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?
A dreary morning that we spent in town looking at art galleries was followed by a short drive up to Glenorchy, which turned out to be one of the real highlights of our trip. So having read the forecast correctly this time, we decided to stay in Queenstown and visit some of the local galleries and check out the local artwork in the morning. There are a quite a number of galleries with varying types of works, we mostly looked at paintings and photos, but there were some sculptures mixed in too. We had fish and chips at the local Erik’s Fish and Chips before driving up to Glenorchy in the afternoon.
Stopping several times along the windy Glenorchy-Queenstown Road to take in the beautiful views before arriving in Glenorchy about an hour later, it’s definitely one of the best drives you’ll find. I’d rate it above the Great Ocean Road based on scenery for sure. We visited Mrs. Woollys General Store to see what they had in stock, and fortunately for us (Oscar having discovered the fun of jumping in puddles earlier that day) we managed to find a pair of gumboots just the right size for him.
After that little bit of shopping we went down to the pier and the lagoon to take some more photos of the beautiful scenery around. What a picturesque little town, and we didn’t even visit the Glenorchy Animal Experience (which is a place to visit farm animals for the kids), I think we’d definitely visit again next time. The clouds were a bit too thick while we were there so I couldn’t take the exact pictures I wanted, but got some good stuff nonetheless. Before heading back to Queenstown we visited Mrs. Woollys General Store again for some hot chocolate, the spicy hot choc is two thumbs up!
After getting back, Emmy was feeling like steak (unbelievable I know) so we went to a reasonably priced steak house, Flame Grill, found on tripadvisor. The ribs were recommended so I went with that since Emmy was feeling like steak, she had the rib-eye. Both good choices, the steak was cooked medium rare just right, and the ribs were flavourful without being salty. We got a serve of grilled cheesy portobello mushrooms for Oscar which was quite a big serve. Definitely a recommend.
Next up, Arrowtown.
On Saturday, it finally happened, I drove to the city on CityLink, oh, and also I got married to my lovely Emmy, but this post isn’t about that (for the most part). I’m here to do another foodie blog, this time one of our favourite go-to Japanese restaurants, Komeyui in Port Melbourne. So without further ado let’s get into it, this was our wedding reception of sorts (just lunch after the simple ceremony at the Old Treasury Building), I was hoping that they would do omakase for lunch, but we had to settle for the Signature Lunch set. This set consisted of five courses:
The first course was a sashimi course consisting of scallops, prawns, tuna belly, salmon, squid (I think), and I can only guess the white fish (possibly kingfish as it is quite common). The winner here I would have to say were the scallops, they were so tender, tuna belly is always a winner, and the squid had a really nice texture. I’m not sure if the prawn was cooked at all, maybe cured a little bit, they were great, and the wasabi was a bit different too, not the normal green one but some kind of (looks like cooked tuna) tan/brown colour, quite mild. I love sashimi :D. Of course those that can’t or won’t eat raw fish got their sashimi replaced with some cooked dish, looked like crayfish and prawns (but I can’t remember), it looked really good too, actually, we had one that does not eat seafood, but I can’t remember what he got.
Follow that great selection with one of my favourite vegetarian dishes, agedashi tofu, the skin has such nice texture and the tofu inside was so soft and creamy, perfect agedashi tofu, no doubt. The sauce was rich and perfectly complimented the fluffy tofu.
On to the main dish, if you can call it that, it was almost like four mains and a dessert. Perfectly cooked wagyu steak (sirloin is Scotch fillet right?) with some crunchy edamame on the side, the edamame was actually really good, it had a really nice fragrance, perhaps grilled with the steak. Keep in mind I had just had steak the previous Wednesday so it was still fresh on my mind, I certainly wouldn’t have minded if the Komeyui chef was cooking my steak at Stefans either :D. I guess I needed to savour it, I probably won’t have steak again for six months as is my tendency.
On to the sushi course which everyone got (except for our non-seafood lover, he got tempura veggies which looked good too!), and the hits just kept coming, I really can’t say enough about this place, they know what they’re doing. I was the lone black sheep, I chose the chirashi which is pretty much the same thing, but instead of bite-sized portions it is one long line of rice with the fish on top. Unfortunately, I’m no fish connoiseur so I can’t tell you what was on it, sea urchin at least, there was salmon roe in the sushi as well as a separate piece of salmon, the chirashi and the cooked sushi (for the non-raw fish lovers) had clam, but as for the rest of the fish, I wouldn’t bother guessing, they were either white or pink fish as you can see for yourself. No complaints from me, but I think I’d go with the sushi instead of chirashi next time, just a bit easier to eat and generally looks more appetising.
Finally, dessert, this picture is actually of Emmy and my special dessert, it had a sparkler in it which I wasn’t able to capture because it fizzled out while I was busy moving glasses out of the way to take my picture :p. Still, you can see that they’ve gone out of their way to spurce up the regular dessert for us (not that we mentioned what the occasion was), it was basically the same as everyone elses except that we got some extra fruit, and our iced cream was on the side rather than in the pastry. I’m not sure if we were the only ones that got some green tea coated chocolate, which went great with the salted caramel iced cream. What a great way to end the meal, I was definitely full after that and I’m pretty sure everyone else was and if there was anybody unhappy with their meal I sure didn’t notice.
I certainly didn’t hear my dad saying that they were Chinese people running the restaurant this time! SMH
Of course it was our special day and I had to have a nice drink to celebrate, and that I did, some black lager from Saitama, which is near Tokyo I believe, Coedo Shikkoku it’s called, and well, as with everything else on the table this was a pleasure to down, it wasn’t cheap that’s for sure, but that was a big reason why we didn’t want a big wedding, so that we could enjoy (perhaps) a higher quality meal with loved ones rather than something that could be mediocre due to stretching a kitchen.
Yeah, we did do that too, a small affair in the Thomas Hyde Room at the Old Treasury Building on Spring St in the CBD. Originally we were thinking of not inviting our parents and just taking a couple of witnesses, but we thought it would be better to take them despite the added hassle of transport. The morning was a little stressful with Emmy DIY-ing her hair and makeup it seemed that we were running late, so we jumped on the Monash Freeway (toll road) and cruised into town, only to realise halfway in that we’d left our passports (required for identification purposes apparently) at home. So there we were, sitting in the car on the freeway fretting about whether to turn around or carry on.
We were on time but if I had to turn around, we would definitely be way late, so in the end I dropped Emmy off to check with the office and they said it was not an issue, so no problems, and a lot of unnecessary stress. Everything went pretty well, I managed to hold myself together (I had to let out a little chuckle at one point to keep myself from losing it all together) and got through all the lines and signing of papers without shedding a single tear. We managed to wrangle our photographer into coming to lunch at Komeyui and taking some photos for us at the beach afterwards. We got a bunch of very nice photos, the weather held up despite the forecast all week predicting showers on Saturday, and maybe some of us ended up getting sunburnt even.
So now I’m a member of the exclusive Tran Pham Clan and life goes on pretty much as it was, but with a bit more debt than before :O. And we also have another anniversary date to remember, my suggestion of going to Komeyui to celebrate annually got shot down pretty fast, so maybe not until we kill some more debt. See you again in a few months after I visit another restaurant (;*^_^*;). Finally, apologies to all the single ladies out there, but this chicken has met his tiger!
I’ve replaced some of my crummy pictures (taken with my phone) with some much nicer ones (probably hard to tell which ones I know :D) taken by our photographer for the day, Chealse.
This site has almost become a monthly food review blog, but any way, this time I went out with some of the Mighty Boys to eat some old fashioned steak (having missed out on the grand final with a disappointing semi-final loss). We’ve been to this place (in suburban Balwyn) before and it has a pretty good reputation for well cooked, quality steak. The owner, Stefan, grills the steak on his custom grill and has been doing so for what I would guess to be quite a long time. Good on him, still doing what he enjoys I bet, and doing a hell of a job of it I might add. Maybe surprisingly, or probably not, the menu does not have any wagyu or fancy stuff like that (is Angus fancy?). It’s a pretty simple menu, with all the regular cuts, New York cut on request, and you can order a three course menu consisting of entree (soup or sausage), steak, and dessert (apple strudel, black forest cake, or crepes), it also comes with a side of salad and chips. There is also some bread with butter to keep you occupied until the cooked food arrives.
