Fusion asian dishes, walk-in restaurant with no bookings except for one table of 10-12 people which means, waiting a long time to get a seat if you’re not there early. We went on a Friday night but some of the guys came late and at Chin Chin they won’t seat you unless the whole party is there. So we were told that the wait was 3hours. We were determined to dine at Chin Chin that night so we occupied ourselves for 3 hours and awaited a text message saying that our table was ready. We finally made it in and it did not disappoint.
When I think Tea House, I think tea pots and tea bags so everytime I passed Oriental TeaHouse I didn’t stop to think they ever served food which they absolutely do. I would their food selections as yum-cha style servings and dumplings are their specialty. But to showcase their food selections Oriental Tea House in Melbourne Central is currently running a special called “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”.
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I’ve never been down the Warburton side of the Yarra Valley but last month a number of wineries down this area hold an annual event called Shed Fest which showcases the south end of the Yarra Valley. The wineries open their cellar doors or in some cases their shed and offer wine tasting, food and entertainment. All you need to do is pay $10.00 for a Shed Fest wine glass and then off you go winery hopping. A good family event to put in your calendars for next year.
Coming from the city end through to Lilydale then Warburton, the first winery you’ll come across on the left is Wild Cattle Creek. Such a beautiful winery which hosts accomodation, functions, a restaurant, cellar door and fantastic screnery.
I was able to speak with Kevin and Heather who run Wild Cattle Creek, who I think are absolutely lovely people and answered all my questions about the place. Make sure you say “Hi!” to them for me. I also got to take a picture with them (see picture below).
During Shed Fest each winery are required to provide a set menu of small dishes which Wild Cattle Creek provided but the food they served is not part of their normal menu but the food was great and well presented. Must come back and try their restaurant.
Having a wonder around the property, I thought to myself as I’m in the process of getting married this would be a really nice place to have a wedding. Unfortunately we require an asian style menu catered for but talking to Kevin they do a large number of weddings every year. So if you’re looking for a winery wedding *hint* *hint*.
I shall be back to try out the restaurant and possibly stay at their accomodation. There’s always something new to try out in the Yarra Valley. I did enjoy a number of their wines but I’m not an expert so I can’t comment much on that. Sorry guys, I guess you’ll need head down there to find out. Their cellar door should always be open as it’s in the restaurant foyer.
Location: 473 Warburton Hwy, Seville VIC 3139
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Melbourne’s outskirts have plenty to offer. Went to Laksa King for lunch to farewell a work colleague moving positions. We were glad that we were able to book a table for 15-20 people the day before as the place was full when we arrived. Always wanted to try this place so this was a perfect opportunity to bring my camera and take some happy snaps and food snaps. I don’t think any of us had eaten here before so expectations were based on Urbanspoon otherwise our other alternative was Taj Palace in Footscray. I’m glad we chose Laksa King!
Because the place was full during the lunch rush we all wondered if they even reserved a table for us. But then we were surprised there was a large table area on the side and more seating at the back. The place seats more than what I thought and the buzzing atmosphere and decor was very pleasing. You wouldn’t come here for a meeting, so all the reviews about it being too loud is a bit silly in my opinion because it adds buzz and atmosphere.
Service was exceptionally good and the place was well staffed for the lunch rush. For a lunch break you’re always conscious on time and all our dishes came out pretty quickly! As well as the floor staff, if you look into the open kitchen, there’s a dozen or more kitchen staff and chefs to feed an army.
I ordered the Ipoh fried noodles and when it came out I thought it looked pretty damn tasty. When I dug deep to the fried noodles I thought it tasted burnt but everytime I eat this, it sort of always does. It’s probably normal but i still enjoyed the dish overall.
The Singapore noodles and Nasi Goreng looked awesome, I might have to try them next time (that’s right will be returning)
Overall everyone was quite pleased with their meals, ambience and service. I recommend trying this place and hopefully you’ll have a similar pleasant experience to what I did. One thing I can’t comment on is their Laksa which did look good but everyone that had a Laksa gave it a big thumbs up so maybe it’ll have to be a Laksa next time I visit.
I’m building on my Malaysian cuisine having eaten at a number of Malaysian restaurants and I’m slowly becoming a big fan!
Location: 6/10-12 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington VIC 3031
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Phone: (03) 9372 6383
When I say hidden, I really mean hidden. There’s no sign outside on the street, well none that I could see, so if you happen to stumble across this place by just walking through a door down Swanston St having a look what’s downstairs then you’ve done very well. How did I find out about this place? Unfortunately I didn’t stumble upon this place but it was pointed out by a friend who begged me to not put this on my blog because it’s such a hidden treasure. Oh well, sharing is caring.
The entrance is a bit shabby and their sign which from memory last time I went past wasn’t there so I guess it’s a little easier to find now.
But once you walk in, you feel like you’re in Korea. Well that’s what my partner said because she recently came back from there. As you walk in there’s cute little seating compartments, a bar and some casual seating area in front of the bar. My partner and I got to sit in this cute little booth for two. Sort of reminded me of the cupboard space underneath a staircase (I wasn’t paying much attention but it probably was the area underneath a staircase, lol)
Had some beef bulgogi which was my favourite and was very full of flavour and I loved the straw mushrooms on top.
Pork belly went super well with its accompanied sides but obviously very plain on its own. I think you’re supposed to wrap it in the cabbage and then add the sweet pickled radish or something that came with it. Should of asked, got excited because the menu said pork belly.
We also grabbed some beef soup which went well with what we got and hit the spot on a cold long winter night.
Then of course a whole bunch of sides which is why I love Korean food and restaurants. The side dish that I found weird because I hadn’t seen it served or tried it like that before was the ‘raw garlic’. Have you ever eaten garlic like that? Was weird but I quite liked it and helped with some of the spicy items.
I’m pretty sure its cash only, so make sure you bring some mulla and they probably don’t do bookings either. They’re open from 5pm every day and close til late.
I like Joomak’s interior and the food was okay but the prices were a bit steep for the amount you get. I would of liked to have tried some of their soju wine’s, cocktails and drinks but it wasn’t that type of night. The seating booths are cute but if you’ve got a big group, prepare to squish together. I didn’t know but the corner of Swanston St and A’beckett St in Melbourne hosts some funky looking Korean and Japanese restaurants. Might have to do a series on that area. But I do see myself going back to Joomak for some wine, cocktails and light nibblies.
Location:Basement 407-409 Swanston St Melbourne, 3000
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Welcome to the Westside! Quang Vinh sits on the most popular street in St Albans, ‘Alfrieda St’! In my opinion Quang Vinh is probably the best Vietnamese restaurant on the street. You can’t miss it with its big orange neon sign.
I’m a big fan of trying new places and trying different and beautiful food but everyone needs a safety net when you just want a good feed without the big effort to book, travel and experiment with your taste buds. I have a regular set of dishes I order when I come here, so I guess I’m recommending the following dishes:
Chicken Spare Ribs: These are so crispy and so tasty that I could eat a bucket full of them.
Mongolian Sizzling Beef: Stand back when this arrives because it really does sizzle! The beef is nice and juicy and is perfect with any type of rice (fried, plain & tomato) This is a perfect dish to share.
Diced Beef with Tomato Rice: I label this as the white man’s dish of choice. Every non-asian loves diced beef and to get someone who’s new to Vietnamese food or eating at a Vietnamese restaurant, start them on this dish. I’ve had a good share of diced beef and this places high on my list.
Flounder with Tamarind sauce: Flash fried flounder is awesome! Sometimes the tamarind sauce can be overwhelming but then you just scrape the excess off. Durrr! This is another great dish for sharing.
Seafood Hotpot: I’m a big fan of seafood but not so much with vegetables…typical male! So its a dish I don’t usually order but when someone else does, I tend to steal all the seafood pieces before they all disappear. It’s a good dish but not of my forte.
