Sunday, 28 July 2013

Di Palma's - Melbourne - 688 High Street, Kew East

I have never been to or heard of Di Palmas which is an institution to many.

When I told people that I was going, some likened it to Sofia's in Camberwell.

This is certainly no Sofia's cos the food here is actually very good.

I ordered the crumbed veal with a lovely potato and mint and pea salad. The crust was flavoursome and the veal cooked very well. The salad was a pleasantly surprising touch.

The fella ordered duck cooked 2 ways. The leg was cooked beautifully but the breast was a tad overlooked, I mean overcooked. Although the pear sauce was very good.

The pizzas around the table looked good.

A good comfortable fail-safe suburban restaurant with a menu that pleases.

Great service too.

Around $40 per head.

Di Palma's on Urbanspoon

European - Melbourne - 161 Spring Street, Melbourne

What is the world coming to when it is now not possible to walk into a restaurant on a cold winter Monday night to get a table.

Luckily the Europran was kind to let us in, but only just.

The menu here has its regulars - coq a vin, steak tartare and souvlaki.

Tonight I ordered ricotta gnocchi with zucchini and mint and peas.

Others ordered mushroom risotto.

It truly is European.

The food is comfortably good. It does not wow you but everything is cooked very well and with balance.

A warm and cosy atmosphere with a nice glass of wine makes The European a place you want to come back to.

The European on Urbanspoon

Hutong - Melbourne - 14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne

Hands down below zero Hutong is one of my favourite dumplings places around town.  Although I don't know if they are the best like others profess.

Shanghai pork dumplings soupy on the inside are almost perfect.

Prawn and chive dumplings are very good.

Salt and pepper squid excellent.

Spinach with garlic up there with the best.

Not the cheapest but worth the experience.

  HuTong Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Rare - Melbourne - 61 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

This is a steak place and the steak is good. Lots of blokes and some good wines not overly priced.

I ordered a 500 gram T-bone. Cooked well but a bit gritzly in some spots.

Others enjoyed their eye fillets and porterhouse.

Excellent sides of peas and bacon and surprisingly good onion rings.

Fine desserts, including pavlova, pannacotta and chocolate cake.

Rare Steakhouse Lt Collins St on Urbanspoon

Monday, 15 July 2013

Rice Queen Oriental Bar and Diner - Melbourne - 389 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

389 Brunswick Street has served me well over the last 20 years.

First there was Hideout Cafe during my poorer Uni years, with the biggest motherf*ker piece of cake and coffee for just $5.

Then came St Jude's which was hands down below zero one of my favourites for such a long time but then it died.

And now it is Rice Queen.

The best thing about this place is the atmosphere and the personal service. Lots of lanterns all around, a great DJ and waiters buzzing and engaging in meaningful conversation like the expense of private schools.

I was out with boys only for another night this week and tonight's wanted fried stuff.

A massive menu full of almost every kind of Asian cuisine - Vietnamese, Korean, Thai. Don't be put off by this because the food is actually good.

KFC Asian chicken - excellent.

Marinated pork bites, also tasty as was the kum pow chicken and the Korean pork tacos.

The fried fish with salad was a tad soggy but nice flavours. Pull it back on the dressing and it would have been an excellent dish.

The Queen may die at some point but for now she is alive and kicking.

And she is good value, around $35 per head including a glass of wine or cider each.


Rice Queen Oriental Diner and Bar on Urbanspoon


Gazi - Melbourne - 2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

I was out with some boys who like meat and who like wine. Walking into Gazi, it was very happening and we were feeling very happening.
There's a big bar on entry and lots of tables dotted around. Everyone looked really cool.

But then there is the detail. The hundreds of terracotta pots on the roof freaked my friends out and on a closer look were actually just plastic. "They lack context" which was the most intelligent remark of the night.

The acoustics were bad and we had to shout at each other. And on a closer look, the lighting made everyone in the room look and feel cooler than they really are.

Looking at the menu, the boys agreed that when you are too rich for Stalactites you just come here.

My friend ask me, the Greek, "so how do you categorise Greek wine?".

Charactertise? There is good and then there is bad - that's it - Greek's don't characterise anything or even use that word in their vocabulary or even know what it means.

We started with a Greek sparkling which had an edge of sweetness at the end, quite nice actually. The red for me was way too heavy but the boys loved it.

We ordered a menu of whatever comes out you eat. There was a choice of 5 souvlakia - chicken, duck, beef, pork and soft shell crab. My friend said "I will never be too pissed to order soft shell crab souvlaki".

Fair enough.

More to the point I asked "is there no lamb?"

No lamb, ok there you go no lamb.

We first started with the taramousalata - not bad but Georgie you have done better before. The bread was excellent.

The saganaki with cumquat, well was not sure about that - George paired this cheese with figs at Hellenic (which my dad hates)  but I think that cumquat is way too cute and does not really match well.

The prawns were good.

Then came the souvlaki - I liked it but did not love it. I really would have preferred lamb.

Next came some pork with red capsicum, some chips and then more pork.

You can order as much as you like, the food just keeps coming. For dessert we had a good pannacotta and average/bready loukmades.

Overall a bit inconsistent and, sad to say, the best thing was the bread.

I bumped into other friends who also had an inconsistent experience, the meatballs were terrible.

The best thing was the conversation. Look around said my male friends, look at all the women with women. It is a fact, women love to dine with women, men like to dine with women and men only drink with men.

The boys changed their mind in the end - you would only go to Stalictites for a souvlaki and never return here.

To sum it up, one commented "there was no defining feature".

For $120 per head, another said that "you would expect a deconstructed souvlaki and it is an act of the crime to serve souvlaki without tzatiki".

Gazi on Urbanspoon