Friday, March 23, 2018

Southgate Melbourne's River Graze 2018

There really is no better way to spend an early autumn Friday night in Melbourne than to take part in an outdoor Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event - River Graze 2018. Thanks to an invitation from our hosts at Southgate Melbourne we enjoyed a delicious seafood feast along the promenade on the Yarra River.

It was going to be a long night of feasting so my dining companion Barry Mundy and I started with a refreshing Pimms cups. Then we began a slow and leisurely tasting of predominantly seafood dishes from five pop-up restaurants from the Southgate precinct.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Triakosia, Clifton Hill by Foghorn Leghorn

Once upon a time, Clifton Hill was quite Greek – around 25% at the 1971 census. There are still a few club-houses left from those days, as well as some restaurants and cafes. Along Queens Parade, probably the best Greek restaurant is Triakosia, a recent addition.

Triakosia, Clifton Hill, stuffed squid
Stuffed squid

On our most recent visit to Triakosia, we were greeted by the fragrance of a spit roast over the large charcoal grill – a mixture of chicken and lamb. All that meat was a tempting sight, but we knew what we had come for: the lamb kleftiko.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Atlas Dining, South Yarra by Rockstar

I’d heard a bit about Atlas Dining. That a young chef had travelled and was coming back with what he’d learnt and decided to set up a degustation restaurant that would change cuisines every four months. I was a bit confused about it and unsure. And I’ll admit I’m a tad picky in my eating so I didn’t want to commit to something when I might not like it (spoiler alert - they ask if there’s anything you can’t/don’t eat). I missed the South Korean and Mexican and Vietnamese and Israeli turns and I was kinda peeved with myself. The food looked amazing in pics and the reviews were all positive. So I got myself into action and lassoed Ms Amazing Amy and Mr Foodie into visiting with me for the Peruvian menu!

Atlas Dining, South Yarra, pisco custard
Pisco custard, lemon sorbet and chocolate with popped quinoa 

The restaurant is beautifully designed and rather sophisticated. It was full the Friday night we went for our 8pm booking. The staff were polite, and discreetly filled up my water glass as well as ensuring Ms A and Mr Foodie’s cocktails were replaced. We had a view of some of the kitchen goings on - a busy, well-controlled environment. There was an open fire outside and I think those that choose the 7 course meal option had a quick trip out as part of their experience. I loved the subtle waft of open fire when the door opened into the restaurant.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Long Story Short, Port Melbourne by Rockstar

My gorgeous niece O was very sure she wanted something sweet to eat for our combined belated Christmas celebration and the day-before-her-15th-birthday lunch. I was sure we’d seen good options on Instagram but neither of us could recall any of them. A quick Google of 'Melbourne pancakes' showed up Long Story Short's Tim Tam pancakes... and we were off!

Long Story Short, Port Melbourne, red velvet doughnut bun
Long Story Short is a bright light open cafe, with lots of Instagrammable dishes - so it was perfect for O. She couldn’t decide between the three sweet options - the fairy floss dessert burger was calling her name but she wasn’t sure she’d like it, or how she’d eat that blue fairy floss. I was slightly disappointed not to see that in real life though I did spy on a couple next to us sharing one! O’s final choice was the red velvet doughnut bun. It sounded over the top and when it arrived it was! It was also one of the prettiest dishes I’ve seen.

The delicate colourful flowers and multicoloured meringues, the frosty red split doughnut bun, the pineapple magic syrup slowly dripping over the edges, the vibrant rich red smear contrasting the white plate with a soft peach semifreddo inside with peach jelly orbs and pineapples and raspberries.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Charisma Workshop, Melbourne CBD by Log Lady

The prospect of brunch is always an exciting event for me - the idea of meal in-between breakfast and lunch, and food combining both, is genius! Who thought of this? But the opportunity to also enjoy dessert during the morning hour is even more thrilling. This was the exact opportunity I had at my recent visit to the Charisma Workshop.

Charisma Workshop, Melbourne, creme brulee petit gateaux
Creme brulee petit gateaux

A slightly quirky name, the new spot opened last October. It is a family affair, with head chef Jonathan Ko at the helm who has channelled his obsession for patisserie and coffee into a great new cafe.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tiamo, Carlton by Foghorn Leghorn

If you walk up Lygon St Carlton at dinner time, you will notice one thing that makes Tiamo stand out. Many of the restaurants are half-empty, and in some places there are aggressive touts who try to drag customers into their miserable tourist traps. Tiamo is the opposite: there’s usually a gaggle of people waiting outside for a table. With a restaurant, that’s all the recommendation you need.

Tiamo, Carlton, braised lamb
Braised lamb

I remember eating at Tiamo in the early 1980s, when it was just a tiny cafĂ© in a narrow space, popular with the university crowd (which included me). Since then, it’s expanded next door, and added rows of outdoor tables. Fortunately, the kitchen has kept pace with the expanded floor space, so you never have to wait too long for a meal.