Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne)

I have not ventured much into the dining scene of Port Melbourne so I was quite excited when I got an invite from Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) to check out Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar.

Situated on Rouse Street, Hanoi Mee has a small but vibrant and colourful space. The interiors are tastefully done and represent modern Vietnamese in every nook and corner. Traditional crafts share space with modern industrial vibes to create a beautiful space that’s perfect for after work drinks or dinner with friends and family.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne)  - thespiceadventuress.com

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne)  - thespiceadventuress.com

Chef Ennis Le has created a menu that’s distinctly Vietnamese yet very modern in its approach to flavours. Drawing inspiration from the local produce combined with his flair for creativity and attention to details and presentation, Hanoi Mee is a great dining experience for those seeking to explore Vietnamese flavours in a contemporary style.

For drinks, we ordered the Chilli Mojito (white rum, St. Germain liqueur, lime, chilli, mint, ginger/chilli syrup and soda) and the Port Melbourne Mar-Tea-Ni (tea infused vodka, peach liqueur, mango liqueur, lemon juice and egg white).

The Chilli Mojito was the clear winner; it’s spicy, punchy yet balanced perfectly. Highly recommended!

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The ‘Small Bite’s section of the menu looked so interesting and we wanted to try out quite a few dishes. So instead of a-la-carte, we ordered ‘Best Bits’ which is a selection of seven of the signature starters from the menu. A good way to sample a variety of dishes and a great option for a tapas style dinner.

We started with the Calamari, crab and shrimp spring rolls which were served with lettuce, herbs and nuoc cham. I absolutely love Vietnamese style spring rolls; the best in my opinion and this modern version was super delicious. Super crunchy covering which I think was made from fried noodles; these spring rolls really set the bar high for the remaining meal.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next dish arrived with much fanfare; Confit salmon with coconut, avocado, granny smith apple and wasabi caviar served in sesame cone. A very modern interpretation of some classic flavours, I was a bit apprehensive of how it would taste. But it was delightful; light and subtle with all the flavours in perfect balance.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Next to arrive were the Steamed prawn dumplings. Now we cannot dine at any Asian themed restaurant without ordering dumplings, that’s like the gold standard. And Hanoi Mee didn’t disappoint; kept it true and delicious.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next to taste was the Yellow tail king fish, pomelo, young coconut shredded on betel leaves. Another small bite that I would highly recommend; morsels of deliciousness indeed.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

You have to try out the Black pepper sticky pork belly bun with cucumber, spring onion and chilli. The flavours were amazing; the bun was really soft but I felt that the pork belly could have been sliced thin so that the pork didn’t feel overpowering.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Sweet chilli chicken wingettes with crispy shallots and coriander – this one’s for all the chicken wing lovers. Crispy yet tender and juicy inside tossed with Asian flavours of sweet, spicy, tangy; it was a delightful snack.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Another dish that I was quite interested to try was the Sher Wagyu steak tartare with ginger, fried shallots on crispy rice cracker. This is the first time I have tried tartare infused with Asian flavours and I was not at all disappointed. A tad bit salty but the overall taste was amazing especially when paired with the crunch from the crackers.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The final dish that we tried from the Small Bites section was the Spring bay mussels steamed in Hanoi beer with Vietnamese mint, lemongrass, ginger and chilli. I am a huge mussels fan so I was happy to dig into this; subtle yet lots of punch from the aromatics and chilli.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Now these small bites are more than enough to fill you up, but we couldn’t come away without trying out any mains.

So from Mains, we chose the Hanoi Mee signature dish; Caramelised pork hock with tamarind caramel sauce served with cos lettuce, fragrant herbs, pickled carrots and papaya. First of all let me tell you that this is a huge dish that is clearly meant to be shared unless you have a matching appetite.

The caramelized sauce encrusted crispy skin on the pork was just heavenly. The meat was succulent and juicy mostly but owing to its sheer size, there were a few places where the meat had started to get dry. But inspite of that, it was super delicious. The best way to have the dish is to cut out slices of the meat and roll it inside the lettuce topped with the fresh herbs and pickles.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To go along with the mains, we also got the Crispy soft shell crab, mango and papaya salad with a ginger dressing. The salad works as a dish just by itself and generous portions too. If you love soft shell crab, then do give this salad a try. Again highly recommended.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

In a nutshell, Hanoi Mee is an excellent spot to experience modern Vietnamese cuisine. The flavours are distinctly Vietnamese yet in a contemporary Australian setting; the best of both worlds. I can’t wait to go back.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen & Bar

140 Rouse Street,
Port Melbourne VIC 3207
hanoimee@gmail.com

Phone no: (03) 9042 7921

Timings:

Sunday: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Monday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Tuesday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Wednesday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Thursday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday: 5:00mm – 10:00pm
Saturday 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest on behalf of AGFG at Hanoi Mee. All the photographs and opinions remain entirely mine.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge

The Bank is located inside a heritage building on the popular Sydney Road, Brunswick.

Even though I had looked at the website, The Bank was nothing like I imagined it would be. Walking into the restaurant was like walking into a music academy. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the different instruments, the open stage and the music school (a small room nestled within the restaurant). Only after all this, would you notice that this place is also a café and restaurant.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

A chat with Sebastian Riggio (owner, chef, musician and much more….) gave us a deeper insight into why music was such an integral part of The Bank.

Sebastian not only has a passion for music but also for discovering new talent; train and set them up for the world stage. One of his protégé is Eva Kourtes (best female guitarist, 2014), guitarist, pianist, musician, songwriter and composer who will soon be going on a world tour with the music legend, Carlos Santana.

And when Eva is not teaching at the music school or performing with her band, Evaluation, at The Bank, she also dons the cap of the unassuming waitress who might be serving you while you are dining there. Much to learn and get inspired by from this 20 year old!

Coming to food, The Bank is all about fresh, wholesome and hearty Sicilian cuisine.

While I have eaten at plenty of Italian restaurants, there were a few dishes on the menu that were so classic Sicilian, not common in many other places.

The bar menu is basic; a few choices ticking of all categories like wines, spirits, cold drinks, hot beverages etc….

For drinks, we got a glass of house red, a sparkling and lemon lime bitters.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

We started the meal with Arrancini – deep fried rice balls, topped with fresh bolognese and parmesan. A classic Italian dish, but you will soon realize how the flavours are different depending on the region of Italy. I loved the fact that it was topped with bolognese; added so much flavour to the whole dish.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

The second starter we tried was the Polpetti – homemade meatballs in a Napolitana sauce. I love Italian style meatballs and this is one dish that I always order. But I was surprised that the Polpetti was quite different to what I have eaten at other places. The texture was slightly dry and the meatball had a crusty exterior. It was served as one large meatball with the Napolitana sauce. I was told that this was the Sicilian style where instead of mince, it’s the sausage stuffing that’s used to make Polpetti. While the dish tasted good, I think I prefer the other style of meatballs compared to this one.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

We also ordered the Orange & Fennel Salad – served with extra virgin olive oil, spring onions, chilli flakes. A light and really refreshing salad, this was a good accompaniment with the Polpetti.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we got Homemade Salsici – spicy sausages served with a garlic & onion tapenade. I cannot stop raving about this dish. I have never had sausages made like this before. Fresh homemade pork sausages in the most deliciously spicy garlic, pepper and onion tapenade. Absolutely blown away by the flavours and the dish of the day. Highly recommended!

When I asked more about this dish, Sebastian said that the secret lies in the sausages that are made in house. He was kind enough to even show me some. One of those dishes where you truly appreciate the magic that quality ingredients can bring to a dish.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

And of course we had to try out the artisan pizza range. While The Bank does regular style pizza dough,  it’s recommended to try out the artisan style pizzas that are native to Sicily. We chose the Caltagirone, a very traditional one topped with prosciutto, tomatoes, spinach and onions. It was clear why the artisan style dough stands out; the thin crusty base with a really good balance of toppings was perfectly delicious. Subtle yet so full of flavour.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

The Lasagna Siciliana – ham, cheese, peas topped with napolitana or bolognese sauce is another signature dish at The Bank. Though I didn’t try it out, I was kindly allowed into the kitchen to watch the making process. And I am sure I will be ordering it the next time I visit The Bank.

The Bank, Brunswick (Melbourne) – Restaurant, Café and Music Lounge - thespiceadventuress.com

In a nutshell, The Bank is a place where home style Sicilian cooking meets great music. Drop in for a bite or catch up with friends for a coffee in the lounge. But stay back for the music!

The Bank

840 Sydney Road
Brunswick
Victoria

Phone no: (03) 9383 1963 / 0418 996 321

http://www.thebankbrunswick.com/

Timings:

Thursday : 5:30 – 10:30pm
Friday – Sunday : 12:30 – 10:30pm

Disclaimer – I visited The Bank as a guest of AGFG, but the opinions are entirely mine.

The BANK brunswick Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne)

Supernormal requires no introduction to the food lovers of Melbourne.

Showcasing a modern Asian (heavily leaning towards Japanese) menu, Supernormal has become an iconic Melbourne institution situated on Flinders Lane where many of the best dining spots of the city can be found.

I was catching up with girlfriends for lunch (a great place for that), and we were eagerly looking forward to some great food and drinks.

The space inside is expansive; plenty of seating options yet not with an overcrowded feel though the restaurant is packed at most given times. The kitchen bar is the main focal point where the chefs seamlessly go about their tasks without being loud and obtrusive. There is also plenty of seating along the bar if that’s what you fancy. But we were there for a sit down, slow lunch and the staff was so kind to give us a table with a window view, for an almost secluded feeling.

Supernormal has a small but really good drinks menu, especially when it comes to cocktails. The Asian inspiration can be found here too and we ended up tasting 4 different cocktails.

Umeshu Spritz (Choya classic umeshu, lemon, Prosecco) – light and refreshing, this one has citrusy flavours and really clean on the palate, especially for those who prefer light cocktails or if you plan to have more than a drink.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Blossom Riddle (Don Julio tequila, cassis, pineapple, lime) – this drink is slightly stronger, one for the tequila lovers. But extremely balanced out with the tangy sweetness from the lime and pineapple.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne)  - thespiceadventuress.com

Tiger Uppercut (Ketel One vodka, ginger, almond, bitters) – a great vodka cocktail I have tasted in a long time. The ginger adds a touch of freshness making it extremely easy and balanced on the palate.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Shaddocks Path (Johnnie Walker Black whisky, grapefruit, lemon) – another stronger one, this celebrated the whisky in a really good way. I was apprehensive about the combination of grapefruit and whisky but again, the balance is key and it was a great drink that paired really well with the lamb.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne)  - thespiceadventuress.com

The menu at Supernormal is designed to be shared among a few people. So the idea is to order 1-2 dishes from each course and share. The staff are super friendly so don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations or even to explain the dishes to you.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

We started with Kimchi (cabbage, daikon and cucumber) from the Snacks section. A classic that has such a fine balance of sweet, sour and spicy…perfect to open up your taste buds for what’s to follow.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

From the raw bar, we got a few Sydney rock oysters; this one needs no explanation – a generous squeeze of lemon and straight into your mouth!

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Since I had heard much about the New England lobster rolls at Supernormal, that’s what we tried next from the Dumpling and Bao section of the menu. And I can easily say that it’s the best lobster roll I have so far had. I would highly recommend it.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next dish we tasted was the Smoked Mussels, Potato & Salted Duck Egg from the Plates and Vegetables section. I was slightly apprehensive about this one as I really couldn’t fathom the flavours and what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised, the smokiness from the mussels paired beautifully with the potatoes and the crunch from the iceberg lettuce was a great textural point.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

From the Meat and Fish, we chose the Slow Cooked Xinjiang Lamb served with sesame seed flatbread and a side of Sautéed Greens with fried garlic and chilli. That lamb was just heavenly; tender and juicy with a spicy gravy perfect to go with the flatbread. Again a dish that I would highly recommend.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For dessert, we wanted something light so opted for the Kakigori – Japanese shaved ice, toffee apple and hibiscus. It was an interesting dessert especially the flavour combination. I liked it because it was refreshing, light and not too sweet.

Supernormal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

In a nutshell, the dining experience at Supernormal was amazing. Great food, ambience and service; it’s a definite must visit in Melbourne.

Supernormal

180 Flinders Lane
Melbourne Vic 3000

Phone no: 03 9650 8688
info@supernormal.net.au

Timings:

Sunday to Thursday: 11am – 11pm
Friday And Saturday: 11am – midnight

Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me and my girl gang.

Supernormal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne)

Kerala cuisine in a modern Australian pub!

Surprised? I am…..

I constantly crib about how poorly Indian cuisine is represented in Melbourne with just a handful of restaurants that serve decent fare. And also none when it comes to South Indian food except for plenty of dosa serving restos that are often a disappointment.

So the new South Indian menu at The Rochey came as a huge surprise.

The Rochey has been an iconic part of Fitzroy for many years now but recently went through a whole revamp in terms of food and drink, both of which has been taken up several notches. Mischa Tropp from ‘WeareKerala’ has designed the new menu which showcases regional Kerala cuisine at its best, with some snippets from the Goan cuisine too.

The ambience at Rochey is typical Fitzroy (the architecture is so unique there), retro with contemporary influences but also with the industrial touch that the suburb does so well. While the front portion is the dedicated pub space, there is a cozy dining area towards the back. There is also a beer garden and a party space if you are looking to hold events.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The new drinks menu at Rochey deserves mention too. There are the classics given that it’s a pub, but there are also some interesting cocktails and new wines, beers etc…. on the list, some of which are specifically included keeping in mind the flavours of the new menu.

I was fortunate to try out a couple of wines that were exceptional and paired extremely well with the flavour profiles of the new South Indian menu.

(I have outlined the specifics of each wine beneath the photographs)

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Harvest Pinot Gris (2017 / Adelaide Hills SA / Organic) – Produced by a Grower’s Cooperative with a strong sense of giving back to the community, this Pinot Gris is easy on the palate, luscious with generous guava, lemongrass and white tea aromatics.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Some Young Punks ‘Monsters, Monsters Attack!’ Riesling (2015 / Clare Valley, SA) – Highly recommended if you are going to try out the fiery fish curry on the menu. A really sweet Riesling with racing acidity and brilliant florals, it is a treat after your tastebuds have been attacked from all the spices.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Yangarra Estate PF Shiraz (2017 / McLaren Vale, SA / biodynamic / preservative free) – Made without additives of any kind, this Shiraz is a treat for the palate. Fresh, medium bodied yet vibrant, it’s an easy one that can be enjoyed young.

The food menu, as I mentioned, is largely based on the cuisine of Kerala. But there are also dishes from the Goan cuisine. And it’s a classic example of old meets new. While some dishes are traditional, staying true to the roots, others are a modern interpretation of the flavours of Kerala and Goa.

(As with the drinks, all the details of the dish will be outlined under each photograph)

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Egg Bonda (boiled egg & onion masala fried in a sourdough batter) – a classic tea time snack from Kerala. Traditionally a chickpea based batter is used but here, a sourdough batter has been used. The flavour was good especially from the caramelized onion masala used in the stuffing. But I would have preferred some sort of chutney or dip to go alongside the bondas. And if you have children with you, they are gonna love it.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Duck Hearts ( Chargrilled with Recheado and a sweet and sour spicy sauce) – One of the highlight dishes of the day for me. Absolutely loved the flavours, that perfect blend of sweet, sour, spicy; absolutely divine. And highly recommended.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Choris (Goan Chorizo with Onion Masala) – A twist on the Goan classic. A great snack if you are dropping in just for a drink or an excellent starter to start your meal. Another one the kids are gonna love.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Confit Parsnips (with Kashmiri Chilli Crumb and Shiso) – perhaps the dish that intrigued me the most on the menu which is why I had to try it. It’s unlike anything I have eaten before yet feels so familiar. For those who are familiar with the classic combination of tapioca and spicy dry coconut powder that is a staple in Kerala might be able to draw references to this one. And I totally loved the ingenuity of this one.

For the mains, it’s best to get an assortment of dishes and share which is the best way to enjoy regional Indian cuisine. We ordered a selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes; also got rice, flaky bread and pappadoms to accompany. Quite chuffed the traditional red rice (Rose Mata) was served instead of the regular white rice; has a different texture and so much healthier than the white. The flaky bread or parotta as called in Kerala is a delightfully flaky creation that’s perfect to mop up the curries.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Girija’s Cabbage Thoran (Stir fried cabbage, coconut and curry leaves) – a classic vegetarian dish from Kerala. If you have looked at my blog before, you would know how much I love thoran and all the incredible dishes that can be made from the basic style. The cabbage thoran is perhaps the most common rendition and in my opinion, the most delicious way to eat cabbage. A must try!

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Kadala (Brown chickpeas with roasted spices and coconut) – Another classic (you are going to hear that word a lot!). This curry that is just resplendent with spices and coconut makes it extremely loved in Kerala and beyond. Again done to perfection and as authentic as it can get. I would have loved to have some appams on the menu which pairs best but the flat breads are equally good too.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Roast Beef (Slow cooked beef neck in a rich Kerala style gravy) – Now where do I even start with how much this dish means to me. I was ready to be super critical of this one, but all that I can say is that Mischa and his team has done a fabulous job with this. Absolutely tender beef cooked in that classic aromatic spicy gravy that’s so unique to Kerala cuisine.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Fish Nadan (Freakin Spicy Keralan fish curry) – Yes guys, this is freaking spicy and not for the faint hearted. Even with the hardcore spice eating Indians, this dish stands out for its heat. But don’t let that prevent you for trying it out because it’s sensational and unlike any other fish curry you have ever eaten before. And pair it with the Monsters Attack Riesling that I mentioned above; it’s a match made in heaven.

To summarize, it’s the best Keralan food that I have eaten at a restaurant in Melbourne. Enough said!

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’

202 Johnston St
Fitzroy, Vic, 3065

Phone no: 03 9419 0166
Website: http://rochey.com.au/

Timings:

Mon-Thu: 2pm– late
Fri-Sat: 12pm–3am
Sun: 12pm–11pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest at The Rochey, but all the opinions expressed are entirely mine. 

Rochester Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne)

Another example of a top notch Melbourne café situated in the beautiful suburb of Ripponlea.

Tucked away on a side street yet located in the heart of the suburb, right next to the railway station, Turning Point is a great place to hang out with friends and family.

Subscribing perfectly to the word ‘Modern Australian’ is both the ambience and menu. There is a large seating area inside and a small outdoor space too for the sunnier days. The décor is bright and cheerful with contemporary touches.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The menu, as I mentioned is Modern Australian; all the classics but plenty of twists and fusions accommodating all kinds of foodies. Also it is divided into two, as the café is open for dinner also from Thursday to Sunday. The drinks menu is also extensive during the dinner timings.

We visited the café for brunch, a good time to enjoy both the breakfast and lunch dishes.

For drinks, I chose a glass of Lambrook Rosè (Adelaide Hills) while the hubby chose the ‘Citrus Squeeze’ cold pressed juice spiked with gin. A very interesting drink which had the goodness of orange, carrot, grapefruit, lemon and mint; the gin took it to another level creating a rather refreshing cocktail of sorts.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The little fellow opted for the eggs and bacon on toast, but we also added a side of chorizo. (The photograph was taken before the bacon arrived). A classic that ticks all the right boxes. There are plenty of options to customize this and make it simple or as gourmet as you wish to.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

I chose one of the café specials, Three Point Turn – poached eggs, bacon, house made beans, mushroom, wilted spinach, potato rosti, roasted tomato and relish. Served with toast but I omitted it. Now this is what I call a gourmet breakfast. Absolutely delicious and so full of flavour; especially loved the beans and rosti. Highly recommended!

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The hubby likes his protein fix so he opted for the Flank Steak – overnight marinated and grilled steak with caper and smoked paprika butter, jumbo tempura onion rings, a fried egg and thick cut fries. Now this one is for the big eater; generous portions with each component done to perfection. Just the kind of brunch for weekends.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To summarize, the Turning Point is an amazing café to hang out for coffee, drinks or a delicious meal. Definitely going back soon.

Turning Point

8 – 10 Glen Eira Ave
Ripponlea, 3185

Phone no: (03) 9528 2719
Website: https://www.turningpointripponlea.com/

Timings:

Monday – Wednesday: 7am – 4pm
Thursday – Friday: 7am – 9pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 9pm

 Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me.

Turning Point Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne)

Located along the St Kilda Esplanade, opposite Luna Park and Palais Theatre, Phamish is a food and wine bar serving modern Australian cuisine.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And with Mother’s Day right around the corner, Phamish has collaborated with Bonne Maman to create two special dishes using some of Bonne Maman’s signature conserves. This special event runs exclusively for a week from Monday 7th May to Sunday 13th May.

As I already mentioned, the menu at Phamish is largely modern Australian with some Middle Eastern and Meditteranean influences. Given its location, the space is divided into two; a café style ambience at the front end and a more formal dining space at the back end. Also slightly on the expensive side, but that’s a given with most places situated on The Esplanade.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s the perfect spot to catch up with a friend for a lazy brunch and that’s exactly what I was doing. But it’s also a great spot to visit with family after some thrilling rides at the Luna Ride or for a more formal dinner before heading over to the Palais theatre.

We began our meal with drinks; while my friend chose the cappuccino, I went for a sparkling (not a surprise for those who know me).

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we ordered the Semolina Crusted Calamari, served with orange and chilli aioli, rocket and braised leek. The calamari was cooked to perfection, crispy outside but sweet and tender inside. The aioli had loads of flavour and paired well with the calamari. Perfect start to any meal.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And for mains, we got the Mushroom Risotto. It was not the best risotto I have had but still a good and comforting one. A bit more flavour in the broth would have made it a great one. But still a hearty dish especially when the days are chilly.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Finally for dessert, we chose the Bonne Maman Mother’s Day special. There were two signature desserts to choose from and we had the French Crepes filled with Bonne Maman apricot marmalade infused custard, black forest cream, fresh strawberries and pistachio crumb.

Loved the flavour of the marmalade infused custard; never thought of using the Bonne Maman jams this way. The crepes were slightly thicker at the centre so the texture was not the most perfect which we did inform the staff who said they would rectify it at the earliest. The fresh strawberries and pistachio crumb added a lovely texture and overall made the dish a really good one.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

(Bonne Maman has also collaborated with many other cafes and bakeries across Melbourne, so do check out their website for more details. A great way to spend some time and treat your Mom on her special day)

Phamish Food and Wine Bar
30 The Esplanade
St Kilda
Opposite Palais Theatre & Luna Park)

Phone no: (03) 9534 3800
http://phamish.com.au/

Timings:

Monday: 7am-3pm
Tuesday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Wednesday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Thursday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Friday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Saturday: 7am-10pm
Sunday: 7am-10pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of Bonne Maman, but the opinions are entirely mine. 

Phamish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience

Grossi Florentino, the restaurant, needs very little introduction and Guy Grossi, the Chef, needs no introduction at all.

Situated on the iconic Bourke Street, Grossi Florentino is the brainchild of Guy Grossi, a much celebrated Chef both at home and internationally. His cuisine and restaurants are inspired by his Italian heritage. Grossi Florentino has three different areas to dine in – Cellar Door, Grill and Florentino; all three integrated by Italian food and hospitality yet all three exploring the varied nuances of the cuisine.

