Sunda, Melbourne 12-2019

Another modern Asian restaurant in Melbourne showing it still is the city leading the charge. For my brief stopover to Melbourne I had actually wanted to go to Longrain. However this was chosen as a close nearby place which happened to still be open to cooking for us at 10.30pm. Mind you we had to order within a few minutes, but the short menu made that easy.

- Rock oyster, coconut curry vinaigrette, shallot, Tasmanian pepper leaf $6 ea.
- Wagyu rendang pie, pickled radish, fermented sambal $10;
- Otak otak spanner crab curry, finger lime, rice crisps $29;
- Fremantle octopus, bush tomato, lemongrass sambal, onion;
- Rangers valley wagyu, strawberry gum, carrot, sunrise lime satay $50.

The modern take is using lesser known Australian ingredients into Malaysian/Indonesian fusion. It's beautiful, expensive and pretty good overall. I can't say I would rush to go back though.

Sunda Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Karlaylisi Restaurant Uyghur Cuisine, Melbourne 12-2019

Uyghur food has been hard to come by generally but with 2 places in London and 1 in West Melbourne, I'm starting to get a feel for the food.

- Pilaf;
- Lagman;
- Qong tahsilik tohu gosh kormisi - spicy chicken pieces with vegetables and homemade noodles;
- Tripe skewers;
- Lamb kidney skewers - not a favourite for most people but I don't mind at all the chewy texture and unique taste.

I want to go back again and try the nan, manta and samsas.

Karlaylisi Restaurant - Uyghur Cuisine Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Fox in the Corn, Melbourne 12-2016

The diversity of Footscray food (beyond Ethiopian and Vietnamese) is still growing. Eventually there will be one restaurant for each cuisine. At the moment, there's a few pizza places but only really one pasta one (that I know of at least) and that's Fox in the Corn.

It's reputed for serving fresh pasta from a place in Williamstown. Given the recent fresh pasta eaten in Argentina (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/la-mamma-pastas-and-salsas-puerto-iguaza-11-2016) and recently purchased from Prahran market (with exceedingly better results for home cooking than dried supermarket stuff), it was worth a try.

- Spaghetti with slow cooked beef ragu (with napoli & spring onion) $19.5 - the sauce was a bit of a letdown by being surprisingly very sweet. Perhaps too much sugar was added but it wasn't to my taste;
- 10" Chorizo pizza (with garlic base, petit picante, mozzarella & parsley) $17 - now this was delicious! Tasty pizza ingredients on top of a heavily garlic seasoned pizza base that is better than nearly any garlic bread of focaccia I've had in any Italian place. Wow what a flavour overload and I liked every mouthful of it;
- Buffalo mozzarella salad (with cherry tomatoes & rocket) $11.

The pasta may not have wowed me on this occasion but that pizza has certainly left an imprint in my memory.

Fox In The Corn Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Jimmy Grants, Melbourne 12-2016

During one lonely night of weak craving, I crossed town on a Friday night to the comfort food of Collingwood/Fitzroy. I partially wanted to try Biggie Smalls kebabs but in the end the familiar safety of Jimmy Grants dragged me further down Smith Street.

The Mr. Papadopoulos was as expected - tender lamb, chips and mustard in still some of the softest bread wrap I've had. The chips with lemon, oregano and feta were salty and sour and divine. The grain salad was ok but seems to always not be as good as Hellenic.

If you are reading this George (and other JG people), please add pomegranate to the grain salad!

Otherwise keep up the great work.

Jimmy Grants Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

The Kettle Black, Melbourne 12-2016

There's two South Melbourne cafes away from the typical market area. On New Year's Eve after a night shift, I needed breakfast to get me ready for the night ahead. Of the two options here, Crux & Co. was clearly my preference for the famed lobster bisque eggs benedict with prawns and squid ink toast. Unfortunately they were closed. Shame.

So across the road I went to the other option in The Kettle Black. Thanks for being open.

- Tataki ocean trout (with raw kale & pickled vegetable salad, seaweed, almonds & poached eggs) $21 - a stunningly presented and colourful dish of flowers and salty seaweed sitting on a crisp skin (torched I assume) slab of delicious ocean trout to slice yourself. Like sashimi where you dictate the thickness yourself.

It didn't have lobster, prawns or squid ink, but this was one fantastic savoury breakfast dish. Perhaps all it missed was a little carbohydrate for the egg yolks, to balance the saltiness of seaweed and fill the belly more.

The Kettle Black Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Amok, Melbourne 01-2017

It seemed like groundhog day walking along the Windsor part of Chapel Street at 930pm on a Friday night. After a long work shift, dinner was calling. However just like the last time I tried this (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/amok-melbourne-08-2016) all the places that were first choice had 45-120min waits attached - Mr. Miyagi, Hawker Hall etc.

That meant a return to Amok and not that I was complaining in the end, because this place does excellent food. Although I did want to try another place in the area, it just wasn't to be.

The lightning was particularly dark on our table that evening.

An amok-tale (mint, green mango, pineapple, pomegranate) $10 was refreshing albeit expensive for a mocktail.

- Fresh shucked oyster, mango boba, Kampot black pepper, truffle oil $3.50 each - really excellent and I savoured every textural and flavour contrast. One of the best (and cheapest) I've had;
- Zucchini flower, toasted peanuts, pomelo, pomegranate, honey yoghurt $7.9 - a little expensive for one flower albeit on top a blob of very good accompaniments;
- Crispy school prawn salad, nim flower, green mango, grilled pork belly, Cambodian dry fish $18.9;
- Fish amok (Tasmanian salmon) $28.9 - a wonderfully cooked piece of salmon in a curry sauce that was much more spiced and less sweet than many modern Asian version. I really liked it.

I was so tempted to order more oysters at the end, but had to save some room for Pidapipo. Next time.

Amok Restaurant Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Twenty & Six, Melbourne 01-2017

It's been a good few years since I'd been to a North Melbourne cafe as I'd had satisfying enough ones in Canberra and Footscray/Seddon/Yarraville. But with a temporary home in Travancore, North Melbourne was closer and more appealing than ever. There's a short couple of blocks where a good 4 or 5 cafes are all well rated and located. This was the first of a spate of 3 that week.

The food was washed with a nice matcha latte (wasn't too sweet but should have asked for the honey to be on the side as personal taste) and coffee.

- Tempura cauliflower (with tahini yoghurt, fennel & mint salad & roasted dukkah) $17 - really nice spiced and crisp cauli with the accompaniments;
- Smoked salmon (with potato rosti, dill aioli, kale chips, poached egg & horseradish dressed salmon on toasted rye) $21 - medium thickness slices of mild salmon with delicious seasoned baked kale and good quality rye. The potato rosti were balls rather than the standard flats, which I would probably have preferred due to the higher crisp surface area.

Overall a satisfying meal to enjoy the very minimal warm of this Melbourne's summer. The backyard is definitely the nicest and more pleasant ones of the cafes around.

Twenty  Six Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Slice Girls West, Melbourne 01-2017

The award of most obscure alleyway in Footscray (that you'd actually want to visit in the evening) has to be the one behind Conway, where halfway down a doorway leads you to a pizza place and a bar above it. There's no sign from either end of the street - you have to brave your way down and hope for the best, or wade through the smoke of people outdoor polluting the air.

Nonetheless it's pizza and drinks. With a Spice Girls theme.

Wannabe Warrick (napoli, shaved ham, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, olives, mushrooms, baby capers & oregano) $13 reads well but the flavours were quite mild. The crust is crisp like flat bread and could use a bit more thickness and chew. The ingredients were also skewed so one side had clearly more than the other - I wonder if this is because a large one was made then split between several orders.

More interesting (and disappointing) was the tabouleh $12 which I expected to have a large amount of parsley to turn it into the salad accompaniment. Instead it was filled with bulgur wheat and mixed with a few things but no (or barely any) discernible parsley. It was confusing.

Overall I don't think I had the best food experience here. If I were to go back, I'd try the Zig A Zag Ah with salami, fired peppers, chilli flakes and jalapeños (why didn't I get that this first time?)

Slice Girls West Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Bonjour Vietnam, Melbourne 01-2017

A friend of a friend opened this place whilst also owning a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris. I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean it's good (there are many substandard pho places around the world and the Viet restaurant in Geneva left a lot to be desired...) but given the French influence on Vietnam (read Indochine for more), they must have at least a partially discerning palate.

It's difficult to compete with all the cheap similar clones on Victoria Street, so good on them for being a bit different and having more Northern and Middle/Hue dishes.

The highlights for me were these three:

Four treasure salad $14 - green papaya with grilled prawns, mango salad with grilled fish, grilled apple salad with grilled beef, grilled chicken with shredded cabbage. There's so much variety here to easily be a full meal.

Beef campfire/bo quanh lua hong $24 - overcooked beef but made up for by the lemongrass marinade and combined with other ingredients to wrap in mini rice paper.

Lau Canh Chua & Ca Kho To $65 - I expected a big sized canh chua ca (catfish usually or in this case barramundi cooked in a sour tamarind soup) but it also came with claypot grilled fish, a classic savoury Vietnamese fish dish. The combination of the two is well enough to feed several on its own.

The cut up rice paper rolls were a waste. The signature Dac San Bonjour Vietnam of prawn tempura, zucchini and crab or fried bread crumb squid was ok. The grilled rockling with dill is a Vietnamese/French staple and quite good although the fish was very thin and so heavily cooked. The fried noodles were rice noodles rather than expected egg noodles and the dish wasn't that good.

I would stick with the top 3 for next time. Order carefully - it's easy to over-order.

Bonjour Vietnam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Longrain, Melbourne 01-2017

After the closing of Nahm, I think London has really missed modern Asian food. Yes there are a few ones around but I can't yet think they are that great. Maybe in my 3 year absence things have changed a lot. But I doubt it. At least I'm pretty sure they won't have something as memorable as Nahm must have been in its heyday or Longrain remains now (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/longrain-melbourne-10-2012).

After so many years, the menu has barely changed, but each time I go the flavours still wow me. All washed down with a Red Dragon cocktail (chilli infused Ketel One vodka, peach liqueur, raspberries, coriander, cranberry) which combines berry flavours with an afterglow of chilli burn - fantastic.

- Betel leaf with pomelo, green papaya, peanuts & coconut $5 - so many flavours and textures rolled into one leaf;
- Chargrilled cuttlefish with a roasted shallot & prawn relish $26 - haven't tried this before. Very tender pieces served with a pungent shrimp paste sauce;
- Caramelised pork hock with five spice & chilli vinegar $23.5 entree ($33.5 main) - still incredible. Nothing else to say;
- special of deep fried soft shell crab - crisp outsides surrounding soft juicy crab meat and topped with an exceptional herbed salad;
- Salt & pepper silken tofu with fried eschalots & sweet soy $10 entree ($16 main).

I seem to order the same things each time although I resisted the red curry on this occasion.

Still my favourite. I'll see you when I return.

Longrain Melbourne Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato