Moo-light in the Jardin

Gastrology bloggers attended the event courtesy of Jardin Tan.
Melbourne chef and entrepreneur Shannon Bennett has extended his passion for food fusion and reinterpretation to include craft beers that also put their own spin on traditional styles.
Bennett formally launched his connection with Tasmanian craft brewery Moo Brew at his newly established “Jardin Tan” eatery at the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens last week. 
Moo Brew – known for its five premium craft beers and unique sculptural bottles labelled with John Kelly artworks – was the brainchild of fellow visionary entrepreneur David Walsh; the man behind Tasmania’s world-renowned MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art). 
Bennett sees Moo Brew as a great match given their reputation for stylistic beers that transcends core styles – but with their own twist with Jardin Tan which takes French Vietnamese cuisine and imbues it with farm to table philosophy. 
Gastrology was pleased to attend the Moo-light in the Jardin media launch which featured John Kelly artworks plus some new, exciting Bennett sourced artworks from David Teplitzky including Sigalit Landau: 4 Love Heaters, 2012, Heater and neon light, various light installations, launch of the Banh-Mi bikes (custom-made bikes which will deliver food to Jardin patrons around the Tan), Moo Brew installations and styled food.
Mini bo la lot burger

We adored the perfectly matched morsels that went hand-in-hand with beer.
Prawn and sweet potato fritter with pickled green chilli

The fritters had a crunchy golden brown exterior and were succulently sweet - the nuggets of deep fried batter brought pleasure to our taste buds. 

Mark Eather lemongrass fish skewer

The skewers were another highlight. Sufficiently seasoned and flavoursome, the skewers had benefited from sufficient time on the grill to achieve the perfect degree of outer charring.

Vietnamese spring rolls, nouc mam Cham

Bo la lot: Beef mince wrapped in betel leaves

The bite-sized appetiser of betel leaf with beef mince was a medley of aromatic and acidic ingredients and was thoroughly enjoyable.
Crispy tofu, fermented chilli, lemongrass salt
Mini pork Banh mi 

The traditional Vietnamese pork banh mi was a delight. The crunchy bread roll was shimmered with pâté and mayonnaise and filled with generous serves of pork, topped with a salad of sweet pickled carrots, cucumber, coriander and fresh chilli. It was both fresh and very tasty.
We adored the Moo Brew beers. The Dark Ale was our favourite of the bunch. An American Brown ale using resinous hop flavour, the beer was rich and dark with caramel and chocolate notes with a lightly roasted finish - beautiful.
The evening concluded with a decadent array of beautifully made desserts...
With the beautiful  Royal Botanic Gardens as a backdrop, Jardin Tan is at once warm and welcoming. The delicious menu draws influence from the Vietnamese/ French fusion cuisine which makes it perfect for sharing with friends for any occasion whilst knocking back on some delicious Moo Brew craft beer. 
Location: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9691 3888
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Cocktails, Coffee

Jardin Tan on Urbanspoon

The Fast & Furious PHO24

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of PHO24.
PHO24 now has its first restaurant in Melbourne which is conveniently located opposite the Southern Cross Station on the corner of Little Bourke and Spencer Street. PHO24 prepares delicious bowls of chicken, fish or beef pho express-style, using only the freshest ingredients.
A household name in Vietnam PHO24 first opened in Saigon in 2003 and now have 73 vibrant eateries across Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and Hong Kong. 
The kitchen space incorporates a unique design of nickel-plated vats, which control evaporation, flavour and temperature – creating a consistent clear amber broth that infuses the flavours of French, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines into the dishes.
Celebrating authentic Vietnamese flavours with a contemporary twist, the menu offers traditional staples such as rice paper rolls, spring rolls, banh mi and pho.
What sets this Vietnamese eatery apart is their ability to serve fresh ‘pho on the go’ in under a minute. Unlike most pho eateries, which invite you to sit at a table before a waitress brings you a menu, PHO24 is much more interactive. 
Set up like a traditional tuckshop, with an open kitchen and a canteen-style counter, the restaurant invites customers to observe the menu being prepared in front of them. After picking up a bowl of hot noodles, customers choose their own broth before cutting their own herbs and adding some extra condiments such as lemon, hoisin sauce and chili, all served in under a minute.
Slow-cooked pulled pork steamed buns

The Slow-cooked pulled pork steamed buns were an absolute winner. The fluffy, moist and slightly sweet buns were filled with an addictive medley of julienned carrots, fresh lettuce and tender morsels of pulled pork. The pulled pork was both tender and delicious, with caramel undertones courtesy of being slow-braised in an earthy Asian braising sauce.
Traditional Vietnamese pork banh mi 

The traditional Vietnamese pork banh mi was another highlight. The crunchy bread roll was shimmered with pâté and mayonnaise and filled with generous serves of smoked paprika pork, topped with a salad of sweet pickled carrots, cucumber, coriander and fresh chilli glossed in a hoi sin glaze. It was both fresh and very tasty.
Poached chicken pho

We enjoyed PHO24’s chicken Pho. Possessing a heartier and richer flavour than the traditional pho broth, the pho was an absolute delight.
With the aim of being the fastest and tastiest pho restaurant in the west, PHO24 incorporates the sous-vide process, ensuring its meats are moist, tender and consistently delicious day-to-day.
PHO24 has already carved a niche in a competitive market, having taken Melbourne’s culinary scene by storm and since January. Perfect for local workers, city dwellers, tourists and sports or music fans en route to Etihad Stadium, PHO24 is redefining how we eat Vietnam’s national dish.

Location: 656 Little Bourke St At Spencer Melbourne
Phone: 03 5915 9047
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Breakfast, Fast Food

Pho24 on Urbanspoon

Mùa Đông @ Ba'get | Recipes: Bo Kho (spicy beef stew) + Chai Dreaming Cocktail

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Ba'get.
Ba’get celebrates Mùa Đông (winter), with an array of warming winter Vietnamese dishes.

This week, we got out from the cold and into Ba’get’s warm kitchen where exotic spices and hot hearty stews were bubbling away.  
Owner of Ba’get (and our host for the evening), Duy Huynh shared his recipe for Bo Kho (spicy beef stew) as we took a first look at what is new for the season at Ba’get. 

Recipe: Bo Kho (spicy beef stew)

2 kg Gravy beef cubed
1 tb soy sauce
Spice salt:
3 tsp salt
4 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
12 cloves
10 cardamon pods
½ tsp Chinese five spice
3 Onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, bashed
1 thumb sized knob of ginger, bashed 1 chilli (or as desired), halved
3 tb tomato paste
4 carrots, peeled & in large chunks % mandarin peel, pith removed

4 cups of beef stock
Fresh coriander & Thai basil to garnish

  1. Make spice salt: Toast spices in a dry pan on medium heat, and grind to a fine powder with salt
  2. Combine beef, spice salt with soy sauce and marinate for 30 mins
  3. In a wok, stirfy onions, garlic, lemongrass, chilli and ginger so they just take some colour. Add the beef and stiffly for 15 minutes. Add tomato paste, carrots and mandarin peel & continue to cook for another 5 minutes
  4. Add beef stock and cook for 30 mins in a pressure cooker or on a gentle simmer for 2 hours or until tender. Serve garnished with Thai basil and coriander.

Serving suggestions

Bo Kho is traditionally served with a freshly baked baguette.

Our thoughts

The stew was delicious. We loved the mix of spices which made the broth both aromatic and moreish. Hearty, well-seasoned with beautiful flavours, the stew is winter comfort food at its best.

Cocktail Recipe: Chai Dreaming

1 heaped teaspoons of Chai Spices (such as Prana Chai) 
1 tsp honey
Hot water
150 ml Soy milk
A shot of brandy
Fresh Ginger wedge Cinnamon stalk
Cinnamon sugar


Add enough boiling water to cover Chai tea in a flask. Allow to infuse for 2 minutes.
Add honey and soy milk and heat with a steam wand or on a stove top to 75c
Add shot of brandy and pour into a mug garnished with ginger, cinnamon and ground cinnamon sugar.

Our thoughts

The Chai Dreaming cocktail was a stunner. A winter warmer that will knock the chill from your system this season, it had a lovely warmth from the use of fresh ginger that was soothing and comforting.

The Bo Kho and Chai Dreaming (albeit a non-alcoholic version) is available on Ba’get’s new winter menu. 

Find more Ba'get recipes and read about the amazing Ba’get banhmi here.

Ba'get - Russell Street on Urbanspoon

Banh Mi Masterclass @ Ba'get | Recipe: Vietnamese Pickles

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Ba'get.
Location: 132 Russell Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9988 4130
Cuisine: Sandwiches/Subs, Vietnamese
Overall Impression: 8/10
Melbourne's love affair with Asian street food continues to grow with the opening of a new traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi establishment, Ba'get in the heart of the CBD.

Ba'get brings together crusty, fresh baked bread with authentic house-made charcuterie, grilled meats, pickled vegetables, pate, Asian herbs and fresh chillies to create an all-encompassing flavour and texture sensation.
Ba'get is the brainchild of Duy Huynh and his family who have been in the Melbourne food industry for over 21 years.
Ba'get is the real deal – Vietnamese street food with its heart firmly located on the banks of the Mekong Delta. The banh mi are made using age-old family recipes that have been perfected over several decades.
We loved the freshness, balance and authenticity of Ba’get’s banh mi. 

We were also given the opportunity to make our own Ba'get baguettes...
Baked hourly, the baguettes are consistently delicious and ingredients are carefully selected to achieve the perfect texture and flavour balance.
Ba'get’s menu featues a wide array of authentic Banh Mi including: traditional Classic hams, Grilled Lemongrass Pork, Pulled Chicken, Buddha's Tofu, Rich Tomato Meat Ball and Grilled Lemongrass Chicken as well as more modern flavours such as leg ham and salami; all lovingly made to order to ensure uncompromising freshness. Ba'get also offers Vermicelli bowl versions of Banh Mi flavours as a gluten free option.
Lovers of caffeine will not be forgotten - they will also be serving up potent quantities of cà phê sữa đá - traditional Vietnamese coffee as well as hot, flaky pork puffs, Vietnamese sesame donuts and a selection of tantalising pastries including Cassava Cake, Coconut and Durian Buns.

Bata's interior is also reflective of Banh Mi's origins, resembling a Vietnamese streetscape; complete with overhanging power lines, splashes of luscious red and turquoise complete with French architectural finishes, referencing its colonial past.
Scrawled in calligraphy across the store's feature wall is an ancient Vietnamese poem; a mantra to the authenticity that Ba'get aims to achieve which rougly translates to:
“Half-truths are never true, nor can true love ever come in halves”

Recipe: Vietnamese Pickles 

1 x large carrot
1 x daikon
peeled and cut into matchstick battons
Pickling liquor
1 cup of vinegar 1/2 cup of water 1 tb sugar
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic sliced
1 bird's eye chilli split in quarters 8 pepper corns

  1. Sterilise a jar by placing in a 100c oven for 10 mins, or rinse with water and place in microwave for 2-3 mins, or on a hot dishwasher cycle
  2. Peel and cut vegetables into match stick battons — set aside in a bowl
  3. In a saucepan, heat the pickling liquor ingredients until boiling, and remove from heat.
  4. Pour the pickling liquor onto vegetables and combine well.
  5. Transfer to sterilised jar and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks
  6. Always use clean chopsticks to serve pickles
Serving suggestions

Serve with grilled lemongrass pork on rice, in vermicelli bowls, in salads or as an accompaniment to meat or curry dishes where you want to add freshness and zing. Great served with crispy roasted pork belly, and hoi sin. And essential of course, in Banh Mi.

Ba'get Russell Street on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Ba'get.