Best things to do in Melbourne in January

Regional dishes that are worth the detour. An extraordinary exhibition (with a river of stars). A new luxury villa with a private plunge pool. And more. Here is what Large format sheet Melbourne editor-in-chief Tomas Telegramma is visiting Melbourne in January.

The Etta experience

“It was such a non-event, I walked into the kitchen,” young chef Rosheen Kaul said of her introduction to the industry. “Then once I did, I wanted to be the best.” But when offered the role of chef at Etta at the end of 2020, she wasn’t sure she was ready for it. A year later, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Its reincarnation of Brunswick East bolthole makes it a must-have dining experience in Melbourne (reserve a table now), not least because of the pork belly rib and wood-fired cabbage flower with dan dan noodle. In our new profile, we talk to her about putting aside self-doubt, rejecting toxic cooking culture and more.

Socially distanced shenanigans

What a strange time. As cases increase, the streets are unusually quiet, with many Melburnians choosing to keep a low profile and avoid the crowds. If that’s you, click here for our roundup of 10 great socially remote things to do in Melbourne (and beyond) this summer. They are mostly free, mostly outdoor activities, making them as safe as possible against Covid. Give the Japanese practice of forest baths a whirl, pick your own strawberries at a farm in the lush and scenic hinterland of the Mornington Peninsula, or lead your own private picnic boat on the Yarra. Do you have children? Here are seven ways to date them; go on a weekday to keep your distance from the masses.

An extraordinary exhibition

A fascinating river of stars in black and white welcomes you in the new extraordinary exhibition of the NGV, bark ladies. And above is a mirrored ceiling that reverses the sky, sea and land. But that’s just the entrance. As you browse the gallery, you’ll find four distinct spaces filled with stunning paintings, sculptures, and immersive exhibits by daring Yolngu women from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka, an art center in northeast Arnhem Land. The NGV has long been a champion of female talent, having acquired and preserved their works for over 30 years. Learn more about the art center (and those that make it so special) here.

Food worth traveling

Bakery stops are often accidental on road trips. But we’ve listed 13 (a dozen or so bakers) of Victoria’s best that are worth the trip in their own right. There’s a charming time capsule of a bakery, a low-key bakehouse full of sponge cake, and a three-time winner of Australia’s best pie (regional bakeries aren’t afraid to talk about a few superlatives, but this one is the real deal). Beyond the baked goods, three new openings outside the city to know: the Mediterranean Mortadeli, the picturesque French crêperie Soeur et Loosie’s, inspired by the “dark” Los Angeles diners of the 1970s. little fancy? Check out our guide to the absolute best regional restaurants in Victoria.

Private swimming pool, do you like it?

Already need a getaway in 2022? Private plunge pools, outdoor concrete baths and lush vineyard views are just a few of what awaits you in Cassis, a new ultra-luxury relaxation destination on the Mornington Peninsula. Newly opened in Red Hill, the tucked-away property features five freestanding villas. They are all decked out with luxurious king-size beds, elegant en-suite bathrooms, fully-equipped kitchenettes, spacious dining areas and comfortable living rooms. Named after the quaint French fishing village, the accommodation is meant to mimic 17th-century farmhouses – with a distinctly modern edge.

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