28 May, 2013

MoVida Bar de Tapas

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you MoVida Bar de Tapas. You have all seen this Spanish sensation top the charts on Urbanspoon and stood the test of time. Tucked away on the famous Hoiser Lane, this refined two hatted tapas bar is the epitome of the Melbourne - style and sophstication. You have heard the raves, the reviews, the OMG-its-the-best-thing-ever, and now, a few words from me.

 Hand-filleted Cantabrian Artisan Anchovy on 
Crouton with Smoked Tomato Sorbet

Squid Ink Croquette with Cuttlefish

Quince Paste Cigar with Whipped Buffalo Milk Cheese

Deep Fried Salt Cod and Potato Fritta with Pil Pil

House Cold Smoked Spanish Mackerel with Pine Nut Gazpacho Sorbet

Spiced Chicken Escabache Tapa on Crisp Crouton

Pickled Spring Bay Mussel

 Zucchini flower

 Galician Octopus with kipfler potatoes and paprika

Oven-roasted Portobello Mushrooms Finished with Sherry Vinegar

Duck Liver Parfait with Pedro Ximenez Foam and Toasted Brioche

Every dish was beautifully crafted with the utmost precision, screaming creativity, flair and flavour. In particular, the Deep Fried Salt Cod and Potato Fritta and the Squid Ink Croquette were the most memorable dishes of the afternoon. The environment was warm, coupled with professional, yet friendly and attentive service. MoVida definitely lived up to its hype and was an unforgettable experience. 

MoVida Bar de Tapas
1 Hosier Lane

MoVida Bar de Tapas on Urbanspoon

25 May, 2013


Let's go Mamak (lah) ! It was a cold cold night in Melbourne, and Roti was on our minds. And so, walking the streets of Melbourne in shoes not so suitable for long walks, we arrived at Mamak, blisters and all. A new comer to Melbourne, Mamak's roti has won over many. Proof ? The hungry Melbournians lining up outside on this nippy weekday night.

The menu here at Mamak is quite limited, but I suppose in terms of mamak style food, this is what they usually sell. Specialising in rotis there was also a handful of curries, rice noodle dishes and beverages. I guess they concentrate on what they do best, rotis, And that's something I can't argue with.

Roti Canai

This was what we came here for, what everyone comes here for. The freshly made roti was easy to tear apart and was soft, flaky, buttery and fluffy  - like "it's so fluffy I'm gonna die" fluffy. We doused this with the  two curries  and sambal it was served with. The rich curries had a nice kick to it and was just enough for us to mop up. Extremely satisfying.

Nasi Lemak with Curry Lamb

I was interested to see how well Mamak did their Nasi Lemak, arguably Malaysia's national dish. The fragrant coconut rice matched well with the slow cooked lamb was delicious and tender, and had a nice amount of heat to it. Though the portion of curry lamb was a little on the small side. The spicy sambal accompanied the boiled egg well, alongside a generous amount of crunchy peanuts and crispy anchovies. And of course some cool cucumbers to relieve the heat. Though tasty, this Nasi Lemak was not memorable.

Here at Mamak, the bare walls and floors gave way to a lot of background noise. Coupled with super close tables and wooden stools, it wasn't the most comfortable place to eat at. But hey, that's mamak style for you. Would I return ? For the roti, yes - but takeaway.

366 Lonsdale Street 

Mamak on Urbanspoon

22 May, 2013

Auntie's Dumpling

Dumplings. My brothers always reply with dumplings. Sometimes I don't know why I even ask. With queues forming every day of the week, Auntie's is no stranger in Carnegie, or the dumpling world. Here at Aunties, it isn't the prettiest restaurant of all, but the food is fast, cheap and hearty. And so became a place I visited every week in my high school days, to load up on carbs for very affordable prices. But times have changed, and now, I only visit when the brothers call the shots.

Boiled Peking Pork Dumplings

They have perfected their dumplings here, and have consistently delivered for many years now. The morsels of doughy chewy skin encasing generous fillings of pork, ginger and shredded vegetables are juicy and delicious. Watch out for the squirting juice when you bite in !

Fried Chicken and Prawn Dumplings

I think it's also worth nothing that Auntie's fry their dumplings exceptionally well. Golden, fluffy, crispy, and most importantly, they don't arrive soaked in oil. The chicken and prawn dumplings were as equally tasty, but nothing ever beats the original peking pork dumplings.

Shanghai Fried Noodles

Shanghai fried noodles, the other dumpling house staple. Wok tossed with Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage, carrot and pork strips, these thick chunky noodles were chewy, greasy and had a balanced flavour of soy sauce, sesame oil and sweetness. 

Beef Noodle Soup

This was a pretty standard dish, and was also the last dish to arrive. By now, all of us were feeling a little gluggy form the all the heavy carbs. Not wanting it to go to complete waste, we only ate the vegetables, which were fresh and plentiful.

Of course you get all the pleasures of a Chinese takeaway shop, a little cramped and a little noisy at peak hours, with language barriers here and there. Do be careful when ordering, and make sure to confirm your orders. There have been a few times where orders of ours have been mistaken, but nothing that can't be fixed. Despite the bits and bob that can be improved, the dumplings here are surely unbeatable and are what brings the boys to the yard.

Auntie's Dumpling
68 Koornang Road

Auntie's Dumpling on Urbanspoon

20 May, 2013

Dead Man Espresso

Dead Man Espresso provides a delightful spot for a coffee or two. Located on Market Street  away from the hustle and bustle of Coventry, DME is home to coffee lovers and foodies alike.  The space was stylish and oozed cool vibes. With unique decor here and there, my eyes got a work out from darting around the place.

My lunching partner today and I both agreed that the coffee here were amazing, and really stood out from the other coffees we have had before. Very keen to expand my knowledge of coffee, I took note to ask about the house blend. The flavours of the Seven Seeds house blend ( 50% Colombia, 25% Costa Rica, and 25% Brazil) was described to have flavours of sweet stone fruit, balanced acidity and a chocolatey body. The espresso cut nicely through the milk, and the temperature was just right. I hope Seven Seeds consider making coffee pods so I could have this every single day !

Sautéed winter mushrooms on herb and gruyere creamy 
white polenta, herb salad & slow cooked egg

As a dish that was highly recommended by the waitress, I had high hopes. In terms of texture and flavour, the chewy mushrooms paired the polenta nicely. However, I found the polenta was quite bland. I could see the herbs and the gruyere with my eyes, but my taste buds begged to differ.

Panko crumbed chicken schnitzel 
with pickled apple fennel slaw & lime mayo

The flavours of the slaw and tangy lime mayo were a great match of sweet, sour and savoury. Though, what wasn't on par was the chicken. As it was described to be panko crumbed, I had imagined airy crumbed chicken, crunch with every munch. Instead, the chicken was a little too moist and heavy.

Food wise, I was quite underwhelmed. I had planned to go to DME solely for their BLT, but was sadly informed it was sold out. Pretty bad luck for me. However, my flat white was an absolute pleasure and sure woke me up from the dead.

Dead Man Espresso

35 Market Street
South Melbourne

Dead Man Espresso on Urbanspoon

16 May, 2013

Loco Coffee

Not wanting to travel too many kilometres for our brunch date, we decided on Loco Coffee in Elsternwick. It had been under my radar and was within my radar. You know Manchester Press ? Loco's the older sibling to the famous Manchester Press, so this got me really excited and set the bar high.

Skinny Flat White

I was pretty pumped to see some tricky, crazy, out-there coffee art. However, all I got was the standard rosetta. I'll admit, I was pretty bummed. But the taste definitely made up for it. Like Manchester Press, Loco Coffee too uses their custom blend, 8 Oz Coffee. Super smooth, creamy, full bodied with caramel highlights. I was very tempted to order another.

Mushroom and Hummus

Changing things up a little, I chose not to go for an avocado smash. Instead, I ordered the mushroom and hummus. Piled high with goodies, came two thick slices of sourdough, generously spread with creamy hummus, surrounded by mushrooms and two avocado wedges. Two nicely poached eggs sat on top of the throne and was sprinkled with dukkah, giving the dish a very Middle Eastern feel.   Breaking the egg was picture perfect as the yolk just melted away. It went well with the hummus, which was a lovely blend of chickpeas, lemon juice, salt and garlic. I did find the balsamic mushrooms a little too strong in the vinegar department though, I would have much preferred some thyme buttered mushrooms. 


My friend ordered  the other dish I was eyeing off, the Combit. This had made my decision much easier and was a win win situation for me, as I got to try both the items. The Combit consisted of poached eggs served on sourdough, topped with avocado, pan fried cherry tomatoes, olives and pesto. The nibble I had of this was delightful. From the pop of the cherry tomatoes to the pesto blend. 

Loco had a very happy atmsphere to it, and staff were great. In particular, our waiter was very friendly and attentitive. I must add, my friend also found him to be very good looking. When it came to paying, they made no fuss about splitting the bill which makes things so much easier. In-fact they offered to. As I was paying, I did see a waiter walk past with a coffee with the most adorable bear etched in. And yes, of course I was jealous.One might even say, I was loco about it. I guess that just means I'll have to come back later ! 

Loco Coffee
436 Glen Huntly Road 

Loco Coffee on Urbanspoon

13 May, 2013

Red Cliff Chinese Restaurant

Most people turn to ice cream, chocolate or sweets for comfort food. I however, turn to chilliesIt's proven that consumption of chillies releases endorphins, and as a result gives you that 'feel good' feeling. Thus, bringing me to Red Cliff.

Red Cliff is an authentic Hubei resraurant found just off the forever growing Koornang Road in Carnegie. Neighbouring Sichuan, Hubei cuisine and cooking methods are very similar to Sichuan cuisine. They are supposedly known to not hold back in the chilli department. I say supposedly, as I beg to differ.

Double Cooked Pork Belly

Thinly sliced salty pork belly  stir-fried with garlic shoots, onion, capsicum and young bamboo shoots. The crunchy sweet garlic shoots went well with the pork belly. However, it was a pity that the pork belly was too fatty and not crispy enough. Maybe it should have been triple cooked.

Cumin Lamb Slices

I must say, lamb, cumin and chilli must be the best combination ever. Heavily spiced with chilli and cumin, together with spring onions, red onions, coriander and sesame seeds, this dish was an absolute delight.

Hot Spicy Beef Slices
Scorching red chilli oil and peppercorns floating on its surface, this dish looked lethal. This was filled to the brim with juicy beef slices, chillies, peppercorns, bean-shoots and spring onion. However, it was to my disappointment that I hardly found it spicy at all.

Sesame noodles 

Directly translated as a “big bowl of hot dry noodles”, it was pretty accurate. As promised, this was indeed a big bowl of hot dry noodles. These traditional Hubei noodles were firm, chewy and nutty. The fragrant sesame flavour was very strong, leaving it a little too dry for my liking. Though quite tasty, I didn't have much of this dish as it seemed very bloating. 

With a heavier hand with the chillies and spices, I believe the dishes would have been much tastier. Leaving Red Cliff with my chilli needs unmet, I was a little disappointed.

Red Cliff Chinese Restaurant
358 Neerim Road 

Red Cliff Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

09 May, 2013


Strolling in at 1.00pm, my mum and I were out looking for something yummy a very very late breakfast. Checking my 'to eat' list, today was Giddiup's chance to shine. 

With St Ali just a minute away, and  Chez Dré a few metres ahead, this little café could be easily missed. Good thing I kept my eyes peeled. Sticking to the basics, this café kept it minimal with black and white. On this surprisingly sunny day, I wanted to be greedy and soak in as much of the warmth of the sun as I could and so, I made my way to the table closest to the elongated windows. Moments later, a friendly waiter came over to inform me that we ordered lunch and paid at the counter first. This was when, to my disappointment that I found out that breakfast was no longer being served. Breakfast closed at 11.00am. Silly me. In response to my reaction, the waiter let out a friendly chuckle, and advised me that there were soups and rolls that I could order at the counter. Making my way over, what was on offer was selected, but there was still enough to choose from to please most brunchers. As always, mum gave me full control, and trusted me to order the dishes for both of us to share.

My flat white was amazing, exactly how I liked it. Strong flavour, not bitter and extremely smooth. Sipping away at my flat white, I was rewarded with that caffeine hit that I loved.

Pork Roll

My eyes sparkled with glee and mouth drooled as the waiter brought over this vibrantly coloured roll. The crispness of the warm bread contrasted nicely with the tender pulled pork, while the apple coleslaw complimented it well with a little bit of tang and sweetness. To pull it altogether was a beautiful jalapeño sauce and gruyere cheese. Both mum and myself agreed that the flavours were refreshing and taste bud exploding.

Lamb Soup with Olive Sour Sourdough
This lamb minestrone was packed with lamb, tomatoes, zuchinnies, carrots, onion and barley, and full of flavour. Tearing and dipping the Noîsette olive sourdough bread in the soup, this dish made a nice light lunch
All in all, I ate both dishes greedily and licked my fingers at the end. Friendly and efficient customer service,  nice clean space with delicious food, this café was a a big thumbs up in my books. What impressed me the most was the pricing - good food for insanely great value. With majority of dishes at $10, Giddiup is truly a wonderful bargain. A definite mustang out place.

269 Coventry Street
South Melbourne

Giddiup on Urbanspoon