Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Harrods London

Introduction: Harrods food halls at Knightsbridge are a feast for the eyes
Ambience: Every food counter is overcrowded making it slow to get a seat and claustrophobic when you do

Service: Feels like a pub with bright lights

Food: Seafood, Oyster bar and sandwich bar. King size sandwiches toasted - tongue beef or cornbeef One sandwich and a handsome but not very good glass of wine a mere A$50

Comments: Go there to see it or perhaps to be seen Not to eat
Score: 13/20

Sushi Hiroba London

Introduction: Part of an International chain this one at 50 Kingsway London
Ambience: Utilitarian

Service: Self serve and waiter service

Food: Typical Japanese sushi, sashimi and a variety of small dishes go past on different coloured plates on a conveyor belt. Green tea Udon soup and other dishes can be ordered. The quality is very ordinary

Wine: Saki is available

Price: A$65 barely filled a cavity in one tooth

Comments: Expensive and poor value

Score:13 /20

Restaurant Bilbao Berria Barcelona

Introduction: ATapas house on the Cathedral square
Ambience: Crowded with rapidly changing clientelle

Service: Efficient

Food: Moderate variety Mussels stuffed with crab meat are very tasty as was thevegetarian eggplant and pepper construction. Elvers (called Angula here) which look like long white worms and are actually eel larvae, are a delicate specialty

Wine: House wine is barely acceptable

Price: Most tapas cost between A$3-6 depending on size

Comments: Excellent for a snack or meal

Score:13.5 /20

Restaurant Colón Barcelona

Introduction: Attached to the excellently placed hotel of the same name at Avenida da Catedral, 7.
Ambience: A very pleasant room

Service: Laughable pleasantly incompetent

Food: In a word AWFUL. The prawns in the prawn salad entree had not been cleaned and contained grit in the intestine The pumpkin soup was thin but acceptable Paella marinara had a recently deep frozen langoustine sitting an a bed of rice with a few limpits. Their special local fish only known in this area was inedible -extremely fatty with an overwhelmingly strong fishy taste. The ox sirloin requested blue came medium and the laquered lamb was as dry as a chip - cooked to death

Wine: The only good thing was the Domaine de Nidoleres, Syrah, 2002 - we needed 2 bottles!!
Price: Not cheap four dried little rolls cost A$11 3 entrees 4 mains and coffee and petit fours which I could not find on the bill came to A$270 Entrees about A$22 mains about A$40

Comments: I must say the staff were very nice

Score:11.5 /20

La Galvinos - Barcelona

Introduction: Facing the Marina at the port area of Barcelona. The many outside tables were empty at 10.00 pm on this winters night. Despite the hour staff greeted us warmly (almost fawning) and diners continued to arrive well after us the kitchen closing at about 11.30
Ambience: Gave me a vague feeling as tho I was on a shipwith huge porthole windows looking into the kitchen

Service: Plenty of uniformed staff for the number of diners meant as much attention as we wanted

Food: We started with the fish and shellfish soup Thick and filled with plenty of fish and prawns it was a good beginning. The mussels mariniere were large and satisfying in a slightly sweet thick tomato soup very much to my taste. The sweetness seems to come from the tomatos which are tastier than those in Australia

For mains I had the Angler fish in a thick fish sauce packed with oyster mushrooms and eggplant. Despite being much firmer (and less delicate ) than the one I had in Rome a year ago it was a very good dish
On the other hand the Hake with shellfish was extremely delicate. The flesh of this fish, also not available in Australia, very white and very fine. Wine: The house white was quite acceptable but the red rather rough
Price: We paid A$160 Starters A$12-20 Mains about A$45 You pay for bread everywhere in Spain

Comments: There are some meat dishes available but this is really a fish restaurant

Score: 15/20


Introduction: I don`t know if this specialist fish restaurant at Gran de Gra`n, 81 Barcelona has Michelin stars or not but it deserves them

Ambience: Bustling with waiters and patrons. A large display case is filled with awards and includes a Chaine des Rotisseurs chain. Photograhs of patrons includePresident Clinton and heaps of film stars and glitteratae. There is a long counter at which some ate presumably because the restaurant was full but most diners are seated at white linen covered tables

Service: White coated waiters are efficient but unhurried, considerate and willing to spend time on explanations

Food: We took our waiters recommendationfor 2 entreés and 2 mains

The crab salad in a light olive oil was exquisite with plenty of fine almost sweet crab meat
The grilled prawns were astonishingly tasty. Smaller but much sweeter than the Australian prawn they are caught 100 km up the coast. Only about 20kgm are caught each day for the whole of Spain and they could not be fresher ~ alive only a few hours ago
The Spiny Lobster (about A$170/ kgm) served with a mayonaise or a red mild sauce was again remarkable for the taste of the flesh
Finally the Sea Bass - a queen of fish, served with a cream sauce and sliced potato left us totally satisfied.
Wine: Again on our waiters advice a bottle of Bojus del Rios from the Galicia area proved to be an excellent accompaniment to the meal
Incidently they did have a few meat dishes available
There were complimentary sweets and Muscat to finish
Price: About A$430 but $300 if we did not have lobster
Comment: Undoubtedly a top restaurant
Score 18/20

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 ( www.lauskitchen.com.au)
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

Monday, October 02, 2006

Old Raffles Place

Introduction: On the corner of Johnston and Wellington St Collingwood this restaurant, which grew out of a coffee lounge, serves Singapore style food. Famed for Hainese chicken rice
Ambience: Remains a restaurant in a coffee lounge. You could call it understated but that would be overstating the case.

Service: Alan Han, the owner also serves. He has a long history in the hospitality business. While his wife cooks he is happy to talk at length about his experiences and about the influences the created the characteristic Singapore food of today
Food: Unfortunately, arriving late, we missed the Hainese Chicken which is descrbed most appealingly on the menu. We started with a Chef's selection entree of Prawn, spring rolls, a small samosa package fried crumbed calamari accompanied by some unusual prawn crackers - a nice start to the meal. The Laksa is really good not overly spiced and the beef rendang was also excellent

BYO $3.50/bottle

Price: Inexpensive. Mains $10 to $19 Cash only but there is an ATM on the premises!

Comments: Very good food at very reasonable prices. I MUST go again to try more of the specialties so glowingly descrbed on the menu

Score: 13.5/20

Chu The

Introduction: A traditional Vietnamese Pho noodle soup shop on Victoria St Richmond
Ambience: Eat and go. No frills

Service: Efficient

Food: Basically a broth spiced with five spice and coriander served in a large bowl filled with noodles and either chicken or beef tho there are some variations. I tried tripe which was tasteless and undercooked.

There is a side plate with bean shoots and mint to add to thje soup
Price: $7 to eat in $8 to take away
Comments: A good place for a quick light meal. Peasant food.

Score: 13/20

Lentils as Anything

Introduction: To cheap to get into the Age Cheap 2005 as there are no set prices - pay what you can afford and what you think it's worth!
Ambience: It feels like a squat. Dark, rather dingy, some modern inoffensive background music.

Service: Quite personal and very nice. I was impressed that when I began to ask my waitress Kate some questions she introduced herself, put out her hand and shook hands with me. I had been told it was very slow - not that night.

Food: Organic vegetarian. Substantial serves. I had a warm Vietnamese Salad - red and white cabbage, bean shoots, tofu, crispy noodles lightly spiced w some mild chilli. If this was served on fine crockery in flash surroundings customers would find it very acceptable.
Drinks: There are a variety of soft drinks and Chai available
Price; You decide. There's a large box with a slot in the top - just drop it in. If your lucky you might get a fanfare!

Comments: There are a few of these I went to the one in Blessington St. St. Kilda. If you don't mind going 'down market' in the extreme try it

Score: /1320

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Three, One, Two

Introduction: Andrew McConnel's restaurant 312 Drummond St Carlton is in fashion just now (Sept 06)
Ambience: The stone floor, black wood half way up the wall and uninspiring stormy long, narrow landscape and old style kitchen chairs did nothing for me tho I did like the lamp fittings
Service: All the four waiters who served us were well presented and informative

Food: We had the degustation menu $90.

First course Cigar - a tube of thin deep fried pastry stuffed with a tomato jelly at one end and eggplant at the other - tiny but very tasty. After a long wait three very small pieces of fish - Kingfish with ? lentils, Mackerel on a semolina biscuit and sour cream and Eel on a beetroot mash. we had been here for well over an hour by now and the dishes began to arrive more quickly
The delicate flavour of crab in the crab broth with cuttlefish, crispy chicken and "aromatics" (coriander) lost out to the powerful flavour of the broth
The roast scampi wrapped in cured pork with almond sauce was delicious but also a very tiny serve
The duck petit sale was perhaps too long in the oven and beginning to get dry and stringy. the half mouthful of foie gras parfait was wonderful but hardly went well with the couple of lightly cooked green beans.
The 6th course grilled veal with soft white polenta and fresh Tasmanian truffles was as tasty as you could ever want but the powerful jus detracted from the dish
The Irish Cashel blue cheese with celery leaves an miniscule amount of cooked apple and two drops of a sweet sauce was lovely as was the last course Chocolate granache, milk sorbet, hazelnut meringue and mandarin sauce.
A la carte entrees are $17 to $20 and include the crab broth, a rabbit terrine, ocean trout or a vegetarian smoked tomato, zucchini flower asparagus, cheese and radish sprout salad
Mains include the duck and the veal that we had and baby snapper vegetarian fricassee ($28 - $34)
Wine: Fully licenced Quite a good wine list. Expensive by the glass. The Domaine Senecheaux Chateauneuf du pape $18 was particularly pleasant

Price: A bit on the expensive side

Comments: We changed tables to try to get away from the noise with little success. Melbourne diners seem to have little consideration for others and this detracts from the enjoyment of the occassion. Overall the meal fell short in too many areas to be really good 'tho there are some excellent tastes

Score: 15 /20

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shark Fin Inn City

Introduction; One of Melbournes long time favourite places for Yum Cha at 50-52 Little Bourke St.
Ambience: Typical of all popular Yum Cha restaurants. Good humoured boistrous noisy and crowded

Service: Trolley service with attractive uni student parttime waitrsses adding to the atmosphere. Very good variety. Experienced diners will wait for the dishes they particularly like but you can also, usually, order something 'a la carte'

Food: I did not expect anything special so I was exceptionally pleased with the excellent tastes and combinations. Steamed dim sims with pork and peanuts was outstanding as were the stuffed eggplant and the sessame prawns on toast. There's plenty to please everyone

Wine: They have some reasonabe and inexpensive 'wines of the month' but i settled for

Chinese tea!
Price: We ate like pigs for less than $30 / head

Comments: Not only as good as my previous favourite Yum Cha restaurant but even better!

