Food lately: July 2016

Food lately: July 2016

July was an overwhelmingly delicious month of food!

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Prawn Cracker, Chopped Prawn, Bottarga, Seaweed Mayonnaise (Honcho Noodle, CBD)

I mentioned this meal in my money diary. Without harping on too much again, Adam Liston is one of my favourite chefs, and this was our first visit to his new pop-up restaurant while the new permanent restaurant is built (after closing down Northern Light, one of my favourite restaurants). This bite size prawn cracker dish has undergone small changes but remained from the previous restaurant. I’ve ordered it every single time and I still love it! This is such a delicious and perfect bite size dish.

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Spanner Crab Udon, Smoked Crab Butter, Yuzu, Kizami Nori (Honcho Noodle, CBD)

I had to pick another dish! I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a more delicious noodle dish. The juicy and wonderfully chewy udon noodles had absorbed so much flavour from the smoked crab butter and yuzu, which were two incredible and unique flavours when together. The crab and yuzu flavours were just incredible.

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Lemon Meringue Doughnut (Tivoli Road Bakery, South Yarra)

That’s the doughnut at the top. I’m really into lemon curd and seem to be trying to get any lemon curd pastry I see (I should learn how to make it!). I loved the texture of this fluffy doughnut and the strong tang of the lemon curd.

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Soft Shell Crab Taco with Blue Corn Tortilla, Sriracha Mayo & Cabbage Slaw (The Black Toro, Glen Waverley)

On the menu, it sounded pretty standard, but I always think the tiny parcel of a taco is actually quite difficult to get perfect. You need the perfect combination of textures and flavours in the right proportions. These tacos were pretty much right there – the crispy and fluffy soft shell crab, the creamy mayo, the kick from the sriracha, the slight tanginess and crunch from the slaw. As soon as we put the taco in our mouths, T and I looked at each other with a “wow” expression.

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Tako Rice Crisps; House smoked octopus on puffed rice (Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya, Fitzroy)

I visited Ichi Ni Nana (the third in the “Ichi” family, which I’m a huge fan of) for the first time halfway through July and ended up returning at the end of July because I enjoyed it so much! One thing I ordered both times was this (I seem to love these kind of bite size dishes, huh). The octopus had a wonderful smokey flavour, which I loved.

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Tori Soboro; Charcoal grilled rice cake skewers with ground chicken and Teriyaki sauce (Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya, Fitzroy)

The other thing I ordered both times were these skewers. I had actually had them before at the first “Ichi” restaurant (Ichi Ni Izakaya) and adored it then, and was thus excited to see it on the menu here. I’m obsessed with rice cakes, and I love the sweet and spicy ground chicken concoction they pour over the top. It’s so addictive!

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Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters with tomato chutney, poached egg, goats curd, cucumber, herb oil, spring onion, tomato and corn salsa (Operator25, CBD)

Operator25 is one of my favourite brunch restaurants! This was one of the best corn fritter brunch dishes I’ve ever had. I love corn fritters for brunch but have become rather fussy because I used to order it from pretty much every second brunch restaurant (and many dishes are subpar). Every element on this plate was delicious and worked so well together, and it also has pretty much everything I love. The fritters were really tasty with the sweet potato and I especially loved the chutney and goats curd for the contrasting flavours, and the tomato and corn salsa because as a corn lover I can never have enough corn.

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Bastourma & Egg; Armenian air dried beef, quail egg, toasted brioche & garlic jam (Sezar, CBD)

Oh dear why do I love bite size dishes so much?! The brioche and egg were ridiculously soft and light and literally melted in your mouth. Delicious!

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New Style Baklava; Crispy filo, walnut toffee ice cream & salted caramel (Sezar, CBD)

I suppose it had the flavour profile of a baklava, but even without that resemblance this was a mouthwatering dessert. The walnut toffee and salted caramel flavours were done so well and the dessert was satisfying without being too sweet.

Food lately: June 2016

It’s time for another round of iPhone photos featuring my favourite dishes from the past month!

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Spanner Crab, Konbu & Smoked Eel (Estelle by Scott Pickett, Northcote)

This was definitely not an ordinary meal! It was a very special occasion and I still plan on sharing the whole experience on the blog, but gosh I’m no food blogger and I don’t know what to write, so I’ve been procrastinating! Anyway, one of my favourite dishes from the night at ESP was this beauty. My goodness, the spanner crab was so delicate and flavoursome. There was incredible umami in this… big plate of little food (hehe), having the perfect marriage of three distinct seafood flavours that play really smoothly on each other.

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Nihon Nemesis – Delicate chocolate cake, raspberry kanten, matcha, raspberry sorbet, honeycomb (Sake, Southbank)

I don’t think I’m that easily impressed by dessert. But this adorable plate stole my heart! I thought this had everything I could want in a well-crafted dessert – sweetness, acidity, creaminess, crunch, even cooling sorbet! The balance of the main flavours (raspberry and chocolate) was spot on. Plus it looked spot on.

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Pad thai prawn (Sumalee, Bentleigh)

I’ve visited this little Thai place out in the ‘burbs a few times. I always get the pad thai here, because (apart from the fact that I always get pad thai from Thai restaurants) it’s super tasty, generous in ingredients and pretty darn good looking. Now that I’ve learnt that “not all pad thai is good pad thai” after tasting some subpar ones, I’m more appreciative of the really good ones.

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Zangi senbei – Crispy chicken cracker with spicy Kewpie mayo (Ponshu Kiroro, CBD)

Obviously I haven’t tried enough Hokkaido food because I was expecting something more like a senbei. What came out was much softer. It was definitely deep fried, but the inside was quite chewy, almost a halfway towards mochi. So it was like a chewy-crispy cracker… does that even make sense?! It was strangely addictive though, and I would absolutely order this again when I return. But it’s also quite heavy just to eat half of this…

Food lately: May 2016

Time to highlight my favourite dishes while dining out in May!

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Brandade Doughnuts (Hell Of The North, Fitzroy)

While these aren’t meant to be restaurant reviews, I have to mention that Hell of the North is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in Melbourne. I didn’t know what brandade was (salted cod and olive oil, apparently) but ordered it since the much loved pulled pork and gruyere doughnut is apparently taking a break from the menu. This didn’t let me down one bit! Wonderfully crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside, it was more like a croquette rather than the previous doughnut. But the flavours were excellent, full bodied but not overly fishy. Loved it!

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Creme Brulee (Hell Of The North, Fitzroy)

It’s so hard to not pick all the dishes from my latest visit, but another stand out dish had to be their creme brulee. This isn’t the first time ordering it, and I knew I wanted it again. Maybe this is the perfect creme brulee of all creme brulees? The top has a wonderful hard caramel to poke through, and the custard beneath is just heavenly. It’s just creamy, rich and sweet enough without being too sweet and heavy. I cannot find a single fault in this!

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Eggs in hell – Grilled polenta, spicy chorizo ragu, two poached eggs, fior de latte & basil (Three Bags Full, Abbotsford)

This was an incredibly filling and hearty dish. The smooth polenta was so delicious. The rich, saucy goodness on top with spicy chorizo worked really well with the polenta (where one would usually expect bread). Topped off with perfectly poached eggs, this was a great brunch dish.

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(I forgot to note the name down, but from memory it was something like…) Scallops with pancetta and blue cheese sauce (?) (Eau de Vie, CBD)

(I’m aware this is the worst photo ever, but really the place couldn’t be any darker!) Eau de Vie may be known as a whiskey and cocktail bar, but their bar snacks absolutely hold their own. This little scallops dish (while too expensive), was divine. The scallops were cooked to silky perfection, melting in your mouth, and the creamy sauce and crispy pancetta were perfect with the scappots. Together it was one super tasty mouthful of food. This was a highly memorable dish, and I’m still salivating thinking about it…

Food lately: April 2016

Here’s another installment of my favourite dishes recently. There weren’t that many stars last month though, so this was a bit of a stretch.

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Salt & Pepper Vegetables (Bar Liberty, Fitzroy)

I know the name sounds really boring, but these were understated and incredible! Thin slices of vegetable (baby corn, eggplant, tomato and others) were deep fried in the most amazingly light and crispy batter (think of tempura but taken up five notches!) with a salty and peppery kick. The vegetable housed inside was still incredibly fresh and flavoursome.

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Croissant – Traditional French croissant, prepared over 3 days (Lune Croissanterie, Fitzroy)

I already wrote about my experience and a review of Lune here. The plain croissant was without doubt my favourite. Crispy on the outside, the inside had perfectly crafted layers that were beautifully buttery and flaky. It was all baked to perfection.

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Baked bun with BBQ pork (Tim Ho Wan, Melbourne)

I still prefer the normal Char Siu Bao/steamed BBQ pork buns to these sweeter baked versions, but I must say these were delicious. They were slightly crispy on the outside, fluffy inside and had a generous filling of Cantonese BBQ pork that just ooze out. They were not overly sweet, and a great sweet baked version of the yum cha classic.

Food lately: March 2016

Food Lately is a quick wrap up of some of my favourite food dishes recently.

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Salted peanut brittle parfait, bruleed banana + butterscotch sauce (Hercules Morse Kitchen + Bar, South Melbourne)

Here’s an image from a dimly lit restaurant with a candle as the main source of light that doesn’t do the dish justice. This dessert blew me away. There was creamy ice cream goodness, with crunchy bits, crispy sticky banana bits, and the perfect mesh of salted peanut and butterscotch flavours. It tasted even better than it sounds. Nom nom…

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“Mooo” beef burger with aioli + Ziggy’s BBQ sauce (Ziggy’s Eatery, Balaclava)

This place is one of my favourite burger joints in Melbourne now. The beef patty was juicy and the sauces were spread on the buns with the heavy hand, so it was rich (also unfortunately very drippy) and had heaps of flavour.

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Mooloolaba spanner crab omelette, confit shallots, cherry tomato + housemade chilli crab sauce (Red Door Corner Store, Northcote)

I’ve struggled to find good crab omelettes on the brunch scene because kitchens tend to add too many weird Asian flavours that I don’t want. This one was well balanced and also had sizeable chunks of crab. Yum!

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Autumn Brekky bagel: ham, egg, cheese + beetroot relish (Huff Bagely, Carnegie)

Huff Bagelry and this particular bagel is a long time favourite. In fact I have never been able to order anything else because I don’t want to not have this bagel. Every now and then I crave this bagel. It looks simple on paper but there is something so perfect about the balance of the beetroot relish, ham and creamy egg mixture. Here I’ve ordered it on the garlic, salt and rosemary bagel. This one is highly recommended!