Quang Vinh has so many items on their menu and I probably won’t try all of them but I do like my favourites. I suggest not to order take-away as it tastes much better fresh. Went to eat there on a Wednesday night and the place was full and had to share a large table with another group of people. When it comes to Vietnamese restaurants, service is quite poor and this place is no exception. Sometimes I feel that asian restaurants or waiters give me the impression that I should be privileged to eat at their restaurant but being engaged to one, I guess I’m used to it (jokes if you’re reading this). As I said Quang Vinh is one of my safety nets and always find myself eating there and generally the food is good.
Location: Alfrieda St, St Albans, 3021
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Phone: (03) 9366 4147
Have you ever been driving down the Maroondah Hwy through Coldstream on the way to Healesville and seen the Spanish style, beautiful orange roof buildings amongst acres and hills of grape vines and trees? Well, that place is Tokar Estate Winery. Having been to Healsville several times and eaten at Bella Vedere, I wanted to checkout Tokar Estate Winery solely because of its picturesque views of the valley and skyline.Obviously this shows that harvest is finished, winter has kicked in, the air crisp and cold but the views still take your breath away. Tokar Estate is not all about the wines, they also have a beautiful family owned restaurant with inside and alfresco dining open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is run by Leon and Rita Tokar who are very lovely hosts and gave their time to talk to myself and my partner and answered all the questions we threw at them.We arrived for lunch took some beautiful pictures outside and made our way into the restaurant. We built ourselves a little bit of an appetite and didn’t waste any time to order. We learnt that the menu changes every 2 weeks or so depending on some of the produce from the local markets and the vegetables and herbs they grow in the garden. We also learnt from Leon that there’s no beef farmers in the Yarra Valley so it’s obviously sourced elsewhere but there is a game meat supplier in the area which they source venison and rabbit from (yummm!). Unfortunately they weren’t on the menu that day. To wet our taste pallets we ordered a tasting plate of liver parfait, bruchetta, cheese and other nibblies.The tasting plate definitely got the ball rolling and my favourite was the liver parfait with crackers and a bit of this pickled radish type side. Also tried some mushroom soup which was creamy and delish.For mains we had a Salmon with potato kipflers dressed in honey mustard sauce and a beef steak served with a layered potato slice and vegetables.To complement our dishes our waiter suggested the Chardonnay for our entrees and Tokar’s signature wine the Tempranillo for our mains. Good choice waiter! The Tempranillo went very well with the steak. Next time we serve up some steak for dinner I’m going get the family to try this out.Now to my favourite course, dessert. My partner and I were keen to get one dessert to share but then our wandering and greedy eyes got us ordering the assiette of desserts (served on one large late) which landed us three very nice and super good tasting desserts.Here we have a dark chocolate ganache tart served with homemade vanilla ice-cream. To get the full enjoyment out of it you had to eat each component combined with the vanilla ice-cream.Above we have the chocolate moose served with a berry side. This was my partners favourite and I coukdn’t agree more. The moose and tart it was in cased in was beautiful and together with the berry, it was a match made in heaven.The cheesecake looked amazing and instead of a biscuit base there’s macadamia nuts which go really well with the cheesecake and don’t forget to have it with the vanilla consummate.I waited until the restaurant cleared a little so I could take this wonderful picture of the view from inside the restaurant. If you’re seated near the window or sitting out on the alfresco dining area you can enjoy the beautiful food, fresh air and picturesque scenery of the valley. Perfect for a romantic day or night out and make sure to book on the weekends as they can get quite busy.Tokar Estate Winery and Restaurant has been ticked off on my Yarra Valley to do list and can be put onto my to visit again in spring or summer list. The tasting plate and desserts were the highlights for me and I enjoyed the Tempranilla wine which I will be trying again. Good food, good wine and great scenery makes Tokar Estate a must do on the Yarra Valley list.
A big thank you to Yarra Valley Secrets for organising a table for me at Tokar Estate on a very last minute notice and thank you to Leon and Rita Tokar for their very warm hospitality.
Location: 6 Maddens Lane, Coldstream, VIC 3770
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Phone: (03) 5964 9585
Chillipadi – India in Melbourne Central and right next door you have Chilli-India, express indian food. I’ve been to Chillipadi Mamak Kopitiam and enjoyed the hawker style Malaysian food there and I’ve been to Chillipadi Watergardens where the food and service was okay but what I really liked was the decor of the restaurant and the massive round table for banquets and functions (gotta revisit the place, forgot my camera last time). So I was pretty excited and had mixed feelings about Chillipadi at Melbourne Central.
I was happy to be invited on Food Pamering Yourself’s 2nd Food Trail on a Wednesday night at Chillipadi-India so it was a relaxed setup and was able to share it with a good handful of other great food bloggers. We also got to meet Robert and Li (pictured) from Chillipadi who were wonderful hosts and Li explained and prepared the dishes for us and even gave us a good history lesson on Malaysian food and Malaysian heritage. Can’t thank Robert and Li enough for the wonderful feast they prepared for us with dishes from both Chillipadi-India and Chilli-India.I’ve been past many times but in case you can’t find it there’s 2 entrances to Chillipadi-India. One is through Melbourne Central right next to Max Brenner Chocolate and the other is on the corner of Lt Lonsdale St and Elizabeth St. You can’t miss it.
Now on to the food gawking! We started with some red wine and some of us ordered our own drinks.Here we have the Milo Dinosaur, I tried this at the Mamak Kopitiam restaurant and thought it looked cooler in the jar they served it in but it probably tasted the same.I ordered the Bandung which is apparently a popular Malaysian drink which consists of milk, rose syrup and basil seeds. I really liked it, it was nice and refreshing and helped me with the spicy food. Behind the bandung was the Ribena & Lychees drink which also looked nice and refreshing.Chicken Lobak, this was a great dish to start the night. Nice and soft with it’s chicken stuffing and bean curd skin.My picture doesn’t do the dish justice but this is a Duck Salad. The salad had slices of duck, walnuts, cherry tomatoes and some dressing.Pad Thai (Seafood) was cooked just the way I like it. Yumm! Update 15/06/11 7:25pm: This is actually Penang Fried Keuy Teow (thanks Ashely from Food Pampering for correcting me) Followed by some Fried soft tofu.Above is the Indonesian Beef Rendang which was a little spicy for me but I actually enjoyed it even thought got me a little flustered. I guess that’s why they’re called Chillipadi.Now I can’t remember what this was but it looked like layered roti with some filling. I should paid more attention. But I like anything with roti or roti like. Update 15/06/11 11:10am: This dish is Roti reuben, stuffed with chicken curry, mayo and sweet chilli sauce (from Ashley – I’m So Hungreeeee)Here we have prawns covered in flaky oats. Got the opportunity to get my hands dirty by peeling the skin or if you’re lazy or you like you can opt to eat the skin. I liked the prawns but the flaky bits didn’t do it for me.The Fish Curry was my favourite. Good amount of spice and the flavours all blended nicely and went well with the rice. From memory it had some vegetables and eggplant in it too. Will come back for this dish.To finish off our feast we had a calamari/seafood salad, at this point we were all pretty satisfied and couldn’t ask for me. But then we were introduced to one of the chefs at Chilli-India!We also got invited to watch him demonstrate some roti making.
Went back upstairs to find out, we were going to taste some more food from next door’s Chilli-India. Should of seen our faces, we were almost at the point of “time to release a button full” but our eyes still gleamed with excitement.I don’t know what it’s called but a long roti tissue dish came out with three types of dips. I think there was a coconut dip and a curry style dip and not sure what the other one was. The roti broke off easily and the dipping sauces were great. Good dish to have for a casual meetup or to start a feast off. Update 15/06/11 11:13am: This is called Dosai, made with rice flour.(from Ashley – I’m So Hungreeeee)Then we were served some Tandoori Chicken and some flavoured Basmati Rice. The chicken was good as you enjoyed the tandoori marinate and was nice and juicy.Followed by some super creamy Butter Chicken and roti chanai, my favourite. I could just eat roti and butter chicken all day long. Definitely come past for some of this.This was the final dish to arrive. Roti Tissue with chocolate syrup, condense milk and nuts to dress. We couldn’t keep our hands off it. Soft roti just breaks off and if the syrup and milk wasn’t enough you could take a dip at the pool of chocolate, milk and nuts at the bottom of the plate.To top off the wonderful feast we had, we were served some Green Tea infused with Rosemary. I’m not really into the infused flavours with green tea but this I liked! Where can I get some?We spent most of our time upstairs which had a beautiful array of wine bottles and Liquor for decor.There’s also a small balcony area upstairs with a good view of the alley or you can hire it out for private functions and also hire the upstairs area for functions (seats 60). Giving me ideas!
Good location, a favourite for the after clubbing scene being opened til 5:00am from Thursday to Saturday and a good range of food and prices according to your preference. I enjoyed the food, the company and Robert and Li were great. I would like to go back and have the full dining experience and try my favourites and more. Definitely recommend giving this place a go for a mix of Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Chinese and a bit of Japanese cuisine.
Location: Shop E07 Menzies Alley Melbourne Central, Crn Lt Lonsdale & Elizabeth, Melbourne.
Phone: 03 9663 5688
Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday (10am til late), Thursday to Saturday (10am-5am)
“Tomato, cheese, mushroom, grilled chicken tenders & fresh avocado” 15.9
My good friends at FOOD-Pampering-Yourself gave me and several other bloggers an opportunity to be apart of their very first food trail which landed us a special feast at Universal Italian Restaurant. I was also delighted to meet Alfie the proud owner of Universal Italian Restaurant, given a tour of the upstairs function area, was able to meet several other awesome food bloggers and to top it off had a full and very satisfied stomach.
Right in the heart of Lygon St, Universal Italian Restaurant is a personal favourite on mine and the good news is, they’re expanding. They’ve acquired the space next door and will be opening up the place to integrate as one. They’ve also converted upstairs to a very nice function & bar area, including an open balcony for some fresh air and drinks.
We were presented with a massive line-up of food, from the starters, entrée, main, pizza, pasta and home made dessert menu. I felt spoilt and was absolutely content. The food looked amazing and now looking back at the menu and prices, they were all under $20 so I have to say that’s good value for some great food. But let the photos do the talking.
“Homemade pesto, fresh tomatoes & feta cooked on a pizza base” 8.5
“Cheese & garlic pizza” 7.5
“Baked oysters with bacon & Worcestershire sauce”
“Marinated & grilled BBQ chicken wings” 8.5
I Am Angus
“Tomato, cheese, Grilled beef strips, roasted red capsicum,onion, jalapeños & a drizzle of garlic mayo” 14.9
“Certified Australian Angus, 150 day grain fed – 270g” 18.9
Slow Roasted Pork Ribs
“Slow roasted tender marinated pork ribsserved with roasted butternut pumpkin & corn on the cob” 19.9
“Tuscan marinated chicken breast fillet grilled &served with wild mushroom risotto” 15.5
“Creamy risotto with pan seared tiger prawns, mussels, spinach & roasted capsicum, with a touch of spicy olio & napolitana sauce” 18.5
“Grilled fresh Atlantic salmon filletserved with vegetable ratatouille & roasted garlic aoli” 19.9
Gelato Tasting Plate for Two
“A variety of Italian gelato & premium ice cream” 7.5
“Coffee & liqueur soaked savoiardi biscuits, smothered inmascarpone cream & chocolate shavings” 8.5
“Vanilla bean & honey flavored panna cotta,with wild berry soup, caramel toffee shard & Persian fairy floss” 8.5
“New York cheesecake mixed with fresh blueberries on a biscuit crust” 8.5
Chocolate Mud Pudding
“A dense & moist mud pudding served with chocolate fudge,corinthian wafer & macadamia nut ice cream” 8.5
What a satisfying array of food from the Universal menu. I can’t wait to go back when they’ve fully renovated the restaurant and possibly put a few new items on the menu.
Checkout their website http:/www.universalrestaurant.com.au for more information on their function facilities and options and also checkout their online menu which makes my life easier :)
Contemplating a visit to Lygon St or just happen to drop by? Why not give Universal Italian Restaurant a go. I recommend trying the Buffalo Wings, Porter House Steak, I am Angus pizza, the Tuscan Chicken with Mushroom Risotto and my favourite dessert was the Chocolate Mud Pudding…drooool!!!
Location: 139-141 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053, (03) 9347-4393
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Kinya Japanese Cuisine is a hidden treasure away from the hustle and bustle of the city along a quiet dock of the Yarra river in South Wharf. If you don’t know where I’m talking about, it’s just off Lorimer St, South Wharf area on the other side of the Docklands. The food is authentic Japanese Cuisine with a plentiful array of Japanese beer and wine. Their prices are a bit expensive with little on the plate but, aren’t all fancy Japanese restaurants?
Kinya caters for outdoor and indoor seating which may make sense on a beautiful summer night although in Melbourne, that’s a rare occasion. When I went, it was freezing and windy, plus there wasn’t many people around in that area so the outdoor seating area was a bit of a waste.
Their dinner menu is al le carte but I would of appreciated some banquet options.
The waitresses are all dressed in a kimono which made me feel like I was in Japan and they all smiled and were very polite.
The setting, ambience and decor was lovely and the sunken floor dining is a favourite of mine and would love to have that in my own home. They also have a regular seating area with high cushioned chairs (looks cosy) and a private room/area.
I tend to order sashimi as entree, plus I love the way they present the dish.
Also for entree we had some pickled vegetables with some shaved bonito flakes (it moves around like it’s alive). I’ve seen these bonito flakes before on top of some octopus balls and I thought my octopus was still alive. You need to see it to understand. Also some soba noodles which is nothing without its sauce. It was quite nice but I think the soba noodles at Yu-U are better.
It doesn’t look like it but this was the Asali Chawan Mushi – steam egg custard with clams and Japanese mushroom. Somewhere buried inside the custard was those cute little mushrooms and clams but the flavour of the custard seemed a little strange to me but I still enjoyed it as I kept on tasting.
My favourite entree was the Salmon Tartar - chopped fresh salmon with caviar top on quail egg. Just the name of the dish makes my mouth water. It was gorgeously plated up and a teaspoon of the salmon and quail egg just melts in your mouth.
Another dish that my partner and I seem to order is scampi. I just love the meat of the scampi and this dish was topped with a mushroom monay sauce which complemented the scampi well. I could eat scampi all day.I can’t get enough of eel and I totally love the way the Japanese prepare the eel and the sweet sauce they dress it with which just brings out the best of the eel.
The Golden Fish - Grilled marinated snow fish with chef’s special miso (Kinya’s signature dish, a must try). Honestly I can’t remember what it tasted like but looking at the picture it looked very delicate, lightly seasoned and I would of most likely gobbled it up in 2 bites :)
Ikiyaki – grilled squid, garnished with daikon, spring onion with mayonaise and pauzu sauce. The mayonaise and pauzu sauce complimented well with the grilled squid. I really enjoyed this dish and the scampi.
We opted for the Dessert Platter – Combination of 3 types of desserts.. We chose the Vanilla Panacotta, Creme Brulee and the Banana Tempura. My eyes are always greedy so I wanted to taste everything but it served me right as I was really disappointed in the desserts. They were flavourless and very tiny for a large price. In my opinion, you’re better off without dessert but if you must, I suggest you go for the ice-cream option.
Kinya a bit pricey but the food speaks for itself and stays true to its descriptions on the menu. I can say that Kinya’s food is similar to that of Shoya but I still rate Shoya higher in food quality and presentation. Kinya is hidden but is a beautiful scene for a romantic dinner or a wonderful celebration as the food is authentic, well crafted and you get service with a smile. Honestly, the only reason I found out about Kinya was through Spreets group buy site but I’m glad I came across it even though we ended up spending double the discount price but it was all worth it and I wouldn’t mind eating there again but not any time soon.