29 August, 2013

Red Robyn

T had just landed back in Melbourne after her trip to the US. And without even asking, I knew she would have wanted something on the healthier side. Red Robyn is known to be an extremely allergy friendly café - if your allergies have not already been addressed on the menu yet, they are always happy to cater to your needs. And in my mind, 100% Gluten Free somehow translated to 100% healthy. So where did we go ? Red Robyn of course.

Sweet Potato Rostis

A nest of sweet potato rosti with house cured salmon, iron rich spinach, squeaky haloumi drizzled with orange blossom oil. A little different to what I would normally order, and so a little different to what my tastebuds were longing. Generous and extremely filling, it still did the job. 

Red Robyn Breakfast

Having imagined the a vegan friendly Big Breakfast, this dish caught us by surprise and was not what we were expecting at all. Presented was baked field mushroom, quinoa & corn tabouleh, grilled lemon poached in a tomato rich shakshuka sauce. And a mini Jenga tower of polenta chips for crunching and dipping purposes.

With no allergies myself, Red Robyn was just another café for me. However, with the sneaky eavesdropping and observing I was doing as I waited for my friend,  I can see how their allergy and customer friendly services make this an absolute standout café for those with dietary requirements.

Red Robyn
393 Camberwell Rd 

Red Robyn on Urbanspoon

26 August, 2013

Jimmy Grants

The girls and I were ecstatic to hear that George Calombaris had just opened up Jimmy Grants in Fitzroy. Eager for a taste of Greece, we headed over to see for ourselves how good these souvlakis could really be.

The Bonegilla

This was ridiculously delicious. The pita bread was warm, pillowy and super soft. Both the chicken and lamb were tender, moist and absolutely moreish - with the right ratio of fats too. Wrap that all up with crunchy chips, onion, parsley and mustard aioli and you have the best souvlaki ever. 

Grain Salad

I fell in love with this salad - the flavour, the crunch, the sweetness from the raisons. An earthy salad of pulses, toasted slivered almonds, grains, herbs and greek yoghurt. It was doing everything right.

Iceberg Salad

A simple salad of iceberg lettuce tossed with oregano, lemon and olive oil. Though vey easy and not one bit complicated, the salad was refreshing to nibble on between mouthfuls of souvlaki.


Who would have thought? Chips, garlic oil, oregano and feta as such a killer combination. The crunchy chips themselves would have already done the job, but the crumbled feta and garlic oil made it much more special and memorable.

There is no doubt about it, I would return to this place in a heartbeat. I cannot express how excited I am for Jimmy Grants to open up in Ormond in the next few months. Please hurry. 

Jimmy Grants
113 St David St 

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23 August, 2013

N2 Extreme Gelato

Born and raised in Sydney is N2 Extreme Gelato. All grown up, this quirky gelato parlour is now Fitzroy's newest coolest resident.

Here at N2, I had the chace to truly embrace my inner geek. Liquid Nitrogen, lab coats, word play and puns. Squeal ! With such incredible flavours filled with endless imagination, you are seriously spoilt for choice. For safer options choose the traditional-but-not-not-so-traditional Cookies and Cream or for the more adventurous, opt for the Black Lava Salted Caramel.  A little more daring ?  Have a lick of the Salty C***.

But for me? I could not resist the famous Crème Brûlée

Salty C***, Black Lava Salted Caramel, 
Crème Brûlée & Lychee Ma Rose Sorbet

Made before our very eyes was my very own Crème Brûlée gelato. The first thing that hit me was the heavenly smell - before all the photo taking, the tasting, and the oo-ing & ahh-ing. Taste wise, the end product was extremely smooth and creamy. Topped off with a shiny caramelised coating, spoonfuls of this icy version tasted like magic.

The gelato here at N2 is definitely worth the trip - they take that extra step further and create a wacky fun experience for that cup of creamy goodness. With flavours changing every Thursday, I can see how it can become dangerously addicting.

N2 Extreme Gelato
329 Brunswick Street 

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

20 August, 2013

The Merrywell

Having serious cravings for cow, there was no questioning it. Merrywell Upstairs was the place to be. What reminded me of a much fancier version of the good old American TGIF, Merrywell Upstairs diner was slightly dim, swanky feeling which gave it a sleek and trendy vibe.

First thing was first. With forewarning that the-reason-why-we-were-here Caveman 1200g Aged Rib-Eye for 35 Day Steak would incur a 40 minute wait, we eagerly ordered this together with our drinks. 

Merrywell Chips

Served piping hot in a cute little deep fryer basket were incredibly crispy ripped potatoes. These potatoes worked wonderfully with the smokey, creamy and oh so sinful bacon aioli. These were all gone in a flash.

 Mini Wagyu Beef Burgers

Of course we had to have some sort of a burger at Merrywell, and since we were upstairs, we were quite limited in choice. But that wasn't an issue as the Mini Wagyu Beef Burgers were exactly what we were after. In triplets came out three divine looking little things. Between two plump buns was all things good - white cheddar which melted beautifully over a juicy wagyu beef patty, topped with sweet caramelised onions and tangy pickles.

Spicy Fish Tacos

Spicy Fish Tacos followed the Mini Wagyu Beef Burgers, and boy was I glad to see some fresh greens. Spicy Fish Tacos here at Merrywell incorporated grilled fish, salsa, creamy avocado, spicy jalapeños and a drizzle of sour cream. An average taco I would say- not bad, not great.

Backyard BBQ Ribs

Ribs are always fun to share and this one was no different. And so, these smokey BBQ Ribs doused in Merrywell's special BBQ Sauce went down like a treat. The meat was tender and melty and went great with it's sides. I found the watermelon to be an odd side dish, but was relieved by the sweetness and juiciness that went surprisingly well with the richness and smokiness of the whole dish. Creamy coleslaw and Mexican corn on a cob were equally winners.

Mama's Meatball Parma

Straight out of the oven came Mama's Meatball Parma served with warm toasted bread. Presented maginificenly were these wagyu ricotta meatballs that topped seashell shaped pasta all submerged in a rich napoli sauce.


Caveman 1200g Aged Rib-Eye 35 Day, Wet-Aged (for 2)

Last but certainly not least, was the dish we had all been waiting for. Our Aged Rib-Eye was presented to us first for viewing (for photo taking), before the waitress bought it back to the kitchen to be carved up. The Rib-Eye was rich and with every bite dissipated smoothly in my mouth. The tenderness of the flesh had just the right amount of chew and bought out the carnivorous caveman hidden within me. Not only did it taste amazing, it smelt fantastic too. The onion rings were nice and light, reminiscent of the Japanese's tempura-batter style, which really allowed the natural sweetness of the onion to shine through. 

By the end of the night, we were all full to the brim and there were smiles all round. Double Rainbow happiness. This is definielty the place to come if you're after some good cow. Merrywell was more than verywell, it was extremely-well.

The Merrywell
Cnr Clarendon St & Crown Riverside 

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

17 August, 2013

Gaijin Japanese Fusion

Many times was Gaijin highly recommended to me by a friend, and so I thought it was about time I popped in for a visit. But why did this Japanese word sound so familiar to me? Oh that's right -Tokyo Drift ! As DK explained, Gaijin "means, turn around, keep walking". But no not really, what Gaijin really refers to is someone who is a non-Japanese - an outsider or a foreigner. What a perfect name for a Japanese Fusion restaurant.

 Ahi Tuna Tartare

Fresh raw tuna cubes marinated, with mango salsa on crispy nori tempura chips was the first dish out. The first bite intrigued me, with the play on different textures and flavours. However, throughout the night, my thoughts on this dish had changed. In the end, my friend only had one while I ended up picking around the tuna and ate the nori chips by itself. Considered one of their most popular dishes, I was expecting a little more. Though certainly quite unique, it just didn't tickle our fancy. 

Spider vs Dragon Roll

In this dish, the Spider was represented by soft shell crab, battling it out with the Dragon played by unagi. Wrapped inside out was tempura crunch, soft shell crab, mayo, cream cheese which was topped with grilled tender unagi slices. And the result we see above tasted absolutely amazing. Soft shell crab sushi rolls are always the best. The cream cheese was smooth and creamy (duh) which coupled nicely with the crunch of tempura and soft shell crab. Hands down the favourite of the night.

Crunchy Spicy Salmon Special

Just like in the Spider vs Dragon Roll, the sushi rice here at Gaijin was plump, sightly sticky and slightly chewy which supported the other components of the dish well. Again, we see the use of tempura crunch,  but hey who's complaining? I could definitely get used to this tempura crunch business. Together with the tempura crunch was raw spicy salmon, topped with more salmon slices and served with Gaijin sauce (spicy mayo).

Seared Scallops

Next out were our hot dishes of the night, and first came seared hokkaido scallops served with tempura sauce, dried bonito fish flakes and finished off with spring onion garnishing. As these scallops came out, my mind wondered off to scallop wonderland -  that sweet freshness and succulent texture that make scallops just so delectable. But, my tastebuds were not in sync. Instead, my tastebuds had sampled mushy, over cooked scallops which lacked flavour. Unfortunately, this dish was our least favourite of the night and just left bad taste in my mouth.

Agedashi Tofu

Six hot silken cubed tofus floated in a fragrant sweet and salty broth. The soft tofu was lightly deep fried which formed a crispy golden brown skin. Sprinkled on top was sliced spring onion and dried bonito fish flakes that twisted and moved with the heat - the bonito dance as I would like to call it.

With creaky floors that felt like they were about to collapse any minute shadowed with a gloomy ambience, Gaijin did feel a little uncomfortable. Perhaps the not-so-great weather that night did not help either. However, food and service was prompt and speedy and the company of A always ends in a good night. If you do plan to make your way to Gaijin, the inventive Japanese fusion rolls and Agedashi tofus here should not be missed.

Gaijin Japanese Fusion
135 Commercial Road 
South Yarra

Gaijin Japanese Fusion on Urbanspoon

13 August, 2013

Dainty Sichuan

Whenever I get the cravings for dangerously deep fried, hot and spicy food,  Dainty Sichuan is my one stop destination. Their Chongqing Chicken alone pulls me in every time and always delivers. Currently happily suffering a food coma, I'm just going to let the photos do all the talking.  

Spicy Bean Jelly 

Cumin Lamb Slices 

Ants Climbing Trees

Spicy Pig Ears

Chongqing Spicy Chicken

Jade Soy Beans

I dare you, tell me you aren't drolling by the end of this post.

Dainty Sichuan
176 Toorak Road 
South Yarra

Dainty Sichuan on Urbanspoon

10 August, 2013

Fonda Mexican

I love the heat, fire, spice and livelihood that Mexican food brings to the table. Dangerously craving Mexican one night, I somehow miraculously managed to persuade A to have Mexican with me that night. Next thing you know, we were at Fonda Mexican on Swan Street.

Fish Taco

From where I was sitting, I could see these tortillas being freshly pressed. With skill and speed, the tortilla guy was churning out around 4 tortillas per minute ! Fresh tortillas was a big tick in my book and only further urged me to order their famous Fish Taco. Wrapped in a freshly made six inch tortilla came a crispy crumbed piece of rockling fish, chopped white onion, pickled strands of carrot, avocado crema and a drizzle of chipotle aioli. Flavours were refreshing and extremely satisfying.

Chopped Beef Burrito

For the burritos, I could not go past the Chopped Beef. Jam packed inside was tender pieces of beef, smokey black beans, fresh cabbage, fluffy quinoa, salsa roja and a dash of chipotle aioli. I happily dug into this bundle of goodness and could not put it down - because it was so damn good and also the fear of the whole burrito collapsing into a huge mess if I did dare to put it down. A little messy to eat, but what burrito isn't? 

Chicken Quesadilla

The last dish of the night was the Chicken Quesadilla, and a dish neither A or I were quite fond of. Encased in a large twelve inch corn tortilla encased Bannockburn roast chicken, queso fresco, wild rocket, celery root and avocado crema. The dish looked exceptionally tasty, however the taste was not as we had expected. Bite after bite, all I could taste was cheese - not the creamy, mild queso fresco I had in mind, but the typical melted Tasty Cheese you would have in a toastie. But hey, that could work for some people, just not me.

In a very relaxed and chilled atmosphere, Fonda made an excellent spot for a quick bite to eat - order and pay first, then eat and be merry. Somewhere, I would definietly return for that Chopped Beef Burrito for sure.

Fonda Mexican
248 Swan Street 

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