Pomodoro Sardo, Melbourne CBD

Pomodoro Sardo offers modern and seasonal Sardinian cuisine with seafood, culurgiones, malloreddus and fregola all featuring in the menu. I scored a window seat perfect for people (or rather, peak traffic) watching and availed myself of the complimentary pane carasau and olive oil.

Pane Carasau and Bread w. olive oil

Pane Carasau and Bread w. olive oil

Tonight I had the linguine all cartoccio, which came with calamari, king prawns, fish and mussels in a white wine, tomato, chili, garlic and parsley sauce. Not long after ordering I was presented with a bowl with pizza-like bread moulded over the top. At this point I was confused. Did I order the wrong thing? Did they mishear me when I ordered? Is it someone else’s dish?

Linguine all Cartoccio - Homemade Linguine w. Calamari, King Prawns, Fish of the Day, Mussels, EVOO, White Wine, Tomato, Chili, Garlic and Parsley

Linguine all Cartoccio – Homemade Linguine w. Calamari, King Prawns, Fish of the Day, Mussels, EVOO, White Wine, Tomato, Chili, Garlic and Parsley

Much to my relief, the waiter cut open the edges of the dough to reveal a steaming mound of linguine and seafood. The bread looked awfully good for dipping into the sauce so I broke it and soaked it and hoped I wasn’t committing any faux pas in doing so. The ritual reminded me of the process of eating my beloved roti canai. It was a fairly decent serve of pasta and the sauce – especially at the bottom where all the rich goodness of flavour had settled – was a real treat. My only gripe was that there was only a tiny piece of fish, and it could have done with a touch more chili, but overall I had a good impression of the restaurant and appreciated the lovely service.

Pomodoro Sardo
118 Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9663 8006
http://www.pomodorosardo.com/
Pomodoro Sardo on Urbanspoon

Dapur Indo, Clayton

I came in to Dapur Indo for a quick bite on the way to uni and though I’m not too familiar with Indonesian cuisine, I’m keen to try. Although they have a a la carte menu, I opted for the rice with three bain marie dishes so that I could try a couple of different things. I think this style of food is called nasi kapau or nasi padang.

Rice w. Three Dishes - Beef Rendang, Fried Chicken w. Green Chili, Beef Jerky w. Chili

To go with my rice I picked beef rendang, fried chicken with green chili, and beef jerky with chili. The flavour of the rendang wasn’t quite as potent as the rendang I’m used to, but the sauce was still good. I found the ayam cabe hijau surprisingly tender; I thought that the chicken may have gotten a bit dry from sitting in the bain marie. The dendeng balado was very crispy, a little like eating chips. It was something quite different for me and somewhat of a guilty pleasure.

All the other customers were Indonesian, which to me was a good sign. It was home style cooking in a very casual, friendly atmosphere and I very much enjoyed my meal there.

Dapur Indo
41 Dunstan St
Clayton, VIC, 3168
(03) 9562 6225
Dapur Indo on Urbanspoon

Society, Melbourne CBD

Society is a dining institution, having first opened in 1932 and maintaining its offering of great service and Italian fine dining. It has elaborate fit out and can cater for all sorts of occasions because of its multiple rooms and cocktail lounge.

Porcini, Artichoke and Truffle Oil Risotto w. Buffalo Mozzarella Zucchini Flower ($30)

Porcini, Artichoke and Truffle Oil Risotto w. Buffalo Mozzarella Zucchini Flower ($30)

My lunch choice was the risotto of the day containing truffle oil, porcini and artichoke. The risotto was topped with a zucchini flower, the petals of which encased oozing buffalo mozzarella. This choice of cheese gave it a creamy yet mild taste that didn’t overwhelm the more subtle zucchini flower. I did feel that at times the bitterness of the artichoke overpowered the more delicate flavours of the mushrooms, but overall it was a very enjoyable risotto and the rice grains were cooked perfectly.

Society Restaurant
23 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9639 2544
http://www.societyrestaurant.com/
Society Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Le Petit Gateau, Melbourne CBD

Le Petit Gateau

We happened to be in the area so we thought we’d try out some of Le Petit Gateau’s famed cakes. The two showcase cakes we chose were the Hazelnut Millefeuille and the  Brownie and Passionfruit Chocolate Gâteau.

Hazelnut Millefeuille & Brownie and Passionfruit Chocolate Gâteau

Hazelnut Millefeuille

I enjoyed the millefeuille more than the brownie passionfruit gateau because of its more complex texture and my love of nuts. This isn’t to say there was anything wrong with the brownie and passionfruit gateau; it wasn’t overly rich or dense, aided by the light and tangy passionfruit flavour cutting through.

Hazelnut Millefeuille & Brownie and Passionfruit Chocolate Gâteau

Hazelnut Millefeuille & Brownie and Passionfruit Chocolate Gâteau

I look forward to returning to taste what other interesting cakes Le Petit Gateau has on display.

Le Petit Gateau
458 Little Collins St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9944 8893
http://www.lepetitgateau.com.au
Le Petit Gateau on Urbanspoon

The Deli Counter, Melbourne CBD

The Deli Counter (2)

The Deli Counter came into being mid-last year, aiming to bring us uncomplicated yet satisfying meal options in the CBD. Head chef Eitan Doron prepares mainly Mediterranean-influenced food in the open kitchen, and the menu changes according to what can be procured at the markets, ensuring freshness, seasonality and creativity.

The Deli Counter (18)

The space has a stripped back, industrial look with exposed brick, hanging lighting wooden crates transformed into counters, and an impressive window front. There’s both table and bench seating; the ground floor is great for people watching and the upper level affords a more private and intimate dining area. The first floor also allows for small functions.

The Deli Counter (24)

The Deli Counter (8)

Originally operating through a more traditional model, they’ve now adopted a simpler approach. Coming to the counter, customers pick a protein and select three sides to go with it. Also available are pitas, salads and sweets.

The Deli Counter (7)

 

Pita Pockets w. Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, Pickles, Sauce

Pita Pockets w. Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, Pickles, Sauce

We were offered a selection of dishes to demonstrate the sort of food diners might find. Starting off our feast were the pita pockets, generously filled to the brim with pulled pork, coleslaw, pickles and a rather tasty sauce. Oozing with juices it was a little messy to eat, but completely worth the soaked napkins.

Hummus w. Eggs, Freekeh, Cauliflower and Fennel Seeds, Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Pita

Hummus w. Eggs, Freekeh, Cauliflower and Fennel Seeds, Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Pita

A bowl of fluffy pita was served alongside hummus, which had egg mixed through. The hummus was full flavoured and so smooth – Morri described it as ‘velvety’ and he was exactly right. It was one of the nicest versions of hummus I’ve had so far.

Freekeh w. Tomato, Dill, Cauliflower w. Fennel Seeds, Pumpkin, Cauliflower w. Tahini

Freekeh w. Tomato, Dill, Cauliflower w. Fennel Seeds, Pumpkin, Cauliflower w. Tahini

I love cauliflower and here it had been prepared to bring out its nuttiness, which was complemented by the tahini. There was a light and healthy freekeh salad with tomato and dill to enjoy too.

Israeli Eggplant Moussaka

Israeli Eggplant Moussaka

12hr Slow-cooked Lamb w. Tarragon, Lemon and Coriander

12hr Slow-cooked Lamb w. Tarragon, Lemon and Coriander

Also sampled were the Israeli eggplant moussaka topped with tahini, and a beautiful lamb dish. The lamb had been slow-cooked with tarragon, lemon and coriander until tender and it was reminiscent of home-cooked comfort food.

We had a very pleasurable experience at The Deli Counter and it definitely stood out as one of the more memorable lunches I’ve had in the city. Eitan was very humble about his skills, putting it all down to hard work, but there is definitely talent here. It’s simple food done well, and definitely worth checking out.

The Deli Counter (12)

Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at The Deli Counter as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.

The Deli Counter
211-213 Queen St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9642 1213
http://thedelicounter.com.au/
Facebook
The Deli Counter on Urbanspoon

Wagyu Ya, South Yarra

As its name suggests, Wagyu Ya specialises in wagyu beef, particularly wagyu cooked over Japanese barbecue. Set over two levels, it has both a la carte (downstairs) and smokeless charcoal barbecue (upstairs). Bookings are recommended for the dinner barbecue menu. Its a la carte menu has items from sushi and sashimi to noodles and rice, and also a variety of entrees and side dishes. We came here today to try out Wagyu Ya’s lunch special menu which consists of donburi, ramen, sushi, sashimi and, of course, barbecued wagyu.

BBQ Lunch Special Set - Harami ($21) Red Miso Soup, Potato Salad, Tori Karaage, Yaki Buda Gohan (Grilled Kurobuta w. Teriyaki Sauce on Rice), Sweet Soy, Sesame, Spicy Miso Sauce

BBQ Lunch Special Set – Harami ($21) Red Miso Soup, Potato Salad, Tori Karaage, Yaki Buda Gohan (Grilled Kurobuta w. Teriyaki Sauce on Rice), Sweet Soy, Sesame, Spicy Miso Sauce

All the barbecue lunch sets contained the same dishes but had a different cut of 7+ BMS wagyu, which is cooked in the kitchen before being brought out. I had the harami, which is part of the diaphragm. I’m not entirely sure what the equivalent cut in Australian terms is, but it could be the skirt. The wagyu was already nicely seasoned, but we were also provided with three dipping sauces to go with it: sweet soy, sesame and spicy miso. Though it was tasty and juicy, the batter of the chicken karaage wasn’t quite crispy. The potato salad was creamy and surprisingly refreshing because of the addition of cucumber and carrot. It contained mayo, but it didn’t overpower the potato flavour, which I commonly find with potato salad.

BBQ Lunch Special Set - Tri-tip ($21) Red Miso Soup, Potato Salad, Tori Karaage, Yaki Buda Gohan (Grilled Kurobuta w. Teriyaki Sauce on Rice), Sweet Soy, Sesame, Spicy Miso Sauce

Mum had the tri-tip, which had a more meaty flavour but wasn’t quite as tender as the harami.

BBQ Lunch Special Set - Harami ($21) Red Miso Soup, Potato Salad, Tori Karaage, Yaki Buda Gohan (Grilled Kurobuta w. Teriyaki Sauce on Rice), Sweet Soy, Sesame, Spicy Miso Sauce

Both of us loved the yaki buda gohan – flavoursome little cubes of kurobuta pork and not-too-sweet teriyaki sauce on beautifully cooked, fluffy rice. The miso soup was also very good, and seemed to be made with the darker red miso that imparted a lovely depth and richness to the soup.

Initially the serve of wagyu may not seem that much, but the wagyu’s fattiness and the inclusion of other substantial dishes made the BBQ lunch set a satisfying meal. We were both impressed by the quality of food and Wagyu Ya is definitely on my radar for a revisit.

Wagyu Ya: Japanese Chargrill Restaurant
156 Toorak Road
South Yarra, VIC, 3141
(03) 9867 2882
http://www.wagyuya.com.au/
Wagyu Ya Japanese Chargrill Restaurant on Urbanspoon

SugarBun, Melbourne CBD

The large Malaysian fast-food chain SugarBun moved into Melbourne late last year to bring us East Malaysian cuisine, courtesy of Francesca and Fiorn Lee. The cosy restaurant is spread over two levels and they serve well-known Malaysian dishes like nasi lemak, as well as stews and other rice and noodle dishes such as Sarawak-style laksa. Their signature dishes are the bak kut teh, which isn’t easy to find in Melbourne, and their broasted chicken. The drinks menu consists of drinks popular in Malaysia like milo, cham, Ribena, cold crysanthemum tea and 100Plus and also regular tea, beer and cider.

Broasted Chicken ($8)

Just like the menu claimed, pressure-fried, tender and juicy chicken meat was contained within the very crunchy skin and the Kano sauce was a great condiment to go with it. I also appreciated the fact that it wasn’t drenched and dripping with oil.

Bak Kut Teh ($15)

The basic version of bak kut teh came with pork belly, ribs, a tofu puff, shiitake, enoki mushrooms and a bit of crysanthemum leaf. Tightly-packed meatballs brought the number of forms of pork in the dish to three. Also given are mixed grain rice, Nanyang Appe-hancer and you char kway. Offal and extra portions of the included ingredients can be also be added to the order for a charge. The you char kway are best enjoyed by soaking them in the soup before consuming, but not for so long that they become overly soggy. Compared to most you char kway I’ve eaten, theirs isn’t quite as oily. The Appe-hancer isn’t meant to be eaten together with the soup because its flavours compete with the more aromatic and delicate flavours of the bak kut teh broth, but it was great for cleansing the palate. It seemed to be a combination of ginger and preserved vegetable like kai choi.

Dry Bak Kut Teh ($15)

The regular bak kut teh was nice, but the dry version was definitely the favourite with its dark, concentrated and salty sauce and a hint of chili. It’s not something I’d heard of before now, but it was most enjoyable. Crunchy lotus roots complimented the caramelised pork and the okra was tender but not overcooked and slimey. The dry version came with a bowl of broth on the side, so you’re not completely missing out on having the herbal soup.

SugarBun is worth a try, particularly to have a taste of what else Malaysian cuisine has to offer.

SugarBun
205 Russell Street
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9650 4336
http://www.sugarbun.com.au/
SugarBun on Urbanspoon

Third Wave, Prahran Take 2

Though I’ve been to Third Wave before, I didn’t try any of the thing they’re famous for: their American BBQ dishes. When a Groupon voucher came up I thought it’d be a great opportunity to revisit.

Beef Ribs - Smoked w. 9 Spice Dry Rub and Hickory Wood. Spicy iQ BBQ Sauce and Horseradish (half rack, $24)

Beef Ribs – Smoked w. 9 Spice Dry Rub and Hickory Wood. Spicy iQ BBQ Sauce and Horseradish (half rack, $24)

The meat was very tender and slid off the bone as we tried to divide it between us. Both the sauces were good, though my favourite of the two was the horseradish sauce.

Salmon - Brined for 8 hours in Salt, Sugar and Spices. Smoked using Apple Wood, Dill Sauce (250g, $23)

Salmon – Brined for 8 hours in Salt, Sugar and Spices. Smoked using Apple Wood, Dill Sauce (250g, $23)

The salmon was tasty and cooked really well; its centre was translucent, which I wasn’t expecting from hot smoked salmon, but it was a pleasant surprise. The smoked flavour imparted into the salmon was more gentle and delicate than other versions of hot smoked salmon I’ve had in the past. I particularly liked the dill sauce, which seemed to have a bit of a spicy kick.

Smoked Mac and Cheese - Smoked with Hickory Wood, w. House-smoked Crispy Bacon (medium serve $9)

Smoked Mac and Cheese – Smoked with Hickory Wood, w. House-smoked Crispy Bacon (medium serve $9)

Glazed Mushrooms - Fried Butter Mushrooms Glazed w. Soy Reduction, Dressed w. Spring Onions and Roasted Sesame Seeds (medium serve, $10)

Glazed Mushrooms – Fried Butter Mushrooms Glazed w. Soy Reduction, Dressed w. Spring Onions and Roasted Sesame Seeds (medium serve, $10)

We enjoyed the mac and cheese, especially with its smokiness and the addition of bacon. The glazed mushrooms were not quite as good as I expected them to be and I’d imagined them to be drier.

Ice Cream Sandwich - Salted Caramel Ice Cream Waffle Sandwich w. Chocolate Ganache ($13)

Ice Cream Sandwich – Salted Caramel Ice Cream Waffle Sandwich w. Chocolate Ganache ($13)

Key Lime Pie w. Vanilla Ice Cream ($13)

Key Lime Pie w. Vanilla Ice Cream ($13)

We found the waffles a little dry, though the combination of salted caramel and chocolate was quite nice. The creamy, tangy key lime pie was much better.

Though it wasn’t perfect, we were generally happy with our meal. I’ve heard wonderful things about Third Wave’s pork ribs, so I might have to come back and try them, as well as some of the other interesting things on the menu.

Third Wave
30 Cato St
Prahran, VIC, 3181
03 9510 2991
http://www.thirdwavecafe.com.au/
Third Wave on Urbanspoon

Five Plus Smoothie, Melbourne CBD

Tags

,

Five Plus Smoothie (2)

This little smoothie shop, brought to us by Vivian Lam, strives to deliver delicious and healthy drinks. The menu has been put together in consultation with a nutritionist and health benefits of each smoothie are helpfully listed under each combination. The smoothies are made purely from fruit, vegetables, ice and either coconut water or almond milk, with fresh fruit and veg being delivered daily to make their nutritious drinks.

Five Plus Smoothie (9)

There’s also freshly made peanut butter, icy poles and other healthy sweet treats to much on. $7.50 gets you a regular sized smoothie, with an upgrade to large costing $9, and smoothies can also be customised by adding on extras. The small but neat and modern seating area is great for enjoying your smoothie if you’re not in a rush.

Five Plus Smoothie (11)

The menu was not particularly long, but it did take a while to decide which one to have. In the end, we tried the Purple Patch (Almond Milk, Blueberries, Banana, Acai) and the new summer special called Melbourne Sunrise (Passionfruit, Mango, Banana, Watermelon, Coconut Water). The Melbourne Sunrise was a refreshing treat that was a little better than the Purple Patch. Their heartier smoothies with oats sound like a good breakfast option for people on-the-go. Maybe next time.

Five Plus Smoothie
265 Little Lonsdale St

Melbourne, VIC,

Five Plus Smoothie on Urbanspoon

Christchurch Farmer’s Market, Riccarton, Christchurch

This morning involved a visit to the Christchurch Farmer’s Market, which is also at Riccarton. I’d heard there was a good porridge stall there so I wanted to try. There was much more food at this market than the Rotary one. There were a handful of stalls selling crafts like woollen products and candles, a third selling fresh produce and the rest split between food products and cooked food.

Posh Porridge

Posh Porridge - Sliced Almonds, Berry Compote and Superfood Crumble ($)

Posh Porridge – Sliced Almonds, Berry Compote and Superfood Crumble ($)

The porridge place was called Posh Porridge. Although the menu listed different combinations, they were more like suggestions. We were allowed to mix and match any three toppings with the porridge ($8). So instead of having the banana, berry compote and superfood crumble, I swapped out the banana for sliced almonds. Honey, raw sugar, yoghurt, skim, soy and regular milk could be added by customers at the end. They also had a big jar of Whittakers chocolates to take.

Abu-Melamed's Pita

Abu-Melamed’s Pita

Abu-Melamed's Pita - Moroccan Meatball And Potato Pide ($8)

Abu-Melamed’s Pita – Moroccan Meatball And Potato Pide ($8)

Abu-Melamed's Pita - Moroccan Meatball And Potato Pide ($8)

We also tried the Moroccan Meatball And Potato Pide ($8) from Abu-Melamed’s Pita, which was quite nice. All the pide were freshly baked and could be warmed up if they’d cooled too much.

Gretchen's Kitchen

Gretchen's Kitchen - Blueberry Scone ($4)

There were gourmet scones for $4 (or 3 for $10) from Gretchen’s Kitchen and we tried a blueberry one. It was OK, but I probably wouldn’t have it again, unless I had a savoury one. It was less floury than the usual English scones.

Near the entrance to the market there was a baked good stall that was very popular. When we had circled back to the beginning almost everything was gone (it was 11:30am); they had no more of the quiches/tarts. While wandering around the stalls we also sampled hot and cold smoked salmon, limoncello, lemon shortbread, all sorts of varieties of fudge, chorizo, another Spanish sausage, nuts, salts, dukkah. Food stalls there included bratwurst, dumplings, okonomiyaki, a very popular bacon and egg roll stall, healthy salads, bread, lollies, ice cream, pasties and pastries. The stalls were arranged along the path following the river, which made a nice place to sit and enjoy food.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.