Advertisements

Tag Archives: Melbourne

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne)

For the longest time of my life, all that I thought about German food is that it tastes bland and they drink a lot of beer.

But that changed when I had my first taste of real German food, and very surprisingly it happened while living in India. There was an Indo German expo, to boost cultural and economic ties between the two countries and one of the highlights of the expo was showcasing real German food. And that was the first time I indulged in German sausages, pretzels, sauerkraut etc… and also appreciated the value of mustard as a condiment.

This back story is just to share with you the fact that I was super excited to receive an invite from Hofbräuhaus to check out their new brunch menu. Guess I was living under a rock because I had no clue about Hofbräuhaus till now, and the fact that this traditional German restaurant has been in Melbourne since 1968.

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

An enviable location right in the heart of the CBD, Hofbräuhaus is ideal for all kinds of people who want to enjoy traditional German food. Stop in at the bar for a pint of beer and sides or perhaps a quick lunch on workdays. The restaurant is open late everyday which makes it ideal for a dinner date and now a special brunch menu makes it a great option for friends and families out and about in the city too.

Walking into Hofbräuhaus is like walking into a slice of history. There is a distinct German feel to the ambience, further pronounced by the fact that the staff is dressed in traditional German attire. The brunch is served in the Alpine Bar which has that old school pub feel with plenty of wooden paneling and dark colours.

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

A special mention to the staff here….super friendly and go out of their way especially if you are relatively new to the cuisine. And believe me; you do need the recommendations and suggestions if you do not have much experience with German food.

As I mentioned, we were there to check out the new brunch menu so all the dishes we had were specifically from this menu and not from the main restaurant one.

Of course you need to start with beer! Now I am not much of a beer drinker as I don’t prefer the bitter undertones. But the Acrobräu Weissbier piqued my interest, and the staff recommended the same when I said I preferred fruity flavours. A true Bavarian wheat Bier which is subtly sweet with rounded fruit flavours, hints of lemon and banana. Exactly what I wanted; for once, I was excited about drinking beer or bier as they call it. Highly recommended if your preferences are like mine….

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Sam wanted a low alcohol variety, so he chose the Acrobräu Leichte Helle; a premium light lager, full flavoured, smooth and mild.

It’s no surprise why Germans love beer so much; they do such a fine job making it. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations to the staff if you need help deciding, and this goes for the menu too.

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

We started with Frühstücksplatte; a German style breakfast platter with a selection of cold cut meats, Alpine and Swiss cheese, boiled eggs, Obatzda, pickled vegetables, German farmers salami, liverwurst and German rye bread. A great spread and a great choice if you want something to share and also sample a selection of different stuff. The rye bread was exceptional and so was the cold cuts and cheese.

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The second dish we ordered was Weisswurst Frühstück; a traditional German style breakfast sausage in a poaching broth with a freshly baked Bretzel and sweet Bavarian mustard. This was a new and unique one for us. The staff suggested that the best way to eat this was to remove the skin of the sausage and then moisten the meat in the broth followed by a generous dip in the mustard. Really delicious and the mustard was such a killer combination with the sausage. And of course the joy of a freshly baked Bretzel, not a pretzel!

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And the final dish was GroBes Frühstück or the Big Bavarian Breakfast. Freshly baked Bretzel filled with poached eggs, Kassler, Bratwurst, roasted tomato, Sauerkraut and Bavarian mayo. If you want to experience a true German breakfast with all the goodies, then this is the one to order. Particularly in love with the Bratwurst!

Hofbräuhaus (Market Lane, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To summarize, the new brunch menu at Hofbräuhaus is exciting for anyone who are taking baby steps into experiencing traditional German food. The old world charm of the space and the super friendly staff only add to the experience. Can’t wait to go back, perhaps for some Schnitzel this time.

Hofbräuhaus

18-28 Market Lane
Melbourne
VIC 3000

Phone no: 03 9663 3361

Website: http://www.hofbrauhaus.com.au/

Timings:

Mon – Wed: 12pm to 11pm
Thurs – Sat: 12pm to 12am
Sun: 11am to 11pm

Disclaimer – As mentioned, I was invited to dine as a guest at Hofbräuhaus and to sample their new brunch menu. All the photographs, opinions and musings are entirely mine. Bottom of Form

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

Advertisements

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizzaiolo, not a Chef. That’s what Daniel Cester asked me to address him when I asked him if he was a professionally trained Chef. That was a new one for my vocabulary and just like most of you now, I did a quick Google search!!

When I first received a mail regarding this new pizzeria that has opened up in Dandenong North, I was ecstatic, surprised yet a bit saddened by the fact that I no longer live in the suburb. If you have followed my journey here, you would know that I consider myself a self proclaimed food ambassador of sorts for Dandenong. My life in Australia started there and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to pursue my food dreams.

But distance was not going to keep me away from visiting Pizza Strada…

Just as Daniel had described to me, Pizza Strada has a casual vibe to it from the location to the ambience inside. He was particular on starting his pizzeria in Dandenong as his whole family lives in and around the suburb so there were lots of childhood memories associated. Also he believed that great food (in this case, pizza) is all that you need to get people to visit.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The décor is minimal, comfortable and modern. And it’s a place for people from all walks of life. Daniel explained that in Italy, a pizzeria is not a formal dining restaurant but a casual food joint where people walked in for a quick meal, during lunch hours or after work catch up with friends. Hence he wanted the same appeal for Pizza Strada, and not design it as a formal dining space.

There is a large blackboard and foosball near the entrance; appeals to both the young and old alike. Children are welcome to play, draw and watch pizzas being made; as I mentioned it’s a casual space so let your kids be without (as long as they don’t create a ruckus) letting them stay glued to their devices.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Daniel’s passion for pizza is obvious if you observe him making a pizza. He loves a good chat so feel free to walk up to the front where the live pizza counter is situated. He would be more than happy to give you a ‘pizza education’ while your pizzas get made fresh in front of your eyes.

At Pizza Strada, you will find Neapolitan style pizzas; again have a chat with Daniel to learn the differences in pizza making and how it differs from region to region in Italy. A special 48 hour proofed dough that is Daniel’s signature recipe is shaped by hand and then topped with the freshest ingredients and drizzled with homemade infused oils (the basil oil and chilli oil is simply heavenly). It is then cooked for 60-90 seconds in a special wood fired oven to get that unique crispy base with a thick and puffy cornicione around the edge.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

As it’s a pizzeria, there’s nothing else on the menu except pizzas. And again, no fusion or gourmet stuff here; it’s as real as it gets to tradition.

The bar is not yet functional, hopefully soon because I would love to enjoy some Italian Chiantis with the pizzas. But there are some traditional Italian fizz drinks that are a must try. We tried three different flavours and loved each one of it, though my favourite was the green citrus (Mandarino).

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Before the pizzas arrived, we had a taste of the lemon granita. It’s more of refreshing palate cleanser than a dessert, and kids would simply love it.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

The first pizza we ordered was the Siciliana; a classic with tomato, mozzarella, Fior di latte, San Daniele prosciutto, artichokes, olives, capers and basil. The flavour of every ingredient shines through in this one especially the artichokes which are marinated for that extra layer of flavour.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

The second pizza we tried was the Diavola (with tomato, mozzarella, Fior di latte, Calabrese salami, capsicum, chilli flakes, oregano, and basil). When we ordered this, Daniel did mention that it’s a spicy one. And when you have Indian tastebuds, and someone tells you about spice, you are more likely to scoff at them like I did. But I couldn’t be more wrong, because the Diavola is a ‘hot’ one. But oh boy, it tastes heavenly. It’s got a solid chilli kick, but the flavours are so intense that every bite creates a riot on your tastebuds. A must try if you like a bit of heat!

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

And the final one to arrive was the dessert pizza. But if you are a chocolate or rather a Nutella lover, you could ask for this one. The Nutella Pizza with loads of cream and strawberries.

This part of the review, I think I should let Adi write, because he was the one who clearly enjoyed it. We had leftovers which got polished off the next day promptly. Order it if you love Nutella!

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

I do prefer medium to thin crust pizzas generally but Pizza Strada is definitely a pizzeria that I will travel for and dine at again because its great quality, tastes amazing and made with love and passion.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

3A/46-64 Outlook Drive,
​Dandenong North, Victoria, 3175

Phone: 0412 808 893

https://www.pizzastradabar.com/

Timings:

Monday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Tuesday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Wednesday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Thursday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Friday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Saturday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Sunday: ​4.00pm – 11.00pm

Disclaimer – I was invited to dine as a guest at Pizza Strada, but all the opinions are mine and unbiased.

Pizza Strada & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne)

Box Hill, as we all know has a populous Asian influence, so in my opinion it also becomes one of the best spots to enjoy Asian cuisine. There are plenty of restaurants offering varying styles of Asian food and a visit to Box Hill Central will offer you a glimpse into this world.

I was invited recently by Box Hill Central to check out one of their most popular food joints, Dragon Hot Pot.

Dragon Hot Pot is situated in the North precinct (food court) of Box Hill Central; it’s in the older part of the complex so if you are new, feel free to ask any of the staff for help like we did. Once you are in the North food court, it’s hard to miss Dragon Hot Pot as it’s a rather famous and one of the older eateries of Central.

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are new to the whole Hot Pot culture, then you might need a bit of help to get started. The staff is friendly and having a chat with them is a great idea if you want assistance or recommendations.

Traditionally, a hot pot is a style of cooking in which a large pot of boiling soup stock is placed in the centre of the table surrounded by different raw ingredients which are then dipped into the broth to be cooked and consumed. It’s fun, interactive and diners get to customize and pick their set of preferred ingredients.

At Dragon Hot Pot, the idea remains same though executed slightly different to suit a food court ambience.

The first thing that you notice as you walk into Dragon Hot Pot is rows and columns (lots of them!) of ingredients lined up that you can choose to customize your hot pot. You will be handed a large metal pot into which you can then add your choice of ingredients. It’s so easy to get carried away guys; I literally wanted each and every ingredient in my pot.

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

But that’s not a very wise decision so make sure you exhibit restraint and weigh your pot periodically so that you don’t go over the top. The base stock comes at no extra cost and the ingredients are priced $3.20 per 100g with minimum spend being $12.80 (i.e. 400g). Plus there are also a variety of condiments that you can add to your final hot pot, totally free of cost again.

There are three main stock bases available at Dragon Hot Pot in Box Hill (some other branches have upto 5). The first one is the signature Ma La Tang; cooked with more than 24 wild herbs from the Mount Emei region in Sichuan, China, this one is a must try here. The other stock bases are Sichuan Hot n’ Sour and Collagen Bone Broth.

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne)

Once you hand over your pot of chosen ingredients to the staff, you can then customize it further with your stock base of choice and also the spice level. Finally your hot pot arrives in a beautiful vibrant yellow bowl with all the ingredients simmering in the hot stock base. Feel free to add the toppings too but even without anything extra, the hot pot is just perfect.

The stock bases we chose were the Signature Ma La Tang and Sichuan Hot n’ Sour.

An assault on the senses, the hotpot broth makes your tastebuds come alive in ways you could never imagine. It was hot and spicy with so many different ingredients of your liking; what can be better than a completely customized bowl of soup.

Yes you will be sweating through all pores by the time you finish and get in there, slurp it all up because that’s the way to enjoy a hot pot.

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Dragon Hot Pot, Box Hill Central (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

We are definitely going back for more bowls in the future!

Dragon Hot Pot

Upper level North Food Court
Box Hill Central
1 Main Street,
Box Hill, VIC – 3128

Timings:

Mon: 9am – 5.30pm
Tue: 9am – 5.30pm
Wed: 9am – 5.30pm
Thurs: 9am – 7.00pm
Fri: 9am – 9.00pm
Sat: 9am – 5.00pm
Sun: 9am – 5.00pm

Disclaimer – As mentioned, I was invited by Box Hill Central to experience the food at Dragon Hot Pot. All the photographs and musings are entirely mine.

Dragon Hot Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne)

It’s quite refreshing to see new and interesting restaurants open up in the suburbs, than crowding up in and around the city fringes.

QT Kitchen is  one such new venture headed by young chef Kevin, and specializes in modern Vietnamese cuisine. So I was quite excited to check out the food here when I received an invite from AGFG and QT.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chef Kevin has been in the industry for about 16 years starting first in Vietnam and then moving to Australia about 10 years ago. After working with several reputed restaurant groups including the Mantra group, he opened QT Kitchen 1.5 years ago.

From the time he began helping out his grandmom in her kitchen, Chef Kevin has always dreamt about having a restaurant of his own, where he can showcase his passion and love for cooking. Formally trained in Italian cuisine, at QT, he has combined that technical knowledge with traditional Vietnamese flavours using local Australian produce.

And his efforts have not gone unnoticed; QT Kitchen was quick to gain popularity as a friendly neighbourhood restaurant where you can go with your family and friends for excellent food, friendly atmosphere and genuine customer service. Perhaps why the restaurant won the 2019 AGFG Reader’s Choice Award!

The restaurant does have a very friendly vibe and that’s one of the first things you notice when you walk in. The staff are super friendly and genuine in their interactions. We were welcomed with colourful balloons imprinted with my blog’s name (I was totally blown away!) and since it was around Christmas time when we visited, there were party crackers for us to have fun with before the food and drinks arrived.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And this service was not just extended to me; I noticed that the staff were friendly to all customers and went out of their way to make you feel special if you were celebrating or having a get together etc…

The ambience matches the cuisine at QT; contemporary vibes with accents of traditional Vietnamese/Asian décor pieces. Warm and inviting yet modern; Chef Kevin wanted to move away from the image that Vietnamese food is always street hawker style; it can be more and that’s what he has tried to showcase through his food and space.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Now let’s get to the drinks….

(All the details of each dish will be outlined below each image)

The drinks menu is a decent sized one with plenty of Australian wines and standard medley of liquors and cocktails.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

It was a warm day and I opted for the Strawberry Margarita. And just as you would expect, it’s a refreshing light cocktail; perfect for those looking for something sweet and fresh, not necessarily a heady rush.)

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Sam got a glass of the Hollick “The Bard” Cab Sauv 2016, Coonawarra SA. Rich with flavours of wild berries and blackberry, this red is perfect for those who like bold flavours and pairs excellent with the meaty dishes on the menu.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chef Kevin wanted me to try out one of their signature cocktails, Bonjour Vietnam (Bacardi rum, vodka, Pina colada, blue curacao & pineapple juice). It tasted good but I am not a big fan of Pina colada or blue curacao so not the best choice for me. But if you enjoy tropical flavours, then it’s a cocktail you must try.

And now onto the food…

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled Wagyu Beef in Wild Betel Leaves, with house pickles, peanuts and Sriracha mayo, served on crispy crackers. And absolute cracker of a dish…it delivers everything; presentation, taste, texture. A very traditional dish from Vietnam, it’s one of my favourites and I loved this modern interpretation too. A must try from the small bites menu.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of the most interesting dishes on the menu! Bushman Lamb Shank herbs crusted, Victorian beetroot, chestnut, pancetta crisps. I have never tasted a dish like these before; really unique flavours for me. The herb crusting gives it a crunchy exterior though the meat was cooked well but could be a tad bit tender. The combination of beets, chestnuts and pancetta takes the dish to another whole level. Not to mention that roasted garlic; make sure you squeeze it out for that smoky sweetness.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Crispy line caught whole Baby Snapper with citrus salsa and hot tamarind caramel – a signature QT Kitchen dish that is so reminiscent of Vietnamese flavours. Another traditional dish that has been reinvented at QT, the snapper was beautifully cooked, crunchy on the outside but flaky inside. The citrus salsa was brilliant and I loved the caramel but the sourness could have been better balanced. But having said that, I would totally order this one again.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Homemade red curry, aromatic coconut broth, seasonal veggies and lychee with barramundi fillet. The presentation was amazing with an earthen pot of rice on the side. The curry was so flavourful and loved the addition of lychee. It was not spicy enough for me but I guess that’s my taste buds. But another must try at QT.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And a side that I always buy if it’s available on the menu – marinated cucumbers. A perfect accompaniment to any kind of dish that you order. If you haven’t tried it, you most definitely should.

To summarize, QT Kitchen is a great spot to enjoy a modern take on Vietnamese cuisine. The food is great, the service excellent and I can’t wait to go back.

QT Kitchen

Shop 2/10-12 High Street,
Glen Iris,
Melbourne

Phone no: 03 9885 2009

Website: https://qtkitchen.com.au/

Timings:
 
Mon: Closed
Tue: 5pm – 10pm
Wed: 5pm – 10pm
Thurs: 12pm – 10pm
Fri: 12pm – 10pm
Sat: 12pm – 10pm
Sun: 12pm – 10pm

QT Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and QT Kitchen; but all the opinions expressed are entirely mine and unbiased. 

Cherry Gin Spritzer

It feels so nice to finally get back into a routine.

The holidays were fun and memorable, but the ‘flu-on-arrival’ not so much. And our bodies felt so drained and deprived that it was begging for nourishing home cooked food, rest and the monotony of everyday routine. As boring as it sounds, it’s the routine of our everyday life that keeps us sane.

While we missed a large slice of summer this year, glad that the days are still warm and long for us to laze around in the backyard, sip on a drink or two and relax. The days ahead look promising for a backyard party too…

Late last year I had the opportunity to visit the magnificent Yarra Valley Cherry Orchard. They had kindly gifted all of us with a box of the most delicious fresh cherries of the season which I admit pretty much were gobbled up on its own. But I did try out a couple of recipes and this Cherry Gin Spritzer was one of them.

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

I know cherries are slowly going out of season but this recipe is a keeper, one that you can return to next summer. Or you could take the general idea and replace the cherries with whichever fruit is in season at the moment.

This cocktail is all about refreshment at the end of a long day or on a really warm afternoon. Perfect for parties too; just assemble on the ingredients on a tray with different kinds of fruits and people can make their own drink.

The cherries are muddled with sugar syrup, mixed up with lime juice, gin and topped with soda…that’s it. Just omit the gin if you prefer a non alcoholic version which tastes great too especially if you have children around.

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you get around to making this Cherry Gin Spritzer, do tag me (#thespiceadventuress) so that I get to see it too.

(Adapted from this website)

Ingredients:

(Makes 1 drink)

  1. 5 fresh cherries; pitted
  2. ½ ounce sugar syrup
  3. ½ ounce lime juice
  4. 2 ounces gin
  5. Soda/sparkling water
  6. Crushed ice
  7. Lime slice and whole cherries, for garnish

Method:

  1. In a tall glass, muddle the cherries with sugar syrup and lime juice.
  2. Add the crushed ice, gin and mix. Top with soda water.
  3. Garnish with fresh cherries and lime slice.
  4. Enjoy responsibly

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

January Favourites

What a memorable month it has been!

Those who follow me on Instagram would be aware that I was away on a family holiday to India last month to attend my little brother’s wedding. Well, not so little in the eyes of the world, but for me, he’s always going to be the little bro as there’s a good ten year age gap between us. So for me, it was not a sisterly affection but rather a maternal instinct that has always been the predominant emotion at the base of my relationship with him.

I remember being totally besotted with him when he was born, spending hours staring at his innocent face. He was such a happy baby and according to me, the most beautiful one I have laid eyes on. So to have that boy all grown up and getting ready to embark on the next chapter of his life has been quite a bit of an emotional one.

Emotions ofcourse ride high but a wedding also means lotsa shopping which is very enjoyable though hard on the pocket. So I did splurge a bit……after all, have to play the eldest sis role to perfection.

For the engagement, I chose to go Western in a full length couture gown from Jadore Australia, purchased from Demile boutique based in Brunswick. I had to research and spend a lot of time getting this outfit simply because I didn’t know where exactly to look.

For the initial part, I kept looking in shopping centres; while there were plenty of choices for wedding guest outfits, there weren’t many options for full length couture gowns. But after much searching, I realised that I was looking in all the wrong places. One of the best places to go wedding shopping in Melbourne is Sydney Road, Brunswick which has so many boutiques with all kinds of price points. Whether you are a bride, bridesmaid or a guest, there are so many options here. I particularly liked my experience at Demile, because of the customer service and the staff went out of their way to get me the size and colour I needed even when I had very little time.

Jadore gown - thespiceadventuress.com

The best thing about Jadore was the designs were beautiful, plenty to choose from and reasonable priced. If you are looking out for formal wear, then check out their website for designs and then find a stockist that’s nearest to your location as the brand does not sell directly to public.

For the wedding, I decided to go traditional and wore a saree after such a long long time. And also a shot with my boys in too….

It was the first time after so many years that my whole family came together for a holiday. Usually it’s difficult for my siblings and their families to take a holiday at the same time as us since we live in different countries and the vacations never match. But this time owing to the wedding, all of us were there with our kids in tow which made it one of the most memorable holidays ever.

Getting back to life here, I was down with a really bad bout of flu after reaching back which meant that my best laid work plans all went haywire. Finally after a hiatus of about 1.5 months, got back into the kitchen for the first proper homecooked meal of 2019. And I wanted to indulge in a comforting Indian meal

Indian meal - thespiceadventuress.com

Also on the menu for the week ahead is Baid Mutajjan – a Middle Eastern style of fried hard boiled eggs coated with sumac and sesame seeds. It’s a simple dish but works brilliantly as a side to most meals and also as an after school snack for Adi.

Baid Mutajjan - thespiceadventuress.com

2019 is for experimenting and learning more about ancient grains. Starting with this Bajra Khichdi.

Kaima idli….breakfast, snack, lunch box or even a party starter!

A vegan one pot taco spaghetti….sounds unique and delicious.

Korean egg rolls; this is the humble omelette gone gourmet.

A veggie loaded butter chicken curry. Interesting!

I love couscous and forever looking for interesting ways to make it; this recipe definitely on my list.

Have you ever tried the Bohri style Dal Gosht (mutton with lentils)…it’s simply heavenly!

If you have a sweet tooth, then you must definitely check out my Pinterest board for loads of delicious inspiration and recipes.

Continuing on the sweet note, this raspberry pistachio chocolate is to die for….

Eco-friendly steel art for your home! I can’t wait to splurge on some of Lisa’s designs; do check out her IG account.

Time to go knitwear shopping!

 

 

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter)

Food, art, culture…intertwined in a way that is both enjoyable and informative. One of the best culinary themed books I have read in 2018.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan explores the extraordinary lives of Mirka and Georges Mora, their invaluable contributions to the art and culinary scene of Melbourne.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lesley and Kendrah are senior curators at the Heide Museum of Modern Art (Heidelberg, Melbourne) who have previously co-authored the books, ‘Sunday’s Kitchen: Food & Living at Heide’, ‘Sunday’s Garden: Growing Heide’ and ‘Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed’.

I have always been a fan of Heide Museum, visiting whenever time allowed me. It all started when I first took Adi for a holiday program at the museum but it would be fair to say that I fell in love with the space. It’s more than art at Heide; the beautiful expanse of greenery around, the vegetable gardens, the café serving absolutely vibrant delicious food, all of it inspires me to keep returning to the Museum.

The first time I came across the name, Mirka, was also at Heide. There was an exhibition featuring her art works and also copies of this book at the store inside the museum. But I initially dismissed it thinking the book is going to be all about art, not even paying attention to the word ‘culinary’ in the title. Little did I know that ‘A Culinary Affair’ is not just a glorious illustration of Mirka’s works and their life story but also contains lots of classic French recipes that are absolutely brilliant.

A beautiful sky blue hard bound book filled with the most beautiful drawings and illustrations, mostly by Mirka along with many personal photographs adorns the pages. The narrative begins with a brief introduction to Mirka’s childhood in France, growing up during the period of the Second World War, the perils and tragedies faced during the Holocaust, meeting Georges and finally moving to Melbourne in 1951.

‘Bohemian’ is perhaps the best word to describe Mirka’s and Georges’s way of life. Both of them led a very colourful, enterprising, creative, free-spirited lifestyle peppered with sophisticated food, sexual intrigue and artistic endeavours.

Their contributions to the culinary landscape of Melbourne are immense with the Mirka café, Balzac Restaurant and Tolarno French Bistro. The book tells us about their journey into opening each eatery, how it became the hub for rich and famous including the likes of Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck etc…. to name a few.

Mirka and Georges also contributed immensely to the artistic scene of post war Melbourne. Their apartment was often the den for artists and artistic discussions. Today, the name Mora is much revered amongst the culinary and art circle of Melbourne and imprints of it can be seen at Heide Museum, MoMA etc…

The authors have done an excellent job in giving us a glimpse into the culturally rich and vibrant life of the Moras. For a relatively new migrant like me, the book is a peep into the stories of some of the people who have shaped Melbourne as we know today. And the Moras led such an exciting life than parts of it almost feels like fiction to me. I now understand that the post war Melbourne was anything but boring; it was grand, exciting and full of adventures. The only thing similarity that I can draw to the modern times is that this beautiful city that I now call home was welcoming to people from all walks of life from all over the world, just as it is today.

Coming to the recipes outlined in this book, I intend to try out each and every one. But the one that caught my attention was a recipe for Huitres Grillees Aux Amandes or Grilled Oysters with Almonds and Butter.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 12 fresh oysters
  2. ¼ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  3. ¼ cup almond meal (or ground almonds)
  4. 1 ½ tsp Grand Marnier (optional or replace with brandy as in original recipe)
  5. 1 small garlic clove; grated
  6. Cayenne pepper
  7. Lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan forced)
  2. Cream the butter and almond meal; grate in the garlic and add the Grand Marnier. Also add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine.
  3. Pour off the extra liquid from the oysters and cover each with a tsp of the almond mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately garnished with a pinch of cayenne pepper

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter)

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

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. 

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

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

%d bloggers like this: