1 kit & kafoodle: April 2014

Monday, 28 April 2014

Moroccan Soup Bar

Let me start of by saying I am not a vegetarian by a long shot, but I do have a few vego friends so have sampled many-a good vego restaurant. Moroccan Soup Bar would probably now be at the top of that list – vego and vegan friendly. No meat? Who cares. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD.

This review may not be helpful to a lot of people and I apologise for that. The food came out quickly and those around me tucked in even faster. On top of that, we ordered the $25 Banquet menu and I have no idea what I was eating, but despite that, my foray into the unknown was a great experience. I do have a few tips however, which may help a few people who try this great place out.

1. Book ahead, it gets busy and they do need tables so move you out quite quickly
2. Bring your own take away boxes, there will be a lot of food left over and they encourage you to save it for later (but do not provide boxes)
3. Go in with an open mind, meat heads! You don’t even notice there isn’t any meat, due to the onslaught of flavours from every dish.

On to my weak dish descriptions: I believe there was some sort of chickpea dish, with crunchy-somethings on top which was a favourite amongst us all. There are also quite a few nicely spiced dishes which perk the tastebuds up. There are beetroot dishes, potato dishes, rice dishes and the dessert is really nice too (you get a nice sample plate to share. The complimentary peppermint tea or traditional Moroccan coffee you are served at the end of the night rounds the meal off. Love it. I will try to return to shoot individual photos of each dish (and hopefully a better description too!)

TL; DR Best vegetarian restaurant I have eaten at.

Moroccan Soup Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, 21 April 2014

Pho Hung Vuong 2

I am quite a regular fan on Vietnamese Pho Soup Noodles but never really know what the restaurants I frequent are called (I just look for the chicken and cow head on the window), I had quite a bit of trouble finding out the name of this new Pho contender I was recommended.  Luckily, in this age of the interwebz a quick google search of “Springvale Pho”, Pho Hung Vuong 2 was the top hit and cemented the fact that this will be my new go-to Pho place.

To those who have yet to experience the magic that is Pho, it is a simple dish, where all the secrets and success lies in the soup base. It is essentially beef (or chicken) white noodle soup, but it is so good.

I ordered the raw beef (cooks in the hot soup) and beef brisket noodle soup –note the menu is in Vietnamese, so learn Vietnamese or ask the friendly wait staff – and the bowl that greeted me was generous in size. It comes with fresh raw bean sprouts, thai basil leaves, fresh lemon and chilli – I eat the bean sprouts on its own as I’m waiting for my dish, then add the thai basil leaves to the soup to flavour. I tend not to put all the sauces into my Pho, I know one sauce is chilli and the other is some sweet soy sauce and maybe a fish sauce thrown in, but I do know this place’s chilli oil sauce is great – so I ate that on the side. 

It’s hard to describe why this Pho beats all Pho I have had in the past, maybe the cheaper price also helps win me over, but it was fresh, tasty and satisfying. And I guess that’s all you can ask when you settle down for a bowl of Pho. 

TL;DR My new go-to pho place!

Pho Hung Vuong 2 on Urbanspoon

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Kodiak Club

Having never heard about this place, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome! It is definitely more of a pub-drinks kind of place rather than restaurant, but it does have a nice American-style diner feel about it. Great atmosphere and the food speaks for itself!

I ordered a Kodiak Caesar “The better Canadian version of a Bloody Mary” (Ketel One Vodka, Clamato juice, fresh lemon, hot sauce & spices) as I waited for my partners in crime. It was very similar to a Bloody Mary if not slightly lighter in taste. I would definitely re-order!

Popcorn Chicken ($10) was quite tasty and bite sized morsels are always a hit with me. The honey-mustard sauce really complimented the fried chicken and our only complaint was there wasn’t enough!

French Fries with Gravy ($7 + $1) were the standard carb addition to our meal; nothing special here.

On the other hand, the Jalapeno Bottle Caps ($5) were something of a dream come true! I have had what I can only assume was meant to equal these treats at Parlour Diner, but I must say Kodiak Club does it right. These are essentially Jalapeno slices filled with cream cheese and honey, then batter fried to make it double delicious. You can see we ordered two, ‘cos we YOLOSWAGYOLO like that. I would definitely recommend these – not too spicy, but so delectable.

The Corn on the Cob ($5) is a classic I must try if it is on the menu, though this version was not as good as Fonda which reigns supreme. I'd skip it when I return.

Johnny Cakes & Sawmill Gravy ($8) was initially quite strange to taste (and somewhat unappealing visually), but then I fell in love with it and almost finished them off all by myself. The cornmeal cakes weren’t too sweet which was good, otherwise it would end up Pancake-Parlouresque while the herbed sausage gravy plus side pickles made it into a hearty meal. Loved it.

The Kodiak’s Famous Buffalo Wings half dozen ($10) are apparently as close to America as you can get. I quite liked the blue cheese sauce and the wings were surprisingly spicy considering. Not a bad dish overall, but not my favourite of the night – I much preferred everything else on the menu!

I felt splurgy that night so ordered my second cocktail, The Picket Fence: Fresh lemon, apple, cinnamon, 666 Autumn Butter Vodka shaken & fluffed with egg white. Probably should have opted for the tried but true A Cocktail Named Desire as I am a sweets fan, but I did manage to finish the drink so I guess that’s saying something…

The Kodiak Burger ($17) was the main reason we decided to eat here, with its two grass fed beef patties, American cheese, dill pickles, onions and Buffalo Trace bourbon mayo on a sesame seed bun (with fries). The burger was tender and juicy, and the sauce was definitely a plus – but this won’t make my top 5 list.

TL;DR I’d return and nom the shit outta those Jalapeno Poppers, and dem Johnny Cakes ooo gurl.
The Kodiak Club on Urbanspoon

Monday, 7 April 2014

Mr Hive Dessert Degustation

As we moved through a very lively Mr Hive, I looked on with jealousy at the plates teeming with gorgeously presented food leaving the kitchen and resolved to return here for dinner. That however, did not detract from the exciting premise of a full dessert degustation ($45) at a specially built dessert bar! Bring it.

Mango. Kalamansi. Pistachio
This first dish was delicious and very beautiful! The Kalamansi (spelt with a 'K' as per its phillipino roots as our pastry chef John Demetrios told us) really rounded out the dish with the tangy, sour sorbet balancing the pistachio cake bits and diced mango jam (not as sweet as you’d expect!).

Fig. Hazelnut. Bianca Onion
The second dish was a very interesting combination of flavours – especially with the onion! Hazelnut was the strongest flavour, but I did enjoy the yellow fig jelly combined with the little brown cubes of hazelnut crunch.

Pear and hibiscus shot: tingly and very nommy palate cleanser. So yum. As my fellow foodie buddies rightly put it, it very much tasted like a fruit tingle shot.

Pear. Ricotta. Sesame
The sesame felt a bit odd in this dish, but I can understand the burst of texture it brought to the third dish. We swapped the ricotta for cheesecake (due to dietary requests) but it still worked perfectly – we even got some ricotta to try thanks to chef Demetrios, and it still would’ve been great! All round it was a very lovely and sweet dish but definitely more subtle in flavour compared to the rest of the dishes. Also, the bubbles were such a nice addition, just to delight the inner child.

Quince. Wild Rosella. Brioche
This was the warm dish, the “main” of the evening and WOW did it impress. The pastry crust was so delicious I could have eaten a whole pie, even if it was an empty pie! The hibiscus/rosella (not the bird) was warming and gave a tart contrast against the heavier quince.

Chocolate brioche French toast with chocolate Valrhona crunchy balls: this was an extra dish because Mr Hive can and will. Apologies for the weak photos that do not do this dish justice at all. This was such an amazing dish – and I don’t even like French toast! This is the way French toast should be done, moist and cooked to perfection it was delicious in the smooth chocolate sauce. The crunchy balls were great and I want to run off and buy them. Definitely the dish of the night!

Prickly Pear. Oat. Vanilla
This final dish punched me in the face as I did not expect this at all. The prickly pear has a strange salty semi-sweet taste which is blunted with the vanilla cream. Personally I didn’t enjoy it but I think it’s because I don’t like semi-sweet salty savoury type flavours. Still the oats were very nice to crunch on. I swear it had gold powder mixed through for extra pretty…

Raspberry Sorbet: great way to finish the degustation, just the right amount of tang!

Take home chocolates: passionfruit white chocolate and salted caramel milk chocolate. Delectable! They would give any artisan chocolate store a run for their money!

TL;DR I would come back every time they change their menu (every week) if I had the money. Go book yourself a treat now!
Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon