Friday, October 13, 2017

Gabah Restaurant - Bali Island, Indonesia

Sick of Italian food and burgers in Bali and really would like to find some good Indonesian food. If you like pizza, pasta and burgers and chips come to Bali. Even then it is not good pizza and pasta (not sure about the burgers). What happen to Indonesian food. Is there that many westerners and Europeans coming to Bali that Indonesian food is off the menu. How sad.

Even when we found a good Italian restaurant near where we were staying the ambiance and eventually the food slipped. We tried a few other restaurant near where we stayed in Legian. You have to like loud dance\trance music to eat there and then the food was lousy. Most eateries were empty. Try playing some background Balinese music and serve better food and see what happens. What most restaurants are doing right now is not working. Bring back Bali!

Have faith because at the back of Matahari is a fine Indonesian restaurant which is part of a hotel complex. Gabah is a beautiful open air restaurant with a rich menu of fine Indonesian food, good beer and wine list and cocktails-a-plenty. I stuck with the beer and the wife smoothies and mocktails. We dined twice here and enjoyed it both times.

He is a little tip; get yourself a table near the pool, away from the main street and you'll sit in the cool. There is a strong cool breeze which blows through here all the time and helps with the Bali heat and humidity. Add to that a cool drink and you are well on your way to a fine authentic Indonesian eating experience. Table service is excellent and as usual the Balinese just want to please. If it is one thing the Balinese are very, very good at is hospitality. No one does it better.

On both a visits to this great and relaxed eat house we stuck with local cuisine. We sat near the pool and looked down on the pond with its massive urn drizzling water into it. Fish fill the pond. There is an open bar you can sit at and lots of table space. Good food at a reasonable price, great service and a very pleasant ambiance make for a REAL Bali experience. Not pizza and burgers, not in Bali.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bella Italia Legian - Bali

Staying at the Pullman Hotel (five star and all) is very nice but you should get out and eat around. Lucky for us there was a really excellent Italian restaurant directly down stairs. Even better in hot, hot Bali they have a sealed conditioned room. And even better again we had it all to ourselves. One small complaint is no matter how many times the music was turned down it would turn itself back up to the point of being uncomfortable.

The food was really top class and very fresh. Wines on the menu are limited but the Chianti went down a treat. Bella Italia   is run by an Italian and you could feel his presence coming right through the food. Add to a delicious main and starter was a selection of great desserts. Does it get any better? Yes it does. Our waitress was excellent company and excelled in satisfying our every request and we showed our appreciation at the end of the night.

We headed off very satisfied, cool and pleased with our easy find. I want to return but we must stretch ourselves to try other places. Still hoping to go back for one more meal. If you are around this end of town this little restaurant has be on your list. Dine inside or out you are in for an Italian Bella treat.

Revisit: We went back for another meal. Once more we were confronted with the same awful music, up loud, we experienced at our first sitting. In the end I spoke to the manger and as best I could keep control, complained bitterly about the loud inappropriate music. Finally she turned it off for our room. The food though was not as good as our first visit. Apart from having dessert there late one night we did not return for another meal.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Grossi Florentino Grill - Bourke Street Melbourne

Finding myself once more in the city of Melbourne right on lunch I had to track down yet another fine dinner experience. Call me crazy but spending $100 on lunch for one , to me, is money well spent. I had eaten next door at Omara Bar only recently but this time took the Grossi plunge.

Décor is simple, subdued, modern and screams "good food here". Music was quiet and tasteful. Once more I planted my grumbling stomach right in the window for the promenade and gestation experience. Foods good, view is good and wines OK. Smartly dressed table staff take your order, make suggestions and rattle off the specials. Sardines aren't for everyone but each time I've had them I've been happy. Next veal poached in milk. Delicious.

Eating downstairs (Grill) is less expensive than upstairs but you are guaranteed the same very high quality of food and service. This was only lunch and I did notice a number of business lunches going down (pun intended). Would I recommend Grossi, yes, definitely.

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 intent 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 breathalyzer 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 is 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 maximize the profit on drinks as if it isn't already a big rip-off.

You never know ordering your drink by the "ml" might become trendy. Now for 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!

Monday, April 24, 2017

The New Atriurm - Safety Beach, Mornington Peninsula

Definitely the 19th hole this "Club House" feeling café\restaurant is no fine dinning spot. If driving by or live on the estate it might just be convenient to drop in for a drink or feed with friends or alone. Not a romantic hangout and is very, very family friendly (get my drift) with a play room for kids.

The New Atrium is not trying to be much more than a feed and watering hole spot. Meals are "pub" meals or less in quality. After saying that I was very impressed with the steak meal one of our friends was served. Big meal and the steak was excellent. Other meals were just OK. Beer and other drinks at about pub prices with a good selection. Staff are friendly and helpful. Décor is basic and purposeful, sit down, have a meal or drink and move on. Expect little from this place and you will not be disappointed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Ladro TAP - restaurant, wine and beer bar, Greville St, Prahran

If you are going to eat, drink and be merry in Prahran expect to pay well for it. Probably no different than Chapel St. Doesn't mean the food is better or worse it is usually just a little more expensive, for what you get. After that very negative intro to Ladro TAP we did enjoy or meal and wine.

You are sat right on Greville street with cars and walkers going past. Pleasant but can't match an ocean mountain valley view. Stopped in here for a meal or a rink. They have a number of beers on tap, good wine selection etc. Staff are friendly and relaxed and service was quick and timely. No complaints.

Not far from the restaurant is the Prahran market itself worth a stroll through. You will be impressed with the variety and number of butchers shops, fish shops and chicken shops. Not sure it will be the cheapest market you will visit but a great place to have stroll and try and buy different foods.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Montalto - Winery and Olive Grove, Red Hil, Victoria

On a few occasions we have snacked in the garden of the Montalto grounds. Sitting amongst the lavender and veggies consuming wine, olives and delicious foods while the sun blazes down upon you is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. On any sunny day it is always a busy place to be. Wine and olive oil sampling and purchases can be made. Tourists love it, we love it.

I had looked longing at the fine dinning restaurant situated at the top of the Moltalto expansive winery. We did try to get in once but it was fully booked. With our 28th wedding anniversary, on the Easter Saturday, this time we booked. Glad we did.

The menu did not contain any selections which had our mouth watering but we both found three courses which took our interest. Of the three courses only the dessert was disappointing. The other two courses were very good but not stunning. Meal size was appropriate and combined with the bread and side we were quite content. Wines were excellent, both the red and the white and coffee strong and rich. Choose from the menu wisely as the table beside us ate little of their meal.

Service was warm and friendly and the staff knowledgeable. We wanted to purchase oil and dukkha but the shop was closed. Our helpfully waiter managed to fill our order with little effort. Parking is free and at the door and the drive to Montalto is delightful. Fine dinning it is but not very fine. No reason not to go though. Nothing to see at night so go for lunch.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mercato - Daylesford, Victoria

On a brief stay in Daylesford Victoria we visited Mercato restaurant for dinner. Make sure you book ahead. We did and on a Thursday night it did get busy. We are always happy to pay well for food we expect to be better than most. In this case we were not disappointed in fact we were very delighted. Not at Rock Pool standard but then at a third the price. My pork and the wife's fish were both of good portion and superbly prepared. You will not go hungry. We did add a side and I would suggest you do but share it. Leave room for dessert. Accompanying sauces and veggies were also right up there with what you expect really good, well cooked fine food should taste and eat like.

We stayed at Ambleside only ten minutes from the restaurant on the other side of town. I would suggest, if staying at Daylesford, you also stay here. In a word - "Excellent". Back to the restaurant. Service is excellent and efficient. No long waits for your meal as would expect in any classy establishment. Not a huge selection on the food menu but the drinks menus is as thick as an encyclopaedia. I'm sure though you will find a culinary temptation or two. We did.

Décor is old world-ish as is Ambleside. Daylesford can really take you back to the "feel" of early country Victoria. Both our desserts were also very good, add this the earlier great main, a glass of fine wine and a long black to finish off and your done. And done in a nice, no, in a very nice way.

Mercato is worth a trip to Daylesford just for a fine dining experience at a more relaxed price. Stay in Daylesford and cab there and back so you can share a bottle of the local grape. An overnight stay, a walk through a nice little town and a fine meal is a good way to recharge and relax. We did and we are going back for yet another recharge. Check this one out.

Forrest Brewing Company - Forrest, Victoria.

While staying at Separation Creek, on the west coast Victoria, we decided to drive back though the Otway's  to have lunch at Forrest Brewing Company. As advertised, more than a micro-brewer, it is a nice restaurant\café. Personally I didn't sample the beers as I was designated drive but did have one of the local reds. All good. Let's start with the staff. Very friendly, they just want your experience to be memorable. You can graze indoors or out. Being warmish we chose outside looking out over the main road. Not a bad spot as traffic was light and therefore no disturbing noise or petrol fumes. Before you plonk you buttocks down take a walk down the mains street. There is other eateries and I'm sure all good.

The drinks selection is extensive enough to satisfy most with, of course, the beer being the product you should try. Though I had none over lunch we did take away a four bottle sample pack of 500ml delights. The menu provided enough choices with the four of us all having something different. And what of the food? No complaints at my table. The four of us are real foodies and swing from fine dinning to quick café eating. Just one minor comment about the food; I had the ocean eight-legged bubble-headed wonder. Though tasty tough to chew, try something else.

Parking is off street and plenty of it. Just a very pleasant and friendly place to eat, old world feel, serene with lush surroundings and something different. From Melbourne it is a two hour drive and even if you are staying on the coast expect a one hour drive through hills. But then that's part of the fun, not that my three car sick passengers (winding hills and empty stomachs) will agree.