Score: 16/20

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Golden Lake

Introduction: At 4/288 Rear Springvale Rd Springvale, adjacent to the Springvale market
Ambience: Pass the hanging roast ducks and the bain marie with chiken feet, tripe lights and othe chinese delicacies to a large pleasant room. Well spaced, White linen, carpeted and comfortable.

Service: S l o w. I did not complain at the unusual result of a request for a glass of house red - a glass filled to a mm from the top.

Food: Had it arrived while still warm I think it would have been quite nice. After a crab and sweetcorn soup that tasted just like a chicken and sweetcorn soup and a dish of overcooked pork spare ribs we had seafood and vegetables in a basket, Crystal prawns, sweet and sour pork in light batter. None of these dishes was worth any special comment


BYO extremely limited list including a couple by the glass
Price: Not expensive

Comments:Too many other good places to go to

Score: 12.5/20

Angliss Restaurant

Introduction: A training school for Chefs managers and hospitality hopefuls
Ambience: the doors open promptly at 7.00 for dinner to a large carpeted room with well spaced tables seating up to 12

Service: Perhaps this was an off night or they all started that day. Regardless the very young uniformed waiters really struggled to do even basic tasks like opening wine bottles or pouring without spilling - water or wine!

Food: There is a limited menu that changes every week. All dishes were well presented and looked excellent tho the flavours were not generally up to expectation Pork Belly was the pick of the entrees and the mixed seafood a good second choice. Of the mains the twice cooked duck was undistiguished, the rabbit unfortunately dry, the pasts dish lacked taste altogether.

All the desserts were well prepared and attractive I liked the souffle best
Wine: Very reasonable An Elderton Shiraz was $23!

Price: $28 for 3 courses and coffee, or tea

Comments: Probably better on other nights. The framed photo's of many of Melbournes best chefs in the foyer might have raised my expectations too much

Score: 12.5/20

The Brasserie at Crown

Introduction: Phillipe Mouchel's restaurant - a sort of upper class French Bistro
Ambience: Nice river outlook with occassional blasts of heat from the flaming gas jets outside. Feels like it will not be cheap
Service: Attentive - what I expect from a place like this
Food: Fish soup $15.91 was ultimately most notable for the price! Shellfish salad was regretably just OK The Guinea fowl, on special, wrapped in a pastry purse on a bed of lentils was a bit dry, quite tasty but less than excellent, and a rather small course too at $31.81. The porterhouse steak requested warm blue, served rare, was a nice piece of meat but again nothing special. The best dish was the cassoulet $31.82 would you believe. A good example of a French specilaty The side dish of cauliflower in a rich cream sauce $5.00 - no cents (!) was the best value of the meal.

The tasting plate of desserts $20.00 was also a joy to the sweet toothed
Wine: A reasonable list from which you should be able to find something to meet your taste at a fair price We enjoyed a Hollys Pinot Gris 05 for a mere $47.27!!!

Price: Moderately expensive

Comments; I've heard a lot of negative comments about the Brasserie. It's not that bad but it's not that good either
The pricing of dishes is incomprehensible
Score:14 /20

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Introduction: A suburban gem
Ambience: A comfortable good quality feel about the place. Quiet and relaxing
Service: pleasant and helpful
Food: Remarkable. Although a little over salty the deep fried flounder in a basket of the flounder bones was an excellent dish. The 2 and1/2 pound white crab cooked in rice wine and eggwhite on a bed of noodles was absolutely outstanding. I haven't had food like this in the suburbs ever and will certainly return
Wine: They have some but BYO is preferable
Price: Reasonable We paid $140 for an excellent and very special meal
Comments: Chinese Haute cuisine has come to Malvern
Score: 16/20

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Enlightened Cuisine

Introduction: Chinese Vegan Restaurant at 113 Queensbridge St Southgate

Ambience: Pleasant well spaced tables with linen
cloths on the left side of the room and plastic on the right!!
Service: Obliging

Food: Astonishing. I have failed to enjoy mock meat dishes on several past occassions and had no great expectations. I tasted imitation beef, battered sweet and sour pork, duck with vegetables and a fish dish. Not only were the sauces excellent but also the main ingredients were very good imitations of the real thing.

Wine; BYO

Price: Entrees $4 Mains $12 to 19

Comments: Will definitely return. They have an arrangement, and do not charge, for car parking in their secure
basement park around the corner. One of the staff will open the door on request.
Score: 15.5/20

Friday, June 30, 2006

Les Boucheries Parisiennes

Introduction: Like a little bit of Paris at 268 Toorak Rd - close to Chapel St Sth Yarra
Ambience: Quite delighted me. Seating less than 30, small tables Subdued paper table coverings, good quality cutlery. The staff dressed in oh so French striped White and Blue uniforms covered by white, off one shoulder, aprons. As seen in an old photo of a, no doubt, Paris "Boucherie.

Service: Our waiter was an amiable fellow but a rank amateur in this business, with a minimum of schoolboy French, though, coming from Berlin, he spoke excellent German!

Food: Tasty bread rolls are kept in calico bags on a hook under the table

This is certainly a specialty meat restaurant. Not one fish dish contaminated the menu.
We skipped the intruder on the entree menu - Tapas 3, 6 or 9 but we could not choose them and went straight for the mains. Several were no longer available including the Ribeye for two and luckily (or not) I got the last rabbit. Well bit of rabbit anyway. The tenderloin, served warm blue, was slightly overcooked and the Bernaise sauce would not pass a cordon blue taste test. The rabbit, served in a La Cruesset pot, surrounded by garlic cloves and a small onion was far to dry.
The mains ($35) came without anything else but the side dishes of French fries, Turnips, and spinach ($7.5) were all really excellent. They are served in very attractive very small La Cruesset pots
The Creme brulee was about as good as it gets
Wine: A modest and slightly expensive list By the glass about $9

Price: On the expensive side at about $80 a head for a not particularly good meal

Comments: Lots of atmosphere

Score: 13.5/20

Bamboo House

Introduction: A long well established China town restaurant at 47 Little Bourke St.
Ambience: An elegant, well spaced facility

Service: Somewhat slow resulting in food being much cooler than I would have liked

Food: A vegetarian San Chow Bao was very pleasing ($7) as was an entree of 6 lightly cooked oysters and 6 delicately prepared steamed scallops ($30) Deep fried soft shell crabs ($7) are much the same everywhere and these were also very acceptable as was tea smoked duck ($33 for a half).

The crab with ginger on a bed of noodles was much to cold tho I wish it had been bigger - a tasty morsel at, I think, $60/kg.
A steamed fish in a light oyster sauce and a serve of chinese mushrooms and mixed vegetables completed a meal just short of being excellent
Wine: Whilst they have a good list you can bring your own which we did -corkage $10

Price: $75 per person gets a pretty good meal

Comments: It took about 20 minutes for steamed rice to arrive after we ordered it. This and the delay between cooking and serving detracted from a very good meal

Score: 15.5/20

BG Dumpling Restaurant

Introduction: A replacement for Tasty Cooking at 78 Kingsway Glen Waverley
Ambience: Functional. Enlivened by a substantial number of young Chinese patrons

Service: No frills. Efficient

Food: Nothing to write home about! The recommended hot and sour soup had run out. We tried a won ton dumpling dish and a couple of nameless dishes that looked interesting we saw others eating.

They are substantial (one we decided to take home and it needed two containers) but not exciting to the palate
Wine: They had none!

Price: Extremely inexpensive $8 to $12 for most dishes

Comments: A cafeteria style Chinese fast food shop. No cards Cash only of course

Score: 12/20

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Grange - Adelaide

Introduction: Reputed to be the best restaurant in Adelaide on the ground floor of the Hilton Hotel. Chef Cheong Liew is one of only two to receive an Order of Australia for his culinary efforts. (The other is Tetsuya!)
Ambience: Somewhat dated decorations. Badly affected by the noise emanating from the adjacent Brasserie and bar which are split level but have no seperation from one to the next

Service: Impeccably mannered young ladies with soft voices had to constantly repeat themselves to be heard and understood. We had no problems but some guests complained of long waiting periods between some courses

Food : I had the 8 course extravaganza titled 'Migration of Ideas, sensory experience'
The menu consited of the following
The four dances of the sea
Soused snok, raw calamari, squid ink noodles,octopus aoli, spiced prawn sushi
Pink snapper fillet, basil dressed pencil squid, black mussel salad.
Snapper head couscous
Sharkfin soup dumplingin venison consomme, poached quail egg
Mamak style marron, coconutfish peppers, fried spatzle
Moscovy hen breast, Cherry vinegar sauce, duck leg in turnip, almond saffron duck liver in pastry
Spiced Wagyu loin, stir fried shitake sugar snap pulse with rocket potato tortellini
Saffron grenadine orange salad with blood orange granite, white mulberry
Grange Dessert Dance
Black rice palm sugar pudding, praline torte, chocolate figs, watermelon fume'

None of these are small serves and after the complimentary lightly cooked oyster with herbs in light soy my ability to appreciate good food began to diminish well before the end of the meal
Everything was quite excellent without picking out any specific item however I rather wonder why so many of the items were there at all. Apart from the shear volume of food there was some lack of balance in the dishes and, of course, between them too.
Wine: There is a good selection by glass or bottle. For $89 they will match each dish with an appropriate wine

Price: $159 for eight courses, $104 for 3 courses or a la carte

Comments: Certainly a culinary experience

Score:16 /20

Urban Bistro - Adelaide

Introduction: Set on the ground floor of a former Maternity hospital now converted to upmarket apartments on Fullarton Rd Rose Park
Ambience: No frills cafe style

Service: No frills but helpful.

Food: After a very tasty plate of crisp bintji potato with rosemary salt ($6.5) I had the roast pheasant with endive and pheasant meat salad. Taste was good but this would not fill a hungry client. The toasted cocunut rice with candlenut prawn ($16.9) was also tasty but rather small. The five spice duck pie with chilli, onion jam and chard ($24.9) was probably the pick of the menu. The Side dishes - truffle mash ($6.9) grilled asparagus with soft egg and truffle parmesan were interesting unlike the dull rocket salad

The praline souffle with toffee almond gelati ($13.5) was very good which I would not say for the Passionfruit curd tart with Italian meringue which was fairly ordinary 'tho prettily presented
Wine: BYO corkage $15/ bottle is pretty hot for a fancy cafe
Price: $55/head gets you quite a tasty meal but will probably leave you hungry
Comment: Needs a much nicer venue, better appointments and more comfort and better size serves but the food was very good.
Score 14/20

Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone

Introduction: Formerly the Bluestone Cafe at 557 St. Kilda Rd, immediately adjacent to Wesley College
Ambience: In a wonderful old building, formerly the dining hall and kitchen for the school for the blind this space is even better than it's namesake restaurant in Adelaide. Reeks with atmosphere.
Evidently there are about 30 of these franchised restaurants around the world.
Service: Extremely helpful and informative
Food: An entree of deep fried battered mussels with a herb sauce was excellent Mains are similar to those in Adelaide with some variations - I enjoyed a pot of mussels cooked with pumpkin, pine nuts and ricotta. For the less adventurous the Mussel Mariniere were superb.
Wine: A different range of slightly more expensive wines by the glass ($8) and a good range of beers.
Price: 10 - 15% dearer than Adelaide, as most things seem to be.
Comment Good food and good value - good for a fun night
Score: 15/20 Do remember this is marked as a Bistro

Belgian Beer Cafe - Adelaide

Introduction: Set in a large, drafty, dark wood panelled room at 27 Ebenezer Place in the heart of Adelaide
Ambience: Plain, old style with lot's of atmosphere
Service: Pleasant
Food: They specialise in mussels prepared with a variety of 'soups' or sauces that they are cooked in. Served in the traditional Belgain pots a kilogram of mussels and a large serve of Belgian style potato chips make a substantial and tasty meal. Generally cream sauce, red sauces, curry and chilli styles are available. They also had a very good fish stew. For the non shellfish eaters Ordinary fish and chips, steak or poultry are also available. They also served an excellent chocolate mousse ($10)
Wine: Well of course they specialise in beer, particularly Belgian, of which Stella Artois is the most popular but there is a good variety for the more adventurous. Wine is also available at very reasonable prices (=$6.5) by the glass or bottle
Price: Mains about $21.5
Comment: an excellent place for a Bistro meal specially for lovers of mussels
Score: As a Bistro 15/20

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Maggie Beers Pheasant Farm

Introduction: On Pheasant Farm Rd an hour out of Adelaide in the vicinity of Tanunda - an attractive country town.
Ambience: Set on a very green river with a few ducks about, pheasants in the garden. A real country kitchen
Service: Counter service
Food: They had a pheasant and mushroom pie (called a terrine here) which was a very nice snack. Also available several picnic boxes - a chicken liver pate with caramelised onion, a capsicum pate served with a freekah (wheat) salad which all were snacks rather than meals but very tasty. There are also a small range of exclusive home made icecreams.
Wine: They have Beer Bros wines either by the glass or bottle but I did not care for their Reisling, their Semillon/Chardonnay or their Cab Sav Shiraz!
Comment: Really this is a place to come and taste and buy a wide range of Maggie's products. They have pate's pastes jams wines and more and it would be a rare customer who did not find something to please their palate
Price: Picnic box $12.5 Terrine $15 Wine About $6/glass
Score: 14/20 as a farm shop but don't go for a meal

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

RSL Elsternwick

Introduction: Similar to 1000 pubs. Situated in a magnificent building in St Georges Rd close to Glenhuntly Rd
Ambience: Utilitarian
Service: Order at the counter delivered to your table
Food: Whole trout Amandine good but not very good ,as was pot roast beef. Flathead tails and chips very good. Vegetables sit in the Bain Marie too long. Half a dozen salads on the smorgasbord are preferable
Wine: Limited list and even more limited by the glass but very inexpensive @ $3.4 and seniors get a $2 voucher with their meal!
Price: Two courses for $9.90 is cheaper than home cooking and no dishes. Regular menu $12.90still very reasonable
Comment: Quite a decent cheap meal
Score: 13/20 for food 15/20 for value for money!


Introduction: In the premises previously occupied by Lantana at 35 Little Bourke St The restaurant has been opened up and greatly brightened by it's new proprietors
Ambience: Has the feeling of a good class establishment
Service: Attractive waitresses provide information and prompt service
Food: Entrees were large and tasty The lobter rissotto a full meal size serve. The crab pasta also excellent.
We tried four mains. The Hapuka, then slow cooked lamb shanks, the sirloin and the porterhouse steak. All were very well prepared with good size side dishes of chips and spinach with crunchy almond chips made for an excellent meal
Wine: We celebrated with a Bellusi Prosecco - Sweeter than usual but very satisfactory at $38 They have a BYO policy $15 / bottle except on Saturday but they have an adequate list for ordinary consumption
Price: Entrees about $16, mains about $32
Comment: An improvement on Lantana which was pretty good. Deserves to succed
Score 15/20

Sunday, April 30, 2006

New Royal Garden

Introduction: On corner of High St Rd and Blackburn Rd, Syndal
Ambience: Always crowdwd and bustling

Service: As efficient as it can be

Food: There is an a la carte menu and a reasonably priced takeaway menu but we went for the Yum Cha (7 days a week) They have a good variety of dishes. I particulrly liked the roast suckling pig and the pork stuffed eggplant. unfortunately I felt the majority of the dishes I tested were somewhat lacking in taste. The sesame prawn toast was luke warm as were the spring rolls and also tasted the worse for that. The sago pudding dessert was also a disappointment Our host, Bang Chua was extremely accomodating and re deep fried the spring rolls but it should not have been necessary

Wine: BYO or licenced

Price: About $25 will get you a pretty good meal

Comments: A long time favourite with a large Chinese clientelle failed to please me on this occassion.

Score: 13.5/20

Le Petit Bourgeois

Introduction: A small surprisingly good suburban French restaurant at 330 Waverley Rd, E Malvern
Ambience: Pleasantly decorated, well spaced tables, gave me the feeling that this was a nice place to be. A homely atmosphere

Service: We were well looked after by the wife of the chef

Food: Classical french style. The menu is not large with interesting meat and fish dihes. For entrees ($15)the Scallops in a rich cream sauce were excellent but surpassed by the crab presented 3 ways
Mains ($26) the Kangaroo was outstanding the lamb excellent and the confit of duck about average.
Desserts ($11) also very good both the souffle and the Il flottante worth having for the sweet toothed
Wine: BYO corkage $3/person They have a small list at reasonable prices

Price: 3 courses are about $60/head

Comments: Well worth a second visit. I really liked it

Score: 15/20

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Introduction: On the foreshore at 40 Jacka Boulevard, almost directly behind Luna Park with pleasing views over the Bay from most tables.
Ambience: This is a comfortably appointed relaxed homely restaurant.
Service: Unhurried, informed, unobtrusive and obliging

Food: For starters, at around $19, we loved the crispy soft shell crab with (not very) spicy pork sausage, baby leaves baked beans and caper vinaigrette. Not so much to my taste were the black mussels 'acqua pazza' steamed with white wine, tomato, fennel seed and parsley.
For mains (around $37) I tried the whole baby snapper, perfectly cooked, the barbecue lamb rump, with creamy mash, baby vegetables, lentils in a rosemary garlic jus also excellent. The Queensland leader prawn are very large but still require some dissecting skills to get the most from them. I also tasted the Battered King George whiting and the Roasted best end veal which wre all to be recommended. After all this I tried only one dessert (mostly $16.5) from the very attravtive list - the Cappuchino creme brulee with zabaglione and a sugar pastry twist. This bears little resemblance to a classical creme brulee but nonetheless had a lovely creamy texture and pleasing coffee taste
Wine: There is an extensive list from about $40 upwards with many French, Spanish and Italian as well as Australian wines. The Yarra Valley is surprisingly underrepresented in the red wine sections. We enjoyed a Margaret River, Franklin Station, Cab Sav Merlot

Price: Upwards of $55/head

Comments: One of Melbournes best restaurants
One surprise their chips are actually pieces of roast potato!!
Score: 16/20

Friday, April 21, 2006

Tien Tien

Introduction: A Vietnamese restauant with two sites. We visited the Barkly St St.Kilda establishment
Ambience: Set in a large, noisy, barely furnished room not really distinguishable from dozens of other restaurants of this type
simple but quite pleasant
Service: Unexceptional - not at all bad but not particularly good

Food: Wide range of entrees and mains with chefs' specials on blackboards on the walls. Stuffed eggplant ($6) drenched in a heavy black bean sauce lacked taste however the Lettuce Bun, another name for san chao bao, with plum sauce was very good as were the spring rolls. The garlic prawns were also reasonably tasty.

The deep fried flounder ($19.5) was cooked to a crisp so it was hard to find any fish! They have a "Must Try" (which is always a Mekong River dish) in each section of the menu. Seduced by this I tried their Mekong River Beef which was a slices of beef and pieces of tomato and peppers in a mild chilli sauce - hardly spectacular!!
Wine: They have a reasonable but also unexciting list. BYO corkage $2.5 per bottle.
Price: Entrees about $6 Mains about $18
Comments: A reasonable suburban Vietnamese restaurant Amused to see the Vegetarian section Mekong River -Must Try dish has a footnote Not recommended for vegetarians!!!!

Score: 13/20

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Vao Doi

Introduction: At 300 High St. Kew. Apparently the name means "New Start" which it was for the owners when they originally set up the restaurant in Victoria Street
Ambience: A big bustling rather peculiarly decorated restaurant

Service: Nothing special

Food: This is sort of 'upper class' Vietnamese at slightly higher prices for those in the neighbourhood who can afford not to go to Victoria Street

Rice paper pork and prawn rolls $7 are a nice appetizer but I preferred the South Vietnamese sugar cane prawns $17 for four. The roast quail is also excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the southern beef and coleslaw salad. I found the ginger duck casserole disappointing - it was hard to tell that it really was a duck. Both the grilled pork with rice noodle cake and the chicken with basil and cashews were reasonable without being exciting.
Wine: They have quite an extensive wine list for a Vietnamese restaurant or BYO

Price: Entrees about $7 mains about $18 to $25

Comments: Upmarket Vietnamese

Score: 14/20

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Introduction: Owned by next door restaurant (Tiamo) at 330 Lygon St Carlton where Cafe culture is booming
Ambience: It's a cafe/restaurant and has no pretensions to be otherwise

Service: OK

Food: Really tasty. Seperate kitchen from Tiamo. The duck and mushroom risotto was very good, the tortellini tartuffo excellent and the spaghetti don giovanni, really marinara, also very good

Wine: Very limited list. BYO if you want anything special

PriceVery reasonable - around $15 for mains

Comments: Excellent for a spot of lunch


Thursday, March 30, 2006

France Soir

Introduction: Long regarded as one of Melbournes finest French restaurants, France Soir continues to thrive at 11 Toorak Rd South Yarra
Ambience: Noisy
crowded and bustling, filled with vitality. Heavy paper sheets cover the table cloths. Solid unexciting cutlery and no side plates make for considerably more space on the tables
Service: Efficient and friendly. Our obviously French waiter provided accurate explanations with some difficulty above the noise

Food: The menu is extensive and I will have to sample more of it. Last night we started with an very good entree of mussels mariniere in an excellent white wine sauce and a prawn quennelle in a superb cream sauce. Unfortunately the quennelles were much too firm. The roast pigeon with petit legumes in a light slightly sweet red sauce was beautifully prepared as was the roast duck served with a large bowl of pomme friites

The creme brullee, an extremely difficult dessert to get just right, proved to be too creamy and rather disappointing
Wine: Probably the best wine list in Victoria. It is presented in a large leather bound book!! We enjoyed a 2004 Palliser Pinot Gris BYO $10/bottle corkage but not on Saturday

Price: Very reasonable at about $55 for two courses for two

Comments: Traditional French without too many frills. The kitchen stays open 'till midnight so you can still get a good meal at 11.30 or even later

My estimation of France Soir has risen! The tripe in wine sauce was super - tender and very good taste, the rabbit casserole as good as any I have ever eaten. Tender not at all dry and with an excellent jus. The 'Filet de Boeuf' served warm blue, as ordered (most unusual in my experience) was also really excellent and the Il flottante dessert an improvement on the creme brullee
Revisited again! And not disappointed at all!!
Snails in garlic butter were unusually tender and tasty - not at all tough. Whole snapper retained its moistness and delicacy, Duck in orange sauce as good as it gets Filet of Hapuka also cooked perfectly. Side dishes are generous Beans in a butter sauce lightly cooked, spinach - satisfying for the most discriminating diner
Tart tatin excellent as was crepe suzzette
A Vouvray Pinot Noir ($55) went well with everything
Score: 16.5/20

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Flower Drum

Not often you get an opportunity to eat at the flower drum where you are happy to pick up the Tab. As part of the International food and wine festival they put on a $49.50 lunch with 3 courses and a fruit platter plus t&c. We started with the Quail san choi bow which had a delicate yet rich flavour unusual for quail and quite delicious. Next came the famous peking duck, with 2 or 3 succulent portions which “melted in your mouth” Then the eye fillet neatly cut into 4 strips of 2cm width. Once again the taste and tenderness of the meat was almost orgasmic! The fruit platter contained many rare and unusual fruits, unfortunately there was not one of each to go round!
Lunch with mates at the flower drum on a postman’s salary…What more could you ask for!

Contributed by PR

Monday, March 27, 2006


Introduction: Around the corner from the Classic Cinema in Glenhuntly Rd Elsternwick
Ambience: Nothing special. Plain tables and chairs. Plain decor

ServiceAmateurish but the girls were sweet!

Food: The Bakonyi soup was tasty and full of goodies a kind of Hungarian minestrone. Unfortunately everything else we tried was in a taste free zone. The smoked pork hock was cooked to tender perfection but had NO flavour at all, the roast duck similar, the goulash equally dissapoiting. Only the crumbed chicken livers were worth eating. Large serves, Side dishes creamed spinach, red cabbage and chips were all the best part of the meal.

Wine: BYO Corkage $5 They have a very limited wine list

Price: Around $50 for two

Comments: Perhaps we should have had schnitzel

Score: 12/20

Cafe Qua

Introduction: Along with Batch, Wallah, Boccone, The Ugly Sister and half a dozen others this cafe competes for the breakfast (all day) trade on Balaclava Road
Ambience: Cafe style

Service: Undistiguished, not bad

Food: The serves are substantial the quality fair. The Eggs Qua, really eggs Benedict, well covered in Hollandaise sauce almost certainly from a packet. The Big Breafast, 2 eggs, fried scrambled or poached, on toast, hash brown, fried tomatoes and mushrooms was very satisfying. They also serve pasta's

Price: around $12 to $15 with some cheaper snacks.

