Rice Paper, Melbourne CBD

Rice Paper was bustling tonight, but we managed to nab a place and grab a quick dinner. The dreary, cold and wet weather gave me a hankering for something warm and comforting. Bun Bo Hue seemed just the ticket. We marked down our orders on the chit, passed it to a staff member, and soon later our dinner arrived.

Bun Bo Hue ($9.50)

The noodles were smooth and slippery and I was surprised by the abundance of beef slices that came with it. Shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, herbs and a lemon wedge were also provided on the side. The soup had a pleasant taste, but was lacking in depth and it wasn’t quite as spicy or as hot as I would have liked. Still, for a cheap ($9.50) meal in the CBD I can’t complain too much, and there was the bonus of free hot tea.

Rice Paper
245 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9650 3088
Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Pierogi Pierogi

Pierogi Pierogi @ The Gasometer Hotel (5)

Normally seen servicing markets and festivals, Pierogi Pierogi occasionally participates in pop-ups in bars and pubs. The colder weather has marked the slowing of the market and festival season, so Pierogi Pierogi now has more time for kitchen takeovers, including this one-day pop-up at the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood.

Pierogi Pierogi @ The Gasometer Hotel (8)

No marks for guessing what they specialise in. People visit them for their pierogi! But apart from these Polish dumplings, Pierogi Pierogi were also offering soups, sides such as Polish pickled cucumbers and hand made sausages, and also brought along some Polish vodka to share tonight.

Pierogi Pierogi @ The Gasometer Hotel (10)

I got there a bit early to avoid the crowd, but shortly after 6pm the place was packed to the rafters with people wanting to get their Pierogi fix.

Pierogi Pierogi @ The Gasometer Hotel (9) Menu

Tonight there were four flavours of pierogi to choose from: potato, onion and cheese (Ruskie); beef and vegetable (Mieso); mushroom and sauerkraut (Kapusta); and bacon, buckwheat and white cheese (Boczek). Or if you’re indecisive, or just want to taste everything (like me), you could get a mix of all of them.

Zurek - Sour Rye Soup w. Potato and Boiled Egg ($8)

I really don’t have that much experience with Polish food (Borsch, Vodka & Tears was both my first and most recent time), so I thought I may as well check out something else from the menu. The Zurek was the first thing that caught my eye. It was a soup made with soured rye, potato and a boiled egg – something quite different, but also quite pleasant. I do enjoy a sour soup.

Ruskie (Creamy Potato, Fried Onion, Farmers Cheese), Mieso (Slow-cooked Beef and Root Vegetables), Kapusta (Mushroom & Sauerkraut), Boczek (Bacon, Buckwheat, White Cheese)

Because I’d ordered the mix, I had no idea which one was which until I bit into them, giving me the thrill of anticipation and surprise. The pierogi were a little flatter than I expected, though they had also been fried to give a slightly crispy outer. All the flavours were nice and gave me the impression of something that had been lovingly handmade, but my favourite of the four varieties would have been the Kapusta.

Pierogi Pierogi is still mainly market based so keep an eye out for them!

Pierogi Pierogi
Various Locations
0431905559
http://pierogipierogi.com/
Facebook

Five Points Deli, Carlton

Five Points Deli (2)2

Taking over from the former site of Mutti’s and following on from their success at their Richmond taqueria Chingon, and Collingwood smokehouse and bar Le Bon Ton, brothers Will and Mick Balleau have created yet another restaurant. By day it’s 5 Points Deli, but come night time Longhorn Saloon offers drinks, bar snacks, mains and meat from the grill. The space has quite a character, with its wood panelling, pendant lights and pressed copper-lined walls. I really did feel like I’d been transported to another place.

Five Points Deli (9)

The 5 Points Deli menu is unsurprisingly filled with sandwich-type options, pies, salads and daily soups. Containing meats that had been smoked at Le Bon Ton before being cooked on-site, Pastrami and Reuben sandwiches, smoked salmon bagels and Le Bon Ton burgers were flying off the counter.

Five Points Deli (16)

I’d heard that their Reuben is a monster of a sandwich so I recruited A2 to come share the spoils. There was eager expectation as we watched the sandwich being assembled at the central sandwich bar, then toasted (literally) right in front of us in the sandwich press.

Toasted Reuben Sandwich - Dark Rye, 5 Points Deli Corned Brisket, Sauerkraut, Swiss, Russian Dressing ($16)

There was a sizeable handful of brisket in there, resting on a layer of naturally fermented sauerkraut and topped with an oozing layer of Swiss. To my delight, the toasted dark rye did not become soggy or greasy from its fillings and the Russian dressing was just enough to complement, but not drown out the other ingredients. The inclusion of a bit more sauerkraut would have balanced the amount of brisket better, but I loved how the corned brisket was not terribly salty, and there wasn’t so much of it that I felt like I was simply eating beef with a tiny bit of bread.

On the side were some house-made potato chips and a pickle. The crispy chips were lightly coated with a slightly sweet BBQ seasoning and a definite taste of potato rather than potato-flavoured oil.

Five Points Deli (5)

I loved the atmosphere of the Balleau brother’s newest venture and it’s piqued my interest in their other venues. Hopefully there’ll be a time to pay a visit there soon!

Five Points Deli
118 Elgin St
Carlton, VIC, 3053
(03) 9348 4794
http://www.5points.com.au/
5 Points Deli on Urbanspoon

Dude Food Man at Food Truck Park, Richmond

Food Truck Park Richmond

Food Truck Park, put together by the Australian Mobile Food Vendors Group (AMFVG) and making a recent appearance at the Coburg drive-in cinemas, camped out in Richmond for the first time. The popularity of food trucks is booming; with so many to try and numerous vendors gathering in one place at the same time, how much more convenient can you get?

Food Truck Park Richmond

The first day of service was a cold and wet one, but there were many punters taking a gamble with the rain, huddling under umbrellas while waiting for goodies to come out. Dude Food Man, Speedy Gonzales Mexican, Toasta, Pappa Pita (which for lunch today was only selling loukoumades) and The Kaiser’s Sausages made an appearance for the first lunch of the pop-up period.

Dude Food Man - Food Truck Park Richmond

The pulled pork slider ($13) from Dude Food Man caught my eye. I know Dude Food Man is famous for its beef burgers (and there was an appropriately sized queue for them), but I wasn’t in the mood for one today.

Pulled Pork Slider w. Pulled Pork Shoulder, Crackling, Coleslaw, BBQ Sauce, Brioche ($13)

Slider in this case was a misnomer; it was really the same size as a burger and  overflowing with pulled pork shoulder, crackling and BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce had a nice tang to it and coleslaw added a bit of freshness, though I would have liked to see more coleslaw to lift the flavours a bit. The brioche bun was also a little soggy from the amount of BBQ sauce. I was quite surprised by the amount of pork and deliciously crunchy crackling in it, and although some parts of the pork weren’t exactly ‘pulled’, it was still tender and thoroughly enjoyable.

Pulled Pork Slider w. Pulled Pork Shoulder, Crackling, Coleslaw, BBQ Sauce, Brioche ($13)

The Richmond Food Truck Park will be open for lunch (12:30–2:30pm) and dinner (5:30–8:30pm), Wednesday to Sunday every week from 13th-31st of May at 110 Church Street, Richmond. Different trucks will be rolling in at different times so it’s worth more than one visit!

Food Truck Park Richmond

Dude Food Man
Food Truck
Location Varies
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dude-Food-Man/192865570837372
Dude Food Man on Urbanspoon

Restaurant
191 Buckley St
Essendon, VIC, 3040
0416 762 676
Dude Food Man on Urbanspoon

Middle Fish, Carlton

Middle Fish is only a few doors down from Seven Seeds on Berkeley Street; an area mostly made up of commercial buildings and what appear to be warehouses. It seems a somewhat unlikely location for a restaurant and it’s grey facade is easy to miss, however, on entering we found ourselves in a completely different place. Its warm and casual interior design was incredibly inviting. We ordered a couple of dishes to share amongst the group and awaited our much anticipated feast.

Thai Fish Cake

The fish cake was smooth, with a strong lemongrass flavour and hints of other herbs and spices. I haven’t actually had Thai fish cake before and its texture sort of reminded me a little of Malaysian otak otak.

Chicken Satay

Next up was the chicken satay. Being more subtle than most other satay sauces I’ve had, I quite enjoyed this version.

Prawn Crackers w. Jam

Prawn Crackers

Kha Na Pork belly - Stir-fried Crispy Pork Belly with Chinese Broccoli & Chilli

When I ordered the pork belly, for some reason I missed the word ‘chilli’, so it was quite a bit spicier than expected. On first appearance it looked like a simple dish to make, but the Chinese broccoli was well seasoned and tasty, and the pork belly was not overly fatty.

