Tag Archives: Melbourne Restaurant

Brae… interesting and challenging

Brae, Brae, Brae… what can I say?  It was interesting and somewhat challenging.  When the menu has ingredients that are listed out, you never know quite what to expect and that’s exactly how the meal went down.  There were dishes of brilliance, there were dishes that had me questioning my taste (and the restaurants) and there were some dishes that for me didn’t quite hit the mark.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole experience was great.   Everything was impeccable, service was great and dishes were very pretty.  Enjoy the happy snaps!

Cucumber and lemon myrtle, brook trout and nut butter crisp, rae pea and lemon aspen tart, midnight pure potato and smoked eel sandwich.

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Tomatoes and davidson plum in a chilled crustacean broth

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Prawn, nasturium, finger lime

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Iced oyster (yeah, this was an interesting surprise.  I loved it, partner hated it.  Neither of us are big oyster fans).

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Calamari and black lip abalone, brocolli and blue mackerel (my favourite dish of the night)

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Crayfish and burnt potatoes, sunflower, milk and mustard

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Eggplant and salt grass lamb washed with sweet onion juice, fragrant and acidic plants 

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Hapuka, cured pork and mustard greens, fish roe whipped with onion

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Berkshire pork and Otway shitake, fermented cabbage and black garlic

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Plum simmered with vanilla, sheep’s milk and Brae farm honey

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Parsnip and apple

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Rhubarb and pistachio, blood and preserved blackberry

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For more info and reviews, check out Zomato:

Brae Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Luna suckling pig lunch (aka Best Lunch Ever)

The Suckling Pig Banquet at La Luna is one of the best lunches I’ve ever had.  It was a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event which consisted of multiple porky dishes and free flowing wine the whole afternoon.  We are definitely returning for this event next year, and I’m sure for multiple occasions throughout the year.

We started with bacon and onion bread with bacon butter.  The words bacon automatically mean awesome.IMG_6943

We were then served various types of house cured meats – salami, prosciutto, pancetta, lombardo, braun.  Every single one of them was amazing.  I was too busy eating to take too many pics – below is the prosciutto.IMG_6944

We then had the pork and fennel sausages with roasted garlic and potato aioli.IMG_6946

Ham, onion and sage croquettes with bacon mayonaise.  Again, bacon = awesomeness.IMG_6948

There was a dish of crispy pigs ears with sweet balsalmic chilli (back left of the pic below) followed by cottechino and spinach pie, chickpea labne.  Loved that we got such a diverse bunch of dishes.  You can also see the salami at the back right of the pic below.IMG_6949

Then Adrian came out with the suckling pigs for a quick round of introductions. IMG_6953

The little piggies were then whisked away and brought back to us ready to be eaten!   Zomg, it was so amazing,  the pork was succulent and tender, with an amazing sauce and pickled wombok at the bottom.   We were presented with every part of the piggy, including the head (and yes, I did try to eat it).  There were also roasted potatoes and greens (with bacon) on the side.  IMG_6959

Dessert was modest and classic affair, and absolutely perfect.  The tiramisu was light and powerful, a great way to end a great lunch.IMG_6962

I can’t go on about this lunch enough.  Loved loved loved loved it, and will definitely book in for next year!

For more info and reviews:
La Luna Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Estelle by Scott Pickett

For my birthday, hubby took me to Estelle by Scott Pickett (aka ESP). I loved the old Estelle, and wasn’t sure about what to expect at ESP.   First up, the interior has definitely been upgraded – it’s dark and super modern in there, with normal table seating at the front and bar seats facing the kitchen towards the back.   Service was efficient, but perhaps a bit cold.  The food, was just as good as I remembered the old Estelle to be.

Highlights for me were the Moreton Bay Bug, Iberico Jamon & Melon and the Wagyu Beef, Beetroot, & Artichoke.  My husband, upon tasting the Kangaroo, Egg Yolk, Saltbush dish, exclaimed that it’s the best kangaroo dish he’s ever had.   The degustation is well planned and the extras (the beef and souffle) are worth it.

Without further ado, here was what we ate… (and check out the amazing dinnerware and plating!)

Smoked Wallaby & Black RiceIMG_6888

Cod Roe, Ink, Bottarga, and Spiced Avocado, Salt & Vinegar PotatoIMG_6887

Bacon BreadIMG_6889

Kangaroo, Egg Yolk, SaltbushIMG_6890

Kingfish, Cucumber, RadishIMG_6893

Moreton Bay Bug, Iberico Jamon & MelonIMG_6895

Great Ocean Road Duck, Beetroot, CherriesIMG_6896

Wagyu Beef, Beetroot, & ArtichokeIMG_6899

Beefsteak Tomatoes, & Woodside Goats CurdIMG_6901

Black Fig, Olive Oil & BasilIMG_6903

Coconut, Strawberry & ChocolateIMG_6904

Banana, Toffee Souffle with Salted Caramel Ice CreamIMG_6905

Passionfruit, Lemon Verbena SherbetIMG_6908

For more info and reviews:
ESP - Estelle by Scott Pickett Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lazy Saturday lunch at Supernormal

There’s something so delightful about having a leisurely long lunch whilst sitting at the restaurant counter watching the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.  And that’s exactly what the husband and I did a few Saturdays ago before heading to the NGV for the Andy Warhol – Ai Wei Wei exhibition.

I must confess that the more I visit Supernormal, the more I like it.  There’s something to be said about being able to consistently execute on perfectly cooked food.   Highlights of the lunch (besides having all the time in the world to enjoy an amazing lunch):  the baby corn rocked my socks – super tasty,  pan fried spicy beef bun: moist spicy beef in a flaky bun, baked meringue:  an amazing dessert, subtle but hits all the right notes and textures.

Kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradishIMG_6831

Baby corn with miso butter IMG_6833

Tonkatsu (crumbed pork) sandwichIMG_6834

Pan friend spicy beef bunIMG_6835

Prawn & chicken dumpling, chilli and vinegar sauceIMG_6837

Baked meringue, jasmine, lychee and raspberryIMG_6838

For more info and reviews:
Supernormal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lûme

For my birthday, my wonderful husband surprised me with dinner at Lûme!   It’s been on my to eat list for a few months since opening with the big bang of “we’re going to be in the top 50 restaurants in the world” (paraphrased but you get the gist).  We went the day before the announcement about the change in ownership, with 2 of the 3 originals leaving to go overseas.  Not sure what this means for Lume, but none the less, here’s my review of the place.

Some things to note:

  • Amazing interior.  From the outside, you wouldn’t know that there was this beautiful restaurant with a open courtyard out the back hidden in the back.
  • Have faith:  you get very little info about what you’re eating and sometimes it gets a bit scary but in the end it all works out.
  • Matching wine = 1 bottle.  That’s a lot of wine.  We were there on a school night so I could not partake.  We did try the non-alcoholic match which was different (in a good way) and complimented the food nicely.

So without further ado, here’s what we ate…

Breakfast eel on burnt barley crumpetIMG_6692

Red summer fruit, dashi and citrusIMG_6693

Raw asparagus and calamari entrails warmed with saltbush butter – surprisingly the best dish of the night.IMG_6695

Emu tart with warm jersey milk and white geraniumIMG_6699

Pearl on the ocean floorIMG_6701

Flinders island lamb perfumed with cherry wood, rhubarb, hibiscus and roseIMG_6704

Red beet baked in La Sirene Praline, raw cocao vinegarIMG_6706

Sea corn and pork fatIMG_6708

Barbecue ice with raw yabby tail, shitake and lemon aspenIMG_6710

Dry aged duck dressed with sour mulberries and elderflower vinegar – stunningIMG_6717

Cauliflower cheese with a pastry smoked over pear woodIMG_6718

Lambs blood ganache rolled in maple oats, native apple jam and riberry pepperIMG_6721

Blackberries, blueberries and sour goat’s milkIMG_6722

Jarusalem artichoke, La Sirene Praline, caramelised apple and chamomileIMG_6724

Cacao pod from Maralumi with notes of tobacco, green banana and currants – the picture doesn’t do this justice.  It’s a very generous serve of chocolate delights.IMG_6729

 

For more info and reviews:
Lume Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dinner by Heston

Dinner by Heston exceeded all my expectations and has ended up being one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in Melbourne. Everything was perfect.    The atmosphere of the restaurant is unpretentious and casual, the service was attentive and prompt and the food was amazing.   I would highly recommend going to Dinner by Heston, so much so that I’m re-visiting in March!

Great thing about the menu is that it’s a la carte, so you can pick the courses you want.  I was here with a party of 5, so we had a chance to see most of the dishes that were on the menu.   Impressively, all the entrees and mains were winners.

Food highlights: Meat Fruit (classic) , Rice & Flesh (super tasty), Mash Potato (as good as Joel Rubechon), Powdered Duck Breast (amazing – I can’t begin to imagine how they cooked it so well) and Tipsy Cake (watching that pineapple slow roast speaks volumes for how amazing this tastes).

Maybe give a miss: Fries (nothing out of the ordinary), Spring Tart (was nice, but compared to other desserts a bit dull).

