Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

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

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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

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review

Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, the Yarra Valley Grand Hotel is an iconic landmark building that opened its doors in 1888.

We decided to drop by for lunch at the in house restaurant and bar while on our recent trip to the Yarra Valley. Apart from the regular restaurant, the hotel also houses Herb’s backyard that serves gourmet pizzas and drinks. The hotel is also a hot spot for weddings and special events with special areas dedicated for the same.

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Apart from the dining options, the Yarra Valley Grand is also a great place to stay over. The 4 star fully appointed rooms have still retained the old world charm yet equipped with the most modern facilities.

Stepping inside the Yarra Valley Grand transports you to a different era. In spite of all the hustle and bustle (the restaurant is packed especially on weekends), the space feels warm and inviting. The ambience is definitely old world charm yet with a contemporary touch.

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The restaurant space is huge and spread across different areas. There’s plenty of seating yet it’s advisable to make a prior booking. Fortunately we were able to get a table within 10 minutes of walking in.

The menu at Yarra Valley Grand is modern Australian pub food. The menu is not extensive but you are likely to find something for everybody; also there are specials everyday which are based on seasonal produce.

We bought a selection of drinks including a single malt whisky, sparkling white, beer and lemon lime bitters. Nothing much to write about but there’s a good range of drinks including some great Yarra Valley wines.

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

As I mentioned the restaurant was extremely busy and we were informed by the staff that there would be a bit of a delay for the food to arrive. But we decided to wait anyway. I think that was not a very wise decision as we had to wait 45 minutes. No complaints though as they did inform us the same.

We didn’t order any starters instead we opted for a salad – the crunchy Thai salad with crispy noodles, Thai chicken, carrot, cucumber, sprouts, herbs, cashews and nahm jim dressing. Perfectly well balanced flavours and textures and it was a delicious start to the meal.

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we had the Saltibocca – half roasted chicken, crispy pancetta, sage, potato gratin and sautéed spinach. The chicken was cooked perfectly and all the accompaniments complemented the chicken perfectly. Definitely recommended.

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The second main we ordered was the Twice cooked pork belly – with son in law egg, chilli jam, creamy mash and tendrils. An absolute stunner of a dish; the pork was just melt in the mouth with a crispy layer and every single element on that plate was perfect. Definitely dish of the day!

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The third main we chose was from the special of the day – Grilled trout with Schezwan pepper and salad. The flavours were good, the fish was cooked well but not an outstanding dish in terms of flavour.

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

And the final dish we ordered was the Porterhouse with chips, salad and a red wine jus. The only dish that disappointed us; the steak was a bit tough and chewy. It wasn’t a bad dish but not good either especially after we have had such amazing steak experiences at other places in Melbourne. So by comparison, we weren’t too happy with this one.

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Overall, a great place to stop by for food or to stay over while visiting Yarra Valley. I am sure, we will definitely be going back…

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel

19 Bell Street,
Yarra Glen 3775

Phone: (03) 9730 1230
Website: http://www.yarravalleygrand.com.au/

Timings:
Monday – Sunday ~ 11.30am till late

Yarra Valley Grand Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – All the food and drinks were paid for by my family.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a delicious Italian experience

AGFG (Australian Good Food & Travel Guide) is one of my favourite websites to visit for restaurant reviews, recipes, stories from the food and travel industry, dining deals etc… And this year, AGFG also bestowed the honour of Top 10 Bloggers, 2017 which was a great opportunity for me to take my work forward.

So when AGFG reached out to me to review the food at Thirty Eight Chairs, I was really keen because I had heard really good things about the restaurant and also, regional Italian cuisine is one of my favourites.

Thirty Eight Chairs has two locations – South Yarra and Carlton North.

Situated in a quiet, beautiful neighbourhood of Carlton, Thirty Eight Chairs is a dream come true venture for its owner, Gino Forlano.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The South Yarra restaurant was a huge success but Gino always wanted to open a branch in Carlton because it has one of the biggest Italian communities in Melbourne. He wanted to have a dining space that was a reflection of both Italian hospitality and way of life. A space which is not hurried but where families and friends can sit down to good food and wine, engage in meaningful conversations and spend time with each other.

