Wednesday, December 30, 2015

China Red, Melbourne CBD

Two meals at China Red in two days! I must have been counting my lucky lucky stars. The first time, I went for lunch with my colleagues, and the second time, I went for a casual dinner with my family, giving me two very different experiences to compare and contrast.

For the most part, the dishes we ordered on those occasions were vastly different. However the steaming xiao long bao's were common denominator in both of those meals.

China Red Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thanh Vinh, Footscray

We're in love with shopping at the fresh food stores in Footscray, and we also love the Vietnamese restaurants with really hard to pronounce Vietnamese names. We tried another one on Hopkins St, and was again impressed with the good quality of the food and the great value for money.

Thanh Vinh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Long Story Short, Richmond

There is quite a saga about how they came to be, but long story short, Long Story Short is a newly opened cafe / restaurant in Richmond serving up inspiring comfort food. It's conveniently located just off Bridge Road, which means that whilst it retains centrality and ease of access via PT, there are also plenty of parking options nearby for those who prefer to drive.

I was lucky enough to be recently invited along for a sample tasting of their breakfast / lunch menu. Long story short, we loved it!

The menu is detailed and full of enticing options, across breakfast and lunch, sweet and savoury. We all found it incredibly hard to make up our minds, and I made sure to order something that hadn’t been ordered around the table. A group of us agreed that it was best to share some pancakes, so we ordered some for the middle. Turns out that our gracious organiser had the same idea and R had ordered some ribs for us to snack on as well. We were in for a feast alright! Especially when I saw the size of the dishes which arrived, they were enormous and piled high.

I had ordered the liquorice salt & bell pepper scrambled eggs served with soft shell crab, Pepe Saya crème fraiche and feta, and it looked and smelled wonderful upon arrival. I was salivating, but honoured my foodie-duties by taking some glorious photos first. After we had all gone around to take pictures of everyone else’s dishes, we finally sat down and tucked in. I was sitting between L and J, and after a few bits, we compared notes on our dishes. I was quite happy with my dish and delighted in the softness of the scrambled eggs, contrasted with the golden crispiness of the softshell crab. The smooth Pepe Saya crème fraiche and feta combination complemented both elements very nicely and I almost wished there was just an extra little spoonful for me to smear on my toast as well. The toast was sourdough, as was J’s, and we both agreed that they were a tad hard to chew. But we all had more than enough on our plates, and this was hardly an issue.

After we devoured as much as we could of our individual dishes, we began on the ribs and the pancakes in the middle, and not necessarily in that order either. The rib was certainly a stand out, with the meat coming off the bones easily, and tasting incredibly succulent. The Pepe Saya buttermilk pancakes, served with caramelised banana, peanut butter, sour cream and vanilla gelato also had everyone seriously excited, and I’d definitely come back just to taste this again. In fact, I’d also definitely want to come back for the spiced and toasted soft shell crab bun (read: burger), with Japanese mayo, pickled tomatoes, and a coriander mint & dill salad, which a couple of the other bloggers on the table had ordered and which looked seriously amazing!

Now I’ve saved the most exciting discovery for last. Behold the Matcha Maiden white hot chocolate sphere with marshmallows. The components are a Sisko white chocolate sphere, filled with marshmallow bits, sitting delicately atop a mound of white chocolate powder, accompanied by a small jug of hot and milky Matcha Maiden. As you pour the hot liquid over the chocolate sphere, it melts away to reveal the marshmallows hidden within. Eventually, as the chocolate sphere melts into the hot milky liquid, the marshmallows start to gain buoyancy and begin to float to the top, creating a decadent matcha flavoured white chocolate. This drink is also available in  the traditional hot chocolate flavour and I was impressed to note that it came in a different coloured cup to complement the darker colour of the sphere and the hot chocolate.

Long Story Short Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Ba'Get, Melbourne CBD

Ba'Get continues to impress with Vietnamese street food served with a passion. It's been almost a year since I've seen Duy and his team, and their love for this business has only grown stronger. The passage of time has given him leeway to refine the operations, and it has also allowed him to expand his business, and Ba'Get is now in four different locations across Melbourne. 

This particular event was held at the Russell St store and I was lucky enough to be invited along with other friends and associated of the business to reacquaint / acquaint ourselves with Ba'Get's offerings, and to celebrate a good year.

There was a delightful spread full of scrumptious snacks such as rice paper rolls. banh mi, spring rolls, vermicelli bowls, and a number of traditional Vietnamese desserts.

Duy spoke in depth about the craft of making each of these. He emphasised his focus on achieving the right balance across different ingredients, and creating dishes which were harmonised between different flavours. Indeed, I thought this was achieved across the menu.

My favourite of the night was the meatball vermicelli bowls which were perfectly portioned, with bouncy strands of vermecelli at the bottom, topped with chopped vegetables, and tasty grilled meat balls that were glazed ever so slightly! Delicious!

Ba'get Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Scroll Ice Cream, Windsor

Colorful, delicious and fun, Scrolls Ice Cream is just so amazing! The first thing that struck me when I walked in was the happy vibe. With green grass under our feet, colored graffiti on the walls, and plenty of enthusiastic staff behind the counter.

There are a number of creative flavor combinations to choose from. I chose the Perfect Matcha and T chose the Espresso. J decided on the Coco Lychee and A rounded out the group with a classic Cookies and Cream.

At $8 for 2.5 scoops (with FB check in), Scrolls require a bit of dough. But I think it's worth it given the quality of the ingredients and the significant labor required to make each cup.  

For those who are still not quite convinced, Scrolls also provides a Instagram photo booth for all your Insta needs, and plenty of board games to keep you entertained.

Scroll Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Embla, Melbourne CBD

Embla magically exudes old world charm, and embodies new age cool. I love the soothing green hues, in aqua, in emerald, and in forest, coupled with the reserved sophistication of the dark gold tones. 

The bar is abundantly stocked, with classic spirit labels, a number of Australian wines, including / and some "weird" wines. Embla believes, that wines are a bit like people, and the weird ones can become the most interesting once you get to know them. 

As with any new place, my favorite thing to do is to read the menu back to front. Embla's menu is not long, and each of the listings are brief yet still descriptive. It was certainly interesting reading, and left me with much food for thought. I ordered a serve of anchovy toast, a freshly shucked oyster, and some pickled cucumber. 

The oysters and the anchovy toast came out first, served on beautiful crystal ware that I wanted to take home with me. The anchovy toast was a fascinating flavor explosion, and the freshly shucked oyster was just that, fresh. I was quite impressed.

Embla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Gold Leaf, Burwood

Gold Leaf has built a franchise out of serving reliable Cantonese style Chinese food, targeted towards the middle of the market. We wanted to have a no-frills lobster feast and we came to Gold Leaf because we knew they could deliver.

Between the three of us, we shared one lobster, just a little over a kg, which was cooked with spring onions and ginger and noodles. We asked for two serves of noodles, but when it arrived, it didn't seem like a lot.

Gold Leaf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Longing Flavour, Carlton

Serving up authentic Chinese dishes, at very reasonable prices, this is a little gem of a find. There are many street snacks on the menu including an childhood favorite of mine, sticky rice with pork floss and pickled vegetables, as well as more familiar options such as the pan fried dumplings.

The other dishes are similarly split across traditional delicacies for those who are game enough to try dishes such as spicy pig ears, and marinated chicken giblets. For the rest, there are some familiar "Western" classics, such as the mapo tofu that I ordered. Even so, the restaurant caters to a predominantly Chinese customer base of nearby university students, and the cooking pays homage to the techniques and flavours of mainland China. 

The Longing Flavour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Super Wong, Richmond

The dumplings came immersed in chili oil, and were tasty enough, although the skin was a bit doughy. I had also ordered some salt and pepper spare ribs with rice. It was a large portion, and again, really yummy! 

To balance out these two dishes, I ordered some of my favourite green, water spinach, stir fried with a light gravy sauce. This made a fantastic accompaniment to my two other choices.

Super Wong  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Local Taphouse, St Kilda East

With a rooftop bar upstairs, and a pub downstairs, this local joint caters to all sorts. Rather than trying to please everyone and anyone, they smartly maintain a succinct food menu and drinks menu, all of which are reasonably priced. 

We came here on a hot day, and the roof top bar was packed. Luckily our friends had already been there for an hour or so and were lucky enough to nab a table. We squeeze onto the available seats and ordered some haloumi and figs and a glass of prosecco. Our haloumi and figs were beautifully done and I liked the contrast of the warm salty haloumi cheese against the cool sweet succulence of the fresh figs. The sauce was a nice touch, but a bit too gluggy for my liking. A slightly more tarty, and thinner version would have made a much better accompaniment. Luckily, the prosecco was cold and refreshing in the first few sips, although it quickly waned in the heat of the outdoors. 

The Local Taphouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bamboo City, Melbourne CBD

The menu contains all the standard fare of a food court Chinese takeaway. There are rice dishes, there are noodle dishes and there are a variety of dumplings, dimsums and snack. 

I was in the mood for all of these, and so I chose one of each in my order. Variety was to be the key element here and I engineered a little arbitrage by choosing the dry noodles with pork and wontons, in addition to a serve of pan fried dumplings. 

But it didn't quite work out that way. First, my order was almost 20mins late. I had placed the order at 3:45pm for arrival at 5:15pm, however at 5:30pm there was still no delivery. 

Bamboo City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato