Chillipadi – India – Melbourne Central

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)

Ben & Jerry’s – Peace, Love & Ice-Cream

Sorry Hoyts, move over choc-top, say HELLO to BEN & JERRY’S!!! That’s right, went to the free ice-cream night at Ben & Jerry’s newly opened store at Highpoint Shopping Centre. Went early and there were people already lining up and the wait wasn’t long at all, should of gone back for seconds.I’ve only tried their Strawberry Cheesecake ice-cream before which was awesome and now I’ve tried Chunky Monkey with its walnuts, chunky chocolate bits and banana. Massive thumbs up for Chunky Monkey!So many flavours, more excuses to watch more movies at Hoyts. I hope they let you take Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream into the cinema.I hope Ben & Jerry’s is here to stay because we’ve seen the likes of Streets Ice-Cream and other sweet stores disappear from that area.

Gotta love Ben & Jerry’s

Malaysia Kitchen – Good Food And Wine Show 2011 – Part1

Malaysia Kitchen was one of my favourite stands where they hosted a good line-up of shows and showcased a number of fantastic Malaysian chefs and dishes. Malaysia Kitchen is all about promoting Malaysian food in Australia and yes we enjoy the food. Behind the stand they were sampling some really nice beef rangdang, hot Malaysian tea & roti bread from two very popular Malaysian restaurants in Melbourne.
Chillipadi Mamak Kopitiam (Flemmington) – How cute are the Chillipadi boys (Friday and Sunday session) – Been to the Chillipadi Mamak Kopitiam restaurant in Flemmington and I loved it (here’s my post on them – Chillipadi Mamak Kopitiam)

Chai Restaurant (Carlton) – The line was long for this but was worth the wait (Saturday session) – Need to try this restaurant out.
Another highlight was watching Cheong Liew whip up a few dishes. Would of loved to taste them, they looked delicious. I was sad to miss out on seeing Adam Liaw as I really enjoyed watching him cook on Masterchef but I’m glad some of the other bloggers were able to do a post on him (Food Rehab)

Spending my time at the Malaysia Kitchen stand fired me up for my trip next week to Bangkok and Philippines, will be doing a 1 day stop-over to Kuala Lumpur. Can’t wait for the hawker style food in KL!!! (If I can, I’ll be posting my foodie and travel adventures on the go)

Anyways, I couldn’t stay at the stand forever so on with the show. See the rest of my review on the Good Food And Wine Show 2011 here.

Good Food and Wine Show 2011 – Melbourne – Part 2

Melbourne Exhibition Centre hosts the biggest and best shows, exhibitions and entertainment that come to Melbourne and the Good Food and Wine Show is not an exception.

Where to start? I had the opportunity to go on Friday night and again on Saturday. Boy, did I enjoy the not so busy Friday over the overly crowded getting push around crowd on Saturday. Put on your comfy shoes because you’ll be doing a whole lot of walking unless you’re watching a cooking show or eating at the central cafe tasting Marion or Poh’s recipes.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make time to eat at any of them because of the large amounts of tasters and samples I had at almost every stand and I had already made plans for a big dinner on both nights. But most importantly I took advantage of the necklace wine holder which I opted for just in case I get tipsy and leave the glass somewhere (come on, it can happen) Choose from the 5 different colours ($10) or opt for just a wine glass for $3. Either way, you’ll be making the most of the glass (trust me)
Don’t want to go to South Australia and visit the Barossa Valley? Then the GFSW brought them to you.Had a few too many drinks here and everywhere. There was a whole section (very large section) for just wine and beer, it was crazy but surprisingly tamed.

 What I Loved at the Show

The following are the stands, products, food and drinks I loved at the GFWS 2011:

St-Germain is a liqueur infused with elderflower blossoms. If you haven’t tried elderflower before, you’re missing out. The elderflower just calls out to you when you have a sip.

You couldn’t have missed the MiniMelts ice-cream stand. I think I went past 2 or 3 times. I tried the banana split, bubblegum and the cookies & cream (favourite). I only see this ice-cream available at events and festivals. I want more.

I love Japanese sake, hot or cold. Their plum wine was too sweet for me but it was nice, maybe with something savoury. They sell their wine at Dan Murphy’s so definitely going to grab a couple of bottles for my next drink up.

Ingham’s Chicken & Turkey burgers probably had the longest line of people waiting all day but the wait wasn’t as long as I had thought as their samples were cooking non-stop throughout the day. Well done Ingham.

Appletisers!!!! A simple drink but sooo refreshing, right? I probably sampled this 5 times. OK I lie more like 7 or 8 times. A bit overkill with the number of girls stationed around a small table but who cares? I got my drinks and I was happy.

My finance and I are looking to renovate the kitchen so we couldn’t go past the Fisher & Paykel kitchen display, not that we’re looking for those types of kitchens but wouldn’t it be a dream to have one of these installed in your kitchen?That’s right, a draw fridge hidden away. Cool but not necessary. Another cool thing, was one of their quotes.
I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to quick easy DIY things. Creative Gourmet’s Smoothie Cubes, yup the one on the commercial, did it for me. Went straight to Coles after the show, used the 1/2 price voucher and got me a couple of smoothie cubes for home.

And last but not least. Coopers Beer Garden, where everything stops, you get to relax and knock back a nice cold beer.Here’s the literal meaning of Cooper’s Beer Garden.


Celebrity Spotting

There were several spots you were definitely going to find a celebrity chef.

1. Celebrity Theatre – I saw Gary and George’s show – they pulled a few rude jokes (cover your ears kids) but they made me laugh, but the show wasn’t overly exciting. Sorry 🙂

2. GoodFood Magazine stage – Gary, George, Manu and more of them did cooking demos on this stage (get a bigger screen next time, couldn’t see the food)

3. The book signing area – Buy their book and get it signed!

4. Special guest appearances at a number of the stands – Got to take a picture with Poh Ling Yeow which was awesome! Her smile and laugh is infectious! And saw Callum briefly at one of the stands.

What I took home

You can’t go home empty handed from the show but you don’t want to drag the whole show with you while you walk around (unless you brought or bought a trolley), so when you’re ready to go home, track back to your favourite spots and pick up your shopping.
Here’s what I took home:
Rebello’s Cheeky Rascal Ciders – Three flavours of cider. Apple, apple & raspberry and apple & strawberry. I liked all three so I took a set home with me.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? I couldn’t turn down Ritter Sport’s chocolate’s 4 for $10 grabbing the butter biscuit, white chocolate, almond and my favourite cornflakes flavour. Brought it to work to share and it disappeared in a blink of an eye. Everyone enjoyed the cornflakes and butter biscuit chocolate.

Preshafruit is my kind of fruit juice, although as a diabetic it could be a little less sweet. The first time I came across this fruit juice was at Earl Canteen, never seen it before that. We took home the Apple & Raspberry 1L bottle 🙂
This was definitely an impulse buy but I like my peanut butter and jam sandwich’s and my fiance liked the carry container that came with it if we bought 2. Suckers!Last but not least, Gu Chocolate Puds was another surprising favourite where people were flocking to taste and once you tasted it you were automatically lured into buying everything.With a VIP pass to their stand I got to try their chocolate pudding with a generous ration of ganache in the middle. The chocolate was rich and nice but the ganache in the centre was the winner. I also tried their lime cheesecake which I absolutely loved, it had a nice zesty tinge to it and it was so smooth and creamy and the biscuit base complemented it well.So in the end, we ended up getting the Gu pack for $15 which included 2 of the chocolate bites (got Rocky Road & Caramel – Both very good) and a choice of the cheesecakes and pudding but we loved the lime cheesecakes so much we got THREE of them!!!

What I should of tried

Things I should of tried or regret not doing:

  • Baking demo at the Sunbeam section. I need to learn the basics 🙂
  • Poh or Marion’s Receipes. 🙁
  • The hot chilli covered salami. OK, maybe not.

The GFWS was fun, plenty of food to try, celebrities to see and it was absolutely tiring. Word of advice, if you have kids or babies, go on Friday or Sunday. Less people and you’ll have more freedom with your prams. Now I can’t wait to try all the good things I took away from the weekend and all the new favourite food and drinks I want to try from the show.

A very special thank you to Ogilvy for the opportunity to personally meet Poh and James Lang (Director of GFWS) and for the Goodie bag and special VIP tastings from GU chocolate puds and much more.

I also liked the Malaysia Kitchen stand but my post was getting mega long so I did a seperate post on them. You can find that post here.