Saturday, January 4, 2020

Welcome to Dine, Wine and Meet

Though we have dined and wined away around many countries throughout the world we do find some of the best eating places in our own backyard. The Mornington Peninsula and Southern Victoria region holds the best restaurants, cafes, wineries and meeting places we have ever come across. We are critical where we eat and are only loyal to those places which satisfy us on a number of levels.
Some areas we are “fussy” about are: food quality, ambiance, service, choice in both food and beverage, differentiation and verve. We still look for other new and exciting eateries to add to our list. Some of these places will be in other regions, not just Southern Victoria.

It is our intent to Blog the better places we frequent and the new places we find so that you may also try something new (or stay away from) the restaurants we visit. If we say it is good it is because we eat there and frequent that place. If you follow us to the restaurants we recommend, you too should come away pleased, and content and want to go back for more. Let us guide your craving for fine food, good wine/beer and sensational meeting places.

NOTE: Click on the highlighted text like this-> The Mornington Peninsula to go to the Web site.
Revisit: This is a short follow-up report about a revisit to the resturuant under comment.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ombar Salumi Bar - Melbourne

We are surely blessed living in Melbourne. So many fine restaurants, diners and eateries, almost too many to choose from. On a recent visit to the big smoke I had gone with the iintent to dine out, try somewhere new and enjoy the diversity.  I train in on these days because I expect to have more than few drinks. I go for not only the food but the enjoyment of being able to soak in the atmosphere without the fear of Mr. Plod tapping on the window of my car with breathalyser to the ready.

I headed straight to the east side of Melbourne up Burke Street. I have eaten up this way on a few occasions. In fact I realised, while seated in the window of Ombar, I had eaten next door just a few years back. That experience was excellent but what of this one? Food - Italian, how bad can it be? As it turns out not bad at all, in fact, quite good.

Staff are friendly and will linger for a short chat of service allows. This restaurant is long and thin with subdued lighting with stools and chest high tables. Not for everyone but for me it was the window seat to watch the human traffic go past. Always amusing!  I went for the trout and if you go you should too. A good portion, boned and delicious. Rarely I do desert but this time I did, also excellent.

Pricing if about right but it isn't McDonalds or the local pub. If only the local served trout like this I'd be there weekly. Drinks list is sufficient and drinks can be ordered by the ml??? Have you ever heard of this one before. Designed to maximise the profit on drinks as if it isn't already a big rip-off.

Now my biggest gripe with these middle-tier-fine-dinners if they could be. You never know ordering your drink by the "ml" might become trendy. Back to my beef. The BLOODY music was absolute shite! A modern, almost trendy, inner Melbourne Italian restaurant playing 60 back soul and R&B music. Pathetic. When I made mention of the fine food and crap music I was told they were giving the restaurant a modern feel. That's right, Ray Charles and Little Richard screaming black music in your ear, over lunch, is a modern feel. Hard to believe. Who told these guys this is how to wow your paying customers. Too bad food was really delicious. Sorry guys its a deal breaker for me. Last time you'll see my $100.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Shed Cafe - Seaford, Victoria

When you find your better restaurant closed on a Saturday morn. you then search locally for another. The one we wanted as our substitute breakfast Café was packed. Get it, it was packed? Why? Because it is good. Yes it has good food. Service is a bit "how's your father" but food is better than average. We headed down the road. We found The Shed Café.  Let's cut to the chase. Food is ordinary to poor. Décor is a half ass attempt at something, not sure what. Sit outside, in the front or out the back. The food will not get better but here is dog bowls of water out front.

Staff were friendly, parking is available. Food for both my wife and self didn't "WOW" us. What of the coffee? According to some comments posted for this café coffee is good, Not according to my senor coffee expert I had along for the day (mind you we came in her car so I had to be nice). No, not even the coffee was good.

What to do? Eat house competition is huge anywhere and every where you go in the hospitality industry. Eating out was always popular now it is an epidemic! There are dozens of restaurants and cafes everywhere. Great I say. Hunt them out, don't put up with poor food or service whether you are having breakfast, lunch or dinner. No more rubbery omelettes or under cooked mushrooms. We are going to vote with our legs and walk. Improve the food quality and cooking "The Shed Café" or you will be dining with us, just down the road.

il Solito Posto - Melbourne,Vic

Boy you would have to go a long way to find an Italian restaurant that looks more out of the 60s or 70s than this one. Its subterranean, its in the cool\trendy part of Melbourne, it has real "eating house" savvy. And just a little quirky and setting you up for an genuine I-t-a-l-i-a-n meal you will tell your friends about.

Tell your friends to stay away. Tell them not to go to il Solito Posto. Food was bloody ordinary. If ever there was a place that said, no SCREAMED Italy, it was this one. Why, why. why. Yes they have their dailies who "have a table" and eat there - I say "look around". The grass and food is greener else where. Service was attentive and professional but I feel that it was so to get cover two  in ASAP. I have eaten there some years back and felt back then the whole experience was better.

What a disappointment for a place that has all the potential to be "the spot" for a lunch. Bring the client and sign the deal! A lot of clients may not be all that fussy with what they are eating and to printout that the food wasn't full of Italian flavours and the salad, as a side, was drowning in far too much oil may not work in your favour. Please don't highlight that the six sprinkles of parmesan was to offset the poor oily, sparse and almost insulting side.

Not for me.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Casa de PLAYA - Main Street, Mornington

After experiencing an awful meal at Koy in South Melbourne and putting up with loud and screaming female soul music at The Little French Deli recently, it was a culinary epiphany to eat at Casa de PLAYA in Mornington. We just walked the main street and on a whim drooped in here for a bite. We were in for a treat we really didn't expect. Opting for three different Tapas (I would suggest go for the Tapas unless you are after a big feed), we were not only delight in the food quality, preparation and presentation but the overall taste. The Tapas were good, even great. Here's a tip; order the Cigar.

We had a window seat (inside for a cold but sunning day) looking out at the promenaders.  Service was prompted and friendly and the Tapas brought out one at a time to allow us to enjoy one before the other came. The décor could fool you that you were dining in Spain and even the music had Spanish themes (thank God). There is just something wrong with eating out at a French, Italian or Spanish restaurant with Electro, Dance or Trance or even the most boring, hits of the 60s, 70s, and 80s music playing. Do you really want to ingest food to AC/DC's screaming guitar? The music should be firstly quiet, relaxing and secondly themed with the food style. At Casa de PLAYA it was all of that; quiet and themed. Not only good food and rustic décor but pleasant non-boring music to make for an excellent Tapas experience. JUST DO IT!

Koy Restaurant - South Melbourne Market

Having been to Turkey (about thirty years ago) I was keen for some authentic Turkish food, Turkish beer and Raki. Koy, at South Melbourne market claims to server authentic Turkish food. Well they may but the cooking of the food was so poor that there was no flavour left to prove it. I had the five meats (which included fish) and I think all of it had been frozen, cooked once and re-cooked or re-heated before severing. All the protein was totally dried-out, tough and almost inedible. I couldn't tell the fish from the other meats. One word would describe the "meat" - AWFULL! The rice salad and other greens were only acceptable but really you purchase this meal for the meat.

The beer was good but the Raki (I ordered the cheapest) was bad too. The décor is Ok and the service warm and friendly. But you can get this service anywhere and you could combine it with edible food. Koy is not where you want to eat. Hard to believe that food this poor can be the result of a big, well equiped kitchen and copious support staff. For Gods sake they are in the South Melbourne Market where fresh food is sold by the ton. There is no excuse for food this bad. Stay away.

Friday, May 5, 2017

La Cucina - Concourse, Beaumaris

Loud, loud, really loud. Not the place for a romantic dinner. In fact not the place I would ever return to at a time when know there is going to a lot of other diners. Find the quiet times for La Cucina and go. You are in for some excellent and very inexpensive Italian cuisine. Its all just so yum! No other way to say it. This is good food, good quality food, lovingly prepared and there is a lot of it.

It really didn't matter what we tried here it was fabulously delicious. Also there is plenty of variety so go nuts. Don't order too big you will not fit it all in. Serves are generous. This is not BYO but there is an extended wine and beer selection. Also the price per glass was reasonable. The staff are jovial, professional and very helpful. There is stacks of parking both out-front and in the larger car parks near by.

Let me sum it up. Go when it's a quiet time, go hungry, expect sumptuous food and good wines and spend some time here. Finding a quiet time may be hard because this is a good restaurant in a restaurant glutted area. BUT GO!