Akachochin: set lunch

Ever since our first visit to Akachochin in South Wharf, I’ve been dying to go back. The only thing that prevented a second visit was my rather sad attempts at austerity (which hasn’t been going so well but let’s not dwell on it). But the perfect opportunity came up for a revisit the other weekend when Celeste was in town for a conference. Along with Haz and Gazman, we all headed down to South Wharf for a long overdue catch up with Celeste.

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Pressure cooker black bean spare ribs

My mum and I cook completely different meals. Growing up, dinner almost always consisted of steamed rice, two or three accompanying dishes, and Chinese soup. When I think about it, my mum has quite an amazing repertoire of dishes in her memory. She can churn out tons of things in her sleep – all Cantonese home cooking and food that you will rarely find at restaurants. Interestingly, it’s also the kind of food that I don’t cook for guests, because I associate it with family eating. Like it’s too simple to serve to other people. Weird right? It’s a bit silly because although it’s mostly simple food, Cantonese home cooking is delicious.

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Heirloom

Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of Heirloom.

I think it’s fair to say that Heirloom has suffered from a confused identity. When they first opened about a year and a half ago, the cuisine was marketed as Japanese-French fusion. Fusion food, fairly or unfairly, seems to have a negative connotation, so to market yourself with that label is a brave (or naive) move.

Well, Heirloom realised that the fusion thing wasn’t really working, and at the beginning of this year they quietly rebranded themselves into a modern Japanese izakaya with a total change to their menu.

Alastair and I were invited along to a bloggers’ dinner last week to try out the food.

Located on Bourke Street on the ground floor of the Citadines Hotel, Heirloom is a vast space with concrete walls, lots of black and clean lines. Due to the hotel, they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast mostly being a more traditional Western style affair. Lunch and dinner are more interesting, showcasing their take on Japanese izakaya food.

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The Commoner: Whiskey Business

What’s better than having a girls’ night out with my Dastardly friend? A girls’ night out with WHISKEY.

Truthfully, I’m not really a whiskey drinker, but as with any booze – I’m a willing learner. Hah.

Every couple of months this year, The Commoner release movie inspired menus. They had Poultrygeist in February, Claws in April, and June’s menu was Whiskey Business – 5 courses matched with whiskey.

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Common Galaxia

Common Galaxia is the latest venture from the folks behind Dead Man Espresso in South Melbourne. They have very recently opened in Seddon and we visited on possibly their first or second week on a Sunday morning. That morning they were very busy and packed right up to the wooden slatted ceiling. So busy that we had to put our names on a waitlist and stand outside in the freezing Melbourne winter because there was no room inside.

This was incredibly unfortunate because it was very cold outside. I was so cold. Look, I just feel the need to tell you again: it was SO COLD.

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Gypsy & Pig

Tucked away in Little Lonsdale Street between Elizabeth and Queen Street is a sweet little Japanese restaurant. I visited this week thanks to a tip off from a reader (Hi Gavin!), dragging along Alastair, Hazzie and Ashley for a spot of dinner. Gypsy and Pig is a small restaurant – about 24 seats or so – and unfortunately when we arrived there weren’t four seats available together. Faced with this, I agreed to us being split into two groups – so Alastair and I had an impromptu date, as did Ashley and Hazzie. :)

As well as being small, the restaurant is modest and understated. There’s a lot of black – the staff are dressed in black, and the walls are painted a matt black, broken up by large timber framed windows. Half of the seating is arranged bar-style in a big square around the open kitchen.

With a name like Gypsy & Pig, it’s no surprise that they specialise in pork dishes – specifically kurobuta, the Japanese name for a breed of pig known as Black Berkshire. Kurobuta is highly prized for its sweet, rich flavour, tenderness and juiciness.

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