Friday, July 21, 2017


84 Hopkins Street
VIC 3011

Okami appeared in the place of 1+1 Dumpling Noodles a while back, so when I spotted a groupon deal for their all you can eat option, we decided the time had come to pay a visit. We booked for the 7:45 sitting on a Friday evening, the alternative being 5:30pm. On arrival a couple of minutes early there were people waiting inside and out in the cool winter air.

It took about five minutes for us to get seated once the doors were thrown open, and most of the tables were soon full. Inside the decor had changed in the new incarnation, with new lampshades, carpet and furniture. We picked a few dishes from the menu and ordered fairly quickly. We didn't have to wait too long until our dishes appeared.

The Edamame was first to arrive, the boiled soy beans with tehir sprinkle of salt were fine, without being the best we'd ever tried.

The prawn gyoza had a tasty filling, but the skins were tough rather crunchy on the base.

The Seafood Tempura featured prawns and veggies in the eponymous batter. The coating was light and crunchy without any greasiness, and the content all nicely cooked.  

The sashimi was the most impressive looking of the dishes we chose and he fish and seafood was fresh.

After polishing off the first 4 plates we tried to order more dishes, but it took quite a while to get the attention of a waitress. We then faced another lengthly wait before any more dishes appeared. The Agedashi Tofu of crisply fried served with fish broth and bonito flakes, delivered a crisp exterior with around the soft tofu inside. We also had some more gyoza and sushi which I didn't manage to snap. We ended up leaving before the final tempura arrived as there seemed to be some confusion after further delay, and we'd been there for nearly an hour and a half.

The normal price for the all you can eat menu is $29.80, our groupon was $55.50 for two with a small flask of Saki. Given the deal, the meal was reasonably good value, but the slow service probably due to how busy it was frustrating. I'd think about going back on a week night if it was looking quieter, but wouldn't be keen to tackle it on a busy night, or if we did would make sure the first order was big enough to avoid the need to have to put through a second. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has been on busy or quieter nights!

Okami Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, July 17, 2017


250 Barkly Street
VIC 3011

We'd been meaning to visit Sankranti for a while and got around to it on a wintery Saturday evening. The long windowed frontage faces on Barkly Street. Inside the fit out is bright and modern with some Indian touches. We were sat fairly close to the entrance and waiting area for take away and delivery pick-ups which saw some traffic while we were there. Otherwise there were several other groups of diners, but in a big space, it didn't seem busy.

The menu is extensive covering western and Indo-Chinese dishes as well as plenty from north and south India. We stuck to the Indian options the first to arrive being the smooth and flavoursome Dal Makhani featuring its black beans in a creamy onion and tomato sauce. The Gutti Vankaya wwas a new dish to us and turned out to be a winner with tasty eggplants stuffed with onion, peanuts and spices.

The naan and rumali roti both hit the spot.

The Murgh Saagwala combined boneless chicken cooked with spinach and fresh herbs and spices lived up to our expectactions.

The meal came to $74 including a couple of drinks. The service was efficient and courteous. Although we enjoyed our meal, it seemed a little more expensive than some of the competition in the 'scray or in wefo, and the atmosphere was a little flat. Maybe a visit with a bigger group would be better to generate more of a vibe.

Sankranti Australia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Gong De Lin

264 Swanston Street
Victoria 3000

I met up with Brendan below the sign for Gong De Lin on bustling Swanston Street, before taking the lift up three floors and stepping into the smart and tranquil environment of the restaurant. Most of the tables are in booths and we were seated at one of these. There weren't too many other diners on the Tuesday which complimented the peaceful vibe. The menu is large and features a range of vegetarian dishes, we both picked ended up picking from the noodle and rice dish section which worked well for lunch.

Brendan doesn't normally pick out veggie meals when we head out for lunch, but was happy to give it a whirl on this occasion. He went for the vegetable dumpling noodle soup which looked the part and he enjoyed.

I had the vegetarian shredded pork in Szechuan style on rice. I've enjoyed a few mock meat dishes in the past and was ken to find out how this version measured up. The mock pork was closer to shredded ham in my opinion, but pretty close to the mark. The sauce was spicy without being overpowering and the ingredients worked well together.

The service was friendly and efficient. Each of the dishes came in at $12.80, although there are dishes on the menu that go for quite a bit more. If you do decide to take the elevator up to check out the vegetarian choices on offer, there should be something to take your fancy.

Gong De Lin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Seasons of Gold preview at Burma Lane

118 Little Collins Street,
Vic 3000

We were invited to the 'Seasons of Gold' preview at Burma Lane as members of their 'bite club' which promised an evening of 'food, beer and wine combined with art and creativity, showcasing four up and coming Australian-Asian photographers'. The works were projected onto an interior wall alongside the Mike Eleven mural, and we managed to catch glimpses from the upstairs mezzanine were the event unfolded. Whilst we enjoyed a range of the current entrees, the group executive chef John McLeay chatted with the guests. We spoke about Footscray, visits to Myanmar and other South East Asian adventures, both culinary and otherwise! He certainly seems to have packed alot into his time... He mentioned that the menu has diverged from the original Burmese focus, but is one of his favourites.

The dishes we tried included the delicate Shan tofu which was topped with smashed tomato, radish, herbs and peanuts.

The smoked eel with fennel, herbs and roe on a crispy potato cake tasted as good as it looked.

The green pea fritter with tomato curry and roasted carrot yoghurt wrapped in betel leaf is a favourite of mine and hit the spot as expected.

The Duck, shiitake mushroom and water chestnut doughnut with chilli rock sugar salt and sour cherry is flavour combination like nothing I'd experienced before and is certainly worth a try!

It was a very enjoyable event and I'm sure we'll be back again for a meal soon...

Burma Lane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Grandma's Dumpling

311A Exhibition Street
VIC 3000

Grandma's Dumpling seems to be a new addition to the group of eateries at the top end of Exhibition St. The interior featured bare brick walls and dark wooden tables and chairs. I visited with a vegetarian friend and we stuck to the dumpling and wonton section of the menu, which also features plenty of other options.

The steamed veggies dumplings arrived first, they didn't look particularly exciting but were tasty and not too doughy.

The pan fried vegetable dumplings came out a bit later, and the crispy skin was more visually appealing and added a crunch to the texture.

The two plates came to $18, the service was fine. Grandma's Dumpling doesn't stand out from the crowd, but seems like a fair option if you are in the area.

Grandma's Dumpling Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 10, 2017

Errols, North Melbourne

69 - 71 Errol Street
North Melbourne
VIC 3051

We booked a tables at Errol's using an online 50% off food offer for an early evening meal, on what turned out to be a pleasant Autumn day. We got a table outside on the street the establishment takes it's name from and a few of the the other alfresco tables were also occupied. The menu offered 'modern Australian with an Italian and Lebanese influences.

The 'Gourmet Bruschetta' was a little different to the traditional version, with the cherry tomatoes being halved rather than diced, no indication the bread had been rubbed with garlic or much olive oil. The spanish onion, bocconcini, basil, rocket and balsamic vinegar resulted in a different look and not what we'd hoped for.

The croquettes were filled with a combination of potato, dill and feta, on the side was a herb mayo and small green salad. The mayo looked a bit old and the croquettes a bit bland.

I ordered the Spaghetti Marinara which came with a fair amount of prawns, scallops, calamari, fish and cherry tomatoes. The thyme, butter and white wine sauce was a little heavy butter for my tastes.

The Lamb and Onion Agnolotti with mushroom and thyme jus was disappointing, the pasta was dry and hard, the filling tasted average as did the jus.

The service was efficient and friendly. The bill came in around $60 with a few drinks and the deal applied. Overall the food didn't live up to our hopes and I doubt we'll be heading back soon.

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

Clyde Park Pizzas

Food Stall at the Golden Plains Festival
Vic 3333

The better half had previously enjoyed a visit to the Clyde Park Winery so I took the chance to sample one of their pizzas while we were at the Golden Plains Festival, near Meredith. We'd passed the winery itself on our drive on the A300 Geelong to Ballarat road.

The pizza's generally eschewed tradition, but I decided to stick with the original margarita. I only had a short wait despite the stand seeming reasonably busy. The  woodfired oven turned the simple combination of tomato, mozzarella, baby bo-cconcini and herbs into a tasty treat.

The only downside to the meal was the food envy resulted in not all of it remaining mine! Oh well it's good to share... If we see the tent or pass the winery again we'll be likely to try it again.

Clyde Park Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, March 10, 2017

Barkers Cafe at the Whitten Oval

417 Barkly Street

Barkers Cafe occupies most of the foyer at the main entrance to the Whitten Oval's and looks out across the ground. We'd never really thought of visiting, but I won a voucher so took the opportunity to give it a try. Although the street address is Barkley St, the actual entrance is opposite Sutton Way, behind the statue of Ted Whitten.

The cafe counter has a modern look and stands out from the rest of the space. We found a seat near the window, but it turned out to be a bit warm, so moved further back.

My Allpress coffee long black was great, smooth with no bitterness.

We shared the "Scrambled Special", the eggs being augmented with dill, chilli marinated feta, grilled pepper, rocket and avocado served on toasted ciabatta. I wasn't sure the combo would work but it turned out to be a winner, and satisfied both our breakfast needs.

The eggs were $15 and coffees around $4 each. We got there soon after it opened at 9 on a Saturday morning and were the only customers when we ordered and got our freshly prepared meal pretty quickly. We were impressed by the set up and have another good local cafe option...

Barker's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, March 3, 2017

The European Bier Cafe

120 Exhibition Street
VIC 3000

I met up with some furthr colleagues at the European Bier Cafe as it was a convenient a location for us all.

We found ourselves a booth table ordered at the bar and then had a bit of a wait before the food started arriving...

My Margherita pizza was the first meal to turn up. The crisp scone dough base was topped with sliced tomato, buffalo mozzarella and a fresh basil oil/paste. The fresh flavoursome ingreadients lifted it above my initial assessment and it was hard to fault the value for $10.

The remaining meals arrived over the next five or ten minutes, and once they got their dishes everyone seemed happy, but I didn't get too many details so from here on in it's pictures only.

The pepperoni with salami, mozzarella and fresh parsley:

Nachos with cheese, jalapeƱos, sour cream and house made guacamole:

Onion rings:

The zucchini and eggplant lasagne with salad and chips:

Penne with pumpkin, spinach, red onion, garlic, pesto, parmesan, veg and cream:

In the end I had to dash off as we'd had a fairly long wait, but that would be only real negative about the meal. The European Bier Cafe is a good option for pub style food and pizza's at this end of town.

European Bier Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato