restaurant

Chin Chin

It was a long time coming, but I finally made it to Chin Chin.

If you’re Melbournian and you don’t know about Chin Chin, I must politely ask if you’ve been under a rock for the past year. :) Chin Chin serves mostly Southern Thai cuisine (with other Asian influences thrown in) in a Flinders Lane location. The fitout is great – large windows, brick walls, decorated with graphics utilising elements from Chinese propaganda posters and Japanese cartoons, and tables hold bottles of hot sauce plus paper placemats that double as the menu. Very groovy.

As Chin Chin don’t take bookings. if you want to visit on a Friday/Saturday night (or probably any night, to be honest…) it could mean 1-2 hours wait. You know waiting isn’t my thing, so along with Alastair, Thanh and Thanh’s friend, we rocked up at 11.10am on a Sunday, arriving just as the restaurant opened.

We pondered the menu, and eventually ordered several dishes between the four of us. Truthfully: we ordered a bit too much. But the menu at Chin Chin is quite long and everything sounded so good.

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MoVida: wine selectors dinner

Disclosure: I dined courtesy of Wine Selectors.

Movida, Movida, Movida. Last week was my first visit to the original Movida. I’d only previously had a lovely lunch at Movida Next Door but never visited the original. The reason for my visit was due to Wine Selectors – along with Haz and Thanh, we were there to try Frank Camorra’s signature wine that had been produced in association with Wine Selectors.

Wine Selectors started 35 years ago as a small retail space in the Hunter Valley and has morphed into Australia’s largest independent direct marketer of wine. Recently, they teamed up with several chefs and wine producers to create a wine collection designed to match each of the chefs’ cuisine styles.

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Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar: dessert degustation

The evening didn’t start well. First I literally just missed the tram – I was five meters to the tram stop when I saw the tram slowly roll away. Wah wah guitar.

I then became lost at Crown. I thought I knew where Mr Hive was located, but I was wrong – I had no clue. Which lead me to walk up and down the street several times trying to figure out how to get to the first floor of Crown Metropol until it finally clicked that I needed to go “inside” the main part of Crown. Into the disorienting Crown maze I went. And first thing I did? Went in the wrong direction and took the wrong escalator. BAH. Things weren’t going my way.

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South Wharf: Boatbuilders Yard, Akachochin, Bohemian, The Sharing House

Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of the venues.

Last week Hazzie and I were invited to check out a few venues in the fairly new South Wharf Promenade, located on the southern banks of the Yarra River. Last time I was down in South Wharf, it was the middle of winter last year, and the cargo sheds that several of the restaurants are in were still being fitted out.

We had four venues to hit up in a mini progressive tour/dinner. Dragging along Alastair and Gazman, we met down at South Wharf on a very dark and dreary night – not the best evening to be traipsing around outside. Fortunately, the venues were all fairly close together, so we spent minimal time in the rain.

Our itinerary was as follows:

Boatbuilders Yard: bar snacks and drinks
Akachochin: Entrees and sake
Bohemian: Tapas and paella
The Sharing House: Desserts

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Fork to Fork

Tired of going to lunch at wineries? Yeah, me too. Wineries are so last year – the latest destination dining is in a garden.

Okay, that is not true. :) But we did eat lunch in a garden recently when Annette and Terry, Alastair’s mum and step-dad, arrived the other week for a visit. They arrived during the week when we had the beautiful autumn weather: coldish mornings, but lovely warm days, blue skies and wonderful sunsets. Having flown in from the UK, Annette and Terry were particularly happy to see the sunshine, and it was perfect weather for lunch at Fork to Fork. Fork to Fork is located in Heronswood, a garden that is the home of The Diggers Club.

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Touche Hombre

Disclosure: I dined courtesy of Touche Hombre.

The Melbourne craze for Mexican food continues full steam ahead, with Touché Hombre being one of the latest to open in the past month or so. The team behind it, Maison Davis, have obviously had a bit of fun putting the restaurant together. There’s many tongue in cheek references to be found: from the tag line “héroes de medio caparazón” (heroes in a half shell), to the arcade games at the entrance, to the “who ya gonna call?” neon sign, and the big cheery chicken jugs that pour cocktails out of the beak, just to name a few.

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San Telmo

Named after one of Buenos Aires oldest neighbourhoods, San Telmo is one of Melbourne’s recentish additions to the Latin American inspired dining scene. And judging by my meal there over the Easter weekend with Alastair, Hazzie and Gazman: it’s a good one.

Opened late last year, San Telmo is a casual style eatery serving Argentinean inspired food. Fortunately they’ve bucked the no-booking trend of many of Melbourne’s new casual restaurants and take bookings, though half of the restaurant is set aside for walk ins. Hoorah.

The menu at San Telmo is designed to be shared, with a focus on meat cooked on the char-grill. There’s not that much for non-meat eaters, and in any case it’s not really a vegetarian friendly environment. The restaurant contains a big 2.5 metre parrilla / char-grill near the entrance, which is fantastic for cooking meat, but the smell does tend to linger in the air and cling to hair and clothes.

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The Commoner

Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of The Commoner.

My last visit to The Commoner in Fitzroy was a disgracefully long time ago. It was back in 2009 for a food bloggers’ meet up where the Commoner generously let us use their courtyard and their wood fired oven. How kind is that? Ever since then I’d been meaning to head back for a meal but you know the story – life gets in the way and time passes. So when I received an invite to come in and check out the menu, I was keen as mustard.

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St Katherine’s

KFC

Remember last year when we went to Taste of Melbourne? Alastair and Bro were so enamoured with the KFC (Katherine’s Fried Chicken) served by St Katherine’s, that I knew we would have to schedule a fried chicken dinner there one night.

Well, it took a while but fried chicken dinner finally happened this month, thanks to the organisational efforts of Mazza. A couple of other friends were roped in, and off we went.

Located in Kew, St Katherine’s is a big, busy restaurant seating 140 downstairs. Tables are bare and you grab your own cutlery and napkins from the tomato tin in the middle of each table. The menu has the previously fried chicken, as well as other Middle Eastern style dishes that are meant to be shared. If you don’t want to make a choice, there’s a few set menu options ranging from $45 to $75 per person.

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