Flavours of Asia @ Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes [28 February 2015]

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Melbourne Racing Club.
Melbourne Racing Club has proudly partnered with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival to bring a colourful Asian street food market to their popular Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes Day on Saturday February 28, 2015.
Coinciding with Chinese New Year celebrations, the Flavours of Asia Market Festival will be one of the first events on the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival calendar. Offering a range of delicacies from across the continent, cooking demonstrations and live entertainment, the newly created market space will serve as the ultimate relaxation zone for racing enthusiasts and foodies alike.
With a tantalising menu featuring the best cuisine that Melbourne’s Asian food scene has to offer, curators for the day include Hammer & Tong, Hoy Pinoy, Wonderbao, Overdosa, Lankan Tucker, Uncle, Gogi and Eat the Chicken.
Gastrology recently enjoyed a sneaky peek of what will be on offer from Hammer & Tong, Hoy Pinoy and Wonderbao.
We began with a range of grilled skewers by Hoy Pinoy. We enjoyed both the Inihaw Na Manok (BBQ Chicken) and the Inihaw Na Baboy (BBQ pork belly). On the whole, the skewers were sufficiently seasoned and flavoursome and boasted the perfect amount of outer charring, having benefited from just the right amount of time on the grill .

Wonderbao, a Melbourne street kitchen featuring authentic Chinese steamed buns and Taiwanese Gua Baos served beautifully made baos. Our favourite bao was the Pork belly Gua Bao. Featuring the tried and true flavour combination of cucumber, carrots and hoisin sauce, it contained a generous piece of good quality, tender pork belly. The wonderbao offerings really hit the mark!
Hammer & Tong's famous Soft shell crab burger was delicious. The soft shell crab burger's lightly toasted buttery brioche buns were the perfect canvas for the beautifully crispy and juicy soft shell crab. The deep fried crustacean pieces were coated in a semi-thick crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. With a touch of fresh coriander and a myriad of spices, it was simply superb. 
Our preview dinner concluded on a sweet high with a stunning little ice cream gua bao by Wonderbao. The brioche-like golden fried baos were filled with luscious sesame seed ice cream and topped with crunchy nuts - YUM.
With Melbourne’s weather at its best in late February, the Flavours of Asia Market Festival will kick off the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in style – quality food in atmospheric alfresco areas and great views of premium sporting and musical entertainment.

What: Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes Day – Flavours of Asia Market Festival
When: Saturday 28 February 2015, 12pm – 6pm
Where: Caulfield Racecourse, Gate 22, Station Street, Caulfield
Cost: Adult $20

For more information about Flavours of Asia visit www.mrc.racing.com

Hammer & Tong Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Upcoming event: Fromage A Trois [Sunday, 15 March 2015]

Fromage A Trois returns to the beautiful grounds of Werribee Park Mansion on 15 March 2015 with a bigger and better line up than ever seen before.
The day will be filled with many picturesque scenes and foods, and allow a perfect setting for indulging with family and friends. 
Some of Melbourne’s most iconic food haunts and trucks including Trailer Made, White Guy Cooks Thai and Brûlée Cart, as well as local breweries including Two Birds Brewing who will be serving up their delicious ales including bespoke-ales Bantam Ipa and Taco Beer. 
Renowned Cheesemonger Naomi Cristante will be taking to the main stage alongside other professional chefs, to take visitors on a culinary journey, demonstrating how to be versatile with cheese and incorporating it into your every day cooking.

What: Fromage A Trois, Melbourne’s renowned cheese and cider festival
When: Sunday, 15 March 2015 (11am to 5pm)
Where: Werribee Park, K Road, Werribee South
Tickets: Pre-purchased tickets $35 ($40 at the door) includes official tasting glass & event guide. Children 12 and under enter for free. 

Purchase tickets here.

Events: Royal Croquet Club [16 January 2015 - 1 February 2015]

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of the Royal Croquet Club.
The Royal Croquet Club (RCC) is a pop up food, entertainment, sporting & lifestyle festival that runs from Friday, 16 January 2015 to Sunday, 1 February 2015.
RCC is happening on the Lower Level of Birrarung Marr, Melbourne, along the banks of the Yarra River. Ideally located in between Fed Square and Melbourne Park sport precinct.
Boasting a huge line up of Melbourne's best restaurants and food haunts such as D.O.C, Mr Claws, Meatmother, Miss Chu, St.Ali and Gelato Messina, Melburnians will get the opportunity to wine, dine and be entertained by Australia's finest live acts.

We absolutely adored Gelato Messina's frozen "soup" cans of premium ice cream. These are a definite must-have!
Impressive local and international performers include The Kite String Tangle and Norman Jay MBE will also be featured and there will be live tennis action streaming on the big screen (so you don't miss out on the action) and a dedicated croquet pitch, so bring your mallet and have a game! 

The Royal Croquet Club presents an Australia Day line-up that is second to none and is set to soon become a staple on the Melbourne events calendar.

Dates: 16 Jan 2015 - 1 Feb 2015
Address: Birrarung Marr, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Web: royalcroquetclub.com.au/melbourne/
Cost: Free entry

Great Australian Beer Festival Media Dinner @ Jasper Hotel

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of the Great Australian Beer Festival.
Gastrology recently attended the 2015 Great Australian Beer Festival media dinner where the Geelong-based 2015 Great Australian Beer Festival was brought to the Melbourne CBD for an evening of craft beer and cider at Jasper Hotel.
The evening profiled the multi-faceted craft beer festival – and allowed us the opportunity to meet some of Victoria’s best craft brewers, as well as sample a variety of the food available from the festival’s Tastes of the Region dining area – which puts an emphasis on showcasing local restaurants and Melbourne’s best food trucks.
We enjoyed a range of cider and beer tastings, as well as a three course meal and stand up tapas, from two different Geelong restaurants that are catering the festival, plus Jasper Hotel.
Black salt & szechuan pepper soft shell crab with paw paw & asian herb salad by Black Salt Restaurant
Matched with: Prickly Moses Forbidden fruit cider

Our dinner 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. The accompanying salad of crunchy bean sprouts an fresh greens blended harmoniously with the crab, resulting in a clean and bright dish with a perfect salt-sour balance. The Forbidden fruit cider was a lovely match as it echoed the freshness of the salad and it's dry finish on the palate cut through the tanginess of the salad.
Pale Ale Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs with Potato Fondant and Greens by Jasper Hotel
Matched with: Brewcult Supa Fly Rye IPA

The Beef Short Ribs were delicious. Superbly cooked, the meat was very succulent. Its delicate ‘melt in your mouth’texture was sensational. The flavours were subtle and earthy. We loved matching this course with the Brewcult Supa Fly Rye IPA which was very aromatic and boasted a rich malt kick which matched the luxurious pale ale jus lavished upon the ribs.
Banana. Crystal Malt, Chocolate Stout and Vanilla by Vue Grand Hotel
Matched with: Prickly Moses Otway Stout 

The dinner ended on a high with a decadent and absolutely stunning dessert. We found the  Prickly Moses Otway Stout the perfect match for this dessert as it cut through the richness of the chocolate and malt with its roasted, dry finish while complementing the sweet bananas and vanilla with its toffee and caramel notes. It was a commendable end to the evening.
The 2015 Great Australian Beer Festival is Victoria’s premier celebration of craft beer and cider with over 200 Australian brews available to taste throughout the day on Saturday February 21, 2015. The idea is to drink, eat, socialise and be merry with plenty of opportunity to kick back and taste incredible beers, enjoy live music and roaming entertainment, attend free beer seminars, take part in keg-rolling and other colourful competitions and discover surprising happenings around every turn.

Find out more about the 2015 Great Australian Beer Festival here.

Black Salt on Urbanspoon Vue Grand on Urbanspoon

Upcoming Event: Great Australian Beer Festival [Saturday, 21 February 2015]

The Great Australian Beer Festival (GABF) returns to the Geelong Racecourse on Saturday February 21, 2015 with a Tastes of the Region dining area – showcasing some of Geelong’s best restaurants and Melbourne’s on trend gourmet food trucks. 
Brewers and beer lovers make the annual pilgrimage to Geelong - only an hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD - to Victoria’s premier celebration of craft beers and ciders in Australia’s biggest alfresco craft beer garden, as well as to enjoy some excellent grub. 
And what food items are best to eat alongside these fantastic beers and ciders? Black Salt – a modern Australian Restaurant in Geelong recommends a heavier style beer to go with their Pulled Pork Rolls, while a pale ale would be more appropriate for their oysters and calamari.
Other restaurants getting involved from in and around Geelong include Vue Grand Queenscliff, – which will be serving its famed hot dogs to the masses – Odyssey Tavern and Brewery, Sunnys Pizza and Mazamigo Mexican – a mash up of cultural food to match  the 200 plus Australian brews available on festival day. 

Food trucks include Greek Street Food, Simply Vegan, Ooodlelishious, Timboon Icecream, Squid Inc and Tasty Gozleme. 
Among the artisan utopia of boutique beers and ciders, the cultural mash up of flavours, the beer seminars and festival stalls, roaming performers will take delight in entertaining the masses. Three stages will be home to the sounds of worldly music, from the reggae and calypso tunes of Nicky Bomba & Friends, to a variety of indie from The Pierce Brothers plus jazz, funk, folk, blue grass and country.
Drink, eat, socialise and be merry with plenty of opportunity to kick back and enjoy a range of craft beer, cider and great food.

Families are also catered for with a designated Kid’s Zone as well as interactive activities and roaming entertainers. 
What: The most colourful beer festival you’re ever likely to attend 
When: 11am to 7pm Saturday, 21 February 2015
Where: Geelong Racecourse
Costs: Starts at $39.50 + bf. Direct shuttles run from South Geelong Station to get you safely to and from the event.

The Voodoo Jerk Truck - You aren’t what you eat!

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Voodoo Jerk Truck.
Jabili Mchawala of Jabili’s Kitchen is turning up the heat with some mind-blowingly good Jamaican fare which features Jamaican jerk spice which is hot, packs a flavourful punch and can be rubbed on pretty much anything.
After absolutely loving Jabili’s Monday night African Feast, we were excited to try the new Jamaican food on offer.
Jerk Pork Ribs
Full plate - grilled jerk spiced ribs, mint yoghurt, salsa & cornbread 

The traditional Jerk Pork Ribs were absolutely delicious. These were expertly prepared and had juicy, succulent flesh. The outstanding ribs were crusted with a flavoursome spice mix and then perfectly fried to achieve a moreish crunchy exterior.  

The accompanying corn bread was more than just a side show. Charred, stacked, and with Escoveech and tamarind sauce, we savoured every bite. It was an unpretentious creation that was particularly memorable for its addictive sweetness and gritty texture.
Island Fried Chicken

The deep fried chicken (that had been thoughtfully deboned) had crisp outer skin and mouth-watering juicy flesh. Served with rum pickled veg and preserved lemon sauce which possessed a distinct depth of flavour that is far more alluring than your run-of-the-mill sauce, it was absolutely delicious. 
Caribbean Salad

An enlivening salad of creamy Junkanoo dressing, tangy pickled onions, fresh coriander and almond slivers to flavour beautifully roasted cauliflowers, the salad was a medley of exciting flavours and textures which will appeal to even the most carnivorous individuals.
Located behind Mr Wow's Emporium and Los Barbudos, Jabili’s food truck is bringing the bold, Jamaican jerks flavours to Fitzroy and resembles a yard you'd find in Jamaica. Grab a keg table and listen to the old school reggae delights pumping from their vintage AIWA boom box. However you have it, this jerk is hearty for winter and perfect for summer. 

What: Jamaican food
Where: Jabili's Kitchen @ Mr Wow's Emporium, 97b Smith Street,  Fitzroy - Enter via Smith Street through either Mr Wow’s Emporium or Los Barbudos and follow the neon food signs. 
Phone: 0421 483 464

Jabili has decided to keep his Monday Feast, where you can share five African flavours, injera bread and pickled veg for just $35 for two people. Read more about that here.

Voodoo Jerk Truck on Urbanspoon Jabili's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Upcoming Event: Coburg Drive-In Food Truck Festival

Get your tastebuds ready... bring a carload of your best buds and grab a bite (or two or three) before the movie!
From burritos and Spanish BBQ to burgers and Asian street food, Melbourne's favourite Food Trucks will roll into the popular Village Coburg Drive-In once a month from Wednesday July 30.

With the latest releases on the big screen and a food offering sure to tantalise the tastebuds, the Coburg Drive-In Food Truck Festival provides the ultimate combination for a great night out.

Melbourne's first ever outdoor cinema Food Truck Festival will kick off on Wednesday July 30th from 5:30pm, with the latest releases Hercules, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Sex Tape screening at the Drive-In's three screens, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

When: Wednesday 30th July 2014 from 5:30pm
Where: Coburg Drive-In, 155 Newlands Rd, Coburg VIC. Click here for Cinema Details
Food Trucks:
Iv’s Burritos
Mr Burger
Señor Churro
Nem N’ New Vietnamese Hawker Kitchen
Señor BBQ

TICKETS ON SALE SOON! More information here.

Monday Night African Feast from Jabili's Kitchen @ Mr Wow's Emporium

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Jabili's Kitchen.
Jabili's Kitchen is spicing up Monday nights at Mr Wow’s Emporium by introducing its new Monday Night Feast for two.
The Jabili’s Kitchen food truck is located at the back of iconic Mr Wow’s Emporium. 
Mr Wow’s Emporium serves an array of fine drinks. Best known for their cocktails ranging from classic favourites to the more exotic, Mr Wow also serves a selection of premium spirits, liqueurs, single malts, house-made bitters, fine-aged rum and wines. 
Mains: Braised goat in a tamarind ‘mannish water’ sauce; Sautéed baby squid with harissa tabouleh; Roast eggplant and tomato salad with a lemon & tahini dressing; Spice cous cous with saffron, currants, apricot & toasted almonds; Charred cauliflower in dukkah spice with a tamarind sauce
Condiments: Red onion ceviche, pickled cucumber, smoked pine nut satsivi, warmed injera bread

A delicious combination of five modern African flavours with accompaniments like injera bread and smoked pine nut satsivi, the feast is a sight to behold.

Both the vegetarian and meat dishes were delicious.

Our favourite vegetarian dish was the Charred cauliflower in dukkah spice with a tamarind sauce. It displayed a depth and complexity in flavour and had a lovely hint of sweetness that complemented the overall savouriness of the dish. 

The meat dishes were, like all of dishes we feasted upon, hearty. The braised goat in a tamarind ‘mannish water’ sauce was a particular standout. 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 to eat.

The beautifully made injera which we used to pick up bites of the little dishes was the perfect canvas for the rich and spicy flavours.
The platter is a great introduction to African food and was simply delicious. Reasonably priced at $35 for two people, the Monday night African feast is a compelling proposition especially over a cocktail or two!

What: Monday Night African Feast 
Where: Jabili's Kitchen @ Mr Wow's Emporium, 97b Smith Street,  Fitzroy
Phone: 0421 483 464

Jabili's Kitchen on Urbanspoon Mr Wow's Emporium on Urbanspoon

2014 Good Food & Wine Show [30 May - 1 June 2014] | A collection of foodie news & events that caught our eye this month!

Gastrology bloggers attended courtesy of Barilla. 
This year, the Good Food & Wine Show brought its scrumptious line-up to Melbourne in May/June serving up a host of Australia’s finest food and wine, a huge celebrity chef line up and a feast of tasting experiences to tempt everyone’s palette.
It was a great day out with family and friends and a celebration of Australian food, wine and beer all under one roof. A huge coffee experience was also on the menu.
We walked the aisles with our forks ready, exploring new flavours whilst taking in the aromas and discovering a host of quirky kitchen and household gadgets as we experienced the special show features on offer for 2014. 
We also had the opportunity to see Alla Wolf Tasker AM (proprietor and culinary director of Lake House, the famed boutique hotel and restaurant in the ‘spa’ town of Daylesford Victoria) in action on the Good Food Theatre. 

Barilla's Italian breakfast with Sammy & Bella 
We also joined Barilla and My Kitchen Rules’ Sammy and Bella for an exclusive pre-show breakfast event at the Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show where we were transported straight to the Italian Isle of Sardinia... read more here.

Food Trucks
Banh Mi Boys
Location: Varies - See https://www.facebook.com/BanhMiBoys
Cuisine: Asian, Sandwiches/Subs, Vietnamese

A food truck on the scene selling the hottest sandwiches in town, Banh Mi Boys is the brainchild of a Masterchef Top 30 contestant and a Chinese medicine doctor. Serving tasty Vietnamese street food that is inspired by travels to South East Asia and the tastes, smells and colours of Vietnam.

We loved their Lemongrass pork belly Bangin’ Banh Mi Baguette which was a steal for $10. The pork belly was incredibly tender and full of flavour. The crunchy bread roll was fresh and slathered with pate and fresh salad of sweet pickled carrots, cucumber, coriander and fresh chilli.
Banh Mi Boys on Urbanspoon
Greek Street Food by Kara's Kalamaki
Location: Varies - See http://greekstreetfood.com.au/#findus
Cuisine: Greek

Delivering fresh, traditional greek souvas that are served with chips, Greek Street Food was a massive hit at the show. We tried "The Cluck" which was chicken fillet wrapped in Pita bread filled with Tomato, Onion and chips with either Tzatziki or Mustard sauce or both (we opted for both!).
The chicken was juicy and well-seasoned - these guys certainly know how to cook a bird. It was generous and tasted very authentic.
Kara's Kalamaki on Urbanspoon
Digging For Fire BBQ Kitchen
Location: Varies - See http://diggingforfirebbq.com.au/
Cuisine: Barbecue, International

Digging For Fire BBQ Kitchen focuses on all things to do with cooking with fire.

We tried their Mary Had A Little Lamb Roll which was generously filled with Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder, Pickles, Pomegranate, Tahini and Lemon Dressing. The flavours certainly packed a punch. Zesty, smokey and delicious, these guys know what they are doing when it comes to BBQ.

Digging For Fire BBQ Kitchen on Urbanspoon
A collection of foodie news & events that caught our eye this month...

Pig & Pinot @ Royal Saxon
Royal Saxon and Kooyong Estate are teaming up to bring the best of Victoria to your table! The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has kicked off again and we couldn't fathom a better Roast Collection than Pig & Pinot!
$65 for three courses or $100 with matched wines. One night only - June 18th from 6:30PM. Spaces are very limited. Book here.

Other events at Royal Saxon include: #SaxItUp, Sunday: Spins & Spits and Monday, Queen's birthday long weekend long lunch featuring Royal Saxon's new Winter menu.

Southgate Moveable Feasts
This winter, Southgate presents Moveable Feasts where Melburnians and Melbourne-lovers alike will savour the melting pot of flavours that our city has to offer.

Southgate Moveable Feasts showcases just that over three delectable courses. Guests will be led through a unique dining experience as they wander from restaurant to restaurant, sampling unique world-class cuisines from Japanese, Italian and German to native North American and of course Australian, more specifically the pristine produce from our own Tasmania.

What: A three course journey throughout Southgate’s restaurant precinct, sampling unique presentations of world-class cuisines.

When: Sunday 15 June - Monday 4 August. 12pm Sundays & 7pm Mondays

Where: Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct, on the south bank of the Yarra River, Melbourne

Cost: Choose from two three course dining options for $60pp or $85pp. Entrée and main courses each include a glass of wine and dessert is served with tea or coffee.

Parking: Available in Southgate’s Car Park off City Road / Southgate Avenue, $10 flat rate on weekends and after 4pm on Mondays.

Bookings: Online bookings only, at www.southgatemelbourne.com.au  

Enquiries: Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct, 03 9686 1000

Olimpia Bortolotto’s Cookbook
The matriarch of Melbourne’s Cecconi’s Flinders Lane Restaurant & Cellar Bar, Olimpia Bortolotto, has recently launched her first book entitled,‘La Tavola Della Famiglia’.

The Table of The Family is a memoir of recipes filled with passion and love from Olimpia, including her must-have pantry essentials. 

La Tavola Della Famiglia is $55 and available online and from the restaurant at 61 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Read more about Cecconi's here.

What happened to Pugg Mahones in Carlton?
Anna Carosa and Stewart Koziora of the Retail Savvy Group are proud to announce the opening of their 3rd venue, The Shaw Davey Slum. 

The Shaw Davey Slum used to be home to Pugg Mahones in Carlton. After 15 weeks of demolition and build, it finally opened its doors onWednesday 21st May at 11am. Stay tuned for our review of The Shaw Davey Slum.

Royal Melb Fine Food Award entries extended until June 6

ENTRIES EXTENDED UNTIL 6 JUNE: The search for Australia’s finest foods continues

Online entries for the 2014 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (RMFFA), Australia’s premium fine food awards, will be extended to 6 June 2014.

The RMFFA, conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), promotes excellence in agriculture and food production. The RMFFA provides opportunities for boutique producers, regional specialists and commercial manufacturers to benchmark their products across nine food categories.

The biannual awards (comprising Spring and Autumn Programs) present a valuable opportunity for all producers, large and small, to assess their products and establish their credentials in the Australian fine food industry.

Spring entrants will have until 6 June 2014 to enter the awards across nine categories:

·       Branded Beef

·       Branded Lamb

·       Dairy, Sheep, Goat & Buffalo

·       Ice Cream Gelato & Sorbet

·       Delicatessen featuring Dips, Tapenade, Smallgoods & Uncooked Sausages

·       Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Flavoured Oils

·       Bread & Baked Goods

·       Free Range Eggs

·       Sweet & Savoury Preserves, featuring jams, vinegars and dressings

For more information, visit www.rasv.com.au/finefoods

The Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (Spring Program) – Key Dates 2014
Entries Open:  29 April
Entries Close (extended):  6 June
Judging:  23 June – 23 August
Awards Presentation:  22 September   

Restaurant Review: Misschu

Location: various (please see below)
Phone: 03 9077 1097
Link: misschu.com.au/
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Food Truck
Overall Impression: 6/10
Misschu tuckshops are a modern day Vietnamese hawker/ takeaway/caterer. The menu features traditional and fresh Vietnamese cuisine. 
Darlinghurst Tuckshop
 There are now 8 locations in Sydney and Melbourne.
Wagyu Beef Pho $14

While Misschu is probably most famous for being ‘the Queen of the rice paper rolls’, my favourite item on the Misschu menu is their Wagyu Beef Pho. The soup is incredibly flavoursome and much more refined than your usual beef pho. The noodles are delicate and the wagyu beef is very tender and juicy.

Misschu @ Opera Kitchen on UrbanspoonMisschu on Urbanspoon

Misschu on UrbanspoonMiss Chu on Urbanspoon