This was our first experience at Grossi, and we had chosen to dine at Grill as a special birthday dinner.

Reservations are always necessary, especially for dinner as it’s a small space and it is definitely not a place to stop by for a quick dinner. Grill is open for lunch too, and offers a set menu; a more affordable quick option for the office goers or those catching up in the CBD for a quick lunch.

An open kitchen, dark wood paneling with gold accents, leather seating, Grill has a very relaxed yet sophisticated ambience. It’s an eclectic mix of tradition meets modern which reflects on the menu too.

The wine list at Grill is extensive, so unless you are sure of what you like to drink, asking recommendations is a great idea. The staff are extremely cordial and take care of your needs really well.

We decided to start with a glass of Domaine Simha ‘Simla Field Blend’ 2016 , a Riesling blend from Derwent Valley, Tasmania. I have wanted to try out the Domaine Simha wines for a while now, especially having written this article on Indian origin wine makers in Australia for Indian Link. Very refreshing on the palate and beautifully balanced, I would strongly recommend you to try this one out.

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

We began the meal with a plate of freshly shucked oysters with Chardonnay Vinegar followed by Kingfish Crudo, Capers, Horseradish. Both were excellent especially the kingfish, really fresh and beautiful light flavours to start off the meal.

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

The next two dishes we tried from the Antipasti section was the Zucchini flowers, Ricotta, Eggplant Caponata and Pickled Tongue, Salsa Verde, Radish. The stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta is an Italian classic, one that we love ordering always. The crunchy deep fried zucchini flowers with a creamy ricotta filling is a match made in heaven; the addition of the caponata was new for me, but paired well.

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

Sam was a bit hesitant ordering the pickled tongue; it was the first time we were going to taste it but the staff assured it was gonna be delicious. And we were so happy we did, because for me, it was dish of the day. Perfectly chargrilled cubes of beef tongue with onions, radish and a delicious Salsa Verde to accompany, it was really amazing and highly recommended.

For the sides, we chose Italian Flat Beans with Tomato; delicious and different to the regular salads and potato wedges. And it paired well with the mains we had chosen.

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, my son chose an entrée sized portion of Taglierini, Prawns, Zucchini. The best out of the three mains we had, the pasta was perfect al dente tossed through the most flavourful combination of prawns, zucchini and herbs. Definitely a must try.

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

We went for a second glass of wine, this time a glass of Montesecondo Sangiovese, 2014 from the Tuscan region. Full bodied and rich, yet balanced, this was recommended by the staff and it was a great choice indeed.

I chose the day’s special which was a whole baby snapper with radicchio and tomatoes. The fish was cooked to perfection but somehow the combination with radicchio didn’t really work for me. Perhaps I didn’t enjoy the combination of the bitterness from the radicchio with the tomatoes, not really sure but definitely not impressed with the flavours.

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, Sam chose the O’Connor, Flat Iron,  Angus which was served with horseradish and Dijon mustard. The meat was definitely flavourful but not as tender as he had hoped it to be. Not a letdown, but not to the expected standards of the place.

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

And since we had clearly overeaten, we decided to share one dessert amongst us so we went for the Beurre Bosc Pear, Honey Crunch Ice Cream. It was light and delicious, a great way to end the meal. But not before some coffee and Italian biscotti.

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To summarize, the mains didn’t excite us as much as the antipasti but there were clearly many dishes that stood out in taste and quality from the night. Service is excellent and definitely a place we would love to go back.

Grossi Florentino (Grill)

80 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone. 03 9662 1811

http://www.florentino.com.au/grill

Timings:

Monday to Saturday
Lunch from 12pm
Dinner from 5.30pm

Grossi Florentino Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review

Brunswick Flour Mill is situated on the iconic Sydney Road in Brunswick, which is a food lover’s paradise. The name comes from the unique heritage building that is atleast 100 years old in which the café is housed. Apparently, it was a location for trading and flour was one of the main commodities, hence the name.

The unique heritage structure is visible not just outside but inside the café interiors too with rustic wooden furniture, vintage flour sacks, balances and other props that add to the warm ambience and the bygone history of the place.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The café culture of Melbourne is really strong and personally, I love the trend because it’s such a nice space to enjoy a cup of coffee all by yourself or have a quick lunch with friends or colleagues. This time, I was meeting a new friend who had just moved to Melbourne to pursue her dream of being a pastry chef.

When the new management took over around a year ago, there was a revamp of the old menu. The dishes are all familiar but now with an emphasis on clean flavours and use of local, sustainable and organic ingredients wherever possible. There are also plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. The all day breakfast menu has something for all taste buds and dietary needs ranging from a healthy bowl of granola to salads, pancakes and the big breakfast with eggs, sausages and all the sides.

