Monday, January 31, 2005

Purple Sands Chinese Restaurant

Acland Street St. Kilda
Introduction: Basic shopfront restaurant

Ambience: Spartan

Service: Any special requests are likely to create confusion

Food: Modest range of tasty typical dishes

Wine: Byo Small range inexpensive wines by bottle or glass

Price: Modest $40 up for two

Comments: Good for a quick lunch or dinner if you're in the area

Score: 12.5/20

Monday, January 24, 2005

Melba Brasserie

Date: 22/01/05
Suburb: Southbank
Introduction I have eaten here many times. The buffet ($59) on Saturday night is consistently good, the al la carte dishes much better
Ambience Aging but pleasing decor Never feels as full as it is because many clients are at the buffet at any one time
Service Could be more prompt at times
Food Tian (a tower) of avocado and mud crab on a bed of cucumber was excellent. The duck breast marinated in Juniper berries with Portobello mushrooms and bok choy on mashed, should I say gratnee?, potatoes was filling tho the mushrooms were somewhat lost in the very rich jus.
The buffet is extensive with endless oysters, crab, prawns, salmon, cold cuts, a variety of hot dishes, Peking duck, a carvery, pasta finished with additions to your specifications - ham, onions, garlic etc in a white or red sauce, a nice range of breads and rolls and an extensive range of attractive looking desserts.
Wine Quite extensive list. By the glass $7.50 to $11.50 $28 up by the bottle

Price About $125 for two - one buffet one a la carte

Comments Faded but still good quality

Score: 14/20

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Carlisle Wine Bar

Date: 13/01/2005
Suburb: St. Kilda
Introduction Tonight brevity dominates
Ambience Quieter than others. Happy atmosphere, unobtrusive music Small bare wood tables wood chairs w cane seats Some outside tables

Service S-l-o-w

Food Very good Wide selection Cooked as requested Large serves Crusty bread w butter and an Italian first pressed olive oil. We enjoyed a fillet steak with eggplant stuffed w tomato, cheese and eggplant (involantini) with a cabernet jus and swordfish with prawns on bed of potatoes Excellent panacotta with apricots

Wine Extensive w reasonable selection by the glass

Price Mains $16-26.50 About $75 for 2 without wine

Comments A small complementary Elderton Botrytis desert wine was an unexpected pleasure. Considerably better than one might expect from a wine bar Worth a visit

Score: 16/20

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Healesville Hotel

The Restaurant, not the pub
Date: 09/01/2005
Suburb: Healesville

Introduction Awarded one hat by The Age Good Food Guide for the 2nd year in a row

Ambience Comfortable cane chairs at tables a reasonable distance apart, white linen tablecloths and napkins set in large open space that absorbed the noise well created a pleasing atmosphere.

Service Attractive waitresses provideded for us - unhurried, satisfactory explanations regarding menu queries.

Food I tasted 4 of the 5 entree's ($15)

Briefly Sweetbreads & black pudding with prosciutto, roasted apple and garlic was outstanding The venison carpaccio with grilled sourdough & sweet & sour eggplant would have been excellent but the farmed venison entirely lacked taste
The paprika grilled quail baked in flatbread with romesco sauce was just passable as was the saffron cured yarra valley salmon with fennel radish and orange sauce.
The main 4 courses we tried ($29 - 32) were all very good tho' none was really outstanding.
The best was eye fillet of beef, chorizo-manchego croquettes, wilted greens and poached garlic sauce - tender and cooked to perfection.
The shellfish bouillabaisse, fennel seed breadsticks and rouille was a rather modest size but tasty serve.
The roast duck, shredded duck canneloni with caramelised chicory was also excellent.
The corn fed lamb did not meld well with the ? diacon and saffron pilau and raisins tho' the individual items were very good
Sides ($5.50) were also excellent. I tried the handcut chips with red wine vinegar and cumin sea salt and the asparagus with pinenuts, garlic and lemon.
Dessert menu ($13.50) was not extensive. the chocolate box was not too rich. The icecream passable.
Wine: We enjoyed a 2002 Oakridge Pinot Noir ($40) Good range available by the glass. Their claim to an award winning wine list is not in contention.

Price About $110 for 2

Comments I would say just barely deserves its one hat. A bit overpriced, still a pretty good meal for a country restaurant

Score: 15/20

Friday, January 07, 2005

Curry Family Hotel

Date: 06/01/2005
Suburb: Collingwood


A genuine hotel for families - patrons included children and pets. Music, Nick Charles on Thursday with variable but good quality support on banjo and guitar
Ambience: Crowded, noisy, friendly, some what run down dark

Service: Order at the bar Deliverd to your table

Food: Substantial serves, very satisfying. Kitchen has just reopened so menu was limited but still quite extensive and includes a kids menu..

Fish (batter or grilled trevally) with chips and salad was excellent as was Fettucini with salmon and capers in cream sauce. No Tartar sauce which is 'home made' available. Normally wide range of food served including Paella, Risotto, sausages steaks
Dessert Icecream, ganash and fresh fruit the only thing available was about average
Wine: Very limited Melaleuca Shiraz and CabSav acceptable

Price: Under $40 for two courses for two.

Comments: If you enjoy a night at a pub this should go on your must visit list. Prefer Thursday and don't come too early - about 8.00 to 8.30pm

Score:13.5 /20

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Marking Guide

> 18.5: Unsurpassably Excellent
17 - 18: Excellent
15 - 16.5: Very Good
13 - 14.5: Worth a Visit
11 - 12.5: Not Very Good
< 10.5: Poor

Framework and Marking Guide

PRICE (3 course meal for 2)
Suburb & Melway Ref
MARK /20

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Silky Apple

New Years Eve A solid suburban restaurant. Pleasant ambience, white table cloths, carpets generally not too noisy.
After some months of indifferent food I think they now have a new Chef
Hot and sour soup was a good start followed by eggplant stuffed with prawn meat starting to get into drooling territory. Sweet and sour prawns in batter were good but not exellent for me - too much sweet not enough sour, Ma Po a bean curd in a lightly chilli spiced gravy incorporating minced beef could again not be better and finally Chicken and vegetables on soft noodles in a birds nest, as good as ever, reminded me of my son whose favouriye it was.
A sparkling Ukrainian semi sweet wine with an unreadable, and probably unprouncable, name, left over from a Russian Dinner, went well.
Finished with an exquisite "New York Jewish" cheese cake with blueberry topping which I made myself from Rose Birnbaum Levy's Cake Bible and a DVD (The Pelican Brief) before the arrival of 2005. From our roof top patio the fireworks were magnificent - a fitting beginning to the year 14/20
WELL 11 months later I have to modify my remarks - perhaps it was the New Year atmosphere or maybe the 'new chef' has left anyway after a Sweet and Sour chicken in batter that was so acidic it should be served with Mylanta I can no longer rate SA so highly say 13/20 now!