All posts filed under: Restaurant Review

Free Wines when Dine – Not Joking!

If you love to wine and dine.  This is perfect for you. Free-wines is a world-first free app that offers members a free bottle of award winning wine, when a minimum amount is spent on dining in participating restaurants around Australia.  The program was launched in August 2015 and is available for download via Apple and Android devices.  All these privileges would not have been possible if not for Zenith Wine Agencies – one of Australia’s top wine distributors. Burp! was invited to experience the Free Wines App recently.  I was very impressed with the simplicity and ease of use of this app – so much so that it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. I brought this app to a test at participating restaurant Bistro-K in Melbourne. Step 1 – Select your restaurant and make your dinner appointment Step 2 – At the restaurant, simply press “order your free wine” button Step 3 – Select your wine option and show the waiter.  Press order button. Voila! Easy and fuss-free.  Just how I like it. Once the wine option was used …

United Kitchen

United Kitchen Dining & Tapas – St. Kilda’s own Latin American-inspired Gem

It started with a dream and a phrase Mi casa es su casa, spanish for ‘my house is your house’.  Owner and Chef Tong Li, brought it to life through a Latin American-inspired tapas and cocktails dining establishment.  Located on the colourful Fitzroy street, this is where United Kitchen stood out charmingly with its warmth and exuberance. I was invited to join an intimate tasting session of the Chef’s specials ranging from full flavoured tapas to their signature margarita using the freshest seasonal produce that Australia has to offer. As the evening commences, we were spoiled with a variety of margarita and cocktails. Starting from my 2  new faves – Lemon Thyme Margarita (Tequila Altoviso with homemade lemon, thyme syrup and fresh lemon), Watermelon Margarita infused with ginger and mint, then moving on to heavier-dose cocktails like The Sphere, Donkey – concoction of Mescal & Altoviso, fresh ginger & lime, ginger beer, served with a sprig of mint, and ending with a dessert-like cocktail, Cafe De Ximinez (double espresso, espresso infused Tequila and Pedro Ximinez). And you know what?  That’s not even half the cocktails menu.  Seriously?  The menu …

Chin Chin bunny ears

Love at First Taste : Chin Chin

I’m a BIG HUGE fan of Chin Chin.  Love the menu as place mats.  Love the Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce on every table.  Love the GoGo Bar down at the basement.  Love the Asian-inspired tropical cocktails with lemongrass twigs.  Love the brightly lit pink bunny ears. Hey, I even love the Thai language lessons (in the little girl’s room). What’s not to love about Chin Chin?  …. oh yes, and there’s Chin Chin’s brilliant and talented executive chef, Benjamin Cooper, who just released Chin Chin, the cookbook – featuring all recipes in the restaurant’s menu!  By the way, have you seen him in Masterchef Australia Season 6 2014?  He totally rocked the house down. My family was in town last month, so, naturally, there were lots and lots of restaurant visits and food tours – indulging in fine foods that we don’t usually eat.  My dad fell in love with Chin Chin’s bold and beautiful modernised classic Thai flavours when I introduced him to Chin Chin last year.  This time round, it’s no surprise that dad wanted to come here again 🙂 We arrived at …

Slow Smoked Salmon

A Surprise Gem : Third Wave Cafe

Recently, I was invited by Third Wave to sample their menu.  Located at a discreet street parallel to Chapel Street, the newly set up restaurant in Prahran (in addition to their Port Melbourne cafe) is helmed by Ryo Kitahara, a protege of Iron Chef Sakai.  The restaurant gives a modern casual vibe and brightly litted by the windows. Their new dinner menu is extensive, ranging from American BBQ, slow cooked and smoked meats and fish to salads and sliders.  The slow cooked meats caught my eye and the description looks delicious.  I also noticed that the price was slightly on the high side with Medium and Large portions to choose from.  Slow-Smoked Lamb Shoulder $22 (Medium) Krusty Salmon $33 Slow-Smoked Salmon $22 (Medium) Glazed Mushrooms $9 I especially liked the Krusty Salmon coated with healthy quinoa and beautifully cooked with cauliflower and broccoli rice.  Texture of the salmon was smooth and perfect.  However, the price per plate was on a high side.  My hubby was delighted with the tender and full of flavour Lamb Shoulder …

A Turkish Sensation & Belly Dancing : Koy

Before we came to Koy, we know little about Turkish cuisine but were curious to find out.  All we know are Turkish dips, Turkish bread and Turkish coffee.  So, when I saw the value offering for a 7-course meal, I was very excited to experience it. Koy is located just outside of South Melbourne market.  Don’t be fooled by the name “Koy” because while it sound the same, it doesn’t mean Japanese carp 🙂  This restaurant spells Modern Turkish all across the interiors and decor.  The service was also very attentive and friendly. Before long, our first course came.  I couldn’t remember what is the name of this dish but the dip was very very tasty.  Sun-dried tomatoes was added for that wonderful texture. Traditional ‘Cacik’ dip of cucumber and yoghurt topped with olives, served with bread Turkish dips are delicious and turkish breads are light and fluffy.  Perfect companion to each other! We also thoroughly enjoyed the aromatic Cypriot Salad served with roasted cauliflower and sweet currant and pomegranate dressing.  Similarly the next dish, Turkish spring roll …

Pork Bibimbap (Cold)

Feeling Hot Hot Hot : Tarng

Tarng is located on A’Beckett Street, just a short walking distance from Victoria Market and RMIT. The sunflower against black interior caught my eye the moment I stepped through the door – makes me feel cheerful.  Don’t you just love the sunflowers? We came to Tarng with a group social voucher to try their hot pots.  Luckily the weather was on our side and gave us a nice cool day to enjoy them.  Basically, Tarng is a no frills restaurant that serves quick and fast Korean eats, particularly popular with hot pots. Chicken Drumettes Our first course was a plate of marinated Chicken Drumettes sprinkled with black and white sesame.  Very finger lickin good. Bulgogi Tarng (hot pot) Tarng also served one of the best and most value for money hot pots ever! We ordered the Bulgogi Tarng which was an absolute delight and may I say that the broth was addictively sweet, wholesome (contains a good mix of vegetable, tofu, potato noodle and beef slices) and came in generous portion for two persons. Pork …

Top Paddock good coffee

Brunching with Good Appetite : Top Paddock

It was Christmas Eve.  Weather was perfect. I had some friends in town.  We were looking for a nice place to brunch, chat without the rush and gush.  Hmmm….It’s not that hard thinking of where to bring them to – this place has a nice environment, reasonably priced menu and attentive service.   So, yes, we ended up at Top Paddock in Richmond. Top Paddock offers all day dining in al fresco style or in a bright, open dining room that houses a communal table, seating by the bar as well as normal table seating. If you have a large dining crowd, you can make reservations with the restaurant. Coffee ordering comes naturally when we’re brunching and I had to say that their coffee is good. Kid’s Breakfast: Egg & Bacon on Toast $7 Pan fried local Snapper with a Chilli-fried egg, avocado, tomato, lime and corn tortilla $19 Their extensive menu lists range of delightful light breakfast dishes to heavier brunch meal. Speaking of the dishes – some of the combination sound really delicious like the …

Kimchi, BBQ & Lots of Plates : Hallah

When you visit Queen Victoria Market, make sure you pay a little more attention towards the shop house across Victoria Street.  One of the shop houses Hallah, a contemporary BBQ Korean restaurant.  We came with a social voucher that entitled us to a BBQ meal with three meats and sake. Kimchi and various condiments  The meat choices were marinated Beef Rib fillet, Mild Chicken Thigh Fillet and Ginseng Pork Rib. We had to cook them on the grill but if you don’t know how, don’t panic because the waitress will help you with the cooking (when the restaurant’s not too busy).  The overall marinade was very tasty without going overboard.  Out of the three meats, we preferred the Ginseng Pork Rib because of the tenderness of the meat post-cooking. The meal also came with Marinated Short Pork Rib Soup which had three chunky pieces of pork rib meat that fell off the bone in soup.  This is one hell of cracker dish.  I loved the soup very much (very hearty) and the only shortcoming – …

