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
Website: http://chillipadi.com.au
Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday (10am til late), Thursday to Saturday (10am-5am)

Kinya Japanese Cuisine – Hidden Treasure

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 Mushisteam 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 mornay 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 🙂
Ikiyakigrilled 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.

Location:64A River Esp, Docklands VIC 3008, (03) 9646 2400
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www.kinya.com.au

 

Horoki Casual Dining Bar – Evening Delights

“Casual dining bar” is exactly what it suggests, not overally large dishes, one dish won’t fill you up so this is a bar you go to for late afternoon or as an after dinner bite. Above is a rice noodle with roe dressed with strips of seaweed. Below we have a beautiful sashimi salad which doesn’t disappoint….

The dishes are delicately prepared and presented to please. The raw fish melts in your mouth and the seaweed and salad is refreshingly delightful…

I crave for tataki and it looks like the more expensive types of Japanese/Korean restaurants like to use quail egg instead of chicken egg. I don’t mind either but quail is probably the preferred. Sorry for the blurry pictures (iPhone 3GS) but you can imagine the setting to be lightly lit and the bar itself is tiny and would fit a maximum or 30 people or probably less. I highly recommend this place. It’s a must if you’re in the area or if you’re up for a casual dining experience with delicately made Japanese food. The dishes are a bit pricey but absolutely worth it.

Location: 19 Liverpool St Melbourne, 3000

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Shoya Japanese Restaurant – Best Japanese In Melbourne

This is my favourite Japanese restaurant in Melbourne. I highly recommend trying this place if you love Japanese food and culture. The dishes are superb, authentic and delicious. The staff are super friendly and when you leave they all bow to you.

I’ve always wondered what Shoya meant and on their website it states that it means “Rising House”. What I didn’t know is that they have 6 levels of dining and entertainment. I only knew about the Japanese style BBQ, the traditional Horigotatsu style seating, fine dining area and the sushi bar where the chef cuts and prepares the raw fish on a massive ice block. What I didn’t know was that they hid away a karaoke area and executive lounge area.

My last visit to Shoya had me trying several new dishes as you can see above. When I eat Japanese I almost always get some raw beef (tataki) as entree and always convince myself to get a plate of sashimi. In this instance, the sashimi came out inside an ice capsule which looked amazing. The quail egg that came with the beef tataki topped off the dish. I’ve tasted many different raw beef dishes and only one came close to this and that was at Wagamama’s in St Kilda many years ago, when it was good.

My favourite dishes for the night was the ox tongue wrapped in a soufle wrap and the dessert which was a panna cotta infused with black sesame and topped with powdered green tea (matcha) . If I didn’t have to share it with my girlfriend, I would of enjoyed it more.

Visit their website to see some of their tantalising dishes.

www.shoya.com.au

25 Market Lane, Melbourne, Vic, 3000
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