Friday, October 31, 2014

Little Creatures Brewery Great Hall, Perth

What an institution! On many Tour de Perth, Fremantle is a favorite feature, and Little Creatures is definitely a must-visit if you're in the area. Located next to the water, this place has great views, a feel good vibe and some fantastic food. Oh, and of course, a pretty decent drinks selection, especially for beers and ciders.

On the food front, some standouts were the hand cut chips served with an addictive aioli and the nachos generously loaded up with delicious toppings. Their famous wood fired pizza were of course also magnificent!


To finish up, we tried their apple strudel which was so heartwarming, being crumbly and sweet and soft and creamy all at once. 

Little Creatures Brewery Great Hall on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gingerboy, Melbourne CBD

After a wonderful day out at the Caulfield Cup, T and I wanted a lazy dinner. Longrain was the initial thought as it is next door to my apartment, however I wanted to find somewhere fresh for both of us.
It was a slightly warm Saturday evening, and as T meandered over after completing his daily trading, I cruised over around 8:30 to get a table for 2. There was a boisterously loud group that cut across me at the door and the floor manager got swamped by them. I was left at the entrance for a while until another waiter spotted my neglected self. After apologising profusely, he managed to find some space for two at the bar upstairs. Oh bless him, what a sweetheart!
I was propped up with the drinks menu and the food menu, and for T’s sake, we ran through the list of GF options. I was relieved to hear that most of the dishes are GF or can be made thus.
Moving onto the drinks menu, Gingergirl caught my eye as I liked the description. Alas, it must have been popular, for the bar was out of gin. Instead, I got myself a Strawberry Fancy. It was a beautiful sweet long drink and I especially loved the cherry on top.

For food, we ordered just enough for a light meal as we were still reeling from the indulgently gourmet picnic spread at the races (perks of having friends who love food). T did volunteer to eat some red meats so I loaded him up with the grilled wagyu and duck san choi bao for entrée.
We both loved the duck san choi bao, and I approved of the oily sauciness of the dish. The fact that we got to fold our own was quite appealing as it allowed me to feed T more meat. The grilled wagyu is served as patties and the la lot leaves kept the meat very juicy and satisfyingly succulent.

For mains, we opted for the prik khing curry of vegetables and the dry green curry of crispy chicken. The prik khing curry featured some brave choices such as garlic roots and gourd melon, both of which would be quite unfamiliar to the Australian palate. 

The chicken green curry was very tasty and  I enjoyed the strong bold flavours. Although, I found the chicken a tad slightly too crunchy. Also, there were quite a few pieces with bones attached which I found slightly distracting. I would have enjoyed fewer pieces of more succulent chicken, and a larger dose of vegies. The green tomato sambal was however especially delightful!

Gingerboy on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 20, 2014

Daily Kitchen, Melbourne CBD

I hiked down to T's end of Little Collins to drop off a snack pack for him and he suggested getting lunch.

The Daily Kitchen was close by, and it appeared bright and clean and looked inviting. 

It reminded me a little of Earl Canteen, and a little of Nashi. Both of which are places that I like for their well priced, tasty, healthy office-friendly offerings. The Daily Kitchen is similar with their salads, sandwiches, wraps, desserts and snacks.  
They also have these incredibly ingenious lunch boxes which are packed with many little mounds of foods, much like a bento box, and made up of super foods and other healthy ingredients. Perfect for a glutton with an unfaithful appetite like I have as I find it hard to fixate on one food item at a time.

On this occasion, we got the GF creamy cheese egg salad sandwich, an ancient grain salad which is also GF and some tahini balls. I thought the tahini balls were also GF, or at least did not contain significant levels of gluten to cause material disturbance to T's functionality.
It's not like I was irresponsibly encouraging him to woff down a donut or sneak in a croissant.

Anyway, T and I made a bet and the matter is still pending deliberation as we are waiting to hear back from The Daily Kitchen. I, in my quest for the truth, took it upon myself to email the company on this important point of contention. 

To be continued... 

Daily Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Touchwood, Richmond

We were back for another brunch session and with a larger group this time, the wait was almost an hour. But they kept us informed and I like how we could still order coffees and other beverages whilst we waited.

Finally a large table near the in the courtyard became available and we were duly seated. The menu hadn't changed much since our last visit and our favorites were all still on there. 

I opted for a bevy of beverages including a coconut marinated cold drip coffee and the salted caramel hot chocolate by Mork.

The cold coffee was strangely pleasant and I liked the subtle hint of coconut. Having the milk on the side was also a nice touch. It was a good palate cleanser for the rich creamy sweet chocolate by Mork.

I had Mork at a dessert pop up event earlier this year and it is now one of my favorite brands. The hot chocolate was indulgently velvety and almost a meal onto itself.

R however had ordered the smashed avocado on toast which came along with a number of things on the side that she found unfamiliar so I, being the helpful friend that I am, offered to help out. It was a wholesome dish and consisted of a variety of healthy ingredients.

Touchwood on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Champions Bistro, Clayton

This is perhaps one of the most incredible dining experiences that I have experienced. 

Champions Bistro is a short term pop-up started by Clinton McIver, who is ex-Vue de Monde.

The concept is casual fine dining and our experience was notably casual and especially fine. Champions has retained the fittings and furnishings of the Bowls Club by adopting the slightly dated carpet, unassuming plastic tables and pleather upholstery on the chairs.
Paper napkins are paired with artisan ceramic ware and wine glasses are appropriately sized. We get individually printed menus, but the paper is plain white and the font is simple.
I squeal in delight at discovering the pink sea salt on the tables.
The first few courses are highly innovative and the combination of ingredients challenges even the most promiscuous taste buds.

After this came the best tasting bread that I have had in a long time. It's obviously baked fresh on site and it was perfect in every aspect. We couldn't get enough and our waiter generously offered to bring us another loaf.

Following on, we were treated to a few more delightful of epicurean ingenuity. There were prawns which tasted like lobster, wallaby which tasted akin to 9+ wagyu and celeriac cooked to mimick foie gras. I was pleasantly gobsmacked!

My astonishment only grew when they brought out a brown paper box with the most interpretive cheese toast I have ever been served. It was essentially a few dollops of good creamy cheese, dotted with a fruit jam, held between two thin slices of biscotti. It was fantastic!

Then came the desserts. Two desserts in fact. My heart leapt a little when they lain two dessert spoons down in front of me and my incredulity only grew as I tasted each one.

Champions Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Little Tommy Tucker, Bentleigh

Sundays are for missed alarms, old books in bed, and brunch dates. Whilst the rest of the Melbourne ran a marathon, M and T undertook a competitive game of tennis, R pursued her ice skating dreams, I rebelliously missed my gym alarm and slept in.

However by the time M and T rolled around, I had also worked up quite a sweat from rushing to get ready. The boys had their sunglasses on, convertible top down and were ready to cruise. They were engaged in some sort of intellectual discussion about something which was of theoretical relevance so I was packed into the backseat and left to my own devices. Sundays like these were definitely made for shameless selfies so I took the opportunity to post one to Instagram.
I had chosen Little Tommy Tucker for Big T and the fact that it was GF friendly was an added bonus. Oh and the fact that Bentleigh is almost the midpoint between the tennis courts and the ice rink made it simply perfect. 
However the congestion caused by the marathon was quite severe and it took us an hour to complete what should have been a 30min journey. 

The long drive and the competitive tennis match had made the boys, especially T, extremely ravenous. He boldly ordered a serve of poached eggs with vegies AND a serve of the pesto scrambled eggs, both with GF toast. The poached eggs was quite good and came with a number of super foods  such as brocollini and asparagus. The GF toast that they use here was especially tasty and even for the gluten tolerant person, I enjoyed the taste and texture.

As for the pesto scrambled eggs, I thought it was quite a nice dish, despite R's dismay at its appearance. I found the eggs very creamy and soft and the pesto was subtle without being overpowering.

R's chia pudding was an interesting one. We ALL had a taste and came to slightly different conclusions. R found it interesting as it was the first time she had tasted chia. T approved as chia is on his list of safe foods that can't go wrong. I found it nice, although not something I would order again. M wasn't a huge fan, although he did ask for it to be unsweetened, so that may have adversely affected the taste. Although, M was already happy enough with his chili eggs and the extra generous side of bacon, so I think he ended up being okay.

As for me, I was quite happy that they let me order the strawberries and youghurt from the kids menu, and I had fun fork-feeding it to everyone.
These days, my catch phrase is often Oh Tommy Tommy Tommy! Little Tommy Tucker certainly had me exclaiming OTTT!

Little Tommy Tucker on Urbanspoon

Da Rin Korean Fried Chicken, Melbourne CBD

T promised to pick me up on his way home and walk me somewhere to pick up snacks.

When T said he was downstairs, I bounded downstairs, all excited about the prospective snacks to be acquired for my larder.

T suggested we go for tea. Tea!? Tea isn't a snack.
It was as if he had forgotten all about the snacks, which was in my mind, the sole reason for our atypical weekday rendezvous. I was incredulous. 
Then he suggested that we get dinner. T's ideal meal consists of vegetables and tofu or dahl and quinoa. It did not quite resemble my idea of snacks but it was more so than tea. Fine. I asked if he would let me order him red meats, and he relented. 

All of this led to T enjoying a very delicious meal of beef bibimbap at the newly opened Da Rin, located near the corner of Bourke x Russell. 

The version at Da Rin is very fresh and very healthy. Instead of plain white rice, they use a type of wild rice which is purple in colour and more chewy in texture. The toppings are colourful and healthy and the beef bulgogi was tender and tasty. The more common version with egg is also available. It might even be worth asking to have both the egg and the beef. 

T was quite infatuated with the dish and we came back again the next day. This time, I ordered a small serve of chicken wings to try. At $8 for 6 chicken wings, a chunky piece of sweet potato and a substantive coleslaw, this was a bargain! The chicken wings were so crunchy and so juicy and oh so finger lickin' good! 

I can't wait to come back and get my fat on properly! The table next two us got a board piled with three types of chicken and I suffered a severe case of food envy...
Da Rin on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meatball and Wine Co, Melbourne CBD

We came by for an early dinner on a weeknight and the place was already bustling! They seated us at the communal table at the back, which I quite liked, as it gave me a good vantage point to perve on what the other diners were ordering and eating.
Service was as friendly as ever and the menu remained comfortingly familiar. However there was now a specials board, and on the night we visited it was offering up charcuterie meatballs with the white sauce, roasted vegetables and a veal jus. The sauce AND jus combination got me. I salivated thinking about that rich combination of flavours, and drooled in anticipation.
Meanwhile, my dear dining companion was having a hard time devising the optimal combination of flavours. After some deliberation, L chose to abide by the more traditional options of chicken meatballs with red sauce and mash. 

My balls were very strong in taste and the experience of was further enhanced by the creamy white sauce. 

We enjoyed the tasty balls, chatted about the balls we had attended, and contemplated various ball sports.

The portion sizes are hugely generous and we decided to share dessert. We constructed a delightful whoopie mac consisting of a puffy meringue on top, almond and fig ice cream in the middle and a crunchy  biscuit base.

Meatball & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Capital Kitchen, Chadstone

We popped in for brunch, but R didn't find anything of the menu to her liking. The huge macarons that she wanted to feed me was also no longer available and we settled instead for some warm beverages instead.  
Somehow, we stumbled upon a free food demonstration and I was suddenly having squid ink pasta and anchovy bruschetta with my hot chocolate. #SayWhat!

Capital Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Steer, South Yarra

I've been trying hard to inject more red meat into T's diet as his eating preferences are far too herbivorous to be nourishing. 

Thus, I welcomed the chance to get a solid steak into the dear boy. Besides, it's rare for me to have the privilege of being T's +1 and I was charmed to be selected for the evening. 

T was the most senior member of the dining party and we all deferred to him to choose a wine for the table. Given the varying degrees of wine appreciation amongst our group, he wisely chose a mellow red that was universally palatable.

We started with a calamari salad and some onion rings to share. The onion rings were as good as I remembered them and the calamari salad was also superb! Although, I didn't see the need for the use of the wooden board and would have thought a ceramic plate or bowl would have sufficed. 

As we finished these, they came around with the infamous meat board and showcased the varieties and cuts on offer. This was a novel experience for some of the guys at the table and they drilled down into the finer details. 

T and I opted to "share" a main with a trio of sides, as I wanted to focus on dessert. With such a large group, it was fair enough that we would have to wait a while before we got our food. However, I was quite disappointed that they didn't serve or offer us bread in the interim. 

When they finally came around with our food, they got everything mixed up. First, a waitress came out with T's rump steak on a wooden board, introduced it, and said that the kitchen will cut it up. Perhaps there was something awkward in her mannerism, or perhaps we were gastronomically ignorant, but we both found this gesture very odd, and neither T nor I really understood why it was pertinent for the kitchen to cut our meat. Perhaps it was because we were sharing, but if so, I felt that the responsibility of division should be left to ourselves. The kitchen did not have the requisite information to execute such a task. For example, in this instance, I only wanted one bite.

After much feverent protestation, the waitress finally understood that we certainly did not want such a thing and left with our meat. She didn't really explain what she was going to do with it, and we assumed that she was going to plate it.

Luckily, she did do that indeed and it came out on a ceramic plate along with the other dishes. However despite watching T and I feverently protest just minutes before, she still managed to set it down in front of the wrong people. 

We started eating our first bite, and then our second bite. By our third bite, the condiments still had not come around. I was close to marching right up to the front when someone finally came by to ask whether we had been offered any condiments. My NO came out as more of a bark and this sent them scurrying. Soon enough, I had corn relish, beetroot relish, onion relish, eggplant relish and smoky BBQ sauce on my plate and peace was restored. 

As the night progressed, the service seemed to improve. Dessert was duly ordered and I was happy to see the flamed bombe Alaska back on the menu. It was as spectacular as ever to behold and glorious as ever to devour.

Steer Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cacao Green (Bourke St), Melbourne CBD

Delicious frozen youghurt offerings at fairly reasonable prices. They were one of the first ones on the frozen youghurt scene and have kept up with the new entrants. My favorite combination is the green tea frozen youghurt with red bean jam and mochi balls.

Cacao Green Bourke Street on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 9, 2014

South Market Dim Sims (Emporium), Melbourne CBD

The legendary South Melbourne dimmies have always been on my wish list. I was curious as to what all the fuss is about. One fine afternoon, between serves of xiao long bao, I got myself one of these.
The filling is tasty and the skin isn't too thick. These are good, quite good in fact, although my only critique is that they were not big enough at $2.00 each.

South Melbourne Market Dim Sims on Urbanspoon