Gossip Food

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Here is a sample, my current favourite Hainam chicken in Melbourne.

We got loads more photos coming! Majority of the Chef Hat restaurants as well.
Well the ones that let us bring a SLR in. grrrr to Jacques Reymond.

Hai Nam Chicken

Friday Night Grill @ Mesh

Lamb cutlets at Mesh
Lamb cutlets

Ground Floor, Crown Promenade Hotel
Ph: 613 9292 8289
Website (scroll down)

Mesh has a rather good buffet special on Friday nights. It's generally quite well-attended though, so be sure to book ahead. Be warned, there's also a late cancellation fee.

The Friday Night Grill ($39.50 pp) includes a seafood, salad and dessert buffet bar along with your choice of a main and 3 drinks. The seafood bar includes steamed prawns and oysters au naturale. There's quite a good salad as well as tapas (the grilled eggplant was perfecto) selection. Desserts were plentiful. There was an icecream bar too! The cheesecake was quite nice. You can choose from white/red wine, beer or a soft drink. No tea or fruit juice, unfortunately, since I don't, as a general rule drink alcohol, and I avoid soft drinks because they are fattening and generally EVIL (hello high fructose corn syrup!).

You can choose from grilled lamb chops, chicken breast, fish, or roast beef as your main, with a choice of sauce. If you want value-for-money, get the roast beef because it is HUGE. My brother ordered that and it completely dwarfed my lamb cutlets (which I admittedly ordered because those bite-sized morsels of meat on the tiny bone looked so cute). Not that you should worry about the size of your main; the buffet selection is huge and by the time the mains rolled around, I was terribly stuffed, and I was pacing myself!

My cousin, who had the lamb on a previous occasion, initially warned me off them saying they had a tendency to turn out dry. My lamb cutlets, however, were succulent and rather tasty. Inconsistent food quality warning!

The food wasn't too bad except for the oysters. I was all set to eat at least two dozen, maybe three but I couldn't make it past a mere dozen. I encountered a bad oyster or two, and that just put me off. They looked fresh, and were well-chilled though, and it's a nice restaurant, fer gdness sakes', how can they allow that?! My cousin has had mixed experiences with the oysters too. He said though generally it's quite good, there have been times in the past, too, where the oysters weren't fresh. Oh well.

Buffets being buffets, I severely overate even though I limited myself to like a small tablespoon of each food item. Wish the slices of cake were cut smaller so I could try more without having to waste food.

All in all, it was rather good, and worth a try, but I don't think I will go back. Not so much because of the quality of the food and selection, but more so because I'm not a fan of over-indulging. If you're a huge eater though, go for it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pro tip: My aunt says to drink lemonade after a heavy meal to aid digestion.

5 minute review - More Greek Food

Kouzina Restaurant
This restaurant is located in various locations around Melbourne.
The one we went to was located in Doncaster Shopping Centre, right near Hoyts and Borders. I always noticed this restaurant packed full of people and always live with atmosphere.

So we decided to go check out the Mezedes.

This is what we ordered.
Land mezedes for two
Pork kebabs, loukanika, beef keftedes, grilled quail, and lahanodolmades
We loved all in this selection, great variety of different mezes.
The lahanodolmades was fabulous, we haven't actually tried it before. It is basically stuffed cabbage leaves with minced meat and risotto inside.
I just found a recipe of this over here, might have to give it a go sometime.

Warm marinated Greek olives
Awesome olives, haven't had such great olives in a long time.

Crispy fried vegetables
"Mythos' beer battered eggplant and zuchinni crisps with skordalia dip
Great as well.

Mamacas Mezethopolion
210 Chapel Street Prahran

Had a birthday party here last week and I had the Mamaca's Tastes Banquet. ($29 per person). This restaurant was very warm, cosy boutique style restaurant with many nice art pieces on the walls. Great place to dine as a couple!

The banquet we had included the following:
Freshly baked bread
Mixed Dips
Zucchini & Haloumi Fritter
Chicken Skewer
Spaghetti Meatballs
Greek Salad

The calamari was so delicious, very nicely good and tender. Best calamari I have tasted in long time. Chicken Skewer was great, as expected from a Greek restaurant. My favourite mix dip was the Taramosalata, couldn't get enough it. Hope I didn't finish all of it before the others could try :). Nah i'm not one of those ppl.

Zucchini & Haloumi Fritters were like Turkish Zucchini balls, they were a bit small. My favourite Zucchini balls will have to be from this restarant in Canberra called Turkish Pide. You have to try it out.

Would love to try out the other banquest and meals sometime.

Eos Greek Taverna

83 Grimshaw Street

Dolmade Dips
Homemade greek bread Saganaki cheese
Grilled chicken tighs with polenta and mushroom sauce Meat and seafood platter

The family went to Eos for a postponed Mother's Day dinner on a recommendation from my brother's colleague.

We ordered the deluxe banquet for two ($40 pp) and the chicken special ($29). We're small eaters so this was more than plenty for 4 - we even had to get a doggie bag.

The grilled chicken thighs with polenta with a mushroom sauce was pretty awesome. The family dug into it so quickly I forgot to take a photo of it. What I've got above (second last photo) is the remnants of what I had on my plate! The thighs were beautifully done. The flavourings were simple allowing the chicken to stand on its own. It was tender, juicy, and went well with the polenta (which is a favourite side of mine). There was also a side salad of tomato, bocconcini and basil. The appearance of a classic Italian combination was a bit jarring in a traditional Greek restaurant but I guess it must be some fusion thing. Anyway, they went well together.

The deluxe banquet consisted of:
Cold entrees: mixed dips (tzatziki, possibly taramasalata and possibly babaganoush), dolmades, olives, pickled vegetables and homemade bread.

Hot entree: Saganaki cheese

Hot platter: consists of gyro, keftethes, chicken souvlaki, loukaniko, prawns, mussels, calamari and atlantic salmon accompanied with rice pilaf, lemon baked potatoes and Greek salad.

Sweets: Assorted Greek sweets including galaktoboureko, baklava and Turkish delight.

The bread was absolutely beautiful and was the highlight of the meal. At the end of the meal the chef came out to chat with the remaining diners and he said that the bread was handmade every day - no machines as the taste was different. Since then my dad has been bugging me to try making some bread at home. I don't think that's going to happen any time soon :P

The saganaki cheese is a fried cheese which is awesome by definition.

The hot platter was huge. For me, it was a bit blah, especially when compared to the utter delishusness of the chicken thighs. The platter was just too meaty for my mum and I, especially since we are not found of gyro lamb as it tastes too strong for us (we call it "sou" in Cantonese). I did like enjoy the rice pilaf though.

The banquet also included a salad which was a bit ordinary. The bulk of it was iceberg lettuce which is boring, and I found the dressing too sour. However, the fetta cheese was wonderful - light and fluffy.

The service was great. The waitresses were very attentive, and the chef coming out at the end was a nice touch. It made us feel like they really cared about whether we enjoyed the meal.

Conclusion: We really enjoyed the meal. We'd probably go back, but I wouldn't get the banquet, and I'd probably try out the other specials. And definitely get the bread again.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5.

5 minute pub review - The Carlton Hotel

193 Bourke St, Melbourne

I love this place. Clashing, maximilian and offbeat, the vibe I get from this place is “retro chic”. The large stuffed animals scattered around the place are kind of awesome and manages to avoid being stale hunting lodge masculine. There are numerous cozy nooks and it was, of course, packed on a Friday night. There’s a rooftop bar which, tragically, does not have a pool, because that would be a great addition to the tropical palm tree-strewn décor. Be warned, spend any length of time up there and the delishus aroma of deep fried chicken and eleven secret herbs and spices from the exhaust vents next door will send you spiraling down what feels like 10 flights of stairs (which is a right bugger to walk up in heels) for a midnight snack.

Would I go back? Certainly.

Nitpicking: Their website as listed by Google, http://www.thecarlton.com.au/, is a completely empty directory. Someone should do something about it, it’s embarrassing.

5 minute pub review - Cho Gao Restaurant & Bar

Melbourne Central, Level 3
211 La Trobe St, Melbourne

I dropped by on a Friday night and it was rocking. The drinks are cheap which may have something to do with its popularity with students. The décor is funky, sort of Asian/world. It’s trendy, hip, and popular with the yuppy crowd. I mostly hung out at the balcony which had a DJ playing decent but not spectacular house music. Still, the night time view from the balcony, particularly the State Library, was pretty good.

The kitchen was closed by the time I got there but the predominantly Asian fusion menu looked alright. The lunch time meal prices in particular look reasonable.

Would I go back? It’s a matter of taste, but it’s not exactly my scene – it’s very shiny, and as slick as a Beemer ad. Located on the top floor of Melbourne Central, parking is a breeze which will be convenient for those rainy winter days ahead! I’m still on a quest to find the typical Melbournian pub with live music, so much as I enjoyed my time there, I’ve got other priorities.

Nitpicking: for some reason their website isn’t indexed properly by Google so when you search for “Cho Gao” you just get a bunch of restaurant reviews on the first page! Someone needs to SEO-ize their website.

Evane on MMFB and a quick tip

Hi! This is my first time on MMFB so I'll do a quick self-introduction.

I've only recently been livin in Melbourne and was in Adelaide for about a decade. I'm originally from Singapore and have Cantonese taste buds so I have certain prejudices when it comes to food!

I love cooking and dining out and am always happy to talk about food. Largely for green reasons, I'd love to go completely organic or dabble in the vegetarian thing but never have enough will power to do so. My cooking style is influenced by Jamie Oliver and my numerous older female relatives who are all great cooks. Favourite dining experience would be Tetsuya's and La Rochelle.

Quick Tip: Siu Long Bao
My aunt tells me that the ones at David and Cammy at Boxhill are pretty good. I’ve got to try it sometime. I got hooked on the juicy dumplings when I stayed in Hong Kong and have so far been disappointed by Australian offerings.

Melbourne Yum Cha in city

Gold Leaf have now opened up a new yum cha restaurant located under the Southern Cross big wheel in Docklands and I must say I'm very impressed. I have previously blogged about the Gold Leaf in Burwood and this new place is definately equal and maybe better in terms of standards. This will definately be my new yum cha place in the city and it is a lot easier to find parking compared to Shark Fin Inn and Shark Fin House.

The first 1 hour of parking is now for free at the Harbour Town Factory Outlet parking so this is a bonus if you eat quick.

Enjoy my new tip.

Melbourne Yum Cha