Ramen Bankara, Melbourne 05-2016

Bankara seems to have a remarkably low rating. I think it is because of the high price point likely due to the central location on what I imagine is a high-rent Swanston Street. Luckily it features in the 2016/2017 Entertainment Book meaning $19.8 for two bowls of noodles (and a little extra for a second serve of noodles) makes it a bargain.

My choice of the Hakata Tonkotsu was a good one with flavoursome broth (a little thin), decent noodles, quality soft meat without too much fat to remove and nice supporting ingredients. The Pork Broth & Shoyu was a slightly more salty version I sampled, but I would always go for my own simple tonkotsu given the choice.

I'd happily eat here again, with or without the discount.

Ramen Bankara Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Common Galaxia, Melbourne 05-2016

The Melbourne freakshake is real. After copying the idea from Patissez (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/patissez-canberra-07-2015), the creation of exceptionally photogenic (although I didn't do a great job) dessert creations piled high into a sugar mess has taken over the world.

Funnily enough I didn't know Common Galaxia did these and it certainly wasn't my inspiration to come here for food twice. Nonetheless after seeing it on the menu, I had to try it once. The chocolate brownie with vanilla bean ice-cream, chocolate freckle, Mork chocolate and fairy floss $12.5 is an expensive piece for the eye. Overall the base liquid is less intense and more drinkable than the plain uninspired version at Patissez, but other than the brownie, the rest of the ingredients (freckle and fairy floss) only really serve for visual appeal. Perhaps Persian floss or more dark chocolate would be to my taste, but I won't order this again. If you want sweetness, I'd suggest trying the French toast as that is likely as sweet, looked sensational and would probably be higher quality.

On the other hand, the food is better.

- Crispy skin barramundi (with buckwheat, fennel, broad bean, chilli, tomato & basil salad with olive relish) $19.5 - a nicely cooked fish, very well seasoned skin, salty relish and some colourful salad for balance;
- Portuguese baked eggs (with tomatoes, bell peppers, beans, basil, fior di latte & spiced pine nuts) $17.5 - a very tasty dish with a more rounded flavour than the Spanish versions around town and served with nice dense slices of rye.

On that day the were out of the ham hock eggs benedict with spiced hollandaise $17, so I went back two weeks later to try it. I don't know if ham hock or the fact it was unavailable made me do it, but it wasn't as good as I hoped. The bread was good, the ham was reasonably soft and quite strong, but the hollandaise isn't for me.

Next time I would order the baked eggs or pine mushrooms for breakfast and any of the cooked options for lunch.

Common Galaxia Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Super Miss Sue Cervi, Dublin 06-2016

It is proclaimed to be the best fish and chips in Ireland. I'm not sure where this came from but the high rating and craving for a simple meal for one took me on the 25min walking journey to get here. 

The options for dinner that night were: My Meat Wagon (BBQ), Crackbird (Fried Chicken), The Meeting House (highly rated Burmese)Fade Street Social (Irish) and Camden Kitchen (Irish). SMS won in the end due to it being quite late, well rated and just a craving.

The guy serving the register was very surly and needs to lighten up a bit. Asking for an opinion on cod vs. haddock was met with an indifferent grunt and comment "they are pretty much the same".

Luckily the food was better with a beautifully cooked haddock, crispy seasoned coating and decent piping hot chips topped with vinegar and salt. The crushed peas made me feel healthy balanced and provided some gritty texture but otherwise didn't add much to the meal.

Super Miss Sue Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Herbstreet, Dublin 06-2016

For some reason I thought there were no good breakfast options near The Marker Hotel (grand canal) where I was staying. My online reading had me listing Fumbally, Green 19 and Whitefriar Grill as options but none near me. I was very lucky to find Herbstreet on Zomato, and even luckier that I had been drinking the night before and so needed a later start to the day.

I sat in the warm inside for breakfast looking out over the blue skies and the water. A decorated matcha latte €3.5 was warming with light green tea flavour. They only serve this with cow's milk, unlike the soy/almond/other options I'm used to being offered in Melbourne. Perhaps these other versions would have increased the sweetness and depth, but it's only minor.

As tempting as the Full Irish was, I opted for the unique choice of Breakfast of champions (cassava rosti lightly spiced and topped with a poached duck egg, smoked salmon and avocado, wiith lime and rocket) €12 - an excellent dish of a slightly chewy (distinguishing it from classic potato versions) but crisp surface rosti, smoked salmon lining on top, slightly overcooked poached duck egg, and avocado and lime to complete the flavour and add moisture.

I was so impressed I returned with colleagues for lunch, where the Herbstreet burger (6oz Irish beef with burger sauce, gherkin, red onion, lettuce and tomato and my choice of smoked McCarren Family bacon and jalapenos) €15 was presented with unsalted but nicely cooked chips. The default patty is medium-well, so I specifically asked for medium-rare and it was cooked to this with a beautiful soft beef mince that highlighted the quality of the local produce. This was simply one of the best and most satisfying burgers I've had, comparing to London, Canberra, Melbourne and USA.

I'm glad I found you Herbstreet.

Herbstreet Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Murphy's, Dublin 06-2016

After fish and chips, nearby I had starred Murphy's for ice cream. The city's best, maybe even the country's best, it had to be tried. Seeing the shiny metal containers is always a good sign of a company that cares for its ice cream product.

The Irish Coffee with whisky was as unique as you'd expect, with a strong coffee flavour and whisky aftertaste. I balanced it with black current sorbet for the sweetness, tartness and lightness. The cookies, chocolate and caramelised brown bread beg to be tried next time.

Murphys Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

The Temple Bar, Dublin 06-2016

When in Dublin, the tourists apparently go to The Temple Bar. That isn't necessarily a good reason to be there but a French girl I met had it listed in Le Routard, and so off we went. The live music area is very cosy, and it is a nice space to have food and a drink.

I was only after something light only for myself, so the Irish Smoked Salmon & Smoked Trout platter with Guinness bread, cucumber pickle and salad €12.5 had me from the word Irish. In future I think Galway Bay oysters, black pudding platter or an open sandwich may be alternatives.

The fish was nicely smoked and not too strong, although I couldn't discern the smoked salmon and trout since they were heaped together. The bread was nice and moderately dense. The music provided entertainment and the atmosphere was sound. It may be touristy, but I thought it was worth a visit in the end.

The Temple Bar Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Honest Burgers, London 06-2016

On my way to Eurostar I wanted to swing by the new Bone Daddies in Old Street and take advantage of the opening 50% special off food. Unfortunately the lunch queue was too long so I had to settle for a quick burger next door.

It’s been a long time Honest Burgers – the one and only time was all the way south in Brixton and I remember thinking it was good but not better than some of the other competitors.

On this occasion I had the burger – £10.5 for the burger and rosemary chips. The meat patty was cooked beautifully medium-rare to my order (their default is medium) and was not overly salted with a nice beef flavour. The remaining ingredients were only supplementary but the little burger was overall very satisfying. The chips were a good texture with crisp outside and could have used a little more seasoning. The wings had a small amount of meat and a nice flavour but needed more heat and depth.

The burger was better than expected. I look forward to returning to the land and rediscovering the burger options. I wonder how well MEATliquor and Tommi's has stood the test of time (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/tommis-burger-joint-london-09-2013).

Honest Burgers Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Dishoom, London 06-2016

Dishoom is the beautiful Bombay lover I once got close to but went away from. After my first lust (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/dishoom-london-10-2012) back in Covent Garden late-2012 to my leaving farewell meal in Shoreditch late-2013, it has always had a special place in my heart for the quality food, breakfast after the 2013 AFL Grand Final win and drinks to get a night started. I had heard it was recently rated the number 1 restaurant in London/UK - a worthy winner in my opinion.

A reunion of people from Australia and UK spelled the occasion this time, and it was an easy decision to spend £50 each on a bit of food and a lot of drinks in the old Shoreditch haunt.

- Chicken & pomegranate salad £9.5 (not pictured) – still as exceptional I my first visit. The pomegranate seeds, the sliced tender chicken, the herbs all harmonise together;
- Chilli cheese toast £3.5 – a very strongly flavoured rendition with a touch of spice;
- House black daal £5.9 - it doesn't compete with Bukhara but still good;
- Awadhi lamb biryani £9.9 – nice light fluffy rice spiced with pockets of lamb hidden away;
- Garlic naan £2.5 – chewy soft and garlicky;
- Mahi tikka £8.2 – delicate fish morsels, well cooked and delicious;
- Chicken ruby £8.5 – a soft bread is used to pick up the chicken curry.

Thanks for creating more memories (albeit hazed by cocktails) including 4 women discussing the realities of childbirth and episiotomies.

Dishoom Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Needoo, London 06-2016

The restaurant I ate at the most in London was my local curry house and luckily it was a phenomenal one. Some prefer Tayyab (and to be honest the grilled meats aka lamb chops are better there) but Needoo clearly wins the curry war in my opinion. My usual trifecta of Daighi dry meat curry, lamb biryani and pumpkin curry used to last me a week of meals and has been the most reminisced of London foods since I left.

The prices have gone up by about 20% in 2.5 years but the quality and serving size remain the same.

- Daighi dry meat curry – still the best curry to my palate. The soft lamb, the dry spiced heat and the deep salty burning flavours are balanced by the squeeze of lemon juice;
- King prawn biryani – I usually opt for the lamb biryani (I think the base rice is the same and cooked with the key ingredient). They found a serve of king prawns in the freezer (interpret that how you will) and although slightly overcooked made a nice textural contrast to the deliciously flavoured rice. Unlike when I get takeaway lamb biryani, this one also came with a serve of chickpea curry with tomatoes;
- Kahari fish – a nicely flavoured curry with fish that is too overcooked. The flavour does make up for it though.

In my time I’m yet to find another decent Pakistani biryani and curry that can match Needoo (although on the curry front my recent experience at Hoppers may compete - http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/hoppers-london-06-2016). 

Next time I would order a biryani (the king prawns themselves may not be worth the extra £5 charge compared to other versions), dry meat curry and another vegetable curry as per my norm. Having the chickpeas and fish curry reaffirmed that just about any curry at this place will be a safe choice.

Needoo Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Hoppers, London 06-2016

I was reading about new places to try and this Sri Lankan place is taking London by storm. I’ve had Sri Lankan once in Canberra (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/camellia-canberra-11-2014) but it didn’t compete with the basic successes of this place. 4.8/5 rating from 50+ people - are you kidding? I know London curry is exceptionally good and the main cuisine I was back here to eat (Dishoom, Needoo, other) but that rating is ridiculous. The other places that competed for me stomach that lunch was Black Axe Mangal (haute kebab, exceptionally rated) and Kricket (Indian in Brixton).

The queue for 2 or 3 people was 45 mins. Luckily I have no friends and was let in immediately. The Buffalo Biryani, Duck Egg Curry, Yoghurt and Brinjal Moju was the dish that attracted me the most, but there were two drawbacks – I don’t think I could’ve finished the whole thing (they do allow takeaway) and secondly I felt I should try the namesake items. The very lovely waitress confirmed this and suggested a starter, hopper and curry.

The starter I selected was the Duck Heart Chukka. I absolutely adored this. The dry heat (not as hot as led to believe as the hottest one on the menu) with a deep intense flavour and the chewy crunchy heart had a mild unique afterflavour slightly reminiscent of beef heart slices. I have to find these to cook for myself.

The Egg Hopper was similar to the appam from India. The outsides of the disk are easily torn like chips to pickup the condiments and curry. The inside is cooked with an egg and reminds me of the tangy and spongy feel of injera. It is topped with a salty spice to contrast the egg yolk and hopper. Of the condiments the orange coconut sambol was the one nicely flavoured part.

Of the curries, my choice was between the Black Pork Kari (explained as the driest) and the Gourd & Cashew Kari (explained as the waitress’s favourite). I opted for meat this time based upon the dry Needoo style. It was nice but paled in quality to the duck and Needoo’s Daighi curry.

The remarkable Duck Heart Chukka and my desire for the Buffalo Buriani will definitely bring me back. There’s also mutton, roti and a Ceylonese spit chicken for the future.

Hoppers Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato