Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Ripponlea Food and Wine, Ripponlea by Rockstar

I was looking for somewhere local, with good food for a quiet but delicious Saturday night birthday dinner. I’d been to Ripponlea Food and Wine prior to its renovation and expansion for brunch a number of times and really enjoyed it. I was keen to try their dinner menu, and to see the lush new fit out - I’ll admit to being a sucker for green velvet banquet seating. Sadly we were in the main area rather than the bar/banquet seating but the atmosphere is lovely. It’s modern but luxurious with black, green, and exposed brick, wood and glass. The green subway tiles in the bathroom are divine! 

Ripponlea Food and Wine, Ripponlea, Golden Gaytime dessert
Golden Gaytime dessert

We had an early 6:15pm booking and had to be out at 7:45pm for the next shift. The wait staff were friendly but seemed a little rushed and hectic - we waited to order our drinks and then to order our food.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Southbank Progressive Dinners - The Winter Trail

My dining companion Gordon Zola and I were very pleased to be invited to another Southgate Melbourne event as we’ve enjoyed the others we attended. This time we were there to sample the upcoming Southbank Progressive Dinners which offer a three course dinner at three Southgate Melbourne restaurants. 

The Winter Trail will be running from Sunday-Thursday nights from 12 August to 6 September 2018, with two sittings at 6pm and 7pm.  To make it interesting, the restaurants will work on a rotating basis for the courses being served each week (read on to find out more details!). 

Southbank Progressive Dinner, Southgate Melbourne, La Camera, antipasto
The evening started at Italian restaurant La Camera with a colorful glass of prosecco mixed with Aperol, Midori, or Chambord liqueurs. We were then served a delicious and enormous range of antipasto. The vegetables included olives, roasted pumpkin, grilled and marinated capsicums and mushrooms, and our favourite the creamy textured grilled eggplant. The salumi offerings included mortadella, moist prosciutto, and a tasty and spicy sopressa.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Penny Drop, Box Hill by Bureaucrat

There's a lot to love about The Penny Drop.  A relatively new cafe, The Penny Drop has got foodies and locals abuzz with its creative Asian-fusion brunch menu and effortlessly elegant decor.  What's most amazing about this place is that it's managed to do this right in the heart of Box Hill - a suburb known for its glut of Asian cheap eats.  The Penny Drop has brought middle-class sensibilities and chicness in dining options for the area without sticking out like a sore thumb.

The Penny Drop, Box Hill, pork belly rice burger
Rice burger with forbidden rice, pork belly, kohlrabi and apple slaw and tsuyu sauce

Located in the same building as the Australian Tax Office (don't let that deter you from coming!), The Penny Drop is a beautiful space - super high ceilings with ceiling-to-floor windows give the cafe grandeur and lightness.  The soft pink theme is paired with wooden and warm golden finishes.  And unlike many cafes of its ilk, there is comfortable, spacious seating (hooray!) and the background music is, shock, actually in the background!  While there is a definite buzz to the place, there is no need to shout to your dining companions in order to have a conversation. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dream Dumplings, Box Hill by Obelix

You know a place has something going for it if more than one Eat and Be Merry Crew independently chooses the same place to dine at.  The Bureaucrat was introduced to Dream Dumplings recently; while I discovered this delicious foodie experience by happenstance.  This was one made by P who was circling around the Box Hill Centro food court, uninspired, wanting just to grab a quick bite before ducking off to run some errands, when the owner of Dream Dumplings in the food court struck up a conversation with him.

Dream Dumplings, Box Hill, crab and pork xiao long baos
Crab and pork xiao long baos

The brief exchange went something along the lines of this - the owner proudly stated he made the best pan fried pork buns, just like the ones people queue up for miles for back in Shanghai.  P then smacked his lips, saliva drooling and promptly handed over his money for the said fried buns.  The rest is history.  Because we've been back multiple times since.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Beer & Burger Bar, Richmond by Bureaucrat

Winter weather brings on the need to carbo-load.  Notions of healthy eating are put to one side in preference for carbs, protein and fried goodness.  The Beer & Burger Bar in Richmond can certainly help with this.  Before turning up, I checked out their Instagram account - it's replete with blokes tucking into massive burgers, including "The Don" a mammoth burger made with 1.2kg of beef, 16 rashes of bacon, 400g of chips, two cans of soft drink plus all the usual burger trimmings.

The Beer & Burger Bar, Richmond
Lunch is served!

Dainty portions isn't what The Beer & Burger Bar is about.  So even our regular sized burgers were still quite hefty. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Banoi, Melbourne by Rockstar

I love Vietnamese food. I’ve often thought if I had to choose only one cuisine to have for the rest of my life, Vietnamese would be up there. Maybe because there’s so much variety. 

Banoi, Melbourne, salt and pepper chicken ribs
Salt and pepper chicken ribs

I’m pretty pleased to have Banoi right behind work... but I'm not always pleased when it’s so popular that you can’t always pop in and get a table! I’m loving their recently updated menu. There’s the healthy tasty options and then there’s the deliciously decadent comfort food in case it’s been one of those day where only fried chicken can make it better.