Norfolk Hotel, Fremantle

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

Entertainment Card (2009): 25% off the total bill (up to $35 of value)

Norfolk MenuWe intended this to be a ‘surprise’ birthday celebration but it became a nice little gathering for us girls. Having been to this place before, S.K. thought it would be nice if we came here for dinner. No regrets!

Sitting on the corner of South Terrace, pretty close to the Anglican church opposite, Norfolk Hotel gives a rather victorian feel to one when you walk through its gates. A very nice and casual place to dine, you don’t actually see any “please wait to be seated” sign. You just rock up to the bar and you ask for your table (better to place a reservation because it gets pretty packed up!). We were meant to sit at this table where this group of people were, but they didn’t seem too ready to go so we were given the liberty to sit anywhere that didn’t have a ‘reserve’ sign. We chose one just in front of the walls leading out to the road. Nice and big table for our big appetites that night!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any shot of the external bits of norfolk, but trust me, it’s a lovely place!

We sat for a bit before I started itching for a nice cold beer. Here were our orders for drinks:

  • James Squire Amber Ale: ME
  • James Squire Golden Ale: S.K
  • Glass of Pinot Gri: D.P
  • Some Cider (memory lapse… again!): S.C
  • Some other beer =( I know I’m in poor form!: A.C

No pictures for these drinks since it’s not easy to tell the beers apart from each other.

Then we took sometime to decide on our mains. But after a nice deliberation, here were our final orders:

  • Steak Sandwich (who else? But I did share this dish with S.C. that night because I wanted a taste of hers)
  • Fish & Chips (S.C)
  • Angel Hair Pasta (S.K)
  • Smoked Chicken Salad (D.P)
  • Prosciutto Pizza (A.C)

Let’s start with what I had with S.C. first for a change:

Fish & Chips  Steak Sandwich

The fish & chips were a tad dry to me, but the tartare sauce made up for it! Nice and thick with traces of pickled vegetables in the sauce, I was really happy with the way the sauce tasted. It’s quite rare to find a good tastin’ tartare sauce. The fish could definitely be better with its texture.

The steak sandwich is something out of the ordinary steak sandwiches you’d get. This one has bacon! And because of that I have to actually score this one down because the bacon was overwhelming the cow’s taste. There was this strong bacon essence that was nice, but yet a little disappointing because the main thing you really wanted to eat, was really the cow. Hence the name “steak sandwich”? :) I do give it kudos for the free serve of ketchup tho’!! Not many places do that anymore!

Similar to both dishes – the chips. It was one of those chips you’d get at Little Creatures. Freshly cut and fried, served with a good amount of salt, the chips were definitely grade “A” for this chips lover. I was a happy camper.

I would recommend for these two dishes to be shared if people are up for it – you get a good taste of both, and you don’t feel too overwhelmed by a single dish. I don’t think I’d be able to cope with all that fish. The steak sandwich, well, I’m a cow person, so it’s not really fair for me to stick my thumb up and say anything, is it?

Angel Hair Pasta

The angel hair pasta came out lookin’ fresh and definitely an eye-catcher!! Served with nice little cherry tomatoes, the color was just beautiful and I couldn’t get my tastebuds into the dish! S.K. had a try of it, and had a slight look of disappointment, which sent me wondering, “what could possibly go wrong with such a beautiful dish?”…

So I had a try.

I could see what the whole look was about. Although it was nice and fresh, the dish lacked the flavour that would give it the ultimate kudos. It might have been the cheese that made the chef think “oh, maybe I shouldn’t add anymore flavouring to this”…

Would have loved this dish alot more if they had a little bit more taste. But it was definitely fresh so that should be commended!

Smoked Chicken Salad

The smoked chicken salad was something that I was really taken surprise by. With a nice presentation filled with nice shredded chicken (quite a generous serving at that!)… some pears, walnuts, this dish was really quite sublime for a salad. It had everything healthy in it, and to top it off, it tasted really yummo!

KUDOS+++!!

I loved the fact that the smoked chicken was well, really smoked chicken!!! Sometimes, you see it in name but you never really taste the smoked meat. This time, it was done nicely, almost to perfection in my opinion. A pity I didn’t get to try this with the pear, but I would think it tasted fabulous.

This would have been my favourite dish for the night. :)

Prosciutto Pizza

The Prosciutto pizza was something that looked really yummo from the moment it came out of the kitchen and indeed it was quite the yummy dish!!

The prosciutto was given in a rather generous portion to say the least and I was quite surprised at how this dish was not salty at all!! I would usually expect prosciutto to be quite salty, and with that amount of meat there, I thought there was gonna be that element of ‘over-salt’.

None. Absolutely beautiful.

It was quite a huge serving and Auds did such a good job in finishing it up!! With the help of us of course. *winks*

 

Overall, the Norfolk Hotel definitely has some yummy food to boast itself with, and I would go back there again because of its casual atmosphere (yes, you are talking to Miss Casual here).  Have a drink, have a meal, Norfolk will be a nice place to visit regardless if you’re in freo!

PS: James Squire Underground Bar is actually next to it, but it opens at about 10-10.30pm, so something that might be a good idea to do… have dinner at Norfolk, have a chat, then head to the Underground Bar after for some nice cold beer and good night chillin’!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Rating by: S.T a.k.a Miss Egg

Norfolk Hotel
Telephone: (08) 9335 5405
Address: 47 South Terrace, Fremantle 6160, Western Australia

Norfolk Hotel on Urbanspoon

Farrell’s Cafe, Victoria Park

**LATEST UPDATE Aug 10**

Restaurant no longer operating!..replaced by DOME

 

Inside CafeFront

Entertainment Card: 25% off the total bill

Farrell’s Cafe is located along the busy Albany Highway cafe strip in Victoria Park and is a very popular dining joint – they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week and are frequented by a lot of regular customers (I found this out listening to the conversations between the manager and some of the customers).  They have both an inside dining area as well as a big alfresco area which is a nice place to have food in during good weather.  

