Saturday, July 30, 2011


227 Barkley Street
Footscray Vic 3011

Dinknesh had often been quite empty when we'd wandered past before, but reading Lauren's review tempted to try it.

We popped in on a cold Friday evening and were the first customers for the evening, but a few other tables were occupied over the course of our meal.

We grabbed a couple of the excellent Ethiopian beers.

We thought we'd ordered some veggie sambusa's, but ended up with meat ones, which were tasty, and the dipping sauce was very spicy!

The combination platter was loaded with a big variety of dishes and came with rolled up injera. The beef, lamb and chicken wot's or curry's were all great and distinctly flavoured. The potato and beetroot dish worked well and as did the cabbage. Some of the dishes were a little on the oily side.

The highlight of the meal was the red lentil dish, called misir kik I think, arrived sizzling in a earthenware jug/bowl, had an earthy and almost meaty in flavour and had a nice kick of chilli, we asked for more injera to help finish it all!

The service was very friendly, and helped advise us on our selections and tailor the combination to our needs. All the food and 3 beers came to $47, and I'd certainly consider another visit.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dumplings Plus

269 Swanston St Melbourne, 3000

Near the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale streets, Dumplings Plus is pretty distinctive amongst the shops and other restaurants around.

We got seats near the door on the ground floor, there are two further seating sections upstairs, which were a bit quieter when we visited on a Monday evening.

We were eating before going to a gig and tried the Pearl River beer, which I hadn't heard of before. It had a light flavour, and handy safety instructions on the back.

The menu covered a wide variety of dishes, we focused on the dimplings and rice dishes, as we were both pretty hungry!

The vegetable dumplings were the first to arrive, were good, but not up there with the ones from Shanghai village dumpling.

The beef dumplings were really good, and a decent size too!

The vegetables and fish with rice was fine without being special.

The pork fried rice had very thinly sliced pork, almost bacon like.

The service was fine and reasonably efficient. The bill for all 4 dishes and 2 beers was about $45.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Gourmet Curry Hut

3-4 The Hub Arcade
318 Little Collins Street
Melbourne, 3000

The Gourmet Curry Hut is tucked away in the small Hub arcade off of Little Collins, near Elizabeth Street. The tables spilled out into the arcade, and were surprisingly fancy, with tablecloths!

We went to the counter to select our lunch dishes from the Bain-maire, where they were dished up on metal trays/plates. All the lunch specials offered three dishes with varying options containing different amounts of meat, as well as rice, naan a mini-popadom and some raita. There was also a traditional menu available.

I stuck to veggie options with a pumpkin dish, a veggie korma and a beany dahl. All the dishes were fine but nothing really stood out, they were all pretty mild too. We'd arrived quite early 12:15ish but despite or maybe because of this the meal was warm rather than hot. Each of the portions of curry were quite small too, although overall there was probably just about enough.

Phil went for chicken and beef curry's which were also on the small size, and fairly mild on the flavour front.

The lunch specials range from $11-$13, no water was available, it was soft drinks from the fridge only. Service was fine. Not a bad lunch, but nothing to rush back for.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Laksa Me

Shop 1, 16 Liverpool Street
Melbourne, 3000

The reviews for Laksa Me were varied, but it seemed like it might be worth a shot. Once inside the realisation dawned that I had been there before a few years back (pre-food blogging) for a work function/lunch. Forgetting you've been somewhere means it can't have been that good or bad!

Inside the fit out is modern with exposed services at ceiling level, and big windows letting in plenty of light. It was reasonably busy, but not packed.

I chose the Laksa Lemak, containg "Fine rice vermicelli top with fish cake, fish dumplings, hard-boiled egg, fried tofu puff, prawns meat, and shredded cucumber in a fragrant mouth watering creamy Laksa stock." It certainly did what it said on the tin, but wasn't super special either.

Brendan seemed to enjoy his Khao Soi Gai "Crisp egg noodles topped with chicken in creamy red curry gravy."

The service was friendly and pretty efficient, and there was no pressure to rush out once we'd eaten.

Both dishes came in at $10.

I certainly wouldn't rule out returning, but the meals weren't spectacular either...

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Shanghai Village Dumpling

112 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne, 3000

Sat in the busy strip of China Town between Russell and Exhibition, I hadn't really noticed this before reading about it online.

On arrival at around 6:45 on a cold Monday evening we were shown upstairs, but decided if that was the only option it wasn't somewhere we wanted to spend time, zero atmosphere and too basic vibe.

In the end we spied some people leaving when we got downstairs, and got there spot by the door.

The décor was much more interesting in the main section and there was quite a buzz about the place for a Monday.

The menu had several sections, but we stuck to the dumpling page...

The first to arrive was the Chicken and Prawn dumplings with chilli oil in soup, a combination I hadn't tried before, but one which worked pretty well. The texture of prawn was certainly there and some of the flavour was noticeable. The broth and chilli oil combination worked well too.

The fried vegetable dumplings arrived next, which on occaisions before have been a bit bland, but here they were flavoursome, with a fair bit of ginger. 

The texture from the finely chopped veggies worked well too.

We had to try the xiao long bao, which we hadn't eaten before, and arrived a little after the other dishes, they are called Shanghai Mini Steam Pork Buns on the menu. I'm not sure if it is normal, but they were a bit fused together in the steamer, and a couple burst as we tried to remove them. Once they had cooled to and edible temperature these were nice and the soup inside dumpling was nice and the flavours fine, but I wasn't quite as blown away as I has perhaps expected to be...

We were still a little hungry or perhaps just reluctant to jump on our bikes for the ride home, so we ordered some more - the fried pork and veggies dumplings which filled us up, once they finally arrived...

The Vegetable Dumplings were certainly a highlight for me, and would be worth coming back for!

All 4 plates came to a total of $28.50, which is great value, the service was adequate.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Newmarket Hotel

34 Inkerman Street,
St Kilda,
3182, Vic

We used to walk past the run down, closed Newmarket Hotel when we lived in Balaclava, and were interested to hear it had re-opened.

The façade of the pub is still there, but from that point back, everything, including the glass in the windows and roof from the old pub has gone!

The modern concrete is visible pretty quickly, I'm not quite sure why the front wall was left, as everything else that made the place an old pub has been removed.

Some modern architecture is fantastic, the concrete interior of the new Newmarket doesn't do it for me, but apparently it has won awards! It reminded me a bit of a 70's or 80's hotel breakfast area...

The wall paper was interesting and slightly racey...

We visited on a Sunday lunchtime and the menu had many sections, we chose a couple of items from the 'Latin Streetfood' list and some seasonal veg dishes and shared them all. 

The soft shell crab taco's arrived first, filled also with guacamole and fresh herbs, and the flavour combination worked well, I could certainly have managed a bigger serve!

The field mushrooms were beautifully grilled, perfectly tender and the sour cream and spices worked brilliantly.

The bravas potatoes had a great crunchy and flavoursome outer coating.

The mashed black beans weren't quite as mashed as I had expected, but had great earthy flavours and were a good accompaniment to the other dishes. I'm not a usually a huge fan but the BBQ'd corn with chilli won me over, it was fun and messy to eat!

The service was attentive and swift, even if our waiter could have been a tad more enthusiastic. The meal came to $62 including a couple of glasses of house wine.

Certainly worth a try, although the Newmarket isn't a Hotel in the old school Aussie pub sense any more...

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