Saturday, May 12, 2012

San Telmo, Melbourne CBD

We came here very soon after San Telmo opened for business. We'd often walked past the site and caught glimpses of the new restaurant at it began to take form. 

The heirloom tomatoes and butter lettuce salads were lovely and fresh, although we found the order of the dishes to be disjointed and the food came out too slowly.

The meats were all very memorable, with the steak being an absolute winner! I personally also thought the baby carrots were fantastic and liked their charred smokiness.

San Telmo on Urbanspoon

Northcote Social Club, Northcote

I had huge misapprehensions about this place. Firstly, it looked like a pub-pub, ie not a cafe, lounge, bar, or club masquerading as a pub. Secondly, it was a pub-pub in the north side of town. I expected to be sleazed on or leered at. Neither things happened. Instead I discovered awesome, comforting food.

Oh yes, and I finally satisfied my vanilla slice cravings with two types of vanilla slices and a custard tart.

Northcote Social Club on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 11, 2012

Italy I, Melbourne CBD

We got the feeling that they did not want us there. We came on the evening of the 23rd en route to an Christmas after party as Spice Market. The Christmas party itself had been at the Grand Hyatt and we'd been in attendance since early afternoon. We may have been slightly exuberant and I believe that our exuberance highly offended the staff. Pity tho, because I was very excited to see that they had this delightful starter on their menu.

Italy 1 on Urbanspoon

Chin Chin, Melbourne CBD

Getting a table at Chin Chin for lunch on a Wednesday was easy. We walked in, asked for a table for four and were led to one for four. Simple as that. The food that day was just as good as always. 

But the experience was dampened by their confused and inconsistent service. We received two of our mains, and only received our third main after asking twice for it. The first time we asked for it, the waitress said she would check with the kitchen and never came back to us about it. Second time around, we asked someone else and she came back to admit that it was on its way (aka code for the kitchen has just started to make it?). Our green curry finally arrived almost thirty minutes after the other two dishes. This was very disappointing as two of our dining companions had to leave to head back to work before the dish came to our table. 

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

Mamasita, Melbourne CBD

Even after two years, Mamasita still boasts persistent lines that can stretch onto Collins St. I can definitely, understand why as Mamasita far exceeded my expectations. I had heard about how good the infamous corn cobs would be, so much that I had grown cynical. Oh my gosh, it was amazing! The combination of spices and the cheese over the slightly charred corn, drizzled with a bit of lime juice was deliciously put together. the tacos were also perfectly proportioned and very easy to handle despite their generosity with the toppings. Other standouts were the quinoa salad and the cevishe! Both favored fresh ingredients and tantalised my palate with curious tastes.

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Fordham's Milk Bar, Camberwell

We came here for breakfast one morning as I had tutoring nearby. The place was uber cute and I liked the concept! The selection of breakfast options didn't seem very expansive, but that was fine since we were meeting to do work anyway.

Fordham's Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Manchester Press, Melbourne CBD

The bagels themselves were served with lingering warmth and had achieved a perfect balance between softness and density. The salads were fresh and uncomplicated. After some futile attempts at the egg, my dining companion stopped silently laughing at my lack of life skills and kindly gave me a 101 on how to break into a boiled egg. The combination of egg and avocado was so simple yet so satisfying.

Also, check out the decor! How cool is this place?!? As we left, some of the staff were outside the front entrance playing basketball in Rankins Lane.

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 7, 2012

Senoritas, Melbourne CBD

Senoritas reminds of Mamasita. There, I said it. There are significant similarities in the dishes on the menu, the layout of the menu, and even their names end on the same syllables. Although, Senoritas feels like it's trying to be a better looking cousin. Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into the decor, and the place is adorned with many interesting things to look at.

These were rather average due to the disproportionate amount of filling inside and the rather thick doughy exterior. They were a bit too bland for my palate, even with the creamy sauce on top and additional dollops of salsa. The tacos also lacked ingredients and I would have also liked a bit more flavor in the actual meat.

The meal did improve with the arrival of the following dishes. I liked the fact that Senoritas had soup on their menu and it was interesting to sample a Mexican interpretation of the universally loved chicken soup. Although, it would have been nice for them to offer us some small bowls so that we could divide up and consume the dish in a more dignified manner, rather than having having all of us huddled over the bowl and sometimes dripping liquid on the lacquered table.

As for the mains, we tried the Chicken Mole and the Flamed Barramundi. The mole is made of chocolate and black beans and was certainly an interesting experience. Similarly, the fish was quite succulent and complemented very well by the zesty salsa on top. However I felt that both dishes were let down by the rice which could have been tastier given the subdued flavoring of the chicken and the fish.

What did save the night was that the desserts turned out to be quite thrilling! Even if I don't come back for the food, I would like to come back to taste these divine concoctions again.


I wanted to love Senoritas, but all I can say is that I didn't dislike it. It is a nicer looking venue than Mamasita and offers much more mood lighting and intimacy. However I found the quality of the foods to be disappointingly inconsistent, despite the menu boasting some very interesting choices.

SeƱoritas on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dandelion, Elwood

Overall, I liked this place. We received good service and the food was engaging. Yes, the meal did not come cheap at > $50pp, but we consumed ingredients like duck, lobster and crab in a expertly designed space located in a bayside suburb. Somehow, we were all ok with that. Yes, the restaurant was loud, but at least it had atmosphere and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Hell, our table was probably the rowdiest. 

As for the authenticity of the tastes, I'm pretty sure that's not the point. Dandelion is more appropriately classified as  inspired Vietnamese cuisine. In a way, it reminds me very much of Chin-Chin. The menu is set out in a similar fashion with most of the dishes designed for sharing. However, the flavors are  more subtle and the tastes are suited to a much gentler palate. I feel that comments about the blandness of the food are unjustified since Vietnamese food tends to be fresher in taste than other Asian cuisines with a stronger preference for using uncooked ingredients.

For starters we had a refreshing salad of lotus root, mustard sprout and banana blossom salad, sesame and hot mint. It was slightly tangy, slightly sour but mostly crunchy! I was definitely left wanting more.

Then came the various rice paper rolls with their own special dipping sauces. By consensus, we all agreed that the soft shell crab was the best. They had even cut them up into 5 portions so that we could share them easily amongst us.

As for the mains, I was most pleasantly surprised by the ribs although, I'm not sure whether the accompanying leaves given to wrap it in was necessary. I preferred to tear the meat straight off the bone into my eager mouth.

The goat curry had all the right flavors and tasted right, but the goat itself was a bit tough. Ironically it was the pieces of white radish in the dish which left a rather whimsical taste in my mouth as it reminded me of my mother's traditional Shanghainese cooking.

The fish was fresh and simple, but it wasn't as popular as the other dishes, and perhaps this is because it didn't really complement the ribs and the  curry as well as they complement each other. However, the sweet potato fries were a delicious afterthought and helped us to mop up all the residual sauces.

Deep fried black sesame icecream with palm sugar caramelized figs was my favorite pick of the three!

Unfortunately, the kitchen spent too long trying to perfect the plating of the other desserts and the berry sorbet had melted to almost liquid form by the time it came to our table. The most frustrating part of that fiasco was that we sat immediately next to the kitchen and sat there watching our dessert melt down into the surrounding ingredients.

Dandelion on Urbanspoon