And ofcourse coffee is serious business at Brunswick Flour Mill. The owner, Anjali Diddi, said that they use only certified organic rainforest alliance coffee which has been selected and roasted by some of Melbourne’s premier baristas.

Apart from coffee and tea varieties, there is also a selection of freshly squeezed fruit juices, smoothies and a basic alcohol menu.

Brunswick Flour Mill is now open for dinner too from Thursday to Saturday. The new dinner menu has the classics as always but will also include more health conscious yet delicious additions.

We were at the café for lunch, so began our meal with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a glass of Chardonnay.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

My friend couldn’t look past the Wagyu Beef Burger on the menu so that’s what she ordered. With a homemade beef patty, bacon, caramelized onions, pickled cucumber, cheese, iceberg lettuce and tomato relish between perfectly toasted buns, this one was a juicy delicious delight. And the in house aioli and chips was a perfect match. Definitely recommended if you want to sink your teeth into something meaty and delicious.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

I chose to order the day’s special, the French Omelette and a side of thyme flavoured mushrooms. The sides menu is really interesting and you can also put together your meal without having to order a specific dish from the menu. For eg: you can order some eggs and add a side of mushrooms or sausage etc….

The French omelette lived up to my expectations; fluffy and moist with a filling of earthy mushrooms, ham, caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes and herbs, it was light yet really delicious. A really satisfying meal with two toasts of sourdough and butter on the side.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The café also stocks a range of cakes, pastries, muffins etc….that is prepared fresh and can be chosen from the counter shelf.

To summarize, the Brunswick Flour Mill is a great café to step into while out and about in the area. With a warm and welcoming ambience, it’s the perfect spot to catch up over delicious food or grab a great coffee and muffin on the go.

Brunswick Flour Mill

341 Sydney Rd.
Brunswick 3056
Phone no:  (03) 9078 0497
http://www.flourmill.net.au/

Timings:
Monday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm/5.30pm – 10.00pm
Friday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm/5.30pm – 10.00pm
Saturday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm/5.30pm – 10.00pm
Sunday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

Brunswick Flour Mill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Brunswick Flour Mill, but all the thoughts and opinions about the food are entirely mine.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji

‘Introducing EatClub, a world-first platform that wants to help you eat out, more often (at Melbourne’s top restaurants no less!)’.

Now that tagline is definitely something that would make us foodies sit up and take notice.

Launched in September, EatClub is a first-of-its-kind mobile platform founded by Pan Koutlakis (CEO, and ex Melbourne CEO of Foodora), Matt Cantelo (co-founder of a huge travel business called CTM), Ben Tyler and last but not the least, the culinary powerhouse Marco Pierre White.

We have dozens of restaurant and food delivery apps in the market today but EatClub offers something really unique to customers and restaurants alike.

And this interesting concept was the reason I decided to collaborate with EatClub and check it out for myself. Of course I get to dine out is an added bonus.

Speaking to Ben, he said that the idea for EatClub came about when the founders were looking at building a platform to help restaurants fill empty tables, but it gained momentum after collating feedback from countless restaurateurs. It was discovered that the best method of assisting them was to offer them a platform where they could instantly attract customers at different times of day and under their own terms.

To quote, ‘EatClub incentivises restaurants to offer deals to customers for dining at off-peak or slower times during the day. With EatClub, restaurants with spare tables can push out live deals from their smartphone in only two seconds. Customers can then redeem those deals, in real-time, and eat out at a substantial discount. All deals are off the whole bill (including drinks)’.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

Marco was approached during the concept stage and he jumped on board instantly, seeing how valuable the app can be for restaurateurs. And his wealth of knowledge in the field was extremely important in the design of the app as he knew exactly the features that a restaurant would desire to have.

And for the customers, it’s even better news as they can find deals at some of the best restaurants in town. Definitely a great one for the pocket, especially if you love to dine out and don’t need to wait and save up to eat at your favorite place. I did check out the list of restaurants in Melbourne (230+) and have to agree that the list was pretty impressive and had some of my favourite spots.

The app can be downloaded free, compatible with both Apple and Android phones and pretty simple to use. You can either scroll through the entire list of restaurants offering the discounts or you can choose the location filter to narrow down the results. The discount % or offer is mentioned right next to the restaurant which can then be redeemed and used within the specified time.

And for a limited time (until January 30, 2018), EatClub is offering all my readers an extra 5% in addition to the discount offered by the restaurant. So if a restaurant is offering 30% discount, then using the promo code ‘SPICE’ will fetch you another 5% discount and that’s a grand total of 35%. Isn’t that great, especially during the party season?

So all that you need to do (outlined in the infograph below) is book your restaurant deal and then add the promo code ‘SPICE’. Show this when you arrive at the restaurant to claim the full discount off your total bill.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

As I mentioned, there are so many amazing restaurants to choose from. And to test out the app, I decided to pay a visit to Babu Ji (St Kilda) – one of my top favourites when it comes to Indian restaurants in Melbourne.

I have visited Babu Ji plenty of times but the exciting thing is that their menu is changed seasonally so there’s always something new to try out.

We also like to choose the banquet as it is the best way to enjoy most of the starters on the menu. And it is the starters at Babu Ji that makes the restaurant so interesting for me. The contemporary twist on many Indian classics is quite admirable and very inspiring for me as a food blogger.

Now I will not get into a complete review of each dish but I will pick out a couple of the highlight experiences.

The Pani Puri vodka shots are highly recommended to start off the meal with. I am absolutely crazy about pani puri; it’s my all time favourite from Indian street snacks. These were so delicious and those vodka shots add a bit more zing and flavour. Highly recommended.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

Another highlight from the appetizer menu was the Peshawari Prawns – Tandoor cooked prawns marinated with coconut and curry leaf, served on Peshawari Naans. OMG….the flavours were simply amazing, tiny morsels of deliciousness. Another must try from the menu.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

The other speciality at Babu Ji that I have always enjoyed is the Tulsi Fish Tikka – Atlantic salmon, marinated with basil, kefir lime and tangy spices and cooked in a clay oven. The fish is juicy, perfectly cooked with just the right amount of spices to lift the flavour to another level.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

There are plenty of vegetarian options too and one of our favourites from the evening was the Paneer Tokri – Potato nest filled with spiced cottage cheese, crisp celery and poached apple. A fine example of a classic Indian dish with a contemporary edge.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

From the mains, my absolute favourite was the Macher Jhol – Bengali style Blue Grenadier fish cooked in mustard oil with turmeric. The Babu Ji version is much creamier and richer than the traditional one but I enjoyed the flavours with both the rice and naans alike.

And from the vegetarian curries, my favourite was the Adraki Palak Paneer- Homemade cheese dipped in spinach curry infused with dried ginger. I am usually not a big fan of Palak Paneer but I totally loved their version. The spinach base was lush and creamy without being overpowering and that dried ginger really helped lift the flavours.

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If you haven’t dined at Babu Ji before, then do check out their daily deals for a delicious yet affordable dinner experience. And make sure you use the promo code ‘SPICE’ for that extra 5% discount.

Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post bought to you in collaboration with EatClub; all the opinions and thoughts are entirely mine.

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review

Bear Brass is located on the banks of the Yarra River at Southbank. Needless to say, the restaurant offers spectacular views of the river and our beautiful city.

We visited the restaurant while showing around the city to my parents and Bear Brass was the perfect place to unwind and relax.

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

If it’s a sunny day, make sure you get a spot outside for the best view though you need to make a booking or get plain lucky especially during the warmer months. Bear Brass has plenty of space indoors and a nice ambience too.

The food is mostly modern Australian pub food with lots of twists and fusion drawing from the multicultural vibes of the city. Being a riverside bar, the drinks menu is pretty extensive too.

For drinks, I ordered a glass of the RedBank Prosecco (King Valley); the perfect drink for a hot summer day. And a chilled glass of Heineken too.

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The cocktail menu looked really interesting so we tried out two – ‘A Cocktail named Alice’ (with 42 Below Vodka, Midori and Muddled Kiwi) and ‘Gucci Martini’ (Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka, Grey Goose Vodka, Paraiso Lychee Liqueur). Both were really delicious and refreshing…

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

To start with, we ordered the Grilled Chicken and Grain Salad, with pomegranate, mint and cumin yoghurt. The chicken felt a bit dry and underseasoned but the grain salad was outstanding with a delicious medley of flavours and textures.

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We decided to try out the pizzas as it really stood out to us on the menu. The first one we tried was an Asian inspired one with prawns, chilli, crispy shallots and nam jim. The wood fired thin crusty pizza base was excellent and so were the toppings. A really delicious Asian inspired pizza that had an excellent balance of flavours.

The second one was the chicken, chipotle and chorizo; yet another fusion done to perfection. The chorizo was of excellent quality and the pizza was cooked to perfection.

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining (South Bank, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Definitely impressed by the quality of pizzas; so highly recommended.

We also ordered the Fish n’ Chips served with homemade aioli. Unfortunately no photographs; we were busy gobbling it up.

So to summarize, Bear Brass is a great spot to stop by for food or drinks and enjoy it with beautiful views of the city…

Bear Brass Riverside Bar and Dining

Shop G3A  On the River
Southgate Restaurant & Shopping Precinct
Southbank , Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9682 3799
Website: http://www.bearbrass.com.au/

Timings:

Open Every Day
Monday to Friday 7.30am to late
Saturday & Sunday 8am to late

Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me. 

BearBrass Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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