- Benu, San Francisco
- Sunday Yum Cha at Spice Temple Melbourne – 16% better than on a weekday?
- The Restaurant at Meadowood
- Bottega, Napa Valley
- Perfection Defined at The French Laundry
- Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
- Wine Went Everywhere at Bella Vedere
- EARL Canteen
- Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
- Union Dining
- Longrain, Melbourne Style
- Dinner at David’s
- Ladro, Prahran
- Happy Time at Izakaya Den
- Noir Is The New Black
- Ezard, Glorious Ezard
- Movida, The Original And Still The Best!
- 8 Courses at Attica
- Bamboo House
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Category Archives: Eating Out
I wanted something low-key for my 30th birthday lunch with the family. Good, rustic food, a classy, quiet venue, and somewhere not too expensive.
Sunday lunch in early January poses a few problems, as a lot of restaurants are closed – either for the xmas break, or just because it’s Sunday. One of our favorite restaurants which happened to be open (Circa, the Prince) never responded to my web enquiry, despite me calling them and being recommended to use their online enquiry system. After a few false starts, I ended up settling on The Press Club, the swank Greek restaurant by George Calombaris.
A day after my tentative booking, they emailed me a confirmation form (we asked for a table of 14, so this is not unusual) with a sample menu, price per head, and the different menu options for lunch. I was quoted $70 per head for the “Kerasma – to treat and to share”, which consists of “Tastes, entree, main and dessert”, selected by the chef. I queried the cost as Kerasma for regular bookings is listed at $65 per head on the website. Their reservations coordinator explained that “For reservations of 8 and over we require a group menu priced at $70 per person.”, but also added that “Our group menu does include unlimited bottled sparkling or still water”.
Anada is another one of those places that we’ve been meaning to go to for a long time (ever since they opened, which is nearly 3 years ago now!) but never got around to it. One Monday in early December, the opportunity arose to eat there as we were heading out to the Fitzroy side of the city. We called up on the day and managed to secure the last table.
Being huge fans of MoVida (see our MoVida Aqui writeup here), we were interested to see how Anada compared, as it’s always been given good reviews from the press and visiting chefs alike. Incidentally, head chef and owner, Jesse Gerner, and his wife Vanessa both worked under Frank Camorra at MoVida.
The last time we dined at Spice Temple, Melbourne, we left feeling a little disappointed. Sure, the food was good, but the atmosphere was lacking compared to the Sydney version we visited twice over the past year or so.
Still, we wanted to come back, determined to get a downstairs table. After Ritsy made our booking, I called closer to the date to confirm that we would be seated downstairs. After being on hold for half an hour (I got the “You have called at a busy time. You can hold the line or leave a message and we’ll call you back tomorrow” message at 5pm on a Sunday night – go figure), I gave up and left them a message, requesting a call back with confirmation of a downstairs table. They never rang 🙁
The alarm goes off – it’s 4:56am in Melbourne, two calendar months to the date that we arrive in Napa. Sleepily, we reach for our phones – three of them in total – and do a quick check that all our speed dials are getting through to The French Laundry’s answering machine.
We had done a fair bit of research into getting a booking at The French Laundry – heralded by most people as the best restaurant in the United States, and currently ranked number 32 in the world. The size of their dining room (16 tables / 60 seats), coupled with their reputation, means that getting a reservation is inherently tricky. Various blogs echoed frustrated stories of people trying for months and months to secure a 3 to 4 hour experience at Thomas Keller’s eponymous restaurant, so we were always a bit worried that our 4 day window might not be enough.
Colonel Tan’s (Chapel Street, Prahran) is one of our favourite places to go for a few drinks and some tasty thai food on a Friday night, so we figured it was about time we gave the place a bit of a writeup!
For those not in the know, Revolver (and therefore Colonel Tan’s) is owned by the same people as Cookie, the awesome CBD bar-slash-thai-restaurant – and Cookie’s chef, Karen Batson, is in charge of the kitchens here too.
The typical Prahran / Windsor style guide is well and truly enforced: Nana’s tables, old school chairs, a bunch of well worn reclaimed couches, and a few plastic doilies thrown in for good measure. There isn’t a great deal of tables (not surprising given the size of the kitchen – the word “small” doesn’t do it justice!), so if you’re hoping for a Friday or Saturday night walk-in at 7:00pm, expect to be disappointed.
This was our first time at Maze Grill and after reading some mixed reviews we were definitely going more for the wine than the food. I’m pleased to report though, in the main the food was quite enjoyable – so much so that at one point I got sprung by our waiter scraping the last remains of a dish with the comment “scrapey scrapey” – gold…
We started the evening in the bar / holding area with a glass of the beautiful 2009 Art Series Riesling, which was generously topped up until we were walked through the restaurant to the Grill where we were dining.
Dainty Sichuan is (now) located in South Yarra, in the space that used to belong to Flower Harbour (which, as nice as it looked, was not very nice!). We had been meaning to eat here for quite some time, as we heard that the food is great, if you can handle spicy dishes.
We knew we were in for some pain as we walked into the restaurant, as we were greeted by a drinks fridge stocked full of 1L bottles of milk, in close reach of both sections of the dining room. Bring it on!
It was pretty quiet when we arrived – around 5:30 on a Friday night – so we didn’t have to wait in line, and we were given a 4 seater table (for the two of us) on the lower level, in front of the windows that look out onto Toorak Road.
We had been quite excited about trying out Maurice Esposito’s new digs after having thoroughly enjoyed Esposito’s in Carlton, which is also all about sustainable seafood.
After a short wait in the entrance outside Saint Peter’s Restaurant and Bar, and another short wait while the waiter who asked if we had a reservation disappeared upstairs without seating us(!!!), we were shown the way to our table by the window.
Soon after we were seated, we were given our menus and the wine list. We ordered a Mojito($16), a Negroni ($17), some Cape Grim Sparkling Mineral Water ($10 / 750ml) and our food.
Four slices of fresh baguette arrived swiftly, which we had with quality self-poured olive oil, and soon afterwards we were treated to a wonderful complimentary appetiser of Seaweed with a Mustard Fruit, Sesame Oil and Thai Basil dressing.
Yesterday Donny & I had the meal of the year during a beautiful lunch at Loam.
We left home early and built up a sizable appetite visiting a couple of beautiful wineries along the Bellarine Peninsula, so when presented with the list of possible ingredients for the month of November (in place of a conventional menu) it went without saying that we would opt for the maximum number of courses available (7) with matched wines for $160pp.
Our waitress advised that this could take quite some time, but we were in no hurry, content to enjoy the landscape of olive groves and various wildlife out the large bay windows.
The meal began with a palate cleanser of radish and smoked butter and was followed by our first course of Dutch carrot, brazil nut, pine needle yoghurt, herbs matched with the local Oakdene ‘Jessica’ Sauvignon Blanc.
Tonight we ate at Spice Temple Melbourne. We have eaten at the Sydney sister restaurant twice before, and both times we were thoroughly impressed, so needless to say we had high hopes!
Situated in the same space previously occupied by Bistro Guillame, and next door to a big favourite of ours – Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill – Spice Temple Melbourne simply couldn’t be any more different to it’s predecessor if it tried.
While Bistro Guillame was all about white marble and bright and airy spaces, Spice Temple is dark, moody, and funky. It shares the same tables and light fittings with it’s big sister in Sydney – and, thankfully, the same delicious food (and zodiac inspired cocktails).