Friday, August 26, 2016

The Burger Project, Melbourne CBD by Benny

Having recently indulged in a few really good burgers (from Burger Block, Three One 2 One and billies) my interest was instantly piqued when I read that no less a luminary than Neil Perry (of Rockpool fame) had opened a burger bar in Melbourne. Folklore has it that Burger Project is a spinoff based on the popularity of the Rockpool wagyu burger, but while Rockpool may be able to charge $22 for a burger, a burger bar cannot – even if it’s located in the rather stylish environs of The Aviary, a self-styled ‘collection of restaurants offering a unique Melbourne dining experience’ on the top floor of Melbourne’s latest upmarket retail destination, St. Collins Lane.

The Burger Project - The Aussie burger
The Aussie

Thursday, August 25, 2016

East, Mt Martha by Bilby Blue

It had all started so well. On a gorgeous sunny winter’s day three of us – Benny, Broadhands and I – had motored down to the Mornington Peninsula in search of a special lunch. Beautiful location with bay views, tick. A table available in a stylish contemporary setting, tick. An innovative menu that celebrated fresh local produce, tick.

So we had very high hopes for East. But then, one by one, the wheels started falling off.

Yes, we totally get that an extraordinary level of creativity and skill is needed to produce high calibre dishes. And that delivering the dining experience is incredibly hard work. But there are other aspects that are essential for the diners’ enjoyment and in this respect East just kept missing the mark.

sweet potato;  small plates;  east;  mt martha
Sweet potato

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Melba, Southbank by Bureaucrat

If you want to impress your date/in-laws/partner, then treat them to a seafood buffet dinner at Melba - the in-house restaurant at Langham Hotel in Southbank.  Over the years, I've been to Melba for their gorgeous buffet, but it had been over five years since my last visit. There's seafood on offer on most nights but on Tuesday nights, there's the king of seafood available: lobster!

Melba, Langham Hotel, lobster
All-you-can-eat grilled lobster with garlic and cream sauce

To ensure that the lobster is cooked to perfection (and to also minimise wastage), the lobster (along with certain 'premium' dishes, such as the Peking duck) are served to you by the staff - that is, you're not going to get away with loading up your plate with a mound of lobster.  Having said that, they are generous - with each serve, you're guaranteed two big juicy, meaty pieces of lobster.  Further, you're more than welcome to go back for seconds, thirds and fourths, if you so wish.  I had one serve of lobster (see above pic), which was absolutely lovely.  Fresh, sweet, meaty lobster.  I loved the car-grilled flavour and the delicate sauce.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Celadon, Kuala Lumpur by Bilby Blue

Thai food is very popular in Malaysia and I have found that it is often every bit as good as you would expect in Thailand. On a recent trip to KL I checked out Celadon, on the top floor of the Pavilion shopping mall in the Bukit Bintang district.

Dining opportunities are everywhere in KL, ranging from amazing street food right through to fine dining in posh hotels. However for a solo female traveller KL shopping malls are very attractive – the food is generally of a good standard and transport is readily available. Not to mention all the shops…

Celadon, Kuala Lumpur - pad thai goong
Pad thai goong

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mrs D’Ebro’s High Tea at InterContinental Melbourne, Melbourne CBD (by invitation) by Benny

‘High Tea’ has always evoked a feeling of decadence for me – more a social outing than a meal; a celebratory extravagance of times past. So I was surprised to learn that it actually started out in the mid 1700s as a no-nonsense working man’s meal served about 3pm, consumed standing up or sitting on tall stools, thus ‘high’. The afternoon extravagance that we now know as High Tea is likely an amalgam of that working man’s meal and the leisure classes’ Afternoon Tea, which was more a social event with tea (tea then being hugely expensive) and light snacks.

High Tea at the Intercontinental - Rialto: savoury and sweet treats
Irrespective of the history, Bilby Blue and I were delighted to be invited to a modern High Tea at the heritage-listed Intercontinental Melbourne – The Rialto. The Intercontinental provides the perfect setting for an indulgent social event from centuries past: it is housed in a beautiful reinvention of two heritage listed buildings from the 1890s – the Wool Exchange and the Rialto Building, both products of the post-gold rush era when Melbourne was the richest city in the world. You enter directly over the bluestone cobbled laneway that runs between the buildings, now transformed into a stunning multistorey atrium that bathes the hotel interior in natural light. The décor is as refined as you would expect from an international class hotel, and the Market Lane Bar (at street level, just inside the Wool Exchange) is a comfortable modern bar. Tables are laid with cloth napery, white crockery and fine, old-fashioned tea cups with a pastel pearlescent glaze.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Runya’s Room, Melbourne CBD (by invitation) by Ruby Grapefruit

Runya’s Room café and tea room is a new establishment located in the St Collins Lane retail mall. I was invited to sample their high tea which included a selection of savoury and sweet bites with a distinctly Middle-Eastern twist.

runya's room;  high tea
This is the lovely three tiered cake stand that the high tea is presented on.