Friday, March 27, 2015

Shebeen, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Ever since Big Fil had the chainapple (a mocktail made with pineapple juice with chai spices and topped with a sprig of mint), I wanted to check out Shebeen.  So a long lunch with my team at work was my chance to try it.  However, it was a cold day so I didn't end up ordering.

What we did get was to try out a number of their dishes, including sliders.  The ones shown above are the meaty ones - BBQ beef w kim chi and pork belly w jalapeno jam.  Shebeen's also got a big range of world beers - all of the profits from the beers go to various charities (each beer has a designated charity).

I got the Mexican organic Fairtrade quinoa salad, which was served with cherry tomato salsa and organic corn chips.  For few more dollars, I also got aside of roast pork. It was a nice quinoa salad - hefty, filling.  But the best bit was the cherry tom salsa - it was sweet, juicy and loaded with citrusy zingyness.  The corn chips were rather 'meh' - a rather lame 'filler' in my opinion (although everyone at them as a beer snack).  For $4 you get quite reasonable amount of pork, which was nice and salty, although the crackling was only good in part.

I also got a house-blend soy chai latte, which had a lovely frothy top but could have been stronger in flavour.  Gorgeous cup, though.

The other people in my team got the banh mi with smoked tofu, grilled eggplant and Asian slaw with fresh coriander, Thai basil and housemade chipotle aioli...

...more sliders (the one on the left is the smoked tofu, the other one is a meat one)...

...the chicken mole, which is a Mexican-style slow cooked chicken stew, made with Loving Earth chilli chocolate.  It came with rice, corn chips and pickled onions...

...and the banh mi with crispy pork belly, chicken liver parfait, housemade pickled
carrot, cucumber, coriander chilli & bulldog sauce; and also a slider.

Verdict: we liked it.

Overall
Shebeen is styled like a Mexican cantina - it's a bit rustic and is more hippy than hipster.  The food is reasonably tasty but nothing exceptional.  I'd say the food menu is geared towards giving punters to eat while they're drinking.  The service is a wee bit scatty and most of us felt like we weren't entirely sure they got our orders (but they did).  There isn't table service, instead you order at the bar.  

If you want something that's relaxed and unfussy for your beer and or a light meal, this is the place for it.

Shebeen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Archie's Fish and Chips, Mt Waverley by Obelix

Let me say this:  I am not a fan of fish and chips.  I find it incredibly greasy and ultimately not worth the calorific intake.  However having said this, I LOVE the fish and chips at Archie's.

P read in the Good Food Guide (?) that Archie's was nominated best surburban fish and chippery.  We were curious so concocted a reason why we had to check it out.  I believe, if memory serves, the excuse was that Kiddo was being particularly angelic for the past two hours and deserved a treat or some such.

Here was "Kiddo's treat":

A selection of crumbed calamari, battered prawns and scallops, grilled salmon, fried whiting and chips.

The calamari were real rings versus manufactured seafood putty moulded into a ring shape.  But to really really die for were the scallops and prawns - huge, succulent with a light crispy batter ($2 each).  I could happily eat half a dozen as a meal in itself.  We have been back many a times since and Kiddo normally scoffs down three scallops plus a piece of salmon - easy.

Kido's piece of salmon ($7).

And a big serve of chips.  The chips were crispy and hot.  No soggy chips here.

Verdict:  We loved it.

Overall:  For a person who normally eats fish and chips once every three years or so, I have been hooked on Archie's.  I have been back there three times in the past month *hang head in shame*.  But in my defense, it's really good fish and chips.

Archie's Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lefkas Taverna, Brisbane (QLD) by Obelix

Lefkas is one of my favourite Greek restaurants in Brisbane.  When I first discovered the place a few years back, it was all about simple but well cooked meals, generous in size and cheap in price.  Back in ye ole days, you had to go next door to the bottle shop to get your drinks, it was that pared back.  

Flash forward to today, Lefkas has undergone some changes.  The restaurant itself is two to three times bigger post renovations and has a more up-market feel.  The meals are half the size and twice as much as it was yester year but fortunately the taste is still the same.  

Fried calamari

On this occasion we had the grilled baby octopus and the calamari lightly floured and fried for the entree. They were about $20 each.

Grilled octopus

I normally also order the home made dips in the past - well worth a try as well.

For mains, we ordered a mixed yiros with a combination of chicken, lamb and pork - the holy Trinity of meats!  It was approx $22 for the combo.  The meat was tender and garlic-y good.  It melted in your mouth.  


Verdict:  We liked it.  

Overall  Despite Leftkas going up market, the integrity of the food is still the same.  I am still a loyal customer.  You can now pay by credit card - proving the convenience of the modern age!

Lefkas Taverna on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lil Boy Blue, Kew (by invitation) by Bureaucrat

Juxtaposition of classic themes with modern Australiana is how Brett, the front of house at Lil Boy Blue, describes the food, service and interior design at his cafe in Kew.  Think of the rigour and standards of fine French cuisine but with a healthy dose of laid back Australian sensibilities.  If you want a quality experience but without the stuffy starched shirt and snootiness, Lil Boy Blue is the place to be.

Our hearty five course brunch started off with a gorgeous almond and coconut chia pudding w fresh fruits.  Beautiful to behold and just as lovely to savour.  If you haven't had chia before its one of them wonder grains, full of protein and very good for you.  When you add liquid to it, the individual chia seeds swell up and become all gooey - kinda like sago.  

The chia pudding was a delight to eat with the delicate flavour of the almond and coconut milk.  We also loved the bright, colourful mango, pear and strawberry salad.

Pots of English breakfast and ginger and lemongrass tea.

Next up was a duo of tacos.  The duck taco had generous amounts of shredded duck, grilled corn, mango, capsicum and chili salsa.  My favourite was the chili and lime prawn tacos, avo, coleslaw and smoked paprika.  I loved the nicely zingy chili and lime on the plump pan-seared prawns.

The next dish was Mother Hen's favourite as it contained two of her favourite things - scallops and watercress.  Perfectly seared scallops topped with crispy pancetta is a classic dish, and the pureed watercress added a twist.  The garlic chips were a nice idea, however, I felt the garlic flavour overpowered the scallop.  

Despite it being brunch, we also go to try a dish on their dinner menu.  On offer includes 'duck - two ways', which is duck confit with a duck cigar.  A nice dish of ducky goodness - the confit was tender and falling off the bone; while the cigar, though a tad burnished, was crispy and was yummy with the garlicky sauce.  I especially loved the gorgeously waxy potatoes and the bed of wilted spinach.  

The front of the cafe where many locals drop by for their caffeine fix and a tipple.

By this point we need a bit of a breather before dessert, and Brett took us on a tour of Lil Boy Blue... 

...towards the back of the cafe, you'll find Lil Boy Blue and also his friend, Lil Girl Red.

Upstairs is a beautiful, apartment-style loft, which is used for functions.  It's spacious, light and airy, and has a delightful nook by the window where you can sip on your drink and watch the world pass by.

Dessert was a rather decadent and fun affair.  A whole wooden board with a quartet of sinfulness.  My absolute favourite was the oh-my-god-yum chocolate milkshake - the best milkshake I've ever had!  Chocolatey but not sickly sweet, creamy but not that icky milky taste (I find some milkshakes taste more milk than chocolate), and it had a lovely mouth-feel to it.  

The vanilla cheesecake was beautifully smooth and I loved the blackberry compote that came with it.  The profiteroles were filled with a honey-tinged cream, while the brownies were incredibly chocolatey and had a lovely softness to them.


Verdict: we loved it

Overall
A great cafe that hits the mark in creating something that is smart and relaxed.  Service is super friendly, not just to us, but also to everyone that came through.  It's a great place to grab a coffee in your trackies, have a champagne brunch with the girls, after work drinks with the mates or a classy dinner with your partner.

Also have a gander at Big Fil's review back in March 2013.

Lil Boy Blue on Urbanspoon
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