Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Deli to Die For!

I've talked before about the Greek population of Melbourne and in particular Richmond. Third generations are now to the fore and no more than at the award winning and very stylish Laikon Delicatessen where the family have been serving this community for decades.  
This is a delicatessen as you imagine a delicatessen to be but rarely find. You can feel the warmth of 3 generations as soon as you walk in the door. Smiling faces greet you at the counter (and what a counter it is) with its choice of cheeses, dips, olives, cold cut meats, oils, dried fruits, nuts, pastas - the lists goes on - and on! The melt-in-your mouth halva - heaven!
"I'll take some of everything please - including the 'cake' halva on the top of the bench!"
3rd generation John and his English bride work side-by-side with his parents and in particular his mother. Her parents started this 'Richmond Institution'. Try her homemade-with-love spanakopitas (a Greek spinach savory pastry) they are mouth-wateringly tempting!

"I'll take a Spanakopita or 2 or 3 and for afters I'll take some naughty Baklava"
What choice - where to start?
Stop by at 324 Bridge Road - 9428 8495 (right opposite the Richmond Town Hall) to see - and smell - what I consider the nicest delis anywhere in Melbourne. Taste their produce, have a coffee and a chat. You won't be disappointed!

Bowen Cottage - client comment this week: We had a lovely time in your beautiful cottage - and yes it was shoe shopping time (I've never seen so many shoe boxes in the rubbish bin at the end of a stay - what fun 2 mothers and 2 daughters had!!)


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Dimmeys - a Richmond institution - farewell

The Dimmeys Ball and Clock Tower on busy Swan Street
Dimmeys - the building opened in 1853 with Dimmeys arriving in 1905 - is an amazing shop in downtown Richmond. It's an institution - and loaded with bargains of every imaginable description. The adline says it all "Dimmeys more than you bargain for"! 
An almost empty store with a bargain on every table
The developers (is there any end in sight to their avariciousness!) have been eyeing the building for years and finally a 10 storey over-development is to incorporate this building. Although the ball and tower are protected the Richmond skyline will change forever. There are plans for Dimmeys to return to the site once the development is finished but I wonder if that will happen. As Richmond gentrifies itself an enormous bargain store has probably passed its use-by date.

It has been visited by the rich and famous and the poor and needy and everything in between. The odd designer label can still be found squeezed next to an end of the line tasteless item. That's always been part of the fun and part of the challenge!

I see the building was destroyed by fire in 1906
One of the front windows has a fascinating display of the history of the building and the shop. I wonder how many people stop and read all about it? I suspect very few. If you are walking past - pop in for a look and perhaps pick up a bargain (I certainly have) and read a little of the history of a unique institution.
I love this one - the electric tram arrives in 1916 (and still going strong!)

Bowen Cottage - client comment this week: We have arrived. The cottage is gorgeous 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Cheese Room - if only you could smell it!

Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder is famed not only for its food (after all it was started by Stephanie Alexander - an icon in the restaurant and food industry) but also for its Cheese Room. The choice of cheeses is amazing and the smell.....it's an olfactory overload. It seems that the smellier the cheese the more likely it is to be on the Cheese Room shelves.

The Cheese Altar
Walking into the temperature controlled environment is like walking on hallowed ground. There seems to be a sense of reverence emanating from it. So even if you don't like cheese - yes there are people I'm told - it is definitely worth a visit and it's within walking distance of Bowen Cottage.
A little piece of Cheese Paradise

Bowen Cottage guest comment this week: We have arrived, the cottage is beautiful and we love the little treats. We will be very at home for the next few days.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker

I love walking along Bridge Road between Punt Road and Church Street looking at the historical plaques on most of the old buildings. They tell such a story of the history of Richmond. Here is a small selection.
A drapery business (a word rarely used today). A grocer (we don't have many of these now that the supermarket has overtaken the 'corner store').

A bootdealer - now all we have are a myriad of cheap shoes made anywhere but in Australia.
Or Mr Ellis (and perhaps Mrs and the children) living above the shop perhaps insuring all the local businesses.
A corn store - we don't have those anymore. I don't think this was a corn-on-the-cob fast food outlet but I might be wrong!
But the one that tickled my fancy the most today was this one for a painter. I suspect the painter who 'freshened up' the surrounds didn't read the plaque or he/she might have been a little more careful not to slop paint all around the edges. 

This walk is a fascinating one and well worth taking your eyes off the shop windows selling all manner of clothing, shoes, underwear and fast food. Perhaps in years to come another plaque will be added stating that The Noodle Shop had also been on the site - but I suspect not!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Richmond Spire

The Spire of St Ignatius - on the hill
As I look out my office window the spire of St Ignatius Church sits atop Richmond Hill. I'm sad that this particular sight will soon disappear in the rapacious onslaught that we Richmondites are experiencing with over-development of our precious suburb. So driving past the hill of churches - Uniting (where you will find a happy Fijian population swaying to the rhythm - without grass skirts); the Church of England and the Catholic Church are all cheek by jowl.

The windows on a dull day outside
I popped into St Ignatius today to the Lady Chapel to see the Kevin O'Neill stainglass windows. Kevin was Melbourne's renowned florist in the glory days of the 80's and 90's. His creations were 'to die for' - pardon the pun. He introduced us to magnificent colours, extraordinary themes and unusual plants and foliage. What is now the norm was new and exciting then and many of today's famed florists trained or were mentored by him. He was the darling of society not only here but Australia-wide. He died in 1997 and I rather like the choice of stainglass - flowers being the theme.
Flowers and colour - a Kevin O'Neill signature
Pop in to see the windows when you are in appropriately named Church Street - St Ignatius and the other Churches are on the hill between Bridge Road and Swan Street.

Bowen Cottage client comment this week: We are in and our expectations are surpassed. We will be recommending the cottage to anyone with a pair of ears!