Saturday, 29 June 2013

Blue Train - Melbourne - Southgate Landing, Southgate Plaza - Southbank

I used to love this place when I was a Uni student. I swear it had the best smoked salmon pizza with goats cheese and capers.

Was I dreaming?

The food on this night was terrible:
* over-cooked risotto
* over-sized bruschetta
* over-fried fish

And the pizza - zero out of ten.

Over it

The Uni memory is gonskis.

Blue Train Café on Urbanspoon

South of Johnstone - Melbourne - 46 Oxford Street, Collingwood

Hidden way behind a leafy front, this place looks small from the outside but is large and beautifully decorated on the inside. It has an arty, eclectic feel to it.
We were here for brunch.

I found the menu a bit awkward.  None of the breakfast choices really jumped out and said grab me.

In the end, we added and took away our own ingredients.

Good but not fantastic. The lightly toasted bread (as promised) was cooked to buggery and too hard. The eggs were well cooked and the avocado etc etc etc were tasty.

I am finding though that all of these brunch places around Melbourne are starting to taste the same. You always now see mushroom with thyme, smashed avocado with goats cheese and an omelette with gourmet cheese.

It is a great business - you now pay $20 for eggs on toast and the turnover is enormous. This is where the money in Melbourne is being made my friends.

Service was also a bit cold.

But I will still come back for the atmosphere and the great coffee.

About $30 each.

South of Johnston on Urbanspoon

Hooks @ The Yarra - Melbourne - 50 River Esplanade, Docklands

This is good value for a voucher my friend said as we were presented with lobster covered in a cream sauce.

Then we tried it and understood why the voucher deal was on.


My friend loves voucher deals and thought we should try this joint at the Docklands.

Anything with "@" in the name is a mild worry.

I think she paid about $50 for four people for lobster - well, I am hoping it was no more than that.

The place had few patrons because really Docklands is the arse end of Melbourne culinary and how the hell do you actually find your way there?

This place sells the cheap deals but then makes its money on desserts - $16 for chocolate mousse, are you kidding!

And it was AV-ER-AGE

Don't bother.

Hooks @ The Yarra on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Melba at Langham for Breakfast - Melbourne - 1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank

We decided to be like the tourists of Melbourne to have the breakfast buffet at The Langham.

To be honest, it was struggle city for me to get out of bed at 7am on a Sunday morning. I thought how can I do this and how can I stuff my face so early in the morning.

But I did it not bad.

There were the usuals - cereals, bacon, baked beans, omelettes made to order plus a chocolate fountain, a good selection of juices and some hot cakes.

Overall a good buffet.


The fella was a tad disappointed thinking it deserved another half a point for the chocolate fountain (which he didn't try by the way).  In fact he would've given it 8 out of 10, "but that is me" he said "I am finding it hard to impress you".

What to do - for me an 8 needs fresh juice and tomatoes in season, god I am a food snob.

But I was impressed with spending a beautiful fresh morning overlooking the Yarra and having the rest of the hours in the day awake like normal people do.

Adles Melba on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Enoteca Sileno Vino e Cucino - Melbourne - 920 Lygon Street, Carlton North

"And this is the life I live" .

My sister, my brother-in-law, my best friend and her husband were meeting my fella for the first time.

They did not try and impress him or temper the fire in their bellies (and neither did I actually), it was a display of "and this is the life I live".

The brother-in-law was complaining about the fact that my sister never buys him Kingston biscuits. "She knows they are my favourite, how hard can it be, she does it deliberately?" And she responds "yes, sometimes I think f*ck him you know and I don't buy them".  This is the life he lives.

Then my friend was talking about the fact that she doesn't like prawn cocktail with hundreds and thousands dressing.  That is "thousand island dressing honey" says the husband.  "Details, details who cares", said my friend. "I do, when you call a travel agent a real estate agent - see, this is the life I live."

As a side note my best friend still does not know what I do for a living and gets confused between accounting firms and mining companies. "Details, details who cares".

Then my OCD sister talked about how fabulous the concertina is as a filing system. "It is also an instrument too you know". "No, you are thinking of an accordian" says my brother-in-law.  "Wanna google it" as she pulls out her hand to shake on it. It gets googled and yes, a concertina is also an instrument. Damn it.

My friend says she always gets those arguments with her husband wrong but will still argue with conviction until she is black and blue in the face even if she is not 100% sure.  What a shame that google has come into our lives to correct us. "This is the life we live".

Then the conversation turned to the removal of the baby bonus.  There was a little disagreement on the general consensus of the removal - my friend saying people would hate it and the husband in opposition saying that people with no babies do not look into the future and think damn we are missing out - except the people in Moe said my sister who conceive their lives around getting the bonus. Which then turned the converation to people with privileges and people without. My sister naturally assumes that lazy people living on welfare and playing all the systems are all from Moe and call their kids Sheneelle. I said that not everyone has a dad like us who went to Melbourne High, became a lawyer and drove us to private school every day. "Yes, but our parents worked hard" she said "unlike the people in Moe."

There will never be agreement on this topic. What we did learn from my sister is that when you are returning an item to a store, having an argument with insurers or trying to get a better deal on a bed? always get personal by knowing the persons name and using it incessantly "Hi Vivienne. I understand what you are saying Vivienne but let me put it to you this way Vivienne" - you alway get what you want.  "That is initimidation 101, everybody knows that" she says.

I personally like to just lawyer shop assistants when I return bad goods and quote section 52 of the Trade Practices Act.  The husband said, don't let that one out of the bag with my wife, she will use it incorrectly and quote section 32. Details, details, who cares.

I can't recall where in the night I asked the question, "so do men always wear the pants?"

"ABSOLUTELY, they do" said the husband.

I retorted that "some don't do it well enough and need the woman to help fill the pants". To that the husband replied, " well you might as well just pull them down."

On that subject matter, all I can say is that it is best to let the man think he is wearing the pants and ignore how short they fall above the ankle at times.

OK, now let's talk about Enoteca Sileno.

We were sitting at a prime table in the middle of the restaurant and then 10 minutes after being seated we were asked to move to the corner of the room.  Were we too loud? Telling by where the conversation got too maybe the waiters pre-empted it. Or was there someone else more important - we did analyse the replacing patrons at our table and noted some bright coloured jackets - maybe D grade celebrities who will be on next season's Celebrity Apprentice.

We graciously moved after being told that our desserts would be on the house.

We ordered a bunch of starters to share.  Fried crumbed rabbit with aioli, meatballs with pancetta in a light broth, stuffed peppers with anchovies - all very excellent.

Then we turned to pastas - gnocchi with duck and two risottos - one with bugs and the other with goat. Once again outstanding.

Then we tried the main specials. Pork neck and barramundi. Unfortunately they were not as great. The pork neck was tough and the broth a bit floury and the barradmundi stock was a bit rich and not delicate enough. I have had other mains like rabbit here before which were amazing. We felt like they had a lot of pork neck and were just trying to dish it out even though it was dry- a bit disappointing.

The desserts too did not hit the mark, the pear semifreddo tasted a bit like baby food and the tira misu had way too much cream.

Overall it was a good meal and I will come back because I know that they can do better mains and desserts.

If you get the time, venture into the store adjoining the restaurant - there is great wine, cheese, salumi, vinegars and every beautifully packaged Italian item that you can think of.

Excellent vino for around $58. Total cost around $95 per head.

As for the fella, I think he had a great time. He could not get a word in amongst this crowd but he will get used to putting his 2 cents worth in, saying it bluntly as it is and taking a dig at me - for now, he is too nice - but this is the life he will have to live.

Enoteca Sileno Vino e Cucina on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dumplings Plus - Melbourne - 269 Swanstan Street, Melbourne

This was a recommendation so on the one hand I feel like I have to be careful here but on the other I have to be honest.

The spinach to start was tops.

But the shanghai dumplings were not carefully managed; they had holes in them so the burst of broth in the mouth was a bit lost.

The spring onion pancakes were too thick and burnt.

The prawn dumplings were too soft and the chilli beef made my friend feel sick straight up, all night and the next morning.

But the service was prompt.

The give away is that this place was full of Anglos, next time we need to follow the Asian students.

  Dumplings Plus on Urbanspoon


Virginia Plain - Melbourne - 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

What can I say about Virginia Plain? I am not sure.

I think it is the enormously large space that felt like an airport lounge that bothered me in hindsight. Big restaurants are a no go zone in Melbourne these days unless you are a fan of the likes of El Greco.

The conversation however did not fail. We started off bagging tofu agreeing that it really is just bad jelly and then proceeded to gas bag as a group of 6 girls ordinarily do - you can never remember the conversation but know you have had a memorable night.

Not so for the food -  I cannot immediately recollect what we ate and it was only 3 days ago. Maybe it is my age or the wine (which was excellent) or the fact that the menu had the sameness of many others. Maybe the plainness of Virginia is quite apt.

I recall some scallops, mushroom risotto and some beef ribs.

Actually the bread and butter pudding was great

Cost around $100 per head from recollection.


Virginia Plain on Urbanspoon