lunch

Sydney: Doyles on the Beach

Watsons Bay

To complete our weekend of sea, sailing and sun in Sydney, Alastair and I went to Watsons Bay with my MIL Annette, her husband Terry, plus Alastair’s Uncle Ken and Aunt Rayleen.

Doyles on the Beach

Being in the stunning Watsons Bay, we went to Doyles on the Beach for lunch. I hadn’t heard of Doyles before, but Terry told us that he had eaten there previously – 30 years ago. While that may sound like a while ago, seafood has been sold on the site since 1885 and the restaurant has been owned and operated by the family for over 5 generations. Amazing!

Watsons Bay

We had a quick wander around Watsons Bay prior to lunch to work up an appetite. It was another beautiful Sydney day, warm and still.

Doyles on the Beach

When lunch time came, we were seated at one of the tables under the verandah looking out to the ocean.

Doyles on the Beach

The tables had a rather fabulous view for lunch. It was only slightly marred by people lining up for tables, but they soon dispersed.

Doyles on the Beach

We were given some nice crispy bread rolls before the food arrived.

Doyles on the Beach

I had the Doyles selection ($39) – which came with blue swimmer crab, a stuffed jumbo prawn, a couple of King prawns, some fried whiting fillets, smoked salmon, and a small amount of chips. Everything was really good and a good balance of deep fried versus non deep fried. Don’t you hate it when you order a seafood selection and it’s all deep fried?

Doyles on the Beach

Alastair had food envy when he saw my meal, particularly with the crab, which was particularly moist and sweet. Being a good wife, I did share. Here’s a shot of the inside of the stuffed jumbo prawn. It was filled with bacon, sultanas, egg, spinach, leeks and pine nuts and covered in beer batter. It was really tasty, with a great crispy batter and not at all oily. Same for the whiting fillets. Chips were good too.

Doyles on the Beach

Alastair ordered the Tasmanian Atlantic salmon fillet, which was pan fried and served on a dill and potato galette with lemon infused olive oil ($36.90). He said it was okay, but he had food envy which caused post ordering regret, I think!

Doyles on the Beach

I didn’t take a photo of all the meals, but I snuck a shot of Rayleen’s meal – she had the barramundi fish and chips (you could also order whiting, snapper, flathead, or john dory at various prices). It was HUGE. It could possibly be the most expensive fish and chips ever at $40.30 but it did look fantastic.

Doyles on the Beach

We finished with sticky date pudding to share. Everyone was far too full to do this justice. I would advise against ordering dessert and ordering a serve of prawns to share instead!

Doyles on the Beach

Oh, and we received some chocolates with the pudding – they had fish stamped on them. Cute!

Watsons Bay

We had a delightful lunch at Doyles. It’s fairly pricey, but… do you need to scroll up and look at the view again? That’s the price to feel like a fancy schmancy person for a couple of hours, my friends. Plus the seafood was good, so it seems to be the case of “do one thing, do it well”. However, it does mean that if you’re not a seafood eater, there’s no love for you here – with ONE dish on the menu for non seafood eaters (steak) it’s incredibly slim pickings.

After lunch it was time to head to the airport and say farewell to beautiful Sydney. We returned to Melbourne with Annette and Terry, who had spent four weeks in NZ previously and stayed with us for a week before heading home to the UK.

And so began a week of eating…. which I will eventually post about! I have a huge backlog, but will try and find the time to clear it as much as possible.

Doyles on the Beach,
11 Marine Parade,
Watsons Bay NSW
Phone: (02) 9337 2007

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

We went to the Footscray Lunar New Year Festival recently – Chinese New Year is tomorrow, but the Festival was held a couple of weeks ago. It was a hot and windy day, so we showed up at Footscray early in an effort to beat the heat.

We did a quick lap of all the stalls, and then decided we would have yum cha and then return to the Festival. We headed to our usual yum cha haunt – Dai Duong.


Yum cha in FootscrayYum cha in Footscray

We pretty much ate all our usual stuff. The first two things we had were pork buns and radish cake. Alastair ate both the pork buns, so I don’t know what they were like, but the radish cake was good.


Yum cha in FootscrayYum cha in Footscray

Bro said yes to a basket of tripe. The tripe was really good – lovely flavour and not too chewy. I know most people don’t like tripe, but it’s really so good! We also had some pan fried pork dumplings. I love these with red vinegar.


Yum cha in FootscrayYum cha in Footscray

Next up was a basket of steamed dumplings – I think these had prawn and garlic chives. They were fantastic. The wrappers were smooth and thin, and they had big pieces of prawn in the filling. We also had beef cheong fun, which were fine.


Yum cha in FootscrayYum cha in FootscrayYum cha in Footscray

Yum cha isn’t over until Bro has eaten a basket of chicken feet (normally a whole basket by himself) whereas I don’t leave until I’ve eaten an egg tart. There were only two egg tarts per plate, so we had to get two plates so everyone received one. I got to eat the extra one. Wahoo! Alastair finished off with a bowl of dessert tofu.

Read about a previous visit to Dai Duong here.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

After filling up on yum cha, we went on a walk through the festival and took some photos. Unfortunately we were too full to eat anything! Waah! There was lots of grilled stuff going on.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

More grilled stuff.


Footscray Lunar New Year FestivalFootscray Lunar New Year Festival

I was full, but still bought a drink – this was a basil seed drink with what I think was grass jelly. It was kind of strange. The seeds sort of looked like tadpoles!

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival
Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

There were lots of dodgy looking rides and games.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

Some kids looked like they were having fun on the rides, but I don’t know if I’d trust my life on them!

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

The MFB had a tent, and they were giving out paper models of fire engines – complete with road cones and little paper firemen! Squee!!


Footscray Lunar New Year FestivalFootscray Lunar New Year Festival

We arrived just in time to see the firecrackers being lit, but unfortunately there was a crowd and I couldn’t manage to get a photo. Afterwards there was a lion dance. A stall was also selling funky balloons.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

Some more drinks on offer.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

And more grilled stuff – corn, betel leaves and meat on skewers.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

There was also dried squid hanging up for sale.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

This was a big pile of betel leaves stuffed with beef.

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

And egg cakes (I think! Someone correct me if I’m wrong!)

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

I have no idea what this was, but it was GREEN. And HIGH. How could I not take a photo??

Footscray Lunar New Year Festival

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day! We aren’t doing anything for CNY (I haven’t even cleaned the house – gasp!) but we are going out tomorrow for a late lunch/early dinner. More later. I hope everyone has an auspicious and love filled day!

Horoki: lunch

Note: This is a scheduled post. Alastair and I are still in Japan and will be off to HK in the next couple of days!

At my old job, JC (a colleague) and I would tally up favours that we would do for each other. We would mark up the favours on a whiteboard, and from the beginning I was waaaaaaaaaay out in front.

JC offered to take me to lunch before I left work. I’m sure it was a way to equalise the favours board but I never say no to a lunch!

Horoki

We went to Horoki. During lunchtime, they do a lunch platter for $13.90. You choose rice or bread, and then you pick three items off a list of about ten items. For an extra $2 you can also have a bowl of miso soup.

I choose….

Horoki

The tuna and tofu salad – discs of lovely soft tofu, flaked tuna and salad. I loved the dressing on top – a sweetish, nutty, sesame sauce.

Horoki

The mini scotch fillet steak with onion sauce. Some tender beef and a bit of green!

Horoki

And the salmon and spinach croquettes – deep fried mashed potato with salmon and spinach.

I think it’s a great value lunch. Even though the servings of the three items are small, it’s just the right amount for lunch. Everything is tasty and beautifully presented.

Read about a previous visit to Horoki here

Horoki
19 Liverpool St
Melbourne 3000
Phone: 9663 2227

Farewell lunch at Takumi

Not only was yesterday my last day before going on four weeks leave, it was also my last day at my current job. Sadness!

A crowd of us went out for a farewell lunch at Takumi, a Japanese restaurant that specialises in wagyu.

Takumi

I had the wagyu pattie bento box ($13.80). Inside the bento box was sashimi – thinly sliced pieces of scallop and salmon, a big wagyu beef pattie, fresh salad, and rice topped with furikake.

Takumi

It was very good! The sashimi was nice and fresh, and the pattie was juicy and full of flavour. I really like the furikake on the rice too.

Takumi

A couple of others on my table had the wagyu beef burger. It was massive and looked awesome. It’s hard to see, but inside it had a big meat pattie, salad and even a fried egg!

Takumi

And others had the ebi bento box – similar to the pattie bento box except with a couple of crumbed prawns and fish. All the bento boxes came with a bowl of miso soup.

Takumi is tastefully decorated, with chocolate brown walls and a polished floor. We were a large group, and the staff were friendly and helpful in dealing with our orders. It was a lovely place for lunch on my last day.

I will really miss my colleagues (particularly Twinsy!) but on the upside, I have a holiday to look forward to. We leave in a few hours! It has been almost two years since our last decent holiday, so I’m looking forward to some long overdue time away.

I probably won’t be posting while I’m away, but I have a few posts scheduled to publish over the next few weeks so keep coming back for some food goodness. I will probably be slower than usual in replying to comments though. See you when we get back!

Gills Diner: Ladies who lunch

It’s been a long time between Ladies Lunches. Last month I caught up with my friend Emily for a spontaneous lunch. We met at Journal Canteen, but unfortunately it was chock-a-block when we arrived, so we wandered up to Gills Diner instead.

And what a good idea that was! We had a wonderful lunch.

Gills Diner

(Excuse the exceptionally shit phone camera pics. Just try and think of the strange blurry, smudgy parts as “artistic”.)

I had one of the specials – a very wintery dish of braised ox tail and mashed potato. I must’ve zoned out when the waiter was describing the dish to me because I thought he said ox tail and grilled cheek. But I’m pretty sure that grilled reddish thing was tongue. Either way, it was very good – all tender meat and dark, savoury sauce.

Gills Diner

Em and I shared dessert: lemon delicious pudding with vanilla ice cream. We were warned that it would take 15 minutes to make – and oh boy was it worth the wait. The pudding was divine! The top was a delicate lemon sponge, and underneath the sponge was a tangy lemon sauce. The ice cream was also delicious and flecked with vanilla seeds. We savoured dessert right to the last spoonful and I had a touch of regret that we hadn’t ordered one each!

See a previous visit to Gills Diner here.

Gills Diner
Gills Alley (rear of 360 Little Collins St)
Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9670 7214

Work lunches: Mrs Parma’s

Oh hai! I’ve been very quiet on the food blogging front. If you’ve guessed it’s because I haven’t been doing much cooking since mum and dad arrived – you would be correct!

(How has it been? It has been fan-fricken-tastic. I haven’t been this spoilt since… well, since the last time they came for a visit!)

So even though I haven’t been cooking I thought I’d put up a little post about a lunch I had with colleagues recently.

We used to have a weekly Friday lunch club at work. One person in particular had the duty of organising the Friday lunches, and when he left the weekly lunches stopped. Not too long ago, we found a volunteer happy to take over the lunch organising duties, and the inaugural Friday Lunch Club 2.0 was held at Mrs Parma’s.

Mrs Parmas

While there are a few other options on the menu, if you don’t like parmas, this is not the place for you! Mrs Parma’s is all about parmas and beer. The website states that it is Melbourne’s first and only bar/bistro that specialises in parmagianas and Victorian micro brewery beers.

With the parmas, first you choose a base: chicken, veal or eggplant. Next, you choose a topping. You could go the original route (ham, Napoli and cheese) or go for something a bit different like the Greek (olive, onion, tomato & feta salsa) or pumpkin (roasted pumpkin, feta cheese and caramelised onions).

Mrs Parmas

I choose a Mexican chicken parma, topped with tomato salsa, sour cream, guacamole and jalapenos – I can’t resist jalapenos and sour cream! Chips and salad were bought out in separate bowls to share amongst the table. Reading other reviews online, I see that you can ask for a top up of chips for no extra charge.

Mrs Parmas Mrs Parmas

And the verdict? It was pretty good. The chicken was moist, and not too oily, and I enjoyed it with the jalapenos and sour cream. While it wasn’t the best parma out there, and definitely not one to win over a parma purist, I enjoyed it. I thought it was good that the chips and salad were shared amongst the table, as the parmas were so large that we didn’t finish the sides off anyway. It was a good Friday lunch club choice!

Mum and dad are off home next weekend (gulp), so I’ll be getting back into the cooking grove shortly. Think I’ll be starting off Soup Sundays again!


Mrs Parma’s
25 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne Victoria
Phone : (03) 9639 2269

Maha: siblings who lunch

On the Friday before Australia Day, Bro took the day off, so we organised to have lunch in the city. Rather than going for cheap Asian again (like the other lunches we’d had recently), we went down to Maha Bar & Grill.

After looking at the rather awkwardly sized lunch menu we decided to go for a soufra (banquet). There are 3 options available – two courses for $35, three courses for $40 and four courses for $45. We decided that we didn’t want dessert and choose the two course option.

Maha

Not too long after we had ordered, the first course came out on a wooden board. On the board there was a selection of mezze: marinated olives, char grilled eggplant, warm and crunchy runner beans, rather good hummus, cucumber topped with harissa and a feta-ish cheese, a carrot salad, and pita bread.

Everything was really tasty, and I particularly liked the cucumber – it was a great way of serving a mostly disinteresting vegetable! Almost everything can be jazzed up with spiciness and cheese!

Maha

We didn’t wait long for the second course, which also came out on a wooden board. On the board was butterfish with pinenuts and pomegranante seeds, fattoush, chargrilled lamb mince balls with heirloom tomatoes, capscium dip, cous cous with raisins, and more pita bread.

Maha

The smokey, garlicky lamb balls were nicely spiced, charred on the outside, and served quite raw in the middle – the capscium dip complimented them well. I enjoyed the heirloom tomatoes, and since Bro doesn’t like raw tomatoes I got to eat them all!

Maha

The butterfish (at the back) was also very good, perfectly cooked and juicy.

Maha

Bro and I both really, really enjoyed our lunch. The amount of food was just right and, more importantly, delicious. At lunch it’s particularly good value – at dinner it’s a bit more expensive. Judging by the meal we had though, I’m sure it would still be worth it!

Maha Bar & Grill
21 Bond Street, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9629 5900

Persimmon

The other week, Alastair, Benisa and I went to the NGV to see the Andreas Gursky exhibition.

Andreas Gursky, a German photographer, takes large scale colour photographs of scenes of modern life that are often highly detailed. At the exhibition are some fantastic photos – one of my favourites was titled Nha Trang, a shot of a factory floor where woven baskets and chairs are made. Really, you just have to see these photos in person – some are simply astounding – because they are MASSIVE and seeing them in a book or online doesn’t have the same effect.

It would be great to own one of his photos, but alas, (according to Wikipedia) he holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a single photographic image – a measley GBP 1.7 million in early 2007 for 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), a shot of a discount store (this is in the exhibition).

It’s the first Australian exhibition of his work and the NGV is the only Australian venue for the show. Andreas Gursky can been seen until 22 February 2009. For more info about him, see his page on artsy.net.

After we had seen enough of the photos, we went to Persimmon for lunch. I had been keen to try Persimmion after reading about visits that other Melbourne food bloggers had made – see Tomatom, 1001 dinners, 1001 nights and Eat (almost) anything.

Persimmion is located at the back of the NGV, overlooking the Grollo Equiset garden. The restaurant only opens at lunchtime (between 11am-4pm, closed Tuesdays).

Persimmon

We were given a selection of some nice warm little rolls.

Persimmon

Benisa started with a mezze plate of green olive tapenade, smoked aubergine puree, marinated mushrooms and artichokes, braised red peppers and toasted ciabatta ($14).

Persimmon

Alastair and I shared a serve of deep fried soft shell school prawns with garlic aioli ($12). Eaten whole, the little prawns were simply done, but delicious! If you’ve ever eaten a prawn head or tail you’ll know the intense the prawn flavour is. We gobbled these up in no time!

After our starters, there was a longer than normal wait for our mains, as the restaurant had filled up.

Persimmon

Ben had the braised ox cheek burger, served with beer battered onion rings and fat chips ($16). This looked great! The meat was fork tender.

Persimmon

Lisa had had the pan fried silver dory, with cauliflower cream, pickled onions, carrot ribbons and watercress ($24).

Persimmon

Alastair had the plats du jour, which on Fridays is pan fried Atlantic salmon with caramelised chicory, citrus fruits and rocket ($28). On the subject of the plats du jour, on Sundays they do a roast of the day with all the trimmings. I’m tempted to go back on a Sunday already!

Persimmon

And I opted for the three onion risotto with sweet white onion puree, red onion marmalade and grilled spring onions ($19). It was pleasant and creamy with the grains still having some firmness. The red onion marmalade was quite sweet.

After a wee rest, we were then on to dessert. The descriptions of the desserts were very intriguing on the menu and I couldn’t let us leave without trying something.

Persimmon

I choose the coconut parfait for Alastair and me – it came with roast pineapple and toasted almonds, sago and “Malibu” foam ($13). Unfortunately, Alastair didn’t like my choice! The desserts seemed much more “inventive” than the rest of the menu and mine was more interesting than delicious. The Malibu foam tasted quite strongly of the liqueur (ie alcoholic) and the roasted pineapple was strongly flavoured (not really a surprise) but was quite good with the nuts. The dessert worked better when the components were eaten together rather than separate, but again, it was more interesting than delicious.

Persimmon

Benisa shared the iced nougat with banana marshmallow and bitter chocolate ($13).

It was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon – it definitely beat going to work! The restaurant and setting is lovely and prices are reasonable. NGV members get a 10% discount.

Persimmon
Café/Bistro
Ground Level
NGV International
180 St Kilda Road
Melbourne

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant: Siblings who lunch

I had my four wisdom teeth out yesterday afternoon. The procedure went fine – it was under a general anaesthetic, so I went to sleep and when I woke up I had four less teeth! In fact, the hardest part was having to fast with no eating after 8am or drinking after 10am. Particularly not drinking – it was HOT yesterday. I must admit that I was naughty and took a few tiny sips of water to wet my mouth after 10am.

Today I’m not feeling too bad. The inside of my mouth is swollen and is a touch uncomfortable. The discomfort is not bad enough for me to take painkillers yet, although I do have some on hand if this changes. I also made soup to get me through the next few days – pumpkin, and beef and vegetable. Soup is okay, but I can’t wait until I can eat normal food again!

Before my surgery, Bro and I had another lunch together. I felt like cheap Asian food again, and we went into the Mid City Arcade on Bourke Street and came across Kaneda Japanese restaurant.

They had a good selection of bento boxes on the menu, so we both selected one.

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant

I had the Unagi Tempura Set, which came with the unagi tempura, sashimi, fried chicken, a spring roll, green salad, miso soup and rice ($13.50). You can’t really go wrong with something deep fried – certainly not with me – and the unagi was great! The batter looks a bit darker than you normally see, but it was still nice and light. And it had that yummy unagi fattiness… mhmmmm….

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant

Bro had the assorted sushi and salmon sashimi set, which came with salmon sashimi, assorted sushi, fried chicken, spring roll, green salad, miso soup and rice ($13.50).

With all the deep fried items it wasn’t a particularly healthy lunch, but it was quick, casual and a reasonable price.

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant
Shop 6
Mid City Arcade
200 Bourke Street
Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9663 8802

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe: Siblings who lunch

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe

Bro had a day off recently, and came into the city to have lunch with me. We went to ITO Japanese Café on Bourke Street. When we entered I found that the restaurant was somewhat like the Tardis – it seemed much larger on the inside than the exterior suggested!

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe

I choose an item that was on a specials sheet – the steak don set. The set came with miso soup, salad, a side dish and wafu steak on rice ($14.80). Good stuff.

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe

The side dish was strange however – it tasted like it was soaked in tea or like pickled plums. I couldn’t quite place it, but it was oddness. Fortunately everything else hit the spot.

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe

It was a stinking hot day, so I also had a green tea smoothie ($4.80). It was cool and refreshing, with that slight green tea bitterness.

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe

Bro had the Nabeyaki udon which came with prawn, chicken and a raw egg in a hot pot ($12.50). He was sold by the raw egg!

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe

After he finished his meal, Bro then proceeded to demolish everything that was edible on the table – the remainder of my salad, rice, pickles, AND the orange slice on my drink. I do believe he was hungry!

Japanese ITO Noodle Cafe
122 Bourke Street,
Melbourne
Phone 9663 2788