Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ping's Dumpling Kitchen, Clayton by Bureaucrat

At the pedestrian crossing in the main shopping strip in Clayton you'll find a row of dumpling shops.  We peered into the windows of a few of them, and, using the logic of "if more people are eating there, so it must be good" the Lawyer and I decided to go with Ping's Dumpling Kitchen.  

Ping's Dumpling Kitchen, Clayton, pan fried pork dumplings
As we walked in, I spotted several tables tucking into some beautifully golden dumplings - I gots to gets me some of those, I thought!  However, when our plate of pan fried pork dumplings came, I was a bit let down.  While the dumplings did have a nice golden hue, most of them had a rather unappetising bits of burnt residue stuck on the bottom of them.  It was evident that the chefs needed to give their pans a good clean before they fry up their next batch of dumplings.

These dumplings were a good, hefty size.  The wrapping was a wee thick and there were lots of pork and veg inside of it.  However, I would have liked the dumplings to have some spring onion and ginger to give it more a punchy flavour.  As they are, these were okay but nothing exceptional.

Ping's Dumpling Kitchen, Clayton, stir fried combination seafood noodles
We also, unintentionally, ordered another one of the more popular dishes - stir fried noodles with seafood combination.  When we had placed the order, I asked the waitress twice whether the noodles would be "hor fun" (flat rice noodles) and she confirmed that it was.  However, when the dish came out, it was evident that it ain't flat rice noodles - it was a wheat-based noodle.  

Also disappointingly was the fact that the seafood was predominantly fish cake and a handful of tiny frozen shrimp.  The choi sum and wombok that was tossed through it were certainly not bought fresh from the market - they were a bit chewy, a bit limp and a bit tired.  The whole dish was smothered in a sauce that was heavy with dark soy sauce.  The Lawyer summed up this dish quite well: if you're hungover, then this dish would be alright.

Ping's Dumpling Kitchen, Clayton

Verdict

We wouldn't return
We wouldn’t return.
Cheap eats
Cheap eats.

Overall

Hmmm... this is one occasion that I wished I didn't follow the crowd.  Ping's Dumpling Kitchen is certainly popular (it was near capacity when we left during our mid-week lunch).  I can't say I was too impressed with the dumplings (my favourite for fried dumplings is still at Ramen & Dumpling House).

Having had a read through Big Fil's review back in 2011, it seems that while some things have stayed the same, some things have changed.  The interior is nicer these days (with nice wallpaper depicting oriental scenery, dark wooden furniture and chandeliers).  But it seems like tired veggies were still being plated up seven years ago too.

Find it at

Ping's Dumpling Kitchen
330 Clayton Road
Clayton VIC 3168
Phone: (03) 9558 8831

Ping's Dumpling Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Drugstore Espresso, South Yarra by Rockstar

I’ve walked by the Drugstore Espresso so many times, and noted that it is always filled with attractive looking hipster types - though I think they’d object to being called that. I guess to me it’s pretty cool. I was looking for somewhere central to brunch with the visiting Adelaideans. Plus as they’re also ex-Melbournians I needed somewhere with good coffee for Mr Adelaidean!

I hadn't realised that the place was a bit like the Tardis - bigger on the inside than on the outside! There’s a whole other level upstairs and I easily found us a table.

Drugstore Espresso, South Yarra, breakfast rice paper rolls
Breakfast rice paper rolls

The menu is fascinating, a mix of healthy options and Instagrammable combos like the blueberry and bacon doughnut burger and the slow-cooked duck Benedict with blood plum hollandaise.

Drugstore Espresso, South Yarra, peanut butter smoothie
Mr Adelaidean ordered a couple of coffees, toast and jam, and a peanut butter smoothie which was thick and enjoyed by him!

Drugstore Espresso, South Yarra, avocado toast with red chimichurri
I was tossing up between the avocado toast with red chimichurri, poached egg, goats curd and balsamic beetroot relish on pumpkin sourdough and the duck Benedict. The waiter weighed in stating that the avo was lighter than the Benedict which was a big serve. Having seen other diners tucking into the avo, I’m not sure how big the Benedict must be! I eventually ordered the avo toast minus the egg... and it defeated me! Although I did add a side of bacon, which was completely unnecessary but it has the perfect, melty, fatty, crunchy goodness. The goats curd and beetroot was a lovely hearty combo. I would have loved more of that red chimichurri as it was delicious!

Ms Adelaidean was tempted by the burger and was also interested in the Puetro Rican breakfast bowl but settled for the breakfast rice paper rolls with boiled egg, avo, carrot, cucumber, mango, bean shoots, noodles and a chilli peanut dipping sauce (see first pic). She advised they were a perfect light lunch choice for a Melbourne summer.

Unfortunately the service could have been better - Mr Adelaidean had to ask for his coffees a few times and had to search for a waiter.

Verdict

We liked it
We liked it.
Mid value
Mid value.

Overall

A funky, coffee-fuelled place with lots of interesting brunch choices - whether it’s tasty puritan choices or outrageously rich pickings!

Find it at

Drugstore Espresso
194 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: (03) 9827 5058

Drugstore Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Lucky Penny, South Yarra by Rockstar

Another sunny Melbourne weekend, another Melbourne brunch. My friend Ms Freo was having a massage near the Jam Factory, so we needed somewhere close and Lucky Penny met the brief.  

Lucky Penny, South Yarra, fruit punch, salted caramel milkshake
We needed something suitable for the heat. Ms Freo chose the home made fruit punch with pineapple ginger beer and fresh fruit. It was light fizzy and refreshing. My salted caramel milkshake was probably not the best choice for a hot day.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Longrain, Melbourne CBD by Rockstar

Friday night, two weeks before Christmas. A girls' birthday catch up was complicated by busy workplaces and last minutes diary changes. So: no booking - always a tough call in the city at any time let alone during the festive season. We organised to meet at Longsong, the new bar above Longrain. It’s a beautiful use of the space - high ceilings that retain the sense of history and it's nice and airy even on a summer’s night. 

Longrain, Melbourne, betel leaves
Betel leaves with poached prawn, coconut, snow peas and chilli jam

When the last of us arrived, she’d stopped by downstairs at Longrain to put our names down for dinner. I’ll admit to being rather grumpy at this point. I like things to be organised, I’d had a tough week and I didn’t have much faith we’d be having dinner at a decent hour. Plus the drinks menu at Longsong had nothing I wanted. We sat, the girls had a beer and just as our whipped smoked fish with crispbread arrived, we got a call announcing our table downstairs was available! We quickly demolished the salty delicious smoked fish and toppled down the stairs to Longrain.  

Monday, January 8, 2018

Yokohama Teppanyaki, Glen Waverley by Obelix

Teppanyaki is the theatre restaurant equivalent in Japanese cuisine.  Set menus; a bit of a showmanship served with an undercurrent of ribaldry usually catering to a group of revellers.  It is good fun with food thrown in (literally).

Yokohama Teppanyaki, Glen Waverley, salad
Salad

A big group of us lunched on the Moriawase menu ($57.50 per person).  As far as teppanyaki menus go, it was a balanced menu with plenty of veggies.  The seafood was fresh and the steak tender.  Dietary requirements were able to be accommodated.  I received a fruit plate instead of the ice cream for dessert and seafood allergies were catered for by substituting extra steak in lieu of seafood.  The chefs (we had two) thoughtfully adjusted the timing the seafood was cooked to minimise contact with other foods.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Pho Minh Long, Mitcham by Bureaucrat

Tasty, reliable and great value is how I'd describe Pho Minh Long.  Pho Minh Long is a modest Vietnamese restaurant located on the outer edge of the Mitcham shopping precinct. It does a roaring trade. Every time I go there, it's quite full with families, office workers and tradies.  Even when it first opens for the day at 10:30am it's already about a quarter full with punters getting an early start at lunch - I know this as I once needed lunch that early!  The service is quick but not overly brusque (unlike other 'cheap eats' restaurants).

Pho Minh Long, Mitcham, rice paper rolls
It's hard not to order some pork and prawn rice paper rolls when I'm at a Vietnamese restaurant, and these were pretty good.  I particularly liked how these were made-to-order as the noodles inside the roll were still warm.