Homeslice, Richmond

Homeslice (16)

Homeslice is the next venture from Daragh Kan and Myles Munro – the people behind Mr Burger and Fancy Hank’s (and soon, Welcome to Thornbury, a the food-truck park and beer garden) – and business partner Hugh Hindle (Tall Timber). Together with head chef Antony Campbell (ex-Enoteca Sileno), they’ve put together a menu that deviates a little from the combinations typically found on pizzas.

Homeslice - Menu

Previously a yarn store just off Swan St, the long and narrow space has been reworked to now feature a simple, bright interior designed by Therefore Studio, with white tiling, light-grey painted brick and white steel beams running above the kitchen. Daragh and Myles did much of the hard work themselves, and a year later their efforts have finally paid off. The vibe is casual and welcoming.

Homeslice (66)

Homeslice’s 12″ pizzas utilise quality cured products like hams and the beautifully, evenly cured salami from Salumi Australia, an Australian owned and operated boutique smallgoods business in northern NSW. Apart from the ubiquitous salami, a range of pork products are used, including prosciutto, sausages and smoked ham. There are a number of vegetarian options too, like Margherita, Eggplant and Pumpkin, and a fish option in the form of the Sicilian, with anchovies. Dough is stretched and shaped to order, toppings lovingly arranged, and 4 minutes later the pizza is ready to enjoy straight out of the oven.

Homeslice - Tropical Pizza with Roasted Pork Shoulder, Pineapple, Salsa Verde, Mozzarella and Tomato ($18)

Tropical Pizza with Roasted Pork Shoulder, Pineapple, Salsa Verde, Mozzarella and Tomato ($18)

Homeslice - Tropical Pizza with Roasted Pork Shoulder, Pineapple, Salsa Verde, Mozzarella and Tomato ($18)

We began with the Tropical, with roasted pork shoulder, pineapple, salsa verde, mozzarella and tomato. The free-range Berkshire pork shoulder was marinated for 2 days, then slow-roasted in the oven before being used as a topping. The whole pineapple slices were also caramelised in the oven first, to give them an extra dimension of flavour. Squirts of salsa verde provided some fresh zing to what I suppose could also be described as a tasty, up-market Hawaiian. The base was thin and crispy with a nice puff around the edges. I don’t always finish the crust on my pizzas, but this time I couldn’t help myself.

Homeslice - Cured Pork Cheek Pizza with Brussel Sprouts, Roasted Garlic, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Tomato ($18)

Cured Pork Cheek Pizza with Brussel Sprouts, Roasted Garlic, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Tomato ($18)

Homeslice - Cured Pork Cheek Pizza with Brussel Sprouts, Roasted Garlic, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Tomato ($18)

Next up was the cured pork cheek with brussel sprouts, roasted garlic, parmesan, mozzarella and tomato. This one was as pretty as a picture. There were bursts of saltiness from the cured pork cheek, and a lovely punch of flavour from the parmesan and garlic. Not a fan of brussel sprouts? Don’t worry. The bitter sulfur flavour that’s often the big turn off for brussel sprout-haters isn’t obvious. Here, the inner layers of the sprouts are finely sliced and arranged as a bed for the other ingredients, offering a tender texture and gentle flavour that we both really enjoyed. The outer layers were scattered on top to give vibrant, visual appeal and a little extra bite. This pizza had a cleaner, fresher taste and was a great alternative to the tomato-based ones.

Homeslice - Balsamic Glazed Figs with Baby Spinach, Roasted Almonds and Pecorino ($9.50)

Balsamic Glazed Figs with Baby Spinach, Roasted Almonds and Pecorino ($9.50)

Homeslice - Balsamic Glazed Figs with Baby Spinach, Roasted Almonds and Pecorino ($9.50)

Homeslice also offers a range of seasonal salads and sides like antipasto and roasted garlic pizza. The roast pumpkin salad looked and sounded rather good, but today we had balsamic glazed dried fig salad with baby spinach, addictively crunchy roasted almonds and tasty pecorino.

Homeslice (19)

The store is fully-licensed, featuring wine and local craft beers like Two Birds and Mountain Goat, and will be offering delivery (with driver tracking!) from September 1. More quality eateries are popping up around Swan St, and if you’re after pizza, Homeslice is one to check out.

Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Homeslice as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.

Homeslice Pizza
321 Lennox St
Richmond, VIC, 3121
(03) 9429 3009
www.homeslice.pizza

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Rubira’s, North Melbourne

Rubira's Oyster Night (14)

Rubira’s is a popular and busy seafood restaurant that had its beginnings in Port Melbourne, and was expanded to North Melbourne nearly a year ago. It was started up by fourth generation hotelier, Paul Taberner, and restauranteur and third generation fish monger, John Rubira. John himself gets up in the early hours of every morning to get first pickings at the fish markets. For the North Melbourne branch, this wonderfully fresh and high quality seafood is prepared by Adam Barge, who came over from Port Melbourne to head up the kitchen.

Rubira's Oyster Night (24)

Rubira's Oyster Night (26)

A wide range of wines and other tipples are also available to go with all that seafood.

Rubira's Oyster Night (10)

Seafood is obviously something Rubira’s does well and is famous for, but if you happen to not be in the mood, there are alternatives like steak, veal and duck. Being dependent on the quality of produce available that day, there are plenty of things to choose from the daily specials board. You might find calamari, scallops, scampi or crayfish. And of course, oysters. It’s a great time of year for oysters, and oysters were the main focus today – it was time for Rubira’s annual oyster night!

Rubira's Oyster Night (21)

Sourcing oysters from all over Australia, John expertly matches the individual characteristics of the oysters from each region to particular preparations.

Rubira's Oyster Night - Oysters au Naturale

Oysters au Naturale

One of the best ways to appreciate oysters is au naturale. With just a little squeeze of lemon, or a touch of red wine vinegar dressing, the sweet, plump and fresh oysters were a real treat. It was difficult to get a photo of the full platter as they disappeared almost as soon as they came to the table!

Rubira's Oyster Night - Oysters Kilpatrick

Oysters Kilpatrick

Rubira's Oyster Night - Oysters Mornay

Oysters Mornay

Rubira's Oyster Night - Champagne Oysters

Champagne Oysters

There were other classic oyster preparation like flavoursome and tangy oysters kilpatrick, oysters mornay made with a combination of gruyere and parmesan, and champagne oysters.

Rubira's Oyster Night - Beer-battered Oysters

Beer-battered Oysters

We loved the addictive beer-battered oysters, which had an incredibly crispy coating, but still seemed to retain all their juicy goodness.

It wasn’t all about oysters though. We were also treated to some other amazing seafood like:

Rubira's Oyster Night - Hervey Bay Scallops with Chilli

…half-shell Hervey Bay Scallops with a gorgeous, simple but tasty dressing, topped with chilli…

Rubira's Oyster Night - Crumbed Fish with Sweet Chilli Sauce

…crumbed fish fillets with sweet chilli sauce…

Rubira's Oyster Night - Beer-battered Tiger Flathead and Chips

… crispy, juicy and piping-hot beer-battered Tiger Flathead fillets and chips…

Rubira's Oyster Night - Calamari

Calamari

… and tender, lightly floured local bay calamari.

A private function room with a tailored dining menu is also available for booking, with enough room to accommodate 50 people seated, or 80 people standing. The quality of seafood really was top notch, and expert handling of the produce allowed us to enjoy the seafood at its best. Whether you’re after a location for a function, or just wanting to sample some of the wonderful seafood we have in Australia, Rubira’s is an option you should consider.

Rubira's Oyster Night (3)

Disclaimer: I was invited to Rubira’s Oyster Night as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.

Rubira’s
480 Victoria Street
North Melbourne, VIC, 3052
(03) 9329 1634
http://rubiras.com.au/

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Square and Compass, East Melbourne

It was freezing. It was just under 1C, apparently felt like -4C and even though I was in a rush to get out of the house, I had to defrost the thin sheet of ice that had formed on the car’s windscreen first. We had just woken up to the coldest morning in Melbourne in 18 years, and I thought, ‘Surely there won’t be many people out for brunch today. Normal people would be trying to hibernate under the warm covers of their beds…right?’. Wrong. There was still a queue outside Square and Compass a short while later. It seems nothing can get between Melburnians and their voracious appetite for cafes.

Square and Compass

Behind Square and Compass is the experienced trio of Kael Sahely (Pillar of Salt, Touchwood, Barry), Matt Stribley (Porgie & Mr Jones) and Jeremy Fraser as co-owner/head chef (ex-Barry, Porgie & Mr Jones). A quaint red-brick exterior with custom-made wrought-iron fencing fronts a simple and bold black, white and pale wood-themed interior created by Therefore Studio.

Square and Compass

Upon entering we were immediately confronted with an enticing spread on the sweets display counter. Featuring Doughboys doughnuts, raw slices from Raw Galore, salads, bircher and rolls filled with poached chicken, pork belly and lamb shoulder ready to go, the cabinet was quite impressive and those doughnuts were disappearing rapidly.

Square and Compass

I was told the wait would be 10-15 minutes for a table for two, but literally a minute after we stepped back out to join the other hungry brunch-goers, a table was ready for us. The menu covers oaty, eggy and toasty options, as well as lunch-type dishes like pasta and the lavish lobster roll with sriracha mayo, green mango, coriander and lime. Drinks include Seven Seeds coffee and Mork hot chocolate, smoothies, kombucha and cold pressed juices by Ayomo.

Square and Compass - Omelette, Chargrilled Leeks, Hazelnuts, Pecorino (with Salad) ($16.50)

Omelette, Chargrilled Leeks, Hazelnuts, Pecorino (with Salad) ($16.50)

Square and Compass - Omelette, Chargrilled Leeks, Hazelnuts, Pecorino (with Salad) ($16.50)

Omelette, Chargrilled Leeks, Hazelnuts, Pecorino (with Salad) ($16.50)

A2 opted for the omelette with salad. Buttery leeks, plump mushrooms, crunchy hazelnuts and glistening, just-cooked eggs made this one satisfying meal. I would recommend the toast over salad. I think toast would have complemented the moist eggs and leeks perfectly, but then again, I love my bread.

Square and Compass - Californian Superfood Salad, Kale, Tomato, Charred Corn, Goji Berry, Wild Rice, Black Turtle Bean, Quinoa, Jalapeño, Coriander, Salted Ricotta, Poached Chicken ($15.50+3.50)

Californian Superfood Salad, Kale, Heirloom Tomatoes, Charred Corn, Goji Berry, Wild Rice, Black Turtle Bean, Quinoa, Jalapeño, Coriander, Salted Ricotta, Poached Chicken ($15.50+3.50)

I really wanted to try the ancient grain salad with cauliflower rice, poached egg and seared cured trout, but it had just been swapped out for the broccolini salad in the new menu. I was disappointed, but not completely surprised, seeing as it had taken me two months to get around to visiting. I settled for the Californian superfood salad instead. It was composed of kale, heirloom tomatoes, charred corn, goji berries, wild rice, black turtle beans, quinoa, jalapeños, coriander and salted ricotta, and I also added on the optional poached chicken. I rarely order salads and the salad itself was admittedly more tasty than I thought it would be, though I did make use of the salt and pepper for the poached chicken. I absolutely loved the nutty chewiness from the toasted wild rice and wishes there was more of it hidden inside. I have to say I’m not a raw tomato person, but the bright red and yellow heirloom tomatoes made this salad pop with colour and freshness.

There aren’t too many cafes in this part of East Melbourne, but especially being just over the road from Collingwood, things have the potential to change. Square and Compass may be the first of many to come, but it’s a solid offering and though it’s early days yet, the queues outside can attest to that.

 

Square and Compass
222 Clarendon Street
East Melbourne, VIC, 3002
(03) 9416 4914
http://squareandcompass.com.au/

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Highlander Bar, Melbourne CBD

Highlander Bar (28)

After acquiring a birthday voucher for the venue, we dropped in to Highlander Bar for a quick post-uni/work celebratory feast before returning home. Though I’ve visited Highlander Bar previously, I didn’t try much of the menu so this was a good opportunity to see what else was on offer.

Highlander Bar - Bison - Bison Vodka, Blackberry Juice, Cloudy Apple, Cucumber, Spices ($18)

Bison Fling – Bison Vodka, Blackberry Juice, Cloudy Apple, Cucumber, Spices ($18)

This cocktail was a bit of a surprise. Made with Bison vodka, blackberry juice, cloudy apple, cucumber and spices, one sip and I was instantly reminded of hoisin sauce. It was an interesting combination, but not necessarily a bad one.

Highlander Bar - Grilled Corn with Chilli Lime Butter ($6)

Grilled Corn with Chilli Lime Butter ($6)

The grilled corn was slathered in a tasty chilli lime butter, and though the corn wasn’t as sweet and juicy as corn can be, it was still a great snack.

Highlander Bar - Croquettes - Smoked Haddock and Tattie Croquettes with House Pickles and Tartare ($10)

Croquettes – Smoked Haddock and Tattie Croquettes with House Pickles and Tartare ($10)

I particularly liked the smoked fragrance and flavour of the haddock and how smooth the innards of the croquettes were.

Highlander Bar - Scottish Rolls - Pork and Black Pudding Sausage Rolls with House BBQ Sauce ($12)

Scottish Rolls – Pork and Black Pudding Sausage Rolls with House BBQ Sauce ($12)

The Scottish rolls didn’t quite stand out after the other two snack plates. It sounded interesting on paper, being made with pork and black pudding. A2 liked the pastry, but we all found the meat filling to be dry and a bit plain. It really needed the BBQ sauce for moisture and flavour, and thankfully it was quite good.

Highlander Bar - Fat Bastard - Double Chargrilled Spiced Wagyu Beef Pattie, Double Cheese, House Pickles, Malt Whisky Ketchup, Mustard, Brioche, Seasoned Fried ($18)

Fat Bastard – Double Chargrilled Spiced Wagyu Beef Pattie, Double Cheese, House Pickles, Malt Whisky Ketchup, Mustard, Brioche, Seasoned Fried ($18)

I didn’t try any of it, but J thought his burger was pretty good. Named the Fat Bastard, the brioche bun contained double char-grilled wagyu pattie, double cheese, house pickles, malt whisky ketchup and mustard.

Highlander Bar - Spiced Minced Wagyu, Guac, Cabbage, Salsa, Cheese, Chipotle Mayo, Herbs; Crispy Chicken, Guac, Tomato Salsa, Cabbage, Herbs Jalapeno Mayo; Crispy Fish, Lime Avocado, Green Apple, Cabbage

Spiced Minced Wagyu, Guac, Cabbage, Salsa, Cheese, Chipotle Mayo, Herbs; Crispy Chicken, Guac, Tomato Salsa, Cabbage, Herbs Jalapeno Mayo; Crispy Fish, Lime Avocado, Green Apple, Cabbage, Mayo

Highlander Bar - Falafel, Salsa, Cabbage, Eggplant Dip; Crispy Chicken, Guac, Tomato Salsa, Cabbage, Jalapeno Mayo; Crispy Fish, Lime Avocado, Green Apple, Cabbage, Mayo, Herbs ($6 each)

Falafel, Salsa, Cabbage, Eggplant Dip; Crispy Chicken, Guac, Tomato Salsa, Cabbage, Jalapeno Mayo; Crispy Fish, Lime Avocado, Green Apple, Cabbage, Mayo, Herbs ($6 each)

We then proceeded to gorge ourselves on tacos. Between the three of us, we sampled each of the flavours available. There was spiced minced wagyu, guac, cabbage, tomato salsa, cheese and chipotle mayo; crispy chicken with guac, tomato salsa, cabbage and jalapeno mayo; crispy fish, lime, avocado, green apple, and mayo; and falafel, with salsa, cabbage and eggplant dip. A2 really enjoyed the falafel – the eggplant dip may have had something to do with it. The beef taco was tasty, though could have done with a bit more moisture. Out of the four, my favourite was the fish taco which was textural and refreshing.

