Monday, April 25, 2005

Tides Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar

Address: Pier 35 Marina, 325 Lorimer St, Port Melbourne
This fine dining seafood restaurant is located on a pier - which is accessable by helicopter and boat, as well as by road, although it can be difficult to find especially at night. There is an outdoor section which would be great for those long balmy summer nights. The decor was quite acceptable. Service on the night was very good as well.
Menu include various oysters, entrees $16, mains $28, sides $6, desserts $15. Surcharge on the weekends apply. We found the menu to be a hit and miss affair. For example, the entree signature spaghettini was wonderful - rich tomato and capsicum pesto - generous serving, but the entree salad of grilled prawns, chicken and bacon was disappointing - limpy flat prawns, the whole salad felt like was made yesterday.
Mains were once again mixed - the seafood assiette - $39 - was well presented, with a selection of oysters, grilled extra large king prawns, spicy calamari, grilled garfish, octopus paella, and pan roasted scallops on black pudding. Whilst the overall taste was acceptable, some ingredients were certainly fresher than others. The pan fried barramundi with spiced eggplant $28 was quite good - a generous serving.
Wine list was comprehensive.
Overall, an innovative seafood restaurant. Reasonably priced, but food quality a little erratic.
Score: 14 - Worth a Visit.
David Lam

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bala da Dhaba

Introduction: Two Melbourne restaurants. We went to Glen Eira Rd Elsternwick

Ambience: Typical Indian restaurant

Service: Good

Food: Very good. Hot, mild or without chile as requested.
All dishes of very good standard. Lamb exceptionally tender I specially like the Korma dishes - lamb or chicken
Wine: BYO

Price: Inexpensive $45 Should get 2 people a very good dinner

Comments: It's hot in summer and you know you're in an Indian restaurant even with your eyes closed! If you like Indian food you'll like it here

Score: 14.5/20

The Flower Drum

Introduction: Rated in the top 50 restaurants in the world by American magazine "Restaurant"

Ambience: Lots of style with red carpeted lift to this fist floor restaurant

Service: Impecable

Food: Everything beautifully presented. Tastes are fine but tend to blandness, perhaps to suit the European palate I will describe the dishes later

Wine: Did not look at their wine menu!

Price: Depending on what you choose to eat. Can be quite reasonable or very expensive

Comments: I think this is a high quality but overrated restaurant.

Score: 15.5/20


Introduction: Voted best hotel restaurant in it's first year. Several changes of chef have made it's standards higher than ever
Ambience: Multi level well appointed open kitchen all make this a very special place

Service: So good I left a tip!

Food: In the menu degustation ($93) each dish was the equal or better than the last. Garfish on a bed of buckwheat polenta with garlic prawns and salsa verde is a classic innovative dining experience.
I'll write more about the food when I have more time Just say superb
Wine: Moderate range by the glass. Quite expensive

Price: enterees about $15 mains $30 - 40 Desserts about $15

Comments: This was an eating experience

Score: 18/20

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Botanical

Introduction: Long regarded as one of Melbournes finest. On Domain Rd South Yarra opposite the park.
Ambience: Wooden floors clothless tables and low ceilings make for a noisy environment even when only half full. The wine wall is, of course, a renowned feature.

Service: Good, tho' a little slow

Food: The entrees are outstanding. The warm poached egg with truffle, reggianna and soft polenta was quite excellent. ($22.50) The warm Heritage tomato tart also with truffle, imported mozzarella and Caprese salad less impressive but still very good. ($22.50) I found the main courses disappointing. The Wagu steak was tough to eat but the rich oxtail sauce was excellent. Once again a thin slice of truffle adorned the potato. The small wood roasted chicken stuffed with Italian sausage was very very tasty but the stuffing was overwhelming and had too much chilli for the delicate chicken. The accompanying salad with the roasting sauces was also very good and the panzanella added a further dimension. Side dishes were very ordinary and a good waitress would have pointed out that the steak is on a bed of spinach to be sure that we were happy to have such a similar dish as the spinach with lemon sauce. The plain mashed potato was very creamy but neither dish seemed reasonable at $9.50. We choose the richest desserts and were not disappointed! The sticky date pudding covered in sauce was a bit like a fruit cake. The 24 carat gold leaf vahrona chocolate nemesis with figs ice cream and brandy snaps for two is a very modest serve for $33 'tho I was glad to taste it.

