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

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Harbour Fish shop at the Apollo Bay Fishermans Co-Op

Breakwater Road
Apollo Bay
VIC 3233

The Harbour Fish shop at the Apollo Bay Fisherman's Co-Op is situated away from the main strip of shops and eateries. You can find it just off the Great Ocean Road as it heads out of Apollo Bay towards Marengo, just past the Golf Club and above the harbour.

The set up is pretty basic and makes maximum use of the location. The shop itself faces the water, with tables and chairs outside, mostly uncovered. Inside is the classic counter with the usual options on the menu. We placed our orders and headed outside to admire the view for 10 minutes while we waited for our order.

We then made our way down to the beach to eat. I went for the classic flake and we shared the large chips. The fish was perfectly cooked and the batter just crisp enough. The chips were classic chip shop style, reasonably thick cut with crunch on the outside and soft inside.

The better half had her mind set on a fish burger all day and ordered accordingly. Although the fish itself was good, the roll was soft and uninspiring and the lettuce a bit limp. Overall it didn't live up to the expectation or anticipation

The meal cost $23 which is comparable with other local options. The location makes the Harbour Fish Shop as a great option on days the weather is being kind in Apollo Bay!

Apollo Bay Fisherman Co-Op Society Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Issan Thai Street Food

10 Droop Street
Victoria 3011

Occupying apart of the Westville Shopping Centre facing onto Droop Street, Issan Thai Street Food opened in January. It is named for the northeastern region of Thailand, bordering Laos and Cambodia, the original home of Noi one of the owners. It is a large, agricultural area of rice fields and small villages, influenced language, food and culture of Lao.

The look is modern with lots of bare wood and a some modern Thai themed graphics, eschewing the standard some the standard Thai eatery cliches. Our first attempt it give it a try on a weekday evening didn't workout as the only tables left were in the back section which opens onto the mall and has more of a food court vibe. We returned on a Sunday lunch time and were able to find a table in the front section.

After taking our seats we perused the lunchtime menus, which feature a smaller portions and lower prices than the full evening version.

Many of the Issan specialities were new to me and we ended up sticking to some favourites.

The prawn Pad Thai looked the part and went down well.

I had a green curry, and was able to get the veggie version despite it not being on the menu. The vegetables and tofu were well prepared and the curry sauce carried plenty of kick.

The notice for a liquor licence is up on the window...

Our bill came to $23.80, very comparable to other options in the 'scray. The service was friendly and pretty prompt. It is great to have a Thai eatery back in central Footscray and I'm sure we'll be back to try some other options on the menu.

Issan Thai Street Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato