Celebrating the birth of my lovely Emmy we took the day off and headed out to Daylesford on a Wednesday for lunch. It was actually supposed to be a day trip but we ended up not having much time to do or see anything else, so it turned into a very long drive just for lunch.
This actually broke my tradition of taking Emmy to Japanese restaurants for her birthday (I won’t name the restaurant that messed that up), but it definitely all turned out well in the end. The Lake House pretty much has a monopoly on the Wednesday fine dining scene as all the other restaurants I looked up in Daylesford are closed on Wednesdays, Kazuki’s would’ve been perfect but alas.
They have a degustation menu but we decided to just go a la carte and get the three course set. It also comes with a couple of accompaniments, crunchy, salty stick biscuit things and olives before the entree. House made sourdough and butter, and endless flow it seems, and some sweets with tea or coffee afterwards.
For entree I had a veal carpaccio with tuna tartare, it was delicious to be sure. The carpaccio was so good, very thin and soft, two thumbs up. Emmy had a scallop lasagne, which looked great, I didn’t even get a taste. They looked fancy and they tasted great as well.
I had black kingfish for main, and Emmy had the duck. While they may look small, I didn’t feel hungry at all (possibly due to beer and bread :)). They were small enough that Emmy could finish her main by herself so no need to share with me :(. I don’t usually order fish but since Emmy ordered the duck I had to go with something else and the fish was the most appealing to me. Good, but the entree had more flavour and left a better impression.
The desserts list looked delightful and I managed to make a decision for once and went with the profiterole, while Emmy had the cannoli. My profiterole came with some lemon mousse (I think) and some pralines I think, so, so good. Emmy was very happy with her cannoli, it was filled with chocolate mousse, which was okay but mine was better.
I don’t seem to have taken a picture of the after meal sweets, but we had some turkish delight and dark chocolates, possibly praline too. I wanted to take evrything they were offering but I didn’t want to come across as greedy, so I think we just ended up with three sweets :(.
It wasn’t cheap, not quite Minamishima level, but certainly up there for pricey meals that we’ve had. I’m not sure what kind of cuisine I’d call it, modern I suppose, with a subtle Japanese influence. We certainly enjoyed ourselves and I wouldn’t mind going back some time, but if we went to Daylesford again I’d probably want to try another place since there are such an abundance of quality restaurants there.
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We were in Richmond doing some shopping the other week so we stopped by Victoria Street for some Vietnamese cuisine. We weren’t really sure what we were after, but saw this place right where we parked, it seems to be new-ish and the menu offered some dishes a little different from the usual, so we gave it a try.
The decor is a bit different from your regular Victoria Street Vietnamese, they’ve actually got a theme and stuck to it. It’s street style so they have long benches and have made it a bit hip in that regard, it’s a nice touch when you’re used to the same old in Richmond.
They do have traditional main meals but we wanted to try the street food style dishes as much as we could. We started off with some fish balls, and also got some spring rolls because we knew Oscar would be able to get into those. The spring rolls with the Chinese sausage in them are a rarity in restaurants here according to Emmy. While those regular fried spring rolls would be a rarity in Vietnam!
I think I might have had them before at home or something, but it’s definitely good to try something different at a restaurant. The fish balls I know I’ve had at home before, and they’re always good, a good little snack.
Next up we had Bot Chien, fried rice flour cakes with egg and squid (at home I don’t think it’s normally made with egg). These were good, they were so crunchy it was almost like they were deep fried, there wasn’t a lot of squid but that probably would have overpowered the dish. This one was definitely a better than home made, good call me.
The lone dish that we got that could be considered a main by itself was canh bún, it’s a noodle soup dish which is like a cross between bún bo hue and bún rieu but with seafood instead of meat. I hadn’t tried this one before so it was quite a treat. The smell of fish is quite strong, but the taste is not overpowered by that and it’s certainly something that I will want to try again in the future.
We also ordered a crab soup which was sort of for Oscar, it had some egg mixed in and was corn starchy thickened. The crab was quite minimal, it was a challenge finding any. We were already quite full but there was a dessert on the menu that was physically calling to us, seriously, it was tapping me on the shoulder.
Coconut iced cream with some lychee, and green jelly type thing (the stuff that comes in the three colour drink). While it looked a treat, the iced cream was a bit disappointing, too icy, seemed like vanilla iced cream with bits of coconut as opposed to a coconut sorbet or plain iced cream with coconut somehow fused into it :D. That one was not a winner, but oh well.
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Went to Dish and Spoon in suburban Camberwell the other day for brunch for no special reason, just have some nice food. It’s a pretty popular place in the suburbs, with a pretty good selection on the menu. It was bustling on a Sunday morning, but they managed to get people in and out at a reasonable pace, no super long queues. For me, the options came down to the eggs benedict or the beef brisket sandwich, I think I will go with the sandwich next time and get chips (thick cut chips, it took every ounce of my being to resist), it’s saying something, the food was good enough to consider going back.
The eggs benedict comes with ham hock (as opposed to smoked salmon), poached eggs, and some jalapeños on a brioche bun. This is my usual for brunch, I just really like hollandaise sauce I guess. This was pretty much spot on (the eggs might have been ever so slightly over cooked, but still mostly runny). Plenty of sauce and full of flavour.
Emmy had the risotto hash which sounds quite interesting, she added some of that shakshouka (sujuk) sausage and swapped the poached egg for some scrambled (for obvious reasons). The fact that I only got to try a couple slices of the sausage pretty much says it all, the hash was crunchy, a bit like the claypot rice that has stuck to the clay pot :D.
There was also an order of green apple avocado smash, which I didn’t get a taste of at all so can only assume from the picture and my own experience that it also hit the spot.
There is also a nice little kids menu, Oscar had the pikelets which come with strawberries drizzled with maple syrup. For only five dollars this was really good value as kids meals usually cost 8-10$ at other places, and the nice thing was that Oscar actually ate most of it and liked it, especially the caster sugar :D.
I know exactly what I’m going to have if (when) we go back, the beef brisket sandwich and thick cut chips, unless something comes up on the specials board that strikes my fancy. They didn’t have anything that stood out when we went, but apparently there is a lobster omelette that has appeared and if it did show up again could be something to consider. Two thumbs up here.
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Had dinner last week at TGI Fridays Melbourne Central, which is an American themed chain restaurant, I think I’ve been to one before quite a while back but don’t remember what I had. Anyway, we were there for a friend’s birthday, it was probably a good thing we didn’t mention it to any of the staff as they have a strange custom of a embarrassing birthday celebrations by announcing it to the whole restaurant and then singing and screaming some song. It took us a while to decide and even longer to order (pretty busy on a Saturday night), but Emmy went with the Scotch Fillet, and persuaded me to get the ribs (I probably would have just gone with a burger otherwise) because most reviews online say to get the ribs (Jack Daniels glaze).
The wait for food wasn’t too long for a busy night, can’t remember how long, but it didn’t seem too bad, even though it was late and we were hungry. Emmy ordered the steak medium (because she isn’t supposed to eat the juice) and to everyone’s surprise it was actually, probably medium, even a little juicy (red) in parts, so it was actually cooked pretty well, it came with a side of the Jack Daniels glaze sauce. It doesn’t come with salad but does come with chips which I didn’t rate very much. But, the steak was cooked well, nice and tender, so thumbs up for that.
My ribs, at 42$ are a bit over priced I think, they’re not as big as the ones I had at the grill place in Queenstown, come with a side of chips and coleslaw (lol), I’m not sure if I’d call the coleslaw a side, it was like a thimble size. As far as ribs go they were good, but to be honest, ribs don’t really do it for me, it’s just meat with a glaze on the bone. There’s a good amount of meat but overall, the flavour is not enough to justify the billing. Ribs as a shared dish makes more sense to me, as a main it doesn’t have enough by itself. I’d stick with steak or a burger if I ever went back.
I had a Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale to keep my thirst quenched, it was not bad, I’m enjoying these craft beers more and more lately. They didn’t have any darker beers so I just went with a pale ale which was pretty good.
I don’t think I would ever take Emmy to TGI Fridays by ourselves, maybe they only really shine on an actual Friday?
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We had lunch at Suga on Saturday, this is our closest Korean restaurant that we know is definitely pretty good (apart from Caveman 1961 I guess) just down the road in Chadstone. It’s our second time eating there (we also got take away a couple times I think) and it’s always a bit too much haha. I thought that I did a blog about this one already but I couldn’t find anything so I guess this is it. They pretty much do all the regular Korean offerings which can make it a bit daunting because unless you’re craving something in particular, there’s so much to choose from, I do believe that tofu is their specialty.
Knowing that, we didn’t order any tofu haha, we went with a pork pancake (can’t remember what it was called) which was a bit like okonomiyaki (with the mayo), a half fried chicken (original), and a spicy beef stew. The pancake was pretty good, I think we ordered the seafood pancake last time, this thing is really big and filling so don’t be put off by the price and don’t be surprised by how full you are after one slice. While I didn’t notice it being spicy at all, the menu says it has chilli paste in it so be wary if you have little ones.
Next up we got some KFC to make sure that Oscar had something to eat, we got half a chicken because we had other stuff to eat too. This is not on par with the other KFC places that we’ve been to though, the original flavour comes with a small salad and some mayo dressing. The dressing would be good if there was more of it but it really only covers the salad so doesn’t seem like a sauce for the chicken. The chicken pieces are a reasonable size and crunchy enough but apart from the flavour of the skin, the meat is quite dry and lacking (as you would expect from chicken). If ordering the chicken here I would definitely recommend getting one of the flavoured varieties.
Finally, we had a spicy beef stew, we were already both pretty full by this point, and even though the stew is spicy it wasn’t enough to melt all the food in our tummies already. This one I’m not such a fan of, the spicy tofu stew with silken tofu is definitely my preferred Korean soup (and we’ve had it at Suga before and it was really good), this was a bit bland for me, I’m not sure if it had any tofu in it, the menu didn’t say so but I thought I tasted some, but any way it wasn’t as good as the regular spicy tofu stew XD.
For two and a half of us, I reckon just two of the mains (with rice) would have been enough, we were super full and we didn’t finish the soup. So a couple of (kinda) misses today but there are plenty of other options at Suga to try, live and learn, until next time.
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Continuing on from last week, we still had some Mexican cravings, so headed to La Tortilleria in Kensington for some tacos, and other assorted delights. It was a good chance to compare the two restaurants as El Sabor was still fresh in our minds. It’s the second time we’ve been (last time we’d already eaten so we didn’t try much more than tacos), it’s a funny little place on a quiet street seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It looks reasonably spacious from the outside but the interior is quite snug, I’m guessing due to the food preparation area which seems to take up half of the restaurant.
The menu isn’t too big (which is good) which certainly is favourable for me as I don’t like having to choose between too many options. We went with chilaquiles, a few tacos, a mushroom tostada (for Oscar), and a Pirata Carlos, before dessert. There were a few things that we had to leave because there just wans’t room, but the Volcancito (beans, beef, cheese on top of a fried tortilla with salsa and guacamole) is definitely something I want to try next time.
The chilaquiles are similar to nachos but as they say on the menu, more saucy, they were pretty good but as a direct comparison, the nachos at El Sabor were maybe a bit better, the totopos seemed to retain their crunchiness a bit better.
With our appetites properly whetted the tacos, Pirata Carlos, and tostada arrived. We ordered four tacos (which cost 5$ each, so this pricing is obviously a thing in Melbourne), this time we went with carnitas, pescado (fish), al pastor (pork and pineapple), and pollo horneado (chicken and pickled red onion). The tacos here are pretty small (smaller than El Sabor I think), sorry no pictures for comparison but they come with two tortillas which makes them slightly easier to hold, but you can still expect your hands to smell good afterwards :D.
I usually steer clear of al pastor because it comes with pineapple which I prefer by itself or cooked only in a very delicious Vietnamese soup, it was okay but I prefer the carnitas. The carnitas here was pretty good and definitely on par with El Sabor while the pollo horneado was a pleasant delight, with the pickled red onion and a bit of limón squeezed on top this is definitely a keeper along with carnitas.
Also on this board was the Pirata Carlos, beef and melted cheese with some nopales (cactus) between a couple of tortillas is simple and tasty. The grease content on all this is pretty high I would think, so if you have high cholesterol, you’ve been warned. I think we live too long nowadays, so I’m not going to hold back when tasty food is there for the eating.
We were pretty full already at this point but apparently you can’t go to La Tortilleria without trying the vanilla flan, so we ordered that. Unfortunately for us, they’d run out for the day so we went with the chocolate flan. It’s pretty much chocolate mousse which I’m not enamoured with (I prefer iced cream to mousse for sure), it was okay if a bit dense, Oscar enjoyed it though XD.
There is also a traditional Mexican hot chocolate on the menu which was quite intriguing as it had chilli and other spices in it. It’s vegan (I didn’t see it on the menu) but was noticeable as soon as it hits your mouth, one wonders if it is possible to order it with milk but maybe that would defeat the purpose of it being traditional. It’s more like tea than a normal hot chocolate for that reason, which was surprising at first until I realised that it was vegan.
So ends another Mexican tasting session, and I can’t wait until the next time, there seems to be a quite a few places I haven’t tried and I’ve made sure to make a mental note and mentioned it to Emmy so will take the next opportunity to hit up for some more Mexican delights ASAP :D. Got some Korean coming up soon so keep your eyes peeled.
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I’ve had Mexican on my mind for a while now and El Sabor has been on top of the wishlist in that regard since Los Amates closed down. We had dinner with some friends on the weekend, an odd couple where one eats mostly meat, and the other veg so we thought Mexican would probably serve them well as there are a lot of meat options as well as lots of vegie dishes too. So we headed out to North Melbourne for some delicious Mexican tucker.
According to my lovely wife (credit for most of the foodie photos btw), there are actually a bunch of other Mexican restaurants all over Melbourne worth trying so I guess we might have to start up our Mexican flavour tour, how apt that we got back on the horse at El Sabor (the taste for those non-Spanish speakers :D). I’m sure even our (picky) son will find plenty of food that he will love.
We started off with some nachos to share while we were waiting for our friends as Oscar was super hungry and needed something that he could actually eat and that we could share later. They’re covered with melted cheese (can’t go wrong with that) guacamole, and beans, we went with the salsa roja (I think salsa verde might be spicy?), the “chips” are yellow (as you would expect) and also brown (not what you would expect) but I couldn’t really discern the difference as I made sure each one was drenched in the flavourful sauces, yum.
Next we had some tacos, pollo pibil (chicken), pescado (fish), carnitas (pork), and a mushroom quesdilla. I didn’t get a picture of the tacos, but to be honest, apart from the carnitas they weren’t that memorable (and at 5$ a pop, a bit insubstantial). The mushroom quesadilla turned out to be the majority of Oscar’s dinner, it was different to what I expected, more substantial and packed. It was for Oscar otherwise I would have ordered a chicken or beef one.
Our initial order finally consisted of the elotes, sweet corn on the cob covered in the cheese and chipotle mayo. Corn is always one of my favourites, this one probably could have done with a bit more mayo (hehe) but was pretty tasty. Having seen this I knew we needed to order some more food, so we went with something new (I think), and tried the Enfrijoladas and kept some room for dessert too.
It was either enfrijoladas or tostadas but the choice was made and we ended up with the slightly fried tortillas filled with chicken, topped with (an absolutely delicious) bean sauce, cheese, cream, and onions, guacamole, also with a serve of rice (fried with tomato paste?). This was my favourite dish of the night, I was a little unsure at first but after a taste I couldn’t get enough, and it hit right spot and filled me up good. You can see from the picture I completely forgot to take a picture and ate half of it before I remembered to take a snap. Maybe that can be the theme of my foodie posts, the foodie in-progress.
Everyone got in on that one (except maybe the vego) and we wrapped it up with some churros for dessert (with chocolate dipping sauce). I’m pretty sure the churros were out of a box or something as they were very “perfect” but they were at least freshly fried. I’m not sure that they needed to be covered in cinnamon sugar but I will never say no to churros, that’s a guarantee.
Overall, a good return to some authentic Mexican food, and certainly thumbs up from me (a bit pricey though) and here’s hoping to more yummy Mexican food in the near future.
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I had a hankering for some Korean Fried Chicken near home, and Caveman 1961 seems to be pretty new to the Mount Waverley area. I should rebrand this blog as some kind of suburban eats thing at this rate, I’ve got another foodie post coming after this one but it’s in North Melbourne so not so suburban. It’s located in the Pinewood shopping centre which has a lot of restaurants so there must be some pretty stiff competition. However, the other places in the area seem a bit more conservative and probably not catered to the same kind of crowd so Caveman 1961 definitely has a chance.
The menu is pretty simple, there are some sides, fried chicken, and drinks, that’s pretty much it, there are some other things (traditional Korean dishes) but we didn’t look into those. We ordered a cheesy corn grande, which is sweet corn kernels and cheese served on a sizzling hot plate, a soft tofu pot (spicy Korean soup with silken tofu and an egg), and 15 chicken wings (ten with signature cave salt, and five with sweet lava which is basically sweet chilli), which are actually wingettes.
Interestingly, the wings can be ordered from five pieces up to 150 (given that they’re not big, but that’s still a lot of chicken), they’re a little different from the other KFC places we’ve been to. The chicken is deep fried I’m pretty sure but either with no or very little batter (perhaps just a dusting of flour), so they retain the crispy texture but without the bloating batter. They’re quite good if a little pricey for what they are, we actually used their facebook promotion to get ten of the wings for free.
The cheesy corn grande was pretty sweet, not sure if they added anything or whether the corn itself was that sweet but it went well with the savoury cheese, I mean corn and cheese just go together don’t they.
The soft tofu pot was an under the radar star though, the tofu was very soft and smooth, and the soup (while tending a little too spicy) was a good offset to the sweet corn and the sweet wings, we also had some pickled radish which helped too.
I think I’ll happily go back to eat the chicken again next time I have a craving for KFC, considering how local they are (just five minutes drive) and the lack of quality food options nearby. So while the price is a little on the high side (compared to regular take away options as opposed to normal eating out) it’s definitely worth a look (or taste) down in the south eastern suburbs.
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We had a very early start in Hawthorn last Saturday so skipped breakfast at home, so after getting our errands out of the way we ducked into Lights in the Attic in Hawthorn for brekky. It has a Korean vibe and decor, they even have a KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) burger on the menu which I would have tried had it not been 8am in the morning.
The menu is quite varied and looks to have a lot of good options, although maybe not too many for pregnant women! I ended up going with my usual eggs benedict (Sweet Benny), although this one with a twist, the salmon and poached eggs (perfectly done) sit on top of a couple of sweet potato hash browns with pea puree on the side (pea sauce lol). It was pretty good (but I probably have to needlessly add that I prefer regular potato to sweet potato), the eggs, salmon, and crunch of the hash browns work really well together.
Emmy had the french toast (apparently her only reasonable option ;)) which is not normally something she would order, considering it’s usually dripping with sweet stuff. Surprisingly, she praised it mightily, calling it the best french toast she ever had! The bread, I’m not even sure you could call it that, it seemed almost like a sponge cake was soft and fluffy and all the elements together.
It was a cold morning and I was still recovering from a cold so I went with the can’t fail lemon and ginger tea. Emmy tried the hot chocolate which I think was a bit sweet (for her), it doesn’t seem to be on the menu so it’s probably not some 90% dark chocolate blend? All in all, for first thing in the morning breakfasts, they were quite filling and got us through to lunch time easily and flavourfully.
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We finally had our end of basketball season dinner, and at our captain’s insistence it was at Mum’s Burger Kitchen. This is not the place I would normally frequent (due to location mainly) as it is in very remote Boronia :D, Which is pretty much a regional area of Victoria, way out in the eastern suburbs. This place has been getting a lot of publicity in recent months, as one of those favoured new burger joints, but also to some self promotion as well.
We’ll get straight to the business because that’s the type of food we’re talking about here. I had the Trent which is a pretty standard burger, patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, beetroot, bacon, and sauces. I didn’t take a picture of it but it was pretty tall for what is included. I got Oscar a kid’s meal (pictured) which was supposed to be a bao with chicken filling, but it looks more like he had a slider to me (I won’t complain because captain is friendly with the owners so we probably got the better deal anyway), a side of chips and a drink.
The chips were ample for a kids meal that’s for sure, and even though Oscar didn’t finish his slider, he had a good go, getting almost half way through and not complaining (that’s a very good effort for him). On the side we also had onion rings, more fries, some bigger chips (like wedges but not wedges), and even chicken wings (spicy). The sauces were good so the burgers had good flavour, and the sides (which were possibly on the house and overflowing) were greasy and crunchy.
I definitely rate them quite highly and would recommend them to anyone in the area (doubt that they need it, since the lines were out the door), it’s a bit cheaper than Grill’d so the value is better and I’d have a hard time choosing between them if location wasn’t an issue. Maybe they’ll open a franchise in Mount Waverley, I can dream. I wouldn’t go unless I was already in the area (we rarely venture out that way) as I’m not that into burgers, but for a greasy, fatty meal, I don’t think you’ll find much better. Oh, and if you care, service was perfectly good considering how busy they were.
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