Lounge Kitchen

Known for bringing iconic late night music to the forefront of Melbourne's music scene over the last few years, the focus at Lounge Kitchen has recently shifted. 

The team has turned their attention to the dining experience, redesigning the menu, combining fusion food and borderless dining for an experience to be shared.
A great believer that food is a social occasion and should be experienced in the company of others, Lounge Kitchen’s revamped menu invites diners to order a range of small plates and large to share between family and friends.
The menu was developed pulling inspiration from Spanish Style Tapas and infusing Asian inspired flavours, bringing together a borderless menu to suit the adventurous diner and providing plates for everyone to enjoy. We thoroughly enjoyed the food we shared at Lounge Kitchen which embodies the creative culinary vision in the kitchen.
The menu is wonderfully global perfect for sharing amongst friends and family. Our favourite dishes included the Thai sticky beef short ribs. The braised beef short ribs were tender and delicious, with caramel undertones. Paired with an earthy Asian braising sauce, the ribs fell away at the weight of our spoons whilst still retaining their integrity. 
Another highlight was the Zucchini and halloumi fritters which are served with a luxurious mint and goats cheese pea puree. Each fritter boasted a crunchy golden brown exterior while being beautifully succulent and sweet inside. 
Moving away from traditional pub food and presenting a menu highlighting modern flavours that reflect a very Melbourne border-less cuisine, the new Lounge Kitchen is a winner.  

Location: 243 Swanston Street, CBD, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9663 2916
Cuisine: Tapas, Burger

Lounge Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Lounge Kitchen.

Chicken N Beer

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Chicken N Beer.
At Chicken N Beer, eating chicken is a serious ritual. The chicken focused menu is impressive - ranging from battered and fried to glazed and baked. You can even indulge in a marinated whole chicken baked with a beer can stuffed inside it. Seriously, there is something here for every chicken lover.
In fact the menu goes above and beyond what you would expect given the name of this eatery, with healthy options like a playful quinoa salad for those not so chicken-inclined. However, you really can't go past the impressive sharing platters which offer serious bang for your buck. 
Tasting platter - 3 x spare ribs, delights, buffalo wings and skinny potatoes. Served with popcorn chicken and 8 deep fried spare ribs, medium chips and spicy sauce.

The platter was very impressive and we loved tucking into every corner of it. The popcorn chicken was fried perfectly golden. While the American-style skillet-fried chicken spare ribs were delectably crunchy on the outside and extremely tender and juicy in the centre. The buffalo wings were sticky and moreish. Just. Yum.
And just so happens that everything pairs magnificently with beers...
From left: Toff salad; Quinoa salad

We enjoyed both our quinoa and tiff salads. The quinoa salad in particular was a stand out. An enlivening salad of quinoa, cucumber, tomato, capsicum, red onion, corn, parsley and spinach and brought together with a spiced olive oil dressing, the salad was a medley of exciting flavours and textures which will appeal to even the most carnivorous individuals.
Vegetarian cornballs

The vegetarian cornballs were another delicious addition. We loved dipping them in the Spicy Korean sauce which was hot enough to enliven the taste buds but sweet enough to keep us coming back for more.
CNB Sandy Burger

The CNB Sandy Burger was an almighty burger filled with crispy chicken breast and served with guacamole, sliced cheese, baby spinach, red onion rings and sliced tomato and then slathered with spicy mayo and CNB sauce. The result was a balanced combination of flavours, with all ingredients working in perfect harmony to highlight the real star of the show - the crispy chicken.
Whole marinated beer can chicken

The signature whole marinated beer can chicken was divine. The chicken was covered with a beautiful herb rub while the inside had been bathed with steamy beer, to keep the chicken meat wonderfully moist. The result was exquisitely tender, falling-off-the-bone meat, encased in salty, herby, crispy skin. 
Doughnut balls served with raspberry coulis and crème anglaise

These golden puffs were stunning. Ethereal in texture, the doughnuts were cinnamon-sugar coated and tasted delicious with the slightly tart coulis and velvety crème anglaise.
Warm up your winter with mouth-watering chicken at Chicken N Beer. Located in the heart of Richmond, it’s the perfect place to settle in for the night and enjoy the irresistible combination of expertly cooked chicken washed down with craft beers.

Location: 297 Bridge Road, Richmond, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9428 0580
Cuisine: Tapas, Bar Food, Chicken

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Kumo Izakaya

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Kumo Izakaya.
Standing proudly at the corner of Lygon and O'Connor Streets in Brunswick East, Kumo Izakaya and Sake Bar is a Japanese oasis which embraces the social izakaya-style side of Japanese eating and drinking. Offering a laid back environment for catching up with friends and family, Kumo Izakaya focuses on quality food designed to share all of which is served in stylish, modern Japanese surroundings.
Effortlessly blending strong Japanese themes with industrial and Art Deco influences, the restaurant's fit out is a masterstroke. Its symmetrical design features geometric booths with dividers providing flexibility to dine communally or more intimately. Magically lit, the space glows in soft  amber light.
Kumo Izakaya founder and owner Andre Bishop is one of Melbourne's quiet achievers in hospitality. A self-confessed Japanophile and sake connoisseur, he's the man behind the revitalisation of Japanese institution Izakaya Chuji on Lonsdale Street in Melbourne. He also created Izakaya Chuji's South Melbourne offshoot. Andre is also behind Nihonshu Sake & Shochu Bar in Melbourne's CBD, his first venue dedicated to his prime passion of sake.
At Kumo Izakaya, food and sake pairing is a key focus. The exceptional staff are happy to guide diners through the extensive sake menu. We found an exceptional range of sake styles on offer, ranging from floral and fruity to nutty and earthy, all of which are conveniently set out in the sake menu along with tasting notes.
The kitchen is headed by Akimi Iguchi and Eriko Hamabe. Akimi brings exquisite skills to the Kumo kitchen having trained in many top Japanese kitchens as well as Melbourne's Yu-U and Bar Lourinha. Eriko on the other hand worked the kitchens of Kobe Jones and the Royal George Hotel. Together, they bring their unique take on izakaya cuisine.
Left: Chicken Thigh Yakitori Skewers
Right: Uzaku - grilled teriyaki eel with wakame & cucumber pickle

The slices of grilled eel were a delicious appetiser. Stained with teriyaki marinade, the fatty flesh was counteracted by the tart pickle and savoury wakame.

The Chicken Thigh Yakitori Skewers had been sufficiently seasoned and were wonderfully flavoursome. The skewers benefited from a delectable outer charring courtesy of spending the perfect time on the grill. A simple dish, prepared with care and precision.
Premium assorted Sashimi of the day

The sashimi plate featured a variety of sliced raw fish. Each slice of fish had an enjoyably firm yet soft texture. Of particular note were the plump, sweet scallops. It is clear that Kumo Izakaya are using only the freshest, highest quality seafood.
Seared Scallops with Butter & Soy topped with Bonito Flakes

The scallops were perfectly seared and bursting with natural flavour, a flavour further enhanced by the restrained savouriness of the butter & soy sauce. The bonito flakes brought a tremendous savoury element - a magnificent dish.
Shiitake mushroom stuffed Tsukune chicken ball with cheddar cheese & Teriyaki sauce

These savoury ball-shaped dumplings were adorned with melting cheddar and a mushroom base and laced with copious amounts of delicious teriyaki sauce - A simple but very enjoyable treat.
Pumpkin & cream cheese stuffed zucchini flower tempura with green tea salt

The tempura zucchini flowers stuffed with pumpkin & cream cheese and served with green tea salt were fantastic.  The batter encasing the zucchini flower was ethereally light and crisp while the stuffing was rich, flavoursome and exquisitely smooth.  The addition of green tea salt was a masterstroke that was a delightful departure from the norm.
Spicy Black vinegar Karaage Chicken with spring onion

The Japanese bar staple of Karaage Chicken was a delicious sight.  The meaty morsels were encrusted with a flavoursome spice mix and then perfectly fried to achieve a moreish crunchy exterior - dangerously addictive.
Miso marinated grilled kingfish fillet

Our savoury courses concluded with beautifully fresh kingfish which had been cooked to perfection. A light coating of golden-brown, caramelised miso charring added complexity to the soft kingfish flesh.
Dessert platter for two: Baked Green tea & White Chocolate cake with Raspberry compote;
Yuzu infused Cheesecake with cream and Yuzu sauce; and Japanese plum wine mousse with mint infused umeshu Jelly & cream

Unable to decide which desserts to choose, we opted for the dessert platter which comprises an assortment of Kumo Izakaya's Japanese inspired desserts. Each item on the platter was a welcome departure from the ordinary – from the absolutely moreish baked Green tea & White Chocolate cake with Raspberry compote to the smooth, rich consistency of the Yuzu infused Cheesecake, to the vibrant flavours of the Japanese plum wine mousse.  An exemplary display of Kumo Izakaya’s versatility.
Kumo Izakaya is the destination izakaya for Japanophiles who want to get inside the izakaya culture and experience it in an immersive way. Offering a vast array of delicious food, one of the most impressive sake lists in Melbourne and an effortlessly trendy Japanese, industrial chic fit out, Kumo Izakaya is definitely a place to put on your "must visit" list. 

Location: 152 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Phone: 03 9388 1505
Cuisine: Japanese, Wine Bar, Tapas

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Spanish Armada @ Robert Burns Hotel [11 & 12 March 2015]

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Freixenet.
As part of the 2015 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Gastrology recently attended Spanish Armada at Robert Burns Hotel where celebrity chef Miguel Maestre and Head Chef Marc Albalate treated Robert Burns’ kitchen implements as paint brushes and our plates as their canvas.
The unique six course dinner was matched with supreme Spanish wines from Freixenet Barcelona, and paid homage to some of Spain’s most famous painters, with each dish inspired by the palette and mood of a masterpiece.
Miguel Maestre taking guests through each of the courses

Head chef Marc Albalate was born in Barcelona, but grew up in Palma, the capital of Mallorca (the largest of the Balearic Islands) and has turned The Robert Burns Hotel into the home of truly traditional Spanish cuisine, albeit its very Scottish name. 
The menu is classically Spanish and features the best dishes from the many different regions of Spain.
Red cabbage “Gazpacho”. Beetroot foam, balsamic vinaigrette reduction
Inspired by: Perceval Graells. ‘Al Alba’ (At the Sunrise) 2006. 
Matched with: Freixenet Cordon Negro NV

The evening started with a lovely aperitif.  We loved the gazpacho’s wonderful freshness and vibrancy in flavour.  The matching Cordon Negro Brut echoed the gazpacho’s vibrancy with its crisp and clean characteristic. 
Mango “Salmorejo”, roasted peppers, cherry tomato jam, balsamic glaze, sprouts, leafy greens
Inspired by: Joan Miro, ‘El Jardin’ (The Garden) 1925
Matched with: Freixenet Cordon Negro NV
Marriage of seafood “Salpicon” and Ceviche - prawn carpaccio, emperor ceviche, pickled mussel, red onion, leche de tigre
Inspired by: Joaquin Sorolla, ‘Paseo a Orillas de Mar’ (The walk on the border of the sea) 1909
Matched with: Freixenet Cordon Negro Vintage 2011

The ceviche was our favourite dish of the night. Displaying technique, elegance and skilful restraint, the ceviche items were beautifully presented and accompanied by a beautifully made leche de tigre, a citrus-based marinade that cured the seafood. It was a wonderful mélange of salinity, sweetness and acidity. 
Confit rockling, creamy goats cheese rice, black olive, ink cracker.
Inspired by: Pablo Picasso, ‘Guernica’ 1937
Matched with: Agnusdei Albarino 2013

This dish was visually, the clearest match to its corresponding work of art - A canvas of  black, white and grey. The rockling was cooked to perfection and the ink cracker was a nice addition. The matching Agnusdei Albarino’s unctuous, toffee notes acted as a great partner to the dish.
Grilled lamb ribs, baked beetroot, honey & rosemary braised baby onions, cherry tomato, potato
Inspired by: Luis Melendez ‘Bodegon’ 1770
Matched with: Solar Viejo Crianza 2011 & LalaLand Tempranillo