Enjoy the pictures!

Meat Fruit – Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled breadIMG_6665

Rice & Flesh -Saffron, curried kangaroo tail, red wine & amaranthIMG_6668

Swept away to Luxembourg

When I heard that Andrew McConnell was going to swap out Golden Fields with a European bistro named after Jardin du Luxembourg my heart leapt for joy!  Luxembourg!    There are not enough bistros in Melbourne in my opinion.  Especially those inspired by phenomenal gardens in Paris!  Joy!

Went for the chef’s selection, which was excellent.  But I really wanted to try the “potato skins, whipped cod roe & avruga” and that was not included…. I’ll just have to go back!

Started with a “tuna, oyster cream, apple & bonito dressing” from the raw section.   Nice light start to dinner…

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We were then treated to the “soft shell crab sandwich, tartare & iceberg” which would give the Golden Fields lobster roll a good run for it’s money…

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I love love love a good selection of chacuterie and this ticked all the boxs.  Rillettes, terrine, cured meats… yum!

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The “radicchio, smoked duck breast, grapes & walnut” was epic.  It was such a powerful taste for such a small dish.  Smoky dish with bitter raw radicchio and braised sweet radicchio.  It was wonderful.

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Slow braised beef short rib, grilled tongue, red wine sauce & parsley” was excellent.   Meat was tender and cooked to perfection.

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We then got to try the “tripe & cuttlefish braise, brioche crumbs“… which is an amazing genius dish.    I don’t even like tripe but I adored this!

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Desserts followed, first up was the “Mille-feuille, spiced quince & brown sugar creamwhich was fantastic.  The pastry was crispy, the cream was not too sweet and the quince added a nice tartness to the dish.   Despite sounding like a heavy dessert, it was light and delicious.

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The “buttermilk panna cotta, blood orange, meringue & fennel granita” was a nice cleanser and a great way to end the meal. IMG_2550

So it’s pretty obvious that I loved this restaurant.  I loved the food… but service was a bit patchy and the layout of the restaurant is a bit awkward.   But  I’m willing to forgive all that for the great food!

For more info and reviews:
Luxembourg on Urbanspoon

All hail Sezar!

How is it possible that I’d never heard of Sezar up till last week?   The food here was brilliant!  Hidden in an alley near chinatown, Sezar serves Armenian food.   I’ve never eaten Armenian food prior to this, but I’m now a fan!

We went for the $65 tasting plate, which includes a dessert platter.   Started with “OYSTERS with compressed apple & anise“.

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We then had the super crispy “CRISPY POTATO & SOUJAK KOFTE with red pepper aioli“.   Definitely a winner.

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The “SPINACH & FETA BOREG with Aleppo mayo” was amazing!  Crispy light pastry wrapped around a very yummy filling.

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We then had the “GRAIN SALAD with toasted nuts, labne and shoots” which was a nice light touch after the crispy fried treats…

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And another healthy (and delicious) option of “CURED OCEAN TROUT with apple & fennel salad, crème fraiche & roe“.

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The “LULE KEBAB with spiced lamb kebab, sour cherry sauce and baby cos” was as good as it looks…

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Now, I believe the next dish we had was the “BBQ WAGYU TENDERLOIN with garlic yoghurt & lavash“… and it was the best dish of the night for me!  The meat was tasty and soft and I loved it!

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If you can believe it, we now move on to the mains…  yep, there was a lot of food.   The “SPICED BBQ CHICKEN with bulgur, corn and herbed yoghurt” was great.

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Lucky last was “GLAZED PORK with purslane, pomegranate & radish salad” and it was wonderfully glazed, sweet and sticky.

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The dessert platter was amazing and I was a very happy camper.  It consisted of: NEW STYLE BAKLAVA with crispy filo, walnut toffee ice cream & salted caramel,  VANILLA PARFAIT with strawberries, pistachio & rose water syrup, SEMOLINA CAKE with slow cooked quince, almonds & crème fraiche ice cream and SOFTENED CHOCOLATE GANACHE with cardamom cake, hazelnuts & orange blossom cream.  All were wonderful!

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This place is great.   Good value for money, great service and most importantly, fantastic food.  Can’t wait to go back!

For more info and reviews:
Sezar on Urbanspoon

Food highlights in May…

Thought I would try something different for this weeks post.  Instead of the restaurant review, thought I’d do a summary of eating in May.  May was an interesting month.  First time in a long time that I didn’t go out for an overly excessive meal.  But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t eat well!  Here are the highlights of the month…

Tried a local spot in Brighton,  Track Three Expresso who have only recently started serving tapas in the evenings.  I must say, it’s really random and obscure but I had a great time!  Wine is excellent and small bites to accompany are delicious.   I will be back!

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My life seems incomplete without a visit to Lune Croissanterie at least once a month.  Yes, I am one of those tragic people who queue up at 7am for pastries!

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I finally popped my Huxtaburger cherry.  I was a bit anticlimactic (haha!) and it would take a lot for me to prefer anything over Tuckshop Take Away (see below).

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Another local tapas joint we checked out was Lona in Armadale.   The food was good, there was a lovely local cozy feel to it and the people working there were great.    Lots of local regulars hang out there (the guy behind the bar knew everyone!).  Best dish of the night for me were the meatballs.

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Hit up my favourite burger joint Tuck Shop Takeaway… love love love it!

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Came across Alison’s in Prahran, a bakery that happens to make amazing crispy roast pork rolls.  It’s fregging amazing!

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Went to San Telmo for dinner with my girlfriends and had the hanger steak.  It’s so so good!   Everything we had that night was outstanding.

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Was lucky enough to score an invite to the opening night of Hophaus Bier Bar in Southbank.   The place looks amazing, the drinks selection was overwhelming and the food was great!  Will be visiting again.IMG_2309

And lucky last place for the month which totally blew my mind was Meatmother.    Was at a party that they did the catering for and it was the best BBQ and sides I’ve had ever.  And this is from catering!  I imagine the visit to the restaurant will totally rock my world.

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Well, that was my first ever post summarising a whole month of eating.   Hope you enjoyed it! xo

For more info on Track Three Expresso:
Track Three Espresso on Urbanspoon

For more info on Lune:
Lune Croissanterie on Urbanspoon

For more info on Huxtaburger:
Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon

For more info on Lona:
Lona Pintxos Bar on Urbanspoon

For more info on Tuck Shop:
Tuck Shop Take Away on Urbanspoon

For more info on San Telmo:
San Telmo on Urbanspoon

For more info on Hophaus:
Hophaus on Urbanspoon

For more info on Meatmother:
Meatmother on Urbanspoon

Bowled away by Champions Bistro (aka Clayton Bowls Club)

I rushed to book a table at Champions Bistro after the article appeared in the Age in Nov last year and had to settle for a weeknight dinner as all weekends were booked out till March.  At that time, the chef and his lady love were supposed to leave Australia after that and head off to South America so there was no time to waste in getting a table.  Since then, they’ve extended their gig at the bowls club, so don’t rush people, plenty of seats for all!

I was very impressed by the food, and loved the juxtaposition of the location.  Fine dining at a humble bowls club in good old Clayton.   I am a bit over the minimal descriptions of food, but in this case all is forgiven as the food delivers.

It was love at first sight for me when the “crispy chicken, sour cream, onion, chive” starter came out.  Anyone who serves me crispy chicken skin I will love till my dying day.

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Deep fying “beef tendon, native pepper leaf, lime” means you get something totally unexpected from just reading it off the menu.  Again, a very good dish and intriguing start to the evening.

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Another pretty and unexpected dish:  “raddish, smoked butter, pork“.

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Now, I would have never put this combo together, but the “lamb sweet bread, leek, tatsoi, mussel, grape” seemed to work.  Lamb and mussels….  right.  Bear in mind, for me to say this dish was okay is big praise considering a) I only eat sweetbreads when it’s cooked really nicely and b) I don’t eat mussels.

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Mmm this was delicious.   Soft, delicate and tasty:   “Southern squid, buttermilk, kohlrabi, cabbage

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Upgraded the menu and go the “Aaco Darling Downs Wagyu Tenderloin BMS 7/8, pear, Tasmanian wasabi, daikon” dish.  It’s a small dish but because it’s so rich and packed full of flavour, it was the perfect amount.

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This was described to us as a fancy vegemite cheese sandwich, and it was!  “Pynegana cheddar, vege paste, crackers” was delightful!IMG_1839

The “smoked chocolate, tarragon, malt and black truffle” dessert was good, but compared to all the other dishes we had that night, it was like a big clumsy giant as it was too big!  And eating so much truffle on a dessert dish really freaked me out.

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Finished off with a beautiful light dessert of “summer corn“.  It was sweet and creamy and cold.  Delightful.

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Loved dinner here.  They don’t do matching wine’s but there’s a good little wine list.   They’ve upped the price since the article in the Age (and why wouldn’t you?) so don’t expect a $50 dinner (it’s $80).  Totally worth it and I’m totally going back!

For more info and reviews:
Champions Bistro on Urbanspoon