Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Great Provider - St Kilda Marina - St Kilda

My wife decided to jump out of a plane. We check in at St. Kilda Marina where the "Jump" office is and from here she was driven off to Moorabbin airport to head for the skies. Of course jumping out of a plane at fourteen-thousand feet can make you hungry. Lucky for us The Great Provider restaurant was also on the marina. So we ate.

The restaurant, cafe and bar has a casual, relaxed feel about it and looks over the marina. Decor is modern and in the warmer weather the plastic curtains are lifted to allow out door dining. Parking is plentiful nearby but you may have to pay. Service is efficient and friendly. The three of us all ordered different meals and we all though the food quality excellent. The wine list is sufficient for most tastes. This is not five star, fine dining but then again neither was the bill. Coffee is good and if a stroll down on the marina begs a coffee and cake to balance calorie burn and intake there may be no better place.  A pleasant experience can be had here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Koko - Southbank - Melbourne

Once more we were staying at Crown Promenade for the wife's 50th birthday. As usual our stay was excellent and we always ensure we find some where fine to dine.  Crown were offering $50 off any meal if you ate at one of their half dozen or so restaurants. Number 8 and Koko were on the list. Number 8 didn't excite us so off to Koko we gogo.

Koko is fine dinning Japanese. The ambiance and decor say "Japan" and a window seat overlooking the Yarra, late into the evening, made for a romantic dinner for two. I had Saki with my waygue beef which came in a clay steam pot. Sitting atop the beef was a half cooked egg with a thin mushroom soup at the bottom. Well we were eating Japanese. Though the dish looked disappointing the beef was moist and sumptuous. I can think of no better way to enjoy this type of beef.

Service was efficient if not a little funny from our kimono clad waitress. Combine this with great ambiance, surrounds, the view and unusual tasting delicacies plus a little rice, wine you have a night to remember. We will. Try a meal from the house of the rising sun, dine at Koko's. Not cheap but a must try -ganbattene (good luck).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

time out - Fed Square - Melbourne

My ventures to Melbourne these days are few and far between. It’s a pleasure these days to wander around the City after working there for twenty-fives. No pressure, exploring new and old stores, nooks and crannies and trying eateries and bars not normally visited.  Federation Square, near Flinders Street station has been established for quite some time. It has become a place to meet with restaurants etc. and often free entertainment.

My wife I ventured here looking for a bite to eat on a sunny but very cool day. Time Out, which is a modern establishment offering inside and outside eating areas, became or choice. After an hour or two of walking and not finding anywhere else we fancied we were quite hungry. Being a dedicated fine ales man I ordered a pint of White Rabbit Dark. I had partaken of the non-dark variety a short time before and though I liked it I wouldn’t bath in it. The “Dark” was another matter. It was scrummy.

We ordered three entre size meals wanting to try various foods. The bruschetta and crispy calamari dished was spot on. All three dishes were very appetizing, well presented on the plate and of good size. We had definitely picked the right place. We sat outside in the cool sunny conditions, a pint in hand and fine tasty meals in front of us – thanks Melbourne. The service was warm and friendly and the bill goes down as easy as the food. Mark this place on you fine eats list, pick a sunny day when you have plenty of time on your hands and take Time Out. We did.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Charlotte (home cooking) – Beaumaris - Victoria

This blog is generally comments about restaurants, mainly local to the Mornington Peninsula but also interstate and international.  I have, in the past, covered some wines and whisky.  This time I highlight the fact that the best restaurants in the world can be humbled by good home cooking.  Of course we don’t just go to restaurants for the food it is more the pleasure of escape, being pampered, temped and teased and often talking a walk on the naughty side of life.  Forget the waste line and wallet! Maybe crab chowder with expensive champagne sat at a romantic corner table in well regarded Melbourne eatery. This may give you relief from the daily grind and/or demanding kids.  A few hundred dollars? Well worth it.

I have often commented to my wife, an excellent cook even on a bad day, that I would gladly pay good money for one of her meals when dinning out. But why when I can enjoy them at home? An invitation for dinner prepared by my favourite niece, Charlotte, had my wife and I in the car and heading for Beaumaris. Charlotte’s cooking prowess is legendary right from any early age and now just nineteen she cooks well beyond her years. A natural talent true enough but one that has been nurtured by the parents Mark and Mere’, both good cooks.

So what’s for dinner tonight? Lamb Shanks in a rich sauce with a vegetable ratatouille, creamed potato mash and string beans.  Both my wife and I would not normally eat lamb shanks but a meal offer with extended family is hard to turn down and whatever is served will be delicious. And it was. The meat fell away from the bone, the sauces were rich but not over powering and the ratatouille was a perfect complement to the juicy, meaty shanks.  A home cooked meal, prepared by Miss Charlotte, at its best and enjoyed with family and a red or two.  I don’t get much better.