Monday, May 31, 2010


311 Healesville Yarra Glen Road, 
VIC 3775

We visited Tarrawarra for a family birthday. The setting is amazing, with the buildings and vineyard set beautifully in the Yarra Valley landscape.

We visited the Gallery which was showing some amazing bushfire art, both old paintings and new works made in remembrance or reaction to the near by fires of 2009.

We were there on a Sunday lunch time for the second sitting at 2 in the winery ' cafe ', and tasted some good wines before being shown to our table. I guess you can get coffee there, but in most other respects I'd call it a restaurant...

I didn't order an entrĂ©e, but tried a little of the quail  which was nice, but not spectacular. The saffron cured ocean trout got a good review and the charcuterie – pork and pistachio terrine, rabbit rillettes, air dried TarraWarra Estate beef with pickles and relish looked great and was very well received. 

For my main I went for the grilled Atlantic salmon served with a warm salad of cumin roasted beetroot, Persian fetta and capers bollito misto, which came looking a little over grilled, but was actually perfectly cooked. The poached free range chicken, pickled ox tongue, salted beef and root
vegetables with accoutrements also didn't look as good as it apparently tasted. The duck pithivier, salt and sugar cured duck breast and a sweet spiced carrot salad with pomegranate did look good, and was also very good.

The child's fish and chips also passed it's most important test!
It was a great birthday lunch and a lovely spot, a couple of dishes could have been slightly better presented, but overall the food and wine were great. It isn't cheap, but the food, wine, views and setting are worth splashing out for on a special occasion.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Boathouse

7 The Boulevard, Moonee Ponds, 3039

We visited  The Boathouse, Gary Mehigan from Masterchef's restaurant on the Maribyong river on a Tuesday evening in late autumn. Its the first time I'd been to a celebrity chef's restaurant. The location would be fantastic at a warmer sunnier time, but it was still pleasant at night, inside felt spacious, and well decorated, with a rowing four hanging from the ceiling.

We were here to celebrate a birthday, and as we'd joined the 'VIP club' on-line we received a bottle of wine on the house, we chose red and got a reasonable Shiraz.

To start we had the Tiger prawns with chorizo (there were 3 when they arrived), which combined better than I expected, the prawns gaining a lovely spicy meaty flavour.

We also had the 'Two dips with Turkish bread', one eggplant based, the other fishy, both very tasty and generous servings.

The Aged Black Angus Pure Beef 300g Porterhouse served with coleslaw and house made chunky chips... apparently Gary's Favourite, was served on a chopping board. It looked just like the schnitzel that had been on Master Chef the week before, and got a steak lovers seal of approval.  

I had the Pizza no.7 with Char grilled zucchini, roasted capsicum, goat cheese, it also came with rocket! It was a well made pizza, and I enjoyed it, though it was just slightly soggy on top in the middle..

Overall we really enjoyed our meal, the food and service were great, and there were just enough customers to make it feel comfortable.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hien Vuong 1

Hien Vuong 1, not to be confused with Hien Vuong (Pasteur), is on Leeds Street between Barkley Street and Footscray Station, near some of the entrances to the market. Inside it's brightly lit and all the walls are mirrored. The menus are on the wall as well. There were a few other diners in the relatively small restaurant.

The owner/waiter was friendly and took our order pretty quickly, we both wanted Pho Ga. It's was a cold evening and having just ridden from the city we warmed up with the standard green tea.

The Pho arrived quickly, along with the plate full of herbs, bean shoots, chilli and lemon.

After adding selected accoutrements we started on our large full bowls. There were plenty good sized pieces of chicken breast, a decent amount of noodles, and a very flavoursome broth. It would have to rate as one of the best Pho Ga's I've had in Footscray and with the friendly fast service, I'm sure we will be back. The bowls of Pho were $9 each.

Update - We went back to Hien Vuong, and I tried the beef curry with rice.

The beef was tender and the flavour was pleasant, there was a bit of spiciness but not too much.

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