Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dong Que

102 Hopkins St
VIC 3011

Dong Que was the one restaurant spot on the Rickshaw Run I hadn't visited before. So it went on to my must visit local restaurant list, which seems to be growing faster than I can chip away at it at the moment, with all the recent Footscray openings... Nestled amongst the string of restaurants lining Hopkins Street, opposite Footscray market, the small frontage doesn't jump out, but does feature enticing photo's of the food on offer inside.

The interior isn't as modern as some of the local competition, featuring a TV showing singing and dancing while we were there and some neon, with older but very clean tables. It was pretty busy when we were there on a Sunday evening, and once we had a table we began perusing the menu, which again displayed photo's of the dishes in the first few pages before listing a wide variety of soups, noodle and rice dishes with some other options too.

We shared the house speciality of the traditional vietnamese spring rolls, served with herbs and iceberg lettuce and a bowl of dipping sauce each, which meant no worries about double dipping! The roll casings were crunchy and a bit more textured than the normal versions, and the contents was probably a bit more meaty.

 The Pho Ga looked good, but the flavour of the broth veered away from our preferences and the chicken wasn't particularly plentiful and was of variable quality.

The stir fried seafood with veggies and rice featured 2 pieces each of fish, squid prawns and scallops, along with some fresh vegetables.

The service was very friendly and pretty speedy given the number of people there, the main dishes did come out at different times though. The bill came in around $30-35. the spring rolls are worth going back for more of, and I'd be tempted to try some other dishes too...

Dong Que on Urbanspoon

View Foodscrazy restaurant map in a larger map

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hoo Haa

1/105 Chapel Street
VIC 3181

We were at Hoo Haa for an event, it's up some stairs from the street and the unimposing entrance could be easy to miss.

Once you are up on the first floor it opens into quite a large space, with some dining booths running down the left hand side, a large island bar in the middle of the space, a casual seating area towards the street and a small open area at the back. It straddles the restaurant/bar line and has a pretty stylish fit out.

I tried slices from a few different pizzas, including the tomato, fior di latte and basil, the prosciutto, tomato mozzarella and rocket, the bugmeat, zucchini and coriander, the chorizo and roast peppers smoked scamorza and the mushroom, taleggio, green olives and sage. They were consistently well put together with great thin bases. They weren't huge but they were a size that would normally satisfy me.

We also sampled the leek and gorgonzola arancini, the stand out crab croquettes with aioli, Deano’s sausage rolls and the roast beef and mustard rolls, the shots were taken the following day from a doggy bag we took home, so perhaps not looking quite as good as when served, but in better light!

I wouldn't have thought of eating at Hoo Haa before, but would go back again if we were in the area and fancied some Italian food.

Hoo Haa Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

View Foodscrazy restaurant map in a larger map

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cupcakes by Paolo

28C Ashley Street
West Footscray
VIC 3012

I'd actually forgotten about Lauren's post about Cupcakes by Paolo when we needed some for an event. In the end we found them ourselves and ordered via the website. I didn't get along to visit until I returned the display stand after sampling the goods!

The cafe/patisserie sits among a small row of shops on the busy Ashley Street in West Footscray, just north of Tottenham station, not really where you'd expect to find a cupcakes emporium.

The interior is bright, modern, tidy and clean, and your eyes are immediately to the displays of bright and appetising cupcakes..

Our inexpertly arranged display looked pretty good to my untrained eye.

I was drawn to the lemon meringue cupcake, based on one of my favourite deserts as a child, and the lemon base with toasted Italian meringue certainly brought those memories back. The 'chocolate lover' with its chocolate base and butter cream icing surprisingly wasn't too chocolatey! I did prefer the 'aromatic mocha' chocolate base and espresso butter cream icing.

The classic vanilla with a light and fluffy vanilla base and vanilla butter cream icing was good too.

They were certainly enjoyed and we'd definitely use them again if we need a cupcake fix, or to cater for an event... The cafe also serves coffee too.

Cupcakes by Paolo on Urbanspoon

View Foodscrazy restaurant map in a larger map

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Criterion Hotel Trafalgar

85 Princes Highway,
VIC 3824

The Traf pub or Criterion Hotel stand proudly on the junction of the Princes Highway and Contingent Street in the centre of Trafalgar. The front bars are dominated by TAB and pokies, and there is also a large back Bistro area, which has always been busy when we've visited on weekend evenings, bookings are recommended! The menu is fairly broad, with more than just traditional pub food, with pizza's, plenty of seafood and pasta as well as plenty of steaks and other carnivorous options. We shared some Bruschetta to start, it was a fairly country Aussie interpretation of the Italian dish, with I think some tasty cheese on top.

The rump steak was huge!

The Atlantic Salmon was also very big, probably the largest cutlet I'd seen, they must have big fish in Gippsland! It also tasted good and I managed to get through it, the veggies were fresh and well cooked too, the giant croquet was a little too cheesy for my taste.

The special of lamb shanks again featured two oversized hunks of meat, one of which would normally have been plenty, at least the dog was happy later!

The garlic prawns again had a decent sized serve and plenty of good veggies. The sauce and flavours worked well together and crustaceans were well cooked.

Stu gave the Parma a thumbs up, he regularly has at least one on trips over from NZ.

The service is friendly and efficient, despite the pub always being busy. The value for money is outstanding and the food certainly doesn't suffer.

Criterion Hotel on Urbanspoon

View Foodscrazy restaurant map in a larger map