Price: Definitely the $$$$ area See their web page if you really want the details It's cute too!

Comments: I am always surprised to see tables of young girls at these restaurants but can only conclude that most find it good value. Not quite the top of my chart.

Score: 16.5/20

Sunday, April 10, 2005



Introduction: At the top of Little Bourke St. (No. 35) this is another very good Melbourne restaurant

Ambience: Very congenial feeling about the place

Service: Perky waiter prompt and attentive Offered more bread (excellent sourdough w olive oil and balsamic) without having to be asked. Butter also available of course.

Food: Beautifully prepared. Top quality ingredients. The Red Emporer on a bed of mashed potato and Wasabi with watercress salad, pickled ginger and salmon caviar was an excellent combination. The lamb rump on a bed of spiced pilau was a special. Very much to my taste. Fries were crisp and a good size serve. The chocolate sorbet with the Marjolaine terrine worked brilliantly with the butterscotch cream and Turkish jelly (Delight) The black trufle icecream between almond shortbread biscuits was nice but not exciting.

Wine: A good list.

Price: Entrees $18 Mains $29 - 36 Desserts $15

Comments: Chef Michael Van Warmelo's talents are worth further exploration. His food is attractively presented without being unduly fussy
Have a look at their web page
Score: 17/20


Introduction: Well placed for a pre or post movie meal next door to the Brighton Bay Cinema in Bay Street Brighton
Ambience: Rather lacking in atmosphere this large restaurant had almost no customers on Sunday evening

Service: Attentive and pleasant

Food: Standard Japanese fare. The Sashimi prawns were excellent. The Beef hot pot served with a raw egg proved to be a bit too much of a challenge for my wife. Udon noodle with seafood was saisfying but nothing special.

Wine: I enjoyed warm Saki. There is a small wine list with several available by the glass

Price: About $65 for 2 without drinks

Comments: A good quality but quite ordinary Japanese restauant.

Score: 14.5/20

Saturday, April 02, 2005

AWASH African Restaurant

Introduction: A Footscray shopfront with no pretentions They have tables and they have chairs. A very different eating experience - best suited to the adventurous

Ambience: Feels like you have walked into someones old house

Service: Our African waiter was more like a host at a family gathering. Happy to explain the meaning of the items on the menu
Food: Served on Injera, a large flat but spongy pancake like sourdough bread, on a very large plate. Each course is dropped on this bread. The bread is torn off and used to pick up the food - no cutlery. We tried the Awash Special Tibs This is lamb or beef marinated in spices herbs and rosemary, Derek Tibs which is pan fried lamb or beef with onion, green pepper and rosemary, Doro Wat chicken marinated with spices herbs and Ethiopian berbere hot pepper sauce served with a hard boiled egg and Yetsom Beyaynetu a vegetarian meal served as a small dish of Lentils, another of dahl and a third which contained boiled cabbage, potato and carrot in a little thick soupy sauce.

There were no desserts but tea and coffee or soft drinks available.
Wine: BYO but there is a selection of spirits available.

Price: All the main courses were $10 Cash only.

Comments: Even though the Ethiopian Royal Family probably frequently eat these dishes they are quite unsophisticated. A fascinating experience well worth a visit for the adventurous.

Score: 13.5/20

Friday, April 01, 2005

Barbarino and Wong

Introduction: On St.Kilda Road, originally an American style rib restaurant took on an Asian element and added Wong to its name many years ago

Ambience: Amiable comfortable and no strain to have a conversation.

Service: Attentive and prompt.

Food: "Middle of the road" Substantial size meals. Oysters Mornay had more butter than cheese but tasted delicious. Ribs are excellent. Baked whole baby Snapper eqally so. No frills and plenty of seafood in the seafood noodle dish. Caesar salad is huge. Mudcake was exceptionally light and the Mango dessert scrumptious!

Wine: Modest but adequate range and price

Price: Two courses for two about $70

Comments: This is one of those places where perhaps you get more than you pay for. Good value
Score: 15/20