5 mins reading

What’s new in dining, drinking, art and design.



Hip hotel chain Ace Hotel has claimed its place as a leading lifestyle brand at the forefront of design and creativity, without posts in the bustling cultural hub of Midtown Manhattan, the arts precinct of Shoreditch in London and the historic creative capital of Kyoto. Now, in its first foray into the Southern Hemisphere, the chain has found a home in Surry Hills in a former brick factory on Wentworth Avenue. The 257-room hotel features interiors by Melbourne’s Flack Studio, rendered in rich ochre tones inspired by the paintings of Albert Namatjira, while a range of artworks by up-and-coming local artists such as Ramesh Nithiyendran, Tony Albert and Julia Gutman grace the public areas. The ground-floor lobby bar and lounge, restaurant and street-facing cafe are ripe for convivial socialising and creative collaboration. Ace Hotel Sydney upholds the brand’s ethos of offering communal places where all are welcome, and travellers and neighbours can gather.


Recently opened European diner Manon Brasserie enjoys a prime location on the ground floor of the historic Queen Victoria Building in the heart of the CBD. It’s outfitted with luxe marble counters ,red-leather booths, aged bronze hardware and outdoor tables with chairs facing the street for voyeuristic Parisian-style people watching. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night supper (Fridays and Saturdays only), and the menu features a roster of elevated French classics — think croque monsieur, steak frites, escargot and caviar, as well as quality coffee and pastries. Head chef Thomas Boisselier hails from France, where he was most recently head chef at Oscar restaurant in Lyon, and previously worked at three-Michelin-starred Christophe Bacquié in Provence. Manon’s impressive wine list features more than400 bottles, a range of cocktails and Gosset Champagne by the glass.



Don’t miss “The Picasso Century” at the National Gallery of Victoria, exclusively developed for the NGV by the Centre Pompidou and the Museé Picasso-Paris in a world premiere. The exhibition charts the extraordinary career of Pablo Picasso in dialogue with the many artists, poets and intellectuals he interacted with throughout the 20th century — Salvador Dalí, Georges Braque, Alberto Giacometti, Valentine Hugo, Henri Matisse, Dora Maar, Gertrude Stein and many others. The exhibition features more than 80 works by Picasso and more than 100 by his contemporaries. Discover a rich selection of works by artists rarely exhibited in Australia, including Natalia Goncharova, Julio González, Wifredo Lam and Suzanne Valadon. Until October 9, 2022.


Discover the extraordinary life and career of Helmut Newton — one of the most influential and provocative fashion photographers of all time — at the wide-ranging exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia in Melbourne, which features 78 original photographs. Delving into Newton’s early life and career, “Helmut Newton: In Focus” shines a light on his Jewish roots and youth in Berlin, his flight from Germany at the outbreak of WWII and his 18-month internment in regional Victoria as an enemy alien. Almost two decades after Newton’s death, the exhibition asks how much of his life and career was shaped by the two decades he lived in Australia before his return to Europe, where he became one of the most sought-after photographers of the 20th century. Until January 29, 2023.

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Collins Street has a new hotspot: Freyja, a two-level Nordic restaurant housed in Melbourne’s heritage-listed Olderfleet building. Head chef Jae Bang brings Michelin pedigree to the eatery, with an illustrious career spanning Norway’s Re-Naa (where he worked his way up to head chef), New York’s Daniel and Spain’s El Bulli and Arzak. Inside the magnificent 1880s Venetian Gothic landmark building, Freyja delivers an elevated and approachable dining experience, emphasising an innovative menu aligning classic Northern European dishes (such as waffles with trout roe, plus many salted, cured and pickled items) with new culinary philosophies (read about Bang’s take on sustainable dining in “Conscious Cuisine” ,p46), and interiors that reflect raw Scandinavian simplicity.


The site of St Hubert’s winery has undergone a massive redevelopment and now features a dual-level building designed by Cera Stribley architects. Set within the scenic and culturally rich Yarra Valley, Hubert Estate is a culinary and cultural hub, home to the Euro-inspired Quarters restaurant, the longstanding Hubert Gallery of Art — showcasing Indigenous art and culture — plus an event space, a revamped cellar door and a boutique wine store designed by Landini Associates. Plans are also underway to open a hotel and wellness centre in 2024.