Our final savoury course, the lamb was roasted to perfection and hence was juicy and succulent. We particularly enjoyed matching this course with the Solar Viejo Crianza which boasted the fine aromas, liquorice flavours and red fruit flavours with an elegant oak finish.
Crema Catalana, chocolate coated honeycomb, chocolate cookie crumble, whipped white chocolate cream
Inspired by Salvador Dali ‘La persistencia de la Memoria’ (The persistence of the memory), 1931
Matched with: Segura Viudas Semi Seco NV

A theatrical dessert concluded our evening at The Robert Burns on a decadent chocolate note. The Semi Seco was a wonderful match with the medium acidity cutting through the richness of the dessert while the fruity and citrus notes matched the honeycomb and white chocolate cream perfectly. 
The Robert Burns brings the authentic tastes and cultures of Spain to Melbourne’s iconic Smith Street. A family and kid-friendly, restaurant, it is an ideal place for all occasions from relaxing in the courtyard, with drinks and tapas to a decadent dinner in the wine room.

Location: 376 Smith Street, Collingwood
Phone: 03 9417 2233
Link: http://www.robertburnshotel.com.au/
Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas, Mediterranean

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Shinwa Izakaya - Japanese Bar & Restaurant

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Shinwa Izakaya.
Shinwa is an izakaya-style establishment located on Brunswick’s bustling Sydney Road, dedicated first and foremost to the art of Japanese eating and drinking, offering a laid back environment for catching up with friends and family with a focus on quality food designed to share in stylish but comfortable surroundings.
Accompanying the wide range of sake, Japanese beers, umeshu and shochu is a smorgasbord of Japanese small eats comprising of skewers, gyoza, okonomiyaki and the like.
Gyoza Teppan – fried housemade dumplings with special ponzu sauce

Shinwa boasts some of the best yakitori that Melbourne has to offer. We absolutely loved their range of grilled skewers. Without exception, each skewer had been sufficiently seasoned and was wonderfully flavoursome and displayed a delectable outer charring courtesy of having benefited from the perfect time on the grill.
The eggplant skewer was of particular note. Complemented by a delicious sauce and dried bonito flakes, it was a memorable treat for its beautiful texture and burst of umami.
Shinwa tempura set

The Shinwa tempura set featured deep fried king prawn and fish fillet and assorted vegetables (black mushroom, pumpkin, eggplant, sweet potato) served with grounded ginger and meshed radish and tempura dipping sauce. The tempura batter was ethereally light and crispy. The ingredients inside the batter were fresh and pleasing - the eggplant and king prawn were the most memorable.
Housemade Japanese curry sauce served on top of rice and garnished with red pickles

The Japanese curry was outstanding. The beef was perfectly cooked and the curry was robust, fragrant and had just the perfect amount of spice. Together with steamed rice, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
Nigiri selection

The sushi platter of assorted nigiri sushi boasted a tenderness exhibited by high quality produce. The seared salmon nigiri was our favourite - this melt in your mouth nigiri combined the best of both worlds (partially cooked, partially raw).
Japanese greentea cheesecake
Kokutou manjyu

Our dinner ended on a sweet note with the Kokutou manjyu, a delightful Japanese brown sugar and red bean cake. Shinwa’s rendition of this traditional dessert was beautifully light and fluffy and when eaten with the creamy sesame ice cream, was a little piece of heaven.
Fairly new to Melbourne’s culinary scene, Shinwa Izakaya already has a band of loyal followers and it is easy to understand why.  Unblemished execution of Japanese food in light of its vibrant atmosphere, desirable beverage selection and overall dining experience, Shinwa has certainly earned our stamp of approval.

Location: 139 Sydney Rd  Brunswick
Phone: 0412 705 314
Cuisine: Japanese, Bar, Seafood, Tapas, Asian

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Dinner @ Jasper Kitchen

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Jasper Hotel.
Jasper Kitchen and JB's Bar have recently received a seven million dollar facelift and is now officially open for business.
Head Chef Bruno Lima serves seasonal, free range and organic produce supplied straight from their neighbour - Queen Victoria Market - in their new menu.

Chef Lima began with Jasper Hotel in March 2012 - bringing with him more than 12 years of experience from Melbourne and overseas restaurants including Dock 31 and Vyve Café - at both of which he was Head Chef - as well as experience as Bluestone Bar Restaurant and the Hilton London Metropol - where he first began his career.
Chef Lima's extensive travel is the inspiration behind the Jasper Kitchen menu; influences from South America, Europe and Australia have led to his commitment to deliver a menu of uncompromising honesty, simplicity and freshness.
Seta al Ajillo

Chef Lima's Brazilian background shines through the JB's Bar Tapas Menu. We enjoyed their mouth-watering Seta al Ajillo (mushrooms cooked in garlic, olive oil and chilli) and Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Prawns in Olive Oil and Wine).
Gambas al Ajillo

The tapas menu is best indulged by the bar or in the alfresco dining area that backs on to Elizabeth Street with a refreshing drink.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad

We also enjoyed one of Jasper Kitchen’s entrees, the Vietnamese Chicken Salad which was a vibrant concoction of Char Grilled Chicken Tenderloin with Rice Noodles, fresh Asian Herbs, and Toasted Cashews and dressed with a tangy Lime and Ginger Dressing.
Victorian Western District Lamb Rack Char Grilled Rack of Lamb served Medium Rare with Honey Glazed Parsnip and wilted Baby Spinach and Apple Cider Jus 

This dish was simple, homely and well executed. The lamb was roasted to a tender and juicy pink and was exceedingly flavoursome and "melt in the mouth".
Free Range Chicken Breast Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Wrapped in Prosciutto served with Potato Fondant, Witlof, Edible Flower Salad and Balsamic and Herb Jus

The chicken was tender and superbly cooked and wrapped in crispy Prosciutto which added an addictive salinity to the dish. 

Our dinner at Jasper Hotel ended on a decadent note with a duo of desserts.
Toasted Almond Pannacotta
Warm Chocolate Fondant Pudding

Both desserts were well-made and very enjoyable to eat.
Jasper Kitchen pleases with modern, fusion dining at the top end of Elizabeth Street, a welcomed addition to this part of town which is currently known for its high quality ethnic cuisines. 

Location: Jasper Hotel, 489 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 8327 2777
Cuisine: Spanish, Fusion, Modern Australian, Asian

Jasper Kitchen on Urbanspoon

400 Gradi Cicchetti

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of 400 Gradi Cicchetti.
400 Gradi Cicchetti brings a little piece of Venice to Melbourne. The bar replicates a traditional ‘bacari’- a small, intimate bar typically frequented by locals in the City of Bridges.
Keeping in the tradition of cicchetti, the 400 Gradi Cicchetti menu features small plates including the likes of crispy polenta with mixed caramelised mushroom and gorgonzola, and spaghettini al granchio with lobster bisque, fresh crab meat, garlic, chilli, cherry tomato and fresh basil. 
The wine list showcases an intelligent choice of drinking options including an extensive list of Italian wines. Not just appealing for the palate, the 50-seater bar has been designed by award-winning Pascale Gomes-McNabb, one of Melbourne’s most celebrated interior designers.
Situated next door to Di Francesco’s popular Lygon Street restaurant, 400 Gradi Cicchetti is a sleek yet relaxed and informal bar, shunning the grungy look that is today’s Melbourne norm in favour of a more conventional bistro atmosphere.
Our host for the evening was Fulvio. Professional, very knowledgeable, friendly and passionate, Fulvio made our dining experience a sensational one. 
Aperitif: Peach Bellini

A beautifully fresh cocktail made from prosecco sparkling wine and peach nectar this Venetian cocktail was a great start to our evening.
Fresh natural shucked oysters
A selection of salumi

The selection of salumi was a display of superlative flavours comprising of a respectable assembly of 18 Months Old Prosciutto di Parma Devodier Cantina Mornello, 30 months Old Prosciutto di Parma Devodier Cantina Secretum, Mozzarella Di Bufala, Bella Lodi Raspadura freshly shaved Cheese and bread. The Prosciutto di Parma Devodier Cantina Secretum and Bella Lodi Raspadura were in particular excellent – both possessing a richness that had been further enhanced by the flavours of the intense curing salt mix.
Beer battered zucchini flowers stuffed with crab, ricotta, and a bit of chilli

The batter encasing the zucchini flower was ethereally light and very crisp while the stuffing was rich and flavoursome.  Combined with the sweetness of the crab and the lovely kick from the chilli, the dish was a delight to eat.
Freshly made Arancini balls made with sausage rice and cheese

A traditional comfort-food classic, the arancini balls were beautiful. Each morsel was sufficiently seasoned and flavoursome.
An elegant, dry and aromatic drop with beautiful peach and floral notes, the BIO VIO - Pigato wine from Liguria Italy was the perfect match for our entrees before we continued on to our heavier mains.
Duck ragu trecce

As expected of any acclaimed Italian restaurant, 400 Gradi Cicchetti is particularly good at producing quality pasta dishes. The Duck ragu trecce that we had was no exception. The large spiral pasta were intertwined amongst lashings of tender duck ragu. The flavours were complex and rich. Texturally, the tenderness of the duck contrasted nicely with the perfectly cooked al dente pasta. Fulvio presented it to us as “a wonderful dish” and we could not have agreed more.
Girolamo Russo A'Rina Etna Rosso - Nerello Mascalese and 5% Nerello Cappuccio wine

The matching Girolamo Russo A'Rina Etna Rosso was a light and exuberant wine with a tight flavour profile.
Margherita verace Pizza

400 Gradi Cicchetti patrons can also include Johnny’s internationally awarded pizza in their dining experience. Johnny took out the number one spot at The World Pizza Championship earlier this year for best STG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (Specialita’ Tradizionale Garantita), with 400 Gradi now being home to the world’s best pizza.

The Margherita verace pizza was picture perfect in appearance and outstanding in taste. A thin layer of tomato sugo, healthy dollops of buffalo mozzarella and a sprinkling of basil leaves created a delightful fusion of flavours that would keep any pizza purist happy. Encircled with a puffy crisp crust, this pizza was superb.
Tagliata Di Manzo - Angus Beef Eye Fillet grilled and sliced served medium rare with shaved parmesan, balsamic cream, capers and baby rocket

Our final main course of Angus Beef Eye Fillet met our expectations admirably.  The accompaniments to the beef were simple and delicious. A light searing ensured that each slice was lined with a thin crisp layer packed with caramelised beef flavour.  The meat was intense with characteristic Angus beef notes and a deep earthy richness and texturally it was sublime with a decadent melt in the mouth, almost buttery, consistency.
Molino Barolo 2010 From Nebbiolo wine

The beef was served with our favourite wine of the evening. A classic Barolo, the Molino Barolo boasted a bouquet of dark fruit aromas, mint and liquorice. We loved its balanced flavour profile which while quite tannic given its age, tasted beautiful.
Homemade Tiramisu and Pannacotta tasting plate

400 Gradi Cicchetti’s rendition of a pannacotta was texturally perfect. The pannacotta was silky smooth - just barely holding its shape, it was quivering on the plate. The tiramisu was similarly well made, with its flavour heavily dominated by the constituent alcoholic component.  Both were simple traditional desserts that were well executed and thoroughly enjoyable.
Passito Di Pantelleria Dessert Wine

Hailing from the sun-drenched island of Pantelleria, this dessert wine was thick and syrupy with intense aromas and a fresh acid finish.
Cheeses: La rustichella truffle paste cheese, Taleggio 'Bufaletto ' made with buffalo and cow's milk, Pecorino Cacio di bacco: Pecorino style cheese matured in pomace and covered with grape

Our evening concluded with a selection of good quality cheeses. Each unique and varied greatly with their distinct flavours and luxurious textures. It was a fantastic way to finish the night off.  
400 Gradi Cicchetti combines friendly and affable staff, wonderful ambience, exceptional food and one hell of a beverage list to deliver an enchanting experience - one that transports you to a traditional ‘bacari’ in Venice.

Location: 99B Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Phone: 03 9380 2320
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/400Gradi
Cuisine: Tapas, Bar, Italian

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Bomba goes to Spain

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Bomba.
Jesse and Shane have been eating and drinking their way around Spain and have brought what they learned and discovered to the tables and glasses at Bomba.
Gastrology bloggers recently attended “Bomba goes to Spain”, which was a series of dinners and a Sunday lunch where guests were able to try dishes that Jesse learned (from traditional gastronomic societies to truffled pork sausages he sampled at a piggery). 
The event was also a cross launch with a Vermut that Bomba are now importing into their offerings which Jesse and Shane discovered on their trip, Casa Mariol Nergre -  the first time this will be available in Australia.
From left: House tinned tuna montadido with piquillo pepper, Artichoke with pancetta, Braised oxtail croquettes 

The braised oxtail croquettes were one of the highlights from the dinner. As we sank our teeth through the crispy crumbed layer of the fried croquette, it unleashed moreish and tender morsels of meat – just beautiful.
From left: Oriol Llavina olive oil rice, Matriku gastronomic society mackeral with chilli garlic, Spiced pork bomba 

The Oriol Llavina olive oil rice worked superbly with the Matriku gastronomic society mackeral, counteracting the saltiness of the oily fish. 
From left: Pyrenees truffled pork sausage, Gem lettuce salad, Baby bravas 

The Pyrenees truffled pork sausage was yet another highlight - amazingly rich in flavour, the sausages were perfectly counterbalanced by the freshness of the Gem lettuce salad. 
Creme Catalan

Our Spanish dinner concluded with a delectable dessert of Creme Catalan. The consistency of the custard in the Creme Catalan was velvety smooth and delicate. Possessing the requisite sugary hard shell, the custard was an absolute delight to indulge in. 
Nearly a year down the track and Bomba continues to be  a great place to sip, savour and share in the spirit of tapas and good friends. The “Bomba goes to Spain” series was further confirmation of the venue's standing in Melbourne's culinary scene.  

Location: 103 Lonsdale St Melbourne
Phone: 03 9077 0451
Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas

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Thunder Road Brewing Co. + Mensousai Mugen Ramen Beer and Japanese Media Dinner

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Thunder Road Brewing Co. + Mensousai Mugen Ramen Bar.
Gastrology was recently invited to a Japanese Dinner paired with Thunder Road Saison Japon, Silver Medal Winner at the Australian International Beer Awards 2014, and other Thunder Road Brewing Co. Beers.
Located in a hidden alley way, Mensousai Mugen offers an intimate dining experience over 2 floors. The menu features Ramen or Tsukemen and a delicious range of Japas (Japanese Tapas) to share alongside a range of selected wines and beers from the bar.
Renown Chef Kin San (Ikuei Arakane), Yoshi Kurosawa, the owner of Mugen Ramen Bar and Robot Bar across the road, were our hosts for the evening. We also gained insight into the delicious beers over the course of the evening as we heard from Colin Paige (Master Brewer) and Marcus Cox (Senior Brewer) from Thunder Road Brewing Co. 
Saison Japon is a collaboration between Thunder Road Brewing Co. and Yoshi Kurosawa who just so happens to be a master cocktail alchemist. The beer is the perfect match for Japanese food, having European complexity as well as Japanese finesse. Infused with the four traditional Japanese botanicals including Konbu, Shiso, Yuzu and Ume, the result is a wonderful new style of beer.
What was clear from the food we devoured was the Mensousai Mugen philosophy - the focus on high quality produce and provision of a unique experience.
Japanese konbu seaweed cured snapper with yuzu sushi rice roll

Our favourite beer and food match was this snapper and the Saison Japon. The aromatic, complex bitter and sweet flavours of the Yuzu immersed the tender pieces of snapper while the sushi rice was perfectly made. Together with the Saison Japon, this dish was sensational. 
Sous-vide cooked Wagyu slice with spicy fruit soy dipping sauce and black sansho pepper

The Wagyu beef was stunning, exhibiting a melt in the mouth tenderness typical of a quality piece of Wagyu Beef. The spicy soy dipping sauce added a delicious savoury note while the black Sancho pepper added a desirable heat.
Roast duck breast slice wrapped soba crepe with yuzu & saikyo miso dip

We loved the duck’s thin crispy skin and the healthy layer of unctuous duck fat that lay atop the tender duck meat. The yuzu and saikyo miso dip provides a rich and robust flavour to the crepe wrapped duck pieces. With the crunchy cucumber to counteract the richness of the duck, it was simply delicious.   
Slow cooked pork belly and parsnip puree with beer wheat served red wine vinegar 

The large nugget of moist pork belly, which contained the perfect amount of unctuous fat, encased in a crisp outer crust imbibed with red wine vinegar was spectacular. Each bite was gratifying. We loved the addition of crispy beer wheat which added both texture and complexity.  
White fish of the day served with Japanese Gin–an sauce

The final course of White fish of the day served with Japanese Gin–an sauce was, for us, the dish of the night. The fish was exceedingly tender, having retained its characteristic delicate texture. The fish boasted a lovely sweetness and juiciness which was further enhanced by the accompanying broth. The crispy skin looked and tasted amazing.
We loved Mugen Ramen’s distinctive Japanese cuisine which sets it apart from the crowd. Together with delicious beers from Thunder Road Brewing Co, the venue is a place where good food and good times go hand-in-hand. 

Location: 11 Bligh Pl  Melbourne
Phone: 03 9620 3647
Link: http://mensousaimugen.com/
Cuisine: Japanese, Noodle Shop, Tapas, Bar

Mensousai Mugen on Urbanspoon Robot Bar on Urbanspoon

Tunes & Tapas @ Sooki Lounge

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Sooki Lounge.

Sooki Lounge opened its doors late last year. The venue is baroque-themed and has a relaxed vibe, setting itself apart by offering a unique hangout spot for locals in the area.
Prior to establishing Sooki Lounge, owner, Suzana Pozvek ran a gourmet deli and established an organic Moroccan restaurant in the Eastern suburbs. With experience on her side, Sooki Lounge’s service runs like a well-oiled machine.    
Sooki Lounge is an excellent venue which features live music, artist exhibitions and assorted entertainment. Their tapas menu complements these aspects of the venue and features organic/free range produce where possible. Inspired by modern Spanish and Mexican fusion flavours, Head Chef Mudit Kumar recommends the Garbonzas con espinacas, which he believes represents his menu the best. The dish is a traditional chickpea dish cooked with pimenton, spinach and picada da pan.
The cocktail menu is impressive, boasting a wide selection of old and new favourites. The bar also offers a solid selection of wines and craft beers. 
Bands are booked through Jeff Springfield, Sooki Lounge’s event manager with live music scheduled every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the adventurous, belly dancing and burlesque workshops are also held at the venue (usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
With experienced and engaging bar staff ready to make you a cocktail of your choice, Sooki Lounge is a relaxing spot to unwind with friends and family over live music.

Sooki Lounge on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: The Rickshaw

Location: 199 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Phone: 03 9419 5930
Link: http://therickshaw.com.au/
Cuisine: Asian, South East Asian, Indian
Overall Impression: 7/10
After a decade on Gertrude Street the Tandoori Times has reinvented itself as The Rickshaw with a menu of pan-Asian street food.
The interior has been stripped and rebuilt with a more modern style with a tuk tuk - the three wheeled motorcycles seen cross Asia - in the dining room. 

The revamp of one of Gertrude Street’s oldest restaurants up to contemporary tastes is the brainchild of owners Amit Tuteja together with hospitality consultant Satish Panjala who spent some 13 years as a senior food and beverage manager at Crown (working across restaurants such as Nobu, Silks, Koko's). Hospitality professional Yordan Rusev (ex Virginia Plain) is managing front of house. 
The menu is inspired by foods that prevail in the same streets that the rickshaw originated from, featuring food from the food courts of Singapore to the hawker stalls of Malaysia and India. We were pleased to find that the food served has a focus on locally sourced produce and is very reasonably pieced. Some dishes may outrage purists, like the chicken satay (named the Penang Bowl on the menu) that it is made without peanuts, while other dishes are made the traditional way like the Ma Po tofu. 
We particularly enjoyed the drunken noodles which were beautifully stir-fried and had a wonderful kick from the use of green peppercorns and wild ginger. 
The Thai tea panna cotta with honey syrup concluded out evening on a sweet note. The honey syrup enhanced the aromatic Thai tea flavours in the delicate panna cotta. It was beautiful.
With a focus on classic Asian dishes throughout the Asian region but adding a few of twists along the way, The Rickshaw is a delicious addition to Gertrude Street’s bustling food culture. 

The Rickshaw on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Rickshaw.