Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hotel Sorrento - 5/15 Hotham Road, Sorrento

I had very good memories of eating a gourmet meat pie and bangers and mash at Sorrento pub for about $18 with my many cousins after a long day at the beach.

Now the menu is a bit too pricey and not enough of the simple.

The cheapest meal is the chicken parma which was $28 with too much cheese and ham. My marinara parpadelle was good but I was not up to paying $32 with only a few bits of seafood. The chicken vietnaese salad looked a bit strange.

Very disappointed cos this place was once good and reasonable.

It has been beachified in a bad way.

Hotel Sorrento on Urbanspoon

Kumo Izakaya & Sake Bar - Melbourne - 152 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

This is a top notch Japanese restaurant, very contemporary and swish inside.

We were just after a quick feed after a night out of African dancing and drinking. But we were in the area, I heard about Kumo Izakaya, so we gave it a go.

We were in and out in about 20 minutes but managed to eat the chirashi sushi, gyoza, scallops and kingfish sashimi.

All excellent and up there with the likes of Izakaya Den and Kenzan.

Around $60 for 2 with no alcohol.

Will definitely be back for a more comprehensive meal.

Kumo Izakaya & Sake Bar on Urbanspoon

Dainty Sichuan - Melbourne - 176 Toorak Road, South Yarra

An institution around town that I had been hesistant to try because I am a little bit intimidated by super hot chillis. But I took a risk and decided to organise a dinner for 10.

My friend ordered and ordered very well.

We ate cabbage with pork, duck, more pork, fish, beef ribs - pretty much every form of meat possible with every form of chilli available and it was all excellent. Plus some tofu for those tofu eaters - not me.

Definitely the best Sichuan in Melbourne, cooked with crisp, and crunch and not very scary.

BYO with cheap corkage. Cost was around $40 per person.

Dainty Sichuan on Urbanspoon

Trinitas Thai - Melbourne - 955 Bourke Road, Camberwell

This restaurant has been talked up a lot.

I am often disappointed by Thai restaurants but not this one. There is a mix of traditional, fusion and contemporary Thai food.

The curry here is very good. Green chicken curry was full of great flavour and the beef massaman was melting in the mouth. The fish was all fresh.

Good wine list at decent prices. $55 each including 2 bottles of white wine amongst 5 ladies.

Trinitas Thai on Urbanspoon

Scopria - Melbourne - 191 Nicholson Street, Carlton

I have been keen to dine at Scopria ever since it first opened a few years ago.

It is an Italian restaurant set in the middle of what seems nowhere on Nicholson Street.

We were there for a mid-week meal so did not do the 3 courses.

First were some zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and anchovies fried in a light crisp batter. A good start.

I had rabbit for main which was superb, cooked in a lovely white wine for hours and just melting in the mouth. I heard good things across the table about the goat, pastas and snapper.

Only concern was that the service was a bit pretentious for a suburban restaurant.

Good selection of wines around the $40-$50 mark.

About $40 per person including a bottle of wine amongst six.

Would be more pricey with bigger appetites on a Friday or Saturday night but still very reasonable compared to other good Italian joints around town.

Scopri Italian Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Bistro Vue - Melbourne - 430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Havnen't been to Bistro Vue for about 4 years. It is not commonly discussed amongst friends maybe because the style is French Bistro but the food is consistently very good.

It is famous for the fried chips cooked maybe twice or three times in goose fat or something like that. Either way they are a heart attack waiting to happen but the best you might have and worth the risk.

The furnishings are ornate and we were very lucky on this evening to sit in a large private dining room. The menu was set for us and I am ok with that when I am not paying.

Everything really was very excellent but my only concern was the disproportionate servings based on the expense of the food.

The entree of smoked trout with toasted brioche was fair in size. The truffle risotto was only 3 mouthfuls or 2 with my mouth - but that is fair cos it is expensive.

But the beef chateaubriand, while excellent, was too small - I had one tiny thin piece of beef the size of half a potato cake. And then we were served the biggest motherf*er creme brulee of all time - lovely but too much.

More meat ploise.

When you order dessert go for the apple tarte tartin. Excellent wines.

Not sure of the cost but I am guessing you could pay anywhere from $80-$120 per head depending on the amount of wine you choose to drink.

Good service too.
Bistro Vue on Urbanspoon
8/10 Adles

Piqueous - Melbourne - 298 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton

I love it when my friends choose a restaurant and pick a place I have never heard of.

Piqueous was just that - very exciting amigos and it expands the Argentinean/Peruvian options in Melbourne.

A great location in North Carlton away from the CBD - I am not a big fan of dining in the CBD generally.

The key feature is the bar in the middle but the place has an overall dark and moody feel to it, just like restaurants in Argentina. Service is immediately warm and friendly but not overdone and the menu is very desirable.

We started with some scallops which were succulent and spicy, followed by the best empanadas around in Melbourne. Then kingfish ceviche with a corn and tomatoe salsa was super.

Next was the steak with chimmichurri. I love chimmchurri and I love the way Argentineans cook steak parilla style - it is the best. On the side was the best asparagus accompanied with palm hearts that you will taste plus some quinoa.

For dessert we shared an Alfajor which is a biscuit filled with dulce de leche and coconut - yum.

Around $80 per person including 2 glasses of wines each or less if you eat less.

Piqueous is a fusion of delicate flavours with the grunt of a good tasty steak and lovely wines.

I love it and for me it beats San Telmo.

Piqueos on Urbanspoon

Warra Warra Korean Kitchen - Melbourne - Shop 19 & 20, 235-251 Bourke Street Tivoli Arcade, Melbourne

A cool Korean lunch spot with a choice of set lunch boxes, noodles and other Korean delights.

Everything is tasty, service is speedy and there are great indoor and outdoor tables.

Open for dinner too.

About $10 for lunch, you should go.

Warra Warra on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bowery to Willamsburg - Melbourne - 16 Oliver Lane, Melbourne

A groovy diner with American style sandwiches including hot smoked salmon with tomatoes and fried capers, meatball, pastrami with saurerkraut and lots of other good Jewish style sandwiched foods.

About $12 for lunch.

Bowery to Williamsburg on Urbanspoon

Gingerboy - Melbourne - 29 Crossley Street, Melbourne

How disappointing can life be when a restaurant was once revered as innovative and edgy and now just bombs out.

In some cases our tastes just change but in the case of Gingerboy either hands have changed or complacency has set in.

First of all our preferred wines were not available and they offered only more expensive bottles to match. A good restaurant will split the difference in price if they can't match the wine on the list.

Complacency - update your wine list or your sommelier please.

The chicken salad was over-flavoured, the snapper was over-cooked and the vegies lacked crisp and crunch.
Complacency - balance your flavours and learn to cook please, I hate holding up beans that flop and don't perform.

The service was way too slow and the bars stools uncomfortable waiting around for half an hour between each course.

Complacency - speed it up, change your seats and put more smiles on your faces please.

Very average for the crazy price of around $150 per person. I won't be back.

Gingerboy on Urbanspoon