30 March, 2014

Hello Sam

There are times when all you're after is a burger to sink your teeth into - for that serious meat fix. Then, there are the times when you find yourself looking for a healthier burger - something substantial, yet at the same time, not too heavy. The great thing about Hello Sam, is that they've catered for both these needs. 

Spicy Sam and Beer-battered Chips

This time round, I found myself in the mood for a fresher and lighter option, but of course not wanting to sacrifice on taste. Spicy Sam it was. Jammed between a toasted brioche bun were a beef patty, crisp lettuce, tomato, red onion and fiery jalapeños all doused in a spicy chipotle mayo. True to its name, the burger didn't hold back on the spice meter at all. I love a spicy kick, though I found that it did become a little too overpowering, which ended up masking its accompaniments.

The chips you ask ? They were absolutely amazing - beer-battered and deep fried to perfection. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just the way I like it. Chips really don't get much better than these. 

Hello Sam is certainly a welcomed addition to the quieter end of Chapel Street. Evidently a reliable burger joint for many, Hello Sam has been a hit and have really been bringing all the boys to the yard. I would say the burger was okay, and it was the chips that stole the limelight. Nonetheless, I left feeling full and satisfied. 

Hello Sam
760 Chapel Street 
South Yarra, VIC

Hello SAM Burger Cafe on Urbanspoon

27 March, 2014

Mr Burger

The guys at Mr Burger are pretty serious about what they do. They serve burgers, chips and drinks - that is all. Three carefully crafted burgers with top notch ingredients, made just for Melbournians. Mr Burger, Mr Meat and Mr Veg, take your pick.

Being the little piggy I am, I think I nearly squealed when my work colleague had pointed out the food truck across the road.

Mr Meat

Wrapped in foil, just like the American take away burgers do, my Mr Meat did not disappoint. A reliable combination of a sweet and super soft bun, a juicy patty of tender beef, and oozy, melty cheese. Topped off with fresh lettuce, smokey bacon, caramelised onions, tangy pickles and a lathering of BBQ sauce and mayo, I wolfed this down in record time. A truly satisfying burger that really hit the bullseye.

Mr Burger, I blame you - you've got me addicted to burgers all over again.

Mr Burger
Food Truck - Location Varies

Mr Burger on Urbanspoon

24 March, 2014

Mr. Hive Kitchen and Bar

One of Crown Metropol's signature restaurants, Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar showcases modern French inspired dishes. Featuring a rustic, yet sophisticated decor, the dimly lit space is warm and alluring. And in celebration of Melbourne Girl's birthday, Mr. Hive was just the man we were looking for.

Crispy Little pig / Ravioli / Cape Grim Hanger steak 250 g (TAS)
Roasted Barramundi / Lamb Rump

Slow Cooked Lamb

There was no doubt that my lamb was slow cooked with patience for 12 hours, as it was meltingly tender and delicious. On a bed of onion puree, the juicy lamb was paired with baby carrots and mushrooms. Unfortunately, I did find the mushrooms lacked taste and was rather over-cooked, resulting in quite an unpleasant mushy texture.

Selection of Cheeses / Almond Soufflé

Mrs. Hive's Chocolate Bar

To finish off our meal, a few of the girls ordered the Selection of Cheeses and Almond Soufflé to share. We also ordered Mr. Hive's better half, Mrs. Hive's famous chocolate bar, which we shared with the Birthday Girl. A delectable smooth and rich chocolate bar with crunchy peanuts and a dollop of peanut butter ice-cream. This was absolute heaven for the sweet tooths on our table, and was polished clean within moments. Truly a chocolate lover’s dream come true.

All in all, Mr. Hive was a fun dining experience. Food wise, I wouldn't say there was much to scream about, but the desserts seemed to be on a whole other level. For those who have sweet teeth or a weakness for dessert, I hear their Dessert Degustation is the bomb.

Mr. Hive Kitchen and Bar
8 Whiteman Street 
Southbank, VIC

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

21 March, 2014

Dukes Coffee Roasters

Over the weekend, a few of us headed over to Dukes Coffee Roasters on Chapel Street to celebrate our friend's birthday - with a Birthday Brunch of course. And it seemed like every other person in Melbourne had the exact same idea. But trust me, it's worth the wait. Dare I say, the wait made it even better.

Avocado Hummus Toast

Three Avocado Hummus Toasts please. Easily dubbed as Duke's signature dish, it was not hard to see why - it was faultless. The eggs were beautifully runny, the bread was crunchy and the glistening honey candied bacon bits were heavenly. Add to that a nutty mix of avocado and hummus spread, a scattering of dukkah, and a healthy handful of watercress, and you have yourself one extremely satisfying dish.

Smashed Avocado

K opted for the lighter and healthier option of Smash Avocado. Piled tall on two hearty slices of sourdough was a creamy avocado and Yarra Valley Feta smash, a medley of heirloom tomatoes,  fresh basil and a poached egg.

Buttermilk Pancakes

On the other end of the table, Birthday Girl enjoyed light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes with bite sized balls of blueberry sweetness, vanilla bean ice cream and an entire pot of maple syrup Of course, crispy pancetta was a obligatory add-on.

Dukes have all the right boxes ticked - offering a relaxed space, great atmosphere and a brilliant brunch menu. It won't be long till I head back for another feed.

Dukes Coffee Roasters
169 Chapel Street
Windsor, VIC

Dukes Coffee on Urbanspoon

17 March, 2014

Servery & Spoon

Malvern East's iconic cafe, Servery & Spoon, needs little introduction. But for those who are unfamiliar with this hidden gem among the suburbs, please, read on.

Both A and I were tossing up between the Crispy Dukkah Crusted Eggs and Morning Super Salad, and so we decided to order both to share sharing is caring ! 

Crispy Dukkah Crusted Eggs

Encrusted in a wonderful Egyptian spice blend, the eggs had a beautifully crisp exterior. Though one of our eggs was over-done, this wasn't an issue for long as our waitress happily and promptly replaced it with a wonderfully oozy one only minutes later. Together with a squeeze of grilled lime on our smashed avo, salted ricotta, juicy mushrooms, za'atar, and crusty cut of sourdough - this definitely hit the spot. 

Morning Super Salad

We also enjoyed a light and zesty salad, bursting with colour and earthy flavours. A poached egg perched on a hearty mix of leafy kale, cauliflower rice, fluffy red quinoa, sweet beetroot cubes, creamy smashed avo, and crunchy pepitas. Truly an impressive salad I must say. 

We ate, we drank and we liked it all - the tasty food, cozy ambiance and smooth service. Keep it coming, Servery & Spoon !

Servery & Spoon
137 Waverley Road 
Malvern East, VIC

Servery & Spoon on Urbanspoon

14 March, 2014

Burma Lane

Burma Lane, a contemporary Australian take on the best of Burmese cuisine, is the latest restaurant from the team behind Red Spice Road. Lead by Adam Trengrove, former Head Chef at the original Red Spice Road, Burma Lane is all about featuring the fresh and vibrant flavours of Burma.

But first, what is Burmese cuisine ? Just imagine a huge melting pot of culture, ingredients and flavours from Thailand (Fish Sauce), India (Spices) and China (Sichuan). And there you have it - Burmese cuisine.

The space located on Little Collins Street oozes chic with its high ceilings, and great walls adorned with hanging art and artefacts. The most prominent being the artwork of Aung San Suu Kyi titled ‘Freedom To Lead’ which lights up the room. Going hand in hand with this painting is the ongoing theme of the Burmese birdcages, which symbolises freedom.

Swami delight

A concoction of apple, cardamom syrup, agave and indian yoghurt.

Crispy Soft Shell Crab

We started with Crispy Soft Shell Crab, cradled in a dandauk salad. The light-as-a- feather soft shell crab splashed with sour chilli was good, but was missing something. Easily fixed though, with the addition of Burmese Balachaung, the crisp shallot and dried shrimp relish brought it to the next level. One thing that was quite disappointing about this dish though, was the large variance in size of the soft shell crabs. 

Potato Cake filled with Spicy Slow Roasted Lamb Belly

Next, was my favourite dish of the night. Moreish golden potato cakes filled with spicy slow roasted lamb belly, cabbage salad, finished with a spoonful full of cool minty yoghurt and for extra oomph,  a sprinkling of chilli flakes. I would go back just to eat these sexy little things.

19th Street Crispy Pork

We also indulged in the 19th Street Crispy Pork - which I had originally imagined to be bite sized pieces of pork, but to my surprise was pork belly. Succulent, tender pork belly rubbed with lemon, cumin and chilli awoke my taste buds. The zingy harissa added an extra kick to every satisfying oily crunch of the pork belly.

Pickled Tea Leaf Salad

To complement the 19th Street Crispy Pork, we also had the Pickled Tea Leaf Salad. An interesting mix of pickled tea leaves, tomato, peanuts, sesame seeds, crunchy broad beans and cabbage. There was a whole lots of flavours and textures going on here, which we did find to be on the saltier side.

Semolina Cake

Even before our dishes were cleared, both Maggie and Peach were somehow already discussing dessert, and it was unanimous that we had to have the Semolina Cake with brown butter, toasted almonds, raisins and palm sugar ice cream. The cake was insanely enriched with butter and was soft, warm and spongey. Contrasted with the deeply flavoured palm sugar ice cream... oh it was bliss and joy.

Coffee & Ginger Cheesecake

We also enjoyed the Coffee and Ginger Cheesecake with burnt white chocolate & crystallised coconut. With its deep, robust flavour and unmistakable aroma, the coffee flavour worked wonderfully with the sharp kick of ginger. Lovely and velvety smooth, the cheesecake was just a tad too sweet though.

Burma Lane is a worthy addition to Melbourne's food scene, bringing modern Burmese cuisine to the table like no other. The time we spent here, surrounded with great company and affectionate hospitality, were enjoyable indeed. Burma Lane, you're a little pricey for your petite portions, but I like you.

Burma Lane
118 Little Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC

Burma Lane on Urbanspoon

10 March, 2014

Nieuw Amsterdam

Residing in one of Melbourne's most famous hipster alley ways,  you will find Nieuw Amsterdam snuggly tucked in on Hardware Street. A New York style eatery and bar, Nieuw Amsterdam has given Melbourne a whole new definition on American cuisine.  

Pork Trotter and Ham Hock Nuggets

You come to Nieuw Amsterdam for these crispy little piggies, you'd be crazy not to. Its a salty, melt in your mouth picture of excellence - a gelatinous combo of braised pork trotter and ham hock nuggets on a rich deep brown burnt onion jam. Each bite-sized piece balancing a thin disc of apple and delicate onion flower, these nuggets were an absolute winner.

BBQ Scallops

Expect four fresh and juicy scallops with a nice bite to them. Among these scallops, there’s the lightness of the thin shavings of cucumber, the creamy roundness of the avocado mousse, the sweetness from the mango gazpacho, and the crunch of the fried shallots with a faint spice.

Grits Fritters

We also shared the Grits Fritters, as it was highly recommended by many. The golden cubes of grits were soft, velvety, and went extremely well with smooth sweetcorn puree and the earthy body of the heirloom beets. Topped with finely grated manchego cheese, this dish is what I call 21st century comfort food.

A hidden gem dimly lit by candle light, Nieuw Amsterdam is the place to be seen at this year. Classy, sophisticated, yet comfortably casual. Food is taken seriously here, with quality ingredients and great attention to detail when balancing flavours and textures.  Nieuw Amsterdam may be new to the scene, but is already turning heads left, right and centre.

Nieuw Amsterdam
106-112 Hardware Street 
Melbourne, VIC

Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

02 March, 2014

The Rickshaw

New to the neigbourhood, The Rickshaw on Gertrude Street is all about reflecting the cultural history of Asia. Inspired by the foods spanning from India across to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, The Rickshaw takes these street food favourites and puts a modern Australian twist to it.

Chicken 65

While we were waiting for a table, we were seated at the bar where we enjoyed a couple of drinks and nibbled on Chicken 65. Coated in a fusion of spices and enhanced with fried curry leaves, these bite sized chicken pieces were absolutely delicious. What would have taken it to the next level though, would be if the chicken had a crispier exterior.

Pani Puri / Pui’s 3 Fungi Rolls / Duck Salad

From the small bites, we had Rickshaw's delicate thin-shelled Pani Puri served with a aromatic spicy water. There was also Pui's 3 Fungi Rolls - steamed cabbage rolls filled with a trio of enoki, oyster and shitake mushrooms in a garlic konbu sauce. We also shared the Duck Salad,  a generous amount of shredded duck leg tossed in a salad of cucumber, green papaya, lychee, red chilli with papaya dressing.

For the entrees, I did feel that the dishes lacked the punch that you would expect. The flavours seemed like it had the potential to be explosive, however I found it to be much more on the muted side. 

Black Cod

Fortunately, the mains really got the ball rolling. And oh my, how the Black Cod was an instant hit . It  had everyone asking for more. Marinated in Saikyo miso for 24 hours, the black cod fillet was cooked exceptionally well - retaining it's texture, tenderness and shape. Served with grilled asparagus and baby carrots and som tum, it was an unusual combination, but hey, I'm not complaining.

Achari Rack of Lamb

The Achari Rack of Lamb was the other dish which was well received by all - lamb braised and then slow cooked in a fragrant mustard oil. The  lamb melted in our mouths whilst the spices surprised our palate with fenugreek, fennel, cumin seeds and cloves.

Drunken Noodles 

We also enjoyed the smokey stirfry of Drunken Noodles - flat rice noodles tangled among juicy chicken breast, green peppercorns, wild ginger and Yamazaki whiskey.

Lemongrass Crème Brûlée / Thai Tea Panna Cotta with Honey Syrup / Coconut Sago Pudding

Ending with something sweet, we sampled the unique flavours of the Lemongrass Crème Brûlée, the silky smooth Thai Tea Panna Cotta and the refreshing Coconut Sago Pudding. 

Extremely busy, the night did start off a little shaky with traffic jams here and there. However, as the night went on, the pace picked up and everything took order. With the exception of a couple of the entrees, the food here is delicious and crafted with great attention to detail.  If you're after something to tickle your tastebuds, The Rickshaw may just be what you've been looking for.

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of The Rickshaw

The Rickshaw
199 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy, VIC

The Rickshaw on Urbanspoon