Wednesday, May 29, 2013


118 Lonsdale Street
Vic 3000

I walked past Pomodoro Cafe and Pizzeria innumerable times before finally lunching there. There are floor to ceiling windows in the section near the entrance and you can see through to the kitchen an pizza oven from the street. There are tables in a slightly raised section to the side and a further dining area at the rear.

We had 4 pizza's shared between a group of 5 and that was more than enough. They were all thin and beautifully toasted in the wood oven. The capricciosa, topped with tomato, fior di latte, ham, mushrooms and artichokes looked great.

I had the vegetarian featuring tomato, fior di latte cheese, eggplant , zucchini, roast capsicum and onion. I'd expected the veggies to be all pre-roasted for some reason, but only the capsicum was, but the flavours were still good, the only disappointment was the sogginess in the middle.

The other two choices were the calabrese with  tomato, fior di latte cheese, hot salami and roast potatoes and the margherita, which both went down well.

I'm a fan of proper pizza, so would happily go back, and the prices $10 and $20 for a very decent sized pizza were fair. The service was good and I'd happily return.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013


82 Charles Street
VIC 3011

We've wandered past ajitoya and read good things about it, but hadn't ventured inside until deciding to give it a go on a chilly autumn evening. It had often been either very busy looking or closed up, but the website seemed to give a better good run down of the food on offer and the opening hours then I'd noticed before. It was definitely a bit cold to be sitting outside and we were glad to have booked, as it was busy most of the time we were there on a Tuesday night. 

The front section of the restaurant features a counter and several small tables as well as a bar style table by the window. The lights were held in industrial looking jars. Through the door way was the shop area which may have shrunk in size and the kitchen, after that there was another dining area with a larger table, before getting to a small courtyard with a few more tables...

We started off by sharing a bowl of edamame which were very subtlety salted, but still very moorish.

The prawn and vegetable gyoza 'sauced and sprinkled' were my highlight, carefully made, crisp, delicate and flavoursome, with a perfect accompanying combination of accompanying tastes.

I had the curry udon, apparently Osaka style mildy sweet and light curry stock with udon lurking underneath and well cooked chicken and some potato too. It was thicker than some Japanese curry's I'd tried and the heartiness was appreciated given the temperatures outside!

The crispy tempura prawn, fish and vegies on top of the 'ten don' were spectacular but not quite as crisp and crunchy as expected. There wasn't much sign of the 'thickened soy based sauce' and some of my curry sauce was purloined to accompany the rice.

We were a little unadventurous in selecting Asahi and Kirin over the craft beers, but maybe next time! The service was friendly and swift given how busy they were. The bill came to $64, and I'm sure we'll be back as it's probably our closest Japanese eatery, although Sekai Japanese Ramen in Footscray and Ebi Fine Food in WeFo aren't far away, and offer different slants...

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Collins Kitchen

123 Collins Street,
Vic 3000

Up on the first floor of the Grand Hyatt, over looking Russell Street, but accessed from the Collins Street entrance, Collins Kitchen claims to offers "Melbourne’s finest lunchtime feast" a buffet where  one can select from the "different food stations, including Grill, Wok, Sushi, Deli and Patisserie".

The high ceilinged dining room, was bright, elegant and stylish, not quite matched blurred snap and has views into the kitchen area. We visited on a Friday lunchtime and there quite a few other tables occupied and there was a pleasant buzz about the place. The various stations in the kitchen were completely exposed, and showcased the chefs when they were at work.

Hitting the cold selection first, I picked up a slightly random combination of sushi, octopus, smoked salmon, red caviare oysters and cornichon. The oysters were a little on the small side but nothing else disappointed.

Moving on to the hot food, I had another hodgepodge plate, including pizza, dumplings and fish, before trying the Prawn wonton soup which was the only dish I had prepared before me, which was a simple combination of noodles, stock, greens and the wontons. It was probably the visual and culinary highlight of the meal.

I also tried some further asian offerings 'from the wok', beautifully plating some stir fried greens, braised tofu and veggie fried rice for myself. They tasted better than I made them look.

I don't normally partake of desserts when out, as I try t steer clear of saturated fats where possible, however with the wonderful selection on offer I had to try a few. The highlight for me was the pear tart, although the carrot cake, apple crumble, bread and butter pudding were also all great.

As is sometimes the case, the hype: "Visit the live cooking stations, interact with chefs, while sampling cuisine straight from the pan, off the grill or from the wok!" isn't quite matched by the reality. The food was generally of great quality but rarely cooked to order and it made me realise how much the plating up of food does enhance the experience. I doubt I'd be tempted to pay the $40 to give it anotehr whirl as there are so many better value options around...

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Q Seafood Providore

4 Wharf Street
Vic 3225

Neither of us had spent much time in Queenscliff recently and we headed toward the ferry terminal looking for somewhere to get late lunch on a sunny autumn Sunday. The row of shops by the marina are north facing and plenty of patrons were able to take advantage of the weather. We ended up at Q Seafood Providore which had plenty of seats outside and a few more inside. We perused the menu looking for something fairly light, there was also fish to choose from on display inside.

I had the fish burger, on this occasion featuring swordfish in a toasted seeded bun, with cos lettuce and tomato. It was a little smaller than I expected but was still enjoyable, and the beetroot relish on the side was great.

The sardines were lightly grilled and served with herbs, tomatoes and red onion and tasted good.

The sough dough with red onion and tomato could almost be combined to form a basic bruschetta and made a good combination with the more intense sardines.

My long black was a rich and enjoyable conclusion to the meal, the view over the boats to the bay made it even better. We made it up the tower afterwards for some great views in all directions...

The bill came to about $49 including the coffee and a juice. The service was fine, and maybe a little overwhelmed by the number of diners. I'd happily return if we find ourselves in the area again.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Frontbeach Cafe, Torquay

16 The Esplanade
VIC 3228

We had a late breakfast at the Frontbeach cafe on a Sunday, in fact we only just beat the 12 noon cut off!

As you'd expect from the name, it is sited across the road from the 'front' beach on the Esplanade in central Torquay. It was fairly busy when we arrived, especially outside, but we happened to find the table with the best view available!

Initially there seemed to be a problem with our coffee orders but that just meant we had had time to figure out what we wanted to eat by the time the waitress returned. Our meals then appear in superfast time, before our coffees, which wasn't a problem.

I had the vego breakfast with 2 poached eggs, half an avocado, grilled tomato, mushrooms spinach and toast. The ingredients were well prepared and it was a satisfying combo.

The scrambled eggs and bacon provided a good quality and generous serve of both components which nearly defeated the better half.

The view certainly enhanced the meal and my only quibble would be with a slightly weak long black. The bill was around $40. I'd happily return on any warm or sunny day to dine and gaze out across the ocean, which was especially enjoyable after a morning run on the beach and brief autumnal dip under the waves.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Torquay Hotel

36 Bell Street
We had lunch several years ago at the Torquay Pub and decided to give it another try for dinner on a Saturday night. The building seems pretty modern with pictures inside of older incarnations. Inside there were a couple of front sections and a bigger bistro area further back where we sat with several other tables of diners, before reaching the pokies. 

We perused the menu mostly featuring classic Aussie pub dishes, with a few variations and specials before ordering at the counter. We shared the tempura prawns as an entrée, the batter wasn't as light as we'd expected but the prawns were cooked well. They came with an original combination of a roast cashew and sweet soy dressing and a salad of pickled ginger, bean shoots and cherry tomatoes. The combination of flavours didn't really work, for us...

The 300g porterhouse steak with seeded mustard jus with chips and salad was a little on the bland side.

I had the Moroccan seafood stew with couscous and sour-dough. The stes contained a generous mixture of morton bay bug, mussels, scallops, prawns and squid in a tomato based broth. Whilst it was well prepared the dish lacked any strong Moroccan flavours.

The service was efficient and the food cost around $75. Ultimately the meal was a bit disappointing and the atmosphere was fairly flat, we wont be rushing back...

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cafe Moby

41 The Esplanade

We stopped in for lunch at Cafe Moby, after a brisk Saturday afternoon walk along the beach.

There were quite a few diners both inside and out in the courtyard, we found ourselves a table outside and ended up being lucky with the weather. There is definitely a casual and old school beachside vibe about the place.

We both ended ordering form the specials list which had been posted up inside.

The pakistani eggplant curry and rice filled wrap was topped with raita and served with spinach leaves and some fried shallot. It was a little tricky to eat, but I managed it. the curry wasn't that spicy, but it was a satisfying dish.

The Thai pumpkin soup was a hit - creamy, rich and flavoursome, the only downside being some stringy pieces maybe of lemongrass. It was served with toasted sour dough.

The coffees were great too, and we always enjoy having a meal with even a distant view of the ocean.

The bill was a pretty reasonable $35 and the service friendly, and we enjoyed it enough to think about going back for breakfast the next day, but it was too busy!

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Taiwan Cateen

311 Exhibition Street

I chose Taiwan Canteen for lunch with Brendan because it was conveniently located, had good reviews and as a first opportunity I'd had to try Taiwanese food. Even knowing the address, it wasn't that easy to spot, I may well have gone past many times without even realising it was a restaurant!

It was fairly busy when we arrived not long before 1pm on a Friday and it gradually emptied out we were there. The décor was fairly minimal but the wooden tables and stools were fine. We grabbed menu's and perused, and there seemed to be a Japanese influence including the presence of Bento boxes.

Our orders were taken and then we waited and waited, I didn't time it, but the wait was long for a lunch time canteen style venue.Eventually my three cups chicken bento arrived but it was another 5 to 10 minutes before Brendan's Popcorn chicken arrived - he did though get a free upgrade to a bento. My dish is named because the sauce is made of a cup of rice wine, a cup of sesame oil, and a cup of soy sauce and was enjoyable and overall pretty good value for $12.

After the delay I forgot to snap the popcorn chicken but it went down well!

I'd probably give Taiwan Canteen another go, as the food was different and enjoyable, but further slow service would be a bridge too far!

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wild Yak Tibetan, Northcote

350 High Street

03 9486 2733

We'd eaten at the Wild Yak Tibetan restaurant a good while ago and decided for a return visit while we were on High Street in Northcote again. The neon sign leaves you in doubt of where you are or whats in store.

It was busy on the Thursday evening we arrived, inside things are fairly basic, with a tiled floor, yellow walls and a bar at the back.

The walls were hung with a series of Tibetan paintings.

There were ceiling decorations too and various pictures of the Dalai Lama which added to the theme.

We ordered fairly swiftly, but it seemed that the few staff were a little overwhelmed by the numbers and we waited a while for our Momo Ngopa to arrive. The fried beef dumplings, came with chilli and soy sauces. The momo's casing were pastry like and fairly thick, compared to Chinese style dumplings.

The Channa Khatsa or chick peas cooked with tomatoes, ginger and garlic didn't look too exciting, but were flavoursome and satisfying.

We had another interlude before our mains arrived, the Chasha Sarsha, chicken fillet cooked with fresh mushrooms and herbs was pleasant without being outstanding.

The Tsel or vegetable curry wasn't as exotically flavoured as promissed in the menu, and the Baklap was similar to roti, bt a little on the rubbery side.

Unfortunately we were a bit disappointed with this visit to Wild Yak with the slow service and lacklustre mains outweighing the friendliness and good value, the meal was $50 all up including a beer and a juice.

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