Craving for Malaysian : Masak Masak

Being away from home makes me miss the food that I love in Malaysia.  Masak Masak synonymous with a popular childhood ‘pretend’ cooking game that I often played when I was a kid with my neighbour, is also home to some of my favourite Malaysian hawker delights. Newly opened (well, not so new by now) at the popular Smith Street eatery strip, Masak Masak is definitely a wonderful addition to the Asian food scene in Melbourne. The menu offers a good range of Malaysian hawker fare and modern Malaysian twists from $5 bites to larger plates at $19.  They also offer set menu if you are not sure about the portion sizes. Our dinner kicked off with a plate of Mixed Beef and Chicken Satay (6 pcs) $14 grilled on traditional charcoal fire.  I love the idea of satay cooking on charcoal, releasing that smoky charcoal aroma but unfortunately, they have gone a little over with the beef marinade.  The 6 pieces of satay was also overpriced at about $2.30/stick (compare to Mamak‘s $1.50/stick) and the …

Winter Romance : Kobe Jones

This post is my 3rd time visit to Kobe Jones but it’s the first time I have tried their Winter Romance menu which consist of a never ending list of modern Japanese fare that costs $145 per person.  Well, we got this from a social voucher promotion so we were paying half of the price.  You can view my first and second posts here. Clockwise from top : Lychee Mocktail, Number One Special, California roll, Salmon Tsu Tsu Mi, Wafu Scallop Tobanyaki The menu contains a total of 9-course meal.  One of the course was a tantalising tasting plate which was delicious and flavoursome.  The menu has a combination of five individual menu: Anago Scallop, lollipop sushi, wagyu tataki, miso marinated black cod and salmon and seafood poke. Tasting Plate  Volcano Roll Pacific Calamari Fritto My favourite from the menu was the Volcano Roll which tasted cheesy and wholesome.  It’s made up of oven-baked Hokkaido scallops layered on a crab salad and avocado roll with a special yummy cream sauce, roasted sesame seed, smelt roe, shallots …

Vietnamese In The Neighbourhood : Cyclo de Saigon

I’ve been coming to Cyclo for a while now – it’s the only decent Vietnamese restaurant in Point Cook if you’re craving for a bowl of pho or some home cooked Vietnamese stir fries and don’t want to travel all the way to the Eastern suburbs. Menu for lunch and dinner differs.  Lunch menu focussed on street Vietnamese fares while the dinner menu showcased mostly stir fries. Pork meatball skewers $9.5 Saigon beef pho $12.9, Saigon traditional spring rolls $9.9 We ordered various dishes to try – meatball skewers, pho, fried spring roll was well cooked.  However, I preferred the pho at I love Pho because of their very smooth rice noodle that I can’t seem to find it anywhere else.  Other than that, we also ordered their Bun (rice vermicelli) – a cold dish served with pork meatball, pickled vegetables and fish sauce as well as Grilled garlic & lemongrass chicken on broken rice. Bun with grilled pork meatballs $12.9 Grilled garlic & lemongrass chicken $12.9 Verdict : Cyclo is our neighbourhood Vietnamese restaurant and I’m pretty …

An Intimate Affair : Zio’s Ristorante

Firstly, I apologise for the absence and the slow postings – I’ve been down with the allergy and was so busy at work.  Sorry folks! Apart from work, I also had visitors at my home and was busy with entertaining as well 🙂  But don’t worry, I am trying to pick up where I’ve left off and get this going. This post was way over due.  So, there you go … We came across Zio’s through a social coupon as this restaurant was never in my eating radar.  The restaurant is located along the beautiful Victorian terrace stretch.  The exterior of the restaurant looks very heritage-y.  We were pretty wowed when we stepped into the restaurant as it looks classically elegant.  Not bad for a voucher deal 🙂 We were greeted by Yacob with a big friendly smile who led us to our table.  Then he explained to us that we will be served a six course degustation with cocktail which costs $85 per person.  Sounds good?  The degustation kicked off with Asian-inspired and delicious Glazed Canadian …

Spring & New Kid on the Block : Lee Ho Fook

Spring time brings colourful and allergic beginnings.  Eyups!  Unfortunately, I’m one of the many many unfortunate people suffering from horrid hay fever this year 😦  So, parks and flowers are out of my reach for the time being 😦 so sad …. Anyway, let’s welcome Spring – with blossoming flowers from the Fitzroy Gardens. Today I’m heading to the popular stretch of Smith Street where the newly chef hatted Saint Crispin and the hotly anticipated Lee Ho Fook is located.   Just two weeks into their big opening, Lee Ho Fook, helmed by big names behind Movida and Pei Modern restaurants, has managed to get some approval nods from diners already. In the kitchen, Head Chef, Victor Liong has derived some funky chinese menu which brings a new twist to Chinese cuisine.  I wonder what that means – can’t wait to try! The exterior didn’t have a big restaurant sign that screams Lee Ho Fook.  The only visual impact that I had was a big 92 (which, by the way is the address).  The interior didn’t look …

Happiness in a Shop : Mr Nice Guy

Mr Nice Guy is a familiarly new Thai restaurant in CBD – run by the same people that brought us Middle Fish, Pla Liamthong and David Holtum.  I love Thai food due to the sweet, sour ingredients and spices that they so often include in most of their dishes to improve flavour and texture.  I would purposely travel to Thailand just to eat.  The opportunity to indulge in Thai food is something that I have always enjoyed. I came to Mr Nice Guy during their lunch time.  The restaurant was located at Healeys Lane in CBD which pretty much catered to the “suits” working around the area.  Interior was colourful and lively, clearly emulating a “Thai street restaurant” look and feel.   The lunch menu was limited to quick noodle stir-fries and curries to go with rice.  Whereas the dinner menu emphasized more shared dishes option like meat, fish, vegetables stir-fry. When I found that their famous Hurstbridge pork belly dish was not served during lunch, I was very disappointed.  I think the waitress saw my …

Much ado About Love & Degustation : Estelle Bar & Kitchen

One fine day, my hubby asked me, “Where would you like to celebrate your birthday?”  My instant response to him was “Estelle”.  That instant response got me an unforgettable paid-by-hubby-with-much-love birthday dinner at the highly raved Estelle. One chef hatted Estelle is the brain child of owner-chefs Scott Pickett (current Saint Crispin) and Ryan Flaherty (ex-Fat Duck, Arzak).  The modest shopfront was very unassuming and unpretentious.  The door opened up to a cosy, laid-back and casual dining sphere with retro fittings and 80’s rock music!  Now, that’s dining with a groove, ba-beh. If you’re familiar with Estelle, they deliver a tasting menu-only format (three, five, seven and nine courses) with classic wine match or adventurous match that combines wine, cocktail and sake from the well-stocked bar. We decided to go all the way with nine courses ($110 per person).  I would love the adventurous match but having that by myself will not be as much fun (as hubby don’t drink :().  To appease my alcohol crave, I had a glass of beautiful Spanish white recommended by the …

Sweet Love Story : Dessert Story & Meet Fresh

I love a good dessert – one of those perk-me-up mood food that has a special ability to make me really happy 🙂  And my sweet tooth was craving for the familiar Taiwanese Desserts – so, here are my two favourite Taiwanese Dessert houses in the CBD: BRAIN FREEZE : DESSERT STORY Dessert Story is a successful dessert franchise in Melbourne with a menu that boasts pages and pages of the familiar Taiwanese desserts ranging from hot/cold sweet soupy desserts to ice cold melt-in-your-mouth snow ice desserts.  I personally enjoyed the snow ice series while hubby liked the more traditional dessert – just fantastic as I got to enjoy both! Milk snow ice with red bean, pearl and mango pudding $9.9 I’ve to make a few rounds here because there’s only this much we can eat at one time.  It’s totally BRAIN FREEZE food! Green Tea snow ice with red bean and chocolate $9.9 Having tried both Milk snow ice and Green Tea snow ice, I am truly loving both!  The creator of the snow ice …

Eating in Point Cook : Rendeavous & Kampung Story

Western suburb – being a new residential place and all, a newbie may find it hard to settle down with the limited range of eateries.  But this statement is not true now.  Over the past year, there has been a few new restaurants that has opened up in Point Cook, offering more choices to the happy residents here. CASUAL ITALIAN : RENDEAVOUS Rendeavous opened its doors a few months ago – located around the Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Center in Point Cook. We came here a few times and found the quality and quantity of food to be consistent every time.  The restaurant is spacious and is able to sit families which is ideal because of its affordable prices and the close proximity to our neighbourhood. The menu offered a wide range of Italian casual pub food.  We tried the Smoked Salmon Penne and Chicken Parma which came in generous servings.  The highlight was their famous Chicken Parma – with breaded chicken breast that was simply crisp, cheesy and covered with rich tomato base sauce.  Each …

Seafood Outbreak : Alexanders Williamstown

Williamstown is a suburb of Melbourne located in the West.  The popularity of Williamstown is boasted by its close proximity to the beautiful bayside scenery with Melbourne city skyline and is popular with tourists.  Alexanders is located on the popular strip of Nelson Place overlooking this beautiful scenery.  I was very impressed with Alexanders and the fine looking decor in the Heritage listed building, which, by the way was formerly The Bank of Australasia. We came with a group social voucher – that entitled us to a shared Seafood Platter.  The platter consist of a two tier variety of fresh seafood like mussels, tiger prawns, scallops, oyster, calamari, barramundi and baby octopus.  It was accompanied by rice and fresh garden salad.  The mussels and tiger prawns were bathe in buttery sauce which gave such rich tasting flavour.  Scallops were gently seared perfectly and the calamari was seasoned well.   The barramundi was so fresh and fried nicely. Seafood platter (for two) $115 After the wonderful meal, we took a walk along the bay.  The view …

Spanish Inquisition : The Bohemian

Recently, I had a visitor from Malaysia and I decided to bring her to try some Spanish cuisine since she hadn’t had any before.  So, I brought her to The Bohemian located at the trendy restaurant stretch of South Wharf. The restaurant was not hard to spot.  The exterior shows off its Spanish eatery influence and interior of the restaurant decor is reminiscent of Cuban restaurants with dark wood furnitures and rich coloured leather sofas.  The simple menu boasts a one page selection of tapas, charcuteria, paella and platos principales carefully crafted by Head Chef Josep Espuga. Tapas (Left to right) : Patata Trufa $8, Costillas de Cordero a la Brasa $13, Croquetta $7.5 We selected three tapas out of a selection of twelve on the menu.  The Patata Trufa was made of quail egg and truffle that has been stuffed into the potato cubes and sprinkled with parmesan.  It has a good blend of flavours and textural when bitten into.  The Grilled lamb cutlets presented on a bed of roasted potatoes, was marinated and grilled perfectly. …

Waterfront Seafood Haven : Hooks @ The Yarra

It was a beautiful breezy Sunday to laze around the city along the scenic Yarra River.  Of course, cam-whoring was part of the ritual and I had to pose with my new Birkenstock which came in time for spring.  Yay, happy feet!  All I need to do now is to get my pedicure done 🙂 Ok Ok, nuff said about my feet ! Yikes.  We bought a social voucher to Hooks @ The Yarra for a Lobster Thermidor lunch.  Lobster is one of those seafood that is not on my daily menu so definitely looking forward to it.  It was a truly perfect day to chill with beer and waterfront view. The moment we have been waiting for (wait for it *drumroll*) …. to sink our teeths into the lobster!  Each of us got half a lobster only 😦  But the the ultra juicy, buttery sauce was very well blended with hot mustard and the lobster meat, so much so it gave me a “ping” through my senses.  Thoroughly enjoyable and delicious.  And it goes really …

Charmed with a Class of its Own : 111 Spring Street

The Hotel Windsor has a long history and heritage that dates back to the Victorian era 1883.  The building and interior with its grand stature is certainly a view to marvel about.  You can certainly imagine the splendour of this hotel in the era.  Unfortunately, we didn’t come to the hotel to stay 😦 We came to dine in the restaurant located inside this grand building – 111 Spring Street Restaurant. Everything about the restaurant spells classy and elegance.  We were charmed with the extreme good service that we received the moment we stepped through the door.  The restaurant was very Victorian with tall wide windows adorned by old-fashioned curtains and candlelight chandeliers (perfect for high tea – in fact, I read that they serve one of the best high teas in Melbourne).  It’s a nice place to celebrate a special event! For entree, I had Cured scallops with almond gazpacho which was absolutely a delight.  The lightly cooked scallops and smoked eel, bathed in chilled almond gazpacho produced subtle flavours, smooth and well paired.  Definitely a …