Tag Archives: melbourne food

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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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

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans

As I had mentioned on my FB page a few days ago, we were crazy busy the whole of last week shifting homes. Things are still a little crazy even now as we are yet to settle down in the new home, in the process of opening out the boxes, arranging, rearranging and all of that jazz.

While the packing part is stressful and not enjoyable at all, I really enjoy the unpacking phase in the new home. I love decorating and doing up my home interiors, so it’s like having a whole new palette to play with.

Since I knew that there is not much cooking that will be happening over the next couple of days, I decided to test and shoot some recipes beforehand (the first time I have actually planned out my work ahead of time). Usually it’s always spontaneous but this year, I have been really working on my time management skills which are great when you have a home based business.

One of the dishes that I had tested out was this delicious Lamb curry with Haricot beans.

Pairing lamb or goat curry with lentils, vegetables etc… are quite common in Indian cuisine. And a great example of that would be Dhansak, a much revered mutton preparation amongst the Parsi Zoroastrian community. A fusion dish that combines elements of Persian cuisine and Gujarati cuisine, Dhansak has come to symbolize the essence of Parsi cuisine.

Not an adaptation, but this lamb curry with haricot beans was definitely inspired by Dhansak; firstly for the lamb and pulses combination and secondly because of the use of Dhansak masala, a really flavourful aromatic spice blend that makes this lamb curry absolutely spectacular.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

I have cooked with haricot beans before but always in a vegetarian dish like a stir fry with grated coconut or in combination with other vegetables like potatoes. This is the first time I paired it with lamb and it turned out to be such a great combination.

Haricot beans are also called by other names like Navy beans, Boston beans, pea beans etc… These are small, oval, white coloured beans that have a mild, smooth and creamy flavour when cooked. If you are not too fond of the bigger sized beans, this is a great replacement to make baked beans for breakfast, in stir fries, curries or salads. High in protein and gluten free, haricot beans are definitely a healthy addition to your pantry.

As I mentioned earlier, I used the dhansak masala as the spice blend to make this curry. It’s a really flavourful and aromatic blend that has become another valued addition to my spice collection. Have fun with it and do not restrict to using it in just this curry but as you would use garam masala or any other blend.

So let’s get into the recipe now; and if you do make this recipe, do tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I can see your creations too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Dhansak Masala:

  1. 100 g dry coriander seeds
  2. 50 g fenugreek seeds
  3. 50 g mustard seeds
  4. 50 g cumin seeds
  5. 50 g dried bay leaves
  6. 20 gms cardamom
  7. 20 gms cloves
  8. 1 large cinnamon bark

Method:

Dry roast the whole spices on a hot tawa/flat pan till aromatic (take care not to burn). Cool slightly and then blend into a powder. Store in an airtight container.

To make the curry:

Ingredients:

  1. 800gms lamb shank meat (boneless); cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 3-4 tbsp oil
  3. 2 large onions; finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  6. 1 inch ginger root; grated
  7. 2 large tomatoes; finely chopped
  8. ¾ ths cup haricot beans (washed and soaked overnight)
  9. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp coriander powder
  11. 2 tbsp dhansak masala
  12. Salt, to season
  13. ½ cup milk
  14. Fresh coriander leaves; for garnish

Note – Any cut of lamb can be used but boneless is best for a recipe like this.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large deep bottom pot.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter and then add the garlic and ginger. Sauté till the rawness has disappeared and then add the onions.
  3. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till the onions have softened and lightly browned at the edges. Then add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are broken down and mushy.
  4. Add the chilli, coriander and dhansak masala; mix well to combine.
  5. Add the haricot beans and lamb pieces. Add 3 cups water, season with salt and mix well.
  6. Bring to boil and then lower heat; cook covered on low heat till the lamb is just about done.
  7. If you prefer more gravy, add more water or if you prefer thicker gravy, increase heat and reduce the gravy.
  8. Finally add milk, mix well and adjust seasoning.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
  10. Serve warm.

Note – Adding the milk lends creaminess to the gravy, a much better alternative to adding cream or yoghurt. It is optional and can be skipped.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours

Most of us are familiar with Turkish flavours, but at Yagiz, you will be treated to a unique and modern twist on classic Turkish flavours in a contemporary, warm and friendly ambience.

