Mr Ramen San

Mr Ramen San is a Japanese noodle house centrally located in the Mid City Arcade on Bourke Street. As the name suggests, the focal point of this café is ramen – Japanese wheat noodles. 

The quality of the ramen offered by Mr Ramen San is some of the best Melbourne has to offer with the noodles made in-house daily. The broth is cooked for 10 hours in pork bones (chefs stir continuously for 4-5 hours a day to achieve a beautiful consistency) for full flavour. 
Charsu Ramen

The menu features reasonably priced and amply sized bowls of delicious soup noodles (with extra noodles free of charge), making this ramen-centric establishment a suitable haunt for economical lunch seekers. 
Mr Ramen San allows you to customise your own ramen. You begin by selecting a broth - soy, miso or tonkotsu (pork bone) – before proceeding to select your topping - eg. chashu (roast pork), beef and minced chicken. 
Vegetarian Charsu Ramen

On our visit, we were particularly impressed by the vegetarian Charsu Ramen. The slender noodle strands were firmly cooked, and were pleasantly garnished with nori, boiled egg, bamboo shoots and spring onion. The accompanying Vegetarian “Charsu” possessed a delicious bite and went superbly with the vegetarian “tonkotsu” broth. The broth is the most vital component of any bowl of ramen as it provides flavour to the noodles. Mr Ramen San’s broth was delicious. A thick, cloudy and somewhat creamy concoction of decadently rich flavours. It was hard to believe that this was a vegetarian dish.
Teriyaki Charsu Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen

Another highlight was the Teriyaki Charsu Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen. Boasting unadulterated pork flavours (the end product of intensely boiled pork bones and more notably, pork fat), the thick, gleaming layer of liquid pork fat that forms on the surface of the broth was the key to an authentic and robust tonkotsu broth. As the strands of noodles were pulled through the surface, they were coated with the unctuous perfectly spicy liquid which provided the noodles with indulgent flavours. 
Mr Ramen San is definitely worth checking out if you have not already.

Location: Midcity Arcade, 200 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9042 1588
Link: http://www.mrramensan.com.au/
Cuisine: Japanese, Ramen


Mr. Ramen San Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Mr Ramen San.

Chow Down

Chow Down in the heart of the CBD draws on owner and passionate chef, Vincent Chow’s Malaysian background to serve up authentic Malaysian hawker food. The cuisine reflects the diversity of its South East Asian roots, drawing influences from Malay, Chinese, Peranakan and Indian cuisine.
The service was friendly and prompt with staff that are clearly proud of the food being served up.
Teh Tarik

The menu is incredibly well-priced and there is a huge range of Malaysian delicacies to choose from including some great drink options for either dine-in within the communal areas or to take-away. For drinks, we recommend the teh tarik – a frothy and sweet pulled tea. 
Char kuey teow

The fried kuey teow was superbly authentic. Long and thick ribbons of flat rice noodles were cooked with an assortment of ingredients - shrimps, fish cake and egg – all of which possessed a wonderful wok caramelisation. The dish had the perfect amount of heat and boasted a great depth of flavour.
Nasi Lemak 
Variety pack - Nasi lemak (coconut rice), chicken skewer, selected kuih plus a choice of one dish from the window

The variety pack was a decadent lunch option. The full-bodied, pungent rendang gravy paired beautifully with melt-in-your-mouth chicken skewers and perfectly crisp fried chicken. We enjoyed the richness of the gravy and the generous use of spices in each element of the dish which showcased the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian food generally.  Together with fluffy coconut rice, crispy anchovies and delicious sambal, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
Roast Chicken Rice 

A Malaysian favourite, the plump and juicy slices of roasted chicken breasts were the highlight of this dish. Coupled with the aromatic and fluffy chicken rice, it was a moreish dish.
Nasi Goreng Kampung 

The nasi goreng kampung was a winner.  A fragrant traditional Malay style fried rice dish cooked in shrimp paste and normally served in a banana-leaf wrapping with bountiful anchovies, chicken bits and veggies, the crowning element was a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg.
Kuih seri muka

For dessert, the Kuih seri muka is not to be missed. A dainty and absolutely lovely sweet cake made of a gooey glutinous rice base topped with pandan flavoured coconut milk jelly. 
Chow Down punches above its weight with a delectable array of hawker foods you will love. We can't wait to return for another delicious bowl of their authentic Malaysian delights.


Location: 16/246 Bourke St, Melbourne 
Phone: 0412 334 681
Cuisine: Malaysian


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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.


Bababoi Kitchen & Bar

One of the few restaurants in Melbourne to serve Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine, Bababoi stands out from the crowd with offerings that really pack a flavour punch.
The Nyonya cuisine is a Malaysian cuisine which combines Chinese, Malay and other influences into a unique blend resulting in dishes that are tangy, aromatic, spicy and herbal.

The menu is extensive with something to suit everyone - From well-known crowd pleasers like their 5 spice marinated chicken to authentic Nyonya dishes like the Ayam buah keluak which is not served anywhere else in Melbourne. 

The food boasts beautiful flavour courtesy of the house made rempah (a blend of fresh spices which are ground together) that are meticulously prepared.
Lobak 

Our dinner commenced with a plate of Lobak from their “Something Light” section of the menu. The Lobak is a mixture of ground up lean pork, water chestnuts and herbs wrapped in a beancurd skin which has been steamed and then pan fried until crisp. The crispy beancurd exterior, juicy interior and salty-sweet chilli sauce makes for an excellent appetiser. 
Tamarind pulled pork (a.k.a. babi assam)

A dish of pulled pork with hints of tangy tamarind, the dish displayed a depth and complexity in flavour and had a lovely hint of tangy sweetness that complemented the overall savouriness of the dish. 
Nyonya chicken curry (a.k.a. ayam kapitan)

This classic Malaysian chicken curry was a stand out. Boasting creamy coconut and aromatic kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, it was wonderfully hearty. We enjoyed the richness of the curry and the generous use of spices which showcased the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian curries generally.  Together with steamed rice, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
Chocolate chicken (a.k.a. Ayam buah keluak)

The chocolate chicken was yet another highlight. Particularly enjoyable for its robust and fragrant nutty flavour. Each morsel was cooked to the point where the meat simply melted in our mouths. The flavours from the herbs and spices were unique and very enjoyable.
The Jewellery box - Earl grey pannacotta topped with black tapioca pearls

The visually attractive pannacotta was a wonderful creation of melt in your mouth pannacotta and perfectly chewy tapioca pearls. Absolutely delectable, this dessert was a masterclass in textural balance and great use of flavour. The pannacotta was textured perfectly. A welcome departure from the mundane dessert items usually found, this dessert offered its own unique characteristics. 
Bababoi celebrates the fusion style of Nyonya cuisine, with distinctive blend of Chinese and Malay techniques, flavours and spices. If you like your South East Asian flavours rich and gutsy, you cannot go wrong here.


Location: Shop 2, 60 Siddeley Street, Docklands
Phone: 0490 029 968
Link: http://www.bababoikitchenandbar.com/
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Malaysian


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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.



OLDTOWN White Coffee

OLDTOWN White Coffee recently opened its first Australian outpost mid last month.
Established in 1999, OLDTOWN White Coffee is Malaysia’s largest white coffee café chain.
The menu pays homage to Malaysian food in general with particular emphasis on dishes from its place of origin, Ipoh. 
Sotong Kangkung Rojak

We started with a dish of cuttlefish and spinach (also known in Hokkien as “Jyu hu eng chai”). A “salad” of sorts, the dish had beautifully wilted water spinach and tender cuttlefish laced in rojak sauce which is a flavoursome concoction of  shrimp paste, black caramel sauce, belachan, sugar, tamarind water, lemon juice, chilli powder and fresh chillis. 
Sotong Sambal Petai

The Squid with Petai beans cooked in sambal was delicious. One of our favourite Malay dishes, we enjoyed the gentle bitterness from the Petai which cut through the richness of the sambal. 
Assam Pedas Fish

The Spicy Assam Fish was yet another highlight. The perfectly seasoned assam curry broth possessed the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian curries. We loved the beautiful tartness from the assam base which goes particularly well with fish.
Whether you’re looking for a light snack of kaya toast and coffee, or a Malaysian feast, OLDTOWN White Coffee delivers with their great range of Malaysian cuisine. 


Location: 303, Elizabeth St Melbourne Vic 3000 
Phone: 03 9939 4268
Cuisine: Malaysian


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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.

Bagelicious

Only a couple of months old, the latest addition to the Bagelicious’ family already has regular customers keen to get their hands on some crispy, chewy Bagelicious creations.

Large baskets of different flavours await the fans at this Glenferrie Road eatery. We loved that each bagel we tried was well-made. Each boasting a wonderful rich glowing crust that was firm and crunchy, protecting its chewy, dense crumb inside.
An array of healthy fillings make Bagelicious a fantastic lunch option. And there are even great non-bagel options such as their healthy and flavoursome soups.
The drinks menu is not to be outshone, with a variety of cold drinks including smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. Their iced coffee is a stand-out. Made from skim milk and real coffee, it is  delicious way to get your caffeine hit for the day.
Haloumi cheese bagel served with pesto, beetroot dip, lettuce & onion (Add On: chicken)

The haloumi bagel was a delicious option. Served with charred haloumi, fresh pesto, slightly tart beetroot dip and our requested add on of chicken breast, the bagel tasted wholesome.
Chicken breast bagel served with avocado dip, lettuce, roasted capsicum, and alfalfa sprout

The breast bagel was just as good. The chicken was tender and went well with the well-roasted capsicum, luxurious avocado dip and crisp lettuce. It was a healthy bagel option which ticked all the boxes.
Blueberry bagel served with peanut butter, m&ms and twirls

We ended our visit on a decadent note with a dessert bagel which was made of… well, the stuff of dreams. An aromatic toasted blueberry bagel arrived filled with melting peanut butter, m&ms and chocolate twirls. It was very naughty but equally delicious.
Bagelicious offers bagels with just the right combination of crispy crust and chewy inside, and a brilliant selection of fillings to please just about anyone.  


Location: 643 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn,
Phone: 03 9818 0066
Link: http://www.bagelicious.com.au/


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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Bagelicious.

Baotime

Baotime is a Richmond eatery dedicated to the “bao”. While many restaurants in Melbourne serve the bao, Baotime’s variety are a cut above courtesy of being handmade resulting in a fluffy, soft and delicate bun.

We were delighted to meet owner and founder of Baotime Jes Lau who explained to us that Baotime was created with the vision to provide warm meals and childhoods to children in need, offering hope and love to the less fortunate kids in the world. 
We loved her energetic passion which has translated into a compelling business model - offering patrons with a top notch dining experience. 

The menu, much like the venue is kept small but packs a punch with gourmet bao fillings, delicious drinks and a selection of mains.  The gourmet fillings and mains draw from Jes’ Malaysian background.  Growing up in Malaysia (Asia’s cultural melting pot), Jes has been exposed to many different interesting flavours. These flavours evoke childhood memories and these are the very flavours she seeks to share with her customers. 
From left: Air Mata Kuching - fruity longan juice; Honey Lemon drink

We started with a couple of heart-warming drinks. Both the Air Mata Kuching and Honey Lemon drinks were delightful and especially comforting on an unseasonably cold Melbourne evening.
Captain Bao 

The Captain Bao was filled with Succulent braise pork belly garnished with crushed peanuts. Featuring the tried and true flavour combination of braised pork in soy sauce, we enjoyed the generous morsels of tender pork belly. It really hit the mark!
Cuckoo Bao

The Cuckoo Bao was another winner. We loved the oozy mozzarella cheese which was lifted by the slight kick from the chilli.
Farmer Bao

The Farmer Bao impressed with beautifully roasted pumpkin and tofu garnished with mushrooms. We loved the contrast of textures between the mellow tofu and the robust pumpkin and earthy mushrooms. It was a delightful vegetarian bao that would which would appeal to even the most carnivorous individuals.
Chilli Crab Bao

The Chilli Crab Bao was outstanding. The batter was ethereally light and crispy. The soft shell crab which sat within the batter was fresh and most memorable. The bold chilli broth was the perfect accompaniment with its wonderful punchy flavours, synonymous with Malaysian curries.
Mini Bao platter: Lobster Bao; Tempura Prawn Bao; Aburi Scallop Bao

The Mini Bao Platter similarly impressed. We enjoyed the mini version of the luxurious Lobster Bao in particular which was filled with Moreton bay bug dressed in mayo and a refreshing pineapple salad.
Kahwin Bao 

Our dinner concluded on a sweet high with a couple of sweet baos starting with a stunning little Kahwin Bao filled with housemade kaya jam and butter, and a side of coconut ice cream. The brioche-like baos were filled with kaya jam and worked perfectly with the side of coconut ice cream.  
Durian Bao 

The Durian Bao (strictly for Durian lovers ONLY), was a stand out. The decadent durian ice cream was a welcome departure from the usually weak flavours and instead was vibrant, creamy and absolutely moreish while the Durian Bao itself was wonderful and filled with rich durian flesh - YUM.
Baotime pleases with unique and flavoursome baos satisfying the demand of Melbournians for delicious Modern Asian cuisine. 


Location: 342 Bridge Road, Richmond, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9942 7608
Cuisine: Asian


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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.

Chai Carlton

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
A simple shopfront just off Swanston Street, sandwiched between Lincoln and Argyle Square is home to one of the most authentic tasting Malaysian street-food experiences in Melbourne.
Chai Carlton is a neighbourhood gem which channels the spirit of Malaysian hawker-style eating centres in Kuala Lumpur, where locals gather to catch up and share tasty hawker favourites.

The menu features a wide array of options and as co-owner Cindy explains, “Choose whatever you like - it’s all good!” And it’s true, you can’t really go wrong here.
From top (clockwise): Tofu Bakar, Mamak Rojak, Kampung Sardine, Lobak, Cripsy “Ichi Kabin” Chicken Wings

Our dinner commenced with a few plates from their “Jonker Street Favourites” menu section. Each item was full of flavour and meticulously prepared. Of particular note was the Lobak. The Lobak is a mixture of ground up lean pork, water chestnuts and herbs wrapped in a beancurd skin which has been steamed and then pan fried until crisp. The crispy beancurd exterior, juicy interior and salty-sweet chilli sauce makes for an excellent appetiser. Another crowd pleaser was the rojak which took us to the streets of Malaysia. A textural spicy hot salad with vegetable and delicious gravy - nothing short of yum! 
Yam Gravy Crispy Pork with rice

The wonderfully crisp morsels of pork were slathered with the most delicious yam gravy. This dish was comfort food at its best. The fluffy rice was the perfect canvas for the rich flavours. 
Assam Laksa

One of the few places in Melbourne delivering an authentic Assam Laksa, Chai Carlton’s take is a real treat. For the uninitiated, Assam Laksa is a spicy and sour fish-based soup from Malaysia. It was a fiery treat which was notable for its use of high quality sardines and the interplay between salinity, heat and acidity.
Beef rendang nasi lemak

The beef rendang was decadent. The full-bodied, pungent rendang gravy paired beautifully with melt-in-your-mouth morsels of beef. We enjoyed the richness of the curry and the generous use of spices which showcased the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian curries generally.  Together with fluffy coconut rice, crispy anchovies and sambal, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
Har Mee - Prawn noodles

The Har Mee was delightful. The soup was complex and aromatic and was served with generous amounts of noodles, vegetables, fish cakes, pork, and garnished with the requisite components, egg and prawns. We adored the wonderful chilli kick from the soup.
Fried Kuey Teow

The fried kuey teow was wonderfully authentic. Long and thick ribbons of flat rice noodles were cooked with an assortment of ingredients - shrimps, fish cake, Chinese sausage and egg – all of which possessed a beautiful wok caramelisation. The dish had the perfect amount of heat and boasted a great depth of flavour.
Top: Sago gula Melaka
Bottom (from left): Bubur cha cha, Yu Tiow with House Kaya

The desserts were lovely. The bubur cha cha was a decadent and textural dessert of sweet potato and taro immersed in fragrant pandan flavoured coconut soup sweetened with palm sugar. The Sago Pudding was yet another scrumptious dessert with beautifully balanced flavours. We appreciated the slight saltiness of the coconut milk which took the dessert to the next level. The house kaya on the other hand was also well made and went perfectly with the crisp Yu Tiow (a form of Chinese doughnut).
Chai Carlton brings delicious Hawker-oriented Malaysian fare to the table. Simple favourites are featured alongside lesser known options - but all stay true to the hawker spirit by focusing on authentic flavours at bargain prices. We will definitely be back. 


Location: 127 Pelham Street, Carlton
Phone: 03 9347 7448
Cuisine: Asian, Malaysian, Chinese




Chai - Eat Like Malaysian on Urbanspoon

Masak Ku

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
Meaning “my cooking”, “Masak Ku” is wonderfully Malaysian. Showcasing the melting pot of cuisines and culture that is Malaysia, Masak Ku serves a cosmopolitan of delicious food that has predominantly Malay, Chinese and Indian influences.
The menu encourages sharing with friends and family (the Malaysian way!) with an array of dishes that range from small portioned plates to larger mains. We absolutely adored all the dished we sampled.
Soft shell crab salad

Our meal began with the simple, yet ever so enticing, soft shell crab. The deep fried crustacean pieces were coated in a semi-thick crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. 
Chicken 55 - Succulent morsels of marinated chicken flash-fried and wok-tossed in a chilli spice mix with garlic
Malaysian chicken satay

We adored the succulent, aromatic, freshly grilled chicken on skewers. We loved how the satay was authentically served with cucumber and delicious ketupat which helped soak up the decadent and perfectly spiced satay sauce.
Sambal Fish Char-grilled in Banana Leaf

The Sambal Fish Char-grilled in Banana Leaf was a modern interpretation of a favourite hawker dish.  Beautifully smoky, the deboned whole trout was stuffed and smothered with a beautiful belachan based sambal paste and wrapped in a banana leaf parcel then chargrilled. It had the perfect level of heat and was cooked very well.
Kelantan Chicken
Chicken Maryland marinated in a tamarind, turmeric and coconut milk mix then chargrilled. Served with a sauce reduction
Fried Duck

The fried duck was another crowd pleaser. Deboned and braised in master stock, the duck had then been lightly floured and flash-fried. Of particular note was the tender duck’s velvety texture and crisp skin.
Lamb Pepper Curry

The lamb pepper curry was decadent. The melt in your mouth morsels of lamb were full of flavour. The full-bodied, pungent rendang gravy had been cooked with a fragrant selection of spices, coconut cream and boasted lovely notes of crushed black peppercorns. 
Purple Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk

The desserts at Masak Ku were outstanding.
Mango Sago Pudding

The Mango Sago Pudding was scrumptious with beautiful mango flavours infused into the sago and topped with pomelo, lime zest and dried mango and drizzled with creamy coconut milk - yum! 
Mango Jubilee

Visually attractive, the mango jubilee was a delight. We enjoyed the fresh mango served with two creamy scoops of house-made mango ice cream. It was refreshingly light, well balanced and cleverly constructed.  
Durian ice cream

The durian ice cream (strictly for Durian lovers ONLY), was a stand out. The decadent durian ice cream was a welcome departure from the usually weak flavours and instead was vibrant, creamy and absolutely moreish.
Masak Ku presents an elegant and skilfully restrained take on Malaysian cuisine whilst remaining true to its origins. 

Location: 732 Burke Road, Camberwell
Phone: 03 9882 3812
Cuisine: Asian, Malaysian

Masak Ku on Urbanspoon


Koba Korean Street Food

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Koba.
Korean-Mexican fusion has taken off in the United States and it seems only a matter of time til it does the same here.
In the meantime, leading the charge is Koba, a unique representation of Korean-Mexican fusion in Melbourne. 
The menu is simple and to the point. You pick your burrito, taco or rice dish and pick your choice of protein and order some sides to share.
The korritos are a whole lot of yum.  Imagine a heap of savoury caramelized kimchi, a mound of sizzling bulgogi, cheese, tomato salsa all topped off with a generous drizzle of mayonnaise (plus more kimchi).
The kimchi fries are wildly popular. Like chilli fries but with an addictive twang, it is a great side dish to share or have on your own.
Koba’s rendition of the bibimbap is another winner. Not quite fusion but certainly hits the spot with crisp fresh vegetables, gochujang (chilli pepper paste) and goes extremely well when paired with their beautiful spicy pork.
Jump on board the Tex-Mex Korean fusion bandwagon at Koba:  fresh and original food in a joyful setting at an affordable price.  

Location: 119 Hardware Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9973 8425
Cuisine: Korean, Asian, Mexican


KOBA on Urbanspoon

NL House

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
NL House brings Malaysian street-food culture, and hawker dishes to the heart of Melbourne.
Having benefited from a recent facelift last year, the restaurant is beaming with pride. Speaking to owners Marcel and Aline (who bought NL House in 2008), it is clear that they are passionate about the food that they serve. Everything you eat is made in-house. From the popular 'sambal' condiment that accompanies your nasi lemak to the pandan jelly in your iced cendol. 
The sambals: Traditional (spicy chilli sambal) Kelantan (sweet and sour sambal) Kerabu (shrimp and lime leaf sambal)

These babies take a gruelling 8 hours to make and are some of the tastiest and most authentic we have sampled in Melbourne. Our favourite sambal was the Kerabu, followed closely by the traditional sambal. The kerabu sambal was notable for its complex and fiery flavour which finishes on a citrus note courtesy of the kaffir lime leaves. Every morsel exploded with the briny flavour of the shrimp. Simply delicious! 
In the near future, NL House will be bringing their very popular 'sambal' condiment into local grocery stores. In the meantime, you can buy them from the restaurant at $5 a jar.
Beef Rendang nasi lemak with crispy anchovies, loved it with the kerabu sambal

The beef rendang was decadent. The full-bodied, pungent rendang gravy paired beautifully with melt-in-your-mouth morsels of beef. We enjoyed the richness of the curry and the generous use of spices which showcased the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian curries generally.  Together with fluffy coconut rice, crispy anchovies and out-of-this-world kerabu sambal, it was an addictive and comforting dish. 
Their most popular nasi lemak is the one served with their fried chicken and it is easy to understand why. The chicken was delectably crispy and had been nicely caramelised and flavoured well by an array of spices.
Seafood laksa

The seafood laksa was delightful. Derived from a traditional Malacca laksa recipe, the spicy coconut gravy base was complex and aromatic and was served with generous amounts of noodles, bean curd puffs, fish cakes, seafood, bean shoots, and garnished with carrot and spring onions. 
Left: soya bean and grass jelly drink
Right: Iced Cendol

The house made drinks are lovely and include a refreshing soya bean and grass jelly drink as well as an absolutely delicious iced cendol drink. For the uninitiated, the cendol dessert is a coconut milk dessert with pandan flavoured jelly noodles made with beautiful palm sugar. NL House’s rendition of this classic dessert was decadently rich, amply sweet and beautifully made. 
Serving up some of the most authentic nasi lemak in town, NL House presents a refreshing take on Malaysian cuisine whilst remaining true to its origins. With food this good, great service and prices this reasonable, NL House punches above its weight. 


Location: 115 Grattan St  Carlton
Phone: 03 9348 1572
Cuisine: Malaysian, Asian, Chinese

NL House (Nasi Lemak House) on Urbanspoon




Killiney Kopitiam

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.

A popular chain restaurant in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China, Killiney Kopitiam is all about the "Kopitiam" (meaning coffee shop) culture in Malaysia and Singapore.
Sliced Fish Fillet Noodle Soup

The menu features a good range of Malaysian and Singaporean hawker food.
Crispy Noodle
Hainanese Chicken Rice

Their famous Hainanese Chicken rice met expectations. The chicken was tender and the fluffy chicken rice was full of flavour. We especially loved the authentic taste of the chilli condiment.




Killiney Kopitiam Lygon Street on Urbanspoon Killiney Kopitiam Bourke Street on Urbanspoon

Newton Circus

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
Newton Circus in Box Hill North draws on owner Alex’s Malaysian background and Chef John’s Singaporean background to serve up authentic Singaporean and Malaysian food. The cuisine at Newton Circus reflects the diversity of it's South East Asian roots, drawing influences from Malay, Chinese, Peranakan and Indian cuisine.

The service was friendly and prompt with staff that are clearly proud of the food being served up.
Seafood ngoh hiang

The ngoh hiang is a mixture of ground up fish and vegetables wrapped in a beancurd skin which has been steamed and then pan fried until crisp. The crispy beancurd exterior, juicy fish cake interior and dark salty-sweet sauce makes for an excellent appetiser.

Chai Tow Kway

A much loved "anytime" snack of many Singaporeans and Malaysians, Chai Tow Kway is dish of fried radish cake and egg. Absolutely authentic, Newton Circus’ version was scrumptious and made with generous amounts of radish – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, every bite was moreish.

Singapore hokkien prawn noodle

An authentically delicious rendition, combining rice vermicelli and Hokkien noodles with bean sprouts, prawn, squid, egg and pork crackling.


Seafood nyonya laksa

This seafood nyonya laksa was an absolute highlight. Derived from the Nyonya heritage in Malacca, the spicy coconut gravy base was complex and aromatic and was served with generous amounts of noodles, bean sprouts, tofu puffs, prawns, squid, fish, fish cakes and hard-boiled eggs. Definitely a dish worth returning for!

Hokkien noodle with oyster sauce

Prepared with dark and sweet soy and combining generous amounts of vegetables, prawns, squid, fish & sesame oil, the noodles were certainly not short on flavour.

Hainanese chicken

Succulent pieces of chicken were served with fluffy chicken rice and a beautiful chilli condiment. This dish was expertly prepared and authentic.

Beef rendang
Chilli prawns

The chilli prawns were absolutely stunning.  This dish promised a lot and delivered on those promises. We loved the beautifully fresh prawns which were lathered in sticky garlicky tomato chilli sauce which was aromatic and had the perfect level of spice. We just wish we had some mantau (steamed buns) to mop up the remaining sauce!
Newton Circus delights with a delectable array of hawker foods you will love. We can't wait to return for another delicious bowl of the seafood nyonya laksa.


Location: 179 Middleborough Rd  Box Hill South
Phone: 03 9890 9221
Cuisine: Asian, Malaysian, Singaporean

Newton Circus on Urbanspoon


Masak Masak

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
Masak Masak serves Malaysian hawker food with a twist.
Masak Masak satisfies Melbourne’s unquenchable thirst for South East Asian cuisine in the heart of Collingwood.
The dining room is casual and contemporary with subdued grey walls complemented by comfortable furnishings. 
The menu features Malaysian flavours with an Australian twist. Travis Tong is a Malaysian born chef who is clearly passionate about food. This passion translates into the dishes that flow out of the kitchen - each dish was full of flavour and unique.
Chicken skin crisp, jelly fish, kewpie

Having studied at the acclaimed Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney and worked in kitchens such as Assiette, Aperitif, Sailor Thai and Sepia Restaurant and Bar before moving to Melbourne, it is no wonder the food presented by Masak Masak displays great quality and are of a high standard. 
Sticky anchovies, peanut, chillies, kicap manis

We began our Masak Masak culinary journey with a couple of items from the “Bites” section of the menu. It was a delicious start; the sticky anchovies were remarkably addictive while the chicken skin was beautifully crunchy.
Satay chicken and beef with condiments

We adored the succulent, aromatic, freshly grilled meat on skewers. We loved how the satay was authentically served with cucumber, onion and delicious ketupat which helped soak up the decadent and perfectly spiced satay sauce.
Prawn wonton soup

The wonton soup was delicious. The wontons were fresh and full of flavour and succulent bite. The clear chicken broth possessed a rich earthiness courtesy of being made from high quality stock.
Beef rendang

The full-bodied, pungent Beef rendang gravy was stunning. The accompanying bowl of fluffy white rice was the perfect canvas for the melt in your mouth morsels of beef.
Grilled stingray, pineapple and coriander salsa

The grilled stingray brought us back to Malaysia’s hawker stalls.  The belachan based sambal paste was beautiful. It had the perfect level of heat and had been coated liberally on the perfectly cooked stingray. 
Beef ribs (cooked for12 hours) served with sambal oelek

Continuing the trend of the evening, the beef ribs were excellent. The ribs were flavoursome and had benefited from their time on the grill thereby boasting the optimum degree of outer charring.
Our evening concluded on a sweet note with a modern take on cheesecake served with sesame ice cream and a beautiful chocolate dessert from Luxbite which was served with passionfruit ice cream. 
Masak Masak embodies the Malaysian night market with delightful dishes that are sure to please. 


Location: 230 Smith Street, Collingwood
Phone: 03 9417 4510
Cuisine: Malaysian, Asian


Masak Masak 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

Mabrown

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
If you’ve been reminiscing about that bowl of curry laksa or hokkien mee during your last trip to Malaysia, you need not look any further.  Instead of travelling hundreds of miles to Malaysia to taste authentic Chinese Malaysian fare, we’ve found you an easier option - Mabrown. 
From modest beginnings as a word-of-mouth establishment in Balwyn, Mabrown has since attracted widespread attention and since expanded its empire to the CBD.  The new store is located in Southern Cross Lane off Bourke Street. While the new CBD location hasn’t been around long, it has garnered quite a following. We visited on a Saturday night and the whole place was packed to the brim!
Deep-fried wok-tossed spicy quail

While many Chinese/Malaysian restaurants in Melbourne serve quail, Mabrown’s variety are a cut above. The allure of the Mabrown deep-fried wok-tossed spicy quail lies in the perfectly cooked and tender quail meat which is crusted with a flavoursome spice mix and then perfectly fried to achieve a moreishly crunchy exterior. The exterior is then slathered with a chilli sauce which is packed with umami and has, for our taste, the perfect amount of chilli heat.  Mabrown’s quails are highly addictive and a must-order. 
Drunken chicken - Chicken poached in Shao Xing wine and fragrant spices

The chicken was wonderfully tender and infused with a beautiful rice wine flavour - perfectly seasoned and well balanced. We loved the shot which was served on side which comprised a heady mix of Shao Xing wine and spices which we could liberally add to the dish to make it more “drunken”.
Yam & pork belly clay pot

The clay pot arrived full of glistening pork belly slices. It was a dish that evoked excitement upon its arrival. Each slice of pork belly comprised a layer of unadulterated, unctuous pork fat which exploded with intense porky goodness with each bite; it did not disappoint. Combined with a pleasant sweet marinade, and melt in your mouth morsels of yam, the pork belly was unquestionably accomplished in taste. 
Wok tossed juicy prawns with shell in ginger and spring onion (served with thin egg noodles)

The prawns were very fresh and the herbs provided punchy fragrant flavours. It was yet another excellent dish that was complemented by the noodles which retained the natural sweetness of the prawns and exhibited a pleasant elasticity. Lightly flavoured by the gently aromatic ginger, the dish, boasted the characteristic charred flavour that normally accompanies a wok-tossed item. Delicious!
Deep fried barramundi fillet in archar sauce (sweet turmeric vinaigrette) 

Noteworthy for its fragrant and complex broth which was appetisingly laced with a sufficient amount of sweet turmeric vinaigrette, the beautifully deep fried barramundi had us fighting for the last morsel.  
Deep fried barramundi fillet in tom yum sauce (lemon grass, pink ginger, lime leaf)

The barramundi was again, perfectly fried and coated in a decadent tom yum sauce which showcased the customary punchy flavours exhibited by South East Asian dishes.  
Mabrown is an absolute gem of a place for casual dining. With its superb execution of Chinese Malaysian cuisine and affordable pricing, there is no doubt that Mabrown will soon be firmly entrenched as a Melbourne dining institution.


Melbourne location: In Southern Cross Lane, 111 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Balwyn location: 190 Belmore Road  Balwyn
Phone: 03 9663 3141 (CBD); 03 9816 3755 (Balwyn)
Link: Facebook
Cuisine: Chinese, Malaysian






Mabrown on Urbanspoon Mabrown Bourke St on Urbanspoon

Tadka Boom! - Indian Fusion Kitchen

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Tadka Boom!
Tadka Boom! is Melbourne’s first Indian Fusion Kitchen. Thanks to Lalitha and Ashwin Rajan's passion for high quality, healthy Indian food that is deliciously light, the dream for healthy Indian food is now a reality. Healthy. Light. Indian. Yes, these guys have cracked the code.
The ambience is modern and stylish, an extension of Tadka Boom!’s contemporary interpretation of Indian cuisine.
The menu is mouth-wateringly good and features all the flavours you know and love about Indian cuisine but without the unhealthy bits. Inspired by Mama Rajan’s home-style cooking, the food was healthy, light and fresh and features high quality ingredients to create subtle flavours.
Left: Masala Chips - Sweet potato chips coated in our Tadka salt
Right: Bombay Bites - Hand-rolled lentil & herb nuggets with coriander aioli
Brown basmati rice bowl with lentil dahl and Bombay bird (fiery six-spice chicken with mint coriander chutney)

The Bombay bird was sublime. The large nuggets of moist six-spice chicken were beautifully tender and contained the perfect amount of heat. The accompanying dahl was luxurious and full of flavour. Served on a fluffy bed of brown basmati rice, each spoonful was truly gratifying. We loved how light  the dish was compared to a regular curry.
11” Wholemeal roti wrap with Kid Kaboom! (15-hr slow-cooked lamb marinated in our special Kaboom! masala with raita yoghurt dressing) 

The Kid Kaboom! was absolutely moreish. The rich flavours were nicely mellowed out by the raita yoghurt dressing. Boasting a juicy tenderness and bountiful herbs, it was an absolute delight. The beautifully made wholemeal roti wrap was the perfect canvas for the Kaboom! masala which displayed the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Indian curries.  
Tandoori chicken salad

The tandoori chicken salad was yet another winner. The boneless pieces of chicken were tender, having been roasted to perfection. This was a rare, and welcomed, occasion where the salad contributed to the overall dish rather than just occupying space as a conventional side. In all, this dish was a beauty.  
Left: Nimbu Pani - Homemade lemon salted-sweet thirst quencher
Right: R.O.C. Tea - Raspberry, orange & cinnamon infused iced tea

We loved the house-made drinks - both recipes from Grandma Rajan. A salted-sweet lemon and mint water, and an infused fruit iced-tea, these drinks are commonly served to keep cool during the summer months in Madras.
Both the ice creams we sampled were delicious and beautifully made - rich, creamy, and amply sweet with a generous hit of spices (in the case of the Spice Cream) and pistachio and rosewater (in the case of the Pink Panther), they were the perfect spring indulgence.
Tadka Boom! delivers Indian cuisine like you have never tasted before by fusing the best of East and West. Healthy, fresh, light and full of the spices and flavours you know at an affordable price point, Tadka Boom! is a compelling proposition.


Location: 22 Goldsbrough Lane  Melbourne
Phone: 03 9600 1633
Cuisine: Indian, Salad, Fast Food


Tadka Boom! on Urbanspoon