WINDOWS has launched its new spring menu. Chef Johann Taucher has produced a menu incorporating the best spring produce, including sugar-cured Tasmanian salmon with lime spices, rhubarb, and yellow capsicum chutney, as well as the addition of terrine of citrus and seasonal fruits to the dessert menu.

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After $60,000 and eight weeks of hard work, the renovations to the outdoor area at the Oxford Hotel are complete. Ready for the balmy spring and summer period, the transformation of the old storage area into an outdoor bar has been aptly named Brickworks Garden Bar and Cafe. It has an old English village-style décor theme with rustic furniture and folding glass windows on the outdoor bar. Beverages and food can be purchased from the fully serviceable outdoor bar.

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Oxford Owner Peter Hayes says last week’s launch (in bleak weather) attracted about 400 patrons and, with the warmer months ahead, the outdoor area should prove popular.

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Rumours have it that Davide Bianchi’s next project will be fairly close to his current chic bar and cafe establishment, Savioa. We’re told the E-Bar on Outram Street, West Perth, will become Mr Bianchi’s newest restaurant project.

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German beer Lowenbrau is back on WA shelves. Joining wine distributor Hill International’s road show (which visited Fraser’s last Thursday), the German Beverage Imports Pty Ltd distributor says this beer is the “original” and is brewed in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516, which says that only natural ingredients of water, malt, hops and yeast can be used in the brewing process.

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While the spring mornings are getting warmer the craving for caffeine never seems to abate and, if you walk past the Parmelia Hilton on the way to work, be sure to drop in and get a coffee to go from the Globe Wine Bar and Restaurant. Launched this month, from 7am you can order your “real” coffee before making your way into the office. But they don’t stop there – the Globe says you can drop down anytime you need some global energy. Don’t know about global, but a caffeine fix – yes.

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In last week’s gusto bites Altos’ sommelier Shaun Maher mentioned ways for wine consumers to get out and learn more about wines, so we thought we’d give you a run down on some courses and tastings happening around Perth over coming weeks …

The Wine Industry of Australia is hosting its official varietal wine course on October 15 and 16. Eight two-hour sessions will give you an in-depth knowledge of a host of wines from semillon through to shiraz. This one is for the discerning student with a requirement that you have completed a primary (basic) wine course prior to enrolling.

Picardy Wines is the featured winery at Windows’ Signature Series. Chief winemaker Dan Pannell will be in attendance with a wealth of knowledge about the Pemberton winery and will guide you through the Picardy collection. The Leeuwin Estate Dinner at the Red Herring will be a combination of great food and great wine. Leeuwin Estate’s chef Jason Larson is the Red Herring’s special guest, and he will be cooking up a sensational four-course meal accompanied by Leeuwin Estate wines. Leeuwin Estate founder Denis Horgan will enlighten guests with tales of the evolution of the South West winery into one of the most recognised brands to come out of the Margaret River region. The evening will be held on Tuesday September 25 at 7pm and tickets are $95.

Want to know all about merlot? Xanadu is presenting 21 of the world’s finest merlots at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club this Sunday. From 10.30 am you can taste merlots from Bordeaux, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Leading wine writers James Halliday and Jeremy Oliver will be special guest speakers for an afternoon of merlot mixing. The tastings will be followed by lunch, which will be matched with Xanadu Wines. For information call Simone on 9322 8533.

Lamonts is hosting a Spring Wine Promotion and this Sunday between 12 and 2pm you can enjoy a wine and cheese day with Lamont Wines matched with cheeses from the Blue Cow Cheese Company. At only $20 per person, it sounds like an opportune time to head to the Swan Valley. But if you’re after wine, wine and more wine, head along to the Tank Tasting Winemaker session on Sunday September 23 from 11.30am till 3pm. You’ll get a wine tour as well as lunch and meet winemaker Mark Warren. Oh, and enjoy some tank tasting of course!

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Although nominated for a gold plate in Mediterranean casual dining, Icon Cafe on Aberdeen Street, Northbridge, will be renamed and refitted and will become Luminati on September 19. Icon will close this Sunday and, looking to shine, Leisha Jack and Miles Granville are launching a new style and new menu. The duo have an intriguing David Helfgott connection with both of them having worked at the Riccardo’s Winehouse, where David Helfgott used to play. Head Chef at Luminati will be Thierry Lemoal.

Leisha says she’s looking to attract customers throughout the afternoon, saying that too many consumers feel constrained by the lunch-time session. With this in mind she has organised music (beginning at 2pm), from modern classical to Latin jazz and other funky tunes, to keep punters stepping in for a relaxing afternoon.

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