Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review | Baotime

I almost had a car accident the first time I drove past Baotime. Bao. Time. That time is always, because baos are AMAZING. I was so excited to try this cute little place out, I ducked there for a quick workday lunch.

The service we received was super friendly and helpful. My friend and I both ordered the same - the Captain Bao. It was at the top of the menu, and I now know that I will eventually make my way through each delicious sounding bao - over the course of the next couple of months.
Captain Bao had the softest, most tenderest, flavoursome pork belly, with crushed peanuts, lettuce and their 'special sauce'. Special pretty much can be read here as moreish, and so so good.

We also shared one serve of the Mister Potato Fries. In the short time that we waited for the chips to come out to the table after ordering, I was contemplating whether they belonged on this menu. Are we meant to be eating chips with baos? These kinds of questions raise important global issues, but as soon as I had my first taste of the crisp, golden fries, any hesitations I had were instantly gone. 
Wow. OMG. So good. This was true chip perfection. What is ON THESE CHIPS? These are some of the best fries ever. We just had to find out what the mysteriously familiar and incredible seasoning was.

We found out. It's amazing. Why has no one thought of this before?!?! I'm going to have to let you go to Baotime for yourself and taste the fries to see if you can pick it out. 

I definitely will be back for more Baotime. Hopefully that time will be soon, as yeah... bao time is any time really.

Baotime on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 15, 2015

Best Burgers in Melbourne

Dear whoever invented burgers. We thank you. Where would we be without you? Probably a whole lot skinnier… but definitely a whole lot sadder.

With what seems like a new burger place opening every week here in Melbourne, I wanted to share my favourites!

Collingwood, CBD, Prahran, Hawthorn
Already a Melbourne institution, Huxtaburger’s success has allowed it to open up in a few locations. Brioche bun, juicy patties, is there much more to say? If you STILL have not tried one of these, go right now!

Andrew’s Burgers
144 Bridport Street, Albert Park
Now these are nothing but honest ol’ fashioned burgers, done right. They are so massive, the only way to eat a burger from Andrew's, is to actually put you face into it. Dress appropriately ladies and gents, if you don’t get any food on your chin (maybe even on your cheeks!) then you are doing it wrong.

Jus Burgers
364 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Starting out in Perth, these guys are all about promoting and using locally sourced ingredients. You can definitely taste the love here – and they also serve up a pretty good vegetarian option, if you are that way inclined. Cut and battered fresh daily, be sure not to overlook the onion rings here!

Parlour Diner
64 Chapel Street, Windsor
If you’re after a modern American style Diner… then this is IT! Be sure to try their milkshakes, and for something a little different, the Asian pork sliders are a definite winner. Obviously try the curly fries right?

The Beer and Burger Bar
112 Swan Street, Richmond
This is a great place to go before the footy, but be sure to allow plenty of time, as they get SUPER busy on game days (actually any day!). If you are feeling super adventurous then you might want to check out their burger challenge, otherwise, a regular sized burger will fill you up just fine. It is hard to go past their delicious Beef Burger, but if you are feeling… game… they do a fantastic Game Burger which changes regularly.

8 Bit Burger
8 Droop St, Footscray
Gamers and nerds, listen up, this is the burger place for you! Everyone else? It’s for you too! I doubt anyone could find something to complain about this awesome burger shop. Not only have they gone into great detail with the d├ęcor, but the food is to die for. These burgers have got some kind of magical sauce going on inside them. You must try. #Tbt #Retro

And, if you’re ever up for a bit of a drive, definitely check out the Igloo Roadhouse in Buxton, for a try of the famous Buxton burger!

So there it is! Have I missed any??

Why You Need To Check Out The Food Truck Park in Richmond

Alright, lunch and dinner is sorted for the rest of the month. The Food Truck Park are popping up in Richmond every Wednesday through Sunday until the end of May. Get on it. And get it in you.





If you have ever been to the food trucks at the Coburg drive-ins, then you know just how great this is. The selection of trucks rolling in changes each day, but you can rely on the fact that some serious delicious consumption will need to happen, into your belly.

The Food Truck game has changed so much since the early days, basically anything is available on wheels now. SO convenient! And the Food Truck Park has now eliminated the step of hunting down these trucks, and has plonked them in one easy location.

Here are some snaps of what we ate, but remember not all of these will be available every day- who KNOWS what other delicious options there could be?!


So what are you waiting for? Head down to Richmond right now and eat!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Best Cheap Dumplings Around Melbourne

Dumplings. God bless them. They are probably one of the yummiest foods out there, so quick and easy… to eat! I’ve compiled a list of our favourite go-to places for the CHEAPEST dumplings in this beautiful city of ours.

When ordering, my favourite menu items include fried pork or beef dumplings, steamed chicken and prawn (try it!!), steamed veggie dumplings, and also a plate or two of steamed Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce (prepare for the ultimate garlicness) and fried spring onion pancake. If you’re still hungry – definitely look for some egg custard buns for dessert!

Most of these places will be BYO beer and wine, which makes for an even cheaper night out! (Do check beforehand so you’re not left carrying bottles though!).

Camy Shanghai Dumpling & Noodle Restaurant – 23 Tattersalls Lane
This place has got to be the ultimate cheap dumpling restaurant. Most nights they have a $15 all you can eat banquet where they just bring out dumplings, noodles, veggies and other fried goodies to your table forever and ever. Until you tell them STOP! It’s pretty delicious, and great before a big night out. They take bookings too so it’s a great place to go with a big group of people, and as a bonus, they will come and embarrass anyone who’s birthday it is at the table.

Shanghai Village – 112 Little Bourke Street
While there is no all you can eat banquet here (that I know of!) the prices are still cheap for a pretty damn good level of food. This place also gets pretty busy so it’s best to book in advance, or know that you will have to queue up. I recommend ordering pretty quickly here so that your food is never too far away!

Dumpling King – 656 Glenferrie Road
We are lucky to have some pretty great contenders in the ‘burbs as well. Dumpling King, just near the station on Glenferrie road is an absolute gem.

Glen Waverley
Raramen – 114 Kings Way
The Glen Waverley strip offers so so many options for eating, but when it comes to dumplings, there is one place that rings true in our hearts. Raramen is one of originals here, and they also handmake their noodles, so if you have some room on the table – I definitely recommend a serve of the Shanghai noodles. Also, don’t be fooled – the free slushies.. not worth it!

Auntie’s Dumplings – 68 Koornang Road & Eastern Dumpling House - 132 Koornang Road
I simply cannot choose between these two fine establishments. Both fighting strong dumpling fights, the only fair way to sort this one out is for us to recommend both! Usually if one place is too full, the other one will have a table free to satisfy your dumpling emergency in the Carnegie area.

Box Hill
David & Camy Noodle Restaurant – 605 Station Street
If you survive the eternal battle for car parking in Box Hill, you can rest assured that your stomach will soon be filled of cheap dumpling goodness. David & Camy’s is definitely a crowd pleaser. Best enjoyed on a cold wintery Melbourne night!

So there it is! Have I missed any??

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review | MELT Pizza

Have you heard the news? The great, fresh and delicious news? The opening of MELT Pizza in Windsor has created quite a hype - and with good reason too. Owners Dan and Elise have a great little idea on their hands. Pizza - with a fresh take.

In just a few words, it's like Subway for pizza. At MELT, customers can choose from a fantastic line up of classic pizzas, or let their creativity run loose and customise their own, from the sauce bases right the way through toppings and garnishes.

A group of friends and I decided to head down to MELT on a freezing Friday night. Keen to get some goodness in our tummies, we ordered pretty straight away after being greeted by Dan himself. He was super friendly and was more than happy to explain the concept.

While my friends all decided to customise their pizzas, I felt like tasting their take on a true classic and ordered the Margherita, but added a touch of extra garlic.

I also ordered a side of 'doughballs' which are served with a  garlic butter. These are exactly as described - little balls of dough. Heavenly little balls of hot delicious dough. I initially ordered these for us all to share, but when they got to the table, three of us accidentally ate all of them, and then tried to hide the plate/evidence from our other two friends. Awkward. But necessary. Please try these! (pictured below)

I do have to say, I was pretty impressed (and proud) of the toppings my friends ordered. It's so cool to see everyone be able to customise their dinners, and to see the differences and similarities between them all - like a pizza personality test!

Two of my friends are vegetarian. First up we have pumpkin, caramelised onion, capsicum, and capers, with mozzarella and served with fresh basil.

Next, we have mushrooms, eggplant, and goats cheese.

On to the meat eaters - we have salami, olives, mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella.

Last but not least, we have the Italian sausage, ham, friarielli (which is a strong tasting friend of spinach) and mozzarella.

Now you're probably wondering, great, we know what you all ordered, but HOW DID IT TASTE!? Well I've left it all to write together, because as soon as we had been served our pizzas (which was about 2 minutes after we had each ordered!!) our whole table descended into silence. Until we had finished, which to me just proves how delicious these pizzas were.

The pizza bases were so moreish. I told my friend off for not eating her crusts, but she assured me she was in fact saving them to eat last. And she did! The pizzas as a whole, were for me, and all of my friends agreed, exactly how pizzas were meant to be. Perfect. They were light, flavoursome, fresh and simply delicious. I can not find anything to fault the MELT pizzas on.

We had planned to go out for a few drinks after dinner, but to be completely honest, we all agreed that we were already 100% satisfied with the evening and decided to go home and mull about on the couch, totally content with our lives at that moment. 

MELT was a pleasure to dine at. All the staff were so helpful, friendly, and obviously happy to be there. They knew about the food and drinks they were serving and were great at giving advice or explaining anything. Dan was also kind enough to show us around through their outdoor dining area, and private dining room. Even though there was an icy cold wind blowing at the time, we could easily imagine the outdoor area would be perfect in summer - with a cool drink and perfect pizza!

On the way home, my friend was super quiet for a few minutes and then said she thinks she will have her birthday dinner at MELT later in the year! So it's a done deal - we'll all be back soon! Thanks to Dan, Elise and all the MELT team - we had a great night :)

Melt Pizza on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review | Maha

After hearing nothing but great things about Maha, my sister and I decided it would be the perfect place to take our parents for their Christmas present. 'Inspired by Shane Delia's travels through the Middle East and Turkey' the Spice Journey Sundays feature a four course sharing menu.

We order drinks to start, and I decided to go for the Lebanese Iced Tea, which was a mixture of darjeeling,
fresh mint, pomegranate molasses & pinenuts. It was so refreshing, and I really enjoyed having a pinenut snack while we were chatting.

My sister ordered a cocktail, but sadly I never got the name of it :( I think it had rose water. It was delicious and looked superb!

Our first course was so good, and I was so excited to get into it, I forgot to take a photo! It was soup, called Bissara, made from broad  bean, cumin, burghal dumplings, and was served with labneh which is similar to Greek yoghurt. It had such a delicate mix of flavours, and was a little bit smokey tasting. So good!

The second course was Mezze. This included olives 'fel fel', a dip of tarama (caviar), prawns and herbs, quinoa salad, with goji berries, walnuts, snow pea, miso and saffron, and lamb kefta, served with babaganoush, sumac and mint. We also got some fresh bread to mop up all the goodness.

This course was so good. I think my favourite part of it was the tarama dip. The little prawns that were served on top of the dip were so salty and zingy, I couldn't get enough of it. The quinoa salad had such a nice mix of flavours - the combination of miso and saffron was really intriguing. The lamb kefta, were cooked to perfection, and with the babaganoush the combination of the sumac and the mint, all in all, it was a spectacular dish.

The next course had my sister buzzing with excitement. I could tell by her anticipation that this was going to be the main event.

The Grill course consisted of grilled swordfish, with Brussels sprouts, parsnip and za'atar, a cracked wheat pilaf with fennel seed, tarragon and sunflower seed, and fattoush, served with sumac, roasted garlic and pita. And last but certainly not the least - slow roasted chermoula lamb shoulder, with a green olive tabouleh.

Ermagherrd. Where to start. Everything was excellent. The swordfish, was beautiful. The sprouts were delicate little baby sprouts, and the flavour of the parsnip, with the za'atar was super interesting and different to anything I'd ever really had. Za'atar is a type of Middle Easter spice mix, and it really added another dimension to this dish.

The lamb shoulder. While you read this paragraph, just picture a choir of angels perched up in the clouds singing in the background. Because this dish took me straight to heaven. Seriously. I was in love. If you think you have had slow roasted lamb, that falls away from the bone, think again. This was the juiciest, softest (best tasting) meat in the whole world. Served with the green olive tabouleh and a creamy quenelle of what I am now guessing was labneh, which is a type of fresh cheese, and only added to the deliciousness of the dish.

The pilaf was so good. I went back to the dish for seconds and thirds and almost forgot we were sharing -oops! It had quite a soft flavour, which I do like, and each bead of wheat was so nicely separate from the other, it was really tasty. The pilaf was a great accompaniment to the meat and fish dishes of this course.

The fattoush - which I had never ever had before, was really refreshing. The pita was mixed in to this unsuspecting bowl of salad greens, but once the flavours hit my mouth, I was mesmerised. Bold, fresh, zingy, colourful and light. This was not just any salad.

Sigh. My sister was right to have so much emotion invested in the Grill course.

The next course had a lot to live up to, but luckily it was the Sweets course! This featured Maha's famous Turkish delight filled doughnuts, with honey and walnuts. We also the watermelon and beetroot sponge, with beetroot ganache, with peppermint crisp ice cream served with rosewater ice AND a pecan spiced syrup cake, with white chocolate and date ice cream and strawberry powder.

The watermelon and beetroot dessert was meant to be a kind of palate cleanser in between courses. It was so fresh and happy. The use of beetroot as a sweet was really great with the mix of the watermelon and peppermint flavours. The beetroot ganache was unbelievably smooth. I wanted more!

The doughnuts were so sweet. Turkish delight is definitely up there on my list of favourite desserts, so as you can imagine, I was having a pretty good moment. This was a real treat.

Lastly, we tasted the pecan spiced syrup cake. This was pretty tasty! I wanted it to be a little bit more syrupy, since it was a syrup cake, to me, it was more like a tea cake - still cook though! This icecream was insanely good. White chocolate and date? Yum. But guys - strawberry powder?? Amazing. It tasted like the best fresh strawberries, multiplied by 100 time of goodness, and in a powder! So fun.

To finish off our lunch degustation we decided to have some traditional mint tea, which I love. Such a great end to a great lunch with the family.

I definitely recommend Maha, and the Sunday sharing menu is a great way to get a great feel for the menu.

Maha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review | Gelato Messina

After a nice family dinner, my sister and I decided to go on a secret excursion to Messina on the "way" home!

The weather had recently turned pretty cool, so I was surprised to see a queue of eager customers waiting to order their icecreams. The queue moved pretty quickly, and it wasn't long before it was our turn to order. While the queue itself was managed well - with staff handing out menus to us so we could start thinking about our options - the crowd inside the place was a bit of a mess. After being ushered inside to the far side, we noticed customers that were behind us in the original queue being served before us.

I decided to order two scoops, one of the Lychee Martini (a special that night) and the other of Pandan & Coconut. Lychee Martini. Amazing. I have no words for this. At my first taste I had a flashback to a time when I had picked a lychee from a tree, spent time meticulously de-shelling it and getting sticky fingers, all for one sweet bite of the perfect lychee. Now, I have never picked a lychee from a tree, but, this gelato had impeccably harnessed the big taste of the little fruit.

The Pandan & Coconut was also delicious. It had such a delicate flavour and smooth texture, it was a pleasure to eat.

My sister order two scoops as well. She chose the Honey Pot (also a special) which was hocolate, honey and coconut gelato with honeycomb, and Milk Chocolate with Choc Peanut Fudge for her second scoop. Both of these were excellent. After a little sisterly taste, I can only agree.

Lychee with Pandan & Coconut, Honey Pot with Milk Chocolate with Choc Peanut Fudge ($6 each)

Can't wait to go back to Messina and try some more flavours!!! Perhaps next time I won't have dinner so I'll be able to try more flavours :P

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon