Lûmé Restaurant

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How to Spend 72 Unforgettable Hours in Melbourne

Photo credit: Steven Penton

Visit stylish, beautiful Melbourne and discover exactly why this place was voted the most livable city in the world 7 years in a row. Melbourne is proud to be Australia’s cultural capital, and visitors will enjoy amazing art galleries, cool local fashion, delicious world-class dining and a jam-packed sports calendar. Maybe you’re lucky enough to visit during the Australian Open and truly experience why this is also called the sports capital of Australia.

Photo credit: Bernard Spragg

After spending 72 hours here emerging yourself in style, culture, sport and dining we are pretty sure that you will never want to leave. To ensure you can enjoy the absolute best this city has to offer, use this guide to help you through your days so you don’t miss out on all the fun. And believe us, there is lots of fun to be had!

Day One

Morning:

Photo credit: Wide Open Road Coffee

You’ve just landed in Melbourne ready to go explore this lively city. Make sure to start it off right and go get one of the best coffees you’ll ever have at Wide Open Road Coffee to refuel and get energized to begin your adventure. Wide Open Road Coffee has venues all over Melbourne each serving up something unique and different depending on what you’re looking for. And if you’re hungry for a bite, their food menu is amazing too.

Photo credit: Melbourne Urban Adventures

After a good coffee you’ll be ready to hit the streets in Melbourne. For this join Melbourne Urban Adventures. Their 9.30 am tour of Melbourne’s multicultural markets is quite fantastic as it showcases the city’s rich immigrant history. So join this market tour to really feel the city’s different cultures first hand. Urban Adventures also offers evening tours. For example there’s one to the trendy hipster area of Fitzroy, where you can hang with the locals and visit local breweries to try local crafted beer.

Photo credit: interior designed by Karen Abernethy Architects, counter oxidised steel by Sean Godsell Architects, Photograph by Tatjana Plitt

To continue discovering the diverse and vibrant culture of Melbourne head to Craft which is a gallery and retail space home to an amazing variety of handmade goods like ceramics and glassware as well as clothing and jewelry. It is a non-profit membership-based organization representing and supporting artists through different exhibitions, workshops and events. You might leave with a unique souvenir or two.

Afternoon:

Photo credit: Everleigh

On your first afternoon head to Everleigh. This is the perfect spot for your pre-dinner cocktail, or three, and it is a perfect way to end the afternoon and start your evening. There is no doubt you will find the best cocktails in all of Melbourne, or perhaps Australia, here. Whether you fancy a classic Martini or something lighter, you can relax in a cool setting trusting that Everleigh’s fantastic bartenders will take care of you. This is the perfect way to start your first night in Melbourne.

Night:

Photo credit: Lume

Now it is time for dinner, and as Melbourne is home to world-class dining you will have endless restaurants to choose from. For your first meal in town head to Lume. The atmosphere here is quite unique. The space feels like a restaurant but with a theatrical and multisensory approach. You will have some of the best food you’ve ever tried. Lume’s team respect the produce and, while honouring tradition, they experiment to give diners a unique dining experience.

Photo credit: Laundry Bar

To end your first night in style and truly explore Melbourne’s nightlife head to Laundry bar which is located in the hip and cool area of Fitzroy. This is the home to rap and Hip Hop, and it is a wildly popular place to go for locals and visitors, so you might have a small wait in line. We promise you though, it will be worth the wait to join the awesome party inside with two levels and great DJs.

Photo credit: Adelphi Hotel

Once you are done dancing head back to your hotel for a good night’s rest. Adelphi Hotel is a great spot to spend your nights while in Melbourne. This is a small hotel and with only 34 rooms you will be treated well and enjoy world-class amenities. As you first step in you will notice the attention paid to every design detail. While here make sure you visit the roof top pool and deck. It is newly renovated and features a glass bottom pool which juts out over Flinders Lane, a truly unique Melbourne experience.

Day Two

Morning:

Photo credit: Craft and Co.

Start your day two with another incredible meal by heading to The Craft and Co. where they serve breakfast 7 days a week. Craft and Co takes pride in supporting Australian producers, and they source all products as locally as possible. They even produce their own cheese, preserves and sausages in house. It is also a brewery and distillery, so make sure you take a look around while you’re here. This is a perfect way to fuel your body for another day in Melbourne.

Photo credit: Melbourne By Foot

To burn off some of this delicious food and drinks, and in order to get ready and build an appetite for your next yummy meal, join the awesome Melbourne By Foot. Their Cultural Walk tour is their most popular tour, and it is a great way to really see and get a great feel for the uniqueness and history of the city.

Photo credit: Union Club Hotel

It is time to eat again. And another place you absolutely must to check out is Union Club Hotel. It is located in the corners of Fitzroy, and it is a true local pub and landmark in the area. You will be served some traditional Australian pub food, and you can choose to enjoy it in their heated beer garden, rooftop deck or cozy lounge with fireplace. If you’re thirsty they have excellent beers on tap as well as great wine and cocktail options.

Afternoon:

Photo credit: Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Now it’s time to head out and enjoy some of the natural beauty in the city of Melbourne and get a feel for the Aboriginal history. To do this go to Royal Botanic Gardens. Their Aboriginal Heritage Tours are extremely popular amongst tourists. These tours are quite special as they are led by an Indigenous guide and include a traditional smoking ceremony. This is a truly unique experience and one you do not want to miss.

Night:

Photo credit: Bar Liberty

To end another great day of sightseeing your way around Melbourne hurry over to Bar Liberty. They have an excellent selection of wine and many other delicious drinks to choose from as well. They’re serving up some of the best alcohol Australia has to offer in a cool, hip space. If you’re hungry they do have some great food too.

Photo credit: Atlas Dining

Of course it is time to eat again, and it is time for yet another magical dining experience. Atlas Dining is a must while visiting Melbourne. The dining experience here will reflect a multicultural Australia, and the chef will always deliver amazing new dishes using only the best locally sourced ingredients. What’s special about this restaurant is the menu completely changes cuisine every four months, based on head chef Charlie Carrington’s travels overseas. He uses what he has learnt about each culture to inspire his menu. If you want to know what that means and have yourself one of the best dining experiences ever, just head here and indulge.

Day Three

Morning:

Photo credit: South of Johnston

To fuel your body for your final day of exploring Melbourne go to South of Johnston. They serve an all-day delicious breakfast where you can enjoy all your favourites like pancakes, French toast, eggs etc. This is absolutely the way to start your final day, and get your body ready to walk around.

Photo credit: E.S.S

Begin this day doing something quite different and super cool by visiting E.S.S. E.S.S is a clothing label established by Hoshika Oshimi in 2001 as a reaction to the predominance of commercial designs and clothing conventions in the Australian fashion industry. You will see some truly surrealistic ideas translated into unorthodox shapes, unexpected cuts and forms. The Melbourne boutique offers a unique retail experience where you will see why this city is also known for incredible local fashion.

Photo credit: Hells Kitchen

To treat yourself with another fun food experience stop by Hells Kitchen. It is a very chill place, more tucked away from the crowds, serving up unpretentious food and delicious booze in case you want to treat yourself with a midday drink.

Afternoon:

Photo credit: Old Treasure Building

On the afternoon of your final day head to the Old Treasury Building and soak up some more culture. The Old Treasury Building is a beautiful building, in fact one of Melbourne’s finest 19th century buildings. Here you will find an exciting museum, famous for showcasing the history of Melbourne and Victoria. This is a must visit to get to know the city of Melbourne better.

Night:

Photo credit: 400 Gradi

Your trip is coming to an end soon, and there is no better way to top it off then with some delicious pizza. 400 Gradi is where to go to enjoy some of the world’s best pizza. And when we say it is the world’s best pizza, that’s a literal statement. In 2014 the owner Johnny Di Francesco was named the World Pizza Champion. With multiple locations around Melbourne this is the place to relax your legs after your great days in Melbourne treating your tastebuds with some drool-inducing pizza.

Photo credit: Punthill South Yarra Grand Hotel

To ensure you do not miss out in Melbourne, try a different hotel for your final night. Punthill South Yarra Grand Hotel located in one of Melbourne’s oldest and most affluent inner-city suburbs is a great spot to get out of the busy downtown and explore a cool suburb home to trendy shopping, plus many restaurants, nightclubs and cafes. You can also enjoy sweeping views of Melbourne from here. There is no better way to finish your stay in Melbourne than in this stylish apartment hotel. You will get a great night’s sleep dreaming about all the things you’ve seen and done.

We are sure that after these wonderful 72 hours of walking, eating, drinking and exploring you will understand just why this city is one of the most popular travel destinations amongst tourists all across the world.

As seen in Flightnetwork’sArticle – 72 hours in Melbourne.

Tick, Tock: time’s running out to tackle restaurant no shows, but Dimmi’s blacklist is not the answer

(Image courtesy of Tock)

Dimmi lit up our Facebook feed last week after announcing that 38,000 diners had been ‘blacklisted’ from Australian restaurants via their bookings platform. It’s all part of their strategy to combat restaurant no shows ― a phenomenon that they reckon costs our industry around $75 million a year.

Restaurant no shows are indeed a massive problem for the hospitality industry ― so we’re delighted to see a business as large as Dimmi (a TripAdvisor company) take action on it. See, some diners don’t realise what far-reaching effects it can have when they don’t turn up for a restaurant booking. It lowers staff morale, it creates environmental wastage and ― in the long term ― it puts the venue at risk of shutting its doors.

For fine dining venues the problem is amplified. So much work goes on behind the scenes in preparation for a guest’s booking, and it starts pretty soon after their reservation is made. For instance, when you make a booking at Lûmé, our chefs begin preparing for your meal about a week before you arrive. Our front of house team take time to look at who’s made the booking, and find out if you’ve dined with us before, whether you have any favourite wines we might need to order in, or whether you have dietary requirements we need to adjust our menu for in order to accommodate. Depending on the night and the number of bookings we have, we may also need to put extra staff on. If it’s a busy Friday or Saturday, we’ve most likely had to turn down a lot of diners who would have liked to make a booking as well.

So you can see that it’s not just about filling a table on the night, but the various resources ― including labour, special orders and supplies ― that are paid for in advance by the restaurant…all in the lead up to a guest sitting down for a tiny slice of time to enjoy their meal.

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Over the years, some restaurants have adopted the ‘walk-in only’ system as a way of protecting themselves against no shows. But these venues factor the walk-in model into the style of food they offer, the efficiency of how it’s prepared, and the type of service they provide in order to make it work. This model best fits venues with higher numbers of covers per night, and those who offer a more casual service with greater economies of scale in their food preparation (perhaps by using an off-site kitchen to service multiple venues, or cooking many dish components in advance so that they can be stored and reheated more easily). However, it’s not a suitable business model for a fine dining venue, where service is highly personalised and menus are prepared in exact quantities for the number of guests dining that night.

We don’t think Dimmi’s blacklist is the right answer either. Since it was first introduced just over a year ago, the list of customers blocked from making restaurant bookings has risen from 3,159 to 38,000. In that time, no-shows have only decreased by 25%. While it’s great to know that Dimmi have committed to eliminating no shows by 2020, three years is a long time to wait for restaurants who are struggling with the issue now.

At Lûmé we know the problem well. Back in 2015, we’d started losing around $3000 a week in no shows. That’s not just money lost in labour and overheads, but food wastage too (we order produce in exact quantities in order to avoid wastage, and aim to minimise environmental impact by taking only what we need of local foraged ingredients). The fact is that if we were using the ‘blacklist’ solution to combat no shows, our restaurant would be closed by now.

Instead we looked to the US, where the growth of hospitality tech startups has been accelerating rapidly.  That’s where we found Tock ―the online reservations system developed by Nick Kokonas (Alinea) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Google), and backed by stakeholders including Thomas Keller (The French Laundry), Dick Costolo, ex-CEO of Twitter and Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp.

Tock use a prepaid ticketing system to manage restaurant reservations ― much like way you’d book a flight through an airline, or tickets to a concert. It’s different to taking a deposit then charging a guest if they fail to rock up. Instead, everything is done up front. If a guest needs to change their reservation, they can still do that as well with prior notice – but tickets are not refundable for unexplained no shows. 

Within a week of switching our bookings over to Tock, our no show rate dropped dropped down to 0.013%. 

It might not be the answer for all restaurants, but for us it definitely was.

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Pre-ticketed dining ―  avoid if you’re a technophobe

Last year, John Lethlean wrote a pretty scathing and ill-informed article about ticketed dining. We saw it and immediately cringed to think that it represented the opinion of Australian media. It read like the collective opinion of those who fear technology, hate change, and want everything to stay the same way it’s always been because, err…that’s how it’s always been. But with Worlds50Best arriving on our shores this year, the article did our restaurant and tourism industries no favours in positioning Australia as an innovator, global leader, or even legitimate player in the international dining scene.

Seriously, it was just embarrassing.

In the article, John was specifically referring to our use of Tock. This was our response at the time, which we originally posted on Facebook in May 2016. With Dimmi firing up the no show debate again, we think it’s a good time to revisit these little chats.

— Chef Shaun Quade

 

Chef Shaun Quade on Alinea

John Lethlean recently asked Shaun to contribute to an article about Grant Achatz (Alinea restaurant, Chicago), and the inspiration he’s been for chefs and diners around the world.

To be honest, we were just glad John wasn’t tearing us down for using the Tock bookings platform for a change (which funnily enough, was created by Alinea!).

Anyway, here’s the full article in The Australian.

Oh – and when you get to the end of that article, you might want to be in on this.

Chicago chef and restaurateur Grant Achatz. Picture: Christian Seel

How to build a restaurant in a fine dining venue (and vise versa)

We are now officially the first restaurant in Australia to bring virtual reality (VR) into the fine dining experience.

We won’t lie: this was an enormous logistical effort and working out us how exactly to incorporate VR into the enjoyment of a meal was a mind-warp. But with the help of IMG Culinary, Catalyst VR and the WeNeverSleep immersive dining team, we managed to pull this one off. Here’s how it went.

Find more information about Lûmé events here.

Lûmé puts virtual reality on the menu for Taste of Melbourne

Written by Stephen A Russell

Originally published by Executive Style, 

When chef-owner Shaun Quade and partners transformed a former burlesque club into Lûmé’s rule-bending restaurant, the aim was to deliver multi-sensory experiences in a playful space.

Now he’s set to introduce virtual reality tech into his particular brand of fine dining…