Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Axil Coffee Roasters [at] Hawthorn

Took the day off on Tuesday and decided to have brunch in Hawthorn as I was in the area to pick up my framed paintings (see here for photos!).

I had driven past and wanted to come here the last time I came around to drop my paintings off.

Pretty huge space, it's not a place you can drive past and not notice.

Inside was really spacious too - even though we were seated pretty close to other patrons, I felt the acoustics didn't distract me too much

The coffee, needless to say, is great. Axil Coffee supplies beans to several cafes in town so they wouldn't have disappointed.

Spicy Baked Eggs... w/ Meredith goats cheese, dukkah, etc

I really really liked this - it wasn't too intense or overwhelming. The dukkah and nuts really added a nice earthy touch to it. Eggs were cooked perfectly, with the yolks still runny - yum! *claps with glee*

Potato Hash w/ chilli tomato relish, bacon and poached eggs

This dish was very good - nothing particularly original, but done well. The eggs were poached well, potato hash (potato hash can do no wrong, really) and bacon not greasy and gross.

Overall - a definite recommendation! The food is great, and the place is very accommodating for us to hang about for hours (granted, it was a Tuesday afternoon).

Axil Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 24, 2012

PappaRich [at] QV Melbourne, Melbourne CBD

Had the opportunity to come by on their opening day on Labour Day.
The Husband had to stay home and study, so I ended up with K, A and their mum so we had quite a range of dishes to sample. We got a table right at the back wall of the place, which has expanded quite a bit since it was previously Old Town Mamak.

Just to keep in mind - We visited on the first day which I think doesn't give it a complete and fair assessment of the food and service. Had a couple of issues with the service, with the staff coming back with two of the dishes that had already arrived earlier.

Note: the names of the dishes are NOT as per the menu - sorry, I didn't make any attempts to remember the actual names! :(

Mixed  (Beef and Chicken) Satay Platter

Yum - the satays were really good; it was authentic that it had a good amount of FAT on the meat (as compared to some "high-class" satays where it's really just a chunk of meat on a skewer), but it was substantial enough. Flavours were good, and the meat was tender. I know where to go now when I'm a-cravin' satays.

Vegetarian briyani rice with vegetarian mutton curry (or something like that)

They have a pretty substantial vegetarian menu, which I think is pretty good, what with vegetarianism in Australia on the rise. Considering it was their first day, it was forgiveable that the dish was mistakenly served with anchovies (no my dear - anchovy is a not a vegetable). We finally had a chance to dig in when the issue was rectified.

Taste-wise I think is great. Aussies might think 'fake' (vegetarian) mutton might be a bit odd; but I suppose growing up being exposed to the 1001 ways to work with soy and gluten, it didn't seem strange to me at all. I don't know what the "mutton" is made of in this case, so best check with them if you have any dietary requirements.
There was a slight issue with  my friends' mum ordering this dish. As part of her religious vegetarian diet, she is also to avoid both garlic and onion. Unfortunately, I think it's highly unlikely to find a meal in Australia that is vegetarian but does not contain garlic and/or onion. Do not expect any different from this dish.

Curry Laksa 

I had a taste of A's curry laksa, and realised how much I will miss Old Town Kopitiam's version. I felt this was slightly lacking in flavour, but to be honest, it reminded me of the Curry Laksas from home. Now, I never quite liked curry laksa until I moved to Melbourne, so I suspect my taste for curry laksa is probably Australian-influenced.

Hainanese Chicken Chop

Now I really liked this dish that K had ordered - it was pretty much a grilled chicken chop smothered with curry sauce served with chicken rice - drool. Very authentic (right down to the frozen mixed veggies I'm afraid), and I'd be happy to order this next time.

 Hainanese Chicken noodle soup

What was odd about the soup, was that it really tasted like a prawn-based soup instead of a chicken-based broth. But...

it was SO GOOOOOOD! I'm speaking as someone who loves seafood (and meat, and ... heck, I don't discriminate) so prawn soup definitely doesn't put me off. So flavourful, it reminded me of "prawn mee" without the chilli. I slurped and slurped and lapped it all up. Perfect meal when you are feeling cold and just want something with clear soup. YUMM!!!!

Overall, they definitely have had a good start considering it was only their first day, yet they had enough dishes to tantalise my tastebuds. I had a look around and noticed quite a few multi-coloured drinks that I might give a try the next time. I certainly would be keen to come back and give other dishes a try (or I might just order my chicken noodle soup again :D )

PappaRich QV on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Keeping things in perspective

Keeping things in perspective - humility is key.

"Chefs create something that turns to shit in 24 hours".

Suddenly, I'm a fan of René Redzepi of Noma.

Wayside Inn, South Melbourne

The Husband decided that we would have dinner here one Friday evening, just for a change. Wayside Inn is a venture by the guys of Station Hotel (which we love) so we thought we should give it a go.

It was really quite quiet for a Friday evening, it didn't have the same bustle as in Station Hotel.

We decided to order an entree to share :
Chicken liver parfait, currants, muscat jelly ($15.0)

This was not as intense as it looked, but it was packed with good flavour; which was why we easily polished the entire jar (I'm constantly amazed by my normal cholesterol levels!). Not one element overpowered the other, so I really liked this.

 Main: Rotisserie du jour (for Friday) - Suckling pig ($28.0)

This wasn't bad, but it wasn't as great as I expected. Perhaps my expectations were too high, as my last couple of Suckling Pig experiences were at Sydney's Porteno (in Dec 2011) and Cutler & Co (in Jan 2012). To me, the meat was not tender enough, and for some reason I just didn't think the sweetness of the apples cut through the flavour of the pork enough.

Main: BBQ 'Steak Bearnaise' Grass-fed 500g rib-eye ($38.0)

My fault for ordering it rare and not asking for the bearnaise on the side. Should have ordered it medium-rare to medium - totally my bad. Would've have tasted so much better. Flavours were nice though. No real complaints to the chef.

Side: Heirloom tomatoes ($5.0)

Maybe I'm just biased as I'm on a bit of a tomato crazy right now (from totally hating raw tomatoes) but this to me was the dish of the day. I loved the flavours, and liked how they, errrr... "moussed" up the fetta. yum yum yum!!!!!!

Overall, I'd prefer to go back to Station Hotel (after all, it IS in my 'hood), but I'd be more than happy to come back to Wayside Inn if I was in the area or thereabouts. Probably wouldn't order the Suckling Pig on a Friday, but I might give another rotisserie du jour a go.

Wayside Inn on Urbanspoon

Dr. Phil cautions...