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Riverside Crawl N Bite for #MFWF

Riverside Crawl N Bite was a spectacular event for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and the World Loves Melbourne was invited along by Visit Melbourne. It was a privilege to be included (@theworldlovesmelbourne) in a "best instagrammers of Melbourne" group with @forksake and @thecitylane.

We explored a world of flavours as we took a breezy riverside stroll along the banks of the Yarra River. We enjoyed South American barbecued goodness at Asado Bar and Grill, refined regional Chinese tasting plates at Neil Perry’s award-winning Spice Temple and a cocktail with snacks in The Atlantic restaurant’s basement bar, The Den. Three iconic Melbourne dining destinations.

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Spice Temple is an icon in Melbourne and the perfect destination to start this Crawl N Bite event.

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Off to a flying start; Spice Temple was stunning in its food and wine offerings. Spice Temple features regional Chinese dishes using high quality produce and contrasting tastes and textures, the inspiration of iconic chef Neil Perry.

To be honest I felt the event was great value after just the first stop. A refill on the Pinot Noir was welcome and the amount and quality of food generous. Having visited Spice Temple for years it's great to see this restaurant evolving and powering on.

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Kung Pao Chicken has to be one of my favourite dishes and no one does it better than Spice Temple. Addictive dish featuring perfectly cooked deep fried tangy chicken with heat of dry chillies and Sichuan pepper. With crunch and nutty nuance of cashews, as well as greens. 

Many people eat this dish without eating the chillies but I can't help diving in to eat a few chillies for extra heat. My kind of Chinese stir fry. 

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Generous with the Pinot Noir.

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Also stunning was the Raw kingfish with pickled green chilli, black sesame and shallot oil. Once again an addictive dish with welcome heat. The kingfish was outstanding but I found myself loading up on the delicious sauce/oil.

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Dumplings are my weakness and these Lamb dumplings with chilli were stunning. Generous on the delicious lamb filling, I actually found it hard to fit the whole dumpling in my mouth. 

Spice Temple was a standout first stop and we had enjoyed 3 top notch dishes and excellent wine. 

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The Den (downstairs at The Atlantic) brings something of New York bar culture reminiscent of a Golden Era. Filled with bookcases, heirlooms, gas-flamed heaters, velvet sofas, vintage Persian rugs, cottage chairs and a grand piano.

Ricky from @forksake seen above mingling with guests on tour. The Den is a Melbourne gem. Having visited The Den before I associate this destination with a fine bar featuring impeccable cocktails, great vibe and excellent oysters and other seafood. The perfect place to catch up with friends and work colleagues.

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It was great to connect with Joel from @visitmelbourne, as well as Ricky from @forksake and Paul from @thecitylane over a glass of red.

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Tartare heaven at The Den.

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The waiter was right when he said I didn't need any sauce or lemon for these oysters; such high quality they were best consumed au natural. 

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Char grilled octopus skewers from The Den were a highlight of the evening. 

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Snap worthy food and drinks. We were satiated and this was only stop two. I keep saying that Melbourne holds the most amazing festival events that are super value for money. 

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Asado Argentinian Bar & Grill hits the high notes with its standout South American offerings. Asado is from the team behind San Telmo, Pastuso and Palermo (three restaurants I love). With our wristbands on we were able to walk into Asado to a reserved section ready for round 3 of Crawl N Bite.

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Sangria Rosada was refreshing on a warm Melbourne night, featuring Sangria on tap, Rose, pink grapefruit, cranberry apple, mint and seasonal fruit.

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We were treated to four top notch Pinxtos featuring Lengua (grilled beef tongue skewer, chimichurri), Jamon Serrano con melón (Serrano and rockmelon skewer, Spanish goat's curd), Mini Empanadas (beef, caramelised onion, jalapeño, and egg), and Croqueta (salt cod croquette, sour cream, pickled fennel).

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Each of the Pinxtos was outstanding but if I had to choose a favourite it would be the Lengua.

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This event was part of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival cult classic Crawl ‘n’ Bite series. The concept is to take you to three handpicked restaurants or bars in one night to show off the best of Melbourne’s vibrant dining scene - and this was certainly achieved. Punters enjoy a bite and matched drink in each before being guided to the next. Think progressive dinner with a guide (probably the best progressive dinner you've been on). And can I say again the value is excellent.

Recapping: Our session was as follows: Spice Temple (starting venue) / The Den at The Atlantic / Asado Bar & Grill. Outstanding! (And I got to complete my 1000 steps). Hoping this event is on next year and I can be a part. Thanks again to Joel and Visit Melbourne. Highly recommended.

#visitmelbourne @visitmelbourne #theworldlovesmelbourne @theworldlovesmelbourne @forksake @thecitylane