Archive for the ‘Eating Out’ Category

Moroccan Soup Bar Two Go, Fitzroy North

I love the Moroccan soup bar. I love its ethos, the fact that it gives refugee woman a place to work and find their feet, and I love the vegetarian food.

Everytime I visit Melbourne, I find an excuse to wander past on the no. 11 tram and have my fix of the chickpea bake. I have tried to make this dish, but even with the release of the recipe as part of the cook book, I could not get the taste right.

So when I found out that Hana Assafiri had opened a second soup bar, it was open for lunch and now PIZZA was available: how could a good foodie say no?

At lunchtime, there are two options, an open plate and soup with bread.

Open plate ($12.50):
Lunch plate - angle 1

Lunch plate crispy potatoes

Moroccan cabbage salad, cous cous salad, pearl barley salad, a little chickpea bake, hummous, a piece of deep fried haloumi, a mixed vegetable fritter, crispy slices of potato. I was dining in a party of four, and everyone else had googly eyes for my plate.

Spinach and Lentil Soup ($7.50):

Spinach and Lentil Soup

There are two kinds of soup available when we visit: harira and a spinach and lentil soup, both with a tomato base. The harira soup is like an Italian minestrone with chickpeas instead of pasta. It’s lifted with the addition of pureed preserved limes. The spinach and lentil is tangy, perhaps with a little vinegar.

Marrakizza pizza ($15):

Pizza>

Moroccan pizza. This has a thin crust but an extra yummy chewiness. It’s not just pizza toppings on a flat bread. Tomato base with feta, dried black olives, diced tomato. The whole lot is topped with crispy sweet potato shards, fresh rocket, a swirl of spicy chermoula and preserved lemon puree. Gluten free is available for $1 more.

Dinner box ($12.50):
Dinner Box

You can order an open dinner plate to eat in ($15), takeaway with or without your own container. The takeaway dinner bowl included chickpea bake, saffron rice, tomato & lentils, baked vegetables, some green salad and a few pickles.

Nus nus:
Nus Nus

This is Moroccan style coffee, served with a mini piece of Turkish delight. There is a layer of milk, a shot of espresso, and a layer of foam on top. Like a little weather system, the whole thing kind of swirls around with the temperature differential. It is good to sit and sip, and I want another one.

I love the Moroccan soup bar, but I love the two go version a lot more. It’s open at lunchtime (so i don’t have to wait until after 6pm for my fix), and the lunchtime open plate is a bargain. You can still get the banquet here. Service at night can be a little haphazard as they rely on a raffle ticket numbering system for both dine in and takeaway. You save $2 if you bring your own takeaway container. And yes, you can still ask for a whole serving of chickpea bake in your takeaway box.

Moroccan Soup Bar Two Go
street: 316 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, VIC 3068
Phone: +61-03-9486-3500

11:00AM – 3:00PM , 6:00PM – 10:00PM
1100-1500 hours, 1800 – 2200 hours.
Closed Monday lunch

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Devon Cafe, Surry Hills

I had the opportunity to go to a work conference in the city, so I went to bed early, and caught an early train into central station. Devon Cafe was the destination, and I had a mere 40 minutes to order, consume, and then walk to Hyde Park. Truffle cheese toasties are only available when in season, and only on the weekend. Darn it! Worker Bees need truffle toasties too!

Two breakfast dishes caught my eye, and after being reassured that it would take ten minutes, I made my choice.

Breakfast with the Sakuma’s ($25):

Breakfast with the Sakuma's

Miso grilled king salmon,smoked eel croquette, 63′ egg, radish petit salad & kewpie mayonnaise. This had a extra unami scattering of seaweed and sesame flakes, plus some brown crunchy stuff that I couldn’t identify. The croquette was mostly rice, and very crunchy on the outside. It came with lots of different elements that kept me interested, all the way to the end. I couldn’t really use the mayonnaise as I found that the salmon was quite rich even without it.

The other dish that piqued my interest *had* been the Eggs Blini – for the mere existence of the blini, but having seen my communal table mate get his serving, I was very happy with my choice.

Ovvio Ginger Zap tea ($6.5):

Ginger Zap Tea

This was nice and tingly ginger flavour. I was surprised that it didn’t come served with honey, but then I didn’t ask. It felt like such a waste to use this loose leaf ‘tea’ tissane only once, so I took the remainder with me in a little container and enjoyed its zippiness for the rest of the day.

Petaling Street Malaysian, Haymarket

When Petaling Street (Pe-TAH-ling) first opened, I remember seeing queues up to 10 deep waiting outside the store to get in. Time has moved on, there are still queues outside Mamak a few blocks away (I can’t understand why), but people have moved on from Petaling Street. This is a shame, because when I final got my act into gear to go and visit, there is an extensive menu of Malaysian dishes, including hawker/street food, roti and teh tahrik.

Kopi ice ($3.80):

Kopi Ice
I have missed out on my usual morning coffee today, so I order Malaysian style coffee with ice. It is also served in a hot version, but I decide on the cold in anticipation of the chilli heat that I will be soon consuming. This has both condensed milk and evaporated milks in the mixture. I’m sure a similar effect can be had by adding a packet of three-in-one coffee mixture and ice, but it is refreshing nonetheless.

Perusing the menu outside, I have picked out the items that I wouldn’t mind trying if only I had several stomachs available. Nasi Lemak, Rotis (both savoury and sweet), as well as my stalwart, Assam Laksa.

Hainanese Chicken ($11.50):

Hainan Chicken

My dining companion picks this dish because it comes with the most amazing chilli sauce – both red and green. I remember seeing these lying innocently in little dishes as we walked in through the entrance. The chicken itself is served with a bowl of rice flavoured with chicken broth.

Assam Laksa ($11.80):

Assam Laksa

Waah. This dish is so very very yellow. I have never seen such a yellow coloured assam laksa, it must be the turmeric. There is a good stash of sliced galangal, mint and chilli piled on top. I carefully take the chillis and put them aside. That way lies madness. Instead of sardines out of a tin, we have just cooked sardine fillets. The pineapple is sliced thinly into strips. The rice noodles are fat and unctuous, and continue to fatten in size and contribute to the thickness of the broth the longer that it takes me to eat.

Although I have been told that the assam laksa at Petaling Street is one of the best in the world, it doesn’t quite float my boat. My usual complaint of ‘sameyness’ throughout the dish means that towards the end, I just can’t finish it. The broth is very good, and I think that I have drunk most of it. I will have to return another day to try the other dishes on offer.

Petaling Street Malaysian Food
street: 760 George St, Haymarket NSW 2000
Phone: +61-2-9280 1006

Mon-Fri, Sat Sun: 1100-2300.

Bistrode CBD

It was lucky we had booked early, as there was a large party scheduled shortly after our arrival. We arrived armed with an entertainment card, giving us a little bit of a discount for the night’s dinner.

Bread & butter:

bread & butter

The sourdough on the left is from Iggy’s. The rye is from grain bakery in Alexandria. Really a rye? Perhaps a half rye, half white mix. The butter was an adorable looking pattie from Pepe Saya. It’s not individually wrapped, but there is a little sticker on top. On Mondays there is no bread delivery from Iggy’s, thereby answering the little question I had whilst eating at Three Blue Ducks.

I was tempted by the corned beef ($36.50), which came with kipfler potato salad & English Condiments – ooh a chance for cumberland sauce? I have had corned beef twice in my life. Once at a friend’s place, and she had home cooked I, and I found it a bit meh. The second time as a random occurrence when we were out at a remote National Park near Broken Hill, and were invited by a local aboriginal family to have lunch (Christmas leftovers), back at their place. Oh my god. That was the best tasting meat I have ever tasted. Perhaps I was lacking in salt, being out in 30 deg C + temperatures daily, but my word it was delicious.

I was talked out of this by my mum, who insisted that I get “fresh meat”, rather than pickled meat. So I went full pescetarian.

Gold Band Snapper with roof top cherry tomatoes and Marjoram ($36):

Gold Band Snapper

The cherry tomatoes are indeed from this very roof at 52 King Street, and not from one of the other Merivale properties. There is a combination of red cherry, yellow cherry and some other full sized tomatoes chopped into segments. The fish had nice crispy skin, and I really enjoyed the accompanying ‘tomato’ juices which were mopped up very nicely with the leftover bread. I thought the marjoram tasted like oregano – later research told me that they’re in the same family, and in some middle eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano!

Rump steak ($38):

Rump Steak

There was a “parsley and caper” salad, dressed with lemon juice, quite tart/salty in taste.. We had asked for the parsley and garlic butter to be served separate (rather than dripping onto the steak). Perhaps we missed out on some of the flavor by doing it this way…? The steak is perfect at medium rare with a nice crisp edge and red on the inside. It is a nice steak.

Kurobuta Pork Cutlet, Apple Slaw ($38.50):

Kurobota Pork

Kurobuta pork comes from black berkshire pigs, the source of the most delicious (and expensive) ham. I found this pork a tad dry, but there was a little bit of brown juice you could swirl your meat into, as well as a nice peach based relish. The slaw however – radish, apple, spring onion – all fine. But the mayo that it was combined with I found too thick and cloying for my tastes. Perhaps I am too used to my own version of slaw, in which I use yoghurt as the combining ingredient.

Dessert. Can I fit this in?

The honey tart comes highly recommended, as does the brioche french toast. This is the first time that I have seen a book for sale on the dessert menu.

After poking and prodding of our stomachs, we declare that we can possibly share a dessert.

Goats Cheese Cake ($18):

Goats curd cheesecake

This comes with fresh figs, cured figs, fresh raspberries (1 each), and raspberry puree. This is more like a whipped goat cheese log, rolled in crispy biscuit crumbs. I believe that the goats cheese is from Willowbrae, one of my favourite producers at my farmers markets. The ‘cheese’ feels really light and airy, I could keep eating all day. The cured figs have us intrigued because it isn’t just a simple dried fig, it has been marinated in something else that we can’t quite place our finger on. Our waitress just gives us the hint that the curing process is really involved, and involves balsamic vinegar. Oooh!

The Devonshire, Surry Hills

On my to-do list for several years, I have finally made it to the one hat restaurant, The Devonshire. A combination of a freed up work schedule, the pre-theatre menu plus a discount using the entertainment card made this excursion possible. The pre-theatre menu gives you two courses for $49, and you’re out by 8pm.

Bread & Butter:

Bread and butter

No ordinary bread & butter, the butter on the left is “honey butter”. Being a beekeeper I had to try it. It was crunchy from salt crystals, and sweet from the honey. Kind of like oily sweetness…

Salt fish brandade with caper sauce:

Salt fish brandade

This was a little aperitivo to whet the appetite. I wonder if the salt fish is the Portuguese Baccalao? The caper sauce was like a fancied up tartare sauce without that heavy oiliness or fridge like flavour.

Beef Tartare with kale chips and saboyon 65 deg egg:

Beef Tartare

My brain no worky. I saw the word ‘tartare’ and thought of thin slices of barely cooked beef, japanese style. It was marinated raw beef mince with capers – quite salty. I was also interested in how the egg would be done – it turned up like a foamy yellow custard (which I suppose is egg), but didn’t really taste like egg at all. The kale ‘chips’ had been coated in oil and fried. Quite salty, quite oily. I prefer my version of kale chip, but I suppose it wouldn’t stay crispy.

Smoked and seared ocean trout:

Seared ocean trout//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

This one was a gem, with little microherbs, enoki mushrooms and a puff of mushroom cream.


Pork loin, crackling, roast carrots:


Roast pork loin



This was a dish in earth colours. The crackling was very crispy with no gummy stick in your mouth bits. The port reduction jus quite sweet. The ‘cigar’ on the left reminds me of a chiko roll.

The recipe for the crackling was so involved that the chef came out from the kitchen to explain it to the table next to us. I wonder if I can create crackling in a dutch oven over a fire pit?

Mulloway fish:

Mulloway

Pieces of fish skin had been deep fried until crispy. Oddly, this provided a more satisfying crunch than the pork crackling, possibly because a vestige of flavour remained with the crunch. This dish also had julienned octopus legs and a little squid ink.

Haloumi and greens:

Aphrodite Haloumi

Such a green coloured dish. Charred broccolini, broccoli, raw broccoli ‘noodles’ – which I thought tasted like cucumber. There were four pieces of panfried Aphrodite Haloumi – more salt to my diet, or it could have been lemon juice as I do have very confused taste buds. I really like the little nubbins of parsnip chips on top.

Tea from T2.

