Friday, January 11, 2013

Adventures of Tour Guide May Part 1 - What We Ate in Melbourne

/ This post will definitely lag your browser if your internet speed is slow; there are about 60 photos in this blogpost alone/

So my cousin Jacqueline, my sister Ping, and her boyfriend Dubai, visited me in Melbourne on two separate occasions over the course of 2 weeks. Perfect tourist-guide opportunity, really, though I'm still learning more and more about Melbourne as the weeks go by!

This is part 1, which is all about the food we had here, and honestly, that's the best part. It'll be followed by part 2, which is basically everything else like places we visited and the zoo.

So get your food on and lets go! As you can see, my dear sister, Ping, is way ahead of us.

/ hmm, get your food on sounds good; how's that for a new blog URL? /

Cafés & Restaurants

Of course I had to bring them to cafés, right?!
But because I've gone to these cafés over a month ago, I will try to refrain from making any real reviews about the place; this post is more of what we did and where we went than anything else.

/ I brought them to cafés that I've mostly been to before; bear with me okay? Next visitor will get to go to other places that I'd be, by then, familiar with /

Proud Mary
172 Oxford Street, Collingwood VIC
03 9417 5930
Mon - Fri, 7am-4pm, Sat - Sun, 8am - 4pm
[ tram 86, stop 18 (Hodgson St/Smith St) ] 
Proud Mary on Urbanspoon

I brought Jacq here straight after getting her from Southern Cross Station. We were both really iffy with the normal menu items, and in the end we decided with the items on the specials board instead.

Roasted pumpkin and beetroot salad, with soft goat's cheese, fresh herbs and hazelnut dressing, $14.

Doesn't it look amazing, despite the fact that it screams vegetarian? 

House smoked salmon sammy with capers, red onions, shaved fennel, cream cheese and cured lettuce, $9.50.

38 Toorak Road, South Yarra VIC
03 9867 5888
Mon - Sun, 10.30am - 7pm
[ train to South Yarra station/ tram 8, stop 28 (Punt Rd/Toorak Rd) ]

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

I've been here so many times, it's probably one of my favourites now! I mainly brought the three of them here to try out the very different kinds of macarons (like kaya toast and peanut butter and jelly), but Dubai and Jason had some burgers as well.

Pandan chicken burger, $15.

It still looked as good as it did the first time we came here!

Pork slider burger, $15

I'm a little annoyed that they keep changing the style of their pork burger; the first two times we were here (previous review here), we had two types of the most amazing roasted pork belly; this time, it had 'bakkwa' (肉干, cured roasted pork meat) in one slider and if i'm not mistaken, pulled pork in the other. It tasted good nonetheless!

Hazelnut, Mandarin Jaffa, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Kaya Toast and Butter.

Ribena Lemonade, Rose Lychee.

Jacq and her Supersized Love - steroid version of the Hazelnut macaron.

Twenty and Six Espresso
594 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne VIC
03 9329 0298
Mon - Tues, 8am - 4pm, Thurs - Sun, 8am - 4pm
[ tram 57, stop 13 (Queensberry St/Curzon St) ]
Twenty & Six Espresso on Urbanspoon

I've been meaning to come back here for a long time; I didn't get to properly blog about this place the last time. As it was with the last time, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table because they were pretty full.

Tokyo Salad - Soba, watercress, daikon, bean sprouts, pickled ginger and spring onions, $17.90, with smoked salmon, +$2.

(Photo credits to Ping.. not bad right, maybe it does run in the family. Or it's just the camera.. )

I must admit that it is pretty pricey as a dish full of veggies. But it looked good, and Ping seemed to enjoy it quite a fair bit.

Le Alumelle - 3 egg omelette, caramelized leek, cold smoked Tasmanian salmon, fennel salad and beetroot ketchup, $19.90.

Dubai was really amused by the name of the dish; he made something French sound like it was form the Middle East! Like, 'Luh- ah-la-mer'. In the end, he said it was just an omelette. 

The Hunter - Balsamic, red wine and rosemary roasted portobello mushrooms, Spanish chorizo on sourdough, créme fraiche and truffle oil, $18.90, with poached egg, $2.50

Jason's favourite dish; he ordered this the previous time we were here; and it was still as good! Though if i'm not mistaken they've decreased the portions just a little; barely noticeable though.

