Friday, 22 May 2015

Hinoki Japanese Pantry

If you are ever needing beautiful Japanese food or produce in Fitzroy, Hinoki is definitely the place to go. Decked out with a sushi bar and small eating area at the front of the stall, and followed with a well-stocked imported Japanese grocery, it is a dream to wander the aisles and choose what to add to your cupboard.

Nosé Maki Mix ($10.5)
The raw fish is sweet and melts in your mouth. The freshness of the ingredients they use and the perfect delicate balance they achieve is truly delectable.

The salmon with aoili and tobiko was delicious of course, with lightly vinegared carrot and soft sushi rice. If their sushi roll mix of raw salmon, avocado and crab meat were not enough, add in some tamagoyaki cubes and you have yourself a winner. 

TL;DR A go-to Japanese eatery and supermarket when you are in Fitzroy.

Hinoki Japanese Pantry on Urbanspoon

Monday, 11 May 2015

Duchess of Spotswood

Duchess of Spotswood is a well known brunch eatery for anyone who passes by or lives/works in the Westside. Despite its distance, I have travelled there in the past to experience the fine-dining-at-brunch style food. The flavours are refined, and well thought out, and the dishes are very carefully put together.

Prince of Wales ($19.50) Warm house cured salmon with cucumber and mint salad, almond aioli, dukkah, poached eggs and Zealy Bay toast, with an accompaniment of potato hash ($4.5). A nice staple dish, but the salmon was overdone and so not as soft and sweet as I hoped, you definitely had to chew your way through the dish and by the end it became quite bland. The little spots of almond aioli were tast, as was the dukkah sprinkled throughout, but the toast was hard and pointless. As for the hash, it was a nice chunky piece but not as crispy as I expected.

The special of the day was the Pork Belly and Soft Shell Crab burger ($19.0). With that kind of surf and turf royalty going on, of course we had to try it. The sweet corn capsicum salsa had a good flavour to it, and the home-made tartar sauce was really nice with the soft shell crab. The pork belly was overcooked, and so didn't have the tenderness or fattiness you usually taste, but overall it was quite a good special. 

This Mork Hot Chocolate ($4.0) has nothing on Seven Seeds', it seems to be lacking the milky body and deep chocolate hit.

Duchess Lawn Tennis Association ($12.0) gin, sparkling apple, fresh mint cocktail is a nice little refreshing number with an equally charming name.

TL;DR I wouldn't go out of my way to try, but if you're in the area it's a good option.

Duchess of Spotswood on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Grand Trailer Park Taverna

While most fads of Melbourne die out, the burger reigns supreme to this day. Grand Trailer Park Taverna is in the heart of the CBD in an highly unlikely spot, above a 7-eleven. Don't let that worry you though, as soon as you step in, you are transported to America in all it's trailer-trash-chic glory. There are caravan shells which have been gutted and replaced with communal dining tables, and wooden cubby houses with bar tables and stools. The service counter is decked out like a diner, and the floor is synthetic turf. 

Spiked Milkshake
Kinder Surprise, Frangelic, Baileys ($21.0) Yes that's the real price, and yes that's a real Kinder Surprise, but the size of this drink is crazy-huge, and crazy-thick. One of the best milkshakes I've ever had, and the smooth way the alcohol was incorporated into the drink made it utterly delectable. I cannot wait to try every single flavour on the menu. 

Premium Aussie beef pattie, American cheddar cheese, chilli cheese kransky, crispy bacon, BBQ sauce & truffle cayenne mayonnaise on a lightly toasted brioche bun ($16.5) + Hand cut chips (sml $2.8). I really, really love cheese kranskys, and so of course I chose this burger. It was like a triple meat stack attack. So great. The chips were pretty amazing too, thick chunky potatos fried to a crispy batter. Pro tip: ask for some truffle cayenne mayonnaise dipping sauce, and the experience is even better.

The Ivan Drago
Premium Aussie beef pattie, American cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, black Russian tomato, sliced beetroot & tsar burger sauce on a lightly toasted brioche bun ($16.5) + Hand cut chips (sml $2.8). This burger was definitely the star of the day, and it was all in the tsar burger sauce - finely chopped pickles in a creamy tangy sauce. It made the burger sloppy and so tasty. I'd get this again in a heartbeat.

These artery-clogging Nutella Donuts - 3 fresh nutella filled donuts coated with sugar ($9.5) were pretty amazing. The explosion of runny nutella and the traditional sweet donut were a great way to finish the meal off. But next time, I'm choosing waffles!

TL;DR I can't wait to go back and eat more things of their menu (read: their spiked milkshake flavours)

Grand Trailer Park Taverna on Urbanspoon

Monday, 4 May 2015


Meatmaiden is of course, the (little) sister (daughter) restaurant of Meatmother in Richmond. It is by no means, a small joint. That underground hideaway is a big maafakka, and because we went down on a certain public holiday where you aren't meant to eat meat, it was pretty empty. I highly doubt it is like this most days, but it made for some nice open shots.

As soon as we sat down we were served complimentary Meatmaiden CHIPS! Which were just like your normal potato chips but FREE! And slightly spicy. Naiz.

I ordered me a Maiden Sweet Tea which came in a SOFT option (sans EtOH) and with Buffalo Trace (HARD $16.0). It was definitely not sweet enough for my liking, but tasted quite refreshing nonetheless. 

These Smoked salmon rillettes, pickled fennel, toast ($13.0) were pretty on the plate, but did not have the "oomph!" to match. The rilletes were a bit bland, and the toast, though buttered and slightly salted, didn't really compliment the rillet. The pickled fennel was probably the highlight; I don't think I've ever had pickled fennel before.

Here is my fancy artistic-slightly-left-of-centre shot of the Cajun tuna, horseradish, avocado ($15.0) which was lightly seared to bring out a nice smokey flavour. This dish disappeared quickly.

I ordered an Oyster with smoked fennel dressing ($3.5) which was fresh and delicious, but pricey for what it was. I have had better toppings on raw oysters.

If you are looking for melt-in-your-mouth, pull-apart beef, choose the 20-hour Rangers Valley Wagyu brisket, Tasmanian pepper berry rub (200g for $24.0) I really, really enjoyed this fatty cut. Every mouthful was so full of flavour, and the pepper berry rub was very good, though more rubbed onto the sides wouldn't go astray.

Spring onion mash, gravy ($8.0) was okay, but not buttery enough, nor had enough gravy - so ended up being quite dry and we left a lot behind. Plus the serve was massive.

With a name like Crack mom's apple pie, vanilla, walnuts ($10.0) I was expecting full on comatose insanity. It did not live up to that expectation. The pie was nice, with a nice shortcrust pastry, and the filling was very sweet stewed apples and raisins, but nothing that blew my mind. A heavier style blondie caramel something or rather would have been amazing.

I am not usually a fan of the Choc fondant, raspberry sorbet ($10.0), but I enjoyed this dessert more than my beloved apple pie. The fondant was soft and squishy, decadent chocolate cake, with a tart raspberry sorbet. The caramel crumble was also a nice sticky addition.

TL;DR A good meat hit. I will try Meatmother next!

Meatmaiden on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Colonel Tan's

Ah my beloved teenage years spouting angst and staring starry-eyed onto the mini-stage at Revolver. Those steep-ass steps which got you nice and sweaty before the main act is even near coming on. Hipster dancing to the Inches. Good times. I hadn't stepped back into my past for a good eight years, until I was introduced to Colonel Tan's. Passing by the empty venue area getting prepped for a gig was nostalgic, as were the toilets with the primary school style water fountain taps. 

Their cocktail menu is tempting as. I wanted to try all of them, but restraint, dear friends, restraint. I opted for the Colonel Royale - Lychee puree dances with Cassis in a magnified glass of sparkling. I fell in love with Cassis in Japan, apparently the Cassis Orange is one of the most popular cocktails there. It was perfectly sweet and delicious.

The mix of food is largely Thai inspired, and done really well. The menu is somewhat tedious to read, with dishes that state the main dish and all the ingredients surrounding it, and losing the capacity to piece it all together in your head before you reach the price... but it all sounds delicious nonetheless. 

We start with the Pork & Prawn Donuts, Chilli Jam ($12.5) - cos duh. donuts. As expected, these were delicious. Juicy, deep fried deliciousness and with a nice jam to kick start it. 

Fat Duck Noodles ($17.5) is very much similar to Chin Chin's Pad Sieuw, with less dark sauce. This dish had generous slices of duck breast, mixed in with nicely fried Hor Fun noodles (flat thick white rice noodles) and of course a smattering of greens to make you feel less guilty. I would definitely re-order this dish.

The Penang Lamb Curry, Rice, Eggplant & Young Ginger Relish ($17.5) was eventually the curry we settled on (the Green was similarly tempting), and it was a good choice. The lamb was tender and fell apart, whilst the red curry was full of flavour. The eggplant ginger relish was quite an interesting cream/sour? addition, and I may or may not have finished off the whole thing.

TL;DR I will return till I smash out everything on that menu!

Colonel Tan's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Seven Seeds

Seven Seeds is quickly becoming my most favourite brunch place. They have a seasonal rotating menu which always boasts at least two or three things I desperately want in my belly. And dat hot choc.

Don’t even get me started on that pinnacle of hot chocolate ($4.5). That hot chocolate to rule all hot chocolates. That hot chocolate which makes everything okay. Smooth, simple and with a decadent finger of dark chocolate to stir with and increase the chocolate hit. You can’t ask for any more than that.

House smoked Salmon served on crumpets w/ cream spinach puree, hollandaise and poached eggs ($18.0) was delicious. The salmon was perfectly smoked and not too salty. The spinach puree went really well with the runny poached eggs and the hollandaise was thick and creamy. The crumpets from Dr Marty’s really finished the dish off. So good. 

The Jamaican Style Jerk Chicken w/ flatbread and mango salsa ($17.5) was delicious, perfectly BBQ'd chicken with a spice rub, combined with a sweet mango dressing over the most incredible pita bread I've ever tasted. I was boggled. I seriously did not expect it to be this delicious. This dish ended my night shifts, and I could think of no better way.

TL;DR A kit & kafoodle favourite!!!

Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

Monday, 27 April 2015

Rockwell & Sons

You know you won’t go too far astray with a restaurant that has a pig as its sign-age, and the fact they pay homage to the Sunday roast on Sunday by having a massive porky roast. /drools. But that’s not what we’re here for today folks; this is just the humble dinner.

That being said, the first dish that arrived on our table was Crispy Brussel Sprouts, salami vinaigrette, queso san simon ($9.0) which I felt, was a weird choice given my above introduction, but you know what, it turned out great. They were BBQd well, and full of spicy flavour. Whodathunkit?

Next up was something more in line with carnivorous me; Crispy Confit Duck Wings, red dragon sauce, scallions, sesame ($12.0) was sweet and tangy but there wasn’t a lot of meat on the wings, so it was difficult to eat, with not a lot of reward.

The French Fries, malt vinegar aioli ($6.0) were great. Really well fried, not too soggy or thick, and the aioli was nice. 

I never understood the point of Mac & Cheese ($8.0); it always seemed like such an American equivalent of cup-noodles. But I’m getting there. Rockwell’s version is creamy but used a type of tasty cheese so the end result was not as decadent as Bowery’s.

Lamb is fast becoming my favourite meat, so of course I wanted to try ribs, some of the most succulent cuts I’ve tasted. The Smoked Lamb Ribs ($14.0) were tasty initially but lost its flavour quite quickly. I wouldn't order again.

The Chicken Liver Parfait, buttermilk biscuits, strawberry-black pepper jam ($14.0) was smooth and rich. The jam chutney complemented the richness well and the buttermilk bread was really needed to soak up the flavour. It tasted like a million bucks.

Rockwell’s famous Double Patty Smash Burger, Kraft, Special Sauce on a Seeded Bun ($12.0) is a moist, cheesy and oh-so-heavy burger which leaks all over your hand. Wow, I can get sexual too. Great burger. So much fat. 

To end, or rather, the last thing put into my mouth, was the Maine-Style Tiger Prawn Roll, Kewpie Tartare, Compressed Celery ($13.0). The roll is brioche, so already it’s a winner. The sweet bread goes so well with the kewpie and prawn, and my only complaint is the serving size is small, especially for the price. 

TL;DR There are a lot of good places to eat in Fitzroy, Rockwell & Sons will always be one of them.

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon