My friend Maztech and I have birthdays a few days apart. For our birthday in 2011, we booked in an early birthday lunch at Loam. We loved it so much that for our 2012 birthdays in December we visited again, dragging along Alastair and Dazzle.
Occasionally, I find myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice to own a cafe?”
And then I immediately give myself a mental smack. For many varied reasons, this is a Very Bad Idea.
However, in that hypothetical situation – that one where I’m a totally different person and have a different mindset and skills – Beatrix is exactly the kind of cafe I would love to have.
It’s little, and it’s sweet, and there’s cakes, NUMEROUS CAKES. Savoury food is limited and includes a couple of daily ciabatta specials.
When my FIL visited over Christmas, one of the few things he requested to do was a degustation.
I mean – we could’ve taken him to see the Melbourne sights: the beautiful Yarra River as it glints brownly in the sun, the finger biting excitement of a hook turn in the city, the half finished Docklands wheel overlooking Costco and the cargo ports ** – but having a nice meal sounded much more fun to me.
(**I say all this in jest! I do love Melbourne, really.)
So we booked in dinner at the Estelle. You may remember that Alastair and I had lunch there in mid-2012.
“Dude food” must be one of the most annoying food terms that has arisen lately to describe the food trend of hot dogs, burgers, fried chicken and other fast foods. Errrrrk.
However, if you don’t mind that term, it could be used to describe Big Boy BBQ in South Caulfield. Big Boy BBQ’s food is American style barbeque, where meat is slow cooked using wood smoke to add flavour. This slow cooked meat is used as fillings for several sandwiches – The Dorothy, The New Yorker, The Carolina, just to name a few. But if you’re not after a sandwich, Big Boy BBQ’s menu also has chicken wings, ribs, sides and a variety of combos or meat platters.
For my work Xmas lunch in December, just like the previous year, I became the Lunch Organising Committee.
This had both pros and cons.
The bad part of having ultimate responsibility is having to think of a place that’s suitable budget-wise and also in the right location (away from work but not *too* far). If you’ve ever been asked for a restaurant recommendation, you’ll know that this can be harder than it seems!
However, it did mean that I got to choose a place of my liking. Not that I’m hugely fussy, but the places other people might choose aren’t always going to be one that I pick. I highly doubt anyone else at work would’ve thought of The Sharing House, but it was my first choice. It’s in a nice location, has public transport access, the food is good, and from Monday to Friday they have a set lunch menu.
Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of Captain Melville.
Who was Captain Melville? Well, he was was a thief, a gentleman, and a bushranger. In addition, Captain Melville is the name of a recently opened restaurant in Franklin Street that serves restaurant quality pub food.
Moon Under Water is the latest offering by Andrew McConnell, who seems to be gradually taking over Melbourne with his restaurant empire: Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Golden Fields, and The Builders Arms.
Part of The Builders Arms, Moon Under Water is the more formal dining room, and I’m not sure if this is part of the formality but the room is white. It’s white white white. The floor is white, the walls are white, the ceiling is white, the linen is white. You wouldn’t think that white could make such a loud statement but it does. (I’m not sure what that statement is, except for: white!)
Foodwise, it’s a set menu – $75 for four courses (and a couple of additional nibbles) that changes weekly.
People rave about the dumplings at Hutong since they opened a couple of years ago – particularly their xiao long bao. The place is so popular that you need to book if you want to eat there, and they have two sittings a night. For a dumpling restaurant. Insanity! Even crazier – it was my first ever visit there recently.
Celeste was in town for a conference, and a catch up dinner was organised with Haz, Taz, Shellie and Kat. After a billion emails back and forth trying to decide on a dinner location, Taz thankfully took control and booked us into the 6pm sitting at Hutong.
Remember when Melbourne was xiao long bao mad a couple of years ago?
That’s one food trend I’m happy to consume. And when Sarah posted about Mr Huang Jin’s XLBs recently, I was keen to check them out after an average XLB experience the previous week.
Mr Huang Jin are located in the Rialto tower on Collins Street, and haven’t been open for terribly long. And I feel the need to get this out of the way first: they’re not your typical dumpling restaurant where you can eat until you burst for $10. A serve of dumplings at Mr Huang Jin is $18-$20. Is it worth the extra money when you can go to a cheap cheerful place for much, much less? Well: read on.
I rocked up with Alastair and Bro on a warm Wednesday evening. We were the only table, so service was attentive, and very sweet.
A life without fried chicken is a life not worth living.
It’s a shame that fried chicken has been marred by the trashiness of KFC because when it’s done well, it’s a thing of delicious, delicious beauty.
At Gami, which I *finally* visited the other week, they serve Korean fried chicken and beer. While there are other dishes on the menu, with a name like Gami Chicken and Beer, what else would you be there for?