Yagiz is the dream project of Chef Murat Ovaz who has a wealth of experience working at some of the top restaurants in Melbourne and NSW. He was the Head Chef at Tulum before starting this restaurant which was named after his grandfather. In fact, you cannot miss the beautiful portrait mural of his grandfather inside the restaurant which almost instantly warms you up to the space.

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

The service and hospitality at Yagiz deserves a special mention. The staff are friendly, keen to help, take great pride in serving you and passionate about Turkish cuisine which was really refreshing to see.

The menu resonates with the restaurant’s philosophy – modern Turkish.

Since there are plenty of Turkish terms on the menu, feel free to discuss with the staff to pick out the right dishes. In fact, the staff are quite proactive in offering you explanations about both the wine list and menu.

The wine list at Yagiz is unique and interesting. Curated by award winning sommelier Christian Maier, there are plenty of Turkish wines that are showcased apart from others from Australia and around the globe. I wonder why we haven’t been exposed to Turkish wines here, because all the ones I tasted were outstanding. Highly recommend to take suggestions and try out some Turkish wines while dining at Yagiz.

Sam decided to try out the cocktails while I tried out the wines. And personally speaking, I think the wines stood out better in comparison.

So let’s get into all the drinks and dishes that we tried out. I have provided the explanation under each photograph as many readers have told me that they find it more useful.

2

Alexander the Traitor – Bison Grass Vodka, Licor 43, ginger, lemon, orange bitters. (The original one has egg white but Sam requested to skip that since he is not fond of the flavour). Sam didn’t find it as enjoyable as the cocktail was a tad bit on the sweeter side.

1

Vinkara Winehouse Öküzgözü 2015 (Ankara, Turkey) – A well balanced medium bodied red is how I would like to describe it. It’s a great starting wine if you don’t want to go for sparkling or white yet need something light to pair with the starting courses of the meal.

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

It is not uncommon to have bread and butter served at the table at most restaurants these days as something to snack on while the food arrives. But at Yagiz, even this is worth a mention as we were served warm sourdough bread with an absolutely lipsmacking eggplant infused butter. I have never tasted something like this before and the flavour completely blew me away. This can be a course in itself.

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

Kozde Biber – Charred red bullhorn pepper, buttermilk curd. Loved this modern twist of a much loved classic. It was light, sweet but with that hint of smoky char balanced out by the creaminess of the curd. A great vegetarian starter!

 

 

5

Sigara Boregi – Confit of duck cigar. This is an absolute must try at Yagiz, and my personal favourite. Crispy cigars filled with the most tender, melt in your mouth duck mince that has to be dipped in an Isot spice mix. Isot was a revelation for me, a new spice to add to my list. Sweet spicy chilli flakes with a hint of burnt flavour with chocolate undertones. It’s complex yet subtle and those cigars dipped in it is absolute heaven for your taste buds.

6

Marrons with butter and garlic – One of the specials of the night. When the staff informed us that freshly caught marrons were on the specials that night, we simply couldn’t go past it. A bit pricey but totally worth it because fresh marrons that has been grilled to perfection with just butter and garlic is not an everyday dish and when you get the opportunity, you order and eat it to your heart’s content.

7

It was time for the 2nd round of drinks. Sam got another cocktail; Yeni Eksi – Citrus infused Raki, lemon, sour cherry, sour apple. This was a really enjoyable one; stronger in flavour but perfectly balanced out and quite enjoyable to drink.

8

For round 2, I went for a glass of Suvla Syrah 2017, Gallipoli, Turkey. A full bodied red with hints of spice, this was suggested as a great pairing for the meat dishes to follow. And it definitely didn’t disappoint.

9

Kofte – Now this is a dish that I order whenever I eat at any Middle Eastern restaurant. It’s like the gold standard dish and I wanted to see their take on it. Definitely didn’t disappoint as the kofte was juicy and was paired with smoked eggplant and pickled chilli which made it an excellent one.

10

Dana Kaburga – Beef short ribs, wild mushrooms, parsnip puree. A stunning main dish that I can speak of forever. Loved the fact that each ingredient was treated with so much care and attention. From the perfectly cooked, absolutely tender short ribs to the wild earthy mushrooms and that sweet, lush and creamy puree, this was another excellent dish at Yagiz.

11

Bulgur Pilav – to accompany the mains, we got this pilaf. And I realised that this is a delicious dish in itself and not just a side. Brilliant flavours with that hint of spice!

12

Lokumlu Turta – Turkish delight tart, soft meringue. I have heard so much about this dessert on Instagram that I definitely had to try it out. And I must admit that it tasted better than the traditional Turkish delight. This one’s also on the sweeter side but there’s so much balance and finesse that makes it a delicious way to finish the Yagiz experience.

To summarize, Yagiz is a great place to explore Turkish cuisine in a contemporary setting. It’s not fusion, it’s traditional Turkish cooked and presented with finesse.

Yagiz Restaurant

22 Toorak Road
South Yarra
VIC 3141

Phone: (0)3 9821 4758

https://www.yagiz.com.au/

Timings:

Dinner: Tues to Sat, 5.30pm – 11pm
Lunch: Wed to Fri, 11.30am – 3pm

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

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini)

Pan grilled Lamb Cutlets with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini – this was the mains I served for my Christmas in July family dinner.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

If you had already checked out the Potatoes with Smoked Salmon recipe that I posted last month, you would be aware that I had collaborated with ALDI Australia to create a Christmas in July feast. And as I mentioned in the previous post, there was no intention to share the recipes here as it was a social media/photography project. But with so many readers asking for the recipes, I thought of posting it here rather than sending screen shots as this is quite a lengthy one with so many different components.

The best thing about this dish is that each individual component is a dish within itself. The red pepper cashew puree can be paired with any sort of grilled meat, fish or vegetable. The charred broccolini with a hint of spice makes an excellent side and the couscous salad is so hearty and fulfilling that it can be a delicious salad or a light lunch at your next barbecue or summer party.

It’s important that you cook the lamb cutlets right as it’s very easy to overcook these and dry cutlets are not at all nice. Depending on the thickness, 1-2 minutes on each side and then rest for another 5 minutes to get the perfect cutlets. You can also sear for a minute on high heat and then finish off the cooking in the oven. Either way, it’s best medium rare for a juicy, delicious texture.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

The roasted red pepper cashew puree is an absolute must try. Believe me; you do need this recipe in your life because it’s so delicious and versatile. It’s a perfect accompaniment to any sort of grilled meat, seafood or veggies but it can also be a great dip. I have used it like a pesto before with pasta and grilled veggies; the result was brilliant.

So let me stop rambling and get on to the recipes as there are quite a few. And enjoy it as a wholesome dish as I served it or make components that you enjoy making the dish truly yours.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini)

Lamb Cutlets

Ingredients:

  1. 10 lamb cutlets; frenched
  2. 4 tbsp olive oil
  3. ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
  4. 1 tsp paprika
  5. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Prepare a marinade with the olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Place the lamb cutlets in a bowl, pour the marinade over and rub well to coat all the pieces. Keep for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat a pan till smoking hot (I like to use either a grill or a cast iron pan) and place the lamb cutlets (cook in batches). Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Cook all the cutlets in this manner.

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree

(Adapted from thevintagemixer.com)

Ingredients:

  1. 4 red bell peppers/capsicum (whole)
  2. 3 medium garlic cloves
  3. ½ cup raw, unsalted cashewnuts
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. Juice of ½ lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan forced)
  2. Line a tray with baking paper and place the peppers inside. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast for about 40-45 minutes at 200°C (might vary according to oven) till the skin of the peppers have blackened.
  3. Remove and cover with a cloth for about 5 minutes; this makes it easier to peel off the skin.
  4. Once the peppers have lightly cooled, remove the skin, pith and seeds.
  5. Place in a food processor along with cashewnuts, garlic, chilli flakes, salt, lemon juice and 3 tbsp olive oil. Blitz well and add more olive oil as needed to get a smooth puree.

Note – If you want a really smooth puree, you can strain the sauce but I skipped the step.

Charred Broccolini

Ingredients:

  1. 2 broccolini bunches
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Chilli flakes
  4. 1 small garlic; finely sliced
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Slice each broccolini into 3 pieces (2 stalk pieces + 1 floret)
  2. Heat olive oil in a stove top grill (pan can also be used) and when really hot, add the broccolini stalks and garlic. Cook for a minute on high heat.
  3. Then add the florets, chilli flakes and season with salt.
  4. Toss on high heat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Serve warm

Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup couscous
  2. 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  3. 1 Lebanese cucumber; finely chopped
  4. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped
  5. 1 tomato; finely chopped
  6. 1 red/yellow bell pepper; finely chopped
  7. ½ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  8. 5-6 olives; finely sliced
  9. 50gms feta
  10. Salt, to season
  11. 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  12. Juice of 1 lemon
  13. Freshly milled black pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the couscous as per packet instructions.
  2. To make the dressing, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small capped container. Shake vigorously and keep aside.
  3. Once the couscous is cooked, use a fork to separate the grains. When cooled, add the remaining ingredients and toss well.
  4. Add the crumbled feta and dressing just before serving (or the salad will go soggy), mix again and serve immediately.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes)

I am not much of a gadget freak especially when it comes to my kitchen.

Now it’s true that I have a few extra equipments due to the nature of my work (many of which were sent to me for professional reasons) but I am pretty old school and prefer to use only a few basic ones. And instead of buying the latest appliances, I would rather invest in high quality knives and cookware that are better for my family’s long term health and also for the environment.

But having said that, there was one appliance that I have wanted to buy for a long time now; a modern pressure cooker.

If you are from India, you would understand how integral a pressure cooker is to our cooking. I cannot imagine a day without using the PC in some form or the other. After moving to Australia, I became less dependent on the PC as I started experimenting with slow cooking, baking, roasting etc… but the pressure cooker held a very special place in my kitchen.

Once the blog started, many of the pressure cooker recipes would make it here. And one of the constant questions I would get from my non Indian audience is about the Indian pressure cooker and how they can adapt those recipes to suit their modern versions. The Indian PC is an alien appliance to all of them and they find it quite intriguing and exciting.

That’s when I became aware of the fact that what the rest of the world calls PC is quite different in appearance and performance to the Indian version though the basic technology is same. I started researching more about the modern version especially when my Indian one began to give problems and there was no way I could get it repaired here. I don’t travel to India often so the first time, I had to ask my parents to courier a spare part (the courier charges turned out triple the cost of the original part).

And while all this research was going on, I got the biggest surprise when I was sent the Philips Deluxe All-in-One-Cooker for a collaboration. My wish was granted triple fold, because this premium appliance can pressure cook, slow cook, bake, sauté…basically multi cook including making yoghurt!

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

What I love most about this appliance is that it is a multi cooker which means I can use a lot of functions, some of them for the same dish itself. For eg: I can sauté and then pressure cook or sauté and slow cook or do all three if necessary. There is an add ingredient option which means mid way pressure cooking, I can open and add ingredients which is absolutely fantastic. There are pre programmed options for lentils, poultry, rice, beef/lamb etc… which means I don’t need to worry about undercooking or overcooking the dish.

One of my favourite curries to make using the pressure cooker is this simple Chicken drumlette curry with potatoes. It’s a super simple mid week curry that needs very little time especially since drumlettes are used. Just basic spices and aromatics, this is a rustic curry that can be paired with any kind of bread or rice. Any sort of curry tastes better when meat on the bone is used. And drumlettes are super affordable, easy to eat and tastes absolutely delicious when cooked in a curry sauce like this.

Note – This chicken drumlette curry can also be made in a traditional PC or slow cooked on the stovetop.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms chicken drumlettes (skinless)
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 inch cinnamon bark
  4. 3 cloves
  5. 3 green cardamom
  6. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 red onion; finely chopped
  8. 2 sprigs curry leaves
  9. Masala paste
  • 1 medium red onion; cubed
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3-4 fresh coriander leaves (stalks and root included if available)
  1. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  2. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  3. 2 tsp coriander powder
  4. ½ tsp garam masala
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 2 potatoes; cubed
  7. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

  1. Select the Sauté/Sear function for 12 minutes (lid open); add oil and the whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and cumin seeds)
  2. As the spices begin to sizzle, add the curry leaves followed by the onions; mix well and sauté for 5 minutes till the onions turn light brown.
  3. Then add the ground masala; mix well and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. There will be some amount of spluttering so stir continuously.
  4. Mix the spice powders (turmeric, red chilli, coriander and garam masala) in 2-3 tbsp water and add this to the masala. Mix well to combine and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and season with salt. Also add 2 cups water and mix well to combine.
  6. Select the Pressure cooker (poultry) function and close the lid. Set the timing for 15 minutes, pressure at 40.
  7. After 5 minutes, select the add ingredient function. Open the lid once pressure has dropped and add the potatoes. Mix well and add more water if you desire more gravy.
  8. Close lid and continue pressure cooking process for the remaining 10 minutes.
  9. Once cooking is complete, open lid and garnish with coriander leaves.

Note:

Traditional PC – The steps remain same but cooking times will change. More water is release when cooking chicken in a traditional PC, so add only 1 cup water.

Stove top – Follow the same steps. After adding the chicken pieces and water to cook in Step 5, bring to boil and then simmer on low heat till the chicken is half done. Then add the potato pieces and cook covered till both the chicken and potatoes are cooked through and tender.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers

Christmas is just around the corner and most of us are still scrambling around to find the perfect gifts for our friends and loved ones.

My foray into the food blogging world got me hooked onto the idea of edible gifts and hampers for special occasions and Melbourne has so many amazing brands where you can get be-spoke and customized hampers for all occasions and budgets.

And one such amazing brand is ‘The Sweet Poppy

The brainchild of Chetana Suvarna Ganatra, a qualified Chef and Pâtissier, The Sweet Poppy is a home based business that focuses on high quality, consistent and great tasting food, baked goods and hampers.

‘Our philosophy is to provide our clients a bowl of local produce dusted with professionalism, along with a pinch of creativity blended with our passion and drizzled with love’.

Chetana’s foray into the food world was no accident. Growing up and married into a family of foodies, her passion for food soon led her to pursue it as a full time career. After arming herself with certificate courses in commercial cooking and patisserie from Holmesglen, she along with her family launched ‘The Sweet Poppy’.

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience one of her be-spoke gourmet hampers, The Great Gatsby. A special release for the festive season, this is truly an indulgent and luxurious edible gift hamper.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The hamper came beautifully packaged in a gold toned box, elegant yet festive. After all, first impressions are really important when it comes to gift hampers.

This exclusive, deluxe hamper has the finest, handmade sweet treats along with other special goodies that are perfect for the festive season. It contains;

  1. The flamboyant Chandon Brut 750 ml
  2. Scented Soy Candle in a glass jar
  3. Rich Fruit Cake/Mud Cake 750 gm
  4. Melt in the mouth Rosewater infused Coconut Bites 150 gm
  5. Sugar-free Mejdool Date & Nut Roll 150 gm
  6. A very buttery Lemon infused Almond Cookie 6 pieces
  7. Chai Masala 50 gm
  8. BBQ (Tandoori) Spice-rub 75 gm

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

Let me begin with the Rich Fruit Cake…..because it was easily one of the most delicious fruit cakes I have had in a long time. Most of you would know by now that I am not a big fan of sweet treats, often preferring the savoury flavors. But this fruit cake would be an exception, because the flavours were perfectly balanced. It was not too sweet, moist, rich yet delicate and a big splash of St.Helena Brandy/Old Monk Rum soaked nuts and dry fruits make it an absolutely spectacular Christmas treat.

A glass of the Chandon Brut and a slice of the fruit cake – all that you need to make the festive season extra special!

If not the hamper, the rich fruit cake on its own would make an excellent gift or a delicious treat for your home or office party.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The rosewater infused coconut bites were melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness. Again the subtle flavours made these an excellent sweet treat to share or simply enjoy yourself. My son’s favourite was the sugar-free Mejdool date and nut roll; a treat he insisted should be a part of his school snack.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The lemon infused almond cookies were also a great hit at home. Buttery and delicious, the hint of lemon added an extra zing of freshness that is particularly enjoyable on hot days.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

I am a huge fan of homemade spice mixes, which all of you know by now. And I was delighted that the hamper had two favourites of mine – Chai Masala and the Bbq spice rub. While I haven’t tried out the chai masala yet, I did use the bbq spice rub to marinate and grill some chicken thighs. Freshly pounded spice blends are always more flavourful than store bought ones and this one didn’t disappoint either.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The Great Gatsby is definitely one of the most indulgent edible gift hampers I have experienced and it felt extra special because most of the products were small batch, homemade ones which speaks volumes about its quality.

The Sweet Poppy also offers two other preset hampers, The Classic and Bombay Velvet. But you can create your own customized hampers according to the occasion and budget in consultation with the brand.

Apart from gift hampers, The Sweet Poppy is also a one-stop destination for all your party food including baked treats like customized cakes, cupcakes etc… and also catering for all events, big or small.

To find out more about the products and services, visit The Sweet Poppy.

 

Disclaimer – This post has been brought to you in collaboration with The Sweet Poppy, but all the opinions and musings are entirely mine.

 

 

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.

13

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

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