The Saucy Chef on St Andrew – Invercargill

Part of the Northern Tavern Complex on the corner St Andrews & Sydney Streets, The Saucy Chef has a lovely ambiance with a a choice of dining or relaxation areas.

We retired to this cosy area for dessert. But lets rewind to the beginning.

Upon entry, friendly staff greeted us, before seating us in a glassed corner, giving an uninterrupted view of the moving canvas as locals go about their daily life. One of the perks of being the first customers for the evening I guess.

Attentive staff provided drinks, water and menus in a timely efficient manner. Let the food choices begin.

One dish I hadn’t yet tasted whilst on this NZ trip, was venison. Time to give the Denver Venison dish on the menu a trial. With a high topped presentation, the Red Deer Venison was atop Kumara mash, paired with wilted spinach, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. The basil & tomato jus was a nice finish to the overall dish. Flavours blended well with the deliciously tender venison.

Creamy mashed potatoes swimming in your choice of sauce, were a great match for the steak dish also enjoyed at our table.

As far as eyecatching presentation, this simple Gingerbread Jar dessert, certainly had what it takes. The shape of the plate, gingham style jar lid, all perfectly sprinkled with just the right amount of icing sugar, really did give the whole dessert a wow factor.

Lime & lemongrass Creme Brûlée certainly didn’t disappoint either. As they say you eat with your eyes first and these desserts, as well as the meals were very well presented, all tasty, making for a most enjoyable experience overall.

Drop by the Saucy Chef if you’re in the area. It’s an easy stroll next door to the bar for the bar experience, or stay where you are in the restaurant, to enjoy a night cap or two.

Further photos are available on Dine Live Travels Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Enjoy!

Alexandra District Club – Alexandra NZ

Alexandra resides on the banks of the Mighty Clutha River. With a length totalling 338 kilometres , the Clutha is the second longest river in New Zealand, and largest river in the South Island. Alexandra’s population of around 5500, swells considerably during holiday season. Whilst Alexandra might be under the radar from Queenstown, it still provides its own personal punch.

The famous white clock sits up on the hill to the East, visible from many areas around Alexandra. 150 Torch bulbs illuminate the clock which can be seen from about 5 miles away. To give you some idea of the size of the clock, the minute hand is 5.6 metres long and the hour hand 4 metres. Quite an impressive structure, planned and built in the late 1960’s, with the materials at the time totalling under NZD3,000.00.

This iconic bridge provides the exit/entry towards Southland, crossing the blue waters of the Clutha. Not too far to the West and you see the Clutha Dam. Another story in itself as we covered a couple of years back. Right now though, you are in Alex and you need some sustenance, somewhere to meet the locals. We checked out the Alexandra District Club.

Australia or NZ, they accept reciprocal membership for either. Otherwise, have a member sign you in and you can then experience the local lifestyle. A busy bistro operates to keep the patrons full. Prices were reasonable, but I apologise now, I could not see past that Shrimp cocktail, oh yes you have me. One of those rare treats from years gone by, and one of the few I really do miss. Certainly did not disappoint, was exactly as I remember! Even the presentation was exactly as I would expect.

Choose your meals, drop by the counter and pay in advance. Trust me, won’t be long and the entrees and or meals will arrive depending on what you’ve ordered.

In the interim we had some meat raffles going. Didn’t take long at all, from buying your tickets to the draw. Nice steak by the way! Yes we did manage to score one packet of steak, great investment for about $8 total! Awesome down to earth meals, unfrilled, non competitive. Well done!This is one of those places that needs support. For the locals, there’s plenty happening within the club, meets etc, but, as a visitor, take some time to check them out. Like every local business they need not only their local support but yours too.

Oh and did I mention that awesome courtesy coach? Take advantage, and enjoy a drink with your meal!

Remember to add Dine Live travel on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat, there are different photos and posts everywhere!

Buff, South Island, New Zealand

Sitting just below Invercargill, Bluff is well known for its oysters, whilst also being the home of the ferry to Stewart Island. Depending on the weather, you can sometimes have a clear view of Stewart island, other days you may not see anything. The popularity of this area is obvious by the number of tourists, huddling close to the iconic Bluff sign for photo opportunities.

Sitting just above the sign, is the Oyster Cove restaurant, with sweeping views out across the moody Foveaux Strait. This is the seaway which divides New Zealand’s South Island from Stewart Island. According to Maori legend, the strait was created by the obedient whale, Kewa, when summoned by the traditional Maori elder Kiwa to create a waterway.

Hence the Maori names for the strait being Te Ara a Kiwa “the path of Kiwa”, or Te Ara a Kewa “the path of the whale”.

No matter where you are seated within Oyster Cove, the huge floor to ceiling windows provide a panoramic, moving vista, whist you enjoy your meal.

Mouthwatering treats await you on the menu, this Paua Cob loaf made for a hearty meal. Hubby partnered this with the creamy, delicious Seafood Chowder. It wasn’t the season for the famous bluff oysters, however he intended on having as much local seafood as he possibly could throughout the trip.Today, my choice was the lamb, which simply melted in my mouth, being so soft and tasty.Presentation was eye catching and overall, staff were very considerate and helpful. The entire atmosphere of this venue rates very highly. Exceedingly high ceilings complement those massive windows, giving an air of spaciousness.

With a belly full of good food, you are probably now ready to head outside. When we entered Oyster Cove, the day was quite pleasant. By the time we left however, the prevailing chilly, southerly wind had pushed cloud over the area. Still, there was time for a trip up the Bluff Hill to take in some views from the lookout, before the rain set in.Even though a little murky, you could still see out across Bluff itself. Keep in mind the weather here is generally coming directly from the mass of ice surrounding the South Pole. That wind can have quite a bite to it.

Have a look in the opposite direction, to see the last inhabited land mass before Antarctica, Stewart Island. Today, barely visible, but still enough to make out the outline of 1746 square kilometres of island, home to about 380 permanent residents.

Historic Bluff is worth the short 20 minute drive from Invercargill, at least once. Many houses here are still the original workers homes from days gone by. A lot have been remodelled and improved, yet still retain their heritage.

Visit during the Oyster festival in May, and you will find the roughly 1800 population of hardy souls, swells by an additional 4000 for the festival duration. Be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance if you’re interested, as they do sell out very quickly!

Further photos are posted on Dine Live Travels Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui

Situated next door to Sky City Hamilton Casino complex, this Novotel faces towards the mighty Waikato River. From the deck and the river facing rooms, you have some interesting views across the Waikato.

Currently undergoing renovations, including additional rooms, there’s a little less room than usual out the front of the hotel, but this will change in time once renovations are complete.

From the time we checked in, to our final day staying onsite, staff were absolutely awesome. Courteous,helpful, but also responding to individuals and treating customers differently was definitely a huge plus. Most staff were non automated, willing to share a joke and assist in any way they could. That’s what makes the service all the more personalised and special.

Our room was clean tidy and roomy enough for two people on a short stay. We had four nights, two of which included Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Staff went to a lot of trouble to construct an a awesome edible Christmas display. The thought and effort they put into this was greatly appreciated by the guests staying on site. As soon as you stepped out of the lift to head to breakfast, this incredibly detailed display was directly in front of you. From the number of photos I saw being taken in front of this, I’m sure it’s been seen by many, worldwide,Breakfast each day was a diverse array of buffet foods, as is normal for Novotels. Chef was more than happy to prepare an omelette or eggs to your liking if required. We also enjoyed a couple of other meals, along with family, with the food always being high quality, some, like the banana split above, with great presentation.

A huge thank you to the staff, in particular the breakfast/lunch crew, working over Christmas. You guys absolutely made our visit very special. You are also the reason we shall return one day.

Further photos are posted on Dine Live Travel’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, as well as updates in Twitter and Snapchat. You never know where we might be!

Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments

Located in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley area, Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments provides an ideal venue option on the outskirts of the inner city.Here you have the option of a studio room, one or two bedroom apartments. Rooms are spacious, with plenty of comfort on offer. If you’re planning a longer stay, the full sized fridge, spacious kitchen with plenty of storage and utensils supplied, will be perfect for your own in house catering.Storage has been well thought out here, with plenty in the bedroom plus a full laundry stored behind a large folding door, in the bathroom.Muted decor is accentuated with splashes of rich gold and black creating an opulent feel without being over the top.A private balcony off the lounge, gives you a choice of indoor or outdoor space to relax in. The gold and black theme is continued throughout.Even the carpet in the lift continues the colour theme!

A bonus here too, is the onsite, undercover parking, a very reasonable $12 per night.

But, the jewel on the crown, is the well thought out rooftop area. Complete with pool, barbeues and shaded or open seating, its a fabulous place to chill out or catchup with family and friends also staying at the complex.

Across the road from the complex, is an array of shops and food options. The menu displayed in the room, is for Buzz Bistro Emporium. We chose this venue for an early breakfast. Quality meals and service, definitely worth a visit.

The savoury mince above very tasty, not spicy and easy to consume.

Keep the apartment complex in mind should you need some accommodation options in this part of the city. Sometimes its nice to be just out of the city itself. The rooms all presented well, being clean and tidy. For a shorter or longer stay, youre sure to find Alex Perry’s will meet your needs. Remember to follow Dine Live Travel on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, for further photos and information.

Royal Rajputana – Fitzgibbon Chase

Royal Rajputana has just turned one year old. Part of the Fitzgibbon Chase community shops, this is an innovative venue, bringing city style to the suburbs.

Rajputana means “Land of Rajputs”. This was an area in India which included some of the modern day Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan as well as parts of Sindh in southern Pakistan, covering a total of around 343 thousand square kilometres.

The Rajput race is considered the proudest and most noble race in India. Hence the inclusion of Royal in the name.

If you are seeking a good Indian curry, spiced to your taste, then you’ve come to right place.From butter chicken through to vegetarian or meat, the extensive menu is catering for a majority of tastes. Saffron rice was light, fluffy and very aromatic, making for an awesome accompaniment to your choice of curry.

All food was well presented, fresh, tasty and definitely a winner for our group. Prices are not expensive for the meal quality delivered. Those Naan breads too, very tasty!

The atmosphere is casual relaxed, with a good sprinkle of quality. Service is attentive, friendly as well as being focused on making sure you are comfortable, relaxed and enjoying your experience.

Water is plentiful, refilled regularly, whilst the well stocked bar provides for your wine or non/alcoholic preference.Take some time to stop by. Have a chat, watch the world go by and enjoy some good quality Indian cuisine.

Maybe we will see you there? Remember to follow Dine Live Travel on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and snapchat to stay updated. You never know where we will be!

2019 Brisbane Convoy for Kids

The tenth year of Brisbane Convoy for Kids provided an epic day for many. Truckies painted, polished and prepped their rigs, close to 600 in total. Families lined the streets and volunteers worked tirelessly either in public view or behind the scenes. Taking a few hours to complete, the convoy journey from Forest Lake to Redcliffe Showgrounds. It is an imposing sight as the convoy snakes its way through the highways to the end destination.Many line the streets into Redcliffe, cheering the trucks on. Inside the Showgrounds, families await the arrival of the trucks. The reason for this event is to raise funds for the only Children’s Hospice in Queensland, Hummingbird House.From Colourful stalls to activities, today is about the kids, and those truckies. Keep in mind the drivers have spent multiple hours bringing their trucks to show standard. Many trophies are on offer over multiple categories, all sponsored by companies or individuals. A little bit of a thank you to those involved.

Today I had volunteered to help with photography, thee brief being to take photos of the kids enjoying themselves. And there was plenty of that. From bumper cars, the teacup ride, through to the very popular petting zoo, kids were out enjoying themselves, taking advantage of the free activities on offer.

Parents joined in, spending previous time with families, some seeking to some quiet time in the shade to enjoy a break, cool drink or food top up.Many children were excited to see the trucks, with a number decorated in various ways to attract at their attention. Decorated trucks included those with flags, many teddy bears and various themes.Remember to keep this event n mind for next year, bring the kids, the family and enjoy a day out of free children’s activities with any funds raised going to a heartfelt cause.

More photos are posted on our facebook page, be sure to check them out. If you would like a photo of yourself or your truck, feel free to contact directly and we will send the photo through for you.

Grateful thanks to all those truckies who gave up their time the volunteers in every area, and anyone who contributed. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Spicers Balfour Hotel – New Farm, Brisbane

Brisbane never ceases to surprise. Just when you think you are getting to know this city, you stumble across another hidden gem. Today, this was to be the intriguing Spicers Balfour Hotel.

The close proximity to the iconic Story Bridge, has the hotel within easy walking distance to Howard Street Wharves complex.From the moment you enter the property, you’re engulfed in a homely, friendly atmosphere. Staff here cannot do enough for you. To them you are an individual, not just another tenant.

We were onsite today for a meeting, with an impressive array of platters served in the courtyard area. Surrounded by greenery, trees decorated with lights, and glimpses of heritage listed buildings, you have a lovely, private space for entertaining.

We were given a tour through the buildings, with remnants of bygone eras everywhere. The finishing touches here have been very well thought out and implemented.

Yes, I did say buildings, as there are two. One houses rooms, boardroom as well as restaurant, bar and a cute little rooftop bar with views overlooking the iconic Story Bridge. The other, houses another boardroom, as well as apartment style rooms.Can you see what I mean about finishing touches? Very well done. This cosy area is part of one of the apartments, with a separate bedroom and ensuite included.These apartments make for an awesome place a couples retreat away from day to day life or stress.

Solo business women prefer the studio rooms here to large hotel complexes, as they feel safe, welcomed and unbothered. I can see why it would appeal to the solo female traveller, as this venue definitely ticks all of those boxes.

Spend some time over a leisurely breakfast, lunch or dinner in the top Vietnamese Restaurant, not only in Queensland, but Australia. That’s a massive achievement for this boutique hotel.

And dont forget to check out that rooftop bar! Such a gorgeous intimate area, with a bonus stunning vista.

Urge you all to check out this superb multi award winning venue. Definitely on my list to return!

Thank you to Travel Massive and Spicers Balfour for hosting at this truely superb venue.

Stellarossa – Aspley

A relative newbie to the Robinson Road complex, Stellarossa is a surprisingly large cafe, with an equally surprising, menu.

Prices are reasonable and the food, is nicely presented, in generous portions.

Savoury mince can even be added as a side, and trust me, it is worth it.

The cafe is clean tidy and expansive, with a number of table choices. Staff always appear friendly, helpful, aiming to make your experience a pleasant one.

This is another cafe born from a passion for good coffee, flavours and service. From what we have experienced so far, they do seem to have incorporated all of those into this venue.

Ok I’m not a coffee drinker, but Hubby was more than happy with his coffee choice. There is a small tea selection and a number of other drink choices for the non-coffee drinkers amongst us.A great way to kickstart your day with one of the all day breakfast choices, or choose from burgers, sandwiches or general cafe food.

These guys support a great cause too, assisting in raising funds for the PA Research Foundation. This foundation helps to bring research projects to the lab, and on to becoming patient trials for those in need.

The Robinson Road complex is a great little shopping area, housing a few of the essential shops, without having to go to a bigger centre.

Stop in when you’re shopping and give this cafe a try. It certainly is worth it.

Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa

Making its debut in the early nineties, this 5 star resort heralded changes for a rapidly developing Surfers Paradise. With expansive areas, incredibly high ceilings and a collection of chandeliers second to none, you can see why reference to Surfers, became the Glitter Strip.

The entire second floor of this hotel has been dedicated to function areas. Boasting a massive 1463sqm of event space, with 8 areas, the largest being the Ballroom, there will be a room here to meet your needs.The ballroom has chandeliers dripping from the high ceilings. Lighting and stage equipment can be adjusted to your requirements.

And, the one big forward thinking detail, originally installed in this hotel? That would be at the far end of Ballroom. A lift large enough to bring up a vehicle into the hotel. Quite unique. And yes, it has been used.

Part of the wall also opens so a vehicle can be driven out into the expansive area surrounding these impressive event spaces. Event ideas for these spaces, are limited only by your imagination, as everything else you require is definitely in place already.Another large area pictured above. is popular for weddings, with views out across surfers, fully tiled, with plenty of room for dancing the night away.

Even the smaller rooms can be set to your requirements. This boardroom area has its own verandah, amenities and even an entrance area set up for a receptionist.Whatever your event requirements, the Surfers Paradise Marriott are well set up for hosting, with onsite co-ordinaters available and plenty of experience in setting up for all kinds of functions, you will be spoilt for choice.

Dine Live Travel is now offering an event/function service where we will check out options, specific to your needs and provide you with the top three venues for you to make the final choice. Contact via email dinelivetravel@yahoo.com.au or message via facebook or instagram pages for more information.

Thank you Travel Massive for hosting a meeting at the Surfers Paradise Marriott, which gave us the oppotunity to check out the event spaces.