salt and pepper tofu to accompany your beer
Fly Singapore Airlines in luxury
Fly to Australia on Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 super-jumbo which is considered one of the quietest jets for passengers. The airline was the world’s first to fly the A380 which has 6 decadent suites and 78 business class seats. Did you know that each suite has its own sliding door to ensure your privacy in the sky? Not just that Poltrona Frau who are world famous furniture curators have upholstered the plush chair for you to lounge or sit on. For sound sleep just head to your full-flat bed. Each suite has one giving passengers the option of flying in comfort and choosing between relaxing in their chair or sleeping on the inviting bed. If catching up on inflight entertainment is on your agenda, then the 32-inch HD touch screen monitor and wireless tablet are within arm’s reach. To sweeten the deal, you have your personal wardrobe and the added provision to stow luggage inside your classy suite.
Since last year, passengers of Singapore Airlines Business Class are given an amenity kit that has been curated by Penhaligon’s, the reputed perfumery from Britain. Its hand lotion, lip balm and facial mist have a citrus zing that refreshes you before you head to the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport T3. The newly launched 350 seater lounge has a spacious dining area and is equipped with comfortable working spaces. Sip a soothing white tea, eat laksa, dim sum or chwee kueh while viewing aircraft take-off and landings.
THE MAN recommends: Book the cook meal option where your meals are curated by seven world-famous chefs, including Carlo Cracco from Italy, Matthew Moran from Australia and Sanjeev Kapoor from India
Go on a culinary trail
Australia is known for its handcrafted cuisines that satiate any palate with their perfect balance of flavour, texture and aroma. Start with an Aussie breakfast or brekkie that is a lavish plate of cooked eggs, bacon, grilled mushrooms along with tomatoes and sausages. Or opt for poached eggs with avocado on toast with hot chocolate. The world is on your plate with signature dishes from restaurants helmed by internationally reputed chefs. Think oyster mushroom crackers, witlof goats cheese crudo, kohlrabi noodles, meyer lemon and eucalyptus jelly and cherry and smoked chocolate truffle to name a few.
THE MAN recommends: Experiment with aboriginal cuisine that uses ingredients like muntries, kangaroo meat, crocodile meat, oysters, kingfish, lemon myrtle, saltbush and purple yam
WHERE TO STAY IN AUSTRALIA
Crown Towers Sydney: Where: International Tower, 1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo NSW 2000; Call: +61 2 8871 6371; Wallet: Rs50,000 onwards
Jackalope Hotel Mornington Peninsula: Where: 166 Balnarring Rd, Merricks North VIC 3926; Call: +61 3 5931 2500; Wallet: Rs40,000 onwards
W Melbourne: Where: 408 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000; Call: +61 3 9113 8800; Wallet: Rs22,000 onwards
Kimpton Margot Sydney: Where: 339 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000; Call: +61 2 8027 8000; Wallet: Rs21,000 onwards