Foodiefile

Independant Foodie reviews from Melbourne

A Melbourne Foodie in Sydney – Part 2 – The Powerhouse Museum May 29, 2010

Filed under: Places to Visit,Travel — foodiefile @ 6:38 pm
Tags: ,

I would not normally post a review of a visit to a museum, but as a testament to my obsession with food, I look everywhere for something that may catch my eye and make me chuckle.

The powerhouse museum has a fantastic range of Decorative Art objects, including a strong collection of Marc Newson and Alessi design. Their 1980’s exhibition bought back memories of my childhood including Cabbage Patch Dolls, Sylvania Families and even outfits of Boy George.

A few of my favourite items included marvellous pottery, as below.

.
Splayds! I loved splayds when I was a kid – we had 2 different sizes, but I had never seen a serving sized splayd!

.
And when I saw these amazing tea cosies, I thought of one of my favourite food bloggers (and knitter extraordinaire, Mardi Nowak)… I really would love one of these, and must hunt out a knitting pattern!!!

.

Advertisements
 

A Melbourne Foodie in Sydney – Part 1 – Chinatown

Filed under: Places to Visit,Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 5:46 pm

I have long been a pessimist regarding the food scene in Sydney, however I am willing to be proven wrong. I have been told that Melbourne’s amazing strips of restaurants don’t exist in Sydney, nor does affordable food… Well, I went up wishing to prove these points wrong.

Although I was bestowed with a shocker of a cold, I was determined that nothing was going to stop me at least trying to prove these points wrong, and to visit some points of joy… I had my intentions set – to visit a Bill Granger Restaurant, Bistro Môncur, Donna Hay, and possibly Christine Manfield. Some things had to be dropped due to my snotty nose and lack of taste, so I dropped Bistro Môncur and Christine Manfield for my next visit later in the year.

I spend a lot of time trawling Chinatown in Melbourne – we are very spoilt. Sydney has a much smaller presentation in the city, however some good food could still be found… One morning I was walking through wondering what to have for breakfast at 8am in the morning, and found a Yum Cha restaurant open! Never one to turn down pork or yum cha no matter what the time – I visited and enjoyed every second…

Moist Siu Mai, Bean Curd rolls filled with prawn and mushroom, and prawn dumplings were selected, and although this was a $20 breakfast, it filled me for the rest of my day wondering the streets of the city…

.

Another great area was a food court across the light rail from Chinatown in “Market City” – this is above Paddy’s market – a vile tourist experience like Sundays at the Queen Victoria Market. The food court has some great little noodle houses offering a wide range of food that reminds me of the food court that used to be in the basement of the Welcome Stranger hotel in the city in Melbourne. I will definitely be visiting here next time I visit!!!

 

Book Bargain!!! Shephanie Alexanders a Kitchen Garden Companion for the Cheapest Price I have seen! May 16, 2010

Filed under: Cookbooks — foodiefile @ 4:44 pm

I love Stephanie, from years ago when I worked with her at Richmond Hill to her endeavours to encourage kids to cook of now…

I found online today her newest book at a Bargain price! Its only $48.80 including postage. I love the Bagdad Eggs from this book, I had been trying to replicate it for years!!!

You can find the book here at Book Depository:

Kitchen Garden Companion at Book Depository

 

I am back with a vengence! the Showgrounds Farmers Market – a Baby Barossa!

Filed under: Shopping! — foodiefile @ 2:39 pm

Hello All! I know I have been away for a while, and I apologise, but the feedback from you all asking where I am has been appreciated!!! I have been busy with a promotion at work and a bit of illness, but I am back and blazing now!!!

.
Ok, lets get started with a Farmers Market review! The Showgrounds Farmers market started only about a month ago now, and reminds me of the Barossa farmers market , or at least where it started from.

.
Aside from being a little difficult to find due to lack of signage, the market is held in and around the Federation Hall at the Melbourne showground every Sunday from 9am until 1pm.

.
The first stall we came to had the largest Rhubarb I have ever seen in my life – stalks almost a metre long and we had trouble getting the bunch into our trolley! Other large items included perfect button squash and leeks as well as great onions. Our trolley was almost filled with only $25.00 paid!

.

.
Next was a shop selling pine mushrooms – harvested wild mushrooms, that even provided a taste of lightly sautéed mushrooms. They tasted of the forest, with a hint of pine/herb taste, and would be perfect with thyme or dill. We are having them for dinner with leek and parsley! They were big and colourful and only $6.00 a tray, or 2 for $10.00

.
Although this market is not a large one, it has great potential and has some of my favourite farmers market regulars – Meredith Dairy.

Selling the usual fare of goats and sheeps milk cheese, next door is the sellers daughter with the most amazing tarts made with the Meredith product (apparently people were asking what they could do with the cheese!). We purchased our usual stock of young goats curd, and a large bucket of Fetta offcuts – although they only had sheeps fetta offcuts left.

.

.

.

.
Organic apples and pears were plentiful, with citrus specialists alongside organic sellers. A baker was selling, and a gentleman I had not met before. His bread is traditional and homely… The Semolina Scrolls (with plump raisins, semlolina and sweet pastry) were amazing for our breakfast, and we left with my favourite loaf of the moment, a spelt sourdough. His bread looked amazing, with olive loaves, sourdough, rye… I will be trying more of this!

