Category Archives: Melbourne, VIC

Cumulus Inc. Never Disappoints!

One of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne is Cumulus Inc.  I’ve been numerous times and the dishes have never failed to delight me.   The menu changes quite frequently, and I’m still suffering from the loss of the truffle gnocchi from the menu…

First dish during this visit was the special of the day which was the fried soft shell crab, school prawns, chilli & lime.   Crispy salty seafood with a rich tangy sauce – winner!

The seared scallops with potatoes were perfectly cooked and tasted delightful.

The grilled pork chop with green apple was again well cooked and the green apple was a nice way to cut through the richness of the meat.

Last item we had was the roast chicken with corn, with sides of roast potatoes and cracked wheat and freekeh salad.  Gotta say, the chicken was amazing!  And corn is one of my favourite ingredients so it was a perfect little dish.  The sides were also very tasty.

Another great dining experience makes for a happy diner.  Love Cumulus Inc.!

For more info and reviews:
Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Estelle Restaurant & Bar… great new dining experience!

Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve been so thrilled by a restaurant.  I’d heard good things about Estelle Bar & Kitchen prior to going but the dinner itself was spectacular!  I was there for a friend’s birthday dinner which started out in the sunny courtyard for a few drinks then up to the private dining room.

Prior to the degustation starting, we were given little snacks… I don’t quite remember exactly what they were but they were very good, especially the little sticks (bottom right of the photo below).

Dish 1:  Beetroot, ashed goats cheese & orange.  A light start to the meal, well balanced and tasty.

Dish 2: Smoked eel, camomile & carrot.  The eel was delicately smoky and offset with the light camomile cream.

Dish 3: Yellowfin tuna, horseradish & red cabbage, or blue eye bakala, fennel & lemon.  The tuna was superb – it was coated in what seemed like mini rice crispies which had a wonderful texture.  The blue eye was salted and had a great tangy lemony flavour.  My understanding of “bakala” is that it is a Portugese way of salting fish.

Dish 4: White asparagus, 63 degree egg & brioche crumbs.  Most of you would know that I don’t eat eggs, so I had a different version of this dish was which topped with a cauliflower sausage (I initially thought it was silky tofu).

Dish 5: King salmon, peas, mint and purple shiso. Fish was perfectly cooked, flavours were in harmony.  A fantastic dish.

Dish 6:  A taste of new season’s lamb, or saddle of kangaroo, celeriac & baby turnips.  The token meat dish both were cooked superbly and with lovely accompanying vegetables.

Dish 7:   Strawberries, basil & vanilla.  Lovely icy dessert to ease us into the sweets.

Dish 8:  Summer berries, rose & musk.  I love this dessert.  It looks beautiful and it tasted fresh and summery.  The chips of rose and musk atop a berry ice cream and fresh berries – yum!

Dish 9:  Sour cream, pumpkin & salted caramel.  Soft pieces of cake topped with sour cream and pumpkin and caramel sauce – it was a nice way to end the dinner.

These words describe my overall experience of Estelle: delicate, enchanting, and well balanced.  This is a great dining experience, and at a very reasonable price for the quality of food.  Get in there before it gets too popular!

For more info and reviews:
The Estelle on Urbanspoon

Movida Aqui… Yummy Spanish Food!

We are so lucky to have 3 Movida’s in Melbourne.  The original Movida which is constantly booked out and a bit more upscale, the uber cool Movida Next Door which is constantly packed… and then we have Movida Aqui which is located in a quieter part of the city, but has the same great food and service (without rejections when booking or waiting an hour for a table!).

Went for a superb lunch there prior to Xmas, and this was what we had…

First item was from the tapas menu,  Anchoa which was described as hand-filleted Cantabrian Artisan anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet.  Yeah, I’m not normally a fan of anchovies but someone else wanted to order this and I gave it a go… and it was amazing!  The fish wasn’t overpowering and with the crispy crouton and icy cold sorbet it was a great combination.

Next up was the Vieira which was live half shell Western Australian scallops with jamon and potato foam… perfectly cooked scallop with salty jamon topped with a creamy foam, you can’t go wrong!

No visit to a Spanish restaurant would be complete without a paella, and we had the Paella de Marisco which had Bomba rice cooked with seafood and saffron…  perfectly cooked seafood, the rice at the bottom of the pan had that lovely crispiness and tasty saucy flavours!  Yum!

Last dish we had was the steak… it probably has a fancy name (which I don’t recall) but it was a massive (400g?) fillet off the bone perfectly cooked and served with potato puree.  It was awesome!

One of my favourite places to dine in Melbourne – hassle free, great atmosphere and good food!  I would gladly choose this over the other 2 Movida’s!

For more info and reviews:
MoVida Aqui and Terraza on Urbanspoon

The almighty Laksa King

The best laksa in Melbourne without a doubt, is at Laksa King.

The combination laksa has a great flavour, is loaded with noodles, prawns, chicken, tofu, and is so reasonably priced!   Soupy goodness!

From the entrees, we’ve had the Lobak (pork mince wrapped in tofu skin) and Chicken Satay.  Both are good, with the lobak being deep fried salty goodness, and the satay is delicious with the peanut sauce.

If laksa is not your thing, then there’s the old favourite Chow Kuey Teow if that tickles your fancy, or the inventive Laksa King Special Fried Rice which had roast duck and the usual fried rice friendly veges.

There are lots of other hawker style dishes to try, such as the Prawn Noodles and Mee Goreng, and lots of dishes to have with rice.  Personally, on the occasions that I do get to Flemington, I stick with the Laksa or the Chow Kuey Teow.

For more info and reviews:

Laksa King on Urbanspoon

My Favourite French Restaurant… Bistro Guillaume

My favourite French restaurant in Melbourne is Bistro Guillaume located at Crown Casino.   I loved the original Guillaume at Crown, but the new Bistro has a more casual feel which means more frequent visits.  The restaurant is lovely and simple, with good service and excellent food.

I’ve had three entrees at Guillaume, the “Onion soup“, “Charcuterie plate” and “In house smoked salmon with dill cream and toasted brioche“.  All three are superb,  however, if I had to pick one, I would choose the charcuterie plate – it had a great variety of cured meats, terrine, and pate with foie gras.  Superb!

For mains, there is a solid variety of meats and seafood.  The “Berkshire Pork belly served with lentils and tarragon vinaigrette” has a lovely crispy skin on with a juicy cut of belly.  The sauce and lentils were a good companion to the belly, without overpowering the taste of the meat.

The “Barramundi with carrot and ginger purée, coriander butter and pommes allumettes” has a delicate balance ginger and fish, and the texture of the fish and potatoes is beautiful.  Very similar dish to the John Dory dish in the Guillaume at Bennelong degustation (which I raved about as the best dish of the degustation).   In the photo below, the most impressive part of the meal is depicted – the “Paris mash“.  I don’t want to think about how much butter is in it, but damn it is a good mash.

My favourite main is “Half a roasted chicken with Paris mash and chicken jus”.  In my opinion, it’s the best roast chook out there (better than PM24).  Crispy skin, succulent meat and a lovely sauce – yum!

Overall, a superb French dining experience.

For more info and reviews:

Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Rockin’ Onion Rings at Rockpool

In my opinion the best onion rings in Melbourne are at Rockpool…  They are crispy, juicy, salty golden deliciousness.    Time and time again I’ve found myself here for the Onion Rings and Potato Puree, which is silky potato perfection.

If you’re a bit strapped for cash, and can’t afford to pay $60 for a steak, the bar menu is an affordable alternative.  Winners on the menu include the famous “David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger with Bacon, Gruyere Cheese and Zuni Pickle” and “Wood Fire Grilled Fillet Minute Steak with Café de Paris Butter“.

A recent addition to the bar menu is the “Beef and Guiness Pie with Mushy Peas” which was phenomenal!  Melt in your mouth beef bathing in tasty sauce encased in a crusty buttery pie pastry.   Beware: it is super tasty.

We had dessert…. “Dark Chocolate Pudding Tart with Chocolate Sorbet“.   It was superb!   Dark chocolate tart – slightly bitter and salty with a light sweet sorbet.   Sooo good!

I’ve been here at least once a month for the last 12 months, so without a doubt this is one of my fav places to dine in Melbourne!

For more info and reviews:
Rockpool Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Golden Fields and the infamous Lobster Roll…

Golden Fields was delightful.  Sunshine was streaming through the windows, into the minimalist and open restaurant when I was there for lunch (which btw, you can book for!).

Started with the infamous “New England lobster roll, hot buttered bun, cold poached crayfish, watercress and Kewpie” which was everything that was promised.  It was light, tasty and perfectly balanced.  My only criticism is that it was tiny, and costly!  I could have easily had 2 more of these puppies.

Next up we had “Pork belly in white bread bun” which was delicious!  Tasty braised pork belly in soft fluffy white bread… mmmm!

Crispy skin duck, steamed bread, and plum sauce” was delicious – the duck was crispy and salty, and there’s nothing like constructing your own sandwich of duck meat, hop sin and cucumber.  The steamed bread was not as well done as it could be, there was just something a bit off about them in appearance, but when in my mouth, it tasted awesome!

Dessert was “Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel and soft chocolate” and this tiny packet packed a punch!  Salty peanut butter with sweet caramel and chocolate – divine!

Lunch was great, with the crowds being less evasive then the evening sessions and the food being delicious.  The only thing I wished for was more food!  Definitely going back to have more lobster rolls, and to try other things on the menu!

For more info and reviews on Golden Fields:
Golden Fields on Urbanspoon