1 kit & kafoodle: March 2014

Monday, 24 March 2014

Hammer and Tong (dinner)

It pains me to write this, but this is how I feel about my beloved Hammer and Tong’s dinner menu. If you are a diehard fan, read no further, this will only bring pain.I was so excited to return to Hammer and Tong after gushing about it to pretty much everyone I know, so when the dinner appointment was made I was keen-bean.

We were seated easily for a Thursday night and received complimentary bread and butter (win!). I am always impressed and a bit chuffed with restaurants which do this, so kudos H&T. Though it turned out to be sourdough (not my favourite) with lemon herb butter, it was a strange but appreciated starter.

My bloody mary turned out pretty deliciously, if I do say so myself.

We ordered the soft shell crab burger ($12), which of course, remained amazing and delicious.

The fish & chip burger, pickled fennel, capper mayo ($12) was something we couldn’t go past on the menu. However, I felt the fish was not tasty enough, or rather, just tasted of oil and was overpowered by everything else in the bun which came off with a sweet taste. The chips on their own were weird and tasted freeze dried but perhaps as they were sweet potato chips?

Don’t bother with the kingfish ceviche, melon & barberries ($17). The kingfish was fresh and nice, but nothing special. The yuzu sorbet was beautiful but didn’t meld with the dish. Ditto with the rockmelon. I feel they still need to tweak this one.

I find it hard go past any corn on the menu, due to the first time I tried Fonda’s corn and my tastebuds lost their virginity. So we tried H&T’s bbq corn cob, chipotle, popcorn butter, pecorino and lime ($9). As you can see the presentation was crazy-town tribal, which was cool, and to top it off it is on par with Fonda and Mamasita. The corn butter was very nice; there was adequate parmesan and a whole tonne of chipotle aioli, which I will never say no to. Best dish of the night.

Then the main came along in the form of goats butter linguini, cured egg yolk, chilli pecorino, friend parsley, bone marrow ($22) – for some reason I thought this would have meat in it, first mistake, it didn’t. For some reason I thought it would be amazing, based on the fancy-pantsy description, second mistake, it wasn’t. The pasta was done al dente so I can’t fault that, but it was just so tasteless. Really not worth the calories and another reinforcement of why I could never be a vegetarian.

And so ended the meal, I left feeling incredibly let down and unsatisfied with my dinner.

TL;DR If I had come to H&T’s dinner first, I would never have returned for their brunch.

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon

Monday, 17 March 2014

Golden Fields

My return to Golden Fields was with a voucher I had received from my beloveds for Christmas AND it was for my birthday dinner celebrations; and so my friends, we went to town.

The d├ęcor is pretty hip(ster) in this place, very minimalistic with a massive mirror down the end which works to extend the room. There are lots of artistic chicken feet stuck to the wall as well; one patron hung their jacket there, whilst my Asian mother exclaimed “look! Lots of fuhng zhaap!” (Try saying that one at your next yumcha session).

We started the meal off with some Cape Hawk oysters ($4pc) and Moonlight Flat Kisses oysters with fresh wasabi ($6pc), both of which were clean, fresh and tasty. We were served complimentary spicy pumpkin seeds which we munched on whilst waiting for our next dish.

The Kingfish, avocado, fresh wasabi and konbu dish ($17) had beautiful flavours. The oil added a nice tang to the dish and wasabi cream complemented the sweet fish.

The tuna, white miso & eggplant with toasted sesame laver ($17) was not as stand out as the kingfish; the tuna was fresh and tasted so good, especially with the white miso cream, but as a whole the dish did not have enough flavour for me.

Wagyu brisket, hot & numbing sauce, peanuts and radish ($16) followed and was probably my least favourite dish in a stand-out dinner. There were some good flavours in the dish with the coriander, chilli oil and garlic chips, however the Wagyu on its own was a bit tasteless.

I don’t think anyone can ever really go wrong with a soft shell mud crab roll ($15). This one was really crispy mud crab, delightfully fried to perfection. The bun was yum. The price is steep, and I think hopping over to Hammer and Tong would be a better bet – bigger bun, same great soft shell crab taste.

The New England lobster roll, hot buttered bun, cold poached crayfish, watercress & kewpie mayonnaise ($15) was really nice with large chunks of fresh pulled lobster. The bun was great again (same just-sweet-enough semi-sweet soft bun as their soft shell mud crab roll) and the mayo really finished the dish off. Drooltown.

The slow-roast lamb shoulder, tomato & chilli, coriander & mint ($74) still haunts my dreams. Succulent. Tender. Falls of the bone. Need I say more? Yes? The sauce is delicious and I love it. Even Asian father who baulked at the price conceded that it was worth every penny.

The pan roasted John Dory, mussels, spinach, seaweed butter ($39) had a lot to live up to following the lamb; but on all counts it was well cooked to retain the sweetness of the fish and not make it too chewy and dry. All the ingredients complemented each other and I loved the spinach and mussels – I usually give away my mussels, so I think that attests to the win of this dish.

Marinated eggplant, silken tofu, coriander, chilli vinegar ($15) was the token ‘salad’ and way we justified quite a rich meal. I always love silken tofu and will quite often opt to taste the dish which features it (sometimes to my disappointment!). This did not disappoint. It is a tasty salad without getting into the traditional lettuce thing. The eggplant and chilli vinegar sauce went superbly together.

The Bloody Mary! This was very spicy to my liking, and quite an interesting flavour... as if lemonade? Or something to give it extra lift was added. I am adding it to my list of BESTS in Melbourne!

And then we got really, really full. And I had to walk away without my beloved desserts that I so wanted to try D: I must return before they close their doors.

TL;DR Hurry along before the close their doors for a new venture!

Golden Fields on Urbanspoon

Monday, 10 March 2014

Parlour Diner

I decided to visit Parlour Diner in Windsor as part of my quest to verify and/or find the best burger in Melbourne. Beatbox is still at the top of my list, with Royce Hotel’s The Amberoom, Huxtaburger and Mr. Burger following. Collin’s Kitchen was also pretty good but they have since departed the list. When I visited N’Shry in 2011 when they first topped Burger Adventure’s list, I was underwhelmed but have not returned since, despite many recommendations by friends. Rockpool felt overrated and expensive and The Merrywell and Danny’s was just another burger.

So, Parlour had a lot to live up to, coming in third on Burger Adventure’s 2012 list. The restaurant is small, but nicely decorated in a rock-and-roll kinda way, with seating both indoors and out. I ordered a Bloody Mary (marie?), due to my other quest to find the best Bloody Mary in Melbourne, and The Captain which is the Parlour Burger (8oz beef patty, tomato, lettuce, cheese, pickles) plus egg, bacon and sweet onions ($12) with a side of Parlour Curly Fries ($5) WEWT! I was also able to try the ‘Dressed’ Lobster and Shrimp ‘Po Boy’ with slaw and chimichurri salsa ($18) and Jalapeno Poppers with paprika avocado dip ($12).

My burger came along stacked HIGH and impressive (it needed a skewer to hold it all up), unfortunately I don’t think the tasted wow’d me as much as the look. It was all good enough to eat, the patty was juicy and the egg burst and added to the cheese and onion flavour, but I don’t think I’d return.

The curly fries were great, as was the aioli, but the order got lost somehow so when they finally came out they were on the house which was very generous of Parlour.

The lobster and shrimp poboy was probably a lot nicer than my burger, but despite this, didn’t live up to what Gumbo Kitchen/Po’Boy Quarter can do. The shrimp tasted slightly dry and overdone and there wasn’t enough sauce on the bun.

The jalapeno poppers were strange, though thinking back I’m not sure what else I expected – they were essentially a full jalapeno chilli in fried batter, so don’t get these unless you like a bit of spice. The paprika avocado dip was the best part of this dish, and there was plenty of it in the dish.

The bloody mary was pretty darn tasty, with just enough spice and a nice tomato base. I will rank it third after Naked for Satan’s Bloody Satan (thick tomato juice, their chilli vodka and a big ass celery-stick tree, with plump olives and cucumber to finish – it drinks like a meal) and Eau de Vie’s The Earnest (which comes in a cute as tomato tin, with pickled onions on a swizzle stick).

TL;DR There are better burger joints out there, even on Chapel St itself.

Parlour Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, 3 March 2014

Hammer and Tong

Hammer and Tong is a brunch place I have long wanted to try – without really knowing why. Perhaps it was all the positive feedback from word of mouth, or a subliminal message delivered to my stomach; nevertheless I finally got round to visiting the tucked away shop off Brunswick St (the door is tiny, don’t miss it).

First off, the service is great, friendly and attentive wait staff and the food comes out super quick (this may be due to the fact I was there on an early Thursday morning though). The presentation is immaculate – I don’t think I have ever seen such beautiful brunch presentation; it was to the standard of fine dining restaurants.

I tried the duck egg, oyster mushrooms, truffle butter, watercress and fontina briont soldiers ($18) first. This dish blew my mind: it smelled amazing and tasted even better. Usually my stomach gets a weird feeling when exposed to the rich truffle smell and taste but in this dish it was light and not overpowering the dish. I am an avid meat eater, thus ordered a side of smoked trout, but this dish didn’t need it at all. It is wholesome and satisfying – probably from the mushrooms and truffle oil combination. And WOW, the brioche soldiers were SO GOOD. I later asked whether they bake their own brioche, but luckily (hah!) their stockist is Brioche by Philip (I tried to get there but they were closed for the Christmas break, gonna nom the shit outta them when they reopen). The only downside of this dish (and the meal) was some fine bones found in the trout.

The next dish I tried was the Breakfast Ramen – 62c hens egg, bacon, oyster mushroom, spring onion, bacon dashi ($15). I could eat the shit outta this ramen for breakfast every day; the dish came to the table with just the dry ingredients but had this cool pouring pot that contained the broth which you poured onto the noodles yourself – even that small addition was entertaining to me lol. The broth was very rich and tasty, the noodles were done just right and the bacon was great – if not a bit fatty and slightly salty.

The last (but not least) dish was the soft shell crab burger ($12). This burger is literally a full fried soft shell crab in between a burger bun which is a tad disconcerting as you see all the details, but close your eyes and take a bite…………. totally worth it. Great spicy aioli type sauce, the soft shell crab is crunchy and perfectly cooked, the brioche bun is sweet and soft and the slaw complements the crab perfectly.

I didn’t take a photo of the iced chocolate, but I‘ve had better at other joints (read: Merchant's Guild, Moorabbin). Other dishes I am keen to try are the fritters (they went out stacked high and pretty to other tables) and the lavender yoghurt custard. ARGH I can’t wait to get back.

TL;DR Go to this place right now.

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon