The Premises, Kensington 09-2016

After looking around Footscray, Seddon, Yarraville, Maidstone and Newport, the cafe circle in the West had me extending further out. The Premises in Kensington has a beautiful interior strangely located around a corner block with another shop wedged in the corner itself. Odd.

Nonetheless the menu with Middle Eastern influence appealed to me as did exploring a new area a little more. The lamb ribs I had were nice and flavoursome, and they weren't too overly fatty (perhaps the fat had been rendered out) but I could have used an extra rib or two. The underlying salad with chickpeas, fresh herbs and pomegranate was delicious and balanced well.

I didn't try the porridge but it looked good.

Considering there is no website, I'll have to remind myself to snap the menu next time, and I hope there will be a next time.

The Premises Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

ShanDong Mama, Melbourne 10-2016

There's been a few articles recently about the best dumplings around Melbourne. The city choices basically seem to be HuTong, ShanDong Mama, Tim Ho Wan and Din Tai Fung. I've heard mixed reviews about THW and their prices, DTF tends to have big queues (but great dumplings in chilli oil) and I don't mind XLB but it isn't my favourite of the dumplings. SDM is at least something different, and after visiting Mama Mini last year, I've always wanted to try the original (

- Fish dumplings (mackerel fillets, coriander, ginger, chives into a smooth mousse) $16.8 for 10 - these huge dumplings were served boiled and I asked for the chilli garlic sauce. The dumplings still remain unique in my eyes and may even be healthy...;
- Little Rachel dumplings (prawn, calamari, salmon, chives, Chinese cabbage & sesame oil) $14.8 for 12 - funnily enough they only list it in the boiled section but on this day they said they only have it available fried (I've been told that probably means they were frozen not fresh). The filling had nice chunks of flesh which was reassuring for the quality but otherwise wasn't anything particularly memorable; 
- Stirfry Crispy Prawns in Duck Eggyolk Sauce $24 - salted egg or duck eggyolk sauce seems to be a coating for squid, fish or prawns that I've enjoyed at Sichuan places recently. This one was far from being salty, but the creamy yolk texture and flavour added an extra great element to the medium sized and numerous prawns. One to eat with plenty of rice.

There are many other dumplings to pick from and I'd happily be back for these (need to ensure I try something different to Little Rachel next time). The other dishes are only to complement the rest for some variety. I'd stick to fried (where available) but accept steamed if it wasn't.

Shandong Mama Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Hello Gelo, Yarraville 10-2016

I've been meaning to try the icecream here for a while but due to it always being late or too cold or closed over winter, opportunity keeps passing. However I finally managed just before closing time and had pear and pistachio. In both, the main flavour was rather mild. For fruit I do tend to enjoy more tartness and I like my pistachio quite strong. For those reasons, I was a little disappointed. The texture was very smooth and seemed creamier more like icecream rather than gelato, and I do know I prefer gelato over icecream.

I'll definitely drop back to try some other flavours next time.

Hello Gelo Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Tandoori Times, Yarraville 10-2016

After a craving for curry, Aangan unfortunately (not unexpectedly) didn't have any free Friday night bookings. Tandoori Times seemed relatively well rated and so ended up the opportunity to explore Yarraville a little more than just Monday night cheap-movie night.

The menu is quite extensive. I tried to avoid any dish that advertised a sauce that could be eaten with any meat/seafood/vegetable combination and focus on specific things.

- Paneer Pakora (paneer stuffed with tangy mint and green chilli chutney, chicken pea battered and golden fried. This is a treat from the New Delhi Railway Station that’s a real classic) $10.95 - I didn't try this near New Delhi Railway Station but this was a plain cheese (as paneer is) nicely fried and served with an exceptional chutney that was more impressive than the paneer itself;
- Tandoori Time platter $20.9 - two nice lamb chops (one thick, one quite thin, could have been more rare and heavier spice), lovely tandoori chicken and lastly some chicken topped in an oily heavily flavoured melted cheese sauce that was great mixed with rice;
- Hyderabad's Dhania Beef (a delicate mix of freshly pureed coriander, green chilli, and mint sauce, spiced with flavours of southern masalas) - a nice curry with tender meat and a thicker sauce that seemed to taste of cumin (maybe it was a lot of coriander seeds). Nonetheless I liked it;
- Garlic naan and masala kulcha (naan stuffed with a spicy mix of paneer, potatoes, onions and fresh coriander) were both nice chewy breads and tasty to eat alone or soak up the curry.

Mango lassi was a nice version and not too sweet with no sugar crystals and the zeera one was a cumin seeded savoury version similar to salted buttermilk (and similarly to that I can't take it as a straight drink).

There's a lot to like about this place, not withstanding the location, the friendly staff, the entertaining reading in the menu and of course great food. There's plenty of things to try for next time including the dum biryani, special regional lamb/chicken/goat recipes and otherwise more tandoori.

Tandoori Times Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

The Falafel Man, Melbourne 10-2016

On a weekday trip to Prahran Market for supplies, the sun was shining and begged to be enjoyed. Aromas of the foodcourt were overpowered by falafel and so I was lured. Mama Falafel is around the corner on Chapel Street (and in the Entertainment Book) so it was important to see if this more convenient one was better. And it was, definitely. The fresh fried falafels had a coarse texture with visible herbs and perhaps some tomato or red pepper in it. The yoghurt sauce, chilli sauce, salad and pita meant I could recreate the pockets from Yalla Yalla ( And although a warm, thicker pita would be better, this was still an adequate replacement for now.

The Falafel Man Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Two Little Pigs, Melbourne 10-2016

On a howling windy day, a bike ride from Footscray to Brunswick may not have been the smartest idea. But there was a tiny little flower market advertised nearby and so after the 2 minute walk through, the reward and protection from the elements meant lunch.

I'd marked a few places in the area during a recent property search of the area so it was easy to see what my Google Maps would lead me to. The extremely unhealthy Banoffee smoothie (frozen banana, salted caramel, yoghurt & cocoa) was delicious and decadently sweet without being toxic. It's a nice milkshake that puts to shame the substandard base liquids of the freakshakes.

- Loaded Waffle (BBQ pulled pork, grilled cheddar, maple bacon pieces, pork crackle, spring onion & housemade maple BBQ sauce) $19.9 - a sweet waffle topped with savoury ingredients including really thick and salted pieces of crackling, chunky threads of pulled pork and bits of bacon. In the end it was a little too much for a brunch but I appreciated their unhealthy interpretation of the savoury waffle;
- Mushroom Scramble (herb roasted field mushroom, truffled scrambled eggs, pumpkin puree, zucchini & dill on sourdough) $17.9 - maybe it was because of the heavily flavoured pork, but this dish overall seemed quite bland and plain. The only flavour that shone through was the truffle oil which seemed a little too chemical to me (maybe just too much oil used).

The Pea & Ham is probably the only other dish on the breakfast menu that interests me. Otherwise there's many options down the street I'm sure.

Two Little Pigs Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Grain Store, Melbourne 10-2016

It's very rare that I go for a cafe brunch in the CBD. It may be because I've been spoilt for choice in Abottsford/Collingwood/Richmond or North Melbourne and now Footscray/Seddon/Yarraville that the CBD has always been less convenient and basically less impressive. Other than Hardware Societe and its excellent reputation (which I haven't tried), Cumulus Inc. apparently does a nice version from an expensive restaurant and Rustica Canteen is the option for up the Melbourne Central area. It's nice having an option in each region of the city.

Along the South-West/bottom-left corporate area of the city, Grain Store seemed to be full of suited clientele with or without a series of laptops. There were also a few tourist-looking people who had obviously looked for a place somewhere near Southern Cross station and the start of Crown.

- Black Pudding Sausage & Fried Onion Rings (with poached eggs, fresh apple remoulade, sweet potato jam) $19 - black pudding always gets me. I think they must have some less adventurous or experienced diners who expect black rice pudding as they had the need to emphasise "Sausage" on the menu and the waitress even confirmed with me I knew what it was. The black pudding had a very smooth texture but seemed to lack a very strong flavour. Usually there's the strong pork, a charred meaty-blood flavour and little cubes of fat (which I actually prefer not to have), but that's the standard. The eggs were cooked well and runny, the sweet potato puree was to swathe around the standard onion rings (I'm not a fan generally so perhaps not the best judge). The apple salad was nice and refreshing and crisp.

Overall I didn't enjoy it as much as other places although I'll admit I didn't order to my strengths and was blinkered by black pudding. The portobello mushroom and gruyere potato rosti may be worth the go next time if I end up in that pocket of the city again.

The Grain Store Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Advieh, Melbourne 10-2016

The day after the Western Bulldogs (aka Footscray for us old timers) won their second ever premiership, the suburbs were swarmed by their fans, many of whom I expect either used to or still live in the more suburban areas of the region. They were out in force on this Sunday sporting the premiership t-shirts and caps that would have certainly been a successful merchandise push. It seemed prudent to visit an area where space and parking was a little available and Seddon was a good choice.

After the visit to Yarraville's Little Advi recently (, I'd been waiting for the opportunity to try the mothership. I have to admit the menu disappointed me slightly in seeing there are no large/share plate options. One of the joys of Middle Eastern food (and displayed in the background of their own website) is the beautiful spreads and colours of each dip, salad and meat.

Morrocan meatballs (with 3 salads & yoghurt sauce $18) were nice, juicy and full of meaty flavour. The Zucchini Plate (with 2 salads & tzatziki $17) seemed like a flattened fritter with cheese - I expected zucchini puffs so this was different but I think the falafel (at Little Advi) and meatballs were better. What I did prefer was the tzatziki on the Zucchini Plate much more than the plainer and less tangy yoghurt sauce. The tabbouleh was zesty and had large ingredients rather than finely diced (which I liked) and the lentils and rice salad were also nice complements.

Overall the food made for a good quality and healthy meal, different to the other brunch offerings in the Vietnamese/African/cafe suburbs of the west.

Advieh Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Chez Dre, Melbourne 08-2016

Another trip to South Melbourne and another visit to Chez Dre ( The menu has changed since last time, as has the waiting line from the courtyard to the front alleyway entrance (it would be nice to be consistent!). In any case the wait for an inside table wasn't too long albeit on a communal table.

After the exceptional cassoulet in Paris (, the word sprang out at me like nothing else. How would this compare? Their version of white beans, ham hock, kaiserfleisch, bratwurst, coddled egg and exceptional baguette $19.5 was nice but didn't have as strong a pork flavour (although the gourmet 3 types of meats was good contrast) of the Parisian one and much less liquid to enjoy with the bread.

The bright sweet potato soup $13.5 was simple and nice for a cold day.

The Prana chai with soy came as a more inferior chai latte this time around. I didn't send it back this time but next time will ensure I get the pot with spices as ordered.

There's plenty popping up on my South Melbourne radar from discovering the market places to newer cafes (Crux & Co. sort of nearby) and Agathe's exceptional croissants and Bibelot's icecream.

Chez Dr Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

DC Dumpling, Melbourne 09-2016

Box Hill has always struck me as a place with many options and none particularly outstanding. Back in the day China Bar and La Porchetta were the two options before and after playing games at Virtual Arena with bubble tea. It has progressed a little since there with the range of cheap Chinese options expanding and also a few nicer looking places.

In terms of dumplings, DC seemed to have a good rating.

- Beef panfried dumpling $12.5 - chewy textured skin and only slightly crispy and holding the vinegar well;
- Mapo tofu $17 - salty and not overly spicy with some peas (different and welcome) and mince;
- Jellyfish $12.5 - nice crunchy jellyfish texture although seemed a little plain and expensive for the serving. Usually a bit extra sesame oil and some kind of herbs/salad would go well and beef it up.

The feed was decent basic Asian fare. Large serves of noodle or rice dishes seemed to be more the common order so looks like a great venue for a quick cheap meal alone or in silent company. 

DC Dumpling Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato