Friday, December 18, 2015

Noir - Richmond, Victoria

“Black is black, I want my baby back”. Los Bravos had a hit in 1967 called “Black is Black”. If you want your Veal Parmigiana then don’t visit Noir in Richmond Victoria. Nestled right in the heart of Richmond and on Swan Street. “decored” in a very sombre black Noir is not you big eater’s paradise. No Parmas here baby

Give me five! And that’s what you get. Five courses of tastes, textures and flavours (sorry Teks I just had to say it). Titbits, nibbles and savouries. Thank God for wine. The dinning is fine. Very fine and not to disappoint. Service is fine and very fine and not to disappoint. Food quality is fine and very fine and not to disappoint.

You do not have to go the five courses and I may suggest you don’t. For us quantity was low but other courses may fill. Wine is fine. Very fine and WILL NOT disappoint. If Black is Black then here is where your baby is if not the local may be grey since she went away.

OK but not convinced, Mark.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Parlor, Milkbar and Kitchen - Beaumaris, Victoria

How many times have you wished there was a restaurant just around the corner where you could simply walk there and have a meal or a few drinks. That’s it, leave the car at home, enjoy the stroll, meal and good company and then wander home after. No booze-bus fears if you kick on, no parking issues or having to pay for packing if you can get it at all. What if the added bonus is this ideal little establishment serves fine food, inside or outside, with drinks prices held at a reasonable level and staff who are friendly and knowledgeable.

Wait there is more. Italian food is on my list of favorite cuisines and this fantasy, neighborhood, wine bar, milk bar, café, restaurant, eat house happens to specialise in YOUR fav. food. Too good to be true? Your good friends, who you love to dine with, share a meal with, have a drink with, and holiday with, just happy to live nearby.  You could meetup, stroll to this idyllic “feel good” place, enjoy time together, feel content and satisfied with great quality food of generous proportions and not have to sell your first born to pay your way. Fortunately my sister-in-law and her husband live near such a place in Beaumaris – The Parlor.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Volpino - Mount Martha, Mornington Peninsula

Feel like a drive to the pleasant little shopping village on Mount Martha beach. You will be greeted with easy car parking and host of shops of all varieties including a number of cafés and restaurants. Looking for better food with a strong Italian influence then you must try Volpino. A Pizza and Wine type of eatery but don’t let this stop you ordering one of the many other mains. For me it was the Rockling followed by the Chilli Chocolate cake.

There is a decent menu and entrée, mains and dessert are well covered. Take a look also at the specials. My food was excellent and the drop of Tassy white I had just finished it off nicely. Wait staff and bar staff, including owners, are all friendly and happy to have a short chat. Being across the road from the beach I can imagine during holidays and in the warmer months, this place will be packed. You can book online and if it is warm and not too winding book for outside. Good food and a pleasant location  - definitely worth the drive.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Winey Cow - Mornington, Mornington Peninsula

Strange name but an excellent place for a big lunch, a snack, a coffee and cake or a wine. Not sure where the "Cow" comes in but maybe because steak is on the menu. I have no idea exactly how many restaurants line main street Mornington but it is a ridiculously large number. Add to the ridiculous number all the cafes, fast food stores, ice cream parlors in side streets and lane ways and it may well be the biggest concentration of gastronomic outlets on planet earth. Don't believe me, take the walk yourself.

While you are counting drop into The Winey Cow for a feed. Inside or out this is a very nice little cafe\restaurant to do some serious carbs loading. We ate with two others and all meals looked sensational. Better still all means tasted sensational. That's two out of two and possibly the only two real issues which matter. Service was reasonable and friendly and we got a table outside. They don't take booking, they don't need to. Just rock-up 30mins before you want to eat because you may have to wait for a seat. We didn't and got a top street spot.

Generally when cafes have live entertainment it is loud and awful. Not this time, Guitar Slim (my name for him not his name for him), kept the volume low and tunes easy. We only had mains but meals were good size and the food (as I have already said but well worth saying again) was top notch. Eat, drink, watch the human race stroll past while you get back in touch with nature by eating some of it. Forget the counting and Winey Cow yourself. I'm going back.

Ebenezer - Coffee and Wine - Black Rock, Victoria

How things cane change over the years. Where Sandringham and Brighton use to be "the place to live" but always too expensive, Black Rock was the place to go.  Now Black Rock on the beach has bloomed and has become the Lygon Street of the beach-side suburbs. Cafes a plenty line what use to be a very ordinary Beach Road front right near the clock. And a great eating strip it is too with lots of variety.

Bigger changes have occurred for one corner store. What many years ago was a chemist, run by a very friendly proprietor, turned florist and is now a restaurant.  Ebenezer, run be a also very friendly Uruguayan,  and his Manchester staff member, will serve you up some very nice food. Inside or out the dining and ambiance are fine. Outside you sit right up against Beach Road over looking the bay and underneath the clock. It can be a little noisy and a little windy but pick the right day and good food and a good time will be had by all.

We were out with our fine dinning in-laws and went for shared dished for four for entree. Then mains followed. If you are a big eater there is plenty of food. You will not go hungry. Depending when you dine there is street parking so problems there. The wine and beer list is extensive enough for even the pickiest drinker and the menu just sufficient for selections. Make a booking or take pot luck. There are six other eateries if you can't get in. Can't speak for the others but Ebenezer is a good bet.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

PUNCH LANE - Melbourne, Victoria

I never seem to tire of trying new places to eat. It is always and exciting time and the anticipation of an outstanding meal and a great time never seems to fade. We were booked into PUNCH LANE for Fathers Day dinner but first we had to travel up from the Mornington Peninsula. The forty-five minute drive was well worth it and the fact we got free parking close by the restaurant was a bonus.

Situated over the Spring Street end of old Melbourne Town this probably over 100 year building may never have seen so much activity. The restaurant is quite dark inside and deep. I would imaging even in broad day light it still would be dark inside. I don't mind this. It makes me feel I have escaped life and the world, if only for a few hours, to go to some unknown foreign place to be papered. Well gastronomically anyway.

The decor is old worldly, the walls lined with empty wine bottles (not sure that is good Feng Shui), an old railway clock and other antique pieces. There are a number of rooms, one large and one a lot smaller. We were in the smaller room with mirrored walls, all very nice. The wait staff were extremely friendly and happy to joke with you. The wine list, as you can image this being a wine bar, is extensive. I went for the house sparkling and then a Merlot blend 1/2 bottle. All very good,

The food here is the real hero and the food was absolutely spectacular. This is fine dinning in a more relaxed, closer, atmosphere. A wagyu tartare for entree and gnocchi for main. I couldn't have picked a better combo and couldn't have enjoyed it more. The light red just lifted an already exquisite dinning experience. Those I was with all greed the food really was outstanding. We must return and soon!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Toros, Tapas and Bar - Darling Harbour, Sydney

Darling Harbour has so much to offer for old and young alike. For me its all about the food and drink. Where better to start the gastronomic tour than at Toros, Tapas and Bar.This delightful little waterside restaurant has a great deal going where each plate is $10. For that you get a plate of lightly fried calamari or two seared scallops plus eight other selections. My son and I tried everything on the "$10 a plate" menu and was extremely pleased with serve size and quality of food. The calamari being tender and fresh the scallops tasty and well presented.

Pick a dry night and sit outside and watch the world go by. The wine list is sufficient and bottled wine reasonable in price. All wait staff  have a strong accent and ours was from Asia, France and Puerto Rico. This just adds to the sheer enjoyment of being somewhere else and enjoying the best of Australia. OK Darling Harbour is a tourist location but roll with this, don't be scared to pay well for good food and a great time will had by all. Put me down for the $10 a plate deal any day.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Meat and Wine Co. - Darling Harbor, NSW

A visit to Darling Harbor on a fine sunny day is a joy to behold. Whether on business, holidaying or just a quick visit as was my case. This is a foodies heaven on earth. There are so many fine restaurants and cafes plus quick take away outlets you could never try them all. Not possible. But why would you want to. Think what excites you when out for a dinning experience and find the eatery which looks the most satisfying. We did.

While meeting up with my son, at Darling Harbor, who was there on business we scoured the banks until we found what looked promising. One night down. While on my own the next day looking forward to a new dinning experience I dropped into The Meat and Wine Co.  Thursday for lunch, who would have thought it would be so busy? It did appear to be inhabited by the business community. With hard floors and a full house this modern restaurants with rustic appointments can be awfully noisy. Add to noise of "us" dance music with its "thump, thump, thump" this may not be the place for a first date.

I liked the decor and add to this a view (if on a window seat or outside) of the harbor there is no good reason not to visit. The food being served certainly looked delicious. I stayed with fish and found the lightly battered calamari sweet and tender but the rockling was wet and not at all pleasant. This is a meat house so I would suggest go for the red meat.

The wine and beer list is extensive and the bottom end Sav. Blanc. I was supping was OK. The staff are most friendly and efficient with a desire to make sure you will enjoy your visit. Here is an unusual suggestion I have never made before. You must visit the toilets here. I was so impressed with them I took a photo. Do go. Definitely put The Meat and Wine Co. on your eating list. Apart from the calamari stay with the meat. Next time I will and I'll be back.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lilo Cafe - Mornington, Victoria

If you want a casual pleasurable eat, down on the Mornington Peninsula, Lilo Cafe  may just fit the bill. This quiet old little cafe has a had a freshen-up inside. There is a theme in the colour scheme which is green. There is a 50s looking, huge image up on the back wall, of a one-piece clad beauty on a green lilo in a pool. Thus sets the theme. Everything is green and anything which was green has been purchased and placed on show here.

The food leans toward healthy. I wanted Eggs Benedict but a butter sauce is not allowed here. To me poached eggs on sour dough really needs something to moisten the plate. Eggs were good and the wild mushrooms well presented and yummy! Those we brekkied with also enjoyed their meal and coffee was good. A great spot to eat with panoramic views but can get noisy with hard floors and high ceiling. Parking is timed out front but side street parking is available. Try Lilo, its relaxed, foods good, staff are pleasant. What more do you want?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vanilla Lounge - Oakleigh, Victoria

What an excellent eating precinct Oakleigh has become. With its strong Greek community "all things Greek" are centered right in the main street - Portman Street. There is a main mall off Portman called Eaton, well worth a walk down if chasing some more Greek flavoured food or fashion. The atmosphere in Omonia Square (main square in Greece) Australia is friendly, both busy and laid back at the same time. Cafes and restaurants, generally Greek in nature, line the main street and and malls. But this is a good thing because, I would guarantee, if you drop into any of them you are in for a great eating experience. There are plenty to choose from.

 We were booked into Vanilla Lounge for brunch at 11:30. This massive restaurant is in Eaton Mall and is two storey. You  are greeted at the door by an impressive array of fine and very colourful cakes. Don't be tempted until you have eaten main. Meals here are big. It is hard to comprehend the size of the ground floor without the thought that there is a second floor??!!?? It is busy and a little noisy and may not be the best for the quiet romantics amongst us.

There are plenty of waiters to seat you, get you coffees, take your order and clear your table. All are friendly and efficient. Food quality is high but not sure it is all real traditional Greek. That is not to say you will not enjoy the food because you will. Coffee is good too and as mentioned above, there is the devils pantry full of eye popping and mouth watering cakes. For a serious meal or just cake and coffee Vanilla Lounge will fit the bill. Speaking of the bill, it is not over-priced particularly when you consider meal size. This Vanilla is not bland its more of a hot chocolate with feta cheese on top.

Eurobites - Oakleigh, Victoria

Do want some Greek food? Do want some really good, no, really, really good Greek food? Do you not care about the ambiance, decor and furniture. You just want REAL Greek food as our Greek friends eat it.  Then there is but one place to go - Eurobites. Great Greek food right in the heart of Oakleigh. Park at the station and walk back past Eaton Lane down Portman Street. You may miss the restaurant so look out for it.

Take your appetite because the meals are a good size. Your a big eater? Then park yourself here and order up. Everything on the menu is great. Service is OK but you didn't come here for service you came here for great Greek food. And when you just can't eat any more take a look at the cakes. Great cakes and finish it off with a few short blacks.

This is not the only great restaurant in Oakleigh, in fact, the whole of Portman street and lanes and malls off it and are busting at the seams with great restaurants. But at Eurobites you may well get the very best of Greek food the very cosmopolitan town of Oakleigh has to offer. Its Greek and it's Great!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hellenic Republic - Kew, Victoria

What experience fine Greek food but don't want to travel to Melbourne or a main city to enjoy it. And you may want easy parking and a nice inner suburb like Brunswick or Kew. The Hellenic Republic may just be for you. These excellent restaurants are owned by George Calombaris so you know you are about to enjoy something really special. There is a cafe section if you want a more casual feed. There is only one kitchen and therefor food quality consistency. 

The wine list is extensive with lots of Greek wines up for the taste. The Red I had was light and delicious wand married well with the slow cooked shoulder of lamb. Yum! I want more! Dips were rich and full flavored and the breads perfectly made. The kitchen is open to all for viewing, these guys are hiding nothing and giving you the best they can. All meats are available and as well as veggy dishes though the carnivore in me was chasing red meat delights.

It would be hard to imaging you could ever experience a bad meal here and my dining mate, Bill, eats here regularly. The staff know him by name. He says the food is always exquisite and worth whatever they ask for payment. It is not over-priced but right priced. Staff are friendly and food served in a timely manner. For lunch you can just arrive and take a seat but I would imaging dinner seating may be at a premium. Go and enjoy what George sees are tradition, beautiful, Greek food. His vision will have you wanting more. I do. Highly recommended

Roti Boti Indian Restaurant - Hampton, Victoria

I have had the good fortune to dine at Roti Boti on two occasions and both occasions have been a great dining experience. The decor is modern with some Indian notes. There is both a downstairs and upstairs area and the restaurant can cater for large groups.

At both visits the staff were friendly and professional and nothing was too much trouble. Big bonus; its BYO. On our second visit we left the ordering up to our waiter who may have just been part of the family. He ordered us traditional Indian and in the manner which the Indian patrons would normally order and eat it.

The food is delicious, simply delicious and there is plenty of it. You will not go hungry. Start with dips and bread and work your way through a few mixed dishes. Disappointed is off the menu. Book because, though this is a large restaurant, at both our visits the place was full. Upstairs is a lot quieter but even downstairs will accommodate a quiet dinner for two. Go, enjoy. Great food.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Squires Loft Steakhouse - Melbourne, Victoria

There many steak houses in Melbourne and surrounding inner suburbs. Some good, others great and some not so good. Some, like The Grill Room and Squires Loft Steakhouse , serve a CryoVac  steak with barbecue lines and sauce to go. I find this style of cooking treatment leaves the steak dry and tasteless. Also the steaks are tenderised prior to other preparations again causing the steak to dry out more during cooking. Also you may find your medium to rare more medium plus than rare.

Squires loft is a two story establishment in the heart of Melbourne with hard floors and high ceiling. The Thursday I was there the place was very busy and quite noisy. If this is your thing it is a good place to get it off! Staff are friendly and efficient and the surrounds are very early Ozzie. What would you expect from a loft? Wine list is sufficient and the red I shared there with a friend was pleasant.

If you are a hard core steak aficionado this is not the place for you. But for a catch-up with friends (though you may have to raise your voice across the table) over a reasonable meal and right in the heart of Melbourne - try it. For me, it’s all about the steak and I’ll go elsewhere.