The ambience at Thirty Eight Chairs is best described as friendly. There are lovely streetside tables (great when the sun’s out and shining), a relaxed dining space downstairs and a large venue space upstairs. The staff are extremely friendly, very cheerful and was genuinely happy to help out with choosing from the menu.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

I had the opportunity to have a chat with head chef Giuseppe Di Mauro. He told me that the food served here is classic Napolitana style, true to its origins in terms of flavour but care has been taken to present it in a contemporary style. They use a mix of local and seasonally available ingredients but also source certain ingredients from Italy which are not easily available here.

It was a warm day and all our drink choices were centered on that. I started with a sparkling while the others chose a Cosmopolitan, Mojito and a whiskey cocktail. There are also wines on tap (somehow I get very excited everytime I see this) and I chose a Prosecco to accompany the mains.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We had a selection of starters beginning with the ‘A Tunnat ‘e Mar (Peppered yellow fin tuna, crispy shallots, caper vinaigrette & micro herbs). Hands down, one of the best tuna dishes I have ever had. Presented beautifully and the flavours were simply incredible. Highly recommended!

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

No matter how many ever times I have had it, I simply cannot resist ordering ‘A Caprese (Fresh tomato, basil & buffalo mozzarella) when visiting an Italian restaurant. It’s a classic and an instant judgement of what’s to follow because this salad is all about freshness and quality of ingredients. Happy that I was not disappointed at all.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Fried street food is also quite popular in Neopolitan cuisine so we also tried out ‘O Coupon ‘e Terra  – a mixed platter of pea arancini, potato croquettes, polenta chips, beer battered zucchini & salty dough balls. Absolutely loved all of it but my favourites were the polenta chips and beer battered zucchini.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Thirty Chairs is quite famous for its pasta dishes as all the different types of pasta are made in house using traditional Italian methods. And what surprised me was the fact that there were so many pasta varieties that I still had no clue about. Don’t bother about the term ‘al dente’ here as that’s not the texture that suits fresh pastas!

The first pasta dish we tried was a signature dish that was highly recommended by the chef. ‘E Mafaldine ‘a Cacciator (long curly pasta, slow cooked duck ragú, porcini mushrooms & shaved pecorino cheese). The simplest of dishes yet the most complex in flavour as that duck ragu was slow cooked for hours to get the perfect texture and consistency. And the taste of freshly made pasta is simply out of this world.

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The second pasta dish was from the day’s special list. Yet another variety I have never tasted before. Mixed with fresh sausages, chillies and tossed through the most amazing sauce, this pasta dish could easily be one of the best I have ever had.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The seafood lover in me had to try out the special seafood dish with cuttlefish, swordfish, scallops, prawns, clams, salmon and mussels unshelled in a delicious tomato chilli broth served with a side of grilled bread. Absolutely stunning flavours especially that bisque was just heavenly.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Also ordered a light and refreshing Bietola e Caprino (Mixed beeroot, baby cos, snowpeas & goats cheese, in lemon dressing salad) which paired extremely well with the rich flavours of the other dishes.

Thirty Eight Chairs, Carlton (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

To summarize, the dining experience at Thirty Eight Chairs was a delicious and delightful one. I have dined at a lot of Italian restaurants yet discovered that there is more to the cuisine than I really knew, especially the differences between Napolitana style and other regional styles.

The freshly made pasta was a delight and clearly sets apart the pasta dishes served at Thirty Eight Chairs. And with a great ambience and customer service, it’s definitely a place you want to visit with friends and family.

Thirty Eight Chairs

651 Rathdowne St
Carlton North
VIC 3054

Phone no: 03 8383 4113

http://www.thirtyeightchairs.com.au/carlton-north/

Timings:

Tuesday – Saturday
Lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10pm

Sunday
Brunch/Lunch: 10.30am – 4pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest at Thirty Eight Chairs, but the opinions and views expressed are unbiased and entirely mine.

Thirty Eight Chairs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MoVida Original (Hosier Lane, Melbourne) – a Review

I can’t really call this a review, but rather an experience because MoVida is one of those landmark restaurants of Melbourne that needs no introduction to any food lover.

It’s been on our list for quite a while now but it finally came to be on Father’s Day. The place is slightly on the expensive side so a planned visit is ideal. And make sure you have made prior bookings too.

While there are other MoVida restaurants, we wanted to visit the original MoVida Bar de Tapas situated inside the iconic Hosier Lane. Frank Camorra and his team had visualized an intimate bar ambience focusing on traditional Spanish tapas style food with modern influences and an equally great wine list to match. And that’s exactly what you get at MoVida Original.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

We were lucky to be seated at a corner table which only added to the intimate experience for the three of us since we were looking to spend some quality family time over a slow, relaxed dinner.

The staff was extremely friendly and very attentive. After enquiring if this was our first time at MoVida, she explained about the menu also offering us wine pairing suggestions based on our order. Tapas is what MoVida is most famous for and we wanted to taste most of the dishes so our order was heavily from the tapas section. As for drinks, we went with the staff’s recommendation since we didn’t know much about Spanish wines.

(All the details of the dish described under each photograph)

MoVida (Melbourne), a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

2015 Ladairo Mencia Monterrei – with an intense raspberry colour, it had fresh and fruity aromas, quite soft on the palate and paired beautifully with all the dishes we ordered.

MoVida (Melbourne), a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Bread, warm and fresh from the oven to start off the meal….

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

GAMBA – Crisp Potato with Slices of Poached Prawn & Parsley Aioli. Amazing flavours and textures with super thin and crisp potato slices. Delicate yet packed a punch and a great way to start the meal. Highly recommended!

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

COGOLLOS – Baby Cos Lettuce with Anchovy & Pickled Garlic. Light and fresh, this was quite an interesting dish. Garlic and anchovy are strong flavours but when topped on the freshest cos lettuce, it was a delight and not overpowering at all.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

TOSTADA – Pressed Pork Sandwich, Red Onion Jam & Quail’s Egg. So different from the tostadas that we are used to at most Spanish restos. Again a super thin and crispy base, hardly get the flavour of pork but the onion jam was simply stunning

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

VEIRA – Port Phillip Bay Scallop Baked in its Half Shell with a Jamon &Garlic Sauce. It’s hard to go past scallops and we are so glad that we decided to order it. Perfectly cooked, plump sweet scallops in the most delicious jamon and garlic sauce.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

ANCHOA – Hand-filleted Cantabrian Artisan Anchovy on 
Crouton with Smoked Tomato Sorbet. Anchovies are an acquired taste so if you are new to it, you might be a bit hesitant about the flavours of this dish. But if you love it, then this would be a great one to try. I was so blown away by the flavours of the smoked tomato sorbet.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

CABALLA AHUMADA – House Cold Smoked Spanish Mackerel with Pine Nut Gazpacho Sorbet. Our first smoked mackerel experience. This one arrived in with a bit of theatre at the table; the little fellow was squeaking with delight watching the smoke escape as the lids were lifted.

Since we had feasted many rounds on the tapas, we decided to order just one main and a side.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

BROCCOLINI – Chargrilled Broccolini with Manchego Custard and Soft boiled eggs. Never have I tasted broccolini so delicious. That creamy custard and soft boiled eggs oozes over the broccolini resulting in sheer magic on the tastebuds.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

CARRILLERA DE BUEY – Slowly Braised Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree. Absolutely melt in the mouth beef cheeks in a creamy cauliflower puree with a sticky reduced Ximenez jus.

And we completed the meal with one of the best desserts I have had in a long time.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress..com

ACEDERA – Sorrel Sorbet with Kiwi, Citrus, Blood Orange and White Chocolate. A celebration of native Australian flavours with a modern interpretation. Every mouthful was a delight and I could go back just to have this again.

MoVida is a beautiful and delicious experience for any food lover. And it’s definitely a place I would be returning to.

MoVida

1 Hosier Lane, (off Flinders St)
Melbourne
VIC 3000
Melb. Office Tel:
+61 3 9663 3038

Timings:

Open Mon to Sun 12pm ’til late

MoVida Bar De Tapas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience

“My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’
‘You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.”
 Jane Austen, Persuasion

High teas are always an escape from reality for me. It’s an escape into a beautiful world, where I truly unwind and take time to enjoy life’s little luxuries like a perfectly brewed cup of tea, delicious savoury and sweet nibbles and above all, the company of those whom I truly value.

But at the Austen Tea Room, it went a step further….I got to enjoy one of my favourite authors of all times.

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience - thespiceadventuress.com

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience - thespiceadventuress.com

The Austen Tea Room, as the name suggests, is an ode to the creative brilliance of Jane Austen. Anyone who loves to read would have picked up and loved an Austen book at some point in their life. And this tea room transports you to that era, allowing you to escape the everyday mundane and bask in the happiness that comes from not racing against time.

And that’s why we decided to book a high tea experience for our book swap meet.

I have been to other high tea experiences but what immediately struck me about the Austen Tea Room, apart from the obvious reference to Jane Austen, is the classic British setting. It was not just about luxury and pretty, it was about slowing down like the women did in those times.

There is ample evidence to Austen, her life and books right from the moment you walk in. There is a central café area and is the place you are most likely to be seated if you are just dropping in and not booked in for a high tea or luncheon. And you might want to see if those high back chairs against the window are free for the best spot in the café.

The individual and shared tea rooms are at the back which is arranged according to the size of the group. While some tables are intimate just for 2-3 people, the rest are large making it ideal for hens parties, birthdays etc…

I was visiting with another friend (also my muse for the day!) and so we were directed to a beautifully arranged table for two.

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience - thespiceadventuress.com

We had booked for Jane’s Sparkling High Tea. So the first thing to arrive was the bubbles; I can’t think of a better way for two fine ladies to unwind. Our table was decked with the most beautiful tea set, classic Victorian design tableware and we had that perfect spot near a window. I think the picture would do more justice than my words…

We chose to start off with savoury and then follow it up with the tea and sweet treats.

A selection of delicious savoury treats was presented beautifully at our table. There was freshly made ribbon sandwiches with assorted fillings, dainty quiches, sausage rolls and mini meat pies. All of it was delicious but I especially loved the sandwiches.

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience - thespiceadventuress.com

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience - thespiceadventuress.com

Good conversations are important for a high tea experience, because it is all about slowing down as I mentioned earlier. So we pondered over Jane Austen for a while and then just rambled on, conversations flow naturally when you are in good company.

Once we had polished off most of the savoury nibbles, the tea was bought out along with the sweet treats. The tea was perfectly brewed, at the right temperature and we enjoyed with first with some hot scones, clotted cream and homemade jam. Heaven!

There was also an assortment of macaroons, mini cupcakes, and petite cakes along with a few other nibbles to accompany the tea.

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience - thespiceadventuress.com

The Austen Tea Room (Essendon, Melbourne) – a Beautiful High Tea Experience - thespiceadventuress.com

The high tea at Austen is not the most elaborate or indulgent that I have experienced. But the old world Victorian charm here is just magical that it transcends everything else. And anything to do with books will win my heart easily.

Austen Tea Room

40 Nicholson St
Essendon, VIC 3040

P: 03 9326 2966
http://www.theaustentearoom.com.au/

High Tea Timings:

(Bookings are essential)

Weekdays: 12pm – 2pm
Weekends 2.00pm – 4.00 pm 

The Austen Tea Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – The High Tea experience was paid for by me and my friend.

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review

It’s hard to miss The Public’s Corner because of its strategic location, right on Lonsdale Street near the stairs leading up to the council office and library. It’s probably one of the busiest and vibrant areas of Dandenong.

There was another restaurant operating at the same location earlier, which I have been to so I was a bit curious when I saw the new signboard. So decided to try out the place for a weekend brunch, to find out if it was just rebranding or has the menu/food changed.

The décor and ambience of the restaurant has not changed much, but the menu has gone through some changes definitely. While many of the dishes from the old menu remains, there were quite a few new ones added. And there’s also a revamped drinks menu which was great to see.

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

So for drinks, I got a glass of the Leopardwood Shiraz (Heathcote, VIC) and Sam got the classic Mojito. Nothing much to write about the wine except that it was a pretty decent one. Sam felt that the Mojito lacked balance in terms of sweetness and the staff said that she could provide with some sugar syrup but he opted to have it as such.

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we got the Saganaki with sautéed figs and pita. I have had Saganaki before, prepared it a couple of times too so there were high expectations. But this one didn’t match up, found it a bit too salty and hard. The pairing with figs was delicious but the best part of the dish was the pita….so fluffy and soft. I would order the pita again, perhaps with some dips.

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, I got the Lamb Loin Chops served with mixed grains, chat potatoes, roquette, roasted capsicum and feta. Before I get onto the taste, let me tell you that the portions offered here are huge so account for that when you place the order. Getting back to the dish, I enjoyed the chops a lot; the meat was cooked well and the sides tasted delicious. I would have preferred some sort of jus or sauce though or perhaps mashed potatoes instead of chat for that creamy element to the dish. Otherwise a really nice one….

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The second mains we ordered was the 12 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder served with mashed potatoes, topped with greens, feta and jus. The meat was so tender, juicy and fall off the bone and the accompaniments matched perfectly. I felt that the meat could have been seasoned more but then that’s a personal preference. This was the perfect weekend indulgence!

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Overall, The Public’s Corner is a nice place to meet up whether it’s for a working lunch, quick coffee date or a relaxed dinner. The food is not the best you will have, but it’s good, value for money with great service on offer.

 The Public’s Corner
Shop 1, 225 Lonsdale Street
Dandenong. VIC 3175

Phone no: 03 9794 6697

Timings:

Monday: 7am – 3pm
Tuesday: 7am – 3pm
Wednesday: 7am – 10pm
Thursday: 7am – 10pm
Friday: 7am – 10pm
Saturday: 8am – 10pm
Sunday: 8am – 10pm

The Public's Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review

It’s quite strange that very few people write about food/restaurants in the suburbs.  Especially in Melbourne, I have noticed that the reviews are concentrated in and around the city or in picturesque slightly far flung areas like Yarra or Mornington. But there are hardly any coming out of the suburbs, where eating out at your neighborhood restaurant is the reality for most residents.

We have always enjoyed discovering restaurants in our suburb as well as the neighbouring ones. It’s often word of mouth or random experiments, some of which turn out to be an amazing find and some others not so pleasant.

And that’s how we ended up at Peking Land. A new South Indian restaurant had opened in Rowville, and we noticed Peking Land during a visit to the other restaurant as both occupied neighbouring spaces. So one weekend, when the Asian tastebuds needed to be satisfied, we decided to try out the place.

Peking Land has a huge space so most days, you can get away without making a booking unless they have an event going on. But it still would be wise to give a call to find out before walking in. I also noticed they have some great deals for takeaways and you can find all that information near the cash counter.

The décor is classic Oriental; deep red upholstery against dark wood furniture with Chinese lanterns and dim lights. Despite the familiarity, the place does invoke a sense of luxury and exotic.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting to the drinks and food, I was quite surprised to see an extensive wine, beverage and cocktail list. It’s hard to find in the suburbs especially in restaurants from the Asian subcontinent so it was definitely welcoming.

We decided to get a bottle of Murray Street Barossa Shiraz 2012. And boy, one of the best Shiraz we have had in a while! Rich yet smooth on the palate, it paired beautifully with all the dishes we ordered for the day. Peking Land also had some interesting cocktails on the menu, which I definitely plan to try out next time….

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We began the meal with two types of dumplings. The first was steamed Cantonese style dim sims with a pork filling and the second was pan fried dumplings with pork and prawn filling. Both were really delicious and the Cantonese style dim sims were quite new to me in terms of taste and texture.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The next dishes to arrive were the soups. One of the main reasons we tend to visit  traditional Chinese restaurants is for the soups, especially during the colder months. So today, we had the hot and sour combination soup and the chicken mushroom soup. Both were equally amazing, warm and delicious.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

And for mains, we had Chicken Fried Rice with Salted Fish with Phoenix Nest. It was the first time we tried out this particular style of fried rice. The dish was recommended by the staff and though Sam was a little hesitant seeing the ‘salted fish’ in the description, it turned out to be an amazing dish. It does not have the classic salted fish taste at all but there’s so much flavour than your regular fried rice. Do give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Phoenix Nest is a dish I have had before in India. Basically, its sautéed combination of chicken, beef, roasted pork and king prawns with wok tossed vegetables served on a crisp potato nest. While in India, the flavours are Indo Chinese, this one is pure Cantonese. So good with the fried rice….

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Overall, a great place to stop by for traditional Cantonese style cuisine. We will definitely be going back again…

Peking Land

1089 Stud Road, Rowville
Victoria 3178

Phone no: 03 9764 9388

Timings:

Monday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Tuesday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Wednesday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Thursday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Friday: 12-3pm, 5-11.30pm
Saturday: 5-11.30pm
Sunday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm

Peking Land Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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