Wayside Inn

The Wayside Inn is a wonderful little gastropub located in South Melbourne. The restaurant dining area is modern, relaxed and elegant with a bright open kitchen and boasting warm service. The menu is uncomplicated and well executed utilising high quality fresh produce – most notably the extensive range of premium red gum wood fired Australian steaks on offer. The Wayside is the ideal location for winding down on a Friday night over a delicious steak and a bottle from the well thought out wine list. We can't wait to return.

Wayside Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The [turning] Point

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Point.
Open for over a decade, The Point has recently undergone a radical and exciting transformation aimed at elevating it well above its roots as a premium steakhouse.

Sommelier and Restaurant Manager, Joseph Griffiths and Executive Chef Andy Harmer have been charged with the responsibility of bringing The Point to the forefront of fine dining in Melbourne and refocusing this institution on contemporary and creative cuisine, premium wines and seamless service. And based on our recent tasting, this transformation is well underway. The current menu impresses and surprises with elegant dishes of flawless execution which showcase seasonal, local ingredients - and perhaps a few artisan ingredients from our friends overseas. 
Not to be outshone is the wine list which reads like a work of literature, boasting a carefully curated wine collection spanning the best of old and new world wines. Of course if you prefer, you can leave wine matching in the expert hands of Joseph Griffiths. 
Cep mushroom crème fraiche, kipfler potato, ground roast chestnut fraiche, kipfler potatoes, mushroom and ground roast chestnut

Bursting with umami, this luxuriously textured amuse bouche awoken the senses with an outstanding depth of flavour. It is difficult to imagine a better start to a meal. 
Taleggio raviolo, walnut, grape and sorrel
Matched with: NV Dosnon et Lepage Champagne Rose de Saignee, Cote des Bar France

A playful reinvention of a cheese platter, this was a delightful combination of well-considered textures and flavours. The Champagne was the perfect playmate with its summery ripe peach characteristics and citrus aroma. 
Spanner crab, almond gazpacho, sauce Jacqueline
Matched with: 2013 Condes se Alberei Alberino, Rias Baixas Spain

Beneath the dense cloud lay crab meat perched above a moreish almond gazpacho. The delightful sweetness of the crab meat was retained and accentuated by the sauce Jacqueline. This dish deeply impressed with its finesse and textural delicacy.
Autumn in the Park
Matched with: Lustau Rare Cream Sherry Solera Superiore

A masterclass in textural balance and layered flavour. The ground seasonal mushroom powder, scattered morsels of parsley sponge and pine mushrooms evoked feelings of an edible forest floor and was only enhanced by the powerful fragrance of generous shavings of black truffle. The creamy celeriac acted as the perfect canvas and brought all of the elements together. Although initially surprising, the accompanying sherry paired exceptionally well with its sweet yet savoury nuances and taste-bud enlivening freshness.
Murray Cod, fennel and yuzu salt
Matched with: 2012 Cantina Terlano Vorberg Pinot Bianco 

A delicate dish which allowed the natural sweetness of the cod to shine, we enjoyed the interesting textural interplay between the sous vide fish flesh and the intensely crispy shards of skin. The minerally yet fruity pinot bianco echoed the delicate savouriness of the dish and matched well.
Wagyu (marble score 9) short rib, smoked eggplant
Matched with: 2011 Denton View Hill Nebbiolo, Yarra Valley Vic
2010 Pio Cesare Barolo served as a taste alongside

The slices of Wagyu short rib were cooked to a wonderful perfection with the subtle, delicious smokiness of the eggplant elevating the rich, buttery meat to magical levels. This dish highlighted a new wave of steak dishes that occupy The Point's menu emphasising elegance and completeness. The Nebbiolo was a perfect match with its black fruits, aromatic complexity and vibrant acids. We also were lucky enough to try a Barolo side by side in a classic battle of new verses old world - the big, tannic Barolo boasted a bouquet of dark fruit aromas, mint and liquorice.
Pre dessert: Lemon cake, vanilla poached quince and warm white chocolate mousse with lemon and mint water
Honey and eucalyptus parfait, Jerusalem artichoke, milk skin and thyme oil
Matched with: 2010 Kracher Beerenauslese, welshriesling chardonnay, Burgenland Austria

Consistent with the savoury courses, the dessert was superbly executed. The flawless harmony of sweet, creamy parfait contrasted with the savoury crisp, salty Jerusalem artichoke chips. An innovative and well-executed dessert. Once again, this dish was matched beautifully with welshriesling chardonnay - thick and syrupy with intense honeysuckle aromas and a fresh acid finish.
Under the careful guidance of Joseph Griffiths and Andy Harmer, The Point has shown itself capable of exceeding the legacy forged over the past decade. Having experienced these very exciting changes firsthand, it is clear that The Point is establishing itself firmly in the upper echelons of Melbourne’s premium culinary institutions. 

Location: Aquatic Drive, Albert Park Lake
Phone: 03 9682 5566 
Cuisine: Modern Australian 

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Morgan’s Beach Shack

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Morgan’s Beach Shack.
Since opening its doors in January last year, Morgan’s Beach Shack has swiftly established a firm following among locals and travellers alike.

Led by seasoned hospitality veterans, Julian Gerner and Paul Olynyk, who also co-own the Royal Saxon in Richmond, the venue continues to be a hotspot for its fresh food, great atmosphere, live music and endless games of ping pong.
With panoramic views of the Mornington Peninsula, Morgan’s Beach Shack has a very distinctive visual narrative that pays homage to its enviable seaside setting. Designed by award-winning Six Degrees Architects, a firm whose iconic style has defined the face of some of Melbourne’s most renowned venues, the interiors are layered with recycled materials: lobster pots are turned into lampshades, lifebuoys are suspended from old timber beams, and a pair of rowing oars sits against sandstone bricks. The effect is playful, relaxed and contemporary.
Rare Beef salad

The menu takes cues from Baja-style cuisine, a Californian take on Mexican. We loved their moreish kingfish ceviche, fresh salads and stunning tacos.
Kingfish ceviche, Cured kingfish, fresh peppers, chilli salt, fennel + tendrils

The ceviche was our favourite dish. Displaying technique and skilful restraint, the kingfish was beautifully presented and accompanied by a citrus-based marinade that cured the kingfish. It was a wonderful mélange of salinity, sweetness and acidity.
Baja battered soft shell crab w. sweet corn salsa, jalapeno crema + fresh herbs

We adored 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 spicy jalapeno crema and freshness from the sweet corn salsa and fresh herbs, it was a playful and delicious dish.
Ancient grain salad

We enjoyed both our ancient grain salad and rare beef salad. The ancient grain salad in particular was a stand out. An enlivening salad of chicken, farro, quinoa, chia, chickpeas, roasted almonds, tendrils and creamy goats curd brought together with an olive oil dressing, the salad was a medley of exciting flavours and textures.
With uninterrupted views overlooking one of Australia’s most famous bays, Morgan’s Beach Shack is a spectacular place to take in what Sorrento has to offer.

Location: 1-3 Esplanade, Sorrento, VIC
Phone: (03) 5984 3121
Cuisine: Mexican, American, Burgers, Steak

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Autumn @ Rochford Winery Restaurant

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Rochford.
Rochford possesses all of the requisite elements to deliver an enchanting experience not found in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. Our expectations of Rochford are fostered not only by its excellent reputation, but by our own experiences on each of our previous visits. Our unwavering eagerness to return speaks volumes about how highly we regard this wonderful winery restaurant.
As the winter month approaches, the Yarra Valley is transformed into a stunning scene with golden autumn leaves adorning the vines.
Despite having eaten at Rochford countless times already, it continues to draw us back time and again and has rightfully claimed a spot in our favourite restaurants of all time.
The dining area is spacious, modern and elegant, exuding an air of calm. The glass windows encasing the dining area allow the sun to trickle in and present magical views out to the Rochford vineyard and the broader Yarra Ranges.

The sense of true hospitality is palpable, echoed in the modern Australian menu prepared using high quality, fresh ingredients which are often locally sourced. The service is always friendly and efficient.
We decided to share a bottle of the 2010 YV “La Droite”. A 50% Merlot 50% Cabernet Franc blend named with reference to the Bordeaux “Right Bank”, it was a beautiful drop.   
Not only does the arrival of the autumn season mean the beginning of Vintage harvest at Rochford Wines Yarra Valley, but it also marks the arrival of a new menu at Isabella’s Restaurant created by Head Chef Ciaran Butler. The menu is extremely well-priced. From $55 for 2 courses, the value proposition is compelling.
Galway born, Ciaran has worked in several Michelin star restaurants throughout Europe and Asia. His experience extends from working under the great John Kelly at Ardilaun House Hotel in Ireland to time spent at Crown Casino and the Yarra Valley Grand Hotel.

 As usual, each dish was cooked perfectly.
Kingfish ceviche 
a ceviche of Australian kingfish with sea grapes, pickled radish, yuzu jel & seaweed powder 

We commenced our dining experience with a beautifully presented ceviche. The citrus cured fish was embellished with sea grapes. The pickled radish added a wonderful touch to what was an enlivening combination of ingredients.
Local beetroots & Goats curd 
Local beetroots, with Yarra Valley goats curd foam, pine nuts 

The entrée of goat’s curd and beetroot had perfectly balanced flavours. Each element of the dish matched the other. The slight acidity from the beetroot brought a lovely tanginess that cut through the creaminess of the cheese. It all came together beautifully.
Tasmanian salmon fillet 
Oven baked fillet of salmon with Port Phillip Bay mussels, Rochford Chardonnay Marinières sauce, potato stones & sea asparagus 

The salmon skin was beautifully crisp and the flesh was deliciously moist and tender. The accompanying sea asparagus was a delicious addition. A coastal succulent, the sea asparagus provided delicious bursts of saltiness.
220g Wagyu Rump
Marble score 9 rump with horseradish potato puree, baby leeks, pearl onions and Rochford Pinot Noir jus 

The accompaniments of horseradish potato puree, baby leeks, pearl onions and the famous Rochford Pinot Noir Jus worked wonderfully to draw out the robust beefiness of the Wagyu. A light searing ensured that it was lined with a thin crisp layer packed with caramelised beef flavour. The meat was intense with characteristic wagyu notes and a deep earthy richness. Texturally, it was sublime with a decadent melt in the mouth, almost buttery, consistency.
Death by chocolate 
chocolate sponge, Belgium chocolate ganache, griottine cherries, hazelnut praline powder 

The visually attractive “Death by chocolate” was a magnificent layered creation. The mixture of the light chocolate sponge, together with the intense richness of the ganache and the tartness from the griottine cherries produced a balanced and delectable dessert.
Yarra valley apple pie 
Warm individual apple pie with crème anglaise, vanilla bean ice-cream & toffee apple 

The apple pie was a decadent end to our visit. The soft centre of caramelised apples combined with the perfect biscuit pastry and decadent vanilla ice cream was simply stunning. Served with crisp toffee apple, this dessert was sublime. 
Rochford Yarra Valley's delicious menu which showcases the freshest and finest Yarra Valley produce provides the perfect excuse to escape to Victoria’s Yarra Valley and enjoy the views overlooking the vineyards.
Location: 878 - 880 Maroondah Hwy Coldstream
Times and Prices: 
  • Monday – Saturday Two course meal ($55) or Three Courses ($63)
  • Sunday and Public Holidays Two course meal ($65) or Three Courses ($73)
Phone: 03 5962 2119
Cuisine: Modern Australian, French, Seafood

Rochford Winery Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Moët & Chandon degustation dinner @ The Meat & Wine Co

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Meat & Wine Co.
Gastrology recently enjoyed a four course menu exclusively prepared by The Meat & Wine Co’s Head Chef, Peter Popow. Each dish featured Moët Imperial Champagne as the key ingredient
Located in the heritage listed bank site, the space has a moody ambience and a brilliant vibe. 
6+ Wagyu bresaola, watermelon, crunchy quinoa and goats cheese clusters, nasturtium, borage, Moët Imperial vinaigrette
Matched with: Moët et Chandon Rosé Imperial

The air-dried wagyu bresaola was excellent. Possessing a richness that had been further enhanced by the flavours of the luxurious goats cheese and balanced by the slight tartness of the watermelon. 

Seared scallop, black trompettes, grilled ocean trout, snow pea sprouts, puffed trout skin, Moët Imperial beurre blanc, creamed cabbage
Matched with: Cape Mentelle Chardonnay

Both the scallop and the trout were perfectly seared and retained their natural delicate texture. The creamed cabbage worked well in place of the more customary cauliflower puree and provided a light sweetness to the dish while the black trompettes added a rich earthy note.

Grilled veal fillet, Moët Imperial braised veal cheek, cauliflower purée, tarragon and caper jus, salt crusted baby patron baked potatoes
Matched with: Terrazas Malbec

The veal was the perfect example of a straightforward dish done well. Served medium-rare, the veal fillet was well seasoned and retained a juicy, tender consistency throughout. The braised veal cheek had a beautiful melt-in-your-mouth texture and had lovely depth of flavour. However, it was the pairing of the moreish salt crusted potatoes with tarragon and caper jus that transformed a potentially run-of-the-mill dish into a memorable one.
Green apple & Moët Imperial sorbet, butternut pumpkin white chocolate mousse, pistachio biscotti crumb, rockmelon cress
Matched with: Cloudy Bay Late Harvest Riesling

The delicious green apple and Moët imperial sorbet harmonised impeccably with the biscuit-like pistachio biscotti crumble, light butternut pumpkin white chocolate mousse and rockmelon cress. 
Meat and Wine co deliver high quality and well executed offerings at reasonable prices offering the quintessential Melbourne dining experience.

The Meat & Wine Co Hawthorn East on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Pure South

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Pure South during our Good Food Month visit.
Location: Shop 2/3 Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Phone: 03 9699 4600
Cuisine: Modern Australian, Steakhouse, Seafood
Overall Impression: 9/10
Pure South is a restaurant that offers exceptional modern Australian cuisine to the Melbourne dining scene. The restaurant serves superbly fresh produce, all sourced directly from Tasmania, King Island and Flinders Island.
With Head Chef Ashley Davis heading the kitchen, it is no wonder the food is amazing. Having spent the last decade manning the kitchens of Michelin star restaurants in the UK, Ashley Davis brings a world of culinary expertise and love of Tasmanian produce to his role as head chef at Pure South.
We began our meal with beautifully fresh oysters.  
Both our mains were delicious - showcasing premium ingredients; each perfectly executed with expertly balanced flavour combinations. 
 The premium nature of our Pure South meal was reinforced at its conclusion with delicious desserts.
Our dessert of bay leaf panna cotta, strawberries, strawberry sorbet was of particular note. The panna cotta was a well-executed and enjoyable dessert that was notable for the fresh and sweet fruits and its flawlessly smooth and creamy texture.
Pure South's exceptional menu of fresh and flavoursome cuisine will take you on a culinary journey across the southern islands which will leave you wanting more.

Pure South Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Event Review: Meatopia 2014 @ Middle Park Hotel

Meatopia is a farmer's market-come-street festival, celebrating rare breed and artisan meats, local gourmet produce, Victorian fine wine, boutique beer, cider and classic Aussie rock.
This year's festival was juicier than ever, with fresh new meat Huxtaburger and Fancy Hanks joining the Middle Park Hotel kitchen, to headline an all-star line-up of Victoria's top meat suppliers and providers.

The leader of the burger-revolution in Melbourne, Huxtaburger served up their famous burgers and southern fried chicken ribs. 
Huxtaburger with istra bacon

Damn these buns were good. The decadent brioche buns were deliciously melt-in-your-mouth and the ingredients used were of a high quality.
Southern fried chicken ribs with jalapeno mayonnaise 

The fried chicken ribs were well-seasoned and very tasty.
Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon

Fancy Hank’s BBQ
Food truck Fancy Hanks celebrates the tastes and techniques of traditional southern style BBQ. 
Their Meatopia menu reflected their love for American style food...
Carolina style smoked whole hog, 100g pulled pork with jalapeno cornbread, apple & pomegranate slaw
 Kansas City style pork ribs 150g with fancy BBQ sauce

The pork ribs were of particular note, imparting a unique flavour that comes only from genuine slow cooking over charcoal. The outstanding ribs were nicely caramelised and were laced with crispy charred bits. Flavoured well by the decadently sweet and savoury sauce, it was absolutely delicious.
Fancy Hank's on Urbanspoon

Middle Park Hotel
With a focus on bringing the best Victorian produce from ‘paddock to plate’, event host, Middle Park Hotel offered an array of carnivorous delights.
Spit roasted Flinder's Island lamb souvlaki, hummus, autumn tabbouleh, tzatziki

The souvlaki was delicious. The juicy lamb was encased in pita bread which was slathered with delectable hummus, tzatziki and fresh tabouleh. 
BBQ St Louis cut pork rib with Newmarket BBQ sauce & peanuts, apple slaw
Left: Tasting plate of the John Dee sirloin, Warialda Belted Galloway bolar blade and Sher Wagyu rump. 
Right: Twice cooked + smoked pork jowl ‘b.l.t.’ sandwich on sourdough w. hot mustard

The tasting plate of the John Dee sirloin, Warialda Belted Galloway bolar blade and Sher Wagyu rump was beautiful. Each cut was cooked perfectly, very tasty and full of flavour.
Middle Park Hotel on Urbanspoon

Images courtesy of Brook James.
Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Middle Park Hotel.

Event Review: Taste of Melbourne

Taste of Melbourne is a food festival that celebrates Melbourne's culinary scene. This year, Taste of Melbourne was held in Albert Park for the first time at the beautiful lakeside location, Pelican Lawn. A number of Melbourne restaurants participated, offering tapas sized dishes for visitors to buy and try.

Albert Street Food & Wine “Minted Mermaid” – pea & mint soup, smoked salmon & apple $10

We started our Taste of Melbourne journey with a very creamy "Minted Mermaid" from Albert Street Food & Wine. The chilled soup was thick, decadent and had beautiful flavours.
Albert Street Food & Wine - Duck brik, peach and ginger chutney $12

Albert Street Food and Wine on Urbanspoon
 The Aylesbury - Dorper Lamb Ribs, Pea and Mint $6

One of our favourite dishes was the lamb ribs from The Aylesbury which had big Mediterranean flavours and were delectably juicy and tender, with a perfectly crisp layer of skin.
The Aylesbury on Urbanspoon
Movida - Pinchitos Morunos, Chargrilled Moorish Lamb skewers $8

Movida's lamb skewers were perfectly cooked - deliciously charred on the outside and perfectly pink on the inside. They were, as described, incredibly moorish. 
MoVida Next Door on Urbanspoon

Malaysian Kitchen cooking demonstration
The Atlantic - Tempura Soft Shell Crab with jalapeno and ponzu $10

Another highlight of our evening were these beautiful morsels of tempura soft shell crab from The Atlantic. The batter was light and not greasy. The crab tasted fresh and juicy!
The Atlantic on Urbanspoon
 Libertine - Smoked venison, beetroot & horseradish $12

The folks behind the Libertine stall were incredibly friendly - it was great to see that their high standard of customer service extended beyond the restaurant!
And the smoked venison did not disappoint. There was a lovely balance of flavours between the salty slices of smoked venison and the slight tartness of the beetroot. The horseradish brought a wasabi-like kick to the dish. It was lovely.

Libertine on Urbanspoon

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Salt bush lamb shoulder, peas and mint $8

 Mr Hive's lamb shoulder was deliciously tender and tasty.
Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon 
1 Cocktail + 2 tastes $8
The cocktails from Radii Restaurant & Bar (Park Hyatt) which were accompanied by moreish canapes were most impressive.
Radii Restaurant & Bar, Park Hyatt Melbourne on Urbanspoon
Gundowring ice cream $2 for 2 cones
And soon it was time for dessert.
The Botanical - Yuzu cloud, coconut pearl, guava sorbet $6

This was the best dessert we had at Taste of Melbourne. The luxurious coconut milk contrasted spectacularly with the tartness from the guava sorbet and the yuzu brought a lovely chewy textural element to the dish.
The Botanical on Urbanspoon
The Point - Baked organic quark cheesecake, hazelnut crumb and raspberry $6
Mahjong - Steamed BBQ pork buns $6 
We ended our time at Taste of Melbourne with a supper classic, Char Siu Bao from Mahjong. Unfortunately, the buns were slightly dry but thankfully the sweet and salty barbecued pork filling was enjoyable to eat.

Mahjong on Urbanspoon

Entry tickets courtesy of Nuffnang

All in all, Taste of Melbourne is an interesting experience. While I would not describe that experience as being one that could replace dining at one of the exhibiting restaurants, it can certainly give you an idea of what a restaurant has to offer and most importantly, can be a really fun day out with family and friends.

Restaurant Review: Di Palma's

Location: 688 High Street, Kew East
Phone: 03 9859 8999
Link: dipalmas.com.au
Cuisine: Italian, Pizza
Overall Impression: 6.5/10
Di Palma’s serves hearty and affordable Italian fare at two locations (Hawthorn and East Kew). One of the few family-friendly restaurants with white table cloths, it has become a regular place for my family when we dine out for a lazy Sunday lunch with all the kids. They have a children’s menu that comes with free ice cream that the children are always excited about and for the adults, the menu ranges from wood-fired pizzas to pastas and also includes a good variety of mains.

We are consistently pleased with the standard of food on offer. It is consistently cooked well and uses fresh ingredients.

What we like most about Di Palma’s is the brilliant service. The staff always make us feel welcome and the children are always well taken care of. The homely, yet modern ambience means we can always have a relaxing time with the family. There is also a BYO policy (corkage charge $9 per bottle) which is great for when you want to enjoy a special bottle with your meal.

Di Palma's on UrbanspoonDi Palma's on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Prime House

Location: Shop 5a, 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9602 2955
Link: primehouse.com.au
Cuisine: Steakhouse, Breakfast/Brunch, Burgers
Overall Impression: 6.5/10

Once upon a time, EARL Canteen was *the* purveyor of gourmet sandwiches on the 500 Bourke Street turf. Their complete reign has now come to an end with (relatively) new kid on the block, Prime House.
It was Scotty’s second last day in my building so we all headed out together to catch up for the very last time at Prime House.

Although they are located side by side, the concepts behind EARL Canteen and Prime House are completely different. EARL focuses on delicate flavours and beautiful harmonious pairings whereas at Prime House, it is all about the beef and American-style rich, bold and spicy flavours.
The main downside to Prime House is the lack of seating. The tiny dining area has merely one large communal table and a few stools along the front window. There are some tables and chairs directly outside the restaurant but these are often occupied during the weekday lunch hour.
Prime House pork & crackle bun $9.50
16 hour slow roast free range Pork, House Coleslaw, Gravy & Crackling
Given the lack of seating available, take away is a hot option. The take away Prime House Hot Rolls are a very reasonable $9.50* with items such as the popular Pork & Crackle Bun, Hot Chicken Roll and my personal favourite, the Hot Roast Beef Roll which is served with deliciously caramelised onions, baby spinach and a creamy blue cheese mayonnaise and luscious gravy. 
The Pork & Crackle Bun received Scotty’s tick of approval!

Apart from being a good steakhouse, Prime House is also a great lunchtime option – just be prepared to do a bit of waiting if you want to dine-in.

Scotty – All the best in Canada! You will be missed!

*The Rolls will cost you an extra $3 if you decide to dine-in or sit at one of the tables outside the restaurant.

Prime House on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Melba Brasserie

Location: 1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Phone: 18 0064 1107
Link: melbarestaurant.com.au
Cuisine: Buffet, International, Asian
Overall Impression: 6/10

Melba Brasserie serves what is arguably the most highly regarded buffet in Melbourne. Incorporating food from a diverse range of cultures and various interactive features within the dining experience, it is easy to understand why Melba Brasserie has become as popular as it is.
The ambience is surprisingly informal although the waitstaff sincerely try to provide an elegant dining experience. It is however, due to the plain fact that guests are for the most part up and about, not easy to be attentive. We had to request for our wine glasses to be filled a few times over the course of the evening. Whilst this would have been unacceptable at a fine dining establishment, as it is a buffet it is difficult to be too critical.
There is an elevated platform at the centre of the dining hall which features a good variety of seafood and salads. In terms of quality, these were of a high standard.
There are a few “interactive cooking stations” that are a popular choice among diners. These stations are interactive in the sense that you can choose what you would like prepared for you. We were spoilt with choice – on offer were hand rolled sushi, sashimi, Asian stir fries, dumplings, pastas, various curries, roasts and much more.
The sashimi and sushi served were of a particularly brilliant quality. They tasted very fresh and were all sliced perfectly with skill and precision.
The dessert bar also featured a wonderful array of choices.
Located within the Langham Hotel, Melba Brasserie has stunning panoramic views. As you peer out the large glass windows you see the beautiful glistening Yarra River and the city skyline.
Our dinner costs us approximately $130 per person (the buffet itself, excluding drinks, costs $94.90 on a Friday night). While the value for money proposition is questionable, Melba Brasserie is certainly the best buffet I have ever been to. All in all, it was an enjoyable dining experience although given the accolade that the restaurant has received, slightly underwhelming. 
Melba Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Terminus Hotel

Location: 492 Queens Pde, Clifton Hill
Phone: 03 9481 3182
Link: terminus.com.au
Cuisine: Steak House
Overall Impression: 8/10
The Terminus Hotel is an unassuming little pub that takes its steaks very seriously. The menu boasts an array of high quality meat selections.
Both J and I have been looking high and low for a good steakhouse that would satiate our carnivorous desires and were hopeful that the Terminus Hotel would be “the one”. J's best friend H.R. (known for his doing it live philosophy on life), had recommended the pub to us.
250g sirloin grain fed with pepper sauce cooked medium with beer battered chips $33.90
300g scotch fillet grass fed with horseradish cream cooked medium rare with hand cut chips $36.90
The steaks arrived promptly and they were absolutely perfect. Both the steaks we ordered were cooked to the way we had requested – Medium and Medium Rare. Each steak was perfectly seared on the outside and beautifully juicy and pink on the inside.
It was evident that the meat sourced was of a good standard and there was great pride and care taken in the preparation of the simple-looking but outstanding dishes.
Vanilla pannacotta with passionfruit sorbet $9.90
Eaton Mess $9.90

The desserts were slightly pedestrian but enjoyable nonetheless.
Desserts? Meh.
Steaks? Awesome.

Terminus Hotel on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Meat and Wine Co

Location: Freshwater Pl, 3 Queensbridge St, Southbank
Phone: 03 9696 5333
Link: themeatandwineco.com
Cuisine: Modern Australian, Steakhouse
Overall Impression: 7/10

An hour lunch break simply isn’t enough for dining at a restaurant. This is where express lunches come in. They guarantee you will be in and out in a jiff when you feel like giving yourself a little treat without eating up more than the 45 minutes you have.
As far as express lunches go, the one offered by Meat & Wine Co is a bargain. For $25 you receive a delicious main and a glass of wine. In our experience, the food is consistently good. The following are our two favourite mains from the express lunch menu:
Pork Belly
"Twice cooked pork belly with sticky soy caramel, served with crispy shallot rice, roasted peanuts and Asian salad dressed with kaffir lime and chilli dressing"

This is very well-prepared. The pork belly has a good crackling and the salad is balanced and fresh.
Eye of Rump
"200g Eye of Rump grilled to perfection in our in-house basting and served with super crunchy chips"

The steak is always perfectly cooked - juicy, tender and absolutely scrumptious. Their famous "super crunchy chips" are everything you would expect - Yes, super crunchy.

Meat & Wine Co. on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Rockpool Bar & Grill (Bar section)

Location: Crown Casino 8 Whiteman St, Southbank
Phone: (03) 8648 1900
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Overall Impression: 8/10

For a review of the restaurant, please click here.
I am so over Neil Perry. The Qantas ads, the various appearances on MasterChef. And then walking through Crown to go to either J's or my brother's place I see his establishments Spice Temple, The Waiting Room and Rockpool.

Bla bla bla. So much hype for one man, but I digress.
The focus of Rockpool is on its beef. Its delicious succulent beef. Aged? Wagyu? Grass fed? Grain fed? They've got a cut to suit everyone, but at a price.

J has been talking about taking me to Rockpool for a long time now but I have been very sceptical. A high quality piece of meat, cooked well, will always be delicious. That is a fact. What I don't like is the idea of paying through the nose when little effort has been put into the preparation of the food I am served.

I understand that it is locally sourced produce and that the meat is of the highest quality, but at the end of the day, all they do in the kitchen is sear it on a grill, chuck it on a plate and what? I am supposed to be blown away?

J convinced me to have lunch with him there. Despite my initial reservations, curiousity got the better of me. 

I decided to order the Cape grim dry aged 36 month old in a Fillet Minute Style with Cafe De Paris Butter. As it did not come with anything other than the steak, we decided to share some sides. The side dishes were good but not exceptional.

The steak, however, was delicious. Although it did not look like much on the plate, it exceeded all of my expectations. This is the first time I have ordered a minute steak and it has actually been cooked to my liking: medium rare. Delectably juicy and tender. Simple but perfect.
I now see that there is certainly value in dining at establishments such as Rockpool. Of course, Heston Blumenthal type molecular gastronomy can be mind blowing and amazing, but sometimes when you nail the basics it can be just as impressive.
Guess we will be going back for dinner at the restaurant.

Restaurant Review: The Point

Location: Aquatic Drive, Albert Park Lake
Phone: 03 9682 5566
Link: http://www.thepointalbertpark.com.au/
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Overall Score: 7.5/10 The Point is a wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion.
We were recently there for a friend's hens day and these guys are really seasoned with group functions. Everything went smoothly and seamlessly. We all enjoyed the food and the breathtaking views.

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