Whirlwind of a 2012.
As we embrace the new year, we look back on the past year in reflection and move forward with hope and resolutions. In mentioning resolutions, my one is to be more real-time with my blog updates. Though as unrealistic as that may seem (*ahem, so much for perseverance), I will try! A little flashback on a few of the many yummy things I have gorged on in the past months and not yet written anything about. And, Happy New Year!
P.S. trying out a new gallery feature. Hope it works…
Quick Index from top down: Jade Kew, The Everleigh, Hooked seafood, Rockpool bar and grill, Hare and Grace, The Aylesbury, Breakfast Thieves, St Ali North, Red Robyn, The Smith, Sichuan on Elizabeth, Food Republik, Dessert Story, Purple Sands, A La Bouffe, La Flaneur.
See also below for Google Map directions.
The excess extravagance of shark fin at Jade Kew. Note. it is really sad to hear that this 20 year old institute for Cantonese food and our all time favourite in Melbourne for special occasions, is (*was) changing hands or closing shop as of the new year.
Where: shop 10, 4 Walpole St, Kew.
Contact: 03 9853 3581
Where would the holiday festivities without some elegant cocktails fashioned by highly skilled bartenders. The Bairn (with 12yr Scotch, Orange Bitters & Cointreau) was a killer of a cocktail. Pictured is a shot of rum, served neat at The Everleigh.
Where: lvl1, 150 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
Contact: 03 9416 2229
Post hangover fish and chips anyone? Hooked has been around for some time now serving simply made seafood. It is marketed as healthy, and there certainly are healthy options such as opting for grilled fish or leafy salad tossed with Japanese ginger and balsamic (which I really did enjoy). But who can pass up perfectly tempura-battered fish or a serving of school of prawns with a beer?
Where: 384 Brunswick St, Fitzroy (also in Windsor)
Contact: 03 9417 7740
For those of you with some spare change (*ahem more than a little spare change) head over to Rockpool at Crown. The price tag may be a little eyebrow raising, but the non-negotiable quality of the meat, the smoky aroma curling around the palate, makes for some very scrumptious steaks. The salads are ok, the pastas are good, but coming here I wouldn’t order anything else – fullstop.
Where: Crown casino, Southbank.
Contact: 03 8648 1900
See here for full write-up.
The Chick’o’roll is not to be messed with. An Aussie deep-fried classic, with a smooth filling of chicken confit and mousse. It isn’t always on the menu, but Hare and Grace are always happy add it on (at least they did when I asked). The seared quail with melted onions was also incredibly moreish.
Where: 525 Collins St, Melbourne.
Contact: 03 9629 6755
If you are still not full after dinner, stumble your way into The Aylesbury for some late night supper. The lamb ribs are a must – they are loud with seasoning, juicy with fat and fall off the bone tender. You may need to call ‘000’ when your arteries clog off…
Where: 103 Lonsdale St, Melbourne.
Contact: 03 9077 0451
There is never any shortage of great brunch in Melbourne. Latte at Breakfast Thieves, with beans from STREAT. The brunch options are creative and bring a flavoursome punch, but quality control can sometimes be inconsistent. Must tries: the brioche options both sweet and savoury.
See here for: Full post
Where: 420 Gore St, Fitzroy.
Contact: 03 9416 4884.
Take two on brioche at St Ali North. This is one of my favourite brioche brunch items for 2012, bringing together the vibrancy of stone fruit, buttery aroma of brioche, mint notes and vanilla icecream dotted with bacon. As an extension of the South Melbourne St Ali, there is no question about the coffee here.
Where: 815 Nicholson St, Carlton North.
I am not usually the type to go for gluten free options, but this much raved about sweet potato rosti – made with pumpkin, topped with haloumi and salmon – was something I had to try. The menu at Red Robyn is marketed as completely gluten free and allergy friendly.
See here for: Full post.
Where: 393 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell.
Contact: 03 9077 3763
For me, driving all the way to Prahran is a bit of a drainer. But to have some of The Smith‘s skyscraper-towering peach souffle, it is worth it. Not to say the many tasty savoury morsels on offer are not worth a try also.
Where: 213 High St, Prahran.
Contact: 03 9514 2444
Now we change directions and head for Central Chinese cuisine – 老重慶 (I don’t even know the English name). This place is probably not very well known, neither is it on urbanspoon or very well published. It is family owned, and creates some unexpectedly elegant sichuan dishes for such a small cramped space. The pork neck is amazing, the fish boiled in chilli broth is great, and there are certainly some lighter options with less fire.
Where to find it: 654 Elizabeth St, Carlton. Across the road from Melbourne City Toyota.
Food Republik is all the rave in BoxHill at the moment. There is never not a queue in sight. The star attraction of course is the Xiao-Long-Bao. The skin is paper thin, the broth is clear and delicious, the dumpling ball is well balanced not overwhelmed by any particular aromatic. I would personally rank them pretty close to Din-Tai-Fung, but obviously still not as perfect as those in Taiwan. Everything else on the voluminous menu, is similar to what is offered at other Taiwanese cafes, so nothing spectacular there.
Where: inside Box Hill Centro (next to reject shop), Boxhill.
No bookings. Beware of queues at peak times.
To finish off, after some moreish XLB, one must head to Dessert Story. If you have not heard, or have not been to this Taiwanese dessert house popping up all over Melbourne, then please do. The snow ice is awesome. And there is plenty of red bean and black sesame items – my favourite.
Where: multiple locations – see website.
I have written about Purple Sands before, but I think this “relatively” new item on the menu deserves a special mention – the grilled pork neck. It is crisp, moist, unctuous, a little fatty, a little cartilaginous … heaven!
See here for: previous post.
Where: 180 Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn.
Contact: 03 9882 3688
My first visit to A La Bouffe was purely a dessert expedition for their crowning French bistro desserts. The Millefeuille [pictured above] and crepes suzette remain my favourites here. I was so impressed there had to be return visits try all their desserts. Not stealing the limelight from the rest of the food on offer, there is certainly no shortage of traditional French bistro food, from escargots to mussels in white wine, steak tartare, and duck confit. Being a red drinker, I was particularly impressed by their Cuisse De Canard Bourguignonne.
Where: 268 Toorak Rd, South Yarra.
Contact: 03 9077 2856 (can book online)
This may or may not be on the menu when you visit, but it wouldn’t hurt to call ahead to see if you can get this de-constructed lemon tart with raspberry meringue on the day. It is gorgeously sweet, buttery and by no means a light snack for brunch. A lighter option of apple with balsamic salad (available at the time), for me came as a prelude to the deconstructed tart. Le Flaneur.
Where: 5 Church St, Hawthorn.
Contact: 03 9853 8587