I have been here numerous times as this is always a favourite choice with my friends if we ever wanted to eat in Vic Park.  Most of them think the food is great.  As usual, the food did not disappoint us but this time round the service was really, really poor.  It started with the restaurant not being able to move our lunch booking to an earlier time - fair enough if they can’t do it if the restaurant was fully booked, BUT to our amazement when we got there, the restaurant was empty!  We couldn’t figure out why they would not let us in earlier since they were not busy at all?!  Mind boggling stuff.  While we were there, the impression we got of the staff got even worse - they did not show us much attention, did not bother to take our order (I had to get their attention to place our orher) and at the end of the meal, left the plates on the table without offering dessert or the bill.  They were also very unfriendly when I went to pay the bill!  Talk about making people feel unwelcomed… 

In terms of food (only two of us ordered that day as the other two had to leave), we had the following that day:

  • The usual Lemon Lime & Bitters and Iced Coffee
  • Thai lemon-grass Mussels with crusty bread
  • Atlantic Salmon with broccolini
  • Fries

Drinks Thai mussels Salmon Fries

To my surprise, the Thai Mussels turned out absolutely brilliant which was quite unexpected.  The mussels came with crusty bread and butter which filled us up but the most amazing part of the dish was the sauce – it was thick and had the right amount of tang to make it so yummy!  We couldn’t get enough of it! 

The Atlantic Salmon dish came with a coriander, parsley and cumin mash, decorated with broccolini and served with a pesto cream sauce.  The salmon was grilled nicely and the sauce went very well with it.  The broccolini was fresh and crunchy and was a good side complement to the salmon, something different too – rather than the usual salad we get.

The Fries came with aioli and sweet chilli sauce – they were crunchy and delicious, you can’t go wrong when you have fries with aioli sauce, it’s a plus every time.

Overall, I thought the food were great but due to the poor service we got that day, I will probably not return there for a meal unless strongly suggested by my friend(s).  Hopefully on the day I do return, it would have improved! 

Note:  Scoring will be low due to the service (it is by no means based on the quality and tastiness of the food)

Rating:  2.5 out of 5 stars

Rating by: N.L.

Farrell’s Cafe 
Telephone
: 08 9472 7227
Address: 293 Albany Highway, Victoria Park

Farrell's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Spaghi, South Perth

InteriorWhen I first started to get to know Miss Anise and the gang, I started hearing great things about this place. And the first time I went to try this place – I fell in love with the food.

Apart from Lambretta’s, this is probably the next best Italian restaurant with a good hearty Italian meal.

This place doesn’t accept any form of bookings, so you either rock up really early or prepare to wait for your meal because it gets packed up till quite late at night. We were there at about 7.30pm that night, and it was still packed with people! The best part is how the lady boss will not be willing to sit you if you are actually waiting for your friends, you will actually have to wait till everyone in your party comes, before they will seat you.

So we all arrived, and realised that we forgot to get a table for six instead of five. Then we heard murmurs from the lady boss. Were we gonna be able to even eat here? were the thoughts running through my head. We managed to get it resolved, with an additional seat being placed at the table, albeit a little tight. Who cares, we were there to eat, not to have space all around us.

With most of us being regular/frequent patrons to the place, we knew what to expect. But for those who haven’t been there, here’s a little breakdown as to what you might expect in the first 10minutes of your dining experience:

Pizza Makin'

  • A waiter will come up to your table asking you if you’d like anything to drink (quite standard). At this point you should note that they do NOT offer tap water. And their one litre Italian Water are about $7 each. They are a BYO place, so bring your own booze. Might be worth doing that if you don’t wish to pay for water.
  • Shortly after, they will enquire about your preference for some starters in which I highly recommend the Pizza Bianca (will explain this further in detail a little later)
  • The pizza bianca is usually served quite promptly, afterwhich the owners or their children will come and take your orders for the mains.

During this occassion, we ordered not one, but TWO pizza bianca because:

  • We were STARVING
  • Greed has no excuse better than greed itself

Pizza Bianca

The pizza bianca is something that’s really worth mentioning and giving kudos for because they are always done to perfection!! With the dipping sauce a wild favourite amongst us, we finished most of the sauce without finishing the bread – but it wasn’t too difficult to find some takers who would have the bread without the sauce (I’m guilty). Served in a unique tower, with the dipping sauce nestled beneath and between the breadstick lookalikes, this dish is a definite must-order when you come to Spaghi’s!!

Our individual order-item-names have now flown away from my memory bank, so I will attempt to recall as I describe each dish, and a good form of description so you may order it with ease when you visit and if you are interested in having the same dish :)

Pizza

The pizza was ordered by the fiance of Miss Anise, and wow, that pizza was tasty! It had things like salami (or pepperoni, I have a great difficulty differentiating the two), mushrooms, ham (?), peppers, and other little toppings. I know that’s not really giving my promise for description justice, but this is something I really couldn’t remember – my deepest apologies!!

In any case, I have tried their other pizzas, and they all taste pretty good. :)

If there is anything that I would point out – it’s the amount of cheese they put in each of their pizzas. This will boil down to an individual level – whether you like to have lotsa cheese on your pizza, or not. I personally prefer not to have too much cheese because it generally masks the taste of the rest of the ingredients for me, and this is exactly what happened. The cheese also created quite an oily base, leaving the dough to be soggy, instead of crisp.

The good side of their pizzas – thin crust!! :)

No. 1 Pasta

D.A.W’s dish for the night was some difficult name to pronounce, so when the waiter came, he called it the “no. 1 Pasta” because it was actually the first pasta that’s shown on the menu on the Pasta section. So I have named this the No. 1 Pasta!

I had a little taste of the dish and was pleasantly surprised. Don’t be fooled by its light-looking base – the tomato sauce is actually mixed with some cream, making it quite a heavy dish to finish. The asparagus brought some good colour to the dish, and the pasta is home-made with some stuffing (what stuffing, I am actually not too sure so please do read the menu carefully for those who might have some allergies, or some food preferences). I found this dish tasty, but in a way, it was a tad too rich with the cream mixed with tomato, added onto the stuffed-pasta.

Tortellini Alla Panna

The tortellini alla panna is often found in other Italian eateries around the state, and how could they miss out on serving this? Miss Anise’s order for the evening, this dish is quite simple with a veal-stuffed tortellini pasta cooked with a cream sauce and some nice field mushrooms.

I have tried this dish before and is one of my favourites to order in any Italian eatery. Spaghi offers a nice Tortellini Alla Panna, with the pasta nicely cooked, and a generous serving of mushroom being given to the plate. If it’s anything, I would actually order something else on the menu and share this with a mate, so that it doesn’t feel too full-on in the tummy. It does start to set in after about 65% of the way through, and you start to feel it’s disgusting – which is a point all food lovers never want to go!

Speciality Mushroom Spaghetti

The Speciality Mushroom Spaghetti is yet another dish whose name I cannot remember, but it comes classed under the House Specialities in the Pasta Section of the menu, and if my lousy memory serves me right, it is the third one from the top of these house specialities.

I had asked the boss if this was the way to go, and how silly of me? Of course it would be! But in any case, the boss tells me that these mushrooms are actually air-flown from Italy and no one else in Perth actually uses these type of mushrooms freshly imported. Impressed, I decided to give this a try.

It might look like the tortellini alla panna and in a way it is because the main component of these dishes lie in the mushrooms, but there was a distinct difference in the taste of this pasta. According to the boss, it is actually the mushrooms that give the pasta its rich flavour, and I would have to agree. The taste was unique, and it was distinctively different from the tortellini despite their similar look.

I personally loved it, and would have been able to finish the plate if not for my greediness at the start of dinner with the pizza bianca!!

Scallopini Al FunghiZ had ordered the Scallopini Al Funghi for this very simple reason: I don’t feel like having pasta tonight and I won’t be having any. Hmm, okay Z. :)

Served in a rather long plate, the serving actually looked quite small at first, but after trying it out, I had come to realise why we were looking at that serving size – the sauce that was poured over the veal was thick, rich and very hearty – quite enough to fill the tummy with that amount of meat and pumpkin.

Tasty, but I think the veal could have been quite a bit more tender.

Sauce wise, one of the best I have tasted around in Perth for this particular dish.

Veal Parmagiana

D.A.W’s lovely wife ordered the Veal Parmagiana, which sealed off our set of orders for the evening. With the typical parmagiana cooking sitting on top of a bed of rice, with a few pumpkin clusters on top of the rice as well, this dish was a definite tummy-filler!

I had a taste of the dish and found it to be rather different from the other parmagianas that I have tried. It felt like a home-cooked style, and altho’ the presentation’s not exactly the best in the world, the taste was definitely one of the best for this dish I have had.

I give this dish the kudos!

 Overall the evening was nice food-wise, but the mood was definitely dampened by the nonchalence of the owner and his wife. they seem to be rather impatient with the orders and seating, and it seemed as tho’ the prime goal over the span of the opening hours, is to keep having their tables turnover as quickly as possible – something that is rarely seen in Italian eateries, from what I have seen around here.

We were not too happy with the way we were treated at the beginning, and throughout the meal for that matter. A common opinion amongst us was how the waiters treated us much better than the owners.

I would only go back there if I was really craving their food – and this is on the basis of their service (gives you an idea how bad it was). they definitely did a boo-boo there!

Do also note that if you are going there for a nice chatting time, it is probably not the best idea. It gets packed and because of the compact area available, it is difficult to get a quiet spot.

So, food’s fantastic but I would think twice about going back after the way they treated us.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (don’t forget, this rating is based on service + ambience too!)

Rating by: S.T a.k.a. Miss Egg

Spaghi
Telephone: (08) 9474 3339
Address: 35 Mends Street, South Perth 6151, Western Australia

Spaghi on Urbanspoon

Oyster Bar on the Beach, North Fremantle

Salt on the Beach sign

Website : www.onthebeach.net.au

Entertainment Card: Complimentary main course when another is purchased  (up to $40 value)

It was Mother’s Day last weekend so my sister and I decided to bring our mum to the Oyster Bar at Freo for a nice lunch.  I had been here the previous year for their buffet breakfast and it was delightful, with a breathtaking view of the beach so I recommended for us to come here this time round.  Before I write about the restaurant and food, I just want to take this opportunity to wish a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to all the mums out there and a big thank you for being who you are, your giving love to your children and the patience you have with all of us.  This is a short message written by my pastor to commemorate the mothers in our lives which I totally agree with:

“There is no substitute for the goodness a godly mother brings.  All too rarely does she receive the recognition she deserves.  She is a faithful and supportive wife to her husband, a businesswoman and a teacher.  The mother is the focus of the family, strength of her household, greatly admired and beloved by all; no one can take her place in the life of her family.”   

THANK YOU MUM!

View from our seatsBack to the restaurant, incidentally it has now been renamed to ‘Salt on the Beach’, after a take over from its previous owner, Warren Mead.  Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly staff which was a relief as we were half an hour late to our booking but they didn’t mention a word.  We were ushered out into the huge verandah and seated right next to the beach.  I was happy with this fantastic spot although my sister was a bit wary as she didn’t like the sun and having to squint when looking out.

Salt on the Beach has both a formal dining area and a huge alfresco area and also house a bar next door which is more casual than the restaurant.  It has a very relaxed atmosphere and a multidollar view of Port Beach, I could just sit there the whole afternoon looking out into the beach (or probably more wanting to go into the the ocean).

 Formal Dining Area Alfresco area

For drinks that day we had a Lemon Lime Bitters and Iced Coffee and for entrees, we started with some oysters, the Natural Oysters and Kilpatrick Oysters (a must-have visiting an oyster bar!)

Lemon Lime Bitters Iced Coffee Natural Oysters Kilpatrick Oysters

The Natural Oysters were served with lemon and vinegar and the Kilpatrick Oysters with crisp bacon and their special kilpatrick sauce.  My sister was actually quite disappointed with the lack of variety in the oysters menu (those were the only two) as the one she wanted wasn’t there.  I am normally not a big fan of oyster but I thought they were very fresh.  I didn’t quite like the kilpatrick though as it was too salty however my stepdad loved it.  Another thing to take note of also was that with the Lemon Lime Bitters, they used soda water instead of lemonade to make the drink which made the drink rather bland.  

For mains, we had the following:

  • Grilled Salmon and Scallops on kipfler potato with a lemon myrtle ratatouille & horseradish creme fraiche
  • Steamed Mussels with a choice of chilli tomato or thai red curry & coconut sauce
  • Grilled Manjimup Marron and Tiger Prawns with a chorizo, grape and baby cos salad
  • Garlic Bread

Salmon & Scallops Steamed Mussels Marron & Prawns Garlic Bread

All the dishes came out beautifully presented.  I had the Grilled Salmon & Scallops and the dish was superb.  The salmon was grilled to perfection – tender but not dry and the scallops were juicy and fresh.  I must admit I half decided on this dish because of the ratatouille side (I loved the cartoon!) but didn’t think too much of it – it tasted like stir fried vegetables and nothing too special.  It is customary in our family to pick on each other’s food, in this instance everybody thought my dish was awesome too.  I tried my sister’s Marron & Tigers and it was delicious too!  Although the serving was not too big, it made you want to order more as I couldn’t get enough of it.  The sauce that came with it was light but tasty, mixed well with the seafood.  The only disappointing dish that day was the Steamed Mussels.  We chose the thai red curry & coconut sauce for something different (maybe the chilli tomato would have been better) and it was not up to scratch.  The sauce was too watery and had too much coconut milk taste to it.  The rice that came with it was hard too, but they did give a generous serving of mussels.  We had to order the garlic bread on the side (one must always have garlic bread with mussels!) which helped to make the dish taste a bit better.

Leeuwin IIBy the time we finished, it was way past midday and the sun was shining brightly and right into our faces, so we decided to shift inside to check out the dessert menu.  As we started moving, we heard a flurry of activity near the beach and all the cameras started coming out.  Wondering what is happening, we looked out into the ocean and saw the Leeuwin II right in front of us.  For those who don’t know what the Leeuwin is, it’s a tall sail ship owned by the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation where people can go aboard to learn sailing.  It looked so beautiful sitting in the middle of the ocean.  Not to miss out, I took out my camera and captured some shots too. =)  

Back to the dessert, we looked at the menu and were not too impressed by it.  My sister wanting one, ordered the Banana Bread & Butter Pudding which came with rummed raisins and cinnamon ice cream.  I didn’t like the dessert that much, it tasted plain and was not worth the $16 we had to pay!  I had another coffee, Long Macchiato while waiting for her to finish the dessert.  We wanted to order a Vienna coffee as well but to our amazement, the staff said they don’t do that.  I was quite surprised how such a big and fancy restaurant did not do vienna coffee so we had to settle for some Lattes instead.

Banana bread & butter pudding Long Mac & Latte

Overall, it was a very pleasant lunch.  Most of the food we ordered were delightful and the service was good – the staff was attentive and pleasant throughout the whole time we were there.  I’d heard a few disappointing reviews of this place but it was good for us that day.  Last of all, nothing beats the ambience of the place – I would go there just to sit around and look out into the ocean.  Divine!

 

Rating:  3.75 out of 5 stars

Rating by: N.L.

Oyster Bar on the Beach aka Salt on the Beach
Telephone
: 08 9430 6866
Address:42 Port Beach Raod, North Fremantle

 

Oyster Bar on the Beach on Urbanspoon

***Melbourne Extravaganza!***

So I went to Melbourne on a mission… to find out – with the help of friends, the finest places to eat!!

NO. Unfortunately, I did not go there on a food-blog-all-expenses-paid trip. However, I did take photos of the places I went to for some great food, and would like to share the dining experiences with you lot of fine readers!! :)

This post will feature multiple spots, so please bear with the length of this post. I will provide a rating as usual for each place, and will provide the venue information as must as possible so that you maybe able to visit those places should you head to Melbourne for a holiday and would like to find some good food. :)

Oriental Tea House

Oriental Tea House - Chapel St

the first day saw us heading down towards Chapel Street in search for a recommended tea inn that served good dim sum (or at least this was what the travel book I bought said…)…

After much walking, we finally stumbled into the right venue and was pleasantly surprised by how beautifully decorated the interior is.

With both retail and restaurant fused together… the seating area was actually at the back of the shop. It looked narrow from the outside but it had quite abit of depth.

So we sat down and being such a gloomy cold day… we really wanted some hot steamy dim sum to keep us going for the rest of the day.

Oriental Tea House - MenuAs we browsed through the menu, we started realising that we’ve walked into a palace-like eating venue, with prices of dishes far more expensive than what we have seen here in Perth. Perhaps it’s to upkeep the beautiful decor that we see inside. Nevertheless, we had hoped for the best in terms of the quality of food.

With the many dishes ordered… I will not break it down but rather supply some photos for your viewing pleasure.

In any case, it is important for me to mention that the price of their tea came as the biggest shock of the whole trip! A simple glass of jasmine tea cost $5.50 per cup!! We couldn’t believe it because it ended up being at least 10% of our final bill which was horrendous. I have to give it the credits in terms of having quality tea leaves being used, but $5.50 is really a tad too much for the size of the tea that was served to us.

In any case, the food came too, and we were ultimately disappointed with the dishes that we ordered. The dishes were quite standard dim sum dishes, and we definitely have had much better ones around, especially here in Perth.

I wouldn’t go back there to eat again but I do encourage people to go in to have a look at their teas if you are a fan of tea, especially asian tea. They seem to carry a wide range and it will definitely be worth going to have a lookie.

The Cup of Tea that was $5.50Dim Sum 1Dim Sum 2Table Setting

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9826 0168
Address: 455 Chapel Street, South Yarra, VIC 3141, Australia

 Oriental Tea House on Urbanspoon

Dumplings PLUS

J gave me two choices for lunch the day I met her in Melbourne city -  a place with good dumplings, and another with good vietnamese noodles… I decided to go with dumplings knowing I have never seen a dumplings place here in Perth.

Beautiful Signboard

From the outside, you get reminded a little bit of China (no, I haven’t been there, but I did feel the chinese culture just by looking at the exterior)… with the chinese-writing on the signboard, it felt rather authentic.

When we entered, we were greeted by someone who looked like the boss of the establishment.

We quickly had the menus served to our tables, but because it has been a good three years since I last saw J, our catching up moments seem to overpower the urge to place our orders…

We were then given our reminder when the boss came back and asked if we were ready. This time, embarrassed, we quickly glanced through the menu and made our decisions.

For the reason of bad memory, I will not be listening what we ordered.

MenuThe food!

We decided to order a few dishes to share… a few being three (3)… a beef-noodle-soup-dish, where the noodles are actually hand-made… a plate of jellyfish seasoned by their chef… looks really spicy but it really isn’t spicy at all! And of course, we ordered some shanghai dumplings (how could we enter a dumplings house without even ordering any dumplings to eat?!

The dishes were quite average, with the dumplings standing out the most. They had some condiments on the side, which made the food taste much better. I was not impressed with the jelly fish. J and myself had to end up seasoning it up even more with the condiments on the table to make it more suitable for our palettes.

Overall, this place has the right ambience, and I would like to go back to try their other dishes (less the jelly fish)… :)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9663 8181
Address: 269 Swanston Street, Melbourne

 Dumplings Plus on Urbanspoon

Brunetti’s, Carlton

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

everyone in Melbourne whom I know of were raving from day to night about this little cafe in Carlton… sayin’ how great their little tarts, cakes, and what-nots are. J was definitely keen on bringing me there, and I on the other hand was excited to see what the hype was all about, in this little (well not so little after look at it) joint.

Before I start raving myself, here are some pictures to make your mouth water:

Nice WalliesThe Cakes!

Interior (on the other side)Profiteroles

So J told me to go look around the other corner to take some pictures and to see what they actually have to offer… I was stunned beyond description. The amount of choices was unbelievable and the best part was how beautiful they all looked!! From cakes, to profiteroles, from tarts, to chocolate truffles, unless you go there every week, you wouldn’t be able to try every single thing they actually have there.

More Cakes!Little Truffles!

The Tarts and What-Nots

And I actually have more photos to come! But before I continue on… we only ordered three little tartlets/what-nots to try, and had a nice double-scoop of gelati each… yes this was only about 2-3 hours after lunch.

The little things that J got was just priceless! The beauty of their little foodlings is how unique-tasting each one was, and we only tried three different kinds! From the above pictures, there would be so many more to try! And according to J, she tries a different thing each time she comes, and is always blown away by the quality of the taste.

The gelati was no different. I believe they are actually made on the premises, because the tiramisu flavour that I ordered was by far the best tiramisu gelati I have ever tasted. It wasn’t too rich but yet it was full in flavour. Absolutely brilliant!

J had a pink grapefruit flavour that was interestingly great! It was nothing like what I expected and it was somewhat addictive. I’m not too sure if she noticed but I think I must have eaten at least half of that scoop she had =X

In any case, this place is a definite MUST-GO if you were in Melbourne! it’s not too far from the city and whilst I was driven there, I’m quite sure it’s rather accessible using the tram system over there.

The Gelati!The little tartlets/what-nots

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9347 2801
Address: 194 – 204 Faraday Street, Carlton Vic 3053

 Brunetti on Urbanspoon

Nobu, Melbourne

Website: http://www.noburestaurants.com/melbourne/index.html

I have heard great things about this place, and J’s been wanting to bring me there since forever. So we went!

The service there is quite the best I have seen around but it is to be expected of such an establishment I would think. We were in quite a hurry that night because we were going for WICKED The Musical (and whilst I’m at it, please take the time to see this musical, it is brilliant!!!!)… we told the waiter that we’re not too sure what the good dishes are (other than J pointing out the oysters and the yellow-tail tataki), so we left him to decide for us what we should have, and it was very well chosen without a doubt.

They know exactly what is good in the house and what is average, so we were served what he thought were the better dishes, and whilst I haven’t tried the rest of the dishes, these ones were quite impressive:

Yellow-Tail Tataki

The first dish for us was the yellow-tail sashimi, with some kind of ponzu sauce.

It was fresh and absolutely tasty with the ponzu sauce all over it. The fish would just melt in your mouth, and if you fancy sashimi, this is a change from the usual kikoman sauce and wasabi condiments. Each of the ingredient had a purpose for being on the plate, as with the other dishes, and these were well explained by each waiter/waitress who served our table.

It certainly didn’t take long for us to gobble down these beautiful slices of fish.

Oysters!

The oysters were just sublime. with three different toppings, they were all unique in its own way and the best part was how beautiful it went together with the oysters!! Being a huge fan of fresh oysters, this totally made my day, and to taste the freshness of the pearl carrying rock, wow.

The little thing in the middle is actually for one to cleanse the palette with. Looks like a really small version of a lychee, its hairy exterior might put one off, but it’s actually quite refreshing. It’s not tasty in any way but the ‘juice’ that burst out of it when you take the first munch does bring you to another platform – all ready to have the next dish.

This dish deserves KUDOS+++!!!!

Tempura Prawns

The tempura prawns was quite the average dish, except that the prawns were so fresh, and the dipping sauces were just magnificent. I seriously wonder where they get the ideas for all these beautiful dips!! My personal favourite was probably the ponzu sauce because of its tangy flavour.

There were actually heaps of prawns in that little bowl, and being the third course, we were really starting to get filled up (don’t forget the food that we had eaten earlier during the day).

In any case, the prawns were beautiful, but the coating of batter could have been better – tho’ I think there might be a reason why they even did it that way. :)

Black Cod

This was another dish that J seems to remember, and was actually asking the waiter to order for us. Known as the black cod, with some miso sauce (depicted by the four little dots on the corners of the plate)… I was just awaiting to try this beautiful dish. The smell that came from the fish was just overwhelming, and to show my reaction to this dish, J actually took some shots of me as I took my first mouthful. Ain’t showing it because it turned it out to be rather unsightly =S

The fish once again – really fresh, and the tenderness of the fish really gave it the thumbs up. I am not a fish lover but this was good stuff. The two little sticks with pink tips, in case you are wondering (like I was), are actually things that we can eat… once again, to cleanse the palette. And this time, it was sour as you got towards the pink bit. I took it anyway but squirmed just a litte =) So  I would suggest for those who are not sour-lovers to avoid that pink bit should you order this dish!

Overall a beautiful place to dine – the next time I go, I might just try the wagyu beef, which I’ve heard is of really high quality.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9292 7879
Address: Riverside at Crown Melbourne Australia, 8 Whiteman StreetSouthbank, VIC 3006

Nobu on Urbanspoon
 

Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant, Melbourne

Coincidentally, this was the place that J had wanted to bring me to when we met in the city…

Interior of Mekong


The inside of this place is quite cramped, but well stuffed with tables to enable maximisation of the place… typical asian style I would say. Tee Hee.

The waitress wasn’t too keen on taking our orders, half the time with eyes wandering around the restaurant other than our table (we didn’t smell, nor were we that disgusting looking… not to me at least =X)… so that put me off quite abit.

We ordered the usual fresh spring rolls, and some pho… the interesting thing about this place is actually the bowl sizes they offer. We had both regular and large orders, and when they came out, it seemed as tho’ the same amount of noodles were placed in each bowl – just that you had more soup in the large bowl compared to the regular.

We also ordered some fried spring rolls as the uncle/auntie who flew from Sydney to meet me and my folks actually liked them.

I ordered a vietnamese coffee too, just to boost myself for the activities for the rest of the day (I haven’t had my first cup, so I was rather grumpy before the meal!)

Shop sign PhoSpring Rolls

The pho was actually cooked to the right texture – soft but not too mushy. and the thickness of it was actually just right too. The beef slices however, were a tad too thick, and from eating at another vietnamese restaurant thereafter, we started to realise that’s how vietnamese restaurants in Melbourne like to serve their beef slices. Or at least the ones in the city. Because of their thickness, the tenderness and ease of actually munching the meat was compromised, so it was quite a task to chew on those cow slices ultimately.

The beef balls were pretty good tho’. :)

The fresh spring rolls were quite average, and their fried ones were apparently not up to scratch either, with the spring rolls looking a tad burnt on the outside – but it really wasn’t. It was just old oil being used to fry (which is in itself a no-no at such an early hour)…

The one thing that was quite the disappointment was the vietnamese white coffee. I had expected a serving similar to what is presented here in Perth when we order the coffee, that is, a filter, with a small cup below, allowing the coffee to drip through. this place gave the cup of coffee as it is, and whilst it tasted good, the presentation was a definite let-down.

Overall this place was an average place. Would definitely try other places before coming back here again.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9663 3288
Address: 241 Swanston St, Melbourne, Australia

 Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam on Urbanspoon

Squires Loft City Steakhouse, Melbourne

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

A little steakhouse tucked in a little lane in the city of Melbourne, I would never have known of this place if not for J bringing me there for dinner one night. We were both up for some good cow and she said she knew a good place that served good cow. Trusting her taste, I went with the flow and met her at the corner of two main streets.

The BarInterior

The place had a nice cosy feel to it, simply because of how small it really is. With a maximum of 20 tables in that establishment, service was prompt and attention was given to details. the waiters who served us were friendly, and probably found the two of us rather odd, taking photos of everything…

The menu was simple, with a good range of steak available… from porterhouse to the eye fillet, to the scotch.

So I had an eye fillet, and J had the scotch fillet, both with chips (we were craving!) and some pepper sauce to come along with it.

The sauces were a tad expensive to order – $4.50 per serving, but  it was one generous serving compared to the other places I have been to with steak.

Eye Fillet (dark)Eye Fillet (flash!)

Didn’t manage to take pictures of the scotch fillet, but the eye fillet, as you would be able to see, was MASSIVE… and I actually finished it all! The meat was cooked medium-rare, and it was just so tender… the sides were a little tough but they would be with such thickness in the steak.

All in all, that was some GOOD COW. Chips were average. not the best around, and the sauce was rather unique, nothing like what I would have thought but they could do with a little more salt to make it tastier.

A place I would definitely go back again for their fabulous cow!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9670 7317
Address: 12 Goldie Place, Melbourne

 Squires Loft City Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

GingerBoy, Melbourne

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

Met up with the Wookster and the Yoda for dinner and Yoda suggested GingerBoy… a place he’s been wanting to go but couldn’t find the great company like Wookster and myself… so off we went!

InteriorTable Setting

MenuIt was actually quite a task to get to the right place because there is another establishment up the stairs. So Yoda thought it was upstairs, and we went up… I had mistaken the toilet stairs for the actual stairs I was supposed to take… so a boo-boo, and a good teasin’ time for the gentlemen =P

So we were nicely seated with the menus brought to us. We had absolutely no idea what to order! So we decided to just go for a banquet meal that consisted of a little of each of their finest dishes. Why not? Then of course, we had some wine to top off the night. A white to start us off, then a red to finish up. :)

This place is actually an all asian-fusion of food. From Thai, to M’sian to Singaporean (well not so)… they certainly have alot going on. But this is with a western touch for sure because we wouldn’t be able to get this sort of food anywhere in Asia. :) Something different, and as an asian myself, I was really looking forward to seeing how the fusion would end up.

To this end, I shall refrain from sayin’ too much and let the pictures do all the talking for now…

We had about six courses… all quite a small serving but at the end, really filled us up!

DumplingsSome TatakiTwo-way Fried EggStuffed SquidCurry Dish served with Corn FrittersPlate of Desserts

 To get a good idea of how our tummies were filled, look at the pictures from left to right, top to bottom :)

The dumplings were first served, and I wasn’t actually expecting much of it since it is meant to be a fusion restaurant… to my surprise, it was quite tasty and the sauce at the side of the plate made it even better! It was simply beautiful…

The fish tataki (unfortunately memory doesn’t allow me to remember the type of fish used) was lovely, with a mustard sauce over the slices… the quality was good, with the fish just melting in the mouth as you put it in, and it went well with the shredded cucumber too!!

The two-way fried egg was something rather interesting. It was hard on the outside (fried), and actually runny in the yolk… so the recommended way of eating was to put the whole egg into the mouth and bite, allowing the runny yolk to just burst out onto the walls of the mouth – something that took me about 5min to do, because I was the only girl amongst the guys. what kinda message was I going to send by stuffing the whole egg into my mouth? I eventually did it anyway, and what a decision it was!! It was quite difficult to chew the whole egg after the initial burst but eventually I got there with much satisfaction. :)

Then we had the stuffed squid, which was once again very tasty, albeit too gingery. There was ginger infused into the stuffing, and ginger pieces below the squid! well, no wonder the place was called GingerBoy? Lame. Ok. next.

The curry was actually served with some corn fritters that I didn’t take pictures of due to my greedy need to eat the dish as soon as it arrived. the point of the corn fritters (on top of the rice), is to dip it in the curry and wow, I never knew that would go well, but it did!! I wasn’t too impressed with the curry other than this little odd detail.

The dessert is definitely a thing to talk about although I can’t remember what they all were, other than the ones that really caught my attention:

  • Coconut Sorbet (yes, I never knew it existed too!)
  • Spicy Choc Mousse

These two out of the few that you see in the picture really caught my attention, simply because of how unique the tastes were for each! Not the biggest fan of coconut, my eyes just glittered with satisfaction when I took the first mouthful of the sorbet… Yoda was a fan of the sorbet too, so it was quite a fight! But ultimately, everything was fininshed, putting a good end to a rather interesting meal.

It’s not all too asian but yet it’s got the flavours of Asia. Unique place, albeit pricey. Thanks to  Yoda for the meal!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9662 4200
Address: 27-29 Crossley St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Gingerboy on Urbanspoon

And this marks my coverage of the places I tried in Melbourne with pictures to share! I did go to other place but with greed overpowering my fingers, the lack of pictures mean a no-review for that place. I do encourage those who are visiting Melbourne for the first time, or haven’t been to this street, to head down to Lygon Street in Carlton for some lovely Italian food! There’s heaps to choose from and you will be hoarded with hosts trying to vie for your attention and patronage. I was sucked into one for his offer of free garlic bread and drinks. :) what would your weakness be?

And as a recap of the ratings!

Oriental Tea House: 2 out of 5 stars
Dumplings PLUS: 3 out of 5 stars
Brunetti’s: 4 out of 5 stars
Nobu, Melbourne: 4 out of 5 stars
Mekong: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Squires Loft City Steakhouse: 3.5 out of 5 stars
GingerBoy: 3.5 out of 5 stars

All ratings by: S.T

Seizan Japanese Restaurant, Perth

SignWebsite: www.seizan.com.au 

Entertainment Card: 25% off the total bill (up to $30 value)

Seizan Restaurant is a popular Japanese joint located on Hay Street but hidden on the lower ground level where one has to walk down a flight of stairs from the street level to get to the restaurant.  I frequent this place often and is one of my favourite spot for lunch especially when there is an occasion to celebrate or when a nice lunch is in order.  In this instance, me and my fellow bloggers (S.T and S.Tq) went there for an impromptu lunch to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.

Seizan is a fairly big restaurant and has normal sitting arrangement on one half of the restaurant (what I meant by normal is with the tables and chairs that we are used to and proper height like say how we dine at home) and a semi-Japanese sitting arrangement on the other half - wooden seats at floor level with leg space carved into the floor which gives an illusion of sitting on the floor but without having to cross your legs (as how Japanese sits traditionally when they eat).  This is probably a better idea to prevent getting leg cramps at the end of the meal.  =p  Seizan also has a big private room for large party and another big square table near the kitchen for their Teppanyaki BBQ.  It is decorated nicely, with calligraphy artworks adorning the walls, a mini Japanese sand pond on the side, a fish tank at the front, seats partitioned with glass and bright lights. 

Normal sitting arrangement Japanese style sitting Inside the restaurant Private dining area

The service was friendly and I like how the waitresses are always smiling and polite.  They wear the traditional Kimonos, pink with patterns and flowers, complete with white socks and slippers (I’d always thought it must be hard for them to walk around in that uniform but they do it really well and always look extremely graceful! – I probably would have tripped if I wore something like that to work!).

Seizan serves a la carte as well as their special Teppanyaki BBQ.  The Teppanyaki BBQ is a must-try – it’s a style of cuisine that uses a flat iron girdle (teppan) to cook the food.  I tried this a few years back and it was very special.  Our group sat around the cooking area while the chef  barbequed the food in front of us and entertained us with special performances with their skillets, dousing the food with wine to get the big flame effect and engaging us through the ‘flying meat’ performance where the chef tried to ‘feed’ us through the air by asking us to sit where we are with our mouth open and him flipping the meat into our mouth.  It was fun! and he always managed to get them in, such precision and skill! 

Back to the lunch, we ordered from the a la carte menu and had the following:

  • Special Sanshoku Bento Set – $14.80 which came with fried chicken, simmered beef, teriyaki fish and tsukemono (japanese pickles) served with rice
  • Sakana Teriyaki – $11.80, pan fried fish in a special Seizan sauce served with rice
  • Tempura Udon – $12.80, mix tempura (deep fried battered vegetables and seafood) noodles soup
  • Tori Katsudon – $11.80, crumbed chicken on top of rice, cooked with egg and vegetable

Bento Box Set Sakana Teriyaki Tempura Udon Chicken Katsudon

The food came out moderately fast and were yummy as usual but we were shocked by how small the portion has gotten.  S.T. had the Tempura Udon and it only came with three measley vegetables and one prawn.  However, the taste was still good.  I had the Sakana Teriyaki which was delicious but shrunk in serving too.  This is my favourite dish and it’s hard to see me ordering anything else besides this when I eat here.  I think this is one of the best fish teriyaki I have eaten in Perth – the sauce is thick and has a slight buttery taste to it while the fish is fried to perfection, slight crisp but maintaining the softness of the flesh.  Yum!  S.Tq had the Chicken Katsudon and liked the dish while the Bento Set is as usual always popular (as you can try all the different dishes in one go) but there was complaint of smaller serving too.  All the dishes (except the udon) came with a side of salad and miso soup which helped to fill us up.

All in all, even though the serving size has shrunk, I think I will still go back there often as the food is really yummer-licious.  It helps with the 25% discount that we get from the Entertainment card too and the price is quite reasonable.  Seizan also has a Karaoke Bar on the 1st level which I heard is pretty good but have yet to try out – maybe I should go one of this day.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Rating by: N.L.

Seizan Japanese Restaurant
Telephone
: 08 9325 5980
Address: 566 Hay Street, Perth

Seizan Japanese on Urbanspoon

Tank Lounge, Perth

 **LATEST UPDATE Jan 10** – Restaurant has moved to 22 Howard Lane, Perth (off St Georges Terrace) 

 

**UPDATE Dec 09** – Restaurant no longer operating!

 

Take-away areaDine-in areaTank Lounge was a cafe my friends and I always thought we’ll try “one of these days” after first eyeing it whilst having lunch at the London Court Cafe situated across it.  What we saw from that perspective was a tiny cafe tucked inside a long corridor which seemed quite mysterious.  Well, mysterious it is, situated under the St. Martins Tower, off the famous London Court walkway, quite hidden from passerbys and could almost be missed.  When my friends and I met up at London Court Cafe for lunch one day and found that it was full, it gave us an opportunity to finally dine here.

Tank Lounge is divided into two areas opposite each other, with one side being the dine-in area and the other side the take-away area.  While surveying the cafe from the outside, the ‘Special of the Day’, the King Prawn and Salmon Risotto written on the sign hung outside caught our eye and sealed our decision to eat there (although neither of us ordered that dish at the end). 

The cafe has really comfy and stylish chairs although they were too low for me – I had to sit up straight the whole time during lunch to reach my food (which may not be such a bad thing for my posture!).  The inside was a bit dark for my liking and the bar area was cluttered with glasses which made the place looked slightly messy.  The take-away area on the other hand was brightly lit with their muffins, sandwiches, fruits etc on display.  It was very busy at the take-away area which contributed to the service being not as good as expected.  The staff took awhile before taking our order as they were too concentrated on the take-away area. 

Bar Area Dine-in area

For lunch that day we had:

  • Penne with chicken and mushroom creamy sauce – $15
  • Spaghetti with prawns, garlic and chilli cooked in olive oil – $16

Penne with chicken & mushroom Spaghetti with prawns

I had the Spaghetti with Prawns and thought it was very dry although they gave a generous serving of prawns (and they were big too!).  Even though the dish came with chillies, it wasn’t too hot and didn’t leave a burning sensation in my mouth (a plus as I can’t eat hot food!).  I asked for a comment from my friend who had the Penne and this is her review of the food, “It was tasty and they got the basics correct, but it is not particular noteworthy” – spoken like a critic. 

Reading reviews from other bloggers, I found out that they serve good coffee but I didn’t manage to try any that day.  Will keep that in mind if I end up going back there again.  Overall the food was tasty and we had a good time chatting over lunch which made everything seemed better =)  

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Rating by: N.L.

Tank Lounge
Telephone
: TBA
Address: St Martins Arcade, Shop 9

Dim Sim Cafe, Northbridge

Painting on the wallDim Sim Cafe**LATEST UPDATE July 14**

Restaurant is permanently closed!

During one of the ‘dimsum’ outing with my ex-colleagues, I found out from them that the once popular Hoi’s Kitchen is re-opened under the name Dim Sim Cafe along William Street in Northbridge.  Hoi’s Kitchen was one of the dim sum restaurant that I frequented during my high school / university days as the food there were tasty and cheap although the place was always packed and a bit too stuffy and gloomy for my liking, so I was very curious how the new refurbished restaurant would look like and whether the food will still be the same (I had good memories of the fried squid tentacles!).

A few weeks later when my mum had her dimsum craving, I suggested for us to go to Dim Sim Cafe instead of the usual Dragon Seafood Restaurant.  The place was packed as I arrived that Saturday morning which is always a good sign.  The restaurant was compact, neat, brand new and filled with lots of small tables and chairs although the design was slightly plain, almost bare looking.  However there were lots of sunlight! (much better than the old Hoi’s Kitchen).

Counter Inside Restaurant

Okay, more importantly to the food…there were the usual varieties of dimsum such as the pork dumpling, the prawn dumpling etc.  I didn’t find any new dimsum on the menu except maybe for the Steamed Beancurd pocket stuffed with fish roe.  The dimsum tasted okay, the best dishes for the day were probably the Egg Tart (crunchy pastry) and the Fried Squid Tentacles (it was a big dish, seasoned with salt & pepper).  I didn’t think it was as good as before but probably my memory was failing me as the presentation of the dish sure made it looked yummy.

However, I was disappointed with the Steamed Shanghai Dumplings (the skin was too hard and the filling not juicy) and the Fried Custard Buns (the pastry was so hard, I felt like I was biting a rock, figuratively speaking).  I didn’t think too much of the desserts either – we had the Mango Pudding and “Tau Foo Far” (chinese pudding like dessert made from soybean milk), have had better elsewhere.

Beancurd pocket with fish roeBeef BallsSteamed Shanghai DumplingEgg TartFried Squid TentaclesFried Custard BunsMango PuddingSoyabean pudding

Empty plates after the foodOverall we had a good meal – the place proved better than what it was before decor-wise.  The food were okay although the prices have gone up (compared to before).  I would still prefer Dragon Seafood Restaurant better (my long time favourite) but for those of you who want to try something different or just to reminisce on the good ol’ times, why not drop by at Dim Sim Cafe!

Dim Sim cafe on Urbanspoon