Thursday, 30 May 2013

Secret Kitchen - Melbourne - Doncaster Shoppingtown, Shop L2-2003 619 Doncaster Rdm Doncaster

My cousin told me to meet her at the Japanese restaurant at Doncaster Shoppingtown opposite Max Brenner (which she had frequented before) . I searched far and wide for a Japanese joint and could only find the Secret Kitchen.

It was very clearly a Chinese restaurant.

I put her confusion over which part of Asia we were dealing with down to the fact that she has 3 kids under the age of 3.

You can try Japanese beer to start but very quickly you will be coerced into trying the Chinese variety.

This is a large restaurant with high pre-movie banquets.

The scallops came about 30 seconds after we ordered our banquet - we were impressed with the speediness.

We wolfed them down 15 seconds later and 15 seconds after that felt reprimanded by the fact that we ate a meal that belonged to someone else.  Get stuffed.

Then Kelvin a cute waiter came along and said perfect for you loss for us - nooo worrriesss.

The scallops were ok.

Next was san choi bou - very good. My cousin declared that whoever thought "I have no bread, use lettuce instead" was a genius.

The next dish of peking duck was also tasty, even if a bit cold.

The remainder of the meals started to go downhill. I can't tell you what the soup was but the seafood tasted a bit wrongtown and there was way too much cornflour.

The szechuan spicy chicken was a tad fatty and the beef just didn't taste super fresh to me.

About $60 per head.

Secret Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mixed Business - Melbourne - 486 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill

This is one of the few places that makes me feel proud to live in Clifton Hill.

Eggs with pancetta and a perfectly cooked tomato on the side or mushroom omelette or a pork roll - name it, it will taste good.

Cool people, cool waiters, cool place.

Coffee is quite good too.

Mixed Business on Urbanspoon



Albert St Food and Wine - Melbourne - 382 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Walk in and it's love at first sight.

The long bar, the high and low tables and chairs, the darkness and the depth, soooo good.

I was with two very close girlfriends - we have been through lots together and I feel so lucky to have them in my life.

OK, down with the food. I was totally down with it.

Everything was fanfriggintastic. The foie gras parfait with brioche and relish was perfect. The goat meatballs with a touch of preserved lemon and yoghurt was outstanding as was the quail with mushroom, truffle and Jerusalem artichoke.

The special of roasted stuffed pork was just succulent and the sauces to match were divine.

Even the simple beans were exceptional.

And then comes the dessert - wow - we shared the honey and cognac cassonade with fruits and cashews. You gotta try this dish.

About $85 per head including cocktails and a bottle of prosecco.

Albert Street Food and Wine on Urbanspoon

Caffe e Cucina - Melbourne - 581 Chapel Street, South Yarra

I feel the warmth of Italy every time I walk into this place. I know I am always going to start with some delicate calamari, then follow with some pasta, drink some good wine in a carafe and enjoy the friendly and vibrant service.

Tonight we had the delicate calamari, followed by some gnocchi with pork and veal and risotto with ox tail and a touch of peas, a good carafe of red wine and impeccable service.

Cannot go wrong I tell ya.

$100 for two of us.


Caffé e Cucina on Urbanspoon

Gami Chicken - Melbourne -100 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Gami is really just terrible Korean styled KFC that serves beer in kegs, only that KFC is better.

The chicken was not meaty enough and the seafood pancakes tasted a bit wrongtown.

Not good. Sorry to those for whom this is an institution.

Gami at Lt Lonsdale on Urbanspoon

Cumulus Up - Melbourne - 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Meeting some of my favourite colleagues from my last place of work, Mr Wanna Be Toorak (refer to the Caffe Late blog) and Mr Party People.

I was ready to drink, eat and have a ball in the house of my lover in dreams - Mr Andrew McConnell.

Mr Wanna Be chose some great wines and we were good to go.

Cumulus Up is a great space with a mood of warmth for Winter.

The menu is bar shared style and we chose the chef's specials.

The olives to start with onions pickled in cinnamon and vinegar were delightful. Then the fried Kale with a green sauce of I don't know what was simple and very good.

Next up, the raw bonito with ginger, soy, seaweed and radish was an outstanding dish and probably the best I have had in Melbourne in a while. You have to go just for this dish.

We then tried the dish described as destined for cult status, the duck waffle with foie gras parfait. For us it did not quite make it - too salty for me Wanna Be and Mr Party People thought the hot waffle with the cold foie gras did not mesh. In other words a bit of a wank but still enjoyable.

The next dish of meat (a few vinos now and can't remember if it was lamb or beef, sorry) was excellent.

There were maybe a couple of other dishes in between and they were great - trust me.

And finally profiteroles with a beautiful vanilla cream and topped with chocolate sauce were a perfect ending to a damned good night.

Menu is $65 per person but wine is not cheap. Total cost was $140 per person.

Loved it and you have to go.

Cumulus Up on Urbanspoon

Radii - Melbourne - 1 Parliament Square, East Melbourne

I really wanted to love Radii.  I had been here when it first opened over 10 years ago and the bresaola with a hint of truffle and the varlhona dessert (just having varlhona was a big hit back then) were all so inventive and decadent.

The same dishes 10 years later get a bit tired - the meat now feels a bit too thick and the varlhona a tad dry. How we change.

The patrons are also a little hoity dressed to the 9s. 10 years ago that made us feel special, today it makes us feel old.

In summary, Radii is a hotel restaurant with a feel of 90s luxury.

About $160 for two.

Radii Restaurant & Bar, Park Hyatt Melbourne on Urbanspoon