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Tag Archives: australian good food guide

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne)

The Mt Alexander Rd in Moonee Ponds is a food lover’s paradise; the range and quality of restaurants is really good and one of my favourite places to dine in a Melbourne suburb. While I can’t call myself an expert in the area, I have dined at quite a few places there and never been disappointed.

So when Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) and Jack’s Satay Bar invited me for a dinner, I was more than happy to accept it.

Jack’s Satay Bar has been around for about 20 years. Initially starting out as a wine bar, it was soon upgraded to a fully fledged restaurant especially being situated in a very promising location. The food is distinctly Malaysian with influences of Chinese, Indian and Malay styles. Inspite of starting out as a wine bar, the current drinks menu is simple and small but there is a strong presence of boutique wines (local and international) and also some good cocktails on the list. Do ask for suggestions….

There’s not much of an ambience to write about; the space is of course warm and comfortable but there’s no distinct style or uniqueness about it. But what’s interesting is the many photographs near the counter from racing events including a jersey from a past winning jockey. With Flemington and Moonee Ponds racecourses nearby, Jack’s Satay Bar is a hot favourite during the spring racing season, often packed with jockeys, trainers and other officials dropping in after the event.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

John Ho, the owner of Jack’s Satay Bar loves a good conversation so if you are interested in knowing more about the photographs, history and anecdotes, he is the man to talk to….

For drinks, we started with cocktails – Burnt Orange Bourbon Sour (special of the week) and a French Gimlet. The cocktails were brilliant and perfectly balanced. Do check out the special board; plenty of interesting options not on the regular menu. And while we were waiting for the drinks, we had a nibbles plate with sambal, fresh cucumber, fried anchovies and peanuts. Absolutely brilliant with the drinks too.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Burnt Orange Bourbon Sour

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

From the entrée list, we tried out three different dishes;

Given the name of the restaurant, we had to definitely try out the Satay so we went with the Prawn Satay. The peanut sauce was one of the most delicious I have had to date….it was perfectly balanced, spicy, sweet with that distinct peanut flavour yet not too overpowering. The prawns were perfectly cooked but I would have preferred it to be grilled with a bit of that smoky char that would have paired even better with the satay sauce.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Since the Roti rolls were highly recommended, we decided to try it as our next dish. Roti rolls are very famous in Malaysia and most restaurants, both traditional and modern ones here have it on the menu. While the basic concept of the dish remains the same, I have noticed that the taste does differ between restaurants as chefs try to put their own spin on it with regard to fillings, flavours etc… The one we tried here had marinated chicken pieces with fresh cucumber and tomatoes wrapped inside the roti served with a spicy peanut sauce. Again an enjoyable dish, I really liked the flavour of the marinated chicken; a great street style dish.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Roti rolls

The third entrée we tried was another traditional dish called Lohkaing. It’s essentially minced prawn and pork wrapped in a crispy beancurd skin that’s served with a tangy sauce. The unique texture of the crispy beancurd skin combined with the soft delicious prawn pork mince was simply divine. One of my favourite dishes from the day and one I highly recommend.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lohkaing

As I mentioned earlier, the wine list might be small at Jack’s but there are a few surprising boutique wines available. For my 2nd drink, I had placed an order but the Manager came over and suggested me to try a glass of Salatin Pinot Grigio. And I am happy I went with the suggestion as it was a really refreshing, well balanced, medium dry Pinot with citrusy undertones; paired well with the next round of dishes too.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Salatin Pinot Grigio

For mains, we started with a plate of Char Keow Teow – fried flat rice noodles with fresh shrimps, eggs, bean shoots, Chinese sausage and spices. It was rich with a good balance of spices and really delicious. The flavours were distinctly Malaysian and the small bits of pork belly through the noodles made it taste even better.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Char Keow Teow

Usually in a Malaysian restaurant, we invariably end up ordering a curry but this time, we decided to skip that and instead got Ikan Kerisi, steamed rice and Sambal Spinach.

Ikan Kerisi is basically fillets of sea perch steamed in a flavourful broth of ginger, shallots, coriander and light soy sauce. Sea perch is not usually a fish I get to eat at many restaurants but it’s a perfect one for a dish like this. A very light and flavourful dish, the fillets were beautifully cooked, subtle but with loads of flavour from the aromatics. Paired with the sambal spinach, a must try if you love spinach and steamed rice, this was a great mains option.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Sambal Spinach

Skipped dessert as we do often, especially after we have eaten too much.

To summarize, Jack’s Satay Bar is a great neighbourhood restaurant for those living in Moonee Ponds and nearby suburbs. And if you are a racing fan, it’s definitely a place to stop by after the races for drinks and snacks. Don’t forget to check out the racing trivia up on the walls too.

Jack’s Satay Bar

571-573
Mt Alexander Rd
Moonee Ponds, Victoria
Australia, 3039

Ph:   03 9375 3778 & 03 9375 3577

http://www.jacksatay.com.au/

Timings:

Lunch: Tue-Fri
Dinner: Tue-Sun

Closed Monday

Jack's Satay Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Jack’s Satay Bar. All the opinions are purely personal. 

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Passage thru Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne)

When we moved into the North Eastern suburbs a couple of weeks ago, one of the most exciting things for me was the fact that there were so many new restaurants for me to explore. And on one of those restaurant expeditions, we first came across Passage thru Malaysia.

It was the logo of the restaurant that drew us initially to this place. Brilliantly designed to depict Malaysia’s culinary amalgamation of traditional Malay, Indian and Chinese influences, the logo is definitely a conversation starter.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

We had a pleasant dinner that day but imagine my surprise when I receive an invite to the restaurant again courtesy Australian Good Food Guide (my go to guide for all the restaurant/hospitality news of Australia).

Situated on the Main Street in Greensborough, Passage thru Malaysia focuses on traditional Malaysian cuisine in a contemporary ambience. Owned by sisters Jerena and Jasmine, the restaurant showcases all the three major influences on modern Malaysian cuisine – Malay, Indian and Chinese.

The restaurant space was earlier a bank but when renovated, they decided to incorporate structures like the vault into the design so you can actually walk into the vault room which is now a private dining area. How cool is that!

The ambience is modern with plenty of traditional touches in the form of artefacts, paintings, cartoons, props etc…all of which take you back to the Malaysian way of life. And if you know the language, you might want to spend some time looking through the drawings too, which Jasmine tells me belong to popular Malaysian artists and cartoonists.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

As I already mentioned, the menu covers familiar and traditional Malaysian food across all the three categories. The staff are super friendly so make sure you ask for suggestions if you are not familiar with Malaysian food.

The drinks menu is a basic one but you will find good house wines, Asian beers and also a few cocktails. But the emphasis is on the fresh and traditional Malaysian non alcoholic drinks which is great especially with the warmer days coming up.

(The description for all the drinks and food we tried out are provided below each photograph)

Ribena Lychee

Ribena Lychee – This is quite a popular drink in Malaysia and quite a famous one in Melbourne too. It’s really delicious, refreshing and those lychees inside are simply to die for. Definitely recommended and our favourite too.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Syrup Bandung – with evaporated milk and rose cordial syrup. Milk based mocktails are not a personal preference of mine especially for dinner so I must admit that I did not enjoy this one immensely. It was made perfectly and would be a great choice for afternoons or if you enjoy milk based drinks. Could be popular among children too.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Syrup Limau – A refreshing sweet grain drink with lime. This is another delicious refresher, one to be had chilled. It’s not too sweet, light and a great drink to start the meal with.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Wonton Cups (with veggies and mayo) – There are plenty of vegetarian starters on the menu and one of the most delicious ones are these Wonton Cups. Crispy cups filled with fresh veggies and mayo, almost like a coleslaw. It’s light, fresh and so delicious that you will want to order more. Highly recommended!

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Curry Puffs – I assumed this would be meat based but to my surprise, it was another vegetarian delight. Not the generic, supermarket tasting puffs, you know this is handmade and fresh from the soft, buttery flakiness of the puffs but warm and crispy straight out of the oven. Filled with the most delicious veggie curry filling, another must try at Passage through Malaysia.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Crispy Shhh Chicken – My absolute favourite dish of the day! The first time we were at the restaurant, we had ordered this thinking it was just fried chicken since the name and description gave nothing away. But imagine our surprise when we found that it was actually fried chicken skin tossed with dry chillies and curry leaves. It was a revelation as I have never had anything like this before and being a chicken skin fan, I was blown away by the taste. We ordered it again the second time and even a non chicken skin lover like my husband was converted. With a nice spicy kick, this dish is an absolute must try and something delicious to munch on while your mains arrive. And of course, don’t forget a chilled beer to accompany.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For Mains, we were advised to try one dish each highlighting the Chinese, Indian and Malay influences. The first one we tried represented the Chinese influence – Stir fried vermicelli with eggs, bean shoots, shrimps and chicken. This was our favourite mains of the day; the vermicelli was cooked perfectly, the flavours balanced and each mouthful was a delicious one. Again a highly recommended one.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

From the Indian influence, it was Roti Canai served with sambal, chicken curry gravy and dhal (lentil curry). Roti Canai is quite a famous dish in Melbourne and expectations were quite high for this one but unfortunately it was a tad bit disappointing. While the Roti was delicious, flaky and soft, the accompaniments were a letdown for me. The sambal didn’t really have its signature spicy kick, the chicken gravy had more oil than the gravy itself and the lentils were under seasoned.

Passage through Malaysia (Greensborough, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And the final dish we tasted was the Nasi Lemak with fried chicken – the National dish of Malaysia, the Nasi Lemak is a complete meal in itself with coconut rice, boiled egg, crispy anchovies, peanuts, fresh cucumber, sambal and fried chicken. While it is not the best Nasi Lemak I have had, it was a really good one. The chicken was fried perfectly, crispy on the outside but soft and juicy inside. The accompaniments were great but the sambal could have more flavour (same one served with Roti Canai). A must try if you want experience Malaysia in a plate.

To summarize, Passage thru Malaysia is a nice neighbourhood restaurant to enjoy Malaysian cuisine. The staff are friendly, beautiful ambience and good food to match, this is a place that we will be visiting often.

Passage thru Malaysia

2/16-22 Main Street
Greensborough, VIC

Phone: 03 9435 4958

https://www.passagethrumalaysia.com.au/

Timings:
Tues – Sun: 12pm – 3pm and 5pm – 10pm
Monday (Closed)

 

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Passage through Malaysia. All the opinions, musings, photographs are entirely mine unless stated otherwise. 

Passage Thru Malaysia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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