Home Authors Posts by Linda Shi

Linda Shi


Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first | LuxBite Review

LuxBite Cafe

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” – Ernestine Ulmer

LuxBite is a small café located down the road from South Yarra Station, and is known for its macaroons and small cakes. However, if you’re in town for a drink and some brunch they also provide a wide selection of savoury options that Melbournians are known to love.

The café is decorated with plants, marble tables, and metal chairs; a charming and complementary aesthetic to its menu. At the counter there’s a glass cabinet showcasing a range of their cakes – a sweet tooth’s dream. Visitors have the choice of ordering their singular favourites, or for any newcomer, like me, you can order a “Signature Tea Set” which provides you with the top nine desserts.

The set includes: heilala vanilla crème brûlée macaroon, blue Calpis cheesecake, caramel cravings, lollybag cake (as seen on MasterChef), endless love macaroon (inspired by Pierre Herme’s), green tea cheesecake, kuma (bear) tart, bamboo oolong tea macaroon and lemon, lime and bitters tart.

If you prefer lighter and zesty desserts like me then the blue Calpis cheesecake; lemon, lime and bitters tart; and bamboo oolong tea macaroon are some divine options to satisfy your cravings. They’re easy to devour without overwhelming your senses with sweetness and the bamboo oolong tea macaroon is a must try due to the unique flavour.

Otherwise the kuma tart, endless love macaroon, or lollybag cake are some sweeter alternatives for the serious dessert eaters. The kuma – Japanese for ‘bear’ – tart is especially interesting, as the name suggests the banana cream filled cake is made into the mould of a bear face which you cut into!

Finally, if you prefer denser treats then the green tea cheesecake, crème brulee macaroon, and caramel cravings are the choices for you. One of the servers will direct you to start with the lighter cakes, gradually building until the heavier cakes such as caramel cravings. While the cakes look deceptively small on the platter set, it took a combined effort between my partner and I to finish them. It’s good value for money, and the perfect option if you’re bad at choosing between favourites.

Happy Father's Day! 🎩 #LuxBite

A photo posted by LuxBite (@luxbite) on

Overall, LuxBite is a haven for every dessert lover in Melbourne, their unique twist exemplifies them from other cafes. It’s a great place for meeting a friend, a date, or to even just have some time alone to relax during the day. Whether it be sweet or savoury LuxBite definitely caters to all tastes.

For more information on LuxBite and its menu please check out their website

George Has an Appetite for Excellence

The Australian Young Waiter of the Year competition George Papaioannou

Appetite for Excellence is Australia’s only national hospitality awards program. They initiate, award and acknowledge distinguished members of the hospitality industry. This year is the 11th running of The Australian Young Waiter of the Year competition and today I had a chance to interview a finalist; George Papaioannou.


A waiter in Melbourne’s Luxembourg Bistro, George was able to open up to me about his thoughts and feelings on Melbourne food culture and his own passion regarding food.

The Australian Young Waiter of the Year competition George Papaioannou

How did you initially get into waiting?

So my first job was at Vogue Ballroom, I got into hospitality through my auntie, who passed me onto her friends. I started there, but even before that I’ve always been into food. I remember when I was younger, setting up the dinner table and holding plates, stuff like that. I don’t know why but I found it fascinating.


What do you enjoy about it?

It makes me happy to see other people happy, and it makes me sad to see other people sad. So when I see customers who aren’t happy with their meal, on the inside I can’t handle it, I’m thinking ‘why don’t you like the food? Why don’t you like this? Why don’t you like that?’ I am so passionate about the service I am giving that I want them to be passionate about receiving it.


What is the importance of being a waiter in a Melbournian restaurant?

Customers are demanding a lot more from service. You have to provide that, they’re more in tuned in what’s happening with the food industry, where produce is coming from and how everything is made. You need to know that as a waiter, you are the last point of contact between the kitchen and the table.


What do you think defines Melbourne food culture?

I think we’re definitely moving more towards sustainability in terms of organic farming and really focusing on farm to table. Melbourne is very trendy, it’s a trend to love food in Melbourne and it’s blown up. There’s a drive in Melbourne to be better than everyone else, haha! We’re very snobbish.


How does Luxembourg fit in with these trends?

It’s an Andrew McConnell restaurant, it has to fit in with the standard that Melbourne dictates. I’m not being biased because I work for them, but it’s true, everyone loves to eat at an Andrew McConnell restaurant. They really can’t do wrong. The group’s established itself over 15 years and there’s procedures, so the way we do things at every restaurant will be the same no matter where you go.

The Australian Young Waiter of the Year competition George Papaioannou


In what way does Luxembourg differ from other places?

It’s… tastefully casual. It’s a bistro. It’s a tasteful bistro! It’s a place you can go after work to have a snack and a good glass of wine.


What are some of your favourite places to eat?

I really love dining at Andrew McConnell restaurants. I love Super Normal, I go there all the time, cause you know…fried custard is life. Tipo 00, it’s probably my favourite rest in Melbourne at the moment as they do simple dishes really well. I love the small wine list and their focus on Italian, natural and organic produces.


Where do you see yourself going in regards to food and restaurants?

My goal is to own a restaurant, or café or bar of some sort. To what extent, I’m not sure yet, maybe not in Melbourne, maybe overseas? Maybe I’ll start something in Adelaide! Who knows?

To learn more about The Australian Young Waiter of the Year award and Luxembourg please visit the following.



To follow George Papaioannou on his food journeys please check out his instagram.


The Second Woman… | Next Wave Festival

The Second Woman Next Wave Festival 2016

In a small dark studio in ACMI between the 20th-21st, I was fortunate enough to witness what can only be described as a live action experiment labeled The Second Woman. For 24-hours Nat Randall performed a script derived from the cult classic film Opening Night (John Cassavetes), looping this scene over and over with different male volunteers. The true nature of the script is unknown, however through my own deductions I realised there was a strong element of improvisation on the men’s behalf.

The Second Woman

Despite viewing her show for only a short period, I felt a sense of elation and anxiety from the depths of my chest as I eagerly awaited each line. I drank in the neon lights and chiffon walls that covered the performance room while Randall danced around each man in her seductive red dress. I saw four main exchanges during my visit and each was unique and eclectic, an independent result of the male counterpart.

The Second Woman studies many elements including dynamic relationships, chemistry, and intimacy.

The initial performance became the status quo, Randall began by asking the man, “What are you thinking about?”. Soon after he pours her a drink and they both sit for dinner (consisting of noodles), she tells him “I’m not good enough… you don’t think I’m pretty… you don’t think I’m funny… I want to be capable!” After being reassured of her attributes, Randall’s character announces, “and… you love me”. This line is connected with a pregnant pause between the two actors before Randall unexplainably dispenses the noodles on the table and throws the box. Calmly, she walks to the radio and it begins playing Taste of Love – Aura, her body sways gently and soon enough she is joined by the male role. As the dance becomes intimate, we see Randall push the man away, collapsing on the floor, there’s an uncomfortable and awkward silence as she slowly rises to switch the radio off.

“I think you should leave.” Is the final line in the 20-minute performance and the man shakily walks out the door. Some said “I love you” while others chose to say “I never loved you”, the final phrase is completely dependent of the experience and chemistry between the couple onstage. I found that despite the similarity of the script in each loop the overall tonality and atmosphere was always reoriented. The initial loop was fiercely intimate and I felt a strong sense of connection. The second actor was alternatively jocular and gave a jovial performance, the couple gave a strong vibe of friendship than two in a passionate relationship.

There’s an oddly ethereal moment I experienced when the third gentleman walked into the room, he was jittery and was so nervous he had completely forgotten the entire scrip. The couple sat at the table eating noodles for 10 minutes before Randall ushered him out while the audience members giggled. I realised soon after that there wasn’t the catharsis that usually followed the previous two scenes, instead my mind was still waiting for the loop to be ‘complete’.

The Second Woman was a fascinating concoction of affection, connection, and interpretation. Randall’s performance pierces deeper than just the electricity between actors, but also our interpretation as an audience. The final loop I surveyed was acutely personal and at its climax I felt almost uncomfortable viewing the exchange. The Second Woman was a one in a lifetime show, and for those like me who were fortunate enough to be entangled in its snare we left the studio with its imprint on our minds.

Randall’s performance will forever be burned into our memories, and I will always remember the way her voice fluttered with the question that started it all: what are you thinking about?

Captain America vs. Iron Man | Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil War Logo

If you enjoy heart racing action sequences, stiffly forced erotic love-hate relationships and converging open-ended plot lines, then Captain America: Civil War is definitely the film for you.

Team Captain America and Team Iron Man face off

Playing on the time bomb that is Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans), Marvel revisits the conflicting attitudes that the two heroes originally foreshadowed during the initial Avengers film. Once again the common concoction of comedy, action, strong female leads and moral ambiguities are blasted through the screen in this 2.5 hour-long film.

We are reintroduced to; Spider Man (Tom Holland), Scarlett Witch (Elisabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and almost every other hero in the Marvel Universe.

We watch as the Avengers become divided.

Captain America believes that the independent group shall stand as they are: uncontrolled by the government. Whilst Iron Man – through sheer guilt after the events of Age of Ultron – passively signs a government agreement, slowly forming a fissure between the two parties.

Then in bursts Bucky, A.K.A The Winter Solider (Sebastian Stan), along with the antagonist, a Sokovian named Zemo (Daniel Brül). Suddenly viewers are subjected to what can only be described as a long vigorous battle between friendship, government, and utter chaos.

Captain America steadies Bucky in from of a mob of police

The highlight of this Marvel film is once again its action montage. Captain America: Civil War is littered with numerous battle sequences, including running through traffic, bombings, and a final battle scene so epic it occurred only an hour into the film. Just when it seemed safe to believe that the rivalry between shield and suit had reached its climax, the film had really only begun to play with the audience’s adrenal glands as they were thrust back into a secondary battle. The battle between the Avengers could only be described as cinematic artistry – Marvel has always provided viewers with substantial eye candy.

Civil War does not cut corners with it’s meticulously planned battles

Despite Spiderman being a dead horse the studio would not stop beating he was (shockingly) rather well depicted. After the original film series portrayed by Toby Maguire, Andrew Garfield’s recent reboot seemed to be a shadow of the former representation. However, Holland does an amazing job in Captain America: Civil War by channeling a nerdy boy from the suburbs who just wants to do right by society… well, at least with the 20 minutes of screen time he receives.

Spider Man lands on a car in the Captain America: Civil War trailer

So here’s the nitty gritty, Captain America: Civil War is not a bad film, it’s just not amazing either.

This film is confusing, visually stunning, but utterly lacking story. Marvel has become greedy and lazy, preying off a formula they know will bring in fans, much like animators using the same animatic on repeat.

My final thoughts

I wanted to feel the same empowerment when I had initially watched Iron Man or The Avengers. I remember seeing Johansson fighting alongside the men and the multi-faceted personalities of both villain and hero when they battled. Instead, I am left with an almost humorous attempt at character depth and development. Individuals such as: Vision, Scarlett Witch and Ant-Man were given small amounts of screen time and even smaller identities. I don’t even believe that any of them knew why they were there in the first place. Let alone why Iron Man was in a scuffle with Captain America to begin with.

Ultimately I wanted to enjoy Captain America: Civil War, but it’s 2D characters, lack of any profound consequence just proves that Marvel had created an attractive illusion purely to draw fans. It almost feels like an advertisement with converging plot lines of future films, in hopes that we might be eager enough to one day buy a ticket for Infinity Wars.

Captain America: Civil War is a film where Steve Rogers gets upset at Tony Stark, they battle, they argue and at the end become allies again. I wish I could have more to say about this movie, however the absent intricacies, dull character backgrounds and a story that ends where it begins, shatters the visual deception that is Civil War.

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Producer: Kevin Feige
Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jnr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Bruhl
Music: Henry Jackman
Cinematography: Trent Opaloch
Running Time: 147 minutes
Box Office: $84 Million