There is a lack of interesting non alcoholic drinks apart from the usual multinational soft drinks. I think a quite a few places seem to let themselves down in this area. We did however, enjoy the rest of our meal and the attentive service. I go to the theatre quite often nearby, I’m going to have to make a return trip sometime.

The Devonshire
Street: 204 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, 2010
Phone: +61-2-9698-9427
Web: http://www.thedevonshire.com.au/

Ghostboy Cantina

No sooner had Ghostboy Cantina opened, then I hear it’s about to finish up its six month lease and move to Tio’s Cerveceria, which, as you can tell by the name, started out as a Mexican themed bar. I just remember some popcorn with chilli sprinkles on it.

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun.

Lucky I just managed to fit in a visit before they shifted location.

Crispy Pumpkin Taco:

Pumpkin Taco

Kumera Quesadilla:

Kumera Quesadilla

My experience with cooking sweet potato in its grated form is that it loses its shape. Here, it wasn’t too firm or too soft and was sprinkled with dulse, a salty seaweed ‘superfood’.

Jerusalem artichoke taco:

Jerusalem artichoke taco

This had a good flavour with a topping of mung bean noodles on top. Not too salty.

Beetroot Taco ($5):

The beetroot slices were fried on the grill plate, but not charred. There were two kinds of beetroot puree (yellow & purple) smeared on the taco, and it was topped with pickled cabbage, nigella seeds, and tahini to make it creamy.

Pork Taco ($6):

Pork Taco

I think that this is a little different to the pork taco reviewed by goodliving earlier in the year. For one thing, persimmon is a winter fruit. This came with diced onion, a green chilli/coriander salsa (Salsa verde), vietnamese basil and a hot red sauce.

Between the latter two, I think I preferred the pork taco, it seemed to have more complex spices. Or perhaps I just love my chilli.

Ghostboy Cantina, until 27 June 2016
Dixon House Food Court, corner Little Hay Street and Dixon Street, Haymarket
Hours: 1200-2030

Then from 20 July 2016:
As part of Tio’s Cerveceria
4-14 Foster Street, Surry Hills 2010
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight.
Web: https://www.facebook.com/ghostboycantina/

The Three Blue Ducks, Bronte

The closest so far I have come to sampling the food at the Three Blue Ducks has been to grab a muffin and a takeaway coffee en-route to the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition.

That must have been a long time ago, because they have expanded the premises and added a little kitchen garden, chickens and beehives out the back. Oh and released a cookbook.

I was looking up what ‘arranchara’ meant from the menu description, and I found this picture on Instagram. Sold!

Beef Arranchara ($30):
Beef Arranchera

I still don’t know what the word means. Comes with pureed corn; a salsa of cherry tomatoes, pearl barley, pineapple; and a lavosh cracker. The meat was red inside, and nicely charred and tasty on the outside. I thought the combo of flavours worked quite well, although I am mystified how you can puree corn without any sticky in your teeth bits. I did not mind the pineapple, which I generally hate if it’s on a pizza.

Pork Sandwich ($18):

Pork Sandwich

Today this is served on sourdough instead of brioche. It’s kind of hard to eat with the size of the crust bring 3cm thick. The meat is nicely flavoured (not too sweet), melts in your mouth but also has nice mouth feel crunchy bits. Little shreds of beetroot and carrot mixed throughout but I couldn’t taste if they were especially pickled because of the yumminess of the pork!

Cawfee:
Cawfee

There is always a debate as to whether or not I should get a small or a large one. I usually go for the small, because I can always have another coffee. So I did both.

Soy milk is from bonsoy.

Urban Bees:
Bees in the herbs

If you head to the bathroom out the back, you can visit the bees (in a langstroth hive). Hello! They were in full sun, so would’ve been a little hot. There wasn’t much else going on in the gardening front (I believe the boys source their homegrown veg from elsewhere), but there was a chicken having a little dirt bath in one of the garden beds.

I had wanted to go to Iggy’s bread afterwards, but they are shut on Mondays!!;???!!! I’m going to have return on another weekday.

Three Blue Ducks
Street: 143 Macpherson St, Bronte NSW 2024
Web:
http://www.threeblueducks.com/
Phone: +61-2-9389-0010

No bookings

Also at Rosebery, and Byron Bay.