29 November, 2013
The Gelato Messina obsession has hit Melbourne, and boy have they hit us hard. Go on any social media platform and you are bound to see those now ubiquitous green and orange ice-cream cups taking over. If you're a gelato enthusiast, no doubt you would have heard of Messina.
With over 40 permanent signature flavours and a rotation of special flavours, we are spoilt for choice. I've got to admit, I was pretty overwhelmed. Of course, I wasn't the only one impressed. People of all ages were pressed up against the glass - admiring the unique creations, sampling extraordinary flavours and then finally leaving with their very own cone/cup with beaming smiles plastered to their faces.
Peanut Pretzel Brownie & Cremino
After lengthy deliberation, we settled to share 2 different flavours. The Cremino was a lovely salted caramel gelato with Italian meringue, gianduia fudge, amaretti biscuits with hints of hazelnut throughout You can never go wrong with salted caramel, is what I say ! The Peanut Pretzel brownie was heavenly - a peanut butter gelato smashed with hidden chunky pretzel brownie pieces. Both were extremely creamy, full bodied and worth every calorie.
Do expect to queue up for some of Messina's finest. Because sweet dreams are made of these, and who am I to disagree ?
26 November, 2013
Hammer and tong is an Australian slang, meaning to put all one's effort and power into something. So pretty much, go hard or go home. In the eating world, Hammer & Tong 412 on Brunswick Street has brought their A game and is here to stay.
The space is narrow yet roomy, elongated by large windows, an open kitchen and spots of hanging greenery. Fitted with greys, browns and industrial trimmings, there was a rather toughened elegance vibe to the place.
Skinny Flat White
Soy Chai Latte
Soft Shell Crab Burger
Finally, Melbourne's most talked about Soft Shell Crab Burger ! A peek between the buttery brioche buns revealed a slightly flat yet crispy whole soft shell crab, fresh springs of coriander, cabbage slaw and a generous dollop of sriracha mayo. There were a medley of flavours in each bite - sweet, salty, crunchy and a modest hit of chilli. Being a lover of spicy food, I would have loved to see a little more heat packed in, but nonetheless a finger lickin' good burger.
Eggs on Toast
E had serious cravings for eggs, and decided to construct her own ideal meal, with Eggs on Toast as a foundation. Adding on side dishes of avocado & feta mash and tomato, E's dish turned out to be a bit of a DIY assembly. A poke of a perfectly poached egg bathed her thin slices of sourdough in a glorious liquid of gold .
Corn & Zucchini Fritters
JK ordered the Corn & Zucchini Fritters - crisp and golden on the outside, yet soft, fluffy and 'corny' on the inside. It was a well balanced dish with a poached egg, avocado wedges, flecks of manchego, spinach, and a touch of chilli tomato relish. JK was singing praise from the moment she first sunk her teeth into her dish.
Despite a slow start, having to stand outside enduring Melbourne's four seasons, all was forgiven when the food and drinks came out. There really isn't much not to like about Hammer & Tong 412 - they've certainly hit the nail on the head.
Hammer & Tong 412
23 November, 2013
Ramen Burgers. Yes, you heard me right, ramen burgers. Taken off to a humble start, SHIZUKU is nestled among the plethora of Vietnamese restaurants on Victoria Street. Serving up Izakaya-style plates, ramen and donburi bowls, you can see how SHIZUKU would stick out like a sore thumb - for all the right reasons though.
Surrounded by dark charcoal walls, hanging terrariums and intricate light fittings, the space has a lovely contemporary feel that welcomes you in the moment you step through the door. The menu is developed by Head Chef Ken Yoshida, who has been said to have worked in some of Japan's most renowned ramen shops. Bringing his expertise to SHIZUKU, the menu offers dishes with a twist, with a heavy focus on texture, taste and innovation.
Oyster Sake Shots
Grilled Cha Shu
Gyoza Cali and Gyoza Spicy
Karaage Popcorn Chicken
SHIZUKU Ninki No.1
Kanpai ! The night started off strong, with a round of Oyster Sake Shots for all. The zensais then started to come out progressively, allowing our tummies adequate time to digest, whilst readying our tastebuds in anticipation for the next dish. To sum up the zensais, my favourite zenzai for the night, was the Tuna Tartare. A dish I could eat on and on, with the lightness and crunch of deep fried gyoza skins, freshness of sashimi grade ground tuna in SHIZUKU dressing, and tang from the spring onion. Followed closely were the Wasabi Prawns - flash fried prawns served with a Japanese inspired wasabi mayo. Extremely addictive.
Hailing all the way from New York, the next culinary mash-up, has landed in Melbourne. In place of a bun, you will find tightly packed ramen noodles, which delicately held marinated pork belly with homemade plum sauce and Kewpie mayo. As expected, there were ooh's and ahh's, and camera's flashing away as the burger was unravelled. Though it was a little smaller in size than expected, and did not look overly appealing, it still made a delicious mouthful and ticked the novelty box. It was definitely worth a try, but I think I'll stick to the traditional hot steaming bowls of ramen to curb my ramen cravings.
Tan Tan Men
Now, this is what I'm talking about ! Shame, I did not have much room to stomach my Tan Tan Men after the 10 dishes mentioned above. SHIZUKU has taken inspiration from the traditional Sichuan spicy noodles, Tan Tan Men (bouncy noodles) to bring us a big bowl of comforting ramen. The noodles swam around a thick and sesame rich broth, and featured pork mince, preserved vegetables, chilli oil and a gooey-centred boiled egg. It would be rude not to slurp this all up.
After all the savoury dishes, how did I fit in dessert ? Because it was bliss. Similar to the Chinese sweet tofu pudding 'Dau Fu Fa' , this chilled sweet almond tofu was light, refreshing and pretty much the perfect way to end the night.
I quite enjoyed SHIZUKU and believe with a little more time to grow into its own skin, they’ll be a raving success in no time. Rumours also say that ramen sushi and ramen desserts are to be expected soon. Now that's something to keep an eye on.
confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of SHIZUKU.
20 November, 2013
On the rare occasion that Melbourne blesses us with clear blue skies and sunny days, you know you have to jump at the opportunity to jam pack as much as you can into your day. It was an easy choice for E and I to flock straight to Top Paddock to kick start our day.
￼Purple Potato & Buffalo Ash Brie Omelette
The deep violet hues of the purple potatoes contrasted magnificently with the pastel yellow of the omelette. They were sweet, earthy and nutty, which further highlighted the creamy mild ash brie and smooth texture of the eggs. Adding a faint spice were also a handful of roughly chopped padron peppers scattered throughout the omelette. At the first few bites, I welcomed the lingering pepper flavour, though I found myself picking around them not long after.
House Made Muesli with Poached Fruit & Yoghurt
E opted for a lighter breakfast of the House Made Muesli. Out came an amazing mountain of muesli crowned with half a poached pear and the vibrant trail of micro herbs. A dollop of refreshing yogurt was also present, though E expressed that she would have loved to have had more to go around.
I would love to see more of Top Paddock, and will definitely be back for lunch when I get the chance. What I did enjoy the most was the interior and the ambiance that Top Paddock exuded. It is no surprise that they had won the 'Best Cafe Design' at the Eat Drink Design awards just over a week ago.
658 Church St
Making full use of the lovely weather, I also popped over to visit Adriano Zumbo to buy some Zumbarons for JJ's birthday. Of course, I picked up a couple for myself as well. As you would know, Zumbo is no ordinary man, and his Zumbarons are no ordinary macaron. Pie & Sauce Zumbaron anyone ?
Salted Butter Popcorn and Passionfruit & Basil
Of the two I chose, the Passionfruit & Basil was the most memorable. This sweet little thing tickled both my brain and taste buds. Speckled with dried basil, the two meringue domes sandwiched an amazing butter cream blend of tangy passionfruit and aromatic basil.
12 -14 Claremont St
South Yarra, VIC
16 November, 2013
Drumroll, please. Korea in Mexico in Melbourne. That is, the beautiful marriage between Korean BBQ and the Mexican Tortilla and has landed in Melbourne. Hello Koba BBQ!
Brother and sister, Will and Rosa have brought the next big thing (I called it) to Melbourne. With Will on the grill and Rosa up front, the two work in harmony in serving mouth-watering fusion offerings of Mexican and Korean flavours six days a week.
Ordering is simple here. 1. Pick your Koba (taco, burrito or rice bowl), 2. Pick your Filling (beef, chicken, spicy pork or tofu + rice), and 3. Complete your Koba (salad + sauce). Okay, let's get started already.
Koba K-BBQ Burrito
The burrito was jammed with kimchi fried rice, spicy pork, chunks of fresh kimchi, cucumber kimchi, seasoned soybean/mung bean sprouts and smokey BBQ mayo. The 24 hour marinated spicy pork was full of flavour and had a slight chew to it that I really liked. The creaminess of the smokey BBQ mayo sauce that smothered the pork meshed well with the kimchi fried rice, and various banchans wrapped together. Loved the fusion. I could have easily eaten a whole one to myself, but had decided to share one with A so I could sample the tacos too.
Koba K-BBQ Tacos
After coming hot and smokey off the grill, the tacos are topped with whatever toppings you please. For me, beef bulgogi, kimchi slaw, tomato salsa, mushrooms, cheese and gochujang please. The ingredients were fresh and the Korean - Mexican flavour hit was as delicious as anticipated, thanks in part to the lusciously subtle heat provided by the traditional gochujang paste.
The balance between Asian and Mexican influences were spot on and are sure to satiate the hungry mouths of Melbournians. Korexican at Koba BBQ - get on it.
119 Hardware Street
13 November, 2013
Surrounded by mother nature, the soothing pitter and patter of the rain and soft flowing tones, T and I participated in a morning of gentle yoga and breakfast. If only I could start every morning at Olinda Tea House.
Whenever I do yoga, I always finish feeling relaxed, yet energised at the same time. For all the yoga lovers out there, you know exactly that I’m talking about— that sense of inner peace and happiness. Buzzing off my yoga high, I decided to skip my usual coffee and chose a pot of Genmaicha instead.
Home Cooked Hand-Cut Honey Roasted Ham
Aside from the lashings of honey roasted ham that literally took up half of my plate, my dish also consisted of two thick slices of sourdough, confit tomatoes, a kick ass kransky and a pair of poached eggs. At the puncture of the kranksy's crunchy skin, the warm cheese sexily oozed out. I was expecting quite a heavy meal, but this dish still caught me off guard with how massive it was.
T decided to go for the comforting dish of Baked Eggs. Served in a terracotta pot, her baked eggs snuggled among creamy mushroom ragout, tasty chorizo pieces and finished with a load of Persian feta. A hearty slice of sourdough worked perfectly in replacement of cutlery, to mop and clean up every drop of sauce.
Perched high above the forever busy Melbourne, Olinda Tea House has a great thing going - food for the body, mind and soul.
Olinda Tea House