Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kangaroo steak

One thing on my list to try when I came to Australia was kangaroo as I was told it was high in protein and iron and had little fat, unlike other meats. The first time I saw it the colour of the meat did put me off as it was blood red. You can tell from the second photo down just how red it looked.

On my weekly shopping trip to Coles I walked through the meat counter and decided to try kangaroo. I bought three pieces for $5.66 which had been marinaded with garlic and herb. At home I heated up the pan, threw in some onion and pan fried the kangaroo steak. I found that it cooked a lot slower than beef as it had been tenderised. The first time I had to keep checking whether the inside was cooked or not. 

I read a few online articles about the best way to eat kangaroo and decided to cook it medium-rare. It tasted very similar to beef but not as chewy and was very juicy. When I cut into the steak it just oozed with flavour and tasted so good. Although my first bite of kangaroo tasted a bit like grass, can't explain why but it did. Nonetheless I would definitely eat kangaroo again and cooked differently.   

Bought from Coles 
Blood red colour
Rare in the center
Medium-rare kangaroo with salad
So juicy and delicious

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shuji Sushi

I sat at work craving sushi like mad and as soon as it hit 4.30pm I shot out of work in search for the closest sushi bar. Thinking about it now, I shouldn't have been so hasty. I saw Shuji Sushi was open on Commercial Road and stepped into the shop. It was small, quiet and looked very authentic but don't be fooled.

There wasn't much choice to pick from as it was the late afternoon but that was no excuse for the poor quality of sushi rolls. I wasn't impressed at all. I bought a smoked tuna roll, which had far too much carrot inside, that was the only thing I could taste and the mayonnaise inside wasn't evenly spread. Not only that but the nori was really chewy and tasted cheap. The second roll was tuna, avocado and cucumber, this wasn't much better. All I could taste was the avocado and the tuna was too dry, there wasn't enough mayonnaise inside. Lastly the filling inside the roll got less towards the end, which is cheeky as of course they stand the sushi roll up so you can't see the bottom.

So my lesson learnt is to never visit this chain again.

From the left: Smoked tuna, chicken teriyaki, tuna and avocado
The bottom of the sushi rolls, I felt robbed

Website: http://www.shujisushi.com.au/default.asp

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oishii Sushi

Oishii Sushi is probably one of my favourite chains to casually pick up sushi in Melbourne, where I usually go is the one in QV. The nori rolls are a bit longer than at most places and there selection is great. I've eaten here a lot and its usually when I've finished work and the sushi is at a discounted price. Two boxes of 4 sushi rolls cost $10, which I think is great value. The rice isn't dry, they are usually quite generous with the fillings and during the day the prices are average compared to most sushi eateries.

Working from left the nori rolls are: chicken teriyaki,avocado and carrot, tuna, prawn tempura, salmon, seafood inari topped with flying fish roe and wrapped with deep friend sweetened tofu, crab meat.

Selection of sushi rolls

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cafe Republic

Went here as it was a nice walk from work and I love the windows and mirrors as it really makes a restaurant more spacious and warm. The menu was good, great selection of food and perfect number of dishes available to not hinder any indecisive ones. I ordered the Wagu burger which was $19 I think and it came with fries. The burger itself was beef and had lots of herbs inside which gave it a punch of flavour, the only downside I would say was that the beef burger itself kept falling apart. The beef was thick and very juicy and I loved the onion ring inside, gave it a nice crunch. The chips was ok and came out piping hot. The meal was good and atmosphere was very relaxing. The only bad point we experienced was that my friend asked our waitress if we could bring our own drinks and if they uncap it for us, which we were told it was fine. Then my friend took cider in and they wouldn't allow it, just a bit annoying as my friend had asked the waitress and we couldn't drink it with our meal.


Rare steak (Camera quality is pants as I had to use my phone)



Ratings: 6.25/10
Service: 5/10
Presentation: 7/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 6/10

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Seabath's Beachcomber Cafe

Beachcomber cafe is located on St Kilda beach and its a great place to pick something up and sit on the beach and eat. The food portions are very generous and cost only $5 for my cake slice which they put in a takeaway box. All the cakes looked delicious, the cheesecake I ate was the perfect summer dessert, never had one that had cream as a layer. It wasn't too heavy and I ended up saving half for the next day as the slice was so big. Also tried the mars bar cake which was very chocolatety. I wouldn't recommend it after a big meal as it was very rich and heavy.

Delicious cakes on display

Ratings: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Presentation: 6/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 8/10
Website:http://www.beachcombercafe.com.au/www/home/ 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Republica on St Kilda beach

Nothing like going to the beach and watching the sunset as you eat dinner. Republica sits on the promenade in trendy St Kilda. It was a beautiful day so my friend and I opted to sit outside and bask in the sunshine.

On certain days they have deals like burger for $10 and today was special steak for $12. The beef steak was good, had been grilled so you could taste some of the charred edges, it was tender, juicy and smelt great although I did ask for it to be cooked rare and it came out medium, as did my friends. There was garlic and herb butter than came with the beef, which I thought should have melted a bit before they served us the meal. That was ok, couldn't taste the herbs too much. The mash was delicious and complimented the beef so well, the consistency was thick but not heavy and just melted in your mouth. Glad it came with salad, which I think always makes a meal that extra bit nicer.

Republica is a really nice place to eat or drink in, loved the open seating area and its definitely a place where you can drink with friends or eat here with your family. Just beware that all card transactions have to be over $20.

View from sitting outside
Special steak for $12
'Beef steak with garlic and herb butter
Rating: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Presentation: 7/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 8/10

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mamara Turkish restaurant

My first impression of seeing Mamara from the outside was that I thought it was a take away shop. Just the large sign and open window at the front made me initially think it was a fast food shop but when I stepped into the restaurant there was more to it. There were low lit lights, rows of  wooden tables and Turkish decorations on the walls. Mamara is situated on Chapel Street and is a fully licensed Turkish restaurant. The service was great, the waiters were polite and the food came out really quick, there were eight of us and all the food came out on time. 

I ordered mixed grill which was absolutely fantastic. This was a combination of doner, shish, chicken kebab, kofte and Pirzola, which was lamb cutlets. The Pirzola was my absolute favourite, it was so juicy, tender and full of flavour. I was so impressed with the food, my only negative was the kofte, it was a bit dry in comparison to the rest of the meats and I think there should have been a bit more rice to compliment the rest of the meal. I would high recommend the mixed grill to anyone and it cost $24, which I thought was very reasonable.

Mixed grill at Mamara restaurant
Ratings: 7.75
Service: 8/10
Presentation: 8/10
Taste: 8/10
Value: 7/10

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reminiscing about my cruise dining experience

Back in August I went on a cruise around the Bahamas with Royal Caribbean and wanted to post how good the food was on the ship and would highly recommend this trip to anyone. The food at dinner was like French fine dining, there was always a large choice available, food was presented well and tasted great and the service was brilliant. Unfortunately I was only able to take a few photos from the trip.

Escargots in garlic and herb sauce
Medium done steak with sour cream, potato and vegetables
Pavlova with strawberry sauce

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lentil As Anything in St Kilda

This restaurant has a bit of a twist to it, its not like your typical restaurant where you pay a predetermined price for your meal but instead payment for food is seen more of as a donation. That's right, after you finish your meal there is a box on the counter where you pay what you believe the food is worth, which can be absolutely anything!
Inside Lentil As Anything
My choice was Pumpkin Curry a coconut cream based curry cooked with pumpkin, assorted spices, onion and garlic, served with rice, salad, yoghurt and bread. The meal was good but the curry would have been better if it was spicy and a bit more thicker. The rice was laced with saffron and so flavoursome, it complimented the curry so well. Overall it was a nice meal  and I would definitely come here again as I love the concept that what you pay is up to your own discretion.
Pumpkin curry
Donation box

Ratings: 7/10
Service - 6/10
Presentation - 8/10
Taste - 7/10
Value - N/A (You decide whether you think its of value)

Lentil As Anything on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Borek at Queen Victoria Market

This market is a tourist attraction in itself and you can pick up a lot of cool bargains, but my favourite part has to be the anitpasti and food stall section. Every time I come here it is always packed out with people queuing up to make their order. The deli counters here are a foodie's dream and most goods can be picked up for a cheap price. One place which struck my attention was Boreks, a turkish deli which constantly has crowds of people gathering around to make their order. When the trays of Boreks come fresh out of the oven and straight onto the counter, within minutes they are all gone. I ordered spicy lamb and vegetable Borek for a cool $2.50 and a Borek cheese cigar for $2.

The lamb Borek was really yummy and I can see what all the rave was about, it tasted great and it was cheap! It was piping hot when I bought it and could smell the spices. To me it looked like a pannini, it was toasted and crunchy and I would have liked to seen more filling inside.

The cheese cigar was feta cheese rolled with filo pastry and deep fried. The pastry texture was so good, it was light and crunchy so just fell apart in my mouth. I didn't really like the taste of the feta, it was very plain and the pastry was very greasy, as you can probably see from the oil stains in the photo.

Spicy lamb and vegetable Borek

 Cheese cigar

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's hard to have a Gaytime on your own

That is actually the slogan for Golden Gaytime ice cream, great branding right? When I saw it in the supermarket I had to walk past twice as I couldn't believe the name. Despite being called something that implicates homosexuality, the ice cream is actually really tasty and I wish it was a bit bigger.
Biscuit crumbs on the chocolate coated ice cream
Vanilla and toffee ice cream

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grill'd - Zen Hen burger

I loved the location of this franchise as hides behind the bustling streets of Melbourne. The street reminds me a lot of Brighton North Lanes only more jam packed with cafes and eateries and its a lot more harder to walk through as the pavements are so narrow.
Grill'd main focal point are their big, juicy, flavour-packed burgers which will quite happily fill you up. I ordered a Zen Hen burger which is made up of:
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Satay sauce
  • Coriander
  • Shredded carrot
  • Salad
  • Herbed mayo
It was tasty, the bun wasn't your usual soggy or soft bread but it was crispy and surprisingly light. One thing I always look for when I eat a burger is that the burger is the right size for the bun, nothing worse than having a mouthful of plain bread and Grill'd delivered. The ingredients used were fresh and  the satay sauce was tasty. I was happy with my order and for its value, the burger itself filled me up without the need to add sides. I would like to try another burger at Grill'd but next time be beef. Only bad point was the filing was a bit messy and the waiter was wandering around trying to find our table, think he should have seen us sooner as the place is small and our order number was pretty blatant. 


Zen Hen burger - Image credit to grilld.com.au

Ratings: 7/10
Service - 6/10
Presentation - 7/10
Taste - 8/10
Value - 7/10
Website: http://www.grilld.com.au/

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Macaroons in South Melbourne market

Visited South Melbourne market and tried a macaroon for the first time. Tasted like a fancy biscuit, it was so sweet and filling even though they're tiny.
Deli counter

Sunday, November 20, 2011

East2West at Crown Casino

Another restaurant on the main floor at Crown Casino is East2West and funny enough the food here is either of Western or Eastern influence. The Eastern side has a variety of Oriental foods such as noodles, rice dishes and wok dishes. The Western side has a selection of hot dishes like sausage and mash, roast dinner and burgers. Spoilt for choice I decided to go for a hearty roast dinner as I missed home and the beef looked great.


You can get food made to order but most foods was cooked and kept warm for you to pick. The roast dinner included cuttings of beef, roast potatoes and vegetables with gravy on top. It was quite a generous portion for just under $10. The beef was great but the roast potatoes were a bit undercooked, which was a bit disappointing. Would I come here again? Possibly, but I would try the bakery counter where they serve hot pizzas.


Ratings: 6.25/10
Service - 6/10
Presentation - 6/10
Taste - 6/10
Value - 7/10
Website - http://www.crownltd.com.au/east2west

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hopetoun Tea Room

Whenever I walk past Collins Street I always go through The Block Arcade. Not only is the architecture of the building absolutely stunning but it has this amazing tea room that I want to eat in. Every time I walk past the tables are all occupied with a queue waiting to be seated outside. The decor inside looks great, Victorian-esque and it just fits perfectly in the arcade. The cake selection shown in the window looks scrumptious, which always attracts crowds. I need to save some monies before I come eat here.

Hopetoun Tea Room
Hopetoun cake selection

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Breadtop

I love this place, when I first arrived in Melbourne and exploring the city I was finding myself in Breadtop more often than I anticipated. Its a bakery that offers a variety of different cakes, pastries, bread, sweet buns, pies and other baked goods for a cheap price. I would say its more of an Oriental bakery as some pastries had ingredients used in Chinese sweet food such as red bean or green tea.

When you walk past the window its hard not to stare as the food is beautifully presented and made.The outside of the shop is all glass to entice the passerby to step inside and start picking what they want. The baked goods are kept behind glass counters, which are covered with sliding doors. You go into the shop, pick up a pair of tongs and a tray and start walking around the shop, kind of like pick 'n mix. If you find something you like, you slide the glass door, pick it up with your tongs and place it on the tray. 

There are so many delicious things to try. My favourite is the egg and ham roll, mini hamburger, brioche and the crab roll. The dough they make is so soft and light, perfect for a snack to fill you up before dinner. The selection that Breadtop offer is vast and very likely to satisfy one's pallet, I found myself overspending as most goods are less than $3.

