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Fitzroy Precinct

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Inner suburban Fitzroy, just five minutes from Melbourne's CBD, offers an edgy mix of alternative, artistic and trendy elements. It has plenty to catch the eye — young designer and retro clothing, quaint and quirky shops, bookshops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. It also has a vibrant nightlife.

Brunswick Street is Fitzroy's backbone and reflects the city's soul. It is tolerant and accommodating; you can be bohemian, poor, rich, alternative, trendy, young or old and feel at home here.

Studios, galleries and workshops offer eclectic art sold from colourful street benches and noisy bars, open day and night.

The Gertrude Street Enoteca was started in 1994 by James Broadway and Brigette Hafner. He is a wine importer and she a chef, the perfect combination for success.

They avoided opening just another café, wanting something emulating the beautiful wine shops found throughout Italy. They have walls displaying wine and interesting foods. James buys wonderful cheese from the back of a van and handmakes everything from ingredients purchased at small suburban delicatessens. James and Brigette are the instigators of the slow food movement in Melbourne.

After tucking into a bowl of delicious pasta with garlic oil and mussels, it was time to move on.

Gwendolynne Burkin is a rising star of Australian fashion. She launched her own signature label Gwendolynne in 1997 and has established a reputation for beautifully executed clothing with a strong European flavour. Her solid background in design and pattern-making has refined her skills and personal style.

She has major buyers in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Singapore, Milan and London who sell her day-into-night garments, wedding dresses and occasional outfits for the entire wedding party.

Richard Nylon is a milliner known for his sculptural creations. He collaborates with Gwendolynne Burkin to complete her creative pieces. They have been creating combined masterpieces since 1997.

With something appropriate to wear, it was time to head to Kanela, Melbourne's only restaurant-tapas bar dedicated to the art of flamenco, run by the Tedesco brothers. Upstairs is the Flamenco Performing Arts Studio where future dancers and musicians train and have their curiosity about all things Spanish sated.

Dance programs are a mix of classical and contemporary style, avoiding the commercial exploitation of the genre. Young performers are encouraged to respect the roots of the tradition, but also to experiment and find their own personal voice or style.

Kanela's restaurant specialises in tapas, individual dishes of authentic Spanish delicacies. The signature dish is paella, Spain's traditional slowly-cooked seafood and rice. It also has a wide range of Spanish wine, beer, sangria and cocktails.

Smith Street is a growing multicultural streetscape known for its vegetarian and wholefood. It has plenty of budget-friendly Asian, Greek, Moroccan and Middle Eastern eateries.


The centre of Melbourne.


The Gertrude Street Enoteca has wines from all over the world ranging from $15 to $300 a bottle.

Gwendolynne Studio is open on Saturdays from 11.30am to 4.30pm. Appointments may be made for other times.

Kanela has a five-piece gypsy jazz band — String Theory — playing every Sunday. There is no charge.

Virgin Blue has flights to Melbourne.

One-way fare from;
  • Adelaide, $95
  • Sydney, $110
  • Brisbane, $139
  • Darwin, $199
  • Perth, $219

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at March 15, 2007, and are subject to change.

More information

The Gertrude Street Enoteca
229 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: (03) 9415 8262

Gwendolynne Studio
71 Kerr Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: (03) 9415 7687
Fax: (03) 8415 0887

Kanela Spanish Flamenco Bar & Restaurant
56 Johnston Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: (03) 9419 0424
Fax: (03) 9419 0424

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789

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