Tag Archives: melbourne eats

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne)

Apart from discovering delicious food, the other great aspect of being a restaurant reviewer is getting to hear the stories of how each restaurant starts its journey. Sometimes it’s a Chef who wants to showcase his signature style of cooking, but sometimes it’s just ordinary people with an incredible passion for good food.

When I got an invite from Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) and Burger Shurger, I was positive there was going to be an interesting story behind this one venture. How else would anyone start an Indian cuisine inspired burger joint!

The brainchild of a young Indian couple (Payal Bisht and Prasuk Jain), Burger Shurger is all about putting a twist on classic pub food like burgers, fries and the like with familiar Indian flavours. Don’t expect any classics here, it’s all about fusion and hence you need to go in with an open mind.

The first thing that catches your attention as you walk into the restaurant is an art mural (see below) by artist Cassie Stevens (soggysavoy). If you are an Indian or remotely familiar with the many religions of India, then you will recognize that all the figures depicted are Indian Gods or religious figures. The mural is a true indication to the fusion cuisine offered at Burger Shurger; the different Gods having a great time over burgers and beer in a ‘Last Supper’ setting.

I had to ask the owners if there has been a backlash over this rather modern artistic mural but surprisingly there hasn’t been many. Most people have accepted it as art and an artist’s interpretation which is rather commendable.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting to the menu, it’s a burger joint so obviously there are different styles to choose from including vegetarian options. There are also a good selection of interesting sides and small bites, all with an Indian twist to it. Beers and burgers go hand in hand so there’s a small selection of craft beers apart from wines and other spirits. A small selection of unique cocktails is also on offer, which I strongly recommend ordering from.

The first cocktail we tried was the Shaitan (Naughty) Mojito – a classic Mojito with a twist of curry leaves and a special Indian masala. It was a really refreshing drink just as a Mojito should be and the addition of the spice blend did lift up the flavours and it reminded me of the masala sodas that are sold in India.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The second cocktail we got was the Corona-Sita – a beer based cocktail made with Corona, tequila, rose water and lime juice. This was my favourite one; while I do like beer, I do not enjoy its bitter aftertaste. This cocktail was just perfect because the addition of tequila and rose water neutralized the bitterness yet the flavour of the beer shone through. Highly recommended if you are a hesitant beer drinker!

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we got ‘The Bun Pakora’. And that’s their take on the classic bread pakora. So what they have essentially done is taken the spiced potato patty, placed inside a brioche bun, dipped in a chickpea batter and deep fried. The final drizzle of sweet and sour tamarind sauce seals the deal. And in my humble opinion, this is way better than the regular bread pakora.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next starter we ordered was the Pataka Ribs; essentially chicken ribs glazed with a spicy sauce. If you are familiar with the Indo Chinese cuisine that’s extremely popular in India, then you will love these ribs. It’s spicy yet sweet and tangy; basically fingerlickin deliciousness. Another must try here.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Butter Chicken Poutine – the dish I am most excited to talk about. Even though the place is about the burgers, this was hands on ‘dish of the day’ for me. Usually I am known to run a mile if asked about butter chicken, but this is one that I am extremely pleased to talk about. A huge bowl of fries loaded with the most delicious butter chicken gravy I have had and topped with shredded chicken. Yes, I think butter chicken has finally arrived in Melbourne!

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Of course we had to try the burgers, so we started with the Keema Pav – a spiced lamb mince patty with picked veggies, mint and pea mash, topped with an egg. A classic flavour combination from India, but in a burger format which works really well. Everything was perfect right from the bun to the mince patty and the fillings; a really delicious fusion burger.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The second burger we tried out was a twist on another classic Indian flavour – Mr. 65. Deep fried, crunchy chicken coated with a spicy batter served with a special sauce and cheese. The chicken was fried to perfection, juicy and tender. Really delicious and especially a favourite with my son.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And for dessert, we finished with another fusion dish – Masala Chai Crème Brulee. I love the idea of masala chai flavour in desserts having experimented with quite a few myself. So I was quite eager to try this one; didn’t disappoint at all. The perfect caramelized burnt sugar crackle and a good hit of masala chai without being too overpowering made this a really delicious fusion dessert.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To conclude, Burger Shurger is a must visit if you would love to experience fusion Indian food. The underlying flavours are classic Indian, yet there are elements borrowed from other cuisines that make everything on the menu super interesting. It’s good fusion, which means that everything on the menu is delicious too.

I am definitely going back….especially for that poutine and ribs!!

Burger Shurger

297 Glen Huntly Road
Elsternwick
VIC 3185

Phone no: 03 9532 8995
https://burgershurger.business.site/

Timings:

Mon: Closed
Tue: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Wed: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Thu: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Fri: 3:00 – 10:00 pm
Sat: 3:00 – 10:00 pm
Sun: 3:00 – 9:00 pm

Burger Shurger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Burger Shurger. All the opinions provided are entirely mine and unbiased.

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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. 

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

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

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

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Woodstock Pizzicheria has definitely carved a name for itself in the wood fired pizza scene of Melbourne. This award winning restaurant chain, built by the pizza champion, Tony Cannata is one of the best places in town to enjoy traditional Roman style pizzas.

I was invited a few weeks ago to the launch of their new menu and must admit, that this was my first time at the pizzicheria. The event was a brilliant and delicious one with an array of Sicilian style starters, cold cuts, cheese boards, pizza platters and of course a very impressive dessert platter.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

I loved everything at the event; the ambience, food and service; so I decided to do a proper review for all of you by visiting Woodstock once again just like any other customer so that you have an idea of what to expect when you walk in.

The ambience and décor at Woodstock Pizzicheria can be best described as rustic Sicilian with a lot of fun elements and hints of contemporary thrown in. While the furniture and interiors have a very traditional feel, the bar is a contemporary addition to the space. The open kitchen is a hub of activity that adds to the appeal of the restaurant. It’s a place where you can spend good quality time with friends and family even when it’s packed to the brim.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

And they seem to love Nutella quite a bit, there’s plenty of references to that as soon as you walk in!

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

The service at Woodstock will remind you of Italian hospitality. The staff are attentive, warm and friendly; quite happy to help you out with suggestions from the menu and also help out in choosing the right wine for your meal. The wine list is good and features many Italian wines, which you might need help with unless you are familiar. The cocktail list was basic but I loved the choices they had.

The menu is a small one and I am beginning to enjoy restaurants which do that because it means that they focus on producing high quality dishes. Pizzas rule the roost and is made the classic Roman way; the rest of the menu is more Sicilian inspired.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

So my friends went for the 2013 Majella Shiraz (Coonawarra, South Australia) and I chose their signature Nonno è Vivo (Disaronno, vodka and Kahlua. Topped with soda water, lime juice and crushed ice). Both the choices were perfect for our meal. I loved the cocktail especially with that Kahlua which gave it that warm bittery notes.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

We started the meal with Calamari fritti – calamari rings dusted in semolina with lime and black pepper, served with aioli. It was amazing; the calamari was so perfectly cooked, soft and melt in the mouth. The spices were subtle and the lime added a very refreshing flavour to the calamari. The perfect thing to munch on with the drinks.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

The next starter we tried was the Polpette della Nonna – traditional Sicilian style meatballs made from lamb and pork mince simmered in a Napoli sauce. I am a huge fan of meatballs especially the Italian ones and this didn’t disappoint at all. The meatballs were soft and flavourful and that sauce was delicious, very tomatoey but with the right balance.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

I will also recommend the Crocché di Patate – potato croquettes with Provolone cheese and Salsicce alla griglia – homemade pure pork sausages, both of which I had at the launch event. The sausages were just divine so if you eat pork, do try it out for sure.

Time for the pizzas! We tried out the Woodstock with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, caramelized onion, potatoes, zucchini, grilled eggplant, oregano and Pecorino cheese. It’s quite unusual for me to order a vegetarian pizza (I am quite partial to the meats when it comes to pizza) but I am so happy I did. The Woodstock had beautiful flavours; the base was light, thin and crisp and the smoky caramelized flavours of the onion was awesome. Mixed opinions about the eggplant but that’s because I am not fond of it but overall, a brilliant vegetarian pizza that I wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

The next one we tried was the Gamberi Piccante with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, tiger prawns, cherry tomatoes, fresh chilli and basil. The clear winner and highlight of the dinner was this beauty. Simplicity is best and this one is a clear example of that. Perfectly cooked prawns on a thin crispy base, with that beautifully flavoured tomato sauce, a mild kick from the chillies and the freshness of the tomatoes and basil. Spot on and highly recommended!

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Since I was out with friends, couldn’t do dessert as they wanted to check out another dessert bar nearby. But I would definitely go back for it since I ate some awesome stuff during the launch event.

In short, Woodstock Pizzicheria is a place you must visit if you love traditional Italian thin crust pizzas with really good quality ingredients. A beautiful ambience and excellent service completes the dining experience. Make sure to make a booking ahead!

Woodstock Pizzicheria
63-67 Lygon Street, Brunswick
Melbourne, Victoria
Phone no:03 9387 7770
http://www.woodstockpizza.com.au/

Timings:
Sunday to Thursday: 12pm-3pm / 5pm-10.30pm
Friday, Saturday: 12pm-3pm / 5pm-midnight

Woodstock Pizzicheria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I was given a $50 voucher, the rest of the bill was paid for by me and my friends.

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review

A lovely café tucked away in the bylanes of Burwood, The Foodrinkery ticks all the right boxes for me when it comes to a neighbourhood café.

Located adjacent to the Wattle Park Primary School and Spectrum dance school, the café enjoys an enviable location which also makes it the perfect spot for the neighbourhood to stop by for a relaxing cup of coffee and some amazing food.

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We walked in for brunch earlier this week and the first thing that struck me was this was the perfect place for me to meet with my mommy friends. The seating area is divided into three parts – a couple of tables out at the front, cool quirky interior seating (with plenty of magazines) and a gorgeous shady space behind the café which opens out into the adjacent park area.

The décor has been done so thoughtfully; there is plenty of quirky stuff on display which children would adore, like this car on the wall.

Quirky interiors at The Foodrinkery, Burwood - a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The staff also opens out the top part of the fencing when children are around so that parents can always watch their children playing in the park while sipping on their coffees. Very thoughtful indeed…..

Beautiful art work on the walls, interesting table number art, cars and planes, potted plants and herbs….all add to the relaxing ambience of this café. A place that makes you feel warm and welcome. How I wish there was a similar café in my neighbourhood!

Quirky interiors at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We started off with a cup of coffee (cappuccino to be exact) and freshly squeezed orange juice. The coffee was good but there’s room for improvement. We Melbournians have a very high standard for coffee so this one felt average….. The freshly squeezed orange juice was gulped down fast being a really hot autumn day. The café also serves smoothies and other fresh drinks apart from the usual bottled varieties.

Coffee at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Orange Juice at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The menu at The Foodrinkery is an interesting one with a good mix of familiar, comforting dishes and some modern, unique flavours. Personally, I love to try out new flavours and I also get excited when a small café or restaurant tries to push boundaries in their own small ways. But my hubby is not always so which is why he ended up getting eggs and toast with a side of bacon. According to him, a café that gets this dish right is one he will return to. And luckily for him, it turned out to be so….creamy, fluffy scrambled eggs on good quality toasted bread with a side of perfectly fried bacon.

Scrambled Eggs on Toast with a side of bacon at the The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

I zeroed in on the Chermoula Eggs….toasted bread topped with smashed pumpkin, grilled zucchini, two free ranged poached eggs drizzled with chermoula dressing. To cater to all taste buds, the seasoning is kept to a minimum so you need to adjust it to your liking with salt and pepper. But there was tons of flavour in this one…loved the chermoula dressing which when combined with the runny eggs was brilliant. A clean, healthy and nourishing dish.

Chermoula Eggs at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

It was a really hot day and the Atlantic salad sounded very interesting so we added that to the list too. Lots of baby spinach topped with cherry tomatoes, capers, smoked salmon, feta, pickle, jalapenos drizzled with a balsamic glaze dressing. Very refreshing and delicious, it made the perfect addition to our meal.

Atlantic Salad at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Do look out for their specials menu which you can find behind the counter. There is also a delectable selection of muffins, cakes, pastries, cupcakes, cookies etc…..I bought back home a couple of chocolate cupcakes and mini chocolate chip cookies which totally won my son’s approval.

Freshly baked muffins at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Gorgeous cupcakes at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

In a nutshell, The Foodrinkery is a great place to relax after dropping off your children at school, catch up with your friends and neighbours or have a family brunch on the weekends. And if this café was near my home, you would have found me doing all my food writing here….a very inspiring and calming space.

The Foodrinkery
22 Banksia Street
Burwood
Victoria 3125
Phone: 03 8899 6654
FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheFoodrinkery/

Timings:
Mon – Fri: 8.00am to 5.00pm
Sat-Sun: 8.00am to 4.00pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of The World Loves Melbourne and The Foodrinkery. The choice of dishes and opinions stated here are entirely mine.

The Foodrinkery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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