Image credit to mailintalks.com
Image credit to http://phlog.net/

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Margo's at Crown Casino

Crown Entertainment Complex is packed with premium restaurants, high end shops, cinema, nightclub, food court a bowling alley and more. Not to mention the famous Crown Casino which is open 24/7. Of course gamblers all need to eat so I tried my hand in Margo's located on the main gaming floor which specialises in seafood and steaks. I didn't know this at the time which reflects my meal choice.

For starters I devoured their pumpkin soup which was creamy and thick, the only downside was there was no bread included to accompany it, so I made do with the small complimentary bun. But this was a great soup, the portion was generous and the consistency was so smooth, not a lump in sight. 

My main was a bolognese parmigiana, this was the first time I had seen and tasted one. It was a fillet of chicken covered with bread crumbs, which had been pan fried and layered with a bolognese sauce then topped with grated cheese and baked. It was good and very filling but a little bit too greasy for my liking. With the main came fries  and a lot of them, I think they should have added salad and reduced to portion of fries just to make the meal more colourful and make me feel less like a fatty.

Rating: 7.5
Service - 8/10
Presentation - 8/10
Taste - 7/10
Value - 7/10
Margo's on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fergburger - Tropical Swine

If there is one place to eat in Queenstown then Fergburger is the one. I was here a few months ago and felt it was a necessity to write my experience. This place is popular with the locals, travelers and celebrities, anyone you ask about where to eat will direct you to Fergburger. It is easy to find as you can spot the queue of people tailing out onto the street. The shop is small considering the demand of people who want to eat there as you just meander through the crowds. Inside are a row of tables with stools and a floor space where people just wait for their burger number to be called after ordering, Behind the counter you can see the staff are organised in a production line fashion and can watch your burger being compiled from scratch.

In terms of choice there was a great selection and I chose Tropical Swine, made up of:
  • Prime New Zealand beef
  • American streaky bacon
  • Edam cheese
  • Pineapple
  • Lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli and tomato relish
It was yummy! You can see from the photo how large the burger was, the bun was really crispy and the chips weren't bad either. Though I would say eating the burger along would be enough to fill you up. The patty was succulent, the vegetables were fresh and the pineapple surprisingly complimented the rest of the burger. It was delicious. The chips weren't great but no one eats here for them, they come here for the massive, tasty burgers. The only downside was the lack of seating and no one cleaned the tables.

Tropical Swine with chips
Fergburger

Ratings: 8.25/10
Service - 7/10
Presentation - 9/10
Taste - 9/10

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kumara chips


I was recommended to try chips made of sweet potato called kumara in Picton as I heard they were especially good here. Kumara is basically orange or gold sweet potato which is an important vegetable in the Maori diet, which is usually roasted.

I tried it for the first time from a local chip shop and my first impression was that it looked like squishy orange chips. They were thick cut, lightly dusted with sea salt and given to me in a cone. I think if the chips were more thinly cut and made more like fries then it would have been a lot crispier and had a more crunchier edge. But they were good and had a really soft texture inside and didn't taste as stodgy as chips. I love sweet potato and would definitely try to make these back at home. 


Kumara wedges Credit to: heraldsun.com.au

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Invitation to a Hangi

I spent an evening at Mitai which gave me an introduction into the Maori culture. It was a brilliant experience, watching the warriors perform the Haka and talking us through their culture. The main highlight of the evening was being invited to a Hangi. This is where food is cooked in the ground with hot rocks basically making an underground oven. Food is slow cooked for four hours and wrapped up in foil pack in all the flavour. Delicious is an understatement to describe just how good the food was. It was outstanding! I had heard a lot about how good the food was but I did not expect it to be this good! Apologies in advance to my aunts but the stuffing here was the best I've ever tasted.

When dinner was served there were tables of food from chicken, lamb, pasta, salad, stuffing, sauteed potatoes, mash potatoes, roast vegetables and an array of condiments. It was an open buffet and the different desserts were endless. From what I remember there was pavlova, swiss roll, chocolate cakes and so much more. Primarily focusing on the meat, it was so flavoursome and wasn't dry in the slightest and the stuffing had been spiced perfectly, it was a proper hearty meal. I could keep praising the Hangi but you just have to experience it for yourself. 

Hangi covered with cloth
Lamb, chicken, potatoes and the unforgettable stuffing wrapped in foil
My plate and I went for seconds!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Katsu curry

Oishi!! I love Katsu curry and everything about it. This dish had boiled rice, salad dressed with Japanese mayonaise and mash potato accompanying my chicken Katsu curry. I want to learn how to make the sauce and replicate this dish at home.

Chicken Katsu curry