Tag Archives: Steak

Daylesford Adventures

For my mom’s birthday pressie, my sister and I decided to take her away to Daylesford for the weekend.   Daylesford is a lovely little town with great places to eat!  Two places stand out for me, which are:  Kazuki’s and Cliffy’s Emporium.   Another place of note in the region is Du Fermier in Trentham which rocked my socks.

Let’s start with Cliffy’s.  It’s just a nice little cafe with great brunch.  I wish I took pics, but alas I can only recall that the cheddar potato hash was excellent, the scones were a delightful afternoon snack and the cakes were great!    Most importantly, coffee was solid.  We brunched there twice and got takeaway coffees and cake once.

Kazuki’s was fabulous.  A very solid restaurant with great food and superb service.  Started with a beautiful “house smoked salmon, spanner crab, cucumber, edamame“.  Light and delicate, really beautiful to eat and to look at.IMG_6636.JPG

The second dish I had was the “pork belly, bun, kimchi, apple“.  Mix of different textures, and delicious.

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For main I had the “Sher Wagyu porterhouse, MS 9+, chimmichurri, chargrilled vegetables” which was spectacular.  Loved this dish.

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Dessert was “Tonka bean crème brûlée, lychee sorbet, meringue, raspberry“.   Again, beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat.

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Would you believe, after that 4 course dinner, I went to Du Fermier the next day?  By the end of this holiday, I was well and truly well and over fed.

The concept at Du Fermier is that there is no menu, they serve you whatever it is that’s in season and available.    We started with the best savoury tart I’ve ever had, which were filled with leeks from the chefs garden.   Was amazing.

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The main was a shared plate consisting of wagyu steak with garlic croutons roast vegetables with a veal jus.  It was so so so good.  I honestly can’t describe how good it was.  All I know is that it was perfect and I want to eat it all over again.

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Dessert was lemon curd and meringues.   It was pretty darn good.

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My mom, sister and I had an amazing time in Daylesford enjoying the sights, hot springs and massages.  The food was also amazing and on a whole new level of regional dining.  I seriously can’t wait to get back to Du Fermier.

For more info and reviews:

Kazuki’s (one hat)
Kazuki's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Du Fermier (one hat)
du Fermier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food adventures in Singapore

Ate lots of great food in Singapore, some of the highlights are below!

No matter what city I’m in, somehow I always end up at Din Tai Fung!  I’m a sucker for the Xiao Long Bao.  The thing about DTF is that no matter where you go, the XLB are made perfectly with thin pastry and a rich tasty soup inside.

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We queued in the heat for the famously famous Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice.   Google anything related to food and Singapore and this place will pop up.   I have no advice to give for when to go to avoid queues as I was there on a weekday at 2pm and still had to wait over 40 minutes!   BUT it was worth it!  The chicken was silky, the soup was good but it’s the rice  (that’s been cooked in chicken stock) that’s the real winner.

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Since we were at the hawker centre we also had some crispy skinned pork.  Delicious!

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We stayed at the W Singapore Sentosa Cove hotel and dined at their steak restaurant called Skirt.  Gotta say,  I was very impressed by the food.  We had grilled prawns and steak (you can’t go to a streak joint and not have a steak!).

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One thing I love about staying in hotels in Asian countries and having breakfast there is that there’s always noodle soup in the breakfast buffet!  Love it!

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And lastly, we had to go have the original Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel.   One of these babies will set you back $27 (gasp!).   You’re also paying for the atmosphere and being part of a bygone era (where everyone went broke from drinking Singapore Slings?).

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Hope you enjoyed the little highlights from my trip to Singapore!

For more info and reviews on Din Tai Fung (Sydney)
Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

For more info and reviews on Tian Tian here’s a link to  tripadvisor.

For more info and reviews on Skirt here’s a link to tripadvisor.

 

Crabapple Friday Night Flights to Tuscany

Another Crabapple Kitchen “Friday Night Flights” dinner, this time to Tuscany.  As usual, food is fantastic and great value for money.  Love the added touches of background Italian music and special beers and cocktails to accompany the meal.

Started with a moorish and salty “fennel salumi, bread and local extra virgin olive oil“.

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Liver crostini with Vin Santo, marjoram and aged balsamic vinegar” was delicious and tangy.  The liver was cooked well and the dish had a nice tangy balance.

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The next dish was something I’d never had before.  The “Necci” – chestnut flour crepe filled with truffled ricotta and parmesan – was a lovely delicate dish.

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Nothing beats a hearty stew!  The “Ribollita” – Classic Tuscan peasant-style soup of cavolo nero, Borlotti beans and root vegetables was a lovely light stew with yummy crusty herd bread.

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Perfectly cooked pasta dish is expected in any Italian meal.  The “pappardelle with a pork and porchini ragu, parmesan and bruschetta for mopping” delivered on all aspects.  IMG_1051

Finished with “Bistecca alla Fiorentina” – T-bone steak “Rosemary brush” with braised cavolo nero rainbow chard and roasted potatoes” which was excellent.IMG_1053

As always, love Crabapple!

For more info and reviews:
Crabapple Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Little Hunter – RIP

So this was a dinner that we had last year late Sept, right before Little Hunter closed it’s doors forever in October.  I must say, this was my second time there and I enjoyed it more than the first.  This time round I got to eat really rich food and lots of it!

Started with the customary cheesy bread with chicken skin butter.   First time I had this, it was a revelation.  This time round, it was a bit too rich.  Not sure if the dish changed, or I changed. IMG_1075 Made the mistake of ordering a fish dish in a meat restaurant.   The dill cured ocean trout, horseradish, creme fraiche, capers was really the token non-meat-lover appeasing dish.  It was a good entree, but nothing outstanding. IMG_1076 The roast duck in puy lentils entree was amazing.  The duck was smoky, and had a good crispy skin.   The lentils were exploding with flavour. IMG_1077 I ordered the “Poon Boon Lamb, gnoccho alla Roma,  braised chard, crushed olives” dish as I was quite intrigued by the description that I would be getting different pieces of lamb in different types of prep.  Geez was I shocked when the dish arrived and it was huge!  There was a sausage, a roast, a braise,  a loin with little pieces of gnocchi!  Amazing in taste, but an overwhelmingly large dish. IMG_1078 We had battered broccoli, salted ricotta for a side.  Yeah, went a bit overboard with the ordering there… IMG_1079 My boyfriend ordered the Wagyu flank, lyonnaise onions, confit kiplers, which by comparison to my Poon Boon lamb looked like a dainty supermodel.IMG_1080

I’m disappointed that Little Hunter has disappeared.  There were glimpses of brilliance in the menu.  Oh well…

For more info:
Little Hunter on Urbanspoon

Revisiting La Luna Bistro… Yay!

After my first visit to La Luna, I’d been raving about it to my boyfriend, so I had to take him there.  Booked in a surprise dinner for him on a Saturday night.  The restaurant was really busy but that didn’t compromise the service or quality of food.  We were seated upstairs in a nice little room next to another room where there was a very lively party.

Started the dinner with a lovely “tasting plate, selection of all our small goods“.  It was fabulous, and pretty as a picture.   There was a generous assortment of meats, pickled vegetables, olives and crispy bread.

Tasting plate, selection of all our small goodsI had the “chicken, mushroom & leek, suet pastry pie, carrot & swede mash” – I am such a sucker for pie, if it’s on a menu, I will order it.   The pie was delicious, the extra gravy on the plate helps!

Chicken, mushroom & leek, suet pastry pie, carrot & swede mash

The boyfriend had a “Porterhouse 300gms, buttered beans” – which was perfectly cooked and for some reason, felt like more than 300gms.

Porterhouse 300GMS, Buttered beans

And we had two sides to share: “house fries” and “broccoli, almonds, proscuitto, Manchego“.  Fries were good, but the broccoli was amazing!  The broccoli was cooked perfectly (soft but still with a crunch) and the almonds etc tasted amazing with it!

house fries and broccoli, almonds, proscuitto, ManchegoSecond visit to La Luna, and still just as impressed as the first time.  The food is fantastic, the service is great, and the restaurant is so lovely (almost quaint).  Definitely going back the next chance I get!

For more info and reviews:
La Luna Bistro 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

Little Hunter: Chicken Skin Butter

Dined with girlfriends at Little Hunter in March 2013 in the early days of this restaurant.  Location wise, it’s a bit tricky to find and the building is almost like a construction site.  But once you get in there, it’s modern and stylish but perhaps a tad dark.

The most awesome surprise arrived with the bread:  chicken skin butter.  And oh my, did it taste devine!   I’d say it’s a heart attack in a bowl.  Luckily for me, they gave us a very modest amount of it.
Bread and chicken skin butter

We tried a few things, including the beef tartare which came out more like sashimi.  It was really good.  Also had a serve of the pork crackling.  I really wished I had a beer to go with that.  And footy on the TV.

Beef tartare

Pork cracklingGiven it’s suppose to be a steak kinda place,  for my main I had steak.  I don’t remember what cut of meat it was but it was excellent.  Had a wonderful smoked flavour and cooked perfectly. Came with a nice solid mushroom and sauce.  Yum!

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I think Little Hunter is still finding it’s feet.  Some things were amazing (chicken skin butter, the steak) but it still felt like there were elements that needed some work.  Would I go back?   Sure, only to give it another go.   And for the butter.

For more info and reviews:
Little Hunter on Urbanspoon

Michael Lambie, 17 Years in 17 Dishes at The Smith

I was at The Smith a few weeks back and noticed a sign up in the ladies room: “Michael Lambie, 17 Years in 17 Dishes”.   The man behind some of the most famous restaurants (Stokehouse, Circa, & Taxi) was celebrating his 17 years in the Melbourne dining scene by serving up some of his most delicious dishes.  Needless to say, the very next day I signed up for it!

I was pleasantly surprised to discover upon arrival that drinks were included in the cost and with unlimited top ups!   Turned out to be a much bigger night than I’d originally anticipated…

We started off with three canapes:  kingfish sashimi with nam jim and toasted coconut, organic tofu with pickled ginger, cucumber and mint, and freshly shucked oysters with ponzu and wasabi caviar.   A lovely refreshing start to the dinner.

Canapes

The food was broken into time periods, so the first four dishes represented 1995 – 2000.  The mushroom cappuccino with truffle cream was like heaven in a cup.  It was rich, earthy, and creamy.

Mushroom cappuccino with truffle cream

Harrisa crusted yellow fin tuna with Thai style spanner crab salad was excellent.  Refreshing and light.

Harrisa crusted yellow fin tuna with Thai style spanner crab salad

Seared Atlantic scallops with cauliflower puree and curry oil… well I loved this dish.  Beautiful and delicately seared scallops with creamy puree… yum!

Seared Atlantic scallops with cauliflower puree and curry oil

King Island crayfish salad with tomato confit and lobster oil dressing…  Can’t go wrong with that combo!   The cray was fresh and perfectly cooked.  The dish salad added a nice crunch.

King Island crayfish salad with tomato confit and lobster oil dressing

The next episode was 2001 – 2004 and first up was quail salad with apple and celery salad, bois bourdon sauce.  Crispy pan fried quail on a tangy salad.

Quail salad with apple and celery salad, bois bourdon sauce

We were then presented with a very full plate housing San Daniele proscuitto with blue cheese dressing and crostini and ballotine of duck and foie gras with rillettes, parfait, hot toast and ginger pear chutney.   I love these charcuterie plates – heaped with salty tasty goodness and crusty bread.

San Daniele proscuitto with blue cheese dressing and crostini

And last lastly, we go into 2005 – 2012.  The roast wild barramundi fillet with eggplant caviar, basil puree and orange miso jus was an interesting combo but worked well and tasted good.

Roast wild barramundi fillet with eggplant caviar, basil puree and orange miso jus

Wonderfully cooked and tasty rolled roast rabbit saddle with rabbit confit and grain mustard veloute.

Rolled roast rabbit saddle with rabbit confit and grain mustard veloute

This was so so good:  Wagyu 7+ rump cap with horseradish cream and yakaniku dipping sauce. Meat was  cooked perfectly and the accompaniments were amazing!

Wagyu 7+ rump cap with horseradish cream and yakaniku dipping sauce

And last but not least, a modest raspberry souffle with white chocolate sorbet to finish a marvellous dinner.

Raspberry souffle with white chocolate sorbet

I hear you asking “how did she walk out of the restaurant?”.  Stuffed full of fine fine food?  Stumbling from too many wine top ups?  Euphoric from eating some of the best dishes ever?   Yes, twas all of the above.

For more info on The Smith:
The Smith on Urbanspoon

Old School French at Benoit, Paris

We were in Paris in September and really wanted to try an old school French bistro so we decided to dine at Benoit, owned by the delightfully charming Alain Ducasse.  Wood paneled walls, clean crisp white tablecloths and waiters that are nice but slightly stand offish was exactly the atmosphere I was after.  Also, as you can see from the pics below, even the plates had the name of the restaurant printed on them – so French!

Something I noticed in France, was when they give you an amuse bouche or complimentary food item to whet your appetite, it’s almost like an entree serve in itself!   We were presented with fluffy cheese puffs and rabbit rilette with toast.   The cheese puffs were light and hollow, but packed a punch and the rilette was delicious (perhaps the best I’d ever had).

Now, I chose the foie gras as my entree, which came with a toasted brioche.  Whilst it tasted good, I was overwhelmed by the two slices that I had.  Being from Australia, you rarely get to eat more than 3 mouthfuls of foie gras.  I managed to eat one slice, and I felt terrible wasting such a divine piece of food.

My boyfriend chose the crayfish soup with creamy chives and the mouthful that I sampled was divine!   Tasted spectacularly of crayfish (surprise!).

For my main course, I chose sole with wilted spinach.  I was watching Masterchef Professionals UK and Michel Roux Jr. stated that this was one of his favorite dishes.   Sole is not something you can commonly get in Australia, so I had to give it a go!  It was fantastic.  The fish was firm and had a light sweet taste to it.  The sauce on top was a lobster bisque and the spinach and cream at the bottom was delicious.  

The boyfriend chose the beef fillet with marrow bordelaise sauce served on the side with a macaroni gratin.  The steak was cooked perfectly as was the side dish, and the marrow sauce (the star of the show) pulled it all together.

Dessert was the classic vanilla millefeuille, and I have to say, it was the best millefeuille I’ve ever had.  The layers were cooked to the point where it was just caramalised and has that burnt butter flavor and the cream inside was thick, rich and creamy.

One memorable part of this dinner was that menu’s are not available in English, so listening to the patient waiters translate it over and over again to the non-French was quite amusing.  I kept expecting them to throw the towel in and start swearing, but they kept their cool and pushed through.

All up, it’s exactly the charming bistro you would expect, complete with great French food.   The restaurant was packed on a Wed night.    I would definitely recommend it, and I would go again.

Great modern French fare at Noir

Believe the hype, Noir is as good as they say it is.  The food was absolutely flawless.   The restaurant is cozy and comfortable, nestled in the midst of Swan St in Richmond.  The food is modern French, and flavours, textures, combinations of dishes is fantastic.  The presentation of food is gorgeous, as can be seen from the pics below.

Started with “crisp belly of pork, peas and prawns” which came sitting on top of a creamy rich garlic puree. Pork and prawn is a winning combo, enough said.

The other entree we had was the “salmon cured in Hendrick’s gin” which came with a gin granata, shaved cucumber and dill dressing.  Cool and refreshing on a warms summer day.

My main was the “crisp breast and confit leg of duck with kohlrabi, cherry and almonds“.  I wiped my plate clean.   The duck was cooked medium rare, just the way I like it.  The sauce was rich and delicious.  The kohlrabi was sweet and a perfect accompaniment.

My partner had the “eye fillet and braised shin of Black Angus” which came divided by a potato gratin with 3 onion rings sitting on top of it.  I stole a few bites, and gotta say, if my duck was not so darn good, I would have had the biggest case of food envy ever.  Perfect melt in your mouth eye fillet and tasty braised shin…. drool!

First dessert was the “raspberry soufflé with white chocolate ice cream on macadamias“.  Souffle was tart, and light and fluffy.  Greatly complimented by the white chocolate ice cream.

The “pot au chocolat” was fantastic!  It had Milo and crackle and malt foam and a chocolate biscuit wafer… all up, a tasty delight!

Have to say, we’ve had some great new restaurants pop up in Melbourne in the last 12 months and this is may be my favourite. I adore French food so this instantly has an advantage to win my affections.  Couple that with a great menu, perfectly executed food and solid wine to accompany the food and I’m pretty much in love.  Can’t wait to go back!

For more info:
Noir on Urbanspoon