Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mt Rael Retreat

Introduction: A couple of miles out fo Healesville on the Yarra Glen Rd The views are wonderful: Packed with customers on the weekend to many of whom drink enough to let them roar with laughter as tho' there were no other customers who might like to talk quietly!

Ambience:Although it gave me the feeling of a spec house it is a pleasant happy sort of venue with a clean uncluttered feeling about it

Service: Neatly uniformed waiters, and waitresses, BUT neither the kitchen nor the floor staff could cope with the number of diners. They were short of menus, very slow and mixed up our order.

Food: A bit pretentious the rib eye was tasty but tough, the duck dry. Desserts are very good. The cutlery is mundane and to get some sort of kitchen knife for the steak further detracted from the enjoyment of the meal

Wine: A pleasant Reisling did not strain my wallet

Price: Slightly expensive for the food About $29 for mains $14 for entrees

Comments: Grossly overrated by Stephen Downes Great view moderate food terrible service

Score:13.5 /20

Lau's Family Kitchen

Introduction: A basic, good quality suburban restaurant at 4 Acland St. St.Kilda
Ambience: No nonsense No symbols of a past life
Service: The Lau family are everywhere and quick to look after you.

Food: Very straightforward. No fish crabs, lobsters prawns or scallops. No duck. Everything is very tasty

Wine: BYO is best

Price: Inexpensive but prices and menu have increased since y first visit

Comments: Make sure you make a reservation! A good recommendation in itself Don't bother with their web page which currently has almost no information (
Score:13.5 /20

Ru Inn

A popular Chinese restaurant on High St Armidale a couple of doors west of Kooyong Rd
Ambience: Undistinguished calm and pleasant. Has an air of being spotlessly clean with starched white table cloths Yesterday being the middle of a lng weekend, was very quiet. We found ourselves in the unusual situation of being two diners with two waiters and the proprieter and, I'm told, four in the kitchenService: Erratic. Slow at times but always extremely courteous. Andy, pictured, gave us every attention!
Food: Mostly Cantonese style. Having now been here 4
times recently and tried quite a few dishes I can confidently say this is a good general standard of cooking. If there is one thing which marks better Chinese cooking for me it is sweet sour dishes. There is lots of room for error - too sharp, too sweet too thick or gluggy. Whether pork or prawns Ru Inn do it really well.
These large firm fleshed prawns were in a light batter
Other dishes were good size serves and good taste. I enjoyed beef with vegetables and cashew nuts and Cantonese beef was excellent. We also tried the very tasty sate chicken and vegetables
Wine: BYO
or chose from a limited and reasonable priced list
Price: A little dearer than average but not excessive. I end up paying about $75 for entree and main for two

Comments: Better than the nearby competition!

Score:13.5 /20

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Lobster Cave

Introduction: At 18 North Concourse, Beamaris this is a specialty seafood restaurant tho they do have some meat dishes for the dedicated carnivores
Ambience: Everything here tells you this is a fish place from the uniformed waiters ties with their crustacean theme to the wave like ceramic wall decorations t5o the large TV screen showing mostly tropical fish. Sophistctes might find it kitchy but I liked it tho it tho' it is a little tired

Service; Menus arrived promptly and our waitress waqs informative, attentive but not obtrusive

Food: From the start I liked the dish of crisp pistachio on the table. Garlic bread came with a twin bowl of Black olives and Olive paste. ($6.50) An entree of tempura prawns (6) was disapointing becuse the tempura batter was far to heavy and the dipping sauce also lacked the taste and refinement of that in most Japanese restaurants ($25) For mains I had the Fergh Lack half a lobster, a spanner crab, more prawns, two thick slices of toasted roll well covered in olive pesto and cheese all on a bed of green salad and parmesan cheese (99.90) Whilst my wife had a Lobster Thermidor ($85) there was plenty to eat but Sam Newmans comment that this place provides "Nirvanna for the taste buds" is very far from the mark. They use good quality ingredients but miss out on being fine cuisine. Nevertheless i will be happy to back for another lobster dish

Wine: We enjoyed a t'Gallant Pinot Grigio 2005 $42 i think which went very well with the meal

Price: There are plenty of less expensive choices but you need to avoid the lobster!

Comments; Have a look at their web page It's very well constructed and informative. Slightly expensive middle of the road suburban seafood restaurant
Score: 14/20

Friday, November 03, 2006

Kobe Jones

Introduction : On the waters edge at docklands (427 Docklands Drive) on the first floor
Ambience: A quiet sophisticated venue. apointments are simple and tasteful

Service: Very good not obtrusive

Food: Described as Japanese with a Californian twist. The term Californian twist appears in the menu quite often and refers to an extremely nice cream sauce. (the other frequent attender is sesame seeds and sesame oil) The tempura has the finest batter and could not be faulted. the seared tuna was also excellent. I was delighted with the Tenderloin Beef Teriyaki which was a very tender and good serve of meat cooked blue, to my specification.
All mains are served with miso soup and rice
The selection of desserts was also particularly pleasing
Wine: An odd list we had a Reisling which went well with the food

Price: Around $50 for two courses
Probably a much better deal for 3 or more customers is the Chef's special menu The $70 menu differs from the $60 menu only by the addition of a 9th dish - soft shell crab Had I the opportunity that ixmmmbkokcertainly
Comments: Part of a chain that started in California now with restaurants in Sydney, Bangkok and London this is a high quality establishment
Score: 15.5/20

The Press Club

Introduction George Calambaris's new restaurant is on the ground floor of the former home of the Herald Sun at 72 Flinders St (Cnr Exhibition St)
Ambience: Reasonably spaced tables in a slightly sterile feeling black setting

Service: Extremely attentive, offering full descriptions of dishes and advice on wines

Food: A step up in Greek cuisine compared to anything else I have had in Melbourne - or anywhere else for that matter. There is a range of degustation menus from $45 up to $75. Called Kerasme They may vary from night to night or even from table to table. We had the $75 Kerasme which was a very large amount to eat. It began with a small cold platter which included some white anchovies which were more palatable than most, and a bean salad

Each course was unusual utilizing a range of spices. There was a little too much emphasis on Fennel which was also in the extremely tasty bread. The warm fennel and crab salad was a highlight.
George's head waiter promised to send me details of the food we had so I did not take careful notes. After waiting 2 weeks I guess that is not going to happen ( I suspect that they were offended that I thought their web page very poor - illegible and short on information and let them know my views)
Wine: We had a couple of bottles of Greek wine at about $48/ bottle they were very acceptable

Price: Ordinarily about $50 but can be much dearer

Comments: A great addition to Melbournes restaurant scene I'll be back and will be more explicit about the food next time
Score: 15.5/20