The Russian - Vodka and lemon house cured salmon tartare, free range poached egg*, dill and preserved lemon labneh, seed and sprout sourdough, $16.90

*I had the poached egg switched out for avocado for and extra $1. I remember the cured salmon was really good; the lemon went really well with it and it was really, really fresh. I was pretty impressed that they served a big chunk of avocado with the dish too!

This was too nice a photo not to post up! Okay so the portions at Twenty&Six isn't too bad to be honest, as you can see. The prices are just a tad on the pricey side.

Manchester Press
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne VIC
03 9600 4054
Mon - Fri, 7am - 5pm, Sat - Sun, 9am - 5pm
Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

So, we all know Manchester Press. It's definitely the café I've been to the most often in Melbourne by far. There's word that they're overrated and overhyped, which I tend to agree with but their food there is still pretty good nontheless. 

Latté art there is pretty different; not your everyday hearts and rosettas.

Fruit and nut bagel with mixed berries mascarpone and pistachio dust, $12.

My personal, absolute favourite; I recommend this to literally everyone who likes anything sweet; it's super sinful with all that mascarpone but oh God, it tastes so good.

Smoked Salmon Bagel with dill cream cheese and capers, $13.

The dish they're most famous for: I'd admit that it's pretty good though they've reduced the amount of smoked salmon by quite a lot. Still, their dill cream cheese really makes the dish.

Baked eggs with pesto, cherry tomatoes, feta and salmon, $16.

This was actually recommended by Iryan a long time ago, and I finally got a taste! It's a little on the pricier side because of the smoked salmon (they previously had a chorizo option that they've omitted from the menu) but the pesto was what made it really good.

Green Refectory
115 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC
03 9387 1150
Mon - Sat, 7am - 8pm, Sun - 8am - 6pm
[ tram 19, stop 20 (Barkly Square/ Sydney Road) ]
Green Refectory on Urbanspoon

Easily my favourite café in Melbourne so far! I've brought nearly every guest I've had here (and Manchester Press) and I don't think I'll ever stop coming here. Prices are cheap, and the food's great. Heck I'd just go in to smell the store; the aroma that washes over you when you step into the store is just amazing.

Pumpkin and feta focaccia, $6.95

I'm a real sucker for anything pumpkin, and the this was made pretty well in terms of texture and flavour. My only qualm was that maybe a little more filling in the focaccia would've definitely made my day.

Eggs Benedict with tomato, basil and ham , $10

Would you believe me if i told you I've never tried eggs benedict? This was Ping's; I'll try it one day, when i go back to Green's since everywhere else charges about $15 for the same thing. 

Breakfast burrito, $10, with salmon, +$4.

My personal favourite and what i recommend to everyone. Dubai had it this time! The burrito is a massive thing; packed with eggs, mushrooms and ham. 

Smashed beanwrap with lime, avocado and coriander salsa, roasted capsicum and salsa cruda, $8.95

Something very different; it was very refreshing with the coriander and the lime. The wraps weren't doughy and thick and there was plenty of filling to keep me happy for the day!

Chicken, avocado and tasty cheese focaccia, $6.95.

Jacq's sandwich was piled pretty high; check out all the stuff they've stuff in between the bread! She really liked it, and i would think that it's something pretty healthy too. 

Naked Espresso Bar
390 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC
03 9670 3569
Mon - Fri, 7am - 4pm
Naked Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Tabasco baked eggs, $10.

We originally wanted to go to Little Mule Café, but it was closed. My sister was very against having dumplings (in Australia), so we went to Naked instead. I liked the tabasco eggs there, though it was plain Jane baked eggs.

Turkey, brie and cranberry jaffle, $8.

I was a little surprised at the size of the jaffle; it was a lot smaller than I expected it to be. It tasted good though; you can never go wrong with turkey and cranberry and the brie cut the richness lightly. 

Pho Dzung Tan Dinh
208 Victoria Street, Richmond VIC
03 9427 0292
[ tram 109, stop 21 (Victoria St/Church St) ]
Pho Dzung Tan Dinh on Urbanspoon

Pho Dzung has always been my go-to place in the city for Pho (Russell St/Lonsdale St), and naturally we'd go to the original branch when we feel like having Pho in Richmond. We brought Jacq here after a trip to Ikea just down the road.

Special Beef Combination, Sliced Rare Beef, and Special Chicken Combination
(Small 8.90, Medium 9.90, Large 10.90)

The soup was really clear, and the portion of the noodles were great. They have reduced the portion of the meat though, which is mildly disappointing.

Purple Peanuts Japanese Café
620 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC
03 9620 9548
Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

How could I not bring my sister, ultimate lover of Japanese food, to my favourite (and practically the only one I go to) Japanese joint? (previous review here)

Akio's Salmon Sashimi, $9.50, with miso soup, $11.50.

Among many things in Purple Peanuts, I must say this was the most ordinary that I've had. Maybe because it was just salmon sashimi and rice, though I must say the salmon was really fresh and the apple/onion ponzu dressing was something really different.

Teriyaki Chicken, $8.90, with Miso soup, $10.90.

Jason's favourite thing to have there; he raves and raves about it. It's flame grilled, and the teriyaki dressing isn't the really wet kind; more like teriyaki glazed. It was really tasty though, and the charred bits were really good.

Beef Curry Soba, $9.00

I recommended this to Ping, and she liked it probably as much as I did. This is a must try on a cooler day. Dubai ordered a Prawn Burger ($9.50) as well, which is another menu item I highly recommend. I do wonder how the picture's gone missing though. 

Lim sisters say OHAIDERE

183 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC
03 9663 3316
Daily, 24 hours
Stalactites on Urbanspoon

Everyone's favourite Greek joint in the city (i think). They're always buzzing with customers whether it's day or night. I barely eat here though; I don't fancy the comforts of Greek food as much as the next person.

Greek garden salad, $8.50.

Well to me, it's just a Greek salad so I can't really comment much.

This was on their specials menu and I have no idea what it is! Whoops, mega blogger fail. The broth is a lot lighter than it looks though; slightly sourish and relatively cloudy. The meat falls off the bone, but it's still a little dry for my liking. 

Mixed Giro Platter, Large: $29

Platter of marinated lamb and chicken; the meat was rather dry so I wasn't too keen on it.

Homemade Moussaka - Baked layers of potatoes, minced beef & eggplant topped with bechamel cream sauce, served with baked vegetables, $24

This was certainly comfort food to the next level; it was rich, creamy and really filling. It's kinda like a Greek version of a lasagna really, instead of pasta sheets, it's eggplants instead. A little on the pricey side, but it was a big hearty portion. 

I saw a few familiar faces at the restaurant that night too; like i said, it's a really popular place. I think people mostly have the souvlaki though - it's cheap, big portion and pretty good. 

Sweet Treats

Il Dolce Freddo
116 Lygon Street, Carlton VIC
03 9639 3344
Tues - Sun, 12.30pm - 11pm

Il Dolce Freddo on Urbanspoon

Yeap, I actually went to Freddo's. People who know me would know why I am biased against Freddo's; but there's no doubt that their gelato is rich, creamy and tasty.

I can't really recall what flavours Dubai and Ping ordered. If i'm not mistaken, it's Roche, Dolce Haven, White Chocolate and Snickers on the left, and Pandan, Strawberry, Mango and Pistachio on the right.

Helados Jauja
254 Lygon Street
03 9041 2927
Mon - Sun, 1.45pm - 10.30pm
Helados Jauja on Urbanspoon

Brought Jacq to Jauja's on a 39°C day, and it was absolutely heavenly after walking around in such heat. She had Raspberry sorbet, and I had Rockmelon and Mango. The girl didn't hear that I wanted two scoops, hence the strange cup+cone combination.  

In my opinion, it's pretty hard to compare Freddo's and Jauja's. I believe Jauja's is more sorbet like, whereas Freddo's has a richer and creamier texture. I don't eat durian, but according to my friends who do, Jauja's Durian flavour is better. And I prefer sorbet textures anyway.. not biased at all, nope, nope *wink. 

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar
210 Lonsdale St, 25-27 QV Square, Melbourne VIC
03 9663 3000
Mon - Thurs, 8.00am-10.00pm, Fri- 8.00am-11.00pm, Sat- 9.00am-11.00pm, Sun- 9.00am-10.00pm
Max Brenner Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon

I usually avoid places like Max Brenner, Grill'd and other franchise chains. There's no real reason behind it, I just do. And another reason, besides me not liking chocolate very much (don't judge me), would be because Max Brenner at QV is always SO FULL OF PEOPLE.

But when my sister asked (demanded, more like) for hot chocolate, I couldn't think of any other place (because i never have hot chocolate myself). That's Ping and her Hot White Chocolate (*shudders) and a brownie. Doesn't that brownie look amazeballs? 

La Petite Crêperie
Corner of Swanston St and Collins St, Melbourne VIC
04 0400 2341
Mon - Thurs, 8am - 10pm, Fri 8am - 11pm, Sat 10am - 11pm, Sun 10am - 10pm
La Petite Creperie on Urbanspoon

Since the one at Melbourne Uni has closed for the summer holidays, I brought them to this little stall instead. I've never been and I was really curious. The crêpes looked rather roti-like as you might be able to tell. The salted caramel was was good; the honey, as with every other honey crêpe I've had, dribbled down the botton of the cone and annoyed the hell outta me.

La Belle Miette
30 Hardware Lane
03 9024 4528
Mon - Thurs, 10am - 6pm, Friday 10am - 9pm, Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 11am - 4pm
La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon

Of course I had to right? Still, in my opinion, the best macarons I've had in Melbourne so far. Not that I've tried that many, but still. The ones here were good enough to keep me coming back every single time.

Passionfruit Chocolate, Pistachio, CherryBlossom and Sake, Rose, Salted Caramel and Earl Grey.


I must say, I'm totally in love with Queen Victoria Market and South Melbourne Market. I've never been to any other (besides the Prahran Market briefly), but the atmosphere is just so amazing. Not to mention the produce is mostly local, meaning really fresh.

Produce aside, there are plenty of food stalls that serve pretty awesome food too. Plenty of stuff you can just get and pop in your mouth, like those olives (drool) and cheese wraps. Just remember to ask for the price before you actually buy them though; if I'm not mistaken the cream cheese wrapped in salmon cost about $5 or something like that.

The Borek Shop
Shop 95, Deli Hall, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne VIC
03 9328 1223
Tues, Thurs - Sun
The Borek Shop on Urbanspoon

Spinach and Feta borek, Spicy Lamb borek, Potato Borek, $3.50.

I've never heard of a borek before coming to Melbourne, but when I tried these when i first got here, I was hooked. My favourite would definitely be the Spicy Lamb borek. 

The queue on a Sunday morning would look similar to a shop on Oxford Street on Boxing Day in London, and the owner (right) never stops moving: taking orders, handing out boreks and getting cash. And despite the havoc, she's extremely friendly and patient too. 

The Bratwurst Shop
Shop 99, Deli Hall, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne VIC
03 9328 2076
Tues, Thurs - Sun
Bratwurst Shop & Co on Urbanspoon

Bratwurst with sauerkraut, $7.50.

About the juiciest bratwurst I've ever had! If you ever do have the bratwurst here, do have it with sauerkraut. There are a few stalls that sells bratwursts along that row of shops, but you will definitely know which one I'm talking about; the queue (crowd) is one that's similar to the one at the Borek shop.

South Melbourne Market Dim Sims
Cecil St, South Melbourne VIC
Wed - Sun
[ tram 96, stop 127 (South Melbourne Market) ]
South Melbourne Market Dim Sims on Urbanspoon

Coming from Malaysia, the word 'Dim Sim' has always annoyed me just a fair bit; what Melbournians would call 'yumcha' is called 'dim sum' back home. I assumed it was just an adaptation of your typical 'siu mai' but it really wasn't.

Dim Sims, $1.80 each.

Dim Sims are kinda like large meatballs, with either a fried or a steamed wonton casing. The meatballs part of the dim sims here have great flavour, but the casing always annoys me because it either sticks to the packet or it falls apart.

Simply Spanish
116 Cecil Street, South Melbourne VIC
03 9682 6100
Wed - Sun
[ tram 96, stop 127 (South Melbourne Market) ]
Simply Spanish on Urbanspoon

I've walked past the paella stall plenty of times and I was extremely excited to try it out. I've never had authentic paella before, but this one was packed with seafood and flavour. 

Seafood paella, $14.

Just look at that! It's enough to feed 2 people (unless you're really hungry, but I'm sure even then you wouldn't be able to finish an entire plate on your own).

Jacq and I shared a plate, but Jason was greedy and he was overfull after. Serves him right haha. Thanks Jacq for buying us lunch that day!

We shared 2 plates along the 4 of us the next time round, and Ping and Dubai had Sangria as well. Ping has been to Spain and she's had authentic paella before, and she said this one was pretty legit. Hey, ho awesomesauce.

South Melbourne Seafood Peddler
Corner of York Street and Cecil Street, South Melbourne VIC
[ tram 96, stop 127 (South Melbourne Market) ]

Strangely enough, this stall isn't on Urbanspoon. I'm contemplating adding it myself, though it might be affiliated with Claypot right next door. Can't be too sure, so maybe not.

Octopus Tentacle (?), $7.

Tons of people ordered their grilled fish, but my sister and I had our eyes set on just one thing in their stall, that being the octopus tentacle that was seducing us from it's pole. It was slightly overcooked, but the flavours were all there: mildly spicy and salty. I do prefer my octopus sashimi style though.

Suzuki Night Market
Queen Victoria Market
Every Wednesday night, 14th Nov '12 - 27 Feb '13, 5pm - 10pm

I missed out on the Suzuki Night Market last summer, so when my sister and Dubai came over, I knew I had to bring them here. At first i thought it was the stalls in the market that was selling the food, but it was more of a food fest of many different kinds of food.

Banjoo's Tucker - Roo Burger, Samples of Emu sausage, Crocodile tail fillet, $12

Are you 'game'?
(haha they made a funny)

This was the stall with the longest line I've ever seen. They specialize in game meat (geddit now?), like crocodile, kangaroo , emu and ostrich. Of course we had to try it! I really really liked the crocodile; it was like a firmer form of white fish. I've eaten kangaroo before so there was no surprises there, though it was cooked quite well (I tend to overcook my kangaroo steak) and Ping ate all of the emu sausage before Dubai and I could try any.

Another stall that was really popular was this one; they had what was similar to shish kebabs but with a South African twist to it; the salsa verde-like sauce on top really sang. The meat was slightly overcooked though. It was slightly overpriced, a stick like that set us back $10.

Korean twist potato, $6.

Ping was super determined to try this out; a ton of people had this with them. We hunted for quite a while for these twisty potato things, and in the end we found them in the other shed. As you can tell from my expression, I'm definitely not a fan of anything fried and/or potato, but they both enjoyed it. Definitely overpriced for a stick of potatoes though.

Grilled Garlic Prawns, $10.

The prawns were really well cooked; juicy and really flavourful. It was a small portion though, and 5 prawns for $10 is probably an expectedly alright price since they were pretty large prawns.

If you are planning on going to the Suzuki Night Market, I'd suggest getting there early; the queues and the wait for your turn to order can get really long, especially for Banjoo's. We were fortunate enough to get the last serving of crocodile too, and we were there at 6.30pm!

Food at Home

Of course, we can never afford to eat out all the time. And my sister's main reason for coming to Melbourne was to eat out and try my cooking. Believe it or not, I've never cooked for my family before cause I've never cooked in the kitchen till I got to Melbourne a year and a half ago!

Technically this isn't really home cooked; my sister cured her own salmon with salt and we had it with ball mozzarella and water crackers. Amazeballs. Just cover the salmon with salt, wrap it up and keep it in the fridge for a few hours, and enjoy it altogether later. 

Ping being helpful in the kitchen.

Jamie Oliver's simple spinach salad,
Antonio Carluccio's mushroom risotto
Jamie Oliver's quick Portugese tarts.

Jamie Oliver's spinach salad,
 potatoes and sweet baby carrots,
herb crusted steak and quick yorkies,
and stewed fruit and vanilla ice cream.

Homemade pasta with Jacq! Spinach and ricotta with a mushroom and sausage sauce.
(excuse the large spaces, I took the picture from my Instagram account)

Adaptation of Jamie Oliver's spinach and feta filo pastry pie.

Jamie Oliver's potato medley, 
rocket salad, 
piri-piri chicken 
and quick Portugese tarts again.

Upsidedown Mango cake,
because Jacq and I bought like 12 overripe mangoes for $5 or something like that.

Oh my goodness, this was one heck of a long blogpost. I hope you guys enjoyed all the pictures, and I really hope I have time to update with Part 2 soon enough! I'm really sorry if your browser lags/dies on you because of my blog. 

Comments are always welcome here despite the moderation setting; it ensures that I read all of them. Pop a comment if you want the recipes of the stuff here or my instagram or anythting else! I have the cookbooks so I can give you the actual recipes (yes, i'm ever so slightly obsessed with Jamie Oliver if you haven't noticed)

Thank you, everyone, for expressing concern on my previous post, on the phone, on twitter, on FB and everywhere else. Love you all to bits. I'm really okay, and you guys should know that I'm as tough as I look. :)

Does anyone wanna go out with me next week? Drop me a comment here/facebook/tweet/text me!


Anonymous said...

I've only just subscribed to this blog, but wow, what an adventure and great idea.

May Lim said...

To anonymous, thanks so much!