Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ciao Bella, Balnarring

2998 Frankston-Flinders Road
Victoria 3926

We popped into Ciao Bella in the afternoon to check it out and booked a table. The small frontage hidden behind the greenery disguises a deceptively larger space inside, as well as a covered outdoor area.

Most of the tables were taken when we arrived around 7pm on a Saturday, the interior had a casual rustic feel. As well as the main menu there were specials on offer.

We ended up sticking with the pizzas on the main list. The Ciao Bella features portobello and brown mushrooms, mozzarella, Fontina cheese, Parma prosciutto, truffle oil and thyme.

I went for the traditional Napoletana with San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, black anchovies, black olives, oregano. The base thin and crisp around the edges benefiting from the wood fired oven. The quality of the ingredients resulted in explosions of flavour.

The service was very quick, with our meals arriving within about ten minutes of ordering, I guess thay were ready for the number of patrons! The bill came to $64 including a couple of drinks and we'd happily return if we were in town again.

Ciao Bella Pizzeria & Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Little Sister Cafe, Keilor East

52 Wingara Avenue
Keilor East 
Victoria 3033

An invitation to try lunch at Little Sister tempted us to get on our bikes for the ride up the Maribyrnong to Keilor East, where the stylish cafe sits in a quiet square.

The interior featured brightly patterned wall paper, with plenty of retro styled tables and a covered outdoor area out the back. There were lots of interesting items on the menu both on the all day breakfast and lunch lists as well as a few specials.

 I enjoyed a good long black while we pondered our choices which kept warm in its double walled glass.

The flat white hit the spot too.

I went for the wild mushroom risotto with caramelised onion, parmesan crisp and drizzled truffle oil. The presentation was great, with the crunchy cheese shards and petals adding finesse and vibrant colour to the look. The flavour was rich too, with plenty of mushrooms too.

The Mexican chicken burger was packed with lettuce, corn salsa and avocado and came with fat chips with a strong lemon pepper seasoning and great little mango-lime aioli. The burger flavours worked together perfectly and I was happy that we'd agreed to share our meals!

The service was good throughout with plenty of attentive and friendly staff. The coffees came out quickly and the meals after a pleasant pause. We didn't have to pay for our meals, but with most options under $20 it seemed like great value. I think we'll be contemplating a another trip out this way soon.

Little Sister Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Balnarring Beach General Store

181 Balnarring Beach Road
Balnarring Beach
VIC 3926

We decided to grab fish and chips from the Balnarring Beach General Store based on the recommendation of our host.

The building is pretty basic and it was quiet on the evening we visited.

We waited while our food was cooked to order, before scooting back to our accommodation to tuck in. The grilled flake, chips and scallops kept the better half happy.

I can never go past the classic batter fish with chips. The crisp golden batter surrounded firm fresh fish and chips hit the spot.

Our meal came to about $20 and we were happy to have had the tip. The General Store isn't flash, but does the job!

Balnarring Beach General Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thanh Vinh

152 Hopkins Street
Vic 3011

We'd eaten at two predecessors of Thanh Vinh, Thai Tho and Phong Dinh but not the latest incarnation.

The small outdoor dining area remains, with a modern fit out inside....

 ...featuring white walls and wooden tables and chairs.

There were a generous range of condiments on each table which were labelled to avoid confusion.

I went for the Laksa, which lacked in the shrimp paste department, resulting in a  fairly bland dish.

The Seafood Char Kway Teow was great, with plenty of smokey flavours from the wok permeating the thick rice noodles along with the fruits of the sea.

Both dishes were in the $10 - $15 dollar range, and I'd happily go back for a plate of the stir fried noodles, but would leave the Laksa for Roti Road down the street.

Thanh Vinh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Nelson, St Kilda

2/56 Acland Street
St Kilda
Victoria 3182

Our fellow diners has been to The Nelson before and were keen to get there early as bookings aren't taken. We arrived around 6:30 on a Saturday and were fortunate that he Autumn weather was kind enough that dining outside was a pleasant prospect. There is plenty going on outside on the corner of Fawkner and Acland streets, resulting in plenty of people watching opportunities. Inside there was a longer shared table and a couple of smaller lower tables.

The Nelson is a Rum bar, which also serves a range of Tapas style smaller dishes, along with some salads and larger options, there were a couple of specials on too.

We shared a range of dishes, which arrived at a goop pace, we just about managed to finish plates as more arrived and to fit everything on the table! First to arrive were the patatas bravas which came with a spicy aioli which didn't quite take us back to Spain.

The eggplant chips might look a little over in the photo, but were great, crunchy on the outside and soft inside and even won over Stu.

 The only problem with the stuffed mushrooms was the lack of a fourth, although we managed to resolve the dilemma with ot resorting to violence...

Stu enjoyed his Nelson slider with Porterhouse steak, pickles, iceburg lettuce, smoked cheddar and 'special' sauce, in a small but well presented bun.

The grilled fish tacos from the special board also contained 'slaw and guacamole and leaves and were one of the highlights.

The Jamaican Jerk Chicken salad freshened things up with plenty of leaves coleslaw and tomatoes accompanying the nicely spiced poultry and the orange and cayenne dressing.

The other special of goat curry with rice and beans rounded off the meal, proving to be our joint favourite dish with its wonderful Caribbean flavours and beautifully tender meat.  

The service was friendly through from ordering at the bar to helping us fit the many plates on our small table with good humour. The bill came to $127 including a few drinks. We'd happily go back, probably hoping for the same specials to be on again!

The Nelson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Richmond Club Hotel

100 Swan Street
Victoria 3121

Behind the classic façade of the Richmond Club Hotel the interior mixes zones of varying degrees of modernity seamlessly. We were seated at the rear of the ground floor in a booth near an octagonal table, below an eight sided lampshade. We visited on a Saturday evening and it was pretty busy in the dining areas and rammed in the bars.

The menu was surprisingly traditional. The roast lamb with 3 veg ticked the boxes and went down well.

Stu enjoyed his regulation (for him) parma.

The nacho's weren't too soggy which was a bonus, and were well balanced, rather than over cheesy. 

My fish and chips  featured 2 smallish pieces of crisply battered fish balanced on top of the deep fried potato, a green salad and tartar sauce. All the components kept me happy.

The bill for 4 including a drink or two each came in just under $150. The meals took a while to come, but given how many people were in the pub that wasn't unexpected. The meals weren't oversized, but kept us happy while we watched the footy later on.

Richmond Club Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Prince of Wales Hotel, Battery Point, Hobart

55 Hampden Road
Battery Point
Tasmania 7004

We decided on a pub meal and decided on the Prince of Wales in Battery Point, which is housed in a mid twentieth century building in the historic neighbourhood. 

Inside the décor was a combination of classic Aussie hotel mixed with some modern touches and a subdued palate. The restaurant area was fairly quiet on the Saturday we visited at around 6:30, the bar was busier though. The menu took a fairly traditional route to, with a couple of deviations.

The Tasmanian Scotch Fillet came a little bit over the medium requested, and the pepper sauce was fairly mild in flavour. The vegetables were good.

I had the Portobello Schnitzel, the mushroom was crumbed in Panko and Macadamia and was on the oily or greasy side but otherwise satisfying. It was served with a sweet mushroom relish which didn't quite work for me. The chips and salad ticked their respective boxes.

The bill came to $64.50 including a few drinks. The service was efficient and friendly. We both enjoyed our visit but would try different dishes if we visited again.

Prince of Wales Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Ristorante Da Angelo, Battery Point, Hobart

47 Hampden Road
Battery Point
Tasmania 7004

We'd heard that Ristorante Da Angelo was something of a Hobart institution so we thought we'd give it a try on a recent visit.

Down stairs was a a bit of a warren of smaller interconnected rooms, including a front waiting/bar area bedecked in photo's of clients, including a few well known faces. We were upstairs, in an area which a couple of groups and a few smaller tables ate while we were there. The décor certainly supported the idea that they had been open for a while!

We kicked off with the bruschetta pizza bread which was topped with fresh tomato, basil, garlic, and cheese which easily staved off the hunger pangs before our mains arrived.

I had the Spinaci, spinach and potato gnocchi served with napoletana sauce. The housemade gnocchi were light and the sauce complimented them well.

The macaroni puttanesca, with its garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, chilli, napoletana sauce was also a winner. The classic dish had all the right ingredients combined perfectly.

A bonus was the BYO option, which we took advantage of. The food bill came in at $57.50 and we were well satisfied. The service coped with busy restaurant easily and was very friendly, we even had a chat with t he owner on the way out. If you are looking for classic Italian in Hobart, Da Angelo is the  Ristorante for you!

Ristorante Da Angelo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato