Monday, 22 October 2012

Melbourne Vietnam Noodle House - Melbourne - 251 Swanston Street, Melbourne

This place has a modern feel aimed at attracting Westerners. Having said that, there is a mixture of clientele. I personally like the more Vietnamese local looking restaurants but this will do.

You order by the number of your dish.

Number 12, the chicken pho, is good but lacks depth. Not the best in town.

Number 30, the lemon grass chicken, never loses.

Other dishes are consistently good, consistently a bit salty and consisently lacking in a few crucial herbs but still consistently tasty enough and not too oily.

Overall very good for $9 each (including tea).


Melbourne Vietnam Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Meshiya - Melbourne - 200 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

This is a quick and easy Japanese place for lunch. I wouldn't travel from a distance to come here - it is more suited to those working on and around Lonsdale Street who don't want to walk far.

A good variety of lunch boxes and fresh fish but a bit expensive for a quick lunch $15-$17.


Meshiya on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Maedaya - Melbourne - 400 Bridge Road, Richmond

While I was waiting for my friend, I casually listened to the conversation next to me on the shared table.

"Mmmmmm this is soooo good" she says as she BBQs her tofu.
Twirling her hair she asks "so do you like tofu?"

"Not really" he replies. "Have you been to Vlados" he asks.

"Yep, steak, it is great" she replies.

"It closed down a few months ago" he said. 

"Oh, I really did not know that, what a shame" she replied "but I liked Squires loft but it has gone bad. The one in South Yarra was good but isn't anymore."

He replied "yeah the city Squires is great but not as aesthetically pleasing."

This was an excrutiating first date to listen to!

Maedaya on the other hand is not in any way excruitating, except for the bad kosher wine and the waitress getting confused with what drinks we ordered.

Maedaya is a Japanese grill and sake bar. It started off small but has become so popular that it has expanded next door - although the atmosphere is not as good as the bar downstairs in the original restaurant.

You can either do your own grilling on a hot flavoured coal BBQ or order your own grill. We both had enough of cooking for the week so elected for someone else to do it for us.

Everything is very good - the soba noodles are superb and the various mushroom, beef and scallop skewers are so tasty. The gyoza are cooked to perfection as is the asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and grilled squid.  It is the delicate sauces which really make this place tick.

Service is quirky and the bill ends up not too expensive. About $80 for two.

You will alway leave feeling healthy and wanting to come back for more.


Maedaya on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Shou Sumiyaki - Melbourne - 160 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

We had one of those tragic nights working back late on a Friday night.
It is criminal really and something that makes people just want to go home and curl up in a ball, passed out, drooling, holding a mostly drunk bottle of red wine.
Not us. Screw that. We are going to find whatever random place you can get a meal at 10pm and just eat.
We hopped into Shou Sumiyaki, a Japanese sake and grill bar full of Japanese folk drinking cocktails with blue curacao of the 80s.
We got straight into some sake and then ordered the most expensive banquet on the menu cos we could not be stuffed trying to use our brains to sift through the 20 page menu.
First came salmon sashimi, spinach with sesame paste and some raw wagyu. Actually it was all very fresh and good and tasty.
Next we ate a mixture of meats, mostly wagyu which we cooked ourselves on a grill over hot coals in the middle of the table. You dip in a selection of sauces and it is all excellent.
Then some vegies followed by prawns, squid and scallops for grilling as well.
Weird ordering of food I know, but this is Japanese and it works.
Total cost including sake and a bottle of wine was around $100 bucks each.
For a last minute walk in, this place was fresh and fun.
We deserved it – well done to us.
Shou Sumiyaki on Urbanspoon


Mask of China - Melbourne - 117 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

I am not going to bother critiquing this place – it is just not worth it.
I thought that Mask of China was a good place for Chinese years ago but I may be mistaken. It felt like a funeral parlour of the 70s.  The fish looked grey, the meat was over-sauced and the noodles were oily.
Bad – don’t bother.
Mask of China on Urbanspoon


Supper Inn - Melbourne - 15 Celestial Avenue, Melbourne

Supper Inn is the Chinese equivalent of The Waiter’s Club. Creaky stairs on arrival, vinyl chairs with cracks (don't wear silk as it will be ripped to shreds), fakewood walls, scary looking air conditioners and loads of people.
Like many I have been a fan for years, particularly after a few drinks. There is consistency with the fast service and quality of food.
Tonight was an exception.  Maybe it was what we ordered but still every dish should be good.
We had a mix breed of people on the table and Diane (refer to Lygon Charcoal Grill and a few blogs thereafter).
There was the Aussie who ordered the sweet and sour pork. Yes it was sweet and yes it was sour but yes it was also way too fatty and looked like orange play dough.
For everyone else, the best was deep fried quail with spicy sauce – juicy and excellent. The Aussie struggled with the use of fingers initially but he eventually gave up – good work.
Diane wanted to order the duck but got rejected. In hindsight he was right and we should have ordered it.
Instead, we chose the deep fried chicken, once again too much fried batter and not enough sauce or chicken for that matter. The calamari with squid and chilli (but really no chilli) was also just ok.
The worst pick of the night declared by all was the pork with chow mein noodles – my choice. I was told that I was held in high regard right up to that point. I did not defend myself cos I agree the noodles were shit. Whereadleschoiceisbad was the discussion that followed.
Despite the disappointment of putting on about 5 kilos and feeling like we would have to work hard to lose it, we had a great night.
A mixture of Y and X gens on the table. As an X, I did not know that the difference between the generations is whether you had an email account at high school or those who live in the msn world and those who don’t. Who defines a world as msn anyway, shouldn’t the world be about human emotion.
No matter what generation, we know what food is bad and what food is good. We did bad this time I said to Diane and he and everyone agreed, except the Aussie who said “I think I did well.”
To that I say, “well enjoy your lemon chicken!”
Supper Inn on Urbanspoon


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Cafe Latte - Melbourne - 521 Malvern Road, Hawksburn

I was mortified that I had never heard of Cafe Latte before.

It is the local Italian for the folk of Toorak - maybe that is why.

I was with Mr Toorak, who lives in Toorak, Mr Wanna-Be-Toorak (although I told him that he is more Mr Fitzroy at heart) and his wife, Mrs Get-F*cked-No-Way-We-Will-Ever-Live-in-Toorak.

We started with some Mumms and Veuve at Mr Toorak's home with some Prahran Market mezedes and then proceeded to walk to the restaurant through the residential streets of Toorak in the cold night gazing at the amazing lives of others.

Cafe Latte has a very dark, moody and warm atmosphere. There is great art work and the roof is adorned with a large white hanging ring.  Mr Toorak noted that the fit out was done by his personal architect. Moving right on.

The waiters knew Mr Toorak very well greeting him as a regular in an Italian coffee shop - he loved that.

And I love this place.

I couldn't resist the goat braised for hours with white wine, peas and fregola - superb and a very generous serving.

Mr Wanna-Be-Toorak who can never go past eggplant ordered the eggplant pasta with basil and aged ricotta. He said it's very copasetic - Mr Wanna-Be-Toorak often uses words that I, Miss-Lowly-Clifton Hill, do not understand.

He then explained, as he often does in a teacher-student kind of way, it is a Jamaican term for "it's in the pocket".

Now that is the perfect way to describe Cafe Latte - it's all in the pocket.

Mrs Get-F-cked-No-Way-We-Will-Ever-Live-in-Toorak thought her spatchcock was in the pocket and Mr Toorak felt the same about his seafood.

The sides of radicchio with orange and walnuts and rocket with parmesan were also in the pocket as was the vino and the background music playing of Al Jackson on drums and Al Green .

Desserts were quite good but did not blow me away - a minor leak in the pocket but still largely contained therein.

I wish Clifton Hill could take something away here and establish a place like this. I want to be hugged by waiters on arrival, I want the owners to know my name (instead of just the coffee guy who calls out my name because they ask for it) and I want bloody good Italian home-cooked meals a short walk away when I can't be stuffed cooking.

I guess we can't all live in Toorak.

Cafe Latte on Urbanspoon

Morris Jones - Melbourne - 163 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Ok, everybody I am with a medium to well done meat eater.

She even asked, why is it medium rare and not rare medium. Good question actually but a medium to well done-er is not deserving of such conversation.

I was told Morris Jones is a cool place with lots of good looking people. It is very Chapel Street and there are lots of fake tans, fake hair, fake lips and fake t*i*ts. And the food equally lacks substance.

And here I was with one of my friends, brunettes with barely any make up looking comparably pastey from the Winter.

The waiter confused our orders so I ended up with porterhouse medium to well done and the medium to well done-er had a bit of rare. Carrots to the side were unsalted and a bit raw, the chips were a tad soggy and the heirloom tomatoes tasted like they were from Coles.

Morris Jones fits into the theme of Chapel Street - not a decent place to eat and along with the shops it is becoming increasingly big brand and bogan.

I will come back though for some good people watching on a Summer's night in the outdoor courtyard with hopefully a bit of colour and more rigorous brassiere.

Mains are around $35-$40.

5/10 for the food, 8/10 for the people.

Morris Jones on Urbanspoon

The League of Honest Coffee - Melbourne - 8 Exploration Lane, Melbourne

The League of Honest Coffee is a serious coffee house.

I just had my one coffee for the day, so I did not try the coffee and there is also some good cake and pastry action happening but did not try these either.

We were there for lunch. The barrista said that this is not really a lunch place although they do manage to serve some excellent Quesadilla which cost $7.50.

Will definitely come back and try the killer coffee.

The League of Honest Coffee on Urbanspoon

Ca de Vin - Melbourne GPO, Postal Lane Bourke St Mall, Melbourne

Everyone, Diane is coming to dinner (for an introduction to Diane, refer to Lygon Charcoal Grill and Pappa Goose).... and chose the restaurant.

Diane and I had a minor disagreement about the best pizza in town. I think it is +39 Pizzeria and he thinks Ca de Vin.

But it is hard to book a table for 15 people two hours before dinner - so we got into Ca de Vin - enough said.

Diane also took charge with the ordering and look he did well. Most of us had already hoed into a smorgasboard of finger food at a function immediately before but we still managed to eat about a pizza each.

In terms of pizza, they were ok. The pastry was so thin that I felt like I was eating a salada.

The test of a good pizza restaurant is the margherita. This one did not have enough tomoto, the basil scarce and the cheese was just all right.

Diane did well and I am happy for him to choose again.


 Ca de Vin on Urbanspoon

Cumulus Inc - Melbourne - 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

I can't tell you how many times I have been to Cumulus Inc. I know the menu inside out, back to front and upside down. I have been to this restaurant as much as I have watched Dirty Dancing - now that is a lot, I am not embarrased to tell you. I know the story and I know how it's going to end.
There is no baby in the corner but there are loads of merry patrons in the corner waiting for a table happy to wait 45 minutes.

The oysters are not the best around town, so I always give these a miss.

But looking at the remainder of the menu, I always have hungry eyes.

I usually start with the octpus, Oritz sardines, foie gras parfait, some cured meats, the freekah salad and then a main or two.

Everything here is very good. Many people also go for the lamb shoulder but I reckon mine is just as good so I think you should leave space to try as many of the other dishes as possible.

The atmosphere is kind of artsy and the service to always efficient.

I have had some fantastic desserts here, like pear in sauterne butter and a deconstructed mandarine with chocolate soil. Others sometimes are not so fantastic but still good enough.

I love this place and it is great for breakfast too. Try the egg cooked for 70 minutes with sorrel and trout -eggscellent.

Wine list is great and enough variety for all budgets.

She's not like the wind on your pocket, expect to pay around $70-$100 buck depending but you will always have the time of your life.

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon