Tag Archives: Melbourne

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

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

Lucy Liu

New hip and happening Lucy Liu is the latest Flinders Lane (or close enough) restaurant to grace us.  It was great food, and strong competition for Coda and Supernormal (asian inspired etc etc).

For some reason, the entrance was at the back and someone went a little crazy town with the red lighting in there.    Totally unrecognisable to me  from the old PM24.  As per most of my food outings now, I’m a bit too lazy to decide on the menu so we decided to let Lucy choose 7 plates for us.

Some of us don’t eat oyters, so we got the “organic tofu with cucumber, mint and pickled ginger“.  I would suggest not ordering this dish if you had choice.  It’s nice but really quite dull.

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Kingfish sashimi with green chilli, hot mint and toasted coconut” was excellent.  Perhaps one of the best kingfish sashimi dishes I’ve had in a while…

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The “steamed sticky beef bun with cucumber, hot chilli and black vinegar” was a rich and tasty mouthful.

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My favourite dish of the night was the simple sounding “crystal skin prawn and bamboo dumplings with cucumber and yuzu dressing“.  It was amazing!  Perfect little prawn dumplings.  Better than anything you’d get at yum cha :b

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Tempura soft shelled crab with hot green nam jim” was great.

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The “crisp masterstock free range chicken, bamboo salad, nam prik and hot & sour dressing” was tasty, but the party agreed that the chicken was too tough.   Especially the white meat.   I wouldn’t order it again.

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Okay, I take back my earlier call about the prawn dumplings being the best dish of the night.  The best was the “Lucy Liu wagyu been with yakiniku dipping sauce & hot mustard horseradish“.  It was perfect!  The beef was melt in mouth perfection and the sauces were excellent.

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The “roast barramundi fillet with black bean and chilli sambal and nouc cham dipping sauce” was another winning dish.  Perfectly cooked fish and great sauces.

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This was how our meal ended.  I’m not sure if they were ushering us out for the next sitting but we didn’t get dessert!  Regardless, dinner was very good and I’d gladly go back to try some other dishes (as well as ordering those prawn dumplings and beef!).

For more info and reviews:
Lucy Liu Kitchen and Bar 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

My love affair with Burch and Purchese

I’ve been having a love affair with Burch and Purchese ever since they opened back in 2012 and my brother in law brought home their Xmas edition Christmas cake.  After that, I was hooked.  I’d sneak out to B&P at least once a fortnight to indulge in their sweets.  Here are some of my favourites through the years…

I love the little desserts, where you can get the perfect portion…  All the fantastic flavours and textures…
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Love love love the in store displays…  from the whimsical Easter Eggs to the Alice in Wonderland display, all made from chocolate!

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Oh and the cakes!  My oh my…. I’m so enamoured by the cakes that the first thing I did when organising my wedding was to go to B&P and order a cake!   I love the layers and perfect combinations of sweet, savoury, salty, soft, mousey, crunchy, cakey.

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Without a doubt, this is my love letter to Burch and Purchese.  You complete me.

For more info:
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon

Tuck Shop Take Away

I’m in love!  A down to earth, cool and friendly establishment serving excellent hamburgers!   Tuck Shop Take Away, you rock my world!  The burgers are amazing, the fries are perfection and the desserts are to die for!

The story goes that it’s a husband and wife combo who worked in some of the most epic restaurants in the world who have settled in Caulfield to serve up delicious take away.

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The burger has a moist meat pattie on a Noisette sesame seed bun with gooey cheese and fresh salad.  The fries are not the processed frozen variety, and super yummy!

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I find the desserts intriguing.  Seems to me like they are using upmarket techniques on everyday ingredients, like apples and Redskins!  My boyfriend loves the redskin and chocolate brownie.

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Yeah, I love this place.  You’ll find me there most Saturdays, scoffing a burger and fries, with my milkshake and takeaway dessert!

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

Attica – Mixed Emotions…

This is the post that’s long overdue,  and truth be told, I’ve been avoiding it a bit.  First of all, it’s a loooong post as I sat through a long degustation.  There were some highlights, and there were some lowlights.   And it’s Attica!  There’s a 6 month wait to get a table!  And it’s in the top 50 best restaurants in the world.   I’m very torn about this.  Having said that, my partner points out that it was a “complete” experience – food, atmosphere, service (I’m guessing he was more enamoured by this dinner than I).

A few interesting snacks to start…  There were breads, an olive oil mousse, buckwheat pancakes, and crumbed mussels (complete with crazy painted mussel shell).

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Snow Crab, Mandarin and Sorrel.  Light, delicate and fresh.

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Marron and Ground Greens.  Really, you can’t really do anything wrong with a marron dish.  Love.

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A simple dish of Potato cooked in the earth it was grown.  First time I had this dish a few years ago, it was a revelation.  Whilst this time, it was not a revelation, it was still pretty darn good as I love a good potato.

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Cucumber, Holy Flax, Sauce of Burnet.  Never ceases to amaze me how something that sounds so bland (cucumber) and good for you (holy flax!) can actually taste good!

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Meat from the pearl oyster pinctada maxima with Radish.  Hmm… this was a real miss for me.  Weird consistency, weird temperature (it was warm and not) and a poor used pearl oyster!  It tasted good, but that was about it.

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Wallaby with Herbs Tended by the Hands of our Cooks.  It was delicious.  Perfect proportions and the herbs tasted excellent.

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At this point, we were invited to check out the herb garden at the back and were give a little chocolate ice cream treat.  It was nice to be outside and having the opportunity to chat to the chefs.

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Blueberries, Vinegar and Fresh Cheese.  Perfect dessert.  Totally my kind of dessert and I loved it!

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Raw Strawberry Jam.  This was good too.  Interesting in that it was like semi frozen jam on top of strawberries and other things.

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Lastly, we were presented with a little ditty about a Pukeko bird and some chocolates.  Very cute way to end the evening.

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So, one miss, and a few hits.  I’m not sure if I would recommend Attica to people as it’s a bit avant garde and a fair amount of dollars for dinner.   I suppose I will be back in a few years to see what new food experiences are there and if the old trusty potato dish is still there!

For more info and reviews:
Attica on Urbanspoon

Jacques Reymond… over overindulgence…

Decided that winter in Melbourne is too dreary and that I needed some “highlights” to get me through. Hence, we decided to have an extra special date night at Jacques Reymond. Last time I was at Jacques it was about 4-5 years ago, and I remember the first time as being excellent. This time round, perhaps I am a different type of diner now, the wow factor wasn’t quite there.

Degustation started with a appetizer of cheesy puffs (there’s probably a more fancy name, but whatever!). Had a lot of these during the last holiday in France, so knew what to expect – soft fluffy shoe pastry filled with cheese! They were delightful.
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The “clear broth of shiitake, fragrant lemon balm, clams” was a beautiful subtle dish, with the broth being very flavourful with perfectly cooked clams. IMG_0818

The “yellow fin tuna, smoked salmon mousse, spiced nougatine, togarashi, lemon caviar” another subtle dish. Interesting textures with raw fish, mouse and a jelly like sheath on top.

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Nothing makes me happier than perfectly cooked fresh fish, and the “King George whiting, acidities of pickles Japanese style, yuzu” dish delivered on that. The pickles elevated the fish to a whole new level.
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Gotta say, I love dishes that combine seafood and poultry. “Cuttlefish, pork and crispy chicken skin” was an excellent dish which was so tasty, I was scraping the bottom of the plate to get all the sauce. Finely sliced cuttlefish and pork with a super tasty broth/sauce topped with a think piece of crispy chicken skin – yum!IMG_0821
Parmesan custard, green peas, macerated grapes, wasabi and apple granita” = palate cleanser to get us in the mood for the meat dishes. I’d describe this as cold, cleansing and sour-ish, with pops of peas.

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The “salad of Flinders Island lamb, smoked eucalyptus scallop, scampi, masterstock jelly” was a nice little dish that showcased the lamb whilst incorporating lightly cooked seafood.

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The “Sher wagyu a la plancha, burnt onion and coffee” was delicious. A perfectly cooked piece of beef, however, I wish it came with more sauce and a few more things to accompany it!

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Dessert number one was “Camargue organic red rice, champagne, Yarra Valley berries” which had nice textures in the semi crispy rice and cold berries and sorbet on top.

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Dessert number two, the “spiced cherries, chocolate and chestnut mont blanc, bay leaf and cassis” was fabulous. Little things on a plate that went perfectly together, and was not too sweet for me.

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Finished off with the generous petit fours, including Spanish donuts!

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Overall, the dinner was good, but there were a few things that I thought were a bit a miss. The biggest one being when we decided to order the degustation (which is in the $200 per person mark), we were asked if we would like to include truffle with the beef course at an extra $50 per person! I don’t know what was worse… trying to be up-sold truffles or that it was $50 per person!

The food was well presented and immaculately prepared, service was good and atmosphere was a bit stiff. Would I revisit? Probably not for another 5 years. Would I recommend you go? Nope, there’s more exciting dining for more reasonable prices in Melbourne.

For more info and reviews:
Jacques Reymond on Urbanspoon

Builders Arms Hotel…. *drool*

Builders Arms Hotel is amazing!  Went there for date night a few weeks ago as I was craving roast, and was totally blown away by how good the food was.

First up, we had crispy pork and school prawns.  Pieces of pork crackling and crispy school prawns in a dish together – who woulda thunk?  It was great.

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The prawn omelette, aioli and smoked paprika was a fluffy, soft and tasty pan of goodness.  Topped with a dollop of aioli.  Excellent stuff!
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As mentioned earlier, I was craving roast so I had to have the slow roast beef, with hasselback potatoes.  The beef is hidden under the greens in the pic below, but let me assure you, it was roasted perfection.IMG_0754My dearest fiance had ‘The George’ NY strip, 250g, fried egg and gentleman’s relish and we shared a side of chips.   Whilst I didn’t taste the steak, no doubt the food was exceedingly well presented and judging by the silence that followed as soon as the plate hit the table, I’m going out on a limb to say it was tasty.
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Oh dear, as I write this post, I’m trying to think of the next time I’ll get to visit Builders Arms.  I’d definitely get the prawns and the omelette.  I’m already drooling thinking about this…

For more info and reviews:
Builders Arms Hotel Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon