Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Breslin, Southbank

Working near the so called 'Paris' end of the Melbourne CBD certainly has its perks.

However, I've certainly missed the open space and panoramic views of Southbank and its restaurants. 

Breslin is a relatively new addition to the strip of eateries on the left bank. In fact, for location purposes, it's right near the bar called Left Bank.

~10 of us came here for dinner on a Friday night and we were seated at a table near the entrance. The smoky smell of BBQ meats permeated the venue and we all greedily sniffed the air. On J's recommendation, we decided to share 4kg's of ribs as the starter and then each add more dishes of our own choosing. A and I decided to order a mixed entree platter with 3 different things, and the prawns and soft shell crab. This was perfect as A chivalrously offered to finish whatever I couldn't, which meant that I was able to sample a bit of everything that I wanted but not feel guilty about any leftover food.

The pork and veal meatballs were my favorite, closely followed by the pork belly. The soft shell crab and prawn combo was alright with the soft shell crab being better than the prawns. I also didn't mind the chicken wings which provided an almost refreshing contrast to the other heavier meats. 

The star of the show however were definitely the beef ribs which slid off the bone like butter off a hot knife. These are the best I've had this year!   

Breslin Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 5, 2014

St Ali at Rue & Co, Melbourne CBD

Hip hip hoorah! Finally, I will be able to source good coffee after 5pm. Less than a block away, the St Ali Pop Up store will be making its renowned brew until 10pm every night. 

The St Ali Pop Up store also has a breakfast menu and burgers and baked goods thereafter. They've also got an awesome range of drinks on offer. 

I headed over there for dinner today and came away with a bit of everything to sample. 

First up, I had the Royale burger featuring a perfectly juicy Wagyu patty, salad, oozy cheese AND loads of sauce, bulging out of an oily brioche bun. It was absolutely heavenly. 

Fearing that I had a long night ahead with my combo model, I also got profiteroles. As can be seen from the egg carton container, they only have the same circumference of a normal sized egg. The size is pretty small given they are $3.50 each, so I convinced myself that it was much more sensible to buy 4 for $10. When 11pm came and went, and I was still at the office, I congratulated myself for the smart move by polishing off the last profiterole.

Although, I did try to imitate some semblance of a balanced diet, by adding a green smoothie to my order. At $10 for a jar, it was also pretty pricey. But, it was thick and velvety and delicious and I liked the fact that it came in a sealed jar. 

St Ali on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Kong at Rue & Co, Melbourne CBD

Chris Lucas' oriental BBQ carton makes up 1/3 of the recently opened up Rue & Co project on the corner of Collins x Exhibition.

As far as street food goes, the menu is pretty extensive. There are 6 categories and 12 options in total. The descriptions are comprehensive, almost a bit too much. I am an avid reader of Tolstoy-ian menus which describe every single element in my dish at a sit-down restaurant. But, I much prefer short and punchy single-word options at a roadside foodstall.

In this day and age of overtly conscientious dining habits, people too often obsess over individual components of a dish. Give me the primary ingredient/flavor and I’m happy to entrust the rest to the food vendor. I am a strong advocate for using a lot of different ingredients, however I simply don't care to know what all of them are. Part of the fun of ordering street food is never being quite sure of the combination of ingredients being employed, and thus letting the vendor surprise your taste buds.

Whilst engaged in fine dining, I like knowing that the bed of salt upon which my freshly shucked oyster are lying upon is Himalayan. I also like knowing that my Himalayan salt is pink and not red or rose or any other shade of pretty.

But whilst I’m standing out in the cold at night, shivering, hungry and in the middle of a bloody wind tunnel, I don’t need to know that my pork roti roll contains burnt chili mayonnaise. Pork roti roll would have been enough.
There is also a financial argument to my rant. I believe that these verbose menus create unnecessary indecision and delay because customers like me have to squint and read the descriptions, process the information, and take time to deliberate. This in turn causes slower ordering, and decreases the number of customers processed per day.

A complex and long menu such as this also means that the kitchen is spending more time processing the orders to ensure that the dishes are correctly assembled. 

Sweeping all that aside, the actual food was absolutely awesome! I loved every flavour-packed morsel! The innovative combination of ingredients was very delightful and I love the fact that they are testing the bravery of our palate with offerings such as peanut-butter + tofu in a roti wrap or smoked salmon + pumpkin + edamame in a salad. Despite my doubts about their modus operandi, I loved Kong's food so much that I am aiming to get through the entire menu by the end of next week. Stay tuned.

Kong on Urbanspoon

Kong on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 2, 2014

Paperboy Kitchen, Melbourne CBD

These guys invited me for a lunchtime visit and offered a complimentary selection of tasty options. I took S along with me who had previously accompanied me to visit Twee’s. We were offered a banh mi roll, a rice noodle bowl and some crispy fried chicken.

Whilst waiting for our food, we took the chance to explore the shop and both S and I concluded upon how cool it was. There were a few things that were immensely cool!

First, they use plastic animals instead of table/order numbers. For example, we were given a horsey. Then there is the fact that they have really cool sauces including the infamous Sriracha hot sauce in the one and only ‘cock’ version. There was also an oily delicious looking sambal concoction. I thought it was pretty cool how they just left these out in the open and unprotected from sauce-bingers like me.

After a short wait, our food was all packaged up and ready to go. The crispy fried chicken smelled delicious and we couldn’t resist picking at it on the way home. They were really chicken ribs and I found they were irresistibly easy to eat. Oh and did I mention delicious!

I also really enjoyed the quirky use of popcorn as an appetizer to the roll. I’m a sucker for innovative combinations of seemingly random ingredients. In that vein, both the roll and the bowl used an array of complementary ingredients sauces that I liked. However, whilst the baguette couldn’t be faulted, I thought the rice noodles were slightly overdone for my liking. This was more than adequately compensated for by the generous amount of toppings and sauces. Needless to say, there was much food-envy back at the office!

Thanks for a great lunch Paperboy! You are definitely a boy after my own heart!

Paperboy Kitchen on Urbanspoon