Chicken Green Curry - Fragrant Bangkok-style Curry with Boneless Chicken

Chicken Green Curry – Fragrant Bangkok-style Curry with Boneless Chicken

Massaman Curry - Dark Ox Cheek Curry with Peanuts & Fried Shallots

Massaman Curry – Dark Ox Cheek Curry with Peanuts & Fried Shallots

We also tried some of their Thai green curry and massaman curry.

Khanom Jeen Nam Ya - Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Curry Fish Broth

Khanom Jeen Nam Ya – Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Curry Fish Broth

Khanom Jeen Nam Ya - Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Curry Fish Broth

Served in a DIY fashion, the different elements of the khanom jeen nam ya were served separately. I quite liked this idea, as it kept the crab from going soggy, and allowed us to add as much (or as little) broth as we wished. I appreciated the latter benefit because the broth had prominent coconut milk flavour and I don’t take well to too much coconut milk. With smooth noodles, a flavoursome curry fish broth, and crispy soft shell crab that added a nice textural contrast, this was one of my favourites of the night.

The group was pleasantly surprised with the food at Middle Fish, with a few declaring it amongst the best Thai restaurants they’ve been to in Melbourne so far. Given its close proximity to uni, I’m sure it will not be our last visit here.

Middle Fish
122-128 Berkeley St
Carlton, VIC, 3053
(03) 9348 1704
http://www.middlefish.com.au/
Middle Fish on Urbanspoon

The Fair Food Store, Richmond

The Fair Foodstore (3)

After an unexpectedly short day of uni I dropped into The Fair Food Store on the way home for a quick brunch. There was very much a hang-out vibe here with plenty of regulars coming in for both food and their coffee, made using Wide Open Road coffee beans.

The Fair Foodstore (5)

An all-day breakfast and lunch menu created by chef Dan Sawansak (formerly of Movida) means there’s plenty of choice for people looking to fill their belly.

Pork Belly Crepe - Pulled Pork Belly in a Corn Crepe w. Poached Eggs, Fresh Slaw and House-made BBQ Sauce ($17)

Pork Belly Crepe - Pulled Pork Belly in a Corn Crepe w. Poached Eggs, Fresh Slaw and House-made BBQ Sauce ($17)

I decided to go for something a little different: the pork belly crepe. Two perfectly poached eggs, tasty pulled pork wrapped in a corn crepe and a BBQ sauce with coleslaw. I wasn’t a big fan of the slaw, but did enjoy the flavours of the tender pork meat and the fact that the BBQ sauce was not the typical smoky Worchestershire sauce based one, but rather more chilli based.

The Fair Foodstore (6)

The relaxed atmosphere at The Fair Food Store makes it a great spot for relaxing from the hustle and bustle.

The Fair Foodstore
135 Church St
Richmond, VIC, 3121
03 9429 6008
http://www.thefairfoodstore.com.au/
The Fair foodstore on Urbanspoon

‘Sharing Puglia’ Book Launch, Cafe Latte

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (4)

Puglia (pronounced more like PUL-ia) is the region at the south-eastern tip of the Italian peninsula and is renowned for its beautiful scenery with its limestone sea cliffs, olive groves, fishing towns and whitewashed houses. Its climate and location provides Puglia with fresh seafood and soil allowing for wonderful olive trees, fruit orchards and vegetable fields to be cultivated. In fact, Puglia is historically an agricultural region and access to all this fresh and fabulous produce is reflected in their cuisine.

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (25)

Luca Lorusso and Vivienne Polak aim to capture the cuisine from this region in their book, Sharing Puglia. Luca was actually born and raised in Puglia, so it’s a place he is well familiar with, and one that has produced many dishes close to his heart. Sharing Puglia will guide readers in utilising simple ingredients to create these amazing dishes.

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (5) Tomato Foccacia

Hosted by Luca’s own Caffe Latte in Hawksburn, we celebrated the launch with fresh oysters and plenty of other nibbles like the amazingly tasty foccacia with an addictively crispy base…

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (1) Arancini w. Peas and Cheese

…and the pea and cheese arancini, which I overheard someone say were the ‘closest you can get to Sicily’.

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (6) Fava Bean Puree on Crostini

Fava Bean Puree on Crostini

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (8) Polenta Chips

Polenta Chips

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (7) Herbed Prawns

Herbed Prawns

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (15) Puff Pastry w. Chocolate and Hazelnut Sauce

Puff Pastry w. Chocolate and Hazelnut Sauce

Luca and Vivienne told the story of the origins of Sharing Puglia and humorous anecdotes from the time they spent together traveling the region to collect recipes. The book covers all courses, from antipasti and soups to meat and vegetables, and even bread, desserts and drinks. It would be a great addition for people looking to expand their Italian cookbook collection.

'Sharing Puglia' Book Launch (2)

Disclaimer: I was invited to the launch of Sharing Puglia as a guest.

 

Miss Fitzy’s, St Kilda

Miss Fitzy's (1)Reunions call for celebrations, and celebrations over food are always up my alley. So we found ourselves at Miss Fitzy’s: a bar and restaurant on Fitzroy Street, right near the beach. The menu at Miss Fitzy’s focuses on bar snacks, sharing plates and shared mains, though there are a few individual mains available also. Here they aim to source local, sustainable and ethically farmed produce to use for their menus.

Miss Fitzy's (10) We had booked ourselves in for a special three-course meal plus cocktails. The menu was pretty much set apart from the mains, for which we had a choice of two shared plates. Being in a group of four enabled us to try one of each. Perfect!

Green Apple Mojito

There were four cocktails on offer today: green apple mojito, sangria, Miami iced tea and passionfruit caprioska. All the cocktails were pretty good. The mojito was very refreshing, whilst the sangria tasted more of red wine than anything else.

Passionfruit Caprioska and Green Apple Mojito Cocktail

The passionfruit caprioska also contained vodka and lime; thankfully for me, the vodka was not too strong, though I still ended up going home with a red face. Urgh. Asian genes.

Fresh Oysters w. Vinegar and Black CaviarThe oyster amuse bouche was fresh and dressed simply with black caviar and a vinaigrette.

Charcuterie Board - Jamon, Wagyu Pastrami, Wagyu BresaolaThe entrée was a charcuterie board that included jamon, wagyu pastrami and wagyu bresaola. The crunchy little bread rolls on the side were delicious on their own, but were also most enjoyable with the charcuterie.

Fish of the Day - TroutWe were then presented with a single fillet of beautifully cooked trout and a most wonderful, rich sauce that had a depth that matched so well with the fish. To go with it was a simple but tasty rocket salad.

Fish of the Day - Trout Bavette Steak w. Truffle Salt and ChipsThe bavette steak had been pre-sliced and was accompanied by deliciously crunchy chips, and a sauce that smelt strongly of perhaps Worchestershire sauce. The vinegar-like impression was not as strong on the palate as the nose. The bavette steak was cooked to medium-rare and appeared to have been rubbed with truffle salt – what a surprise! It hadn’t been mentioned by the waiter when he described our dishes, but no one was complaining.

Home-made Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Chocolate Mousse, Crushed Sable, Berry SauceTo finish was some house-made salted caramel and chocolate ice cream, resting on a bed of sablé crumbs and accompanied by dollops of raspberry sauce. The chocolate ice cream that was so chocolatey and had a texture that was more like a mousse, which made me wonder if it was really ice cream at all. Despite the conflicting description, it was nonetheless enjoyable.

Classic SangriaThe serving sizes were smaller than we expected, but the quality of food here was definitely above our expectations.

Miss Fitzy’s
23 Fitzroy St
St Kilda, VIC, 3182
(03) 9537 1653
http://missfitzys.com.au/
Miss Fitzy's on Urbanspoon

Tea & Toast Workshop, T2, Melbourne CBD

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (15) There’s so much to learn about the wonderful world of tea, and while I do enjoy a good cup, I’m aware that my tea knowledge is sadly lacking. T2’s Tea Workshops are perfect for learning more about tea, and the workshops held this week covered the basics as well as content beyond the basics for tea aficionados. Though usually only open to Tea Society members, I was kindly invited by T2 to participate in their Tea & Toast workshop.

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (13)

As one of Australia’s largest tea retailers, T2 has a wide array of products ranging from the traditional, to mixes, flavoured and scented teas. With such experience and access to tea experts and tea lovers, they are in a great position to educate others and spread their infectious enthusiasm for tea.

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (28)

I arrived at the Little Collins store very early on a chilly morning, wandered up a discreet staircase and into the Tea Studio above. I was quite looking forward to warming myself with some hot tea and breakfast nibbles. The tea studio was bright, airy and homey as well, courtesy of the lush pot plants, kitchenette and bar stools surrounding the island bench. It was an intimate setting.

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (20)

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (19)

We were treated to the knowledge and tea brewing expertise of Magenta and Sydney, and we flowed effortlessly through the workshop content. We first journeyed into the past to learn how tea was first discovered and how it spread throughout the world from its origins in China. Sydney explained the health benefits and differences between the categories of tea: white, green, red, black, oolong, herbal, fruit, honeybush and rooibos. There were many tidbits we learnt along the way, such as the difference between flavoured and scented tea – the flavouring ingredients added to flavoured tea are still present in the tea mix, whereas additional ingredients used in scented teas are removed – and how the characteristics of the tea change with different picking and processing methods and brewing technique, such as brewing temperatures and times.

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (25)

The table was adorned with a variety of breakfast pastries, bread, T2’s own tea-infused jams and gorgeous Pepe Saya butter to munch on during the workshop. Of course, there was plenty of tea tasting too, and we moved through from the more delicate and subtle teas to the more robust. I loved the Geisha Getaway, and though I’m not generally a huge fan of Earl Grey I also really enjoyed the French Earl Grey they offered us.

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (32)

T2’s Tea Workshops would be great for tea enthusiasts, and even those just wanting to find out more. I’m looking forward to what other workshops T2 will be offering in the future!

T2 Autumn Tea Workshop 2015 - Tea & Toast (23)

Disclaimer: I was invited to participate in this T2 workshop as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.

T2
Various locations
(Workshops held at:
269 Little Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC, 3000)
http://www.t2tea.com/

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar, Melbourne CBD

Sun Moth Canteen and Bar recently opened as a venture between Luke Mutton and Kylie Mackinlay (founders and former owners of Dead Man Espresso and Common Galaxia), Jackson Duxbury and Tod La Mar. True to its name, Sun Moth’s fit-out is clean, minimalistic and canteen-like with long tables and benches. An indoors projector, which today was screening snowsports and music videos, give it a casual vibe perfect for relaxing and lingering. Sun Moth has been earmarked on my list for a while so I was excited when I was invited to a Zomato meetup that was to be hosted there.

Sun Moth Canteen and Bar (37)

The kitchen sits on the other side of the bar and because there is no exhaust, their focus is on simple (but of course tasty) and wholesome food. The extensive wine list features mostly natural wines, and today we had the privilege of sampling some Domaine Lucci Noir de Florette 2014 from McLaren Vale in South Australia. The menu for tonight was to be an example of the type of food they serve and to start, we munched on two items from the bar snacks menu.

Fried Bread, Green Olives, Lemon, Chilli, Garlic, Pecorino

The crunchy fried bread with green olives, lemon, chilli, garlic and pecorino were so moreish. All these ingredients really packed the dish full of flavour. I haven’t had anything like this before and I can see why it would be a great bar snack.

Duck Liver Parfait, Salted Figs, Candied Walnuts

Buttery and smooth, the duck liver parfait tasted wonderful with the salted figs, which helped cut through the richness of the parfait and also added an extra dimension of flavour. We were warned not to eat the salted figs straight because of how salty they were, and it was true. It also meant there was plenty of it to go with the parfait!

Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup w. Buttermilk Dumplings, Spring Onion and Greens

The addition of spring onions and fried shallots made the sweet corn and chicken soup taste very similar to something I’d eat at home, when mum would throw together a few ingredients for a quick and easy lunch. The dumplings were not stodgy or doughy at all and they made the dish hearty and perfect for winter.

Mushroom and Barley Risotto

I loved the plump and flavoursome mushrooms with the barley risotto. The barley had been cooked nicely, so they still had a bit of chew to them. Although I was surprised when I tasted the olives in my first spoonful, I thought it went well and helped to lift the dish’s creamy flavours.

Sun Moth Canteen and Bar (7) Zomato Meetup April 2015 - Domaine Lucci Noir de Florette 2014 from McLaren Vale South Australia

I loved Sun Moth’s focus on simple food done well, and the inclusion of healthy, wholesome ingredients. It makes for a great great city hideout!

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

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar
28 Niagara Lane (3/377 Lonsdale St)
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9602 4554
http://www.sunmoth.com.au/
Sun Moth Canteen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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