I was just going to have the regular scotch fillet (my go-to cut), but everyone else went for Angus, so I had to follow as my social programming commands me to, and got the Angus Scotch. The sausage came out first (vegetable soup? yeah right… although, maybe next time) and it went down nice and fast with the aide of some tasty mustard. The garden salad is nothing special but it’s dressed well and provides enough salad-y side. The chips are standard steak chips but they’re always a treat with steak! The steak comes out, nicely grilled, and cooked to perfection (medium rare of course!), a beautiful tasty chunk of beef. Somehow I ate and sliced my scotch up so that the last piece left was just fat, well, I’m currently trying to add a bit of bulk so I just downed it for all the flavour it was. It wasn’t wagyu, but a perfectly cooked angus scotch is nothing to sneeze at.
I was pretty full at this point, but the dessert comes with the meal, so I downed the lemon crepes with aplomb, will try the walnut crepes next time on recommendation. Look, it’s a great steak and a definite recommendation because Stefan clearly knows his steak and how to cook it, also, on a Wednesday night I don’t reckon there’s much chance he’s going to make any mistakes due to being busy (which might be the case for some places), I can’t wait for next time :D. The restaurant is nothing to write home about but it’s a nice quiet place and you can see Stefan standing over the grill doing what he does best.
Is it just me, or do I start every post with, “It’s been a while” or something to that effect? Any way I’m here now, and I’m posting a food review of a French restaurant that I visited with emmy last week to celebrate our fifth anniversary of being together.
I’d read a couple of reviews of this place, and even though I’m not a massive fan of French cuisine, I had a bit of a hankering for steak and chips, and well, there is sort of only one main on the menu at Entrecote (South Yarra), and wouldn’t you know it, Steak Frites. Obviously we didn’t just have steak and chips, although the apparently limitless fries could make that a reasonable option (although you’d have to be a bit of a dick to do that), we did manage to fit in an entree, and also a dessert. We just went with a couple of recommendations for drinks, I had some red wine from Burgundy which was quite nice, and emmy went with a lemony cocktail, France 75 or something, no issues yet! We started with the “King Louis Boulettes” which are croquettes with spiced beef and some other substance (mashed potato-like) in them, the filling was so fluffy and the crunchy exterior very well done.
Following that up with the steak (porterhouse) and fries, with a side of leafy salad (radish, lettuce, and walnuts with vinaigrette). The salad was simple but very well executed, the crunchy lettuce and walnuts great with the dressing. The fries were straight outta Maccas, nothing wrong with that, maccas chips are great, maybe not as fried/crunchy as maccas but shoestring fries are hard to get wrong, and these were good.
My steak (medium rare) was a little dry and over cooked on one edge (fortunately the side I started on), but after a couple slices the tender section appeared and the rest was in my tummy in no time. The buttery herb sauce works on this steak and I had no complaints, also mixed in some French mustard which is always a winner with steak. I was full, but sacrificed what space remained in my stomach to help out emmy by finishing off the last couple pieces of her steak.
We couldn’t leave without ordering dessert, everything looked great, but having had a great lemon tart only the day before, we decided on the chocolate profiteroles. Covered in dark chocolate, both melted and chips, and with a vanilla iced cream centre, these totally hit the spot, even though the spot was nothing but a tiny little speck of air that was being squished from all sides by steak and chips!
That’s it, we were done, could barely move, and ready to doze off into food coma heaven. There were a lot of things we didn’t try that I would’ve liked to, but it was probably a good thing we didn’t over indulge as we were both ready to explode/collapse/pass out (in that order) after a great meal. Chicken liver parfait, steak tartare, smoked salmon, escargot, maybe next time. I’d rate this one over Bistro Thierry, but we didn’t get steak there, and we also ordered too much and ate too much bread – Entrecote don’t serve bread, free or any, for a French restaurant that seems bizarre – so I’d be willing to give Bistro Thierry another try. This place? Put it at the top of the French restaurant list (that’s my list of two) and I’ll be happy to go back and enjoy some of the other dishes, they also do breakfast and lunch, hmmm.
Oh, and something that doesn’t usually rate a mention from Asians (or maybe it’s just me), the table service was very good, very attentive, cleaning up very quickly and getting our food out in reasonable time (we were to get kicked in two hours, so I guess they couldn’t dawdle too much). I’ll also take some time to mention the atmosphere and appearance as well since I’m here, nice, charming, romantic, although a little squeezy, stick to the iphone camera as the focus light of any decent camera might be a bit too much for anyone to bare ;).