Foodiefile

Independant Foodie reviews from Melbourne

Warung Agus – A Balinese paradise in West Melbourne July 19, 2010

Filed under: Places to Visit,Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 8:36 pm
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I have long been a fan of Warung Agus in West Melbourne from a school trip in Year 10 where we all went to this gorgeous little restaurant as part of our Indonesian class. Although I have been back many time, I decided that I would go and have a banquet as part of my Birthday celebrations.

Warung Agus is a family owned and operated restaurant that has been open since 1989 and is traditional Balinese cuisine – and some of the best I have ever tasted, and that includes the “warungs”  I have personally visited in Bali!

The Banquet comes under 3 options – vegetarian, with meat or with seafood. Starting at a very reasonable $40 a head, this six course meal really captures the smells, flavours and textures of the island of Bali.

Now a forewarning… Warung Agus is a low light environment, so the photo’s, unfortunately, are not up to my usual standards.

Dish 1 – Krupuk Sinkong and Krupuk Udang – Shrimp and Cassava crackers served with peanut sauce. These were so yummy – not over oily, but crisp, fresh and very good with the satay sauce. Served also with a yummy lemongrass and shallot sambal, and a very firey chilli sauce! Both house made!

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Dish 2 – Apokat Mebasa Santen – Avocado with a Mushroom and Coconut sauce.
I have never tried anything like this in my life. Raw Avocado (the best way to ruin avocado is to cook it) with a delicious, rich crème over the top = this dish was amazing!
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Dish 3 – Sate Ayam – Chicken Satay
Everyone must have tried satay at some time.. My favourite has always been BlokM in Commercial Road –  however  these satays were to die for!! I could have eaten 2 plates myself – but alas I had to share and also had more food coming…
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Dish 4 – Mie Goreng – Vegetarian Noodles
A lovely tart/sour  version of a classic Mie Goreng… Went very well with Dish 5 – and they were served together
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Dish 5 – Be Pasih Asem Manis – Pan fried Flathead
The tables favourite dish of the night, a yummy curry like sauce over firm, perfectly cooked flathead fillets… none of this dish was left by anyone… it was amazing
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Dish 6 – Babi Guling – Roast Pork
My hands down favourite of Warung Agus (see my review of the Hawkers Market)  and it as usual didn’t disapoint except that I was too full and had to leave some on the dish! Served with a lemongrass sauce, this crispy skinned pork is the bomb… with a small salad of green vegetables and coconut.. Next time – I just want a plate of this!!!
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What did we drink? Bintang of course – just to take me back to swimming pools in bad resorts in Seminyak and Kuta – but the food took my mind to the hills, to memories of lunches in village homes or eggs and sambal, to kopi susu – strong mud like coffee served with sweetened condensed milk, that is strangely so yummy.

I would recommend Warung Agus anytime… They are only open Thursday to Sunday nights, but make sure you book as they get busy!

Also – in August they are also offering cooking classes on a Tuesday – I am unsure of the cost, but if you have a love for spicy but not hot food – this may be the class for you! Call them quick to enquire, as I am sure they will be a sellout!!! Or at least get a good Indonesian Book like Sri Owens “Indonesian Food” here

Warung Agus
305 Victoria Street
West Melbourne
Phone 03 9329 1737
Website: http://www.warungagus.com.au

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Noodle Kingdom – High Street Preston July 18, 2010

Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 7:27 pm
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So I’ll set the scene. I read Epicure every Tuesday from front to back, and I am one of those readers that go “Oh there is another restaurant I need to try” when there is a review that is good…

Well… March comes by and there is a review by Nina Rousseau of a noodle place around the corner from home (seriously…. A 4 minute walk) and that just was too good an opportunity to miss…
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Arriving, the restaurant was fairly quiet and we started with some dumplings. We decided to go for the pan fried pork dumplings – one of my favourites. I should have become concerned when the menu’s included photographs for every single dish…
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They were fried beautifully on one side – the other sides had no browning on them, and were tasteless… There was no punch of ginger, or shallots… just pork that was slightly dry… thank god for the vinegar.

Moving on, we ordered a soup with Ma Po pork. The bowl was enormous… It was big enough for 3 people! While the sauce had a great balance of sweet, sour and chilli, it was just way too big!
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I think I ended up only eating about 1/5th of the dish!
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My partner ordered a stir fried noodle dish with beef. I am not sure how this dish was cold since it arrived last, but it was! The noodles were only half cooked, and the dish quite cold!
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Maybe we got them on a bad day, but for a restaurant reviewed in Melbourne premiere weekly food magazine – I don’t understand how they deserved the review! Sorry folks – not a restaurant I would recommend nor return to. The service was sloppy, the hygiene in the noodle area appeared to be poor, and cold noodles indeed!

Noodle Kingdom
469 High Street
Preston VIC 3072
Phone: 03 9478 8885

 

A Melbourne Foodie in Sydney – Part 5 – Sydney Fish Market

Filed under: Places to Visit,Travel — foodiefile @ 6:36 pm
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A 6:55am start on the last day of your holiday – needing to check out of your hotel and get to the Sydney fish markets by this time seems slightly stupid, but I have never been well renowned for my smarts!

So off the light rail from Chinatown in the dark, there are 20 people joining this tour through the fish market. A popular tour, the groups was also varied on their interests as well as nationality – there were a number of overseas tourists on our group.
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So – meeting outside in the main auction hall, the tour guide speaks of sustainability, policing, policy and further details about the market. Did you know that the Sydney Fish Market is the 2nd largest in the world, with only Japan being largest!

We walk past the amazing cooking school they have at the market to view the floor. Its cold, but there is plenty of fish!!!
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I guess the most amazing fish was the sashimi grade tuna and kingfish – huge fish with the highest quality… Also amazing to learn what actually makes a sashimi grade fish aside from just the actual fish itself.
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A highly recommended tour for anyone with an interest in fish, and at only $20 it was an absolute bargain.

I was, however, a little disappointed with the fish on sale in the public area of the market. There were plenty of different varieties of oysters, but after seeing markets in Paris and London – they shat all over this market.
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I decided to have a seafood platter for breakfast… The smaller of the ones available was all deep fried goodness… Even the larger ones were all tourist style, turn the seafood into something portable and edible – which in most cases included deep frying or Mornay sauce… very disappointing, but it didn’t stop me eating it!!! It is a shame there wasn’t a sashimi/sushi bar, or at least metal cutlery, rather than cheap plastic cutlery…
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Although I will be back – and the tour was amazing – the food was poor. Thankyou Sydney – it was fun, and see you next visit!!!

Sydney Fish Markets
Tours : 02 9004 1143
website : www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au

 

A Melbourne Foodie in Sydney – Part 4 – Woollahra

Filed under: Places to Visit,Shopping!,Travel — foodiefile @ 4:25 pm
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Walking down the hill from Surry Hills and Paddington towards Woollahra you feel the price of everything from a coffee to a house rising sharply… From expensive Paddington to opulent Woollahra, this area offers many foodie haunts if you have money to spend…

Walking down Queen Street Simon Johnson sits on the right hand corner surrounded by expensive linen purveyors and antique stores… It is a tranquil and stylish area. This first shop restaurant I notice is Bistro Moncur – although on this trip I didn’t have the opportunity to fine there, I will definitely be visiting next time to experience some of Damien Pignolet amazing food.

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Victor Churchill has always been, from afar, THE butcher I would like to have as my own. Upon visiting the store, the format is intimidating and slightly scary, with large glass rooms with butchers cutting carcasses up like animals in cages performing for you. I understand the glass for hygiene – and you can walk in there, if you dare. This store is opulent and expensive… A fantastic spot to go for that slice of rare breed beef at $75 for a serving for 2 people, and amazing charcuterie and sausages, but this store is out of my price range…
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Around the corner from Queen Street, The Donna Hay General store presents itself as a small, visually splendid store. Although a little difficult to find, this offering is well worth the hunt.

I will be honest, I have never been a very big fan of Donna Hay – I thought she was always just a pretty girl that every desperate housewife tried to intimidate and follow her cookbooks as bibles, although I rarely found the recipes in her cookbooks to my liking. I now realise that I misunderstood Donna. She is a Food Stylist – she makes EVERYTHING look pretty – but isn’t necessarily the most accomplished chef or cook book writer – but by god – she makes things pretty!!
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Walking in the shop smells of baking cupcakes – they’re in the oven up the back! Full of fresh clean styles, I loved many things in this store. Plenty of handmade accents and vintage styles, I believe the photo’s speak for themselves.

The staff were amazing – attentive and friendly and the complete opposite of Fratelli Fresh – They offered for me to take photos if I liked and assisted me with any questions I had to ask. I thought it was really great to see that Donna – as busy as she is – obviously has a large hand in this part of her empire. Donna – if you read this – you should definitely consider a store in Melbourne – although you can purchase a limited range in David Jones Food Halls – they had nothing on this cute little store…
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Coming next — Sydney Fish Markets!!!

 

A Melbourne Foodie in Sydney – Part 3 – Surry Hills and Waterloo

Filed under: Places to Visit,Restaurant Reviews,Travel — foodiefile @ 3:37 pm
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Part 3 of my trip to Sydney, not forgetting a trip with a shocker of a cold… I had to at least breeze past the windows of foodie mecca’s I would have loved to visit if I had actually any taste buds…

Starting from Oxford street I started a walking tour of restaurants I would want to visit… Walking down Crown street, Billy Kwong, Marque and Bills Food form an impressive trio in what would otherwise be a very boring and ordinary building.

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Billy Kwong was closed for lunch, but impressive to at least wander past, and I pulled up for brunch at Bills Food. As much as I find Bill Granger intolerable as a TV Chef, (he smiles way too much) his simple recipes and food are amazing. I was amazed that his brunch menu, however, was so focused on carbohydrate and very little protein. I sat down to Toasted Apple, dried cherry and almond loaf with fresh ricotta and a coffee. Well toasted, sweet bread with a perfect combination of textures and flavours, and the ricotta with honey gave that little bit of sour and sweet that the bread needed to not be too dry. The only downside was that the toast was served on a serviette, which I have never really understood, as I never like wiping my hand with a slightly damp, warm serviette.
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I would go back to bills in 5 seconds, however the clientele was quite right wing and conservative and as it was a Tuesday morning, the majority of people were either ladies who lunch or business men. Bill Grangers new cookbook – “Bill’s Basics” is also about to be released – pre order it here

Bills Food
359 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW
02 9360 4762
Website

Next on my walking tour – Fratelli Fresh in Danks Street, Waterloo. Just down the road from the Danks Street Depot, it is a warehouse style shop, similar to many shops in Melbourne.
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I walked into this warehouse, which was poorly signposted with forklifts gliding through. Not only did I think I was in the wrong place, I was concerned for my safety! After asking someone where it was, I was told it was down the back of the warehouse! (Why not the front??). As soon as I walked in, rather than being presented with a “Hello” or “Welcome” the girl that seemed to be the manager on duty just came over and clearly said “We are a no photo premises”.

I felt majorly unwelcome. So suffice to say, I don’t have any photo’s, nor a good experience from Fratelli Fresh. The store was average – most things I can usually buy from other shops in Melbourne with the only stand outs in Finger Limes and Clementine Mandarins. Whilst this store showed so much promise, I could not believe they would be so rude to a prospective customer as soon as they walked in the store!

Fratelli Fresh
7 Danks Street
Waterloo
Website

I moved on quickly from this poor experience up Bourke street to one of my Mecca visits – The Bourke Street Bakery!
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Whilst Bourke Street Bakery is one of the smallest shopfronts I have ever seen for a bakery, I opted for two tartlets – the Rhubarb and Almond Tart ($4.00), and the Strawberry Crème Brulee tart ($4.40). Both tats were amazing, but the stand out was the Crème Brulee tart was absolutely amazing, with a hard crusty top and a delicate filling – worth every single penny! See my previous review of the Bourke Street Bakery Cook book here and you can buy the cookbook here at a bargain price
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Bourke Street Bakery
Bourke Street
Waterloo

Next blog… my travels in Woollahra…