Saturday, June 25, 2016

Miyako Japanese Cuisine & Teppanyaki, Southbank by Bilby Blue

A cultural immersion at the Art Book Fair at the NGV left Benny and me in the mood for a proper sit-down lunch (ie not the food court) but we didn’t want to spend too much. Although there are heaps of eateries in the Southbank precinct, it was also getting very late for lunch and options were becoming more limited as the lunchtime services were coming to a close.

Miyako has a reputation for being expensive, but a quick study of the menu displayed by the door showed that with careful planning (namely, go for lunch rather than dinner) it is definitely possible to dine there for a reasonable price. Plus if you manage to score one of the tables by the window – as we did by lunching very late – your meal will come with a spectacular view over the river.

Miyako Japanese Cuisine & Teppanyaki, baby octopus
Baby octopus with sansho pepper and soy sauce kushi

The best suggestion for the hungry and budget conscious: look to either the “sets” or the bento boxes. These are great value for money as they give you a number of separate dishes that will make up a very substantial meal. An added bonus for those unfamiliar with Japanese food is that these options will also ensure that the flavours of the different dishes complement each other, giving a great introduction to Japanese cuisine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hogan's Cafe Bar Restaurant, Wallan by Obelix

The Wallan Old Time Market has been a veritable new find for me.  Interesting and quirky stalls, friendly locals makes for a pleasant morning spent in the country.  Which leads me to lunch at Hogan's Cafe Bar Restaurant, a stone's throw away from all the action.

I had the Olds and Kiddo in tow who were hungry from bargain hunting and demanding a feed. Lucky for me, Hogan's have a Seniors Special as well as Kid's Menu so they were well accommodated for.

Hogan's, Wallan, chicken soup
The Olds both had the Seniors Menu which consisted of two courses for $14.  This consisted of an entree and main for one of them and a main and dessert for the other.  The entree was soup of the day which was a creamy chicken and vegetables.  As they were both taking nibbles off each other's plates, both reported the soup was hearty with chunks of chicken breast.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ultimate Melbourne winter's night out at Melbourne Central (by invitation)

I've always loved Melbourne Central - from when it housed Daimaru in the 1990s (and I had a very soft spot for the Paul Bocuse bakery which had the most amazing ham and cheese croissants), the futuristic conical tower and that big golden clock that always gets me choked up when it chimes Waltzing Matilda on the hour (plus, as a teenager, it provided a source of constant amusement among my friends and I as we'd imagine how we'd abseil down from the tower in the middle of the night to steal said clock a la Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible).

Flour Market, Afternoon Delight, Melbourne Central
Oh-my-god!

So when Melbourne Central invited the Eat and Be Merry Crew to its ultimate Melbourne winter's night out, I was there with bells on!

TGI Fridays, Melbourne CBD (by invitation) by Bureaucrat

Continuing our ultimate Melbourne winter's night out at Melbourne Central, we headed onto TGI Fridays for dinner.  Perhaps we're showing our age, but the Lawyer and I really enjoyed our time at TGI Fridays as it transported us back into 1990s - the cushy booths, the great rock hits from the 80s and 90s blasting out from the speakers and the super-friendly staff made us remember when life was simpler and when eating out wasn't about trying and bragging about the latest foodie fad.  It seemed like we weren't the only ones thinking like that - as the place was impressively full for a weeknight with diners and those chilling out with friends over a couple of drinks on the open-air balcony that overlooks Swanston Street.

TGI Fridays, rib eye steak
We (wisely) decided to skip entrees and start with our main dishes.  The Lawyer chose an epic 400 gram rib-eye steak, which came with cheddar cheese mashed potatoes, veggies, onion rings and gravy.  While he enjoyed the juicy steak, mash and onion rings, the veggies were a tad over-cooked.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bagelicious, Hawthorn (by invitation) by Bilby Blue

When it comes to bagels, I am a traditionalist. Smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and maybe some onion (depending on who I might be seeing later that day). It’s a classic, and for good reason. Nonetheless, we are always willing to try fresh ideas and so when Benny and I had an opportunity to check out the new Night Menu at Bagelicious, we were up for the challenge.

Bagelicious, Hawthorn, Nutella, marshmallow, pretzel, bagel
Cinnamon and raisin bagel with Nutella, tiny marshmallows and pretzels 

Bagelicious in Hawthorn opened a year ago, while its Elsternwick parent has been around for about six years. Close to Swinburne University, the Hawthorn outlet is popular with students (discounts are available on presentation of a student card and there is free WiFi). Inside is bright and cheery, with the exposed brick walls adding a warming element to the modern fitout. Seating is available both inside and outside on the footpath with a gas heater to keep the evening chill at bay. We were also pleased to see that the building’s original small leadlights had been retained.

The bagels are proper New York style bagels – boiled then baked. Don’t get me started about the utter travesty of bread rolls that claim to be bagels because they have a hole through the middle. A good authentic bagel has a completely different texture and taste to those of regular bread – dense and chewy, but not too heavy.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cafe Amba, South Yarra (by invitation) by Obelix

Situated directly opposite The Jam Factory on Chapel Street, Cafe Amba is well appointed for a quick coffee grab or a leisurely breakfast or lunch.  Its interiors are warm and inviting with exposed brickwork, smoky mirrors, wall mural and even an upstairs dining area complete with chandeliers.  The bouquets of fresh flowers strewn throughout was a fragrant touch (scroll down for photos!).

Cafe Amba, South Yarra
Ms A and I tried out their lunch menu after a stint of shopping.