Monday, January 30, 2012

Sushi Sushi

Had a quick stop after work to Sushi Sushi and tried their prawn tempura and sweet chili tuna. It was so tasty, the rice wasn't dry and the helping was quite reasonable for the price, not really had a bad experience here yet.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Potato Twirls in Chinatown

A few weeks ago I went to the Chinese New Year celebrations in Richmond where there were an abundance in food stalls. Thinking the event in the CBD would be even bigger I retained from over indulging in the tasty Vietnamese food. Oh how I was so wrong. There were only a hand full of food stalls, but one that caught my attention was the Korean Potato Twirl stall. This was so popular in Richmond in addition to here. I bought a satay flavoured potato twirl for $5. It was yummy! The potato was cut so finely and it wasn't as greasy as I had thought. It's pretty much a glorified curly fry.

Satay flavoured potato twirl


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pandan Swiss Roll at Maxims

I love Pandan cake and for those who have no idea what it is, it is a really soft sponge cake, which is usually bright green in colour. The sponge is so light and fluffy that it just melts in your mouth. As I was strolling through Little Bourke Street I noticed Maxim's Cakes, an Eastern influenced bakery and couldn't resist a visit. It is very similar to Bread Top but I think has more dessert based pastry than savoury. I ended up buying a slice of Pandan Swiss Roll for a couple of dollars. It was just as heavenly as I had imagined. The sponge was squishy and the cream filling was so light inside it made the cake.

I would love to have a bakery like this at home, I love the pick and mix concept with the cakes.
Maxim's Cakes
Large selection of cakes
Slice of Pandan Swiss Roll

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stalactites

In the city and crave a late night snack? If so then Stalactites is the one for you. This place is open 24/7 and is all about Greek food. I read a mixed bag of reviews and had to come and check out the scene for myself. I went with friends on a early Friday evening and at first it was quiet but after six o'clock people were streaming in to a point where people were sitting back to back. If I had arrived here later I know I would have been annoyed having to squeeze behind someone.

I thought the food here was good. For starters I tried their homemade spanakopita, which was average. I've tried better in Greece but this one was still nice. I just have a major love for filo pastry, so my review of it might be a bit biased.

My main was lamb fillet souvlaki which was really nice, although I was a little disappointed in the lack of meat on the skewer. The lamb was seasoned well and I loved the tzaztziki sauce. The only negative was that the pitta bread just fell apart if it wasn't kept in the paper wrapping. My friends ordered the souvlaki rather than fillet and this was where my mistake lay. Their souvlaki was jam packed with chicken and lamb, so i think they got more value for their money than i did. But because the pitta was over filled it made consumption hard. I'm not saying having a lot of filling is bad, but I wouldn't choose to eat it on a first date.

Overall it was a nice place to eat in the early evening and certainly kept me well full up.

Homemade Spanakopita
Dolmadakia - rice wrapped in vine leaves, served with homemade tzatziki
Hommous
Lamb fillet souvlaki
Ratings:6
Service: 5/10
Presentation: 6/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 7/10
Website: http://www.stalactites.com.au/

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fish and Chips at Fish Tank

After spending a day at the beach there is nothing more than wanting to eat a good portion of fish and chips, and that is what my friend and I did. We had spent the afternoon in Brighton and took the train to Middle Brighton where we spotted a small chip shop called Fish Tank. The place was buzzing outside with locals and inside was just as busy. We could see where they got the shop name from as there was a large fish tank inside the wall, filled with topical fish like Nemo and Dory.

There was a big selection in what to choose and everything looked delicious, it didn't help that they had all the fish displayed and you could see what was on special and what fish was marinated in what. I decided on the Daily Catch Pack, which was the catch of the day and chips, today's was Blue Grenadier.

I must say that I was super impressed with this chip shop, the fish batter was crunchy and wasn't too greasy. The fish itself tasted so fresh and fell apart in my mouth, it was so tender and soft and the chunky chips were perfect with the fish. I love big chunky chips with battered fish, none of these skinny fries and it tasted so good dipped in the tartar sauce provided. The sauce may have been homemade, it had a thick consistency and was full of flavour.The meal hit the spot.

The fish shop itself was pretty cool and its not like your usual chip shop as they sell seafood as well, which is all sourced locally from either Australia or New Zealand. Also they give you the option in whether you want your fish deep fried or grilled and salad instead of chips. Pretty much caters for anyone.

Fresh seafood on available
The counter with displaying fresh fish and the menu
Daily catch pack - Blue Grenadier with chunky chips

Ratings: 7.75
Service: 7/10
Presentation: 6/10
Taste: 9/10
Quality: 9/10

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Caramel McFlurry

I am actually addicted to McDonald's Caramel McFlurry, it's the yummiest one I have eaten. It's a mix of caramel and biscuit, although the photo looks like its a recipe for diabetes.

McDonald's Caramel McFlurry

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Don Don Japanese Takeaway

After reading positive reviews on Urban Spoon and hearing a lot about Don Don's lightening quick service from different work colleagues I decided to see what all the fuss was about. The restaurant I tried was on Swanston Street, which I believe is aimed at students and those on a low budget.

The name of the shop is well hidden beneath a canopy and can only be seen if you are walking on the pavement side. The restaurant is really small with limited seating and the tables could so with some rework. I ordered Don bento, which cost only $8.40 and after ordering I literally turned around and my food was ready. This was the fastest service I have ever experienced but also made me think how long had the food been readily waiting there.

The bento was bigger than I expected and came with rice, salad, teriyaki chicken, sukiyaki beef and salad. I really enjoyed the beef and loved all the spring onion and flavouring. The teriyaki chicken on the other hand was dry and didn't taste like chicken. It was chopped up into small pieces, no idea what cut it was from but I didn't like it. The rest of the meal was very good but I wouldn't come here if you wanted to chat with a friend or hang around for a while as it's not the kind of restaurant to do that in.

Would I come here again? Yes, but I'd like to try the curry and be in a rushed kind of mood as Don Don is no place to relax.

 Don Bento

Rating: 6.5
Service: 6/10
Presentation: 8/0
Taste: 7/10
Quality: 5/10

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nigiri sushi at Japan Inn

My second visit to Japan Inn was just as pleasant as the first. I bought a box of nigiri sushi which had tuna, salmon, prawn and cooked eel. It was so delicious, the rice was soft and fish was fresh, perfect lunch for a hot day. The only bad point was that they had pre spread wasabi on the rice, which I'm not a fan of. 

Nigiri set at Japan Inn

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chinese New Year in Richmond

There were so many mouth watering Vietnamese food stalls down the street which sent a beautiful aroma down the road. I tried pork balls with satay sauce and it was divine! It was full of flavour and was so juicy. The satay sauce was great apart from having an oily residue.  

I seriously did feel like I was walking through Vietnam.

Skewers of pork balls and chicken
Pork balls with satay sauce
Sugar cane machine
Mini Vietnamese pancakes with prawns (Bánh xèo )
Potato swirls
Banana fritters

Tran Tran in Richmond

Today Richmond celebrated Chinese New Year and my friend and I decided to check it out. Victoria Street was partially closed and it felt like I was in Vietnam, I never knew there was a big Vietnamese community here. The street was lined with Vietnamese restaurants and food stalls with crowds of people wandering around in awe. I loved the atmosphere and buzz of excitement in where to choose to eat. My friend decided on a modern restaurant called Tran Tran specialising in authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant had a great vibe and the interior was decorated in black and white, which gave it a clean cut look.

The selection on the menu was great and full of traditional Vietnamese dishes. I ordered battered duck with plum sauce and my friend had squid with vegetables. The food was delicious and when it was served on the table the smell was enough make me salivate. My battered duck dish was served on a bed of white crispy noodles which complimented the dish and the duck had a lovely crispy skin texture to it which didn't get to soggy in the sweet plum sauce. The squid was cooked perfectly, it wasn't chewy in the slightest and was very tender. The whole meal was great and was washed down with Chinese tea in true Oriental style. Perfect end to a perfect meal.

Inside Tran Tran
Battered duck with plum sauce
Squid with vegatables
Our meal
Ratings: 7.75
Service: 6/10
Presentation: 8/10
Taste: 9/10
Value: 8/10

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seafood bake at Lion Hotel

My work colleagues decided to have our belated Christmas meal at the Lion Hotel in Melbourne Central. From the outside the place looks small and cosy but when you walk through the entrance the pub is huge. I liked the English pub decor and how there were windows to give the impression you were sitting outside but really sitting inside. It was the standard service where you placed your order at the bar and the food came out at a reasonable time. I was surprised with the food portions as they were large. I ordered a seafood bake which had mussels, prawns, scallops with béchamel sauce and apparently topped with avocado and cheese bake. The bake was also accompanied with chips and salad. I couldn't see or taste any avocado in the seafood bake, which was disappointing, but the mussels were scrumptious and there was also squid in there too. The béchamel sauce could of had a thicker consistency but overall it was a nice meal for $25 and I was very full up afterwards.

My work colleague ordered chicken parmigiana for $22 and the chicken piece was huge! I was so impressed that I've added a photo of it below.

Seafood bake
Chicken parmigiana with chips and salad

Ratings: 6.5
Service: 7/10
Presentation: 7/10
Taste: 5/10
Value: 7/10

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Goat's cheese from the Yarra Valley

My housemate visited Yarra Valley and came back with goat's cheese covered with ash. This is the first time I have ever seen anything like this. Visually it looks like a block of charcoal and when I touched it my fingers were covered with ash. I was so surprised that the ash was edible and it didn't smell burnt or give off that ashy smell.

Cutting through the cheese was like cutting through melted butter. The contrast of the dark charcoal skin to the inside of the white cheese was interesting. Taste wise it was delicious, so creamy and light that I could eat this forever. This block of cheese cost a mere $10, which I thought was very reasonable. If you are a cheese fan then I would recommend making a trip to the Yarra Valley and try out the different cheeses available.

Block of goat's cheese covered with ash
Goat's cheese sliced


Monday, January 9, 2012

Japan Inn

I work on St Kilda Road and there is a small Japanese restaurant next door, which makes some great sushi. I tried the beef roll with cucumber and tuna with sweet chili sauce. They were both yum! The seaweed was really tasty, it was soft and didn't dry up your mouth. The flavour on the beef was delicious, think it was teriyaki and the sweet chili sauce with tuna was divine. I love mixing in chili sauce with tuna in my sandwiches and this place was the first where I've seen it in sushi. I will definitely try to recreate this when I'm back in England.

There are other things other the menu like hot dishes served in bento boxes but as my lunch break is only 30 minutes, I just worry the food won't be out in time. Such a shame this place closes at 4pm as I would have loved to buy food for dinner after work. 

This place is a definite if you work around St Kilda Road where it crosses over with Toorak Road.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Too many great places to eat!!!

I have just spent the morning wandering down Chapel Street and every 5th building I pass happens to be a restaurant, take away or bakery where I have seen something that I want to try. One place that caught my attention was a Hako Sushi which had a variety of bento boxes around $12. Looked delicious and great value for money, after reading the reviews on Urban Spoon I will definitely be stopping by this place.

Another restaurant was on a corner and was indoors but all open, the outer walls had been taken down. Everytime I walk past this place it is always busy and has really great vibe.

For those who are travelling through Melbourne I would highly recommend a trip down Chapel Street, it has a lot of trendy bars, funky cafes, restaurants and all your high street shops. Check it out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

La Combinacion at Taco Bill

My first impression when I walked upstairs into this Taco Bill restaurant was that it felt like I was entering someone's house. The decor was outdated and the hallway was narrow like an old house. When I opened the door it really did feel like I was stepping into grandma's house. It didn't really have a restaurant vibe as it was quite dark and old, I was actually surprised with the number of tables with reserved signs on. 

There were a lot of tasty Mexican choices, so many that I couldn't decide and ordered La Combinacion for $21.50, which included chicken enchilada, chicken taco and chicken tacoquito served with frijoles and rice, the other option was to have beef instead.

The cheese melted when it was served as it was piping hot. The food was good, the tacoquitos was oily but everything else I was happy with, the portion was good to keep you full. We also had the sangria which was fruity, but the colour was a dark grey-redish colour.

La Combinacion Image credit: http://www.kimbaskitchen.com/
Ratings: 6.25/10
Service: 7/10
Presentation: 6/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 6/10
Website: http://www.tacobill.com.au/

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dumpling Plus

My friend recommended this place as she really enjoyed the dumplings here and said that the place is always crammed with locals, which is usually a good indicator that the food here is good.

This place specialises in dumplings but but me being weird decided to try their chicken fried rice with pineapple and prawns. This was actually really yummy, when the waiter bought it to the table my initial thoughts was that it would taste bland, but I couldn't be more wrong. There were so many flavours and the pineapple tasted great in the dish. The portion was extremely generous for $8.40 and I managed to clear the whole plate!

The negative was the service as the staff gave us our table and didn't even clean it down after someone had moved, my bowl had a large crack down the side, which I noticed when soy sauce was seeping onto my hands and the toilets stank! Men and women shared bathrooms and I remember seeing a urinal in a cubicle, it was horrible. Also the plate had spots on it, which was part of the design but it just looked dirty. I saw a lot of their plates and bowls and they should have kept it all consistent and use plain white crockery.

Would I come here again? Possibly yes as I'd like to try the dumplings and my meal wasn't that bad.


Ratings: 5.25/10
Service: 3/10
Presentation: 5/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 6/10

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Leo's spaghetti bar

I met up with some friends in St Kilda and we walked down Fitzroy Street looking for a place to eat. This place is far from short of cheap eateries and bars. 

We were attracted to Leo's Spaghetti Bar as the Specials menu stood out and the rustic looking interior. I ordered chicken parmigiana served with chips and salad for bargain $14, as it was on the Specials menu. It was ok, a bit too greasy for me and I like it when if covered with breadcrumbs so that you can feel a crunch but I couldn't really taste it on this one. Was a decent meal for the price and the portion was very generous. Would come eat here again and maybe try the pizzas as my friend ordered one and it smelt and looked great.

Chicken parmigiana with chips and salad
Ratings: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Presentation: 7/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 8/10