A25 Pizzeria

A25’s mission is simple - to serve good-quality, uncomplicated Italian food at a good price. Far from being “just another pizza joint”, the menu boasts delicious Italian classics including delicious pastas, snacks and desserts.

Gastrology recently joined A25 Pizzeria on a delicious journey from Roma to Pescara. It was a night of traditional cuisine with a modern twist by celebrated Italian stalwart Remo Nicolini and lauded chef-restaurateur, Raymond Capaldi. 
The restaurant boasts a modern and fun fit out with images of Sofia Loren and pink neon light installations. There is even an audio of a former Italian president and his mistress cheekily rolling in the background when you visit the bathroom.
We commenced our evening with several delicious starters. The “Bombolone di Parmiggiano”, a savoury bombolone was delicious. These golden puffs were stunning. Ethereal in texture, the doughnuts were coated in a salty sugary mixture and tasted delicious with the oozy parmesan custard filling.
Another must have is their “KFR” - Kentucky Fried Rabbit which is served with the most wonderful artichoke pesto. The morsels of rabbit were delectably crunchy on the outside and extremely tender and juicy in the centre.
An absolute highlight from our dinner was the Orecchiette alle Fave. As expected of any good Italian restaurant, A25 is particularly good at producing quality pasta dishes. The Orecchiette that we had was no exception. The ear shaped pasta were intertwined amongst lashings of onion, lime and broad beans. The flavours were complex and rich. Texturally, the tenderness of the pasta contrasted nicely with the bits of crispy crouton pieces. 
Our savoury courses concluded with 3 delectable pizzas: The Bufala, Tartufo and L.S.D.
The LS.D in particular impressed with its unique and delicious flavour combinations. It was picture perfect in appearance and outstanding in taste. An almighty pizza that was created with liquorice, Italian sausage, dates and radicchio it was a delightful fusion of flavours that ensured every mouthful was moreish. Encircled with a puffy crisp crust, this pizza was superb.
Our evening concluded with a playful dessert called “Gucci by Gucci” which echoed the perfume with the use of aromatic mastic.
A25 delivers with a fresh take on tradition that is stylish and playful with only the finest ingredients imported from Italy. 

Location: 720 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Phone: 03 9826 2233
Cuisine: Italian

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of A25.

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Brother Burger opens second restaurant on Chapel Street

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew.
Adored Fitzroy burger destination, Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew, has crossed the river to open its second restaurant on Melbourne’s iconic Chapel Street. Taking over the site formerly home to Café Greco, Brother Burger is part of the new guard of Chapel Street hangouts.
We loved the atmosphere and social vibe of their new haunt. Owner, Marcelo Tummino, who in a former life worked in advertising as an art director, has filled the industrial inspired space with pre-­‐loved items he personally collected. Recycled materials complement the nostalgic ambiance of the venue, which boasts a receding courtyard entrance framed by New York loft-style windows, large red semi-circle leather booths, a wall panelled in deconstructed metal shelves, tennis court lighting and over 800 vintage meat grinders.
The menu focuses on producing authentic, high quality food. You can expect a few tweaks to the original menu you know and love, but we can confirm there is no deviation from the timeless flavour combinations which are all made by hand, from scratch. 
We enjoyed the Hot Stuff burger - an almighty burger with a large 100% wagyu grilled beef patty, smoky double bacon, melted cheese, house-made pickles, mustard-mayo and chilli jam all squeezed into a fresh, toasted brioche bun. It was the small details that set it apart - from the slightly crispy edges of the pattie to the subtle smokiness of the bacon. Yum!
For something a little different from the beef patty, we recommend their Hey Ewe! burger which is filled with beautifully spiced lamb, beetroot, lettuce, preserved lemon and minted yoghurt and house-made pickles. A clever and pleasingly complex combination of flavours that we loved. 
Their fries were beautifully crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside while their onion rings had us doing it Gollum style - fighting for the last ring. They were deliciously sweet, soft, sticky and encased by incredibly crispy batter (highly recommended).

And while you're there, don't leave without having a look at their ever changing dessert specials. We loved indulging in their very decadent chocolate ganache tart.
Showcasing a menu that maintains the integrity of premium produce and an impressive 15 tap beer selection, Brother Burger combines the winning combination of juicy burgers with independent craft beers. We will be back. 

Location: 560 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Phone: 03 9041 1393
Cuisine: Burgers, Bar, Bar & Grill

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The Wolf and I

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Wolf and I. Mention this review when you book for a special complimentary surprise.
Combining Scandinavian-inspired interior, great Aussie pub grub and a firm focus on affordable hospitality, the Wolf and I is a great addition to Windsor’s bustling food precinct.
The venue sits upon a historic site which occupies the former old Swan Hotel and is split into three distinct areas:  front bar, dining room and casual seating areas. The ambience is warm and inviting with stylish furnishings and fittings, exposed brick walls and timber ceilings. 
The kitchen is in safe hands with Head Chef Daniel Groom leading the charge. Groom had his most recent stint at Leftbank Restaurant and Bar and has a decade worth of experience at impressive dining establishments in the UK and Denmark.  
The menu features Modern Australian fare as well as pub classics. 
Duck cigars with chilli jam sauce

An Asian take on the cigar, the mouth-watering pastry cigars were delightful. Biting through thin, crunchy exterior pastry, our taste buds were greeted with a flavoursome concoction of tender duck, carrot, coriander and crisp shallots. 
Quinoa salad

An enlivening salad of quinoa, roasted pumpkin, sunflower seeds, Danish feta, candied walnuts, parsley and brought together with a basil pesto dressing, the salad was a medley of exciting flavours and textures which will appeal to even the most carnivorous individuals.
Barramundi, carrot puree, bacon lardons, barramundi croquettes, israeli cous cous, sweet corn & red wine jus

The quality of the barramundi was exemplary. The skin of the fish was perfectly seared to be very crisp while the flesh was delicate and moist. It was a wonderfully simple dish that allowed the natural subtle sweetness of the fish to be enjoyed.
Lamb rump, broad beans, pea puree, lamb beignets, gratin potato & balsamic jus

The lamb rump was an excellent dish. The lamb was very tender and fell away easily with the weight of our forks. Coated with a beautiful balsamic jus sauce, both items were very enjoyable to consume. The accompanying balsamic jus was beautiful, as was the pea puree which was creamy and well-seasoned.
Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

Mastering the perfect amount of sweetness, this dessert was a truly ambrosial version of the classic sticky date pudding. The pudding was well made and decadently coated in copious amounts of luscious caramel sauce.
Chocolate fondant, mascarpone cream, hazelnut crumbs and pistachio ice cream

Well made with a rich billowing chocolate centre and a slightly crisp cake exterior, this dessert would delight any chocolate lover.  The pistachio ice cream which accompanied the fondant matched it well and was refreshingly light and fragrant.  
The Wolf and I offers uncomplicated, affordable, masterfully executed pub favourites as well as Modern Australian dishes within a highly contemporary fit-out which combines the best of old and new. 

Location: 152 Chapel Street, Windsor 
Phone: 03 9510 1819
Cuisine: Pub Food, Modern Australian

Don't forget to mention this review when you book for a special complimentary surprise!

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There's a new kid on the block that's MELT[ing] the hearts of pizza lovers

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MELT.
A new concept in fast-casual dining, MELT has opened just in time for winter.
A creation of Dan and Elise Gold, MELT uses an assembly line format that lets patrons order one of the menu’s classic pizzas or create one of their own, choosing from a wide selection of fresh, artisanal toppings. 
The generously sized personal pizzas are then sent to a blazing 400 degree hot stone oven, where dedicated pizza makers ensure that the thin-crust pizzas are “super-fast baked” in a scant 120 seconds. 
MELT’s fast-casual environment is comfortably hip with architectural notes inspired by fire and foundries such as the terracotta tiles which adorn parts of the bright walls and the hot stone oven, the centrepiece of the eatery. Borosilicate glass hanging vases provide a clever accent against the comfortable wooden furnishing.
We loved how the pizzas are freshly made in every sense of the word. Each pizza starts with a perfectly proofed dough ball and is pressed into a pizza base right before your eyes.
Custom pizza: Crushed tomato base, chicken & prawns, mixed mushrooms, goats cheese, garlic oil

Made from fresh produce, each element on our custom-made pizza was delicious. The house-made dough which was made from a recipe that does not utilise any oil, fat or sugar resulted in a pizza base which was light-as-air and crisp. We loved the use of this simple base which was the perfect canvas for the, meats, vegetables and sauce.
Classic pizza: Italian sausage - Free range Italian sausage, friarielli, fresh mozzarella, crushed tomato, extra virgin olive oil

The Italian sausage pizza was picture perfect in appearance and outstanding in taste. Layers of mozzarella were teamed with juicy crushed tomatoes and mellow friarielli leaves. Encircled with a puffy crisp crust, this pizza was superb.
Meatballs - Grass fed free range beef meatballs, spicy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, oven roasted capsicum, rocket
Superfood salad - Oven roasted sweet potato, beetroot, broccoli, red quinoa, white quinoa, red rice, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almond flakes with a yoghurt and tahini dressing. 

The superfood salad was yet another highlight of our evening. We savoured every moreish morsel.
Gelato by 7 Apples

For dessert, a selection of gelato by 7 Apples are available to end your visit on a sweet note. One of Melbourne’s premium gelato stores, 7 Apples’ gelato and sorbets are made fresh daily using fresh ingredients. We loved both the salted caramel and hazelnut gelato we had. The salted caramel gelato which Elise described as “life changing” was velvety and decadently sweet while the hazelnut gelato was a well-made and refreshing classic.
Dan and Elise are on to a winner - unbelievably good pizzas, lightning fast, at affordable prices, what’s not to love?

Location: 171 Chapel Street, Windsor
Phone: 03 9533 7110
Cuisine: Pizza, Salad, Sandwiches/Subs

 7 Apples Gelato on Urbanspoon Melt Pizza on Urbanspoon

Event review: Spring Graze @ Ayatana [24th September]

Location: 97 Chapel Street, Windsor
Phone: 03 9533 8813
Cuisine: Thai, Asian 
Overall Impression: 8.5/10

Ayatana celebrates Spring Graze with a delicious five course modern Thai feast prepared with fresh, local Victorian produce sourced from some of Prahran Market's star traders. Also partnering with Oakdene, each course is perfectly matched with one of the winery’s wines.
One of our favourite Thai restaurants in Melbourne, Ayatana serves Modern Thai cuisine with bold and authentic flavour combinations.
1st Course: Hot & sour portobello & flat mushrooms soup
Sourced: Damian Pike - Prahran Market
Matched with: 2010 Oakdene ‘Yvette’ Methode Traditionelle Sparkling 

The sweet and sour soup was flavoursome and had the perfect hint of chilli. It was a lovely start to the meal. 
2nd Course: Sweet crunchy roasted tamarind bio-dynamic brown rice salad
Sourced: Ripe The Organic Grocer - Prahran Market 
Matched with: 2012 Oakdene ‘Jessica’ Sauvignon Blanc

The salad of sweet crunchy roasted tamarind brown rice had an intriguing combination of crushed cashew nuts, green apple, bean shoots, mint, coriander, red onion and crispy noodles. All the dazzlingly fresh ingredients blended harmoniously, resulting in a clean and bright dish with a perfect salt-sour-heat balance.
3rd Course: Caramelised crispy free range berkshire pork belly (Greta Valley free range pork)
Sourced: Gary's Quality Meats - Prahran Market 
Matched with: 2012 Oakdene ‘Peta’s’ Pinot Noir

The pork belly was excellent, with a crispy but well-proportioned layer of fat sitting atop a succulent layer of tender, juicy meat. The balance of sweet and salt exhibited great skill.
4th Course: Slow cooked sher wagyu rump massaman curry 
Sourced: Neil's Meats - Prahran Market 
Matched with: 2010 Oakdene ‘William’ Shiraz

The sher wagyu rump in the masaman curry had been cooked gently, the tender meat falling off the bone and combining wonderfully with the sweet potato pieces and kaffir lime. 
5th Course: Salted caramel ice cream sundae, sliced steamed banana, roasted honey macadamia
Sourced: Fritz Gelato - Prahran Market 
Matched with: 2013 Oakdene Pinot Grigio

The banana was deliciously soft, gooey and sticky and was infused in a delectable spiced palm sugar caramel. The fritz gelato ice cream was desirably smooth and the toasted honey macadamias plus the salted caramel topped off this killer dessert.
Enjoy a Thai fine dining experience with a modern twist at Ayatana. 

The restaurant’s Spring Graze menu will see you on a delectable journey guided by the Thai food compass of 'Hot', 'Sweet', 'Sour', and 'Salty' flavours. The 5 course menu is cleverly designed and incorporates premium produce from Victorian producers (sourced from Prahran Market) delightfully matched with Oakdene wines. 

When: Tuesday the 24th of September from 7:30pm to 10:00pm 
Where: Ayatana, 97 Chapel Street, Windsor 
Phone: (03) 9533 8813 
Price: $95.00 per person for 5 courses with matching wines 

Ayatana on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Ayatana.

Restaurant Review: Ayatana

Location: 97 Chapel Street, Windsor
Phone: 03 9533 8813
Link: http://www.ayatana.com.au
Cuisine: Thai, Asian
Overall Impression: 8/10
It is a Friday night on Chapel Street and Ayatana is bustling and vibrant. Filled to the brim with diners, we were lucky to get a table.
Melbourne is filled with Thai restaurants but Ayatana manages to stand out from the crowd. The decor is modern and relaxed, with grey and white dominating the colour scheme. Pictures of Thailand hang proudly on the walls, as do decorative rows of wine bottles, which is no surprise given Ayatana professes to be a wine bar and restaurant.
Sweet crunchy roasted tamarind rice - crushed cashew nuts, green apple, bean shoots,mint, coriander, red onion, crispy noodles, mixed salad

The entree salad of sweet crunchy roasted tamarind rice had an intriguing combination of crushed cashew nuts, green apple, bean shoots, mint, coriander, red onion and crispy noodles. All the dazzlingly fresh ingredients blended harmoniously, resulting in a clean and bright dish with a perfect salt-sour-heat balance.
Crispy soft shell crab in yellow curry , bamboo shoot, green bean, white cabbage and kaffir lime leaves

The soft shell crab curry showed balance and style, with an appetising level of chilli power. The curry was luxurious, thick and exhibited a marvellous aromatic lift.
Twice cooked crispy pork belly, stir fried with chilli jam, sweet chilli sauce, long beans and kaffir lime leaves

The pork belly was excellent, with a crispy but well proportioned layer of fat sitting atop a succulent layer of tender, juicy meat. The balance of sweet and salt exhibited great skill.
Slow cooked lamb shank masaman curry, roasted peanut, sweet potatoes, cinnamon stick, star anise

The lamb shank in the masaman curry had been cooked gently, the tender meat falling off the bone and combining wonderfully with the sweet potato pieces and kaffir lime.
Tasting platter- steamed banana, black sticky rice pudding, warm coconut tapioca pearls, Ricketts Point mango sorbet

The desserts are simple and relatively light, providing a pleasant end to the meal.

Given the quality of the food served at Ayatana, we will surely be back.

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Ayatana.