Thursday, January 28, 2016
T trusts Red Spice Road to take care of his gluten free dietary requirement, and I love the infamous pork belly here, so we definitely regard it as one of our favorite restaurants.
The menu is Asian themed, and the dishes also draw upon a fusion of other flavors to entice the taste buds.
Our favorite dishes here is the pork belly, which is always made with perfectly crisp skin, succulent layers of meat and fat, and served with a unforgettable sweet sauce, and a crunchy refreshing salad.
T is also a fan of the fried tofu, and eggplant and cashews, which I also enjoy because of the inclusion of eggplants. Think of this as a vegetarian version of the traditional kungpo chicken flavours combined with the flavours of the traditional eggplant with mince dish. But this combination is a true case of 1+1=3, and
Relative new to the CBD dining scene, Chow City has almost all the key ingredients to make it popular. Its conveniently located on Exhibition St, near Little Lonsdale, which is central enough, but still with ample parking options nearby, especially during the week. The drinks list is interesting enough and as a part of the Citibank dining program, we got a free bottle of wine as we were going to use our Citi credit cards to pay. The menu is what I would classify as Asian fusion, and the dishes are of reasonably portion sized and priced moderately,
Chin Chin remains one of Melbourne's most popular institutions, and we came by here to farewell J. J, had never visited because she hadn't wanted to confront the inevitable and daunting prospect of being on a wait list for a table. Fair enough.
However, she is also about to move to HK for work, and thus we all thought that it would be worthwhile for her to finally undertake the Chin Chin experience. We arrived at 4:45 to try for a table of five at 6:30, and by 6:45, they were finally willing to seat us.
The food was hot and tasty, the drinks were cold and strong, and the service, when we had it, was good. However, we didn't get one of our dishes until really really late into the meal, and only after we reminded them - even at this point, they didn't even offer to take it off the bill or offer up any other alternative. Yes, Chin Chin, I know like you're like Insta-famous, but even so.
Also another related gripe that I had was that when we ordered our food, the waiter didn't even bother to ask us whether we would like any rice or roti to complement our meals. This is especially poor form, as there were five of us, and when the very saucy red duck curry arrived, we saw that it contained only a small dollop of rice. Were we supposed to just have a mere spoonful of rice each and be satisfied? Doubtful. The Asian in me was particularly annoyed at Chin Chin's seemingly disrespectful views towards rice.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Burma Lane shares the same owners as Red Spice Road and serves similarly tantalising South East Asian cuisine, with a particular focus on Burmese flavours. Spread across two levels on Little Collins Street, Burma Lane is an intriguing venue with a rebellious streak of modernity. The walls are dark, and the space would be too, if not for the natural light streaming in from impressive the floor to ceiling windows, and the bursts of colour injected by the various pieces of artworks which adorn the walls. Altogether, the vibe is eclectic chic.
Salon de Sushi delivered two beautifully packaged and presented boxes of wholesome goodness to me one evening, and I've been raving about them ever since. Firstly, getting sushi delivered in Melbourne is hard enough. To get good sushi, delivered on time, with thoughtful packaging and presentation, is just an absolute miracle. Even for an atheist soul like mine, I don't use the word casually.
The menu is a very extensive one, and I loved the variety of both traditional and modern items! There are a number of commonly recognisable options such as salmon, prawn, and chicken. However there are also some bold creations featuring beetroot, prosciutto, kiwifruit, and mango. With my propensity for trying odd flavour combinations, I found myself in some version of atheist foodie heaven.
Even the sauce and condiments section was quite impressive, with offerings including soy sauce, sesame sauce, sweet teriyaki sauce, mayonnaise and wasabi mayonnaise.
The top end, near Spring street is my favorite part of the CBD. Melbourne's heritage is delightfully observeable in Parliament House, the Princess Theatre and The Windsor Hotel.
The European is the perfect sort of restaurant for the so called 'Parisienne' end of the city and it certainly exudes a lovely sort of Old World charm.
The food is inspired by the many cuisines of Europe, predominantly Italian, Spanish and French, and also pays homage to its adopted Australian heritage. The dishes are crafted with exceptional passion and skill, and each time I think I've found my favourite, I'm pleasantly surprised on my next visit.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Sempere is one of my recent discoveries near the Parliament end of Bourke St. It's owned by the same owners as its neighbour, Mess Hall, and specialises in pizzas and calzones. For those who want some pasta, or perhaps a salad, there is the option to order select items from the other. T and I thought this was a quite entrepreneurial way to operate the business.
The menu is reasonably priced, and arguably, even cheap, at around $25pp. Offering good value for money, the food is delicious, and the staff are friendly.
I ordered an Aperol spritz whilst I waited for T to finish his VID (very important drinks) nearby at the rooftop of The Imperial. Luckily, I was positioned at a table near the front which made for perfect pedestrian-gazing, as I sipped my cool and strong drink.
When T did arrive, we ordered a pomodoro margarita and a chicken salad to share. The pizza here can be made gluten free, and it's made very well. The base is still soft and doughy, and the crust is chewy, which to me, is the way a pizza base ought to be. The chicken salad was quite generously proportioned, and full of delicious ingredients, dressed perfectly.
T and I found Abbotsford Convent one sunny Sunday afternoon, and the grounds were full of people lounging about, having a picnic, enjoying a stroll, or just curious, like us.
There are a handful of dining options within walls and the Convent Bakery is one of them. Here, they maintain old fashioned bread-making techniques using organic flour and artisan baking skills to produce rustic and heavy loaves.
Using the original 1901 wood fired masonry ovens which had played an integral part in the self sustaining life style of the Sister of Good Shepherd, the bakery carries on an old tradition.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
A charming Old World establishment serving up French food in the heart of South Yarra, A La Bouffe is a sophisticated venue observing the finest standards.
We were in the area to farewell L and J who lived nearby, and who were making a move back to Sydney. Coincidentally, they had walked past this restaurant many a times, and had been curious to visit.
When we arrived slightly earlier than the appointed time, the venue was only starting to fill up, but soon enough both upstairs and downstairs became abuzz with patrons and wait staff floating between the tables.
A La Bouffe showcases an extensive menu with plenty of choices for every taste.
We discovered this nice little nursery and cafe combo on our drive from Melbourne to Trentham. After wandering around the expansive nursery and being extremely impressed by all the beautiful flowers and plants, we decided to check out the attached cafe.
Saturday, January 2, 2016
With its black, timber, and gold interior, plenty of natural lighting for photography, and beautifully presented food, Darling is certainly the new darling of the Melbourne breakfast scene.
Located on the corner of Toorak Road and Darling St, Darling is certainly in a fantastic location. With public transport nearby, and enough parking options in the surrounding streets, it has everything I could ask for in my darling.
The menu is fairly straight forward and my recommendations are the acai bowl, and the pancakes. Both are very pretty, and pretty delicious.
Tucked away just off the main strip, Saltbush has a little bit of everything. It is very much a local cafe / providore with all the rustic charm of such an establishment.
Saltbush is half eatery, half grocer. The grocery side of the shop is stocked with fresh produce and fine foods. On the eat-in side, the food is comforting and the portions are quite generous.
The smoothies are also delicious and the Chai latte is equally as satisfying.
The walls are lined with artworks from local artists and there are a number of coloring books and crayons to keep the young (and the not so young) ones entertained.
Harry's appeals to the region's burgeoning coffee culture by using specialty Campos blends, and offering an assortment of of wraps, salads, and seaside classics such as fish and chips and salt and pepper calamari.