Friday, July 29, 2016

Pintoh, Melbourne CBD

Serving up Laotian inspired cuisine, Pintoh is an exciting new addition to the Melbourne city dining scene. The name, Pintoh, refers to the Lao version of a tiffin or lunch box.

The menu is quite extensive and my favourites include the salted egg yolk scallops, and the beef curry. I was a fan of the strong flavours and found all of our dishes quite tasty. 

Portions however are quite small relative to prices which range from $20-30 / main. My feelings on this aspect is especially emphatic because I'm a regular patron of its immediate neighbors, Da Rin KFC and Fomo Thai, both of whom serve very generous portions at very reasonable pricesHopefully this is something which Pintoh will adjust.

Being the new kid on the block, the service is definitely very friendly. Although there were a few incidents throughout the night which seemed to indicate that the staff are all quite fresh and have a bit to learn.

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

Monday, July 25, 2016

Mile End Bagels, Fitzroy

Mile End Bagels began with a vision to create beautiful bagels. The co-owners, Ben and Michael, flew half way across the world to Montreal, and after spending an appropriate amount of time learning all things bagel, Mile End was born.

Landing back in Melbourne, they set about constructing the first ever wood-fired bagel oven in Australia. This masterpiece was crafted by real Canadian stone masons, and is the epicenter of their Fitzroy store.

Mile End Bagels are boiled in honey water and then baked in wood fire to deliver perfection. Slightly crunchy, and a little chewy, they also carry a hint of sweetness. 

Mile End Bagels Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Siriphen Thai, Brighton

Only opened a few months ago, Siriphen has quickly grown to become a local favorite. With an menu featuring many classic Thai dishes, and familiar flavours, Siriphen will bring both comfort and satisfaction.  

Siriphen Thai Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

The Bao Bros, Footscray

Soon to have their own place to call home, the Bao Bro's can be currently found at Littlefoot in Footscray, where they are practicing their craft and honing their skills. 

What are bao's you ask? Think white, fluffy, and all absorbing. They are perfect on their own, stuffed to the brim, or broken apart to mop sauces with. At Bao Bro's the crew has used them in a manner akin to hamburgers buns /  pita pockets, to hold together delicious combinations of fillings. 

The most popular are the fried chicken and the crispy fish, both of which have been perfected via many tastings.

The Bao Bros Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Botherambo, Richmond

Botherambo is a stylishly grungy cocktail bar serving up Asian inspired dishes in Richmond. The cocktails are presented beautifully as are the dishes. 

We ordered a ceviche starter, some dumplings and a duck curry to share as post-dinner snacks. The ceviche was zesty, the curry was rich, and we loved the flavours of both dishes.

However, the dumplings were quite disappointing and I found the filling to be quite dry resulting in the skin becoming too loose. But the biggest disappointment with the dishes were that they were were skimpy in size. Not only were the portions small, there was hardly any protein in the dishes. We counted merely five thinly sliced pieces of fish in our ceviche and the duck referred to in the duck curry was for one single piece of duck leg and thigh. That's right, one.

On a merrier note, the cocktail that I ordered was so delicious and I loved the use of Persian fairy floss as a topper.

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

Yo-Chi Frozen Yogurt, Hawthorn

Serving up all natural and 98% fat free frozen yogurt, Yo-Chi is 100% locally owned and proudly Australian. They even have a koala bear as their mascot.

One of the original froyo brands from when the trend first started, Yo-Chi has endured the comings and goings of its peers by remaining effortlessly cool under the management of its founders Manny Stul, Jason Solomon, and Jon Stul. Manny is also the brains behind the Moose Toy turnaround. 

To stay ahead, Yo-Chi always tries to be fresh and interesting for its customers, and changes its menu to use the most seasonal ingredients. As a part of its business strategy, Yo-Chi also collaborates with other brands such as Doughboys and Hanoi Hannah to offer a more differentiated product. 

The latest Winter menu includes warm treats such as brownies, stick date pudding and egg waffles. Make sure you head over to check them out before the season is over.

Yo-Chi Frozen Yogurt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Muharam, Hawthorn

Come for their Instagram worthy milk shakes, but stay for the delicious brunch offerings. For something to complement those incredible milk shakes, get the equally gorgeous red velvet pancakes.

I also really like the classic Big Breakfast, as it’s a highly satisfying feed and each element is well done. The Breakfast Board is effectively a retake of the Continental breakfast and also provides a delicious selection for those who enjoy a bit of variety.

Muharam Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato  

Gradi Crown, Southbank

As the newest addition to Johnny Di Francesco’s successful Gradi franchise, Gradi Crown is arguably the jewel in the crown.

With an expansive menu spanning across several categories such as cheese, antipasto, cured meats, starters, pizzas, pastas, mains, and desserts, there is something for everyone.

The space is large but well designed, with a variety of configurations suitable for a family dinner, a birthday party or an intimate date. Whatever the occasion is, you can be sure that you will be looked after by the absolutely fantastic service. Our servers were also highly knowledgeable and their recommendations to us were spot on.

Gradi Crown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato  

Uncommon, Windsor

Serving up wholesome food in a relaxed space lit up by natural lighting, Uncommon embodies the new #cleaneating trend taking over social media. Recipes have been developed without relying on processed ingredients such as refined sugars or bleached flours to create tasty dishes that are also good for the body.

Uncommon. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Penny Drop, Box Hill

This newly opened corner café in Box Hill is exactly what the suburb has been missing, which is to say, the owners have an eye for location. It offers a differentiated type of dining in a location that is otherwise saturated with many well established names.  

The menu however does draw certain influences from its nearby neighbors. I had the tea smoked salmon served on spring onion pancakes, and served with son-in-law eggs, some bean shoots, and a side of avocado. 

The Penny Drop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lucy Liu Kitchen and Bar

With Chin Chin nearby, Supernormal not too far away either, and the recent opening of Magic Saloon, one would think that Melbourne's Asian fusion category is an overcooked segment. But the constant stream of patrons (mostly non-Asian) lining up to eat at these establishments seem to suggest otherwise. 

The other day, my thoughts were on the topic of cultural appropriation, and I couldn't but help think of Lucy Liu. Apparently, the name, Lucy Liu, is not because of the Hollywood actress, was chosen to capture the fun and eclectic spirit of the concept. I don't believe it, but if that is true, then what has transpired seems to be a solid case of racial fetishism, to the point where the concept of the fun and eclectic 'other' can be so easily embodied by one celebrity.

Whilst I understand what it's trying to achieve, and thus retain my respect for the business concept itself, I do find the whole curious matter of non-Asians cooking Asian inspired food for the non-Asians, quite problematic. Similarly, the Mao-inspired menus make mockery of a bygone political era which no longer defined modern China. 

Lucy Liu Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ramen Bankara, Melbourne CBD

This chain of casual restaurants serves up piping hot ramen bowls and comforting rice bowls from several locations across Melbourne.

Originally hailing from Tokyo, Bankara is a colloquial term used in Japan to describe an individual's unique and exceptional style.

Certainly, the namesake broth here has a distinctly smooth flavour on the verge an unami. The noodles are more towards the thinner end of the spectrum which I prefer, and made just a touch before al dente.   

Ramen Bankara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Milk the Cow, Carlton

For any cheese and wine lover in Melbourne, Milk the Cow delivers a fix without distractions. Here, cheese is the starter, main and dessert. Equally important, there are wines of every imaginable variety to engineer an appropriate paring.

Milk the Cow offers its cheese in a variety of ways to showcase different attributes. They can be tasted on their own or as a part of expertly curated cheeseboards. For those keen to indulge, don’t settle for anything less than the crème de la crop, featuring five of the fromagerie’s best and rarest cheese from the cabinet.

Cheeses are also made into fondue pots accompanied by crusty bread, created into an addictively indulgent cheese‘n’mac concoction, or weaved into gelato for the sweet tooth and the bold palates.

The menu offers a bit of something for everyone, even the lactose intolerant and dairy-wary. In which case, the truffled honey is a safe choice. 

Milk the Cow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Milk the Cow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Eden's Backyard, Carlton

Eden's Backyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Carlisle Wine Bar, St Kilda East

Carlisle Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Colourful Yunnan, Carlton

I have been raving non-stop about this place ever since I discovered it courtesy of my amazing friend R. It's located near Melbourne University, and a favourite amongst the nearby student population. The dishes are authentically Yunnan, which is a northern Chinese region, famous for its colorful traditional dress, spicy flavours and noodle soups. 

Must try's from the menu are the sweet and sour vinegar pork ribs, which are seem to be sticky, crunchy, fatty and meaty in one mouthful. Trust me, you definitely won't be able to stop after one. This dish is also an especially good choice for those who are wary of spice.

I have so many recommendations from the menu which I adored that I can't wait to return to find some more to add to the list.

Colourful Yunnan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hobba, Prahran

Weekends at Hobba are perfect for watching the South Yarra set in their natural habitat. Ok, so maybe I exaggerate, as Hobba is actually in Prahan, but certainly close enough for their Porsches and Range Rovers.

Perhaps it’s the attitude of the weekend staff, or the patrons prone to exaggerated air kissing (of which felt the need to partake in), but something about the whole experience always makes me feel like I’ve rocked up to the wrong party, and having to maintain a pretense of cool. Let’s just say, it’s not a place that puts me at ease.

Fortunately, the menu is a wonderful collection of interesting choices catering to the conservative and the curious, and anyone in between. One of my favourites is the hot cakes which are ricotta filled, and served with housemade maple syrup, citrus and vanilla mascarpone, seasonal berries and chunks of honeycomb.
For the bold, try the lamb fry and bacon served on sourdough toast with a medley of wild mushrooms, cream sauce and blistered truss tomatoes. We ordered it as a sort of paradoxically daring gimmick, but actually fell in love with the flavours. 

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

San Telmo, Melbourne CBD

San Telmo never fails to disappoint. From the impeccable service, to the outstanding quality of the dishes, all the way through to the perfectly curated wine list, everything is set to please.

It's a favorite of T's and we love recommending San Telmo to our friends because we know it will always deliver. 

Most recently, we came by to support its involvement in the #Grexy challenge and enjoyed a delicious salad each and some perfectly cooked beef on the side. As it was a casual week night visit, we sat at the bar, and watched the kitchen staff at work, chopping and cutting, slicing and dicing, grilling and frying. Being able to see how every element of our dishes came together really gave me a reignited appreciation for the culinary arts.

San Telmo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato