***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

One thought on “***Melbourne Extravaganza!***

  1. wow…great review of your Melbourne food trip! thanks Sandra!
    i’d only been to Brunetti’s out of the ones you reviewed..and yes..totally agree..it was great! =)

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