Month: July 2013

Pasta and Abundance of Italian Magic : Sapore

I have always been a huge fan of Italian cuisine mainly because of its use of fresh seasonal ingredients, extreme simplicity in its preparation and the great abundance of taste and flavour in the dish. Boldly situated on the beautiful St Kilda stretch, Sapore (named after taste, flavour) marries view with seasonal mod-Italian fare carefully crafted by head chef Simon Moss that has been delighting diners for many many years.  We came on a quiet night and enjoyed a very friendly and attentive service (thanks to Andy – who made our virgin visit so memorable). The tightly packed dining room backed by mustard-colored walls with dim lighting creates the perfect mood for a cosy and romantic dinner.  We were given the best seat in the house – overlooking the beautiful St Kilda horizon and were served with fresh bread and olives.  According to Andy, they come from fresh produce in Gippsland and each batch is different in taste and flavour. Aperitivo Cocktail $16 / Fresh olive produce  We started with Aperitivo cocktail which contains aperol, blood …

No Frills Meal : Pancake Dessert House & Pacific Seafood BBQ House

This week I have been satisfying my cravings for comfort food.  So, in this post, I’ll be sharing with you two of my favourite no frills meal and they are from the ‘original’ Pancake Dessert House in CBD and Pacific Seafood BBQ House in Richmond.  The best thing about comfort food is that  I am never sick of them and it calms me tremendously and makes me feel happy all day long 🙂 🙂 PANCAKE DESSERT HOUSE – MELBOURNE CBD Pancake Dessert House never cease to amaze me – the fact that they are still standing strong after so many years prove that they have done something right.   While much of the landscape in Melbourne has changed, they practically stood still in time.  Considering that service is near to zero, the place is not lavish, tables are oily, presentation is sloppy – people keep coming back for more.  It is also very popular with Asian uni students and the working crowd. As time goes by, most dishes have increased in price and portion of the …

Burch & Purchese – South Yarra

Sweets Heaven! Walking into B&P Sweet Shop is like walking into a Sweets porn shop.  Most display items on the table is edible (well except for the jars, glasses and papers).  So, tell me, what’s not to “Ooh” and “Aah” here? B&P only do takeaways although I wouldn’t mind having a long afternoon tea and be served with the wide array of desserts, cakes, ice cream or anything displayed in the shop.  Behind these stunning creations is owner/chef Darren Purchese whose displayed artworks are to be admired as they are visually stunning and delicious when eaten – now you know where the “Oohs” and the “Aahs” come from 🙂 Combining delicious components like jellies, mousse, ice cream, chocolates to create artwork of sweets that are fun, playful and adventurous is what B&P does best.  There are so many cakes and tube desserts (cute!) to choose from that I don’t even know where to start … Aargh!  The word of the day is Greed + Indecisive = Gluttony 😦 I rapidly filled the box with 3 …

Bluestone – Melbourne CBD

Bluestone Restaurant & Lounge Bar resides in one of Melbourne’s most important and historical business centres and housed in one of the oldest bluestone warehouses on Flinders Lane.  Continuously producing high quality food under Chef Cody Cunningham with great selection of Australian and some European wine, it is no wonder that Bluestone is still a favourite amongst business diners and company events.  With that, I was very excited to be able to dine here and sample their promotional 6-course degustation menu. The interior has a classy, romantic, fine dining feel in an old fashion way – memorable for a nice first date 🙂 We were greeted warmly and were shown to our table.  It was nice to see that the historical rough-hewn bluestone walls are well preserved and fits right into the restaurant decor together with the extravagant heavy gilt mirrors that hasn’t change much in decades.  Once seated, we were served with warm breads and Mount Zero olive oil together with Kir Royale cocktail.  I’ve not tasted Kir until now and I really enjoyed …

Hare & Grace – Melbourne CBD

I had a dream.  I saw a White Rabbit and I followed.  The rabbit disappeared swiftly.  Suddenly, I fell into a rabbit hole. I fell deeper and deeper and deeper …. incidentally right to the front steps of Hare & Grace.  Having been operating for about 3 years now, Hare & Grace has quickly developed a loyal following in the city.  Located at the more commercial area of the city (next to Rialto Towers), it is no wonder this restaurant has not appear in my eating radar until now. The interior of the restaurant is quirkily rustic with branches and twigs on the ceiling and wooden decor pieces.  It is divided into two separate spaces – Dining Room and the Minibar.  We were seated at the Dining Room and ordered the promotional set meal consisting of a 3 course – composites (entree), principals (main), and desserts plus coffee and tea for just $79 for two people! My entree Shelled scallops dish tasted superbly delicious!  Scallops are so tasty, juicy and sweet with the creamy aioli that …

Akachochin – Melbourne CBD

My craving for Japanese has brought me to a modest restaurant hidden in South Wharf Promenade – a stone’s throw away from DFO and Hilton.  Named after red paper lanterns that is used to hang outside traditional Japanese Izakaya’s, Akachochin (pronounced as Aka-cho-chin) undoubtedly has become one of my favourite Japanese restaurants.  Housed in a renovated cargo shed, this little gem has been slicing sushi and sashimi with a modern twist that is pleasing to diners. At the helm is head chef Kengo Hiromatsu (of Nobu fame) who artistically combines fresh quality ingredients with Japanese tradition and presented in a modern way. We were served by a nice waitress, Eriko who brought us the menu which combines 7 pages of sharing menu and 6 pages of sake range that showcases the best of Japan has to offer.  Started with Sapporo Premium beer which gives the perfect balance of taste with popular Hiramasa Namerou with Rice Crackers.  What a cracker dish!  The kingfish tartare is perfectly combined with wasabi stem and moromi miso – when eaten together with …

Lau’s Family Kitchen – St Kilda

Having heard and read about Flower Drum’s fame and the family that made it so popular with Melbourne dwellers, I make this week’s dinner objective to visit Lau’s next generation’s establishment in St Kilda.  Boasting of high quality Cantonese/Chinese cuisine and the many positive reviews in Urbanspoon, there is no doubt that the small modest restaurant situated in St Kilda is an extreme hit with the locals. We were greeted with a warm welcome by one of the Lau brothers (I think it’s Mr Jason Lau) who then ushered us to our table.  Again, we booked the first seating at 6pm but we were not the first.  There were already 5 tables occupied by hungry and eager families.  The smallish dining room is well decorated (not much like a chinese restaurant feel) with fresh flowers and timber walls and screens – modern.  The staff count was more than adequate as their service is very prompt – with the ‘no empty glass rule’ and ‘less than 5 minutes browse of the menu’ before ordering. Saltbush lamb …

Coda – Melbourne CBD

Who would have thought that nestled in a basement somewhere on the corner of Oliver Ln and Flinders Ln is a vibrant award-winning restaurant.   But hey, that’s the beauty of Melbourne’s food culture – there’s always a surprise somewhere anywhere. Coda is headed by trio team of Mykal and Kate Bartholomew and Executive Chef Adam D’Sylva (‘AGFG 2008 young chef of the year’).  Together they have been satisfying Melbournians with tastes of Asian/Vietnamese fusion creation. Place was quiet when we arrived but that’s because we went for their 1st dinner seating at 6pm.  The place looks like an abandoned warehouse from the outside.  The interior is none-the-less classy, dimly lit (not romantic but ‘funky cool’ dark) with cosy dining room and a tabletop bar that can sit up to 40 people.  The one page menu was easy to browse ranging from small dishes to bigger ones and ends with sweet stuff.  We were advised by the eager waitress that the dishes are for sharing so that means we will need to order double of …

Golden Fields – St Kilda

I looked through my wish list this week and something clicked on my hunger nerves.  I have been dining out quite a bit this week which means that I should save it till next week. However, being a foodie, dining at the famed Andrew McConnell’s yet another award winning restaurant is too hard to resist. Obviously from this post, you can see that I have gave in to my temptations … and my tummy ! I am very happy that they take bookings now which means that I don’t need to wait 2 hours for a table during peak times. The restaurant is a little hard to find because there is no obvious signage.  But once you see Medina Towers, you should be able to spot Golden Fields a few doors away. The interior of the restaurant is pure minimalist with clean decor, color and space – especially love the “chicken feet” on the wall which is used as a cloak hanger! Funny enough, my little one thought that there were chickens behind the walls …

Encore Restaurant & Bar – Melbourne CBD

Encore is a quiet dining place situated right next to the Grand Chancellor Melbourne hotel.  It’s not an award winning restaurant but rather serves up pretty honest and decent food I’d say.  We came here with a dining voucher.  With the voucher, we were able to select any appetisers, mains and desserts from the menu. We were served with sparkling wine before the nice lady took our orders.  For appetiser, I ordered Soft tacos with tempura battered soft shell crab and chipotle mayonnaise.  The portion is very generous with 3 large servings of soft shell crab on taco wraps.  Soft shell crabs are nicely battered with a crunchy to light texture.  It is accompanied with sweet chilli sauce, chick peas and slices of vegetables. Soft tacos with tempura battered soft shell crab and chipotle mayonnaise $15.5 Hubby decided to order the Pork tasting plate that comes with 3 types of pork creations with chilli oil dip and plum sauce.  We thought it tastes very Asian and the flavours are not special. Apollo bay ‘otway pork’ tasting …

Le Petit Gateau – Melbourne CBD

Le Petit Gateau is a lovely French patisserie located in Little Collins Street.  It is by far one of my favourite place to drool over their beautiful cakes created by award winning French pastry chef, Pierrick Boyer and his talented team. (Clockwise from left) Hazelnut millefeuille / Freshy cup / Brownie & passionfruit chocolate gateau $8.5 All showcase cakes are priced $8.5.  I love the Hazelnut millefeuille – the texture reminds me of Ferrero Rocher chocolate.  Each layer of the cake is beautifully combined and ends with a light crunch.  The Brownie & passionfruit chocolate gateau tastes absolutely amazing.  It’s mousse-like texture is so dense and not too overpowering so you can actually taste the passionfruit flavour in the cake.  Now, that explains why the Hazelnut milefeuille and Brownie passion are the best sellers.  The Freshy cup is the special for the day – it’s raspberry mousse with hazelnut crumble – tastes quite alright. Verdict : One word – Awesome! Burp! Checklist To die for : Hazelnut millefeuille and Brownie & passionfruit chocolate gateau Price : $ …

Mamak – Melbourne CBD

Commonly known as “Mamak” in Malaysia – the term refers to street side food stalls selling cheap eats like teh tarik, nasi lemak, roti canai, maggi goreng and other local delights.  It’s a way of life for Malaysians as the place to hang out with friends and share stories while sipping a cup of teh tarik and eating roti canai. Today, I am going to Mamak, a Malaysian restaurant that has taken Sydney and Melbourne by storm – well known for their fluffy roti canai that is comparable to Malaysian standard (or so they claimed and what most reviews say).  People would queue just to eat here.  Seriously? Anyone who knows me knows I hate waiting (especially when I’m hungry), so I arrived here at 11.30am sharp – just when the doors open. The interior feels nothing like being in a “mamak” because it’s very clean and organised 🙂  Most of the waiting staffs are young, asian students who are very eager to serve the customers.  Having browsed through their menu in the net, I …

Riverside Teppanyaki – Melbourne CBD

Situated on beautiful promenade of the Yarra River, Riverside Teppanyaki boasts stylish dining with awesome night view. Part of the Kobe Jones group, Riverside Teppanyaki offers Fusion japanese dining with the chef preparing your meal right in front of your eyes.   We have been regular customers here as it’s one of the most decent places to get a good Teppan-style dining without the “flying food” tricks 🙂  No doubt the price is steep, the quality of their dishes and service is truly memorable. We had the 8 course Land & Sea Banquet that ranges from $70-$95 p.p.  The course started with my favourite – Flaming No 1 Special which is a crab salad with avocado wrapped in Hiramasa kingfish and then flamed on the teppan with their “secret sauce”.  The most precious food in the menu because each diner only gets a piece and sharing is a definite no no. Flaming No 1 Special The next course is no ordinary Hot mushroom salad.  A selection of oyster and enoki mushrooms that is tossed and …

I Love Pho 264 – Richmond

If you drink soup as beverage, then I Love Pho 264 is the place to do that.  I’ve been frequenting this place for brunch almost twice a month this winter just to appease my craving for a really good bowl of soup to warm my tummy. Though the place lacks Vietnamese decor and feel (it’s got more Western feel to it), the pho and broth does not disappoint. We each ordered a small bowl of Pho with rare beef slices and a plate of mix Prawn & pork and Vegetarian spring rolls.  The broth is so flavoursome and naturally sweet which comes from the many many hours of boiling beef bones and vietnamese spices.  The pho is exceptionally smooth.  The rare beef slices could do better if the beef were sliced thinner and the beef a little more rare.  Nevertheless, it’s very tender and still yum! Pho with rare beef slices $9 One of my favourite condiment that makes my knees weak is the chilli dip – a crazy blend of spicy, sweetness with crispy minced fried …

The Gate Keeper – Melbourne CBD

We came to The Gate Keeper with a promotional dining voucher.  It is situated on Elizabeth St (at corner of Lonsdale St). We were quite impressed with the interior decoration of the restaurant which got us excited on our meal to come. The restaurant has two levels – the downstairs area is small with tables that can sit up to 4 people while upstairs is catered to larger crowds.  As we glanced through the menu, their dishes seem a little overpriced – entree prices range from $6-$9.80, mains from $17-$26.  As it’s wonderfully cold outside, we ordered 2 soups to start with – Sharks fin soup and Seafood soup which is priced at $8.80 each bowl – a tad overprice considering that the soup bowl is small and has little to no ingredients except for the soup.  For entree, we ordered Shredded duck salad to share.  I enjoyed the flavours presented in this dish – very zesty with sweetness and sourness that comes from the salad dressing.  The cold cucumber goes really well with the shredded duck meat …