Other favourites were King Valley Pork (I have featured them before on my Collingwood childrens farm market page) and a REALLY good coffee cart – something important on a Sunday morning.
.

.
I encourage everyone to support this fabulous market – its on EVERY Sunday and will grow as it becomes more popular. I spoke with the organiser regarding the lack of signage and she has been having some trouble with the City of Melbourne, which is a shame, but if we all support the market, maybe the council will finally realise that markets are the way of the future, as well as the past!

Entry is free, and the market is situated up the back of the showgrounds, near the entrance to Flemington Racecourse’s Grandstand.

Federation Hall – Melbourne Showgrounds,
Access from Leonards Cres off Langs Rd,
Ascot Vale, Melbourne, Victoria

http://www.melbourneshowgroundsfarmersmarket.com.au/
.

 

La Luna Bistro Coldstream Hills Restaurant Express March 28, 2010

Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 8:11 pm

I have already reviewed my $35.00 lunch at taxi, and now for the other restaurant I couldn’t resist for the Restaurant Express – La Luna. La Luna is easily my favourite restaurant at the moment in Melbourne, and every time I have been we have had a wonderful experience both food and service wise.

.
Firstly it is great to be remembered at a restaurant, and as we sat down to wait for our booking time we drank our usual glass (bottle) or Ormarine and sucked in the sun. La Luna was busy offering 3 options for both Entree, Main and Desert. As there were 3 of us we decided to have one of each dish on the Entrees and the Mains, but opted to skip desert just this once!

So onto the prize – the food… The entree choices were:

Cottechino with white bean puree, olive oil and garlic,
Smoked Salmon Salad with Apple and Horseradish cream, or
Lentil Soup (ok we opted to skip this as I eat it all through winter, and we thought that with Cottechino being on offer, we needed two of them!)

.
The Cottechino was amazing. I have heard Adrian talk of saving his pigs heads to make this sausage, which features a boned out pigs head with 2 pigs tongues. It was a decent single slice of sausage, served on creamy bean mash and excellent oil drizzled. I could have eaten many of these as they were so yummy and not as rich as black pudding.

.
The other entree we had was a Salmon Salad. On a bed of horseradish cream, this salad was out of this world! No dressing, just Salmon, julienned apple with flat leaf parsley, chives and baby capers, it was light and delicious!

Main courses on offer were:
Bull boar sausages
Lamb and pine nut filo pie, or
Gnocchi with Mushroom cream

.
The Bull Boar Sausages were three densely packed sausages with delicious mash, jus and a simple salad of flat leaf parsley with sweated red onion. Amazing sausages with a good kick of fennel. The Jus was very light and well clarified. These are on the usual menu, and they are far more than bangers and mash!

.
The Lamb pie was intensely fragrant, wrapped in icing sugar dusted filo pastry was slow cooked lamb shoulder (I think) , spinach, pine nuts and a good kick of cinnamon. It was served on Labne with coriander shoots (which I had never seen before). My fellow diners thought that the pie was a little light on flavour, however I loved it and would make it for my work lunches anytime (and I will but maybe as empanadas)

.
The gnocchi was my first disappointing dish I have had at La Luna. The plate contained 6 luscious soft gnocchi with a runny cream sauce, mushrooms and a truffle pecorino. I couldn’t taste the truffle (but I am also a dirty smoker) and I thought the dish needed more salt. The cream was too runny for me, and felt a little like a soup with gnocchi.. It was an ok dish, however could have been better.

The deserts included a Brulee, a Panacotta or a piece of Petit Livarot (one of my favourite cheeses) however we practised self control and left very happy.

 

Taxi Dining Room and a $35 2 course lunch experience…

Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 7:09 pm

I would be a fool to think I wasn’t lucky to live in Melbourne. Sunday is never sleepy in Melbourne and as I sit outside Transport at Federation Square to have a pre-lunch drink I am surrounded by the Thai Celebration Festival with food stalls all along the Yarra River, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival is on across the square at ACMI and there is wine tasting and a craft market just on the other side of the bridge. A 2 course lunch inside with views of all this action for only $35 including a glass of wine was an exciting thought…

So as I said we met at Transport downstairs from Taxi Dining Room. Transport is a pub and it used to be a fun place to hang out. I was greeted when I arrived by a bar tender who seemed to be bothered by my existence. I asked for a wine list (not expecting too much) and joked with him that he couldn’t get the wine list opened as it was so sticky – his response was a deadpan “Its sticky from last night” – he could have bothered to go get a not so sticky one! He handed me a dirty glass with wine in it, took my money and return my change without a word, nor any eye contact.

All I can say when Paul Mathis owned this joint – the staff were friendly. I won’t be back to Transport… but onto Taxi Dining Room…

So we went upstairs, were greeted warmly at the door, and placed at our window seat table (almost every table has a window seat with the format – which works really well!

.

.

We started with Campari and Soda’s and the hottest darkest Bloody Mary I have ever seen! (It was also really good – just needed Horseradish root for my palate). There were 2 choices for each course. Entree was either Country Terrine with Foie Gras and peach compote. The plate was well presented, and the Terrine was moist, flavoursome and had a good chunk of Foie in the middle. To the side was the peach compote and a Rabbit Rillettes. It was a perfect size, but didn’t come with any bread or toast.
.

The Rillettes was great, but mine had a knuckle joint in it. I commented to our waiter, who already through our order taking had said he was both deaf and dumb – although he wasn’t either, that the knuckle was there. I said it wasn’t a problem for me, as I know where meat comes from but that the rillettes tasted as good as mine – but don’t tell the kitchen. The waiter returned from the kitchen saying that the chef said “Meat comes from an animal and animals have bones” and that he “invited me to bring my rillettes’ in if I thought it was as good as his”. 2 points – I am a huge foodie and I also worked as a chef many years ago… Uncalled for.

The other entree offered was Brandade filled Zucchini flowers with a green papaya salad. I didn’t get to try this but photo below! It looked great!

Ok onto the main courses. I ordered the Crispy Szechwan duck with lime pickle, Vietnamese salad and Sesame Tamarind and my friend Carolyn ordered the other option of Fillet of Atlantic Salmon with Sorrell and King Prawn salad and a shellfish dressing, and our intention was to share them together.

The duck first. It was an amazing dish – the lime pickle was phenomonel however the duck was rabidly overcooked, unless the chef serves this dish Well Done, which would suprise me.

.
The salmon, served Medium when we ordered Medium Rare, was the dish to chose. The mash underneath the salmon what shellfish heaven and the Sorrell salad worked very well to break the oil in the fish. An awesome dish that I would eat anytime!


.
Desert time. Choice of two, but we all chose one of them. The dish we didn’t choose was a chocolate tain with passionfruit foam. Great dish, but the other choice was a Layered pannacotta with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla foam – this won us all over.

.
The Pannacotta was perfect, the bottom layer was rich raspberry coulis, rich and tart, followed by a very plain, rich pannacotta – which was perfect. Next a layer of firm jelly, followed by crumbs and foam. The foam was supposed to be Vanilla foam; however we are sure it was the passionfruit foam! The crumbs were perfect and the dish as a whole – I wanted two more!!!

The service on this day left a little to be desired. Humour is great from a waiter when it is humour, but when humour doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work when it is at the expense of the guests. We all enjoyed our meal despite the food being over cooked and the service poor. Michael Lambie and the team obviously have great talent putting together the menu, however the team today were obviously either past the point of caring about the Coldstream Hills Restaurant Express menu, as it was the last day the special was offered, or we caught them on a bad day. Either way, I will definitely be back!

 

Heat Beads Hawkers Market and good ol asiatic foodstuffs! March 21, 2010

Filed under: Cookbooks — foodiefile @ 8:58 pm

My favourite event years ago at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival was always the Hawkers market, and I was very upset when it stopped at the festival a few years back. I was very excited to have it back!!!

Stumbling down after work on a Monday night (The market is only a 5 min walk from work) we arrived and immediately felt transported. Although it lacked the drums and smoke of previous years I had a few surprises.

.
A ticket buys you 4 small dishes for $45.00 (of $48.00 on the door) and I was concerned that it may have been a little overpriced (thanks to Pete Dillon at Cravings on JoyFM for one of my tickets) but after 2 courses each, my partner and I really didn’t feel the need to eat anymore… but we did…

.

.

.

.

.

.
There were a choice of 12 restaurants and about 3 courses available per stall…. Some stalls were more popular than others. One of my favourite restaurants – Warung Agus was there and enjoyed a steady stream of eaters, whereas one, called Dainty Sichuan had a line about 30 minutes long all night!

We started with Warung Agus. We enjoyed their Babi Guling – one of my favourite dishes and Gado Gado.

.
Babi Guling is traditionally a whole suckling pig cooked with coconut water and turned continuously by hand. It is one of my favourite of favourite dishes. Although this Babi Guling wasn’t traditional, it was marvellous and the Galangal sauce on top was divine!

.
We also had the Gado Gado – a vegetarian salad with rice and satay sauce… Very yummy!

.

.
Next we went for Japanese. We chose Okonomiyaki and Tsukune. The Okonomiyaki was by far the best i have ever had, and served with Daigaku Imo – Sweet Caramelised Potato’s which were kinda amazing… I couldn’t work out whether they were yam or potato.

.
The Tsukune were chicken ball “kebabs” and they were amazing. They were soft and cooked perfectly! The endame were nice but not my cup of tea.

.
We ended our meal, as we were far too full but went back to Warung Agus to try their Ginger Chicken. Yummy thigh meat with a subtle yet full flavoured sauce served with rice.

There were cooking demonstrations all night with Tony Tan along with a variety of entertainment, including Bollywood dancers and the usual ceremonial Chinese dragon.

.

.

.

If you haven’t been to this event before, I would highly recommend it. There are groups of people who bring their own tablecloths, wine glasses and even candelabra’s! Its a great night out and if you don’t go to any other festival favourites – check this one out!!!