Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Grain Store

517 Flinders Lane
VIC 3000

Danny was visiting and was after some "modern Australian" cuisine; a bit of research led us to the Grain Store on Flinders Lane. Outside it was wet, so not a great time for finding the perfect angle, as it is the restaurant is in a large multi story building, with minimal branding outside. 

Inside the look was smart with plenty of light wood and would suit the brunches that get great write ups.

At the back the kitchen is open.

The menu isn't long, but it still took us a while to choose our meals.

Danny ended up selecting the pan seared scallops with smoked eggplant, a butternut boudin noir (black pudding) sandwich, ricotta lemon curd and crisp leeks which he enjoyed.

I went for the octopus which came with calabrese peppers, saffron potatoes, chorizo aioli and a smoked paprika chimichurri. The tender cephalopod was well complimented by the strong flavours..

Despite his well laid plans, Danny ended up opting for steak again. He asked for the 300g Romsey range NY cut grain fed sirloin rare, but it came out a little over that, but it still went down well. It came with a potato galette, sauce béarnaise and caramelized red onion jus.

My choice for main was the ocean trout, which came on this evening with cauliflower purée and fried school prawns. The skin was crisp, the flesh tender, moist and flavoursome. The crunchy crustaceans, veggies and sauce were perfectly cooked and worked well together.

We had the side of triple cooked hand cut French fries which came with chipotle aioli, the tomato sauce came out on special request!

The service was great, friendly, efficient and happy to accommodate our tardy ordering. The bill came to just over $150, including a few schooners of the True South Pilsner and a glass of wine. I'd be happy to eat at the Grain Store again, either at dinner or to try their lauded brunch.

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vue de monde

Level 55
525 Rialto Towers,
Collins Street,
Victoria 3000

This entry will be a bit different in a few ways, I rarely eat at anywhere as famous or high end as Vue de monde, it was a freebie (not to do with the blog but due to an invite from my day job and I visited for breakfast at 8am, well before the normal opening time.

On arrival I was offered a coffee and a selection of juices, I went for the orange and passion fruit which was fresh and brought back memories of one of my favourite smoothies I regularly indulged in when working for innocent drinks in the UK. The yoghurt was creamy and was well complimented by the muesli and compote. The pineapple from the fruit board was so flavoursome and sweet. I had a small apple pastry which was pleasant but didn't blow me away.

Later I tried the beetroot, apple and ginger juice which plenty of zing and was very refreshing.

I prefer to stay veggie focused at breakfast these days and my first impression of the main plate was positive. It was my first go at asparagus this early in the day and the seasonal white and green spears went down well. The toasted sour dough was the usual challenge to cut with a knife, the mushroom perfectly cooked, the spinach a bit too salty for me the scrambled eggs nice and light.

The decor and ambiance inside were dark and fairly understated, perhaps best appreciated later in the day, the views across Melbourne are stunning however. It was certainly an enjoyable breakfast, and I would like to head back for the full experience, I'm just waiting for another generous host with to extend an invite...

Vue de monde on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Greek Street Food - Food Truck

Food Truck, visited at:
Yarraville Gardens
Somerville Road
Vic 3013

While I grabbed a burger from the Little Mushroom Co on our trip to the food trucks in Yarraville Gardens, the better half headed to the Greek Street Food truck by Kara's Kalamaki.

Her wait was slightly longer than mine, but the crowds were out in force! The oregano chips were winners, perfectly cooked good sized fries with a bit of extra Mediterranean flavour.

The bahh souva had the expected pita bread wrapped around some fantastic lamb fillet, tomato and onion with tzatziki. The only less popular filling were the chips, some salad leaves would have been preferred. 

The meal came in around $14 which was fair and I'd certainly think about trying their other items if I spot the truck again...

Greek Street Food By Kara's Kalamaki on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Little Mushroom Co Food Truck

Food Truck, visited at:
Yarraville Gardens
Somerville Road
Vic 3013

The sun was shining for the first evening of daylight savings and we decided to head down to Yarraville Gardens to see what the food trucks had to offer... there was plenty of choice on offer with around 15 lined up!

I decided on trying out the The Little Mushroom Co which lives up (down?) to its name, being housed in a pretty tiny converted caravan.

The menu is on the small side too, with just four bun based options and a couple of extras.

I went for the vegan burger option which in this case featured one and a half portobello mushrooms in a Cajun spice rub and a good handful of rocket in a ciabatta roll. On first opening the box I was disappointed by the size of the burger, however it was certainly well executed, flavoursome and healthy.

At $10 for a fairly light bight, I think I'd try one of the many other trucks we're lucky to have regularly in walking distance on my next visit, but it must be one of the most healthy options available on the Somerville Road strip.

The Little Mushroom Co on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Shanghai Dragon Dumpling House

163 Russell Street
Vic 3000

I'd been meaning to visit Shanghai Dragon Dumpling House for a while, as the reviews I'd seen were good and it was convenient... When Merry and I arrived for lunch on a Wednesday it was pretty busy, but there was a table for us at the back.

We ended up sharing the table for 4 with another diner, but that wasn't a problem. The fit our is modern, with white walls and plenty of light from the big windows on to Russell Street and Bullens Lane. Behind us there was a window into the small kitchen area. We were soon handed the menus but had to ask for some tea.

Merry went for the pan fried chicken and prawn dumplings, and the plate was filled by the ten that arrived. The generously sized and plumply filled thin dough skins were lightly browned and glistened from the frying oil.

I went for the vegetarian dumplings, also pan fried, the serve of fifteen certainly assuaged any concerns about still being hungry! The guōtiē were stuffed with a tasty spinach heavy veggie mix and had crunchy browned bases from the pan. The only possible down side was the slight excess of oil left on from the frying...

The takeaway menu is below, as I couldn't find it online, both dishes we had were satisfying and great value at only $9. Although it was busy we weren't rushed but did have a new friend on our table. The service was swift and courteous. Shanghai Dragon Dumpling House stacks up well against the other bargain dumpling options in the city and I'll be tempted to head back to check out the veggie xiao long bao, amongst other tempting options.

Shanghai Dragon Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Casa di Tutti, Seddon

160 Victoria Street
VIC 3011

When Casa di Tutti replaced Tin Pan Alley it didn't seem like a massive change, with one Italian restaurant being replaced by another and the fit out remaining similar. I guess that’s why we didn't rush to eat there, along with the good pizza's up the road at the Plough. When we decided we were up for take away it was a good opportunity to give it a try. I picked up 15 minutes after my call and the boxes were warm, apparently the content had only just come out of the oven.

The pesto and eggplant combination on the Melanzana was a great combination and surpassed our expectation!

One the team mentioned that they had run out of the white truffle oil, so we had extra portobello and porcini mushrooms on our Funghi along with the napoli sauce, mozzarells and basil. The mushrooms flavour was strong, which we enjoyed.

At $16 a pizza they weren't cheap, but were worth it for great toppings on fantastic thin wood fired oven bases. It was fairly quiet for a Saturday night when I swung by to pick up, but the team were friendly. I think we will be eating more from Casa di Tutti, whether in house or back at home.

Casa di Tutti on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Indian Palette, Seddon

1/140 Victoria Street
Victoria 3011

We've walked past The Indian Palette many times since it opened, and often thought about going in but were dissuaded by the empty tables.

We'd read good things about the food and on a recent Friday needing a curry fix and not fancying the walk over to West Footscray we decided to take the plunge. As we'd expected it was pretty quiet, with only one other couple eating in. Several take out customers came in over the time we were there.

The menu featured plenty of dishes I didn't recognise, as well as a few more familiar offerings. The Gutti Vankayakura had two small eggplant in a sauce seasoned with ground nut, tamarind pulp and finished with South Indian spices. Although whole the aubergines were tender and the sauce complimented them well.

The Dal Makhani a favourite of ours containing black lentils cooked with tomato, fenugreek and butter was a little light on the pulses for us, but the flavours were great.

The rice was fluffy and light, the naan not quite as puffy and light as I prefer.

The service was occasionally interrupted by calls from take out customers, as there was only one waitress covering both tasks. The food was cooked to order in a reasonable time and the bill came to $67 with a few beers. The lack of atmosphere means will probably make the walk west to the more popular options in that direction, unless we notice an uptick in patronage, it is a handy local option for take out though.

The Indian Palette on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fathers Office

249 Little Lonsdale Street
VIC 3000

I visited Fathers Office for the first time with fifteen or so work mates. I'd been to the previous incarnation, Match Bar a few times and the better half had worked for the guys setting it up for a while. The doorway on Little Lonsdale street opposite the State Library is fairly inconspicuous and leads to a staircase to the bar and restaurant on the first floor.

The look inside is stylish and modern, with half the space a bar area and the rest a sit down dining area.

We mostly ate from the corporate lunch menu, offering a range of dishes and a drink for $15. I had the fish 'n' chips, featuring 'seasonal white fish' lightly coated in a rosemary and ginger beer batter, shallow fried and served with shoestring fries. The batter was crisp but a bit on the oily side, the fish was well cooked and fries did the job.

We were mostly satisfied, if not stunned by our meals and $15 with a drink isn't too bad for food in comfortable surroundings in the city at lunch time. We were a little worried that the service might be slow with a reasonable sized group, but the food appeared pretty quickly. It's certainly a reasonable option to try for modern Australian/pub food in the CBD.

Father's Office Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 20, 2014

8bit Burger

8 Droop Street

We'd headed to 8 bit a couple of times before thinking about having a weekend lunch, but it had always looked a bit too busy, and made our way to one of the miriad of other options nearby. It was third time lucky though on a Sunday around 1, after we'd had a late night out and we were searching for something to turn around our day.

The 8 bit retro computer game theme runs throughout the restaurant, from the names of the various burgers and hotdogs on the menu to the table 'number' signs.

Although it wasn't bursting at the seams, there was a big pack of young diners in attendance, with plenty of activity behind the counter putting the food together. We ordered at the counter and managed to snag ourselves some stools by the bench along the window and waited for a few minutes until our meals arrived, given the number of patrons, I was surprised by the speed of service.

The eponymous 8 bit beef burger but without the usual cheese also contained tomato, lettuce, red onion, pickles, mustard and '8 bit' sauce in a brioche bun. It looked great and the better half though it was delicious!

I went with the 1 UP mushroom burger, which featured a crumbed portobello mushroom, some plasticy cheese which I swiftly removed, tomato, red onion, green tomato relish, lettuce and the house sauce again in a brioche bun. Although I prefer naked (un-crumbed) mushroom burgers and aren't a massive processed cheese fan these days, it was still a good veggie option and although hasn't de-throned Jerry's lentil based pattie yet.

The large serve of beer battered fries was a good size and had a nice crispy coating with soft potato inside. We soon worked our way through them.

The meal with a couple of soft drinks came in around $30. I'm glad we were able to get in because the burgers were just what we wanted, and it is awesome to have good burgers available in the 'scray. We'll certainly be back, hopefully we'll be able to get in again next time!

8bit. on Urbanspoon