Dip In Cafe

The brainchild of two best friends that share a love of food, family and Melbourne Dip In Café draws culinary inspiration from far and wide.
The menu features an array of dishes including their well-known freshly-made dips, create your own breakfast options and heartier lunchtime eats such as burgers, salads or their signature bread bowl. 
Grilled Salmon Salad - Grilled salmon fillet on green salad with honey-mustard dressing

The quality of the salmon was exemplary. The skin was perfectly seared to be very crisp while the flesh was delicate and moist. We loved how it was cooked simply, allowing the natural subtle sweetness of the salmon to be enjoyed. The green salad was fresh and brought together harmoniously by the superb honey-mustard dressing.
Chef Special Gyro Style Chicken served with chips and a garden salad.

The Gyro Style Chicken was a winner. Mediterranean marinated, sliced Chicken has been cooked to a tender perfection on the grill and was served in a hummus filled bread bowl. Topped with house made salsa and spicy green tahini sauce, this was a delicious dish that was full of flavour. 
Dip In Café combines a mix of talent to deliver a casual lunch experience with a flavoursome menu that features a flavour and spices from around the globe.

Location: 20-22 McKillop St, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9670 5379
Cuisine: International, Fusion

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Zomato.

Dock 37 Bar and Kitchen @ Hilton South Wharf

Hilton Melbourne South Wharf has unveiled its stylish new restaurant and bar, Dock 37 Bar and Kitchen.
The 150-seat dining space embraces its riverside setting and complements the sea meets land concept. The result is a sophisticated and inviting dining room resplendent with warm timber walls, a striking suspended wine gantry in black steel, soaring ceilings, and full length windows maximising the South Wharf Promenade view.
Dock 37 Bar and Kitchen has a long bar with pull-up seating, communal tables and cosy couches to enjoy. The area is complete with a short and tailored menu full of bar-food classics available late into the night. A comprehensive selection of drinks are also offered from well-known classics to a tempting selection of custom-created cocktails, wine housed in the suspended gantry above the bar and dozens of beers on tap.
The menu is divided into user friendly sections with many dishes complemented with fresh produce from the hotel’s own rooftop garden. The garden is passionately tended to by Glenn, who has been with the hotel since its opening six years ago and has headed up the kitchen since 2011.
Smoked Duck Breast Served with a cabbage, citrus and celeriac slaw and a wasabi dressing

The slices of duck breast were cooked to perfection with the slightly tart cabbage, citrus and celeriac slaw allowing the rich flavour of the duck to transpire.  The accompanying wasabi dressing provided the crowning element to a wonderful dish.
Quinoa Salad - Popcorn-dusted goats’ cheese, roasted baby carrots, beetroot, kale and a pepian salsa

An enlivening salad of quinoa, popcorn-dusted goats’ cheese, roasted baby carrots, beetroot and kale all brought together with pepian salsa, the salad was a medley of exciting flavours and textures which will appeal to even the most carnivorous individuals.
400gm, grain fed, Victoria Rib eye w/ Red wine jus

We could not resist getting both our mains from the “Grill” section of the menu. Both our fish and beef were simple and beautifully cooked. Each served with our choice of sauce (there are more than 10 sauces to choose from, all made in house).
Whole Baby Barramundi w/ green chilli sauce

The Whole Baby Barramundi in particular impressed us. 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 dish that allowed the natural subtle sweetness of the fish to be enjoyed. 
Our dinner concluded with 2 well-conceived desserts that exhibited flawless flavour combinations and textural diversity. 
Walnut tart with blood peach foam and vanilla bean ice cream

The luxurious vanilla bean ice cream offset the accompanying rich bittersweet walnuts banana while the blood peach foam added a desirable touch of sweetness. Texturally, the crunchiness of the walnuts, silkiness of the ice cream and melt in the mouth foam ensured that each bite was as titillating as the last.
Chocolate brownie with hokey pokey, banana coulis and raspberry sorbet

The Chocolate brownie was similarly well devised. The decadent chocolate brownie was matched with velvety raspberry sorbet and harmonised with banana coulis - delicious!
Enviably positioned at the edge of Melbourne’s CBD on the banks of the Yarra River, Dock 37 at the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf offers an approachable and relaxed dining for all occasions and adds an exciting new element to the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf guest experience 

Location: 2 Convention Ctr Place, South Wharf, Melbourne
Phone: 9027 2122
Cuisine: International, Modern Australian

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Hilton South Wharf.

Daring and innovative cuisine @ Los Patos

Daring and innovative cuisine @ Los Patos

Regularly described as one of Granada's “destination” restaurants, Los Patos allows diners to embark on a culinary journey through the local flavours of Granada.

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The Noble Experiment

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Noble Experiment.
The Noble Experiment presents an exciting departure from the mainstream by serving exciting cuisine influenced by Head Chef Cameron Bell’s haunts across North America and Europe.
Bell’s Michelin starred background brings a finesse and understanding of flavour combinations. His unique culinary signature has been instrumental in shaping the culture of The Noble Experiment, and his developed style is embedded in the heart and soul of every dish. Melding influences from across the US, France and the UK, the complex culinary enigma constructed by Bell leaves patrons with an unforgettable experience. 
The venue boasts a wonderfully relaxed vibe. The dining room is comfortably vast with a bar at its far end equipped with mixologists ready to serve you a delicious cocktail or some fine aged whiskeys and champagnes.
In line with its social setting, the menu items are primarily designed for sharing, from snacks to share plates, chefs menu to large format feasts.
12 hour lamb steamed bun 

The lamb buns were an absolute winner. The fluffy, moist and slightly sweet buns were filled with an addictive medley of red miso and peanuts. Sitting alongside this was the wonderful 12 hour slow roasted lamb. Having truly mastered the art roasting, the lamb had been succulently roasted and was tender, juicy and packed with flavour.

This cheese sensation demonstrated that unforgettable dishes can sometimes be very simple. In this instance, a ball of unadulterated burrata simply paired with chargrilled bread and a fresh and slightly tart “green sauce”. When the outer solid mozzarella shell was cut, we loved how the creamy interior of soft, stringy curd and fresh cream revealed itself. The sumptuously rich yet sensibly balanced flavours were sensational.
Crispy brussel sprouts, coconut, lime, caramel

This was a well-conceived dish that would easily melt away any aversion to brussel sprouts. The wonderful morsels of coconut encrusted sprouts were wonderfully crisp and beautifully caramelised to develop a toffee-like outer shell.  Although vegetarian dishes are often easily dismissed, this particular gem is one that commands respect. More than a side dish, it was a jaw-dropping highlight of our evening. 
Lamb breast, green papaya, peanuts, spring onions

The lamb breast was tender and delicious falling away at the weight of our spoons. The salad was the perfect accompaniment. Fresh, vibrant and crisp, the salad provided acidity and texture. It was a magnificent dish.
Beef short rib, burnt onion, coffee

The beef short rib continued the trend of stunning dishes that preceded it. It was a memorable dish combining flawless texture with equally superlative flavours and was particularly noteworthy for its fragrant and complex beefy flavours and slight smokiness.
From left: Beetroot parfait, green peppercorn, sorrel; Maple custard rhubarb, shortbread, bacon

Both desserts were wonderfully executed. Each, a welcome departure from the mundane and each, offered its own unique characteristics. It was an exemplary display of Bell’s versatility.
The most exciting and memorable dining experiences tend to revolve around bold and innovative flavour combinations that seize the attention of diners from start to finish. This successful "experiment" manages to do just that. 

Location: 284 Smith Street, Collingwood
Phone: 03 9416 0058
Link: http://www.thenobleexperiment.com.au/
Cuisine: Bar, International, Modern

The Noble Experiment on Urbanspoon

Hobba's autumn menu launch

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Hobba.
Boasting a vibrant industrial space, Hobba is an impressive operation in Prahran which delivers honest, locally produced food with big flavour.
Autumn is upon us and Hobba have pulled together an invitingly new and warm menu to bring us into the season. Gastrology were invited along to a first tasting of this autumn menu.

The driving force behind Hobba’s food and drink offerings is head chef, Rhys Hunter. Starting his career early at Giuseppe Arnaldo and Sons in Melbourne and moving onto North Bondi Italian in
Sydney, both by the Iceburgs Group, Rhys has gained an impressive resume. 
With over a decade of cooking experience under his belt, this young chef has taken a fresh and exciting approach with his dishes at Hobba. 
Hobba’s Vietnamese ‘Banh mi’

Hobba’s rendition of the Vietnamese pork banh mi was the highlight of our evening. The sweet and buttery brioche buns crunchy bread roll was shimmered with pâté and filled with generous serves of marinated cooked pork loin, topped with Asian greens, fresh chilli and the most delectable pork crackling crumb. It was both fresh and very tasty.
Pan seared snapper 
served with cauliflower puree, potato gratin, asparagus and heirloom beets and purple cauliflower 

While the flavours of the dish were simple, the quality of the snapper 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.
Wild mushrooms
Woodear, enoki and oyster mushrooms, served with sherry jus, green chives and a slow poached egg (65 degrees Celsius)

A perfectly poached (at 65 degrees) egg was accompanied by a generous serve of exceedingly plump mushrooms, a top a slice of crunchy grilled bread. 
Chili con carne
Served with 10-hour confit brisket and goats cheese croquette. Topped with a slow poached egg (65 degree Celsius) and shaved dark chocolate. 
Alfa Feast
Southern style slow cooked pulled pork served with fried eggs, fresh alfalfa salad and pear cider reduction hollandaise. 

The feature component of this respectable assembly of breakfast items was the Southern style slow cooked pulled pork. Imparting a unique flavour from the use of southern spices, it was beautifully tender, and was slathered in a beautiful BBQ sauce. The alfalfa was a great addition which brought a lovely freshness to the dish. 

Fluffy with some real "height", the hotcakes was adorned with seasonal berries, whipped mascarpone, honeycomb, vanilla bean and house-made maple syrup. A simple breakfast favourite that amalgamates the best things in life. 

We took home a little gift from Hobba to enjoy the next day... 
Classic brownie

The classic brownie was perhaps one of the best we have ever tried. Possessing the perfect exterior crunchy layer with a dense cakey layer to follow before a perfectly gooey interior.  It was captivating!
Hobba’s new menu caters for all tastebuds. Whether you’re after clean superfoods, something healthy but a little cheeky or simply downright dirty to cure that hangover, Hobba has you sorted.

Location: 428 Malvern Road  Prahran
Phone: 03 9510 8336
Cuisine: Breakfast, International, Modern Australian

Hobba on Urbanspoon

Time Out @ Federation Square | White Night 2015

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Time Out.
Melbourne’s favourite city destination Time Out is has come back refreshed, revitalised and a top pick for summer dining.

After closing for a short time, Time Out reopened back in December to reveal a vibrant new fit-out. Located in the heart of Melbourne, the venue boasts wonderful views of the city, the beautiful Southbank skyline and Fed Square’s iconic big screen. 
The expansive menu of international dishes champions fresh Victorian produce, and locally made Victorian craft beer as well as barista-made Code Black Coffee. 
Crispy Chicken Satay Skewers with a warm spicy peanut sauce

The Chicken Satay exceeded our expectations.  The skewers were nicely caramelised and crispy and were flavoured well by the decadently satay sauce.  It was a delicious starter.
Salt & Pepper Calamari

Tender ribbons of battered calamari were served with flavoursome nuoc cham sauce.  The calamari was perfectly seasoned and went beautifully with the sauce which had a great salt-sour-heat balance.
Grilled Salmon

The salmon was perfectly cooked - beautifully seared and pink in the middle. The accompanying salad of spinach, tomato, honey roasted beetroot, pomegranate and freekah was an enlivening mixture that was and brought together with a tangy lime vinaigrette. It was a fresh summer dish which featured a medley of exciting flavours and textures.
Char grilled Black Angus porterhouse steak served with creamy gratin potatoes, green beans and mushroom sauce

The succulent (and very generous piece of) steak was well cooked with the adorning strip of fat providing an additional indulgent burst of flavour. The mushroom sauce added a delightful savouriness to the steak which enlivened the relatively heavy dish.
Baileys Cheesecake

We adored our dessert of Baked Cheesecake flavoured with Baileys and finished with vanilla cream, cocoa and ice cream on the side. The cheesecake was deliciously rich and had just the right hint of baileys.
Time Out continues to be a favourite for Melbourne locals and visitors.  Located in the centre of one of Melbourne’s most iconic tourist destinations and known for all-day dining from an extensive international menu 365 days a year. Any time is the right time to take Time Out in the heart of Melbourne city.

Location: Federation Square, Corner Swanston St & Flinders Sreet, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9671 3855
Cuisine: International, Modern Australian, Asian, Breakfast, Craft Beers

Take Time Out and beat the crowds during White Night 2015
For one night only, Melbourne’s favourite all-night spectacular event, White Night is back, and Time Out Fed Square is right in the heart of it, all night long.

Open until 5am, Time Out is the city’s reliable, go-to bar and restaurant. For this special event, Time Out will be open all night, where white nighters can take in the sights of the spectacular illuminations, visual art, exhibitions, music, film, design and performances on show, from the comfort of the newly refurbished venue. Take Time Out and beat the crowds with a craft beer or cocktail in hand, and delicious dishes, such as the Vietnamese pulled pork sliders, or warm Thai chicken salad.

From 7pm to 7am on 21 February 2015, the streets and buildings of Melbourne’s major cultural institutions and venues will be transformed into an eclectic wonderland of over 80+ free events featuring local, national and international artists and works from Australia, France, Greece, Portugal, India and the United Kingdom.

Events visible from Time Out Fed Square include an array of captivating sound and visual works, including:
  • Wonderland projections created by The Electric Canvas and Russell Goldsmith on the iconic Flinders Street Station
  • The spectacular light-driven structures on show in Vox Lumen: People Into Light at Federation Square
  • Toccata- a 12 hour continuous play of the complete Bach organ works delivered by Dr Calvin Bowman at St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Sita’s Garden, where the banks of the Yarra at Birrarung Marr transform into a Little India, complete with a glowing lotus pond and floating stage.