Highlander Bar
11a Highlander Lane
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9620 2228
http://highlanderbar.squarespace.com/
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Rockpool Bar & Grill, Southbank

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Anticipation was building as we wandered down the walkway lined with accolade upon accolade, framed and arranged lovingly on the wall…

Rockpool Bar & Grill

… and past the large, buzzing open kitchen to our table, where we had an exciting view of the action on one side, and a lovely view of the river on the other. To celebrate a birthday, we had chosen Rockpool Bar and Grill, at the ‘Neil Perry end’ of the Crown complex, also home to Rosetta and Spice Temple.

Rockpool Bar & Grill - Sourdough

Rockpool Bar & Grill - Four Raw Tastes of The Sea - Kingfish w Cos & Tea Smoked Oyster Dressing, Ocean Trout w Harissa & Preserved Lemon, Tuna w Coriander & Ginger, Scampi Ceviche

Four Raw Tastes of The Sea – Kingfish w Cos & Tea Smoked Oyster Dressing, Ocean Trout w Harissa & Preserved Lemon, Tuna w Coriander & Ginger, Scampi Ceviche

We began our evening with Rockpool’s signature Four Raw Tastes of the Sea. The plate was arranged with kingfish with a cos and tea-smoked oyster dressing, ocean trout with harissa and preserved lemon, tuna with ginger and coriander, and finally a scampi ceviche.

Rockpool Bar & Grill - Pine Mushrooms and Scampi with  Sage, Burnt Butter and Soft White Polenta ($32)

Pine Mushrooms and Scampi with Sage, Burnt Butter and Soft White Polenta ($32)

Our second dish is one from the hot starters section of the menu – pine mushrooms and scampi with sage, burnt butter and soft white polenta. The scampi were tender and the mushrooms were meaty and flavourful, but the polenta was a little plain and we found ourselves sprinkling a bit of salt to it.

Rockpool Bar & Grill - Red Lea Corn Fed Half Chicken with Black Truffle and Creamed Leek ($52)

Red Lea Corn Fed Half Chicken with Black Truffle and Creamed Leek ($52)

Rockpool Bar & Grill - Red Lea Corn Fed Half Chicken with Black Truffle and Creamed Leek ($52)

Red Lea Corn Fed Half Chicken with Black Truffle and Creamed Leek ($52)

Perhaps before we had even arrived at the restaurant, A2 had decided on the Red Lea corn-fed half chicken with black truffle and creamed leek. We all expected there to be just a small sprinkle of truffle flakes on top. How wrong we were. There were truffle slices under the chicken, truffle slices under the skin, truffle slices everywhere. A2 joked that it could have been named ‘Black truffle with a side of roast chicken and leeks’. The chicken was tender, and not even the breast had a hint of dryness.
Rockpool Bar & Grill - Grilled Glacier 51 Toothfish with   Globe Artichoke, White Beans and Speck ($52)

Grilled Glacier 51 Toothfish with Globe Artichoke, White Beans and Speck ($52)

Mum’s choice of the mains was the grilled Glacier 51 Toothfish with globe artichoke, white beans and speck. Also known as Patagonian toothfish, it is sometimes dubbed ‘wagyu of the sea’ due to its clean, sweet flavour and firm, yet delicate texture. Unfortunately mum was quite disappointed with the fish, which she found to be bland and a little dry. It was not at all what she was expecting, having had wonderful experiences with the fish previously.
Rockpool Bar & Grill - Cape Grim Dry Aged 36 Month Old Grass Fed Rib-Eye On The Bone 350g 60 Days ($60)

Cape Grim Dry Aged 36 Month Old Grass Fed Rib-Eye On The Bone 350g 60 Days ($60)

Rockpool Bar & Grill - David Blackmore Full Blood Wagyu (9+ Marble Score) Topside 240g 24 Days ($49)

David Blackmore Full Blood Wagyu (9+ Marble Score) Topside 240g 24 Days ($49)

You can’t really go to Rockpool and not order a steak at least once. Both dad and I ordered a steak; he, the David Blackmore full blood wagyu (9+ marble score) topside, and me, the Cape Grim dry-aged 36 month old grass-fed rib-eye on the bone. When I was deciding between the 36 and the 60 month old steaks, the waitress explained that the 36 month old would be sweeter and more tender, whilst the 60 month old would have a more beefy, gamey flavour and more bite. After the steaks arrived we were offered a selection of mustards, harissa and BBQ sauce. Dad had already requested bearnaise to go with his steak, but we thought we’d try some of these other condiments. Both steaks were cooked perfectly and evenly throughout, with a nice, tasty charr. The wagyu had a smoother, richer texture, as expected, however I found myself leaning towards the Cape Grim rib eye because of its beefier flavour. As during my experience at Steer, I decided I preferred my steak without condiments and sauces so I could better appreciate the quality beef.

Rockpool Bar & Grill - “Mac and Cheese” with speck ($12)

“Mac and Cheese” with speck ($12)

The mac and cheese with speck was rich and packed with flavour.

Rockpool Bar & Grill - Dutch Cream Potatoes Sautéed with Wagyu Fat, Garlic and Rosemary ($10)

Dutch Cream Potatoes Sautéed with Wagyu Fat, Garlic and Rosemary ($10)

Wagyu fat sounded tempting, and the traditional pairing of potatoes with steak was appealing, so we ordered a side of Dutch Cream potatoes sautéed with wagyu fat, garlic and rosemary. Somewhat disappointingly, only the very small pieces of potato had crispy outer layers, and most of the pieces were dry.

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Especially being a two-hatted restaurant, we came to Rockpool with high expectations. Unfortunately they were not quite met. Though there was nothing absolutely terrible with our meals, the standard of food wasn’t consistent, and a few of the dishes seemed a bit overpriced. There were a few highlights, including the pleasant and attentive service and their signature steaks, so I do hope our experience was an anomaly.

Rockpool Bar and Grill
Crown Casino
8 Whiteman St
Southbank, VIC, 3006
(03) 8648 1900
http://www.rockpool.com/rockpoolbarandgrillmelbourne
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Waterslide Bar, Southbank

Waterslide Bar Launch

Waterslide Bar is the newest addition to Southgate, taking its place right next to La Camera. Fred Siggins (of Black Pearl) and Former Australian Bar Manager of the Year, Tim Wastell (Rockpool Perth, The Blue Diamond, The Saint St Kilda), have teamed up to create the cocktail menu and extensive drinks list, featuring wines and spirits, including nine pages of whiskeys.

Waterslide Bar Launch

Techne Architecture and Design were in charge of the fit out, utilising dark timbers, gold and purple shades to create an ambience of retro elegance. There are plenty of different spots to hang out, from cosy lounge chairs and cushy booths to bar seats and outdoors stools.

Waterslide Bar Launch

Its unusual name is explained by the fact that there was once a waterslide occupying this site in the 1900s, which would deposit thrill seekers into the Yarra. Though I highly doubt anyone would want to be propelled into the Yarra in this day and age, Waterslide Bar still boasts amazing views of the city from the river side.

Waterslide Bar Launch - Gin And Lavender Gimlet Punch

Gin And Lavender Gimlet Punch

Its signature cocktail menu features modern combinations and also pay homage to the site’s heritage. There’s the Wirth’s Circus, with Tequila, fresh pressed watermelon juice, Cocchi Americano and coriander, and the Prince’s Court, with Tanqueray gin, whole lemon, lavender syrup and lemon thyme garnish.

Waterslide Bar Launch

Waterslide Bar Launch

Waterslide Bar Launch - Name In Lights-Pampero Blanco, Passionfruit, Lime, Pho Spices, Viet Mint $17; Grace Kelly-Hendrick’s Gin, Pear Juice, Earl Grey, Honey, Cinnamon Syrup $20

Name In Lights-Pampero Blanco, Passionfruit, Lime, Pho Spices, Viet Mint $17; Grace Kelly-Hendrick’s Gin, Pear Juice, Earl Grey, Honey, Cinnamon Syrup $20

Two other signature cocktails available are the Name in Lights containing Pampero Blanco, passion fruit, lime, Pho spices and Vietnamese mint, and the Grace Kelly, a combination of Hendrick’s Gin, fresh pressed pear juice, Earl Grey, honey, cinnamon syrup and dehydrated apple garnish. Name in Lights was lovely and refreshing, whilst the Grace Kelly gave quite a kick.

Waterslide Bar Launch - Paloma - Tromba Blanco Tequila, Capi Pink Grapefruit, Lime, Spiced Salt ($14)

Paloma – Tromba Blanco Tequila, Capi Pink Grapefruit, Lime, Spiced Salt ($14)

The food menu contains a few items, from lighter options like Mediterranean-style pickled and marinated octopus, and market fish carpaccio to heartier ones like pork belly skewers, deep fried gnocchi and soft shell crab po’boys.

Waterslide Bar Launch - Spicy Beef with Tomato Chutney

Spicy Beef with Tomato Chutney

Waterslide Bar Launch - Twice Cooked Pork Belly Skewers with Spiced Plum Sauce

Twice Cooked Pork Belly Skewers with Spiced Plum Sauce

Waterslide Bar Launch - Goat's Cheese Tarts

Goat’s Cheese Tarts

Waterslide Bar Launch - Lamb Pastries

Lamb Pastries

Waterslide Bar Launch - Arancini filled with Italian Tallegio and Garlic Aioli

Arancini filled with Italian Tallegio and Garlic Aioli

Waterslide Bar Launch - Arancini filled with Italian Tallegio and Garlic Aioli

Arancini filled with Italian Tallegio and Garlic Aioli

The moreish arancini were moist and crunchy, and the garlic aioli was a great pairing.

Waterslide Bar Launch - Kataifi Prawns

Kataifi Prawns

Waterslide Bar Launch - Pulled Pork Sliders

Pulled Pork Sliders

Waterslide Bar Launch - Paella with Pulled Chicken, Prawns, Chorizo Crumb, Corn

Paella with Pulled Chicken, Prawns, Chorizo Crumb, Corn

My favourite dish was the paella with chicken, prawns, chorizo and corn. It was so flavoursome and the ingredients were generously interspersed throughout the rice.

Waterslide Bar Launch - Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

Waterslide Bar has something for everyone with its wide ranges of offerings for all sorts of budgets, and its prime location make it a venue to consider.

 

Disclaimer: I was invited to the launch of Waterslide Bar as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way

Waterslide Bar
Southgate
Shop MR3 Mid Level East End, Southgate Avenue
Southbank VIC 3006
waterslidebar.com.au

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Scarvelli Cafe, Balwyn

Scarvelli Cafe (29)edit

A cafe with a difference, Scarvelli holds a paddock to plate philosophy. Though many cafes use local produce, not many can claim to source it from their own farm. Down at Swan Bay on the Bellarine Peninsula, is a sustainable farm run by Scarvelli Cafe’s owner, Clare Voitin, used to provide for the cafe’s seasonal produce-driven menu. This philosophy extends to the cafe itself, where pots are being readied for planting herbs.

Scarvelli Cafe (7)edit

Scarvelli Cafe (73)

Scarvelli also has quite the reputation for quality coffee, using beans roasted by Industry Beans.

Scarvelli Cafe (63)

The friendly and efficient staff, and quirky, but quaint decor (including a rather endearing…deer theme) help create a pleasant and comfortable vibe that’s perfect for taking time out of a busy day and enjoying pleasant company.

Scarvelli Cafe (58)edit

There was lovely outdoor courtyard area, which unfortunately was a little too chilly to enjoy that day. Instead we settled into the cosy booth seats in the corner and inspected the delicious-sounding menu. There’s some cafe favourites on the all-day breakfast menu such as muesli, and avocado on toast, but also many interesting items like chilli eggs and ham, wood-fired salmon, and the healthy-sounding Good Life Bowl.

Scarvelli Cafe (13)edit

Scarvelli Cafe - Chai Latte ($4.50)

Chai Latte ($4.50)

Black Coffee - Tres Barras, Brazil ($3.50)

Tres Barras, Brazil ($3.50)

We began by warming our bellies with some lovely hot drinks: some Prana Chai, and single origin coffee.

Scarvelli Cafe - Our Braised Swan Bay Beef - Slow Braised Beef Cheek, Torn and Stuffed in Baked Mushrooms, Parsnip Puree, Brioche and Herb Crumb, Pickled Onion, Leaves ($19.50)

Our Braised Swan Bay Beef ($19.50)

A2 went with one of the lunch items. Beef cheek sourced from Swan Bay Farm was braised, then torn and stuffed into baked mushrooms, accompanied by parsnip puree and sprinkled with brioche and herb crumbs, pickled onion and a handful of rocket leaves. The creamy parsnip puree provided a good counterpoint to the flavoursome beef, and the tasty crumb went together wonderfully with them. It could have done with a little more freshness, perhaps more of the pickled onion, but it was still a hearty dish perfect for the colder months.

Scarvelli Cafe - Dukkah Eggs + Sourdough - Crumbed Poached Eggs, Cauliflower Puree, Pinenuts, Spiced Spinach, Pomegranate ($17.50+3)

Dukkah Eggs + Sourdough – Crumbed Poached Eggs, Cauliflower Puree, Pinenuts, Spiced Spinach, Pomegranate ($17.50+3)

Scarvelli Cafe - Dukkah Eggs + Sourdough - Crumbed Poached Eggs, Cauliflower Puree, Pinenuts, Spiced Spinach, Pomegranate ($17.50+3)

Dukkah Eggs + Sourdough – Crumbed Poached Eggs, Cauliflower Puree, Pinenuts, Spiced Spinach, Pomegranate ($17.50+3)

The dukkah eggs were calling my name and I just couldn’t resist. Poached eggs crumbed with dukkah were perched upon a bed of spiced spinach and cauliflower puree. Perfectly oozy eggs married well with the smooth creaminess of the cauliflower puree and decadent, rich, nutty bite from the pine nuts. This was all balanced with refreshing and tangy pops of pomegranate seeds. It was amazing. I can see why it’s one of the most popular dishes here. I also opted for the addition of toast on the side. The generous slices of toasted sourdough were tasty on their own, but also perfect for mopping up the last vestiges of the dish. It would have been a shame to waste any of it!

Gluten Free Lemon Friand and Chocolate and Nut Brownie

Gluten Free Lemon Friand and Chocolate and Nut Brownie

Upon leaving we were handed some gluten-free goodies to take away and enjoy. Of course, we couldn’t wait and devoured them as soon as we got home. All the sweets are homemade apart from the croissants. The friand, though a tad sweet, had a refreshing lemony flavour. In contrast, the brownie was rich and decadent with large nut pieces scattered within.

Scarvelli Cafe (69)

The paddock to plate philosophy at Scarvelli is an admirable one, and the food is top notch to boot. Scarvelli is definitely worth a visit, and hopefully I’ll be back soon!

 

Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Scarvelli Cafe as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.

Scarvelli Cafe
03 9816 8887
143 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn, VIC, 3103
http://scarvellicafe.com.au/

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Masak Ku, Camberwell

Masak Ku opened just last year, close to Camberwell station. Simon and Mary Lee have presented to us a more upmarket restaurant experience for Malaysian cuisine, rather than sticking to the more common casual, hawker style of eatery. Taking over from a Chinese restaurant that previously occupied the site, shades were removed from the chandeliers, brightening up the room and providing a warm and inviting dining space. The restaurant is available also for functions of up to nearly 60 people.

Masak Ku (8)

Masak Ku is Malay for ‘my cooking’, and the menu features both hawker dishes and home-style food. Coming from a Malaysian background, I love the vast variety of food featured in Malaysian cuisine, with its influences from many communities including Malay, Chinese and Indian. I haven’t found too many Malaysian restaurants that I really like in Melbourne, so I was interested to see how Masak Ku stacked up.

Masak Ku - Aquarium

In an attempt to try a variety of things, we started with some entrees:

Masak Ku - Butter Prawns - Pan-fried Whole Prawns with Butter, Curry Leaves, Chillies, Garlic, Tossed with Desiccated Coconut, Eggs and Cassava Crackers ($26)

Butter Prawns – Pan-fried Whole Prawns with Butter, Curry Leaves, Chillies, Garlic, Tossed with Desiccated Coconut, Eggs and Cassava Crackers ($26)

Masak Ku - Butter Prawns - Pan-fried Whole Prawns with Butter, Curry Leaves, Chillies, Garlic, Tossed with Desiccated Coconut, Eggs and Cassava Crackers ($26)

The Butter Prawns had been fried with butter, curry leaves, chilli and garlic, then tossed with desiccated coconut and eggs. Available as either shelled or shell-on, we asked for them to be shelled because we were feeling a bit lazy that day. Though the flavours were not particularly rich, the prawns were still tasty. Cassava crackers were also given on the side and provided a nice textural component to the dish.

Masak Ku - Chilli and Szechuan Pepper Squid - Lightly Dusted and Spiced with Szechuan Pepper, Drizzled with Chilli Oil ($9.50)

Chilli and Szechuan Pepper Squid made for a mouth-watering and slightly addictive appetiser. The tender pieces of lightly-floured squid were drizzled with chilli oil and also came with a pleasing kick of szechuan pepper on the surface.

Masak Ku - Potato Prawn - Snap-fried Prawn Wrapped Around with Long Strands of Potato, Green Papaya Salad, Chilli Mayo ($9.50)

Potato Prawns

This was my favourite of the smaller dishes. I loved the juicy prawns encased with the spiraling, crispy strands of potato. A very pleasurable tasty, textural experience.

Masak Ku - Coconut Prawns with Achar and Chilli Mayo

Coconut Prawns with Achar and Chilli Mayo

It wasn’t until after we’d ordered that I realised we had so many prawn dishes. Even so, it provided us an opportunity to see what different prawn dishes Masak Ku had to offer. Laid on top of a small mound of achar, a side-dish of spicy, pickled vegetables, these prawns were coated in a very crispy, coconutty coating. Like the potato prawns, the meat was juicy inside and the chilli mayo was great for dipping them in.

Masak Ku - Gado Gado - Lightly Blanched Vegetables, Fried Tofu, Soft-boiled Egg, House-made Satay Sauce ($14)

We then moved on to the mains. Our vegetable dish for today was the gado gado – lightly blanched vegetables, fried tofu, soft-boiled egg and house-made satay sauce. It also arrived with a few pieces of lightly-flavoured, packed rice,  like ketupat. A little different to what we’re used to, the gado gado sauce tasted strongly of cumin, which may not be to everyone’s tastes.

Masak Ku - Double-cooked Pork Belly - Braised in Master Stock, Snap Fried and Glaced with Sauce Reduction, Asian Greens ($25)

The double-cooked pork belly had first been braised in master stock, then fried and dressed with a reduction. The meat was tender, and surprisingly lean. The greens found underneath the layers of pork were a good partner for the delectable meat.

Masak Ku - Teochew Braised Duck - Sliced Duck, Tofu, Boiled Egg, Master Stock Sauce, Garlic Vinegar Dipping Sauce ($25)

A generous serve of Teochew braised duck was accompanied by tofu and boiled eggs. The smooth tofu and wonderfully succulent duck, slathered with flavourful master stock sauce made this the favourite main plate for the night.

Masak Ku (54) Roti with Curry Sauce ($5.50)

I was a little sad when I realised I wouldn’t have the opportunity to have some good roti canai while we were Malaysia last month, so I was incredibly delighted when we were treated to some roti here. One bite, and mum and I exchanged a look. So. Good. The texture of the roti was wonderfully crispy and flakey with the a bit of elasticity on the inside that was perfect for soaking up the curry sauce. So far it’s the closest I’ve come to good roti outside of Malaysia. Craving satisfied.

Masak Ku - Durian Ice Cream ($4.90)

Masak Ku - Pandan Ice Cream Drizzled with Coconut Cream and Palm Sugar, Toasted Almond Flakes ($7.90)

We ended our meal with some sweets. There were a number of ice cream flavours to pick from, including a tempting chocolate-chilli one, but we settled on durian and pandan. Mum declared it to be the best durian ice cream she’s ever eaten. Made by Mary herself, it tasted intensely of durian, and even had real fruit pieces folded through. I also enjoyed pandan ice cream, which had been drizzled with coconut cream and a touch of palm sugar. The toasted almonds helped offset a bit of the sweetness from the other toppings.

Masak Ku (69) Kaya Puff - House-made Crispy Spiral Pastry Filled with Kaya

Our final dessert was one of the specials of the day – kaya puffs. To put these together, Simon used traditional spiral pastry and the green-coloured style of kaya (coconut jam). I love a good kaya toast, so I was interested to see what kaya was like when contained within pastry. I thought there was a good ratio of pastry to filling, and thankfully the kaya was also not too sweet.

Masak Ku (23)edit

I was impressed by what the Lees have set out to achieve. Fresh, good quality ingredients have been hunted out to create the dishes on the menu, and so much of what they serve is made in-house – even the ice cream, pastry and the kaya inside them. Masak Ku is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Masak Ku as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.

Masak Ku
732 Burke Road
Camberwell, VIC, 3204
(03) 9882 3812
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Koy Restaurant, South Melbourne

Koy Maker of the famous South Melbourne Market gozleme, and parent of Göz City in the CBD, Koy has a prime location from which to serve its Turkish fare. The setting was warm and inviting, with dimmed lights and homely decor. It was actually smaller inside than I had expected; the bar taking up much of the floorspace and smaller tables arranged around it. There were quite a number of covered tables outside, but it was too cold and dreary today for them to be enticing.

Koy

We took a seat at the large communal table, right in front of the kitchen window, and ordered a few dishes between us: two meze (smaller plates), one büyük tabaklar  (larger plate) and a side. Koy also offers a seven-course banquet on the last Wednesday every month for $35pp, which I’ve been keen to try for a long time now, but haven’t made it yet.

Koy - Tavuk Şis - Marinated Chicken Thigh w. Pumpkin Purée Herbed Yoghurt & Salsa Verdé ($14)

Tavuk Şis – Marinated Chicken Thigh w. Pumpkin Purée Herbed Yoghurt & Salsa Verdé ($14)

The first of the larger plates to arrive was the Tavuk Şis. The chicken was marinated beautifully and it went splendidly with the smoothness of the pumpkin purée, tang from the herbed yoghurt and the vibrance lent by the salsa verdé. It was a real pleasure to eat.

Koy - Raki Goat Roll Up - Raki Infused Goat Served w. Crepes, Sumac Onion, Fresh Tomato & Cucumber w. Herbed Yoghurt ($19.50)

Raki Goat Roll Up – Raki Infused Goat Served w. Crepes, Sumac Onion, Fresh Tomato & Cucumber w. Herbed Yoghurt ($19.50)

Koy - Raki Goat Roll Up - Raki Infused Goat Served w. Crepes, Sumac Onion, Fresh Tomato & Cucumber w. Herbed Yoghurt ($19.50)

Raki Goat Roll Up – Raki Infused Goat Served w. Crepes, Sumac Onion, Fresh Tomato & Cucumber w. Herbed Yoghurt ($19.50)

The raki goat roll up then followed. The thin crepes were slightly elastic and clung to themselves lightly, helping them to hold in their contents once rolled. We layered the goat meat, tomato, cucumber and sumac onion, spread out a dollop of herbed yoghurt, then wrapped everything up to enjoy. The whole ritual was almost like eating Peking duck…but not. Raki is an unsweetened grape brandy that is flavored with anise. Though infused with the goat, its flavour was not overpowering. The goat was not gamey at all and I loved the freshness that the vegetables added to the dish.
Koy - Slow-Cooked Beef Rib w. Turkish Spiced Glaze On Mash ($14)

Slow-Cooked Beef Rib w. Turkish Spiced Glaze On Mash ($14)

Next up, the slow-cooked beef rib with Turkish spiced glaze on mash. I was so distracted by the thought of eating it that I wasn’t thinking clearly about the angle that I took this photo in. Oops. The rib meat was so tender, with a few hints of tasty caramelisation. It came neatly off the bone and made me so very excited in anticipation of what was to come. The glaze was expectedly sweet, but not overly so, and the mash had soaked up much of the delicious sauce. The vegetables, which were the same as those that came with the goat roll up, provided a refreshing balance to every mouthful.
Koy - Roasted Cauliflower w. Greens, Sundried Tomato, Feta, Currants, Roasted Nuts & Pomegranate Molasses ($12)

Roasted Cauliflower w. Greens, Sundried Tomato, Feta, Currants, Roasted Nuts & Pomegranate Molasses ($12)

I was impressed by the variety of ingredients used in the roasted cauliflower dish. It was a fine combination with hints of sweetness from the fruit, texture from the nuts and punches of flavour from sun-dried tomato and feta. I would have preferred it to be warm, but it was still a nice accompaniment for the other dishes.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, and the friendly and attentive service topped off the wonderful experience we had at Koy.

Köy Restaurant
South Melbourne Market
116 Cecil Street,
South Melbourne, VIC, 3205
(03) 8657 8553
http://koyrestaurant.com.au/
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University Cafe, Carlton

University Cafe is the oldest cafe and restaurant on Lygon St, established in 1952 by Eros and Gianni Milani. A popular spot for coffee, it’s also open from breakfast through to dinner. Although I knew it was a popular local, I was still surprised by how busy it was on a weeknight, with a number of regulars coming in. After ordering we were offered a basket of sliced sourdough with little tubs of Western Star, but didn’t have long to eat it before the dishes arrived.

University Cafe - Orecciette con Gamberi - Prawns, Broccoli, Fresh Diced Tomato, Garlic, Olive Oil and Chilli ($22)

Orecciette con Gamberi – Prawns, Broccoli, Fresh Diced Tomato, Garlic, Olive Oil and Chilli ($22)

Just what I like – simple with fresh ingredients. The orecciette con gamberi had a nice balance of vegetables, prawns and pasta with honest flavours that really showcased the orecciette, and freshness of the prawns. It was a touch too salty though, which detracted from a bit from the dish and made it a heavier than it could have been.

University Cafe - Linguine con le Vongole - Clams, Garlic, Olive Oil, Chilli

Linguine con le Vongole – Clams, Garlic, Olive Oil, Chilli

S ordered one of the specials of the day – linguine with clams, garlic, olive oil and chilli. There were plenty of clams to enjoy together with the smooth, al dente linguine. This dish had a more delicate, rounded flavour that suited the clams well.

University Cafe
257 Lygon Street
Carlton, VIC, 3052
(03) 9347 2142
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