Posts Tagged ‘melbourne’

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):


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


MFWF – Pop up bakery and bar

As part of the Melbourne Food and wine festival, there was a pop up bakery bar and bar at Queensbridge square, Southbank. As it turns out, Michael McEnearney from Sydney’s Kitchen by Mike was the guest baker on the morning that I visited. Them’s the breaks.

Pear pastry ($7.50) and sourdough starter ($10):

MFWF - Pear tart
You eat the former, not the latter. The pastry was crisp and flakey. Very light, and altogether not good for me.

I had been wanting to start a sourdough starter for ages, but couldn’t quite face the volumes of good flour that I would have to toss out in the process. Tada! Let’s how this starter from Sydney via Melbourne will survive.

Ploughman’s platter ($20):

MFWF - Ploughman's breadboard

Myrtleford salted butter. Pork and fennel sausage. Tomato chutney. Pickled vegetables. Bread.
I think they had me at ‘pickled vegetables’. I completely forgot to look at the other options.

I spotted some other dishes that I could’ve chosen if I hadn’t been blindsided – scrambled eggs looked so-so, but the open sandwiches topped with pickled onion looked right up my alley.

Melbourne Food and wine festival pop up bakery and bar
Queensbridge Square, Southbank
Mornings from early until 12noon (that’s when the coffee stops)
Until 15 March 2015

Laksa King, Flemington Melbourne

It was birthday boy’s choice, and he chose Laksa King. Luckily we booked, because it was three deep getting in. There were four sets of queues in the milling throng: those waiting for their booked table, those who hadn’t booked waiting on a table, those waiting to make their takeaway order, and those waiting for their ordered takeaway. The fact that it was a freezing cold winter night did not help, and everyone was huddled inside trying to keep warm.

We ordered:
– crispy baby chicken (a successful up sell by the waitress $16.80)
– roti chanai with beef rendang and one extra roti ($16.30)
– chicken curry and rice ($17.8)
– special crispy fish laksa ($12.20)
– nasi goreng ($10.50)
– chicken laksa ($9.80)
– Assam laksa ($11.50)

I also ordered cendol ($5.50), which was listed on the dessert menu. I thought it would be a nice refreshing drink to steer me through all the curries.
“Are you sure you want it first?” Asks the waitress.
“Yes” I say in blithe ignorance.

Today’s cendol is served….

In a shallow dish. Suitable for dessert. Whoops.

But it is cooling for the heat that follows.

Laksa King

The extra roti turns up first, naked, without anything to dip it into. We hoe in anyway. The roti is crispy and flakey, but also on the oily side. My first impression of the beef rendang is how salty it is. The beef falls apart as you scoop it up.

The nasi lemak looks like fried rice. The fried egg, instead of being served on top has been mixed throughout.

The coconut milk laksas all taste the same. The special crispy fish one has been dipped in batter, deep fried and then added to the laksa soup. It reminds me of the fish from M & J Thai.

Assam Laksa:

Laksa King - Assam Laksa

Unfortunately, the Assam laksa is disappointing. The waitress double checks that i have had it before (yes), before writing it down. It has a very strong pervading odour of fish, and the taste is muddy. The noodles are thick white wheat noodles: almost like udon. The woody stems of Vietnamese basil have been diced finely and placed on top as a garnish – it takes me a while to identify the familiar taste. I am the only one on the table of 8 who even dares to try it, the smell is too off putting.

The crispy skin baby chicken is a gem, and well worth ordering again.

To cleanse the palate, we order two mango custards to share. I forgot to take a picture, so I have drawn you one:

All I could think was: How westernised it looks. It tasted like a combination a mango and cream jelly.

The total bill was $150 for 8, including 5 beers and 3 desserts.

I may return to get another serve of that crispy baby chicken, but only after they reorganise the entryway. I felt very unsafe with the crush of people at the front entry, I really felt that if there was a fire or any sort of emergency, we would not have be able to escape.

Laksa King
street: 6/10-12 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington VIC 3031 (opposite Newmarket station)
phone: 61-3-9372-6383
Lunch Everyday: 1130 – 1500
Mon – Thu: 1700-2200
Fri – Sat: 1700-2230
Sunday: 1700-2200

Le Petit Crepiere, Melbourne

This tiny crepe stand has popped up on the corner of Little Collins and Swanston street, Melbourne. It is shoehorned into a tiny ex-newsagent stand. There are always these lovely smells wafting down the street, a few people standing around waiting, but a lot more people just walking on by. Don’t they have *cravings*? Le Petit Creperie

Ahh, memories of Paris. Reading in the pages of an inflight magazine about a famous crepiere in the 13th arrondisment, and making the journey just to try some crepes. Little red checked curtains in the window, and having crepes for lunch as well as dessert, then browsing the markets afterwards.

Well I do (have cravings), so last time I visited Melbourne, I had to try some.

Lemon & Sugar ($5) is a classic, and deservedly so:

My Crepe

It’s served in a cute cardboard sleeve so your hands don’t get sticky. Much. The edges of the crepe stayed crisp, and you had that wonderful sweet and sour combination. Once you dug down further into the little cardboard holder the crepe got a little bit soggy.

On another day I chose the salted caramel ($5). Salting a sweet dish has the effect of bringing out the sweetness. This salted caramel was homemade, but I think the rising steam from the salted caramel made the entirety of the crepe soggy.

Le Petit Creperie

I have to go back and get some more lemon and sugar. Noms.

Le Petit Crepiere
street: Corner of Little Collins and Swanston street, Melbourne (south side)
Approximately 125 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
Monday – Thursday: 0800-2200
Friday: 0800 – 2300
Saturday: 1000 – 2300
Sunday: 10000 – 2200
Public Holidays: 1000 – 2200
Closed on New Years Eve and New Years Day

Review: Becco, Melbourne

Becco, Melbourne

Originally uploaded by A Sydney Foodie

I had the luck of being in Melbourne for work, and even better had a few hours at the end of the conference to go shopping (Gertrude Street, Smith street where unfortunately Ammo was closed, and then Brunswick Street). You can see the men I work with roll their eyes when I say I am going shopping before dinner.

I had had plans originally to go to Hutong dumpling for dinner – but they were fully booked out!

Anyway, a colleague had made a reservation at Becco. He had wanted to try Becco with his wife on the last trip, but unfortunately that time, it was fully booked out.
Busy night. Staff were quite intent on having us order a drink prior to ordering food, and it wasn’t until we had sat at the table chatting for 20 minutes with the wine menu unopened, did we

Oysters – three kinds available. Smokey Bay (SA), St Helens (Tas), Wallis Lake (NSW). I got three each of the Smokey Bay and St Helens. I figured that those two were the most closest thing to ‘local’. They came on a bed of ice, freshly shucked, ‘juice’ still intact. I tried mine both with and without lemon, and definitely preferred

The pasta of the day – sounded so delicious, that 3 out of 4 ended up getting it in one form or another. Spaghetti tossed with olive oil, calamari, cherry tomatoes, rocket or watercress, chilli and pickled ginger. After my oysters and bread, I found the main size hard going – I wished I had asked for it entree size!

As much as I would have liked to have tried the cheese platter ($18/50g, or $24 for 3 cheeses), there was just not enough space to fit it in.

It was good to not be rushed out after our meals, unlike some places trying to fit in two or more covers per table per night.

Becco Bar & Restaurant
11-25 Crossley St
Melbourne 3000 VIC
Phone: (03) 9663 3000
Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm

Review: The Mess Hall, Melbourne

I stumbled across The Mess Hall the last time I was in Melbourne, and I had breakfast there on a Saturday morning. That time, I found the staff a bit self-absorbed, and not very attentive. I ended up with the omelette of the day – which had tomato and prosciutto, plus a side of mushrooms. I love mushrooms, but the chef’s didn’t know (or notice) that my omelette also contained a rather salty prosciutto, so I got a very salty hit for breakfast, because the mushrooms had been cooked with salt as well.
Later on, I found that it was a favourite haunt of a friend, and that they ate there all the time.
This time: I had left it too late to run up to Babka Bakery in Brunswick Street, so I went to the Mess Hall instead.

The place was buzzing on a Friday morning, with regulars grabbing their doses of takeaway coffee, and quite a few sitting down to have breakfast. I had chosen lemon and ricotta pancakes ($9.50), plus a coffee. This time – what a change!

The staff were very friendly. It came as two large pancakes with berries and some stewed rhubarb on top, and the whole lot fizzed after I added the lemon juice. The quantity was just right, and the coffee was delicious.
Saturday morning – the closed sign was still up at 7.50am, a number 86 tram was passing, so I ended up running up to Babka after all.

The Mess Hall

51 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC
(03) 9654 6800
Mon-Thu 7.30am-8pm
Fri 7.30am-10pm
Sat 7.30am-10pm
Sun 7.30am-6pm