Time Out on Urbanspoon

Four Chefs @ Ms Collins

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Ms Collins.
Combining good food, fashion, music and art, Ms Collins is pushing the boundaries for Melbourne bars. 
The venue, which occupies the former Silk Road site at 425 Collins St, Melbourne, is the latest venture for Roar Projects, an established hospitality group responsible for Alumbra in the Docklands. 
Comprising four primary partners – Hatem Saleh, Simon Digby, Sami Saleh and Tony Perna – Roar Projects has a portfolio of experience that positions the team to successfully deliver a world-class night venue.
The venue is sexy and bold with luminous material against a dark backdrop.
Ms Collins proudly showcases her four identity chefs Jacques Reymond, Paul Wilson (Icebergs), Daniel WIlson (Huxtable) and Riccardo Momesso (Valentino) and beverage partner, Veuve Clicquot.
We indulged in eight dishes which were served with matching wines (two dishes from each chef) as well as desserts over a cheeky espresso martini.
Our favourite dish was Paul Wilson's Empanadas de picadillo with mission fig mole. The wonderfully flaky empanadas were filled with melt in your mouth slow cooked lamb and drizzled with sweet mole sauce. Topped with pepitas for some added texture, the empanadas were just beautiful. Another crowd pleaser was Daniel Wilson's Southern fried chicken ribs with jalapéno mayo. A popular bar staple, the meaty chicken ribs, more substantial and less finicky than chicken wing pieces, were crusted with a flavoursome spice mix and then perfectly fried to achieve a moreish crunchy exterior. 
Ms Collins takes you on a journey of culinary and liquid experiences from France (Jacques Reymond), to Mexico (Paul Wilson), America (Daniel Wilson) and Italy (Riccardo Momesso). A lovely venue in which to immerse yourself in each global corner of the world over a cocktail (or five).

Location: 425 Collins Street  Melbourne
Phone: 03 8614 2222 
Cuisine: French, Mexican, American, Italian, International

Ms Collins on Urbanspoon

Brunch @ Las Chicas

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Las Chicas.
Las Chicas is the perfect embodiment of a thriving Melbourne café. It has rightfully earned its standing as a weekend brunch mecca, drawing in the crowds week in week out with its consistently excellent food, fantastic coffee and cheerful wait staff.
Las Chicas has succeeded in crafting a convivial atmosphere in which to enjoy a lazy weekend brunch. 
Left: Green goodness - Kale, spinach, spirulina, probiotic powder, cucumber, banana, dates, nuts & coconut water
Right: Nutrient enhancer - Kiwi, watermelon, agave & probiotics 
Field mushroom burger 
Yarra Valley feta, sundried tomato tapenade, kale, walnut pesto with taro chips

With a rich and succulent field mushroom, the burger had, sandwiched between two halves of a slightly sweet brioche bun, Yarra Valley feta, sundried tomato tapenade, kale, walnut pesto.  It was a modern yet classic veggie burger and was absolutely delicious.  The taro chips were crisp and perfectly seasoned. 
Sesame seared tuna 
Yellow fin tuna, purple carrots, cucumber ribbons, mint, coriander with a sweet mirin, ginger and soy caramel dressing 

This dish was well balanced, loaded with umami and complex. The ginger and soy caramel dressing cradled the fragrant mint and coriander and brought the whole dish together. The tuna itself was both beautiful and beautifully prepared.
The coffee at Las Chicas is excellent. The profound respect for the humble beverage is palpable.
Las Chicas uses AllPRESS Supremo – a sweet bold coffee with a taste of red berries and cocoa. The beans are sourced from Brazil, Colombia and Papua New Guinea and then prepared and served to patrons by adept baristas.
Melbourne has an ever growing brunch culture, making the café industry a particularly competitive and vibrant one. Las Chicas serves delicious, fresh and seasonal food, which makes it a cut above.  Given its popularity, we suggest that you visit, as we did, during the odd hours of the day to avoid excessive wait times during peak hours.
Location: 203 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
Phone: 03 9531 3699
Link: http://www.laschicas.com.au/
Cuisine: Mexican, International, Modern Australian, Coffee, Breakfast/Brunch

Las Chicas on Urbanspoon

The Pantry Delicatessen Re-opens!

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Pantry Delicatessen.
The Pantry Delicatessen is back with a stunning new fit out and a colossal selection of delicious and healthy take-home food.
The huge range of seasonal take-home meals provides for everyone. Salads, soups, pastas, wet-dishes, roast; the list goes on! Restaurant quality food, cooked by restaurant chefs, caters to every taste.
The Pantry Delicatessen offers dozens of sweet choices. Pantry pastry chefs custom design unique treats which are only available at The Pantry Delicatessen.
The Pantry Delicatessen offers a large range of gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy-free options which makes the Delicatessen the perfect option for a healthy, hearty meal – prepared with love daily by our dedicated and talented chefs.
Recipes inspired by the world’s best chefs are adapted to the season and feature fresh and high quality ingredients.
The stunning new interior features timber-clad walls and a slick silky charcoal theme throughout; the decorative props, a mix of new and vintage were sourced from as far as the south of France.
There are many exciting food collaborations to come this year at The Pantry Delicatessen. Some will take the form of interactive food experiences with others hosting Australian food icons.
During our visit we selected a few delicious items: Sourdough from Burnham Bakery Bread, Miso Salmon with soba noodles and 2 delicious sweet treats – a cinnamon tea cake and a lemon meringue pie.

We loved the sourdough which was made using traditional techniques and baked in state-of-the-art ovens. Featuring a lovely thick crust, it was delicious when served with generous splashes of extra virgin olive oil.
The salmon and soba noodles were a healthy and delicious option. The salmon was tender and juicy and had a lovely umami flavour from the miso. The noodles were slippery and flavoured well.
The cinnamon tea cake and lemon meringue pie was absolutely lovely. The cinnamon tea cake was moist and had just the perfect level of sweetness while the lemon meringue pie struck the right chords with an expertly balanced sweetness from the meringue and tartness from the lemon.
We loved this new comfort food destination and cannot wait to return and further explore what The Pantry has to offer.

Location: 1 Church Street, Brighton
Phone: 03 9591 0393

Pantry on Urbanspoon

Pullman Hotels and Resorts put art on a plate with the launch of Justin North’s Tapastry menus

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Pullman Hotels and Resorts.
Pullman, Accor’s 5-star hotel brand, has launched a new, vibrant way to dine with Tapastry - a new menu of small dishes created by celebrated chef and Pullman’s Culinary Ambassador, Justin North.
Justin North is one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, having won numerous awards over the years including GQ Chef of the Year, Gourmet Traveller’s highest ranking and Chef of the Year in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide, and not to mention sustaining two coveted chefs’ hats for more than eight years. His Tapastry menu will be a national concept that will be rolled out through the entire Pullman network in Australia.
Fig, binnore labna & caramelized onion flat bread

Gastrology attended a small gathering at the Pullman Melbourne Albert Park to be one of the first to taste and see what Tapastry had to offer.
Heirloom tomato Yellingbo olive vanella buffalo mozzarella

The menu combined both artistry and gastronomy; the dishes showcased regional ingredients in innovative small plates. 
Freshly shucked pacific oysters, eschallot vinegar and lemon

Each plate was small, allowing room to taste several dishes and was aesthetically pleasing. We loved the use of regional ingredients and the elegance and precision in which the dishes were prepared.
Tiger prawn cocktail 

The most outstanding dish of the night was the Roast Northern Rivers Pork Belly, slow cooked Octopus and miso Eggplant. The pork belly flesh was juicy tenderness while the crackling added a subtle savoury note and textural crunch. The slow cooked octopus was full of flavour and had a melt in your mouth texture, which was enhanced by the supple eggplant. 
Earl grey ice cream, Zokoko chocolate and salted caramel

Our evening ended on a sweet high with the dessert of Earl grey ice cream, Zokoko chocolate and salted caramel. 

Containing a selection of distinct yet harmonious ingredients, this visually attractive dessert was a delicious layered creation. The mellow earl grey ice cream together with the crunchy praline and decadent salted caramel produced a balanced and delectable dessert. We savoured every moreish morsel. 
Under the guidance of Justin North the Pullman’s chefs have created an authentic culinary experience using high quality ingredients sourced from local artisans and food producers in the form of Tapastry.

What: Windows Restaurant (Pullman Hotels and Resorts) now serving Justin North’s Tapastry menu
Melbourne location: 65 Queens Rd Melbourne
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Windows Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Breakfast @ Cecconi's Cellar Bar

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Cecconi's.
Cecconi’s is situated towards the Exhibition Street end of Flinders Lane's thriving restaurant precinct. Boasting a vibrant and buzzing cellar bar and an impressive restaurant, there is no denying that this dual establishment is wholeheartedly dedicated to food and quality produce.
The wall of family photos, and some of the produce they use displayed in black steel carriageways above the bar and open kitchen act as a reminder that Cecconi's is an authentic Italian restaurant.
Cecconi’s Cellar Bar has recently started offering a breakfast menu which we were privileged to sample.
Quince and cinnamon muffins were delivered to our table fresh out of the oven. The muffins were beautiful – aromatic, moreish and moist, with a lovely hint of tartness from the quince.
Toastie - homemade salumi and fontina cheese

The grilled cheesy toast with homemade salumi was a classic combination. We loved the thick, warm slices of bread and the generous amounts of oozy cheese and the delicious kick and savouriness from the salumi.
Crab omelette, Parmesan, parsley

Food envy set in as we watched the crab omelette (that we were foolish enough not to have ordered) being devoured. 
Cecconi’s toasted organic muesli with yogurt and banana

The muesli was absolutely scrumptious. This delectable blend of creamy yoghurt, crunchy oats and fresh banana followed by sour and sweet pops of dried fruit certainly awoke our senses.
Excellent food, good coffee and cheerful wait staff, breakfast service at Cecconi’s Cellar Bar was always going to be a success story.

Read about dinner at Cecconi's here.

Cecconi's Flinders Lane Cellar Bar on Urbanspoon

Reviews: Göz City | Borek Bakehouse | World Restaurant | Nieuw Amsterdam | Jinda Thai | Shandong Mama | Tao Tao House | Om Nom Dessert Bar | Pat Bing Soo

Göz City

Göz City opened its doors in January. Combining the age-old gözleme tradition with a distinctly modern aesthetic and attitude, we liked the relaxed vibe of their cosy cafe. We had previously been invited to a tasting and exclusive preview back in March but were unable to attend. That invitation, however, certainly sparked our interest and we finally got around to visiting Göz City last week.
The menu is lead by four customary gözleme; cheese and spinach, Turkish spiced minced meat, herbed chicken and mushroom and veg. These are complemented with weekly unique and seasonally driven gözleme flavours and include a selection of Turkish, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern style salads, böreks and coffee. We enjoyed the gözleme on offer - they were each well flavoured. A great lunch time option - for those seeking something well-priced and a little different from this end of town.
Goz City on Urbanspoon

Borek Bakehouse

Borek Bakehouse is the real deal. Freshly made, absolutely delicious boreks, at ridiculously cheap prices. Get 2 of these babies for a mere $5 and you’re set for lunch. 
There is a solid variety of breads and there is a range of salads that are equally as delicious.
Whatever you do, don’t go past the spicy lamb borek – Flaky, fluffy boreks with flavoursome and delectably tender morsels of spicy lamb.
The Borek Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

World Restaurant & Bar

World Restaurant & Bar has an amazing view. Overlooking the banks of the Yarra River, it has a great ambience. The menu is internationally inspired and there is an extensive drinks selection.
A greater watering hole than it is a restaurant; the food we ordered at lunch was of a decent standard. 
The service is warm and welcoming and we loved the convenience of being able to book online.
World Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Nieuw Amsterdam
With a focus on sharing plates, Nieuw Amsterdam is one of Melbourne's "hottest" new venues with a brilliant vibe.
The food was of a relatively good standard and the service is brilliant. We thought the $55 banquet option presented good but not great value. It is nevertheless, a great venue to visit with friends.
Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

Jinda Thai
Jinda Thai is an amazing Thai restaurant in Richmond which delivers on all fronts.
The food is absolutely delicious, authentic and well-priced. We loved their desserts too which are a modern rendition of classic Thai sweets.
Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Shangdong Mama
A very popular dumpling haunt, Shandong Mama is packed to the brim most days. While we thought the dumplings tasted reasonably good. We couldn't quite understand the hype.  
All in all, a good place for a cheap dinner with some dumpling options you won't see anywhere else. 
Shandong Mama on Urbanspoon

Tao Tao House
Tao Tao House is a brilliant place for yum cha. The dumplings served are quite a few notches above the regular.
The only downside is some classic favourite are not available like century egg congee and tau fu fah.
Tao Tao House on Urbanspoon

Om Nom

Situated within Adelphi Hotel, we were excited to discover Melbourne's latest dessert bar. We couldn't tell whether it was just an off night (given all the hype and the fact that we have heard great things about this venue) but unfortunately the desserts failed to impress.
Apple Sphere $24
Flavours of Ginger, Caramel and Lemongrass Tea, Vanilla, White Chocolate and Yuzu

The apple sphere was visually stunning but unfortunately lacklustre in taste and the white chocolate lacked the essential "crunch" when we cracked into it.  We felt that the dessert was crying out for the flavour intensity of each component to be amplified. 
Banana Flambe $22
Rum, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Chocolate Sponge, Vanilla and Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream

While, again, beautiful, this dessert was particularly disappointing as the chocolate sponge was incredibly dry. 

While we absolutely love the concept and believe there is great skill in the presentation of the items we tried, unfortunately, our experience was a disappointing one which was further dampened by an unfriendly hostess. 
Om Nom Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

Pat Bing Soo
Pat Bing Soo is a welcomed new addition to South Melbourne’s food scene. 
Calm & Concentration Tea
Green tea with longan aril, citrus peel, Chinese dates, chrysanthemum & goji berries. Aids memory function & enhances concentration

The cosy eatery boasts a welcoming atmosphere and wonderful service. The menu features modern Korean cuisine which is both refreshing and appetising. 
Korean Fried Chicken

We enjoyed the Korean Fried Chicken which we thought had a beautiful batter but felt the sauce was too sweet. 
Left: Bulgogi pork bapper -  Greenvale Farm shoulder pork, carrot, zucchini, pickled Asian mushrooms, served with egg yolk and ssamjung on rice  
Right: Buckwheat noodle dream - Spicy red cabbage, fried egg and spicy soy, toasted sesame, spring onion, served on buckwheat noodles

Both the bulgogi pork bapper and the noodle dishes had punchy fragrant flavours and were very enjoyable. A bit heavy handed on the salt but nevertheless pleasant and well prepared. 
There were many enjoyable aspects to our visit. Despite our minor quibbles, the food was respectable and the accompanying service was outstanding.
 Patbingsoo on Urbanspoon

Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant & Cellar Bar re-launch

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Cecconi's.
Location: 61 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Phone: 03 8663 0500
Link: http://www.cecconis.com/
Cuisine: European, Italian, International
Overall Impression: 8.5/10
Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant & Cellar Bar re-launched on 26 March 2014, with its own personality and ambience to match. 
A modern Italian restaurant where food, wine, service and atmosphere blend beautifully together, Mollard Interiors was briefed to create a contemporary yet authentic Italian space for the Cecconi's Cellar Bar. 
We loved the new redesign. With a colour palette that was restricted to black, white and copper while incorporating varying textures and tones to create contrast, the space felt familiar, warm and contemporary while reinforcing the fact that Cecconi's is a long-standing family run business. 
The luxe, dark and clubby basement space of Cecconi’s boasts one of the more theatrical kitchens in Melbourne – wide-open and centre stage.

The white wash timber tables with copper edging - made by Don, Maria's husband, combined with the black bentwood chairs, low black dome pendant lights and copper wall lights, create an inviting space. 
Patrons are reminded that Cecconi's is an authentic Italian restaurant by the wall of family photos, and some of the produce they use displayed in black steel carriageways above the bar and open kitchen. 
Risotto, freshly shaved black truffles, parmesan, truffle oil 
Matched with: 2013 Bellvale Pinot Grigio Gippsland, Vic 

Generous amounts of freshly shaved black truffles adorned the plate.  The fresh truffle provided a sweetness and depth of flavour to the risotto which was enhanced by the fragrant truffle oil. It was a wonderfully flavoursome, decadent and rich risotto.
Chatham Island Blue Cod, confit tomato, fennel, fried zucchini flower, aged balsamic 
Matched with: 2010 Bellvale ‘Athena’s Vineyard’ Chardonnay Gippsland, Vic 

The Chatham Island Blue Cod was well cooked. The batter encasing the zucchini flower was ethereally light and very crisp.  Combined with the sweet fennel and the slightly tart confit tomato – the dish was a delight to eat.
Twice cooked duck, sweet potato puree and lime 
Matched with: 2012 Bellvale Pinot Noir Gippsland, Vic 

The duck was cooked to perfection.  The lime cut through the sweetness of the potato puree providing a dish with well-balanced flavours.
Serenaded by Emma Birdsall
Caramel pannacotta, wild fig cake, macadamia ice cream 
Matched with: 2013 Montevecchio Moscato by Chalmers Heathcote, Vic 

The visually attractive pannacotta was a layered creation of melt in your mouth pannacotta, wild figs, crumble and macadamia ice cream. Absolutely delectable, this dessert was a masterclass in textural balance and layered flavour.

Taking great pride in using only the freshest ingredients available, including their own home grown vegetables from the family farm, Cecconi’s new menu is one to behold. 

Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Images (with the exception of the caramel pannacotta image) courtesy of Tim O'Connor of http://www.timoconnorphotography.com/.

Restaurant Review: Syracuse

Location: 23 Bank Place, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9670 1777
Cuisine: International, Wine Bar
Overall Impression: 8/10
Conveniently located in one of Melbourne's famous laneways, Syracuse serves exquisitely prepared European and international inspired cuisine.
Ornate archways, soaring ceilings and curving chandeliers set the tone for a modern yet inviting atmosphere, setting the perfect environment of style and fun for after-work drinks or pre-dinner gatherings.
Green strawberry gazpacho, young almonds, cassis 

Executive Chef Hugh Sanderson honours the traditions of classic European cuisine and culture, while infusing them with an upscale, urban energy. The menu reflects the chic and elegant design of Syracuse, as clean, simple flavours take centre stage.
The evolving wine list features 500 wines. We loved that Australian wines are featured prominently.
Cauliflower panna cotta, caramelised yoghurt, green olive, rye 

The Middle Eastern influenced dish of “cauliflower panna cotta" was the highlight of our dinner at Syracuse.  The cauliflower base provided a well crafted combination of earthy flavours and worked in sync with the crunchy green olive and rye and the creamy yoghurt.
Left: Hervey Bay scallop sashimi, yuzu, urchin cream, chicken skin 
Right: Salt cod brandade, smoked egg, fromage vert, zucchini blossom 
Left: Western Australian marron, jamon butter, potatoes, ink 
Right: Smoked duck breast, strawberries, fennel and vanilla, foie gras 
Crumbed pigs tail, quails egg, breakfast radish, sauce ravigote, crispy ear 

The crumbed pigs tail had a crunchy exterior and pigs tail inside had a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth characteristic and was richly seasoned. This dish certainly holds a place on the recommended list.
Left: Violet crème brûlée, passionfruit caramel, passionfruit crispies 
Right: Nicole’s peanut butter parfait, salted peanut caramel, honey and bourbon custard

The violet crème brûlée was a sweet end to our dinner at Syracuse. The rich, smooth, eggy passionfruit infused cream oozed out as we broke through the perfectly formed candy disc.
Hugh’s love and passion for European and international inspired cuisine transcends the plate delivering a memorable dining experience with world-class service and a delightful ambiance.

Syracuse on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Syracuse. 

Restaurant Review: Annie Smithers Bistrot & Produce

Location: 72 Piper Street, Kyneton
Phone: 03 5422 2039
Link: www.anniesmithers.com.au
Cuisine: French, International, Modern European
Overall Impression: 9/10
Iconic Annie Smithers Bistrot was recently taken-over by passionate Tim and Michelle Foster, bringing about a brilliant modern twist to the menu whilst retaining the métier and the spirit of the bistro, in one of Piper Street's most beautiful spaces. 
 Tim & Michelle Foster

Under Tim's guidance, the kitchen offers high-quality cuisine in a relaxed setting. The highlight of the cuisine served is seemingly simple but carefully prepared dishes; the fruit of Tim and Michelle's expansive experience in the world of hospitality. 

Tim was most recently the Executive Chef at Healesville Hotel Group, and prior to that was Head Chef at Hollicks Winery Coonawarra. Whilst his wife Michelle is a qualified Chef, she now works as the front of house Manager. 
House-made sourdough

The dining room combines an atmosphere that is warm, welcoming, modern yet rustic and relaxed.  From the kitchen flows a careful selection of healthy, seasonal gourmet cuisine in the traditional bistro style. 
Amuse bouche - Cold tomato soup with ricotta and bacon

What we experienced was sensational. The menu is based on two central elements: top-quality ingredients from local producers and a strong  European influence. This enables the bistro to offer its guests the best meats, fish, vegetables and fruit available in Victoria. 
Left: Pan seared scallops, confit free range chicken wings, Jerusalem artichoke puree & chips, fresh asparagus, pickled kohlrabi
Right: Grilled partially de boned quail, buckwheat polenta, broad beans, prosciutto, peperonata, jus
Tortellini filled with cauliflower & comte cheese, roast cauliflower, golden raisons, pickled walnuts, sage, brown butter

Our favourite entree, the tortellini was exceptional. The filling of deliciously savoury and melt in your mouth cauliflower was encased in al dente pasta. The accompanying roast cauliflower, raisins, pickled walnuts and stunning brown butter sauce made this a perfectly executed, expertly balanced and intelligent dish.
Left: Aged Sidonia Hills beef, fondant potatoes, grilled asparagus, horseradish creme, beetroot jus
Right: A side of salad from local growers' garden

The steak was beautifully cooked and arrived cooked medium as requested. Perfectly seared on the outside and beautifully juicy and pink on the inside. It was evident that the meat was sourced from a quality producer and great care had been taken in its preparation.
Confit free range duck leg, brined & smoked breast, eggplant puree, beans, cherry jus, fat hen

The slices of duck breast were cooked to a rarely found perfection with the subtle smokiness allowing the rich flavour of the duck to shine through. The accompanying confit leg was tender, the skin crisp. The sweet and sticky cherry jus provided the crowning element to a luxurious dish. 
Consistent with our savoury courses, the desserts that followed were superbly executed, well balanced and fresh.
Left: Rich chocolate delice, strawberries, blueberries, cumquat brandy, lavender honeycomb, pink lake salt meringues, Redesdale estate olive oil ice cream
Right: Lemon verbena poached yellow peach, white chocolate mousse, summer berries, pistachio dacquoise

The rich chocolate delice was, as its name suggests, decadently rich. The lavender honeycomb added a lovely textural element.

The lemon verbena poached yellow peaches exhibited a vibrant combination of flavours. 
Buttermilk panna cotta, new seasons rhubarb, shortbread, strawberry sorbet, rose

The panna cotta was smooth and well crafted, the rhubarb was cooked to perfection. The sorbet had a bold fresh strawberry flavour and the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the shortbread accompanied perfectly. 

Of particular note is that despite the complexity of the dishes crafted by Tim Foster, each element on every plate was cohesive and necessary, and when eaten together were stunning.
Under Tim and Michelle, Annie Smithers brings traditional, classic dishes bang up to date using local and seasonal produce. The reputation of Annie Smithers appears to be in safe hands. 

Annie Smithers Bistrot & Produce on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Annie Smithers Bistrot.

Third Wave Cafe opens a second cafe in Prahran

Third Wave Cafe has just opened the doors to its new Prahran location. Bigger sister to the existing Third Wave Cafe in Port Melbourne, it pioneers a culture focused on good coffee and food from around the world including Russian dishes and various options with an American BBQ twist.
The cafe has a neighbourhood vibe - alive with a bustling breakfast, brunch and lunch trade. We loved the casual and contemporary decor. Bright walls are complemented by comfortable dark wooden furnishings and potted plants provide a clever accent, as do the light bulbs that hang from the ceiling. 
As expected from a cafe that is serious about coffee, the coffee is seriously good. Our coffees were rich and full-bodied with a smooth cocoa taste and nutty undertone. 
Adopting a chilled Prahran culture, the new Third Wave is ready and waiting on a new influx of clients as the news about it spreads. With waitstaff that are warm and friendly and service that is desirably prompt, it is the perfect scene for a lazy afternoon with good friends and good coffee. 

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Third Wave.