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My view of Docklands; from NewQuay
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A Royal Commission into industry scandals
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Business in Docklands - June 2012

29 May 2012

Oodles of noodles and dozens of dumplings

If it looks like duck, smells like duck and tastes like duck, then it must be duck – right?

Wrong. It’s textured soy protein that sure looks like the real thing.

Inside the freezer at NewQuay Asian Grocery store are sliced duck, fish steaks, meatballs, lamb shanks, prawns, chicken breasts … all are meat-free soy protein made by Vegefarm.

“Vegefarm products are a healthy alternative to eating meat,” said store manager Henry Liu.

“They are good for you, nutritious, and tasty,” he said. “We are the only store where you can buy Vegefarm products in Docklands. We are expanding our selection, with more stock coming in.”

NewQuay Asian Grocery opened in April in partnership with the neighbouring IGA X-press, in Rakaia Way. Together, they pretty much cover everything Docklanders and visitors seek in Asian and Australian groceries.

“Together, we want to be your ‘one-stop shop’ for groceries,” Mr Liu said.

The NewQuay Asian Grocery has a comprehensive frozen seafood section, and a selection of fresh vegetables needed for authentic Asian cuisine – large Chinese cabbages and smaller bak choy, daikon (Asian turnips), bamboo shoots, lotus roots, water chestnuts, and more.  

The store has oodles of noodles and dozens of dumplings, plus a huge variety of Asian herbs, spices, sauces and soup ingredients.

A chef in Beijing once told me that no food source is wasted in China, saying: “If it has wings or four legs and isn’t a table or chair, we’ll eat it.”

It’s no surprise that NewQuay Asian Grocery stocks bags of hot chilli chicken toes and spicy pepper chicken necks.

“Our range of Japanese and Korean ice creams outsell the local variety,” Mr Liu said. The Japanese green tea ice cream is especially refreshing.”

Store owner Vivian Tang moved to Docklands from Shanghai a year ago.

“I like the area here – like Shanghai, Docklands is modern, is growing and you feel safe,” Ms Tang said.

“We are part of the local community. Our customers are residents, office workers and builders from the construction sites.”

Mr Liu said the new store proudly supplied some of Docklands’ restaurants.

“There was no Asian grocery store around here, and, with the IGA X-press, we wanted to give customers more choice,” he said.

NewQuay Asian Grocery is at 15-17 Rakaia Way, Docklands. Call 9602 3073.

Joie de vivre by the bowlful at Bergerac

In 1985, French chef Jean-Francois Enconniere chose the Salvation Army’s People’s Palace building in Kings St as the site for his Bergerac restaurant.

Today the Bergerac is still a “people’s palace” – a warm and friendly place for people to gather, eat, drink and experience joie de vivre!

Mr Enconniere named the restaurant after his birthplace in France. A provincial town on the Dordogne River in the Perigord region not far from Bordeaux, Bergerac is associated with the literary character Cyrano de Bergerac and is famous for good wine.

So it is no surprise that Bergerac restaurant has an extensive selection of French wine, and most are sold by the glass.

As Docklands News is interviewing Mr Enconniere, wine supplier Nicolas Papaix arrives with a bottle of sauvignon blanc under his arm: “That you simply must try”.

Crisp and light, it’s a good accompaniment for a large bowl of Bergerac’s bouillabaisse. Mr Papaix is the sales manager for his father’s business, Bistrow importers of French wine, and is soon recounting the history of the sauvignon grape, how it was traditionally just a wild grape in France, and so on.

With Mr Papaix and Mr Enconniere at your table, there is seemingly no question they cannot answer about French wine and cuisine.

Mr Enconniere started a pastry chef apprenticeship in Bergerac township when he was 14. He went on to work in Paris and Amsterdam, before arriving in Melbourne in 1971, when he joined the kitchen at La Chaumiere in West Melbourne.

In 1975, Mr Enconniere opened Café de Paris, on the corner of LaTrobe and Exhibition streets. When that made way for high-rise offices, he opened Bergerac in King St and hasn’t looked back.

“Melbourne has grown so much,” he said.

“The waterfront development is beautiful, with Southbank and Docklands – it all adds to the appeal of Melbourne as a destination.”

Mr Enconniere started the Melbourne chapter of the world-wide Academie Culinaire de France 15 years ago.

Bergerac serves dinner every night from 6pm until 10.30pm, and lunch Monday to Friday from noon to 3pm.

“The $28.50 lunch special, with two courses and a glass of wine, is very popular,” he said. “About 50 of the 80 people we get for lunch each day will choose the deal.”

“Our fresh seafood and vegetables are delivered from the market every morning.”

And still on the theme of People’s Palaces, Mr Enconniere invites you to join him in celebrating the July 14 anniversary of the liberation of the Bastille, with can-can dancers and a party atmosphere on the Friday and Saturday nights. Book early.

Bergerac French Cuisine is at 131 King St, call 9629 2868 or visit http://www.bergeracrestaurant.com.au

Bergerac French Cuisine restaurant chef-owner Jean-Francois Enconniere with a bowl of bouillabaisse, perfect on a cold winter night.

Life in the fun lane at Kingpin Bowling

Question: What is a fun, healthy, safe sport that you can enjoy all year round, from the depths of winter to the heat of summer? Answer: Indoor bowling.

The music’s hot, the cocktails are chilled and the lanes are full of laughter every day of the year at Kingpin Bowling, in Southbank.

Finding the correct bowling shoe-size is a simple step … onto a mat of foot-sizes at the foot of the serving counter.

“We have every shoe-size from toddler to size 15,” says venue manager Ed Mountford.

“We cater for everyone. Parents can relax at the bar with a drink while the kids are playing bowls or the latest arcade and video games.

“Families, school groups, office parties – we will look after everyone.”

Ed has a library of more than 1000 music videos that play on 20 huge screens, as bowlers swing into party mode. Imagine bowling a strike as Survivor belts out Eye of the Tiger.

A recently-installed photo system offers snapshots of you and your mates as you hurl that bowl with deadly accuracy at the 10 pins (or side gutter!).

The M9 Bar, which looks down over the complex, is available for exclusive functions.

“It’s popular with teams and clubs, birthdays, end-of-financial year functions, hens and bucks nights, and so on,” says Ed.

Kingpin offers school holiday packages and regular discounts, such as $10 bowling from 9pm to 2am every Tuesday.

“We also have combination packages, for bowls, the 40-person indoor laser skirmish and the Galactic Circus games arcade,” Ed said. “We have the largest indoor interactive games centre in Australia.”

Overseeing the games section is Dennie Renessis, who admits he has one of the most enviable jobs going.

“When I was a little kid I dreamt of working at Timezone,” he says.

“I started here when I was 19, and now I’m 30 – and I’ve no intention of leaving!”

Dennie says the games are continually being updated and cost from 20 cents to $5 to play.

One of the favourites is the first-person shooter Mega Buck Hunter, but the most impressive is the FS 2000 “Cybercoaster”, where two people are strapped into an enclosed pod that lifts up and twists, spins and somersaults.

“They cost about $250,000 each and the first one was so popular, we had to get a second one,” Dennie says.

Most in demand are the games with prizes such as electric scooters and home theatre packages. Others offer tickets which are redeemed for prizes ranging from a bouncy ball to the latest Xbox unit and microwave ovens.

“And yes, you CAN win on those claw skill games – I have to refill the toys twice every week,” Dennie said with a smile.

Kingpin Bowling is open from 10am until late, every day of the year, on the ground floor of the Crown Entertainment Complex, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank. Call 13 2695 or visit http://www.kingpinbowling.com.au

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