Comments: quite a good place for a light meal

Score: 13/20


Introduction: A recent addition to the Albert Park restaurant scene at 166 Bridport St.
Ambience: Dark wood panelling give an old world feeling enhanced on the night we were there with quiet, pleasant music from the 60's. The white tablecloths with red stripes and matching servettes are very French

Service: Waitresses in all black add to the atmosphere. Efficient, they gave full explanations on request.

Food: Began with a small dish of Tete de Veau and sliced pickled gherkins courtesy of the Chef. The duck breast entree was nice without being special. They have some unusual things on the menu including saddle of rabbit with some offal and a lamb kidney and sweatbread dish which I ordered. It came in a rich red wine jus and was beautifully prepared. The Angus beef steak was tender and came warm blue as requested. The Creme brulee was unusually excellent and the chaboste a champaigne mousse on special was exquisite

Wine> BYO night is Tuesday corkage $10 otherwise corkage $25! Small range of wines by the glass at about $8 and modest list otherwise. Cocktails $10 but theie Bellini was nothing like the real thing

PriceEntrees about $15 mains about $30 desserts about $15. We paid $146 for two

Comments: Well above average suburban French restaurant

Score: 14/20

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tandoori Times

Introduction: An adventure in Indian food mostly North Indian but with wide variety including many vegetarian meals at 194 Barkly St, St.Kilda.
Ambience: Pleasantly rowdy with a Bollywood DVD (with subtitles) playing on the large overhead TV screen

Service: The owner manager made a point of seeing that our needs were catered for in terms of appropriate dishes for some delicate palates. He was extremely amiable and determined to please

Food: We had the $27 Banquet which was plenty to eat including excellent Roti, Tandoori chicken, of course, Saag - tasty lamb in a pureed spinach, a lamb grilled chop and a Biryani follwed by icecream made Indian style from boiled down milk, Mango or Vanilla flavour. Excellent flavour but suffering from a little ice formation, perhaps too long in the freezer. Herb spiced Indian tea, or ordinary tea or coffee if you wish. This was all classical Indian cooking with fine flavours not destroyed by excessive chilli

Wine: I advise you to bring your own tho' they do have a good range of beers, specially Indian.

Price: Entrees $6 - 9 Mains $10 - 17

Comments: A pleasing addition to the St. Kilda eating scene

Score: 14/20


Introduction: A fish and shellfish specialist restaurant at 213 Barkly St, St.Kilda
Ambience: I am unsure what they are trying to achieve with their grotty bare 5 ply tables and chairs to match except for half a dozen old railway carriage seats on a bare concrete floor. The decor is bare with a huge metal octopus hanging from the ceiling of the main room It's no frills. BASIC. Water is offered in old bottles and the glasses are about as ugly as you can get.

Service: Unhurried, There is a menu on a blackboard and almost no flexibility so the waitress can only tell you a little about the spices

Food: On arrival we were offered a small slice of focaccio with a light, creamy tzadiki. Many of the main courses, but not all, are for two, or more, with prices from $20 for a small crispy skin John Dory with baked potato and Bok Choy to $80 for wild barramundi. A small flounder poached in mirin $25 is about half the size of what you would get at Topogigio There is no doubt about the freshness of the seafood which is offered with a variety of middle eastern spices. None the less, at the end of the day, the cooking is also very basic. There are no sauces available not even tartare.

There are no desserts and I didn't ask about tea or coffee. Frankly I couldn't wait to leave
Wine: BYO Bring your own glass too if you want something pleasant from which to drink

Price: This is not a cheap restaurant. At the extreme 6 oysters for $30 and they're nothing special. They take cash only

Comments: This is something of a cult restaurant that I have been keen to visit for sometime. Unfortunately I found it profoundly disappointing That the food is good could not make up for the other deficiencies

Score: 11/20

Monday, March 20, 2006


Introduction: This old favourite has been at 1193 High St Armadale for nearly 20 years
Ambience: The long narrow room with tables down one side and a cabinet displaying the freshest of fish on the other side has a distinctly oriental feel to it

Service Attentive and informative

Food: Generally of very good standard. The ingredients are excellent however some of the dishes are somewhat bland. The seafood hot pot is a prime example and the traditional Japanese hot pot has the same problem. The roasted eggplant entreeis excellent and the steam crab dumpling very delicate. Their Tempura dishes are all crisp and as tasty as can be expected. The deep fried soft shell crab, another simple dish served with tempura and dipping sauce was especially pleasing.

The desserts are better than expected their mousse being exceptional
Wine: A modest list at reasonable prices

Price: A little above average. About $50 a head

Comments: Well worth a visit for Japanese food lovers

Score: 14/20

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Afghan Bakery and Take Away

Introduction: This single room Halal restaurant in Thomas St Dandenong ( about 250) has half a dozen tables and 6 items on the menu of which the last is Bread They had run out of bread and rice but got supplies from next door (Afghan Sahar Takeaway)
Ambience: It looks like a barely furnished dump

Service: The "chef" put the food on the table with the help of his mate who happily picked up the bread and moved it in his , we hope but doubt, reasonably clean hands

Food: The lamb kebab served with a a mild curry sauce and a great slab of warm flat Afghani bread plus an ungarnished garden salad was de-licious. there was also the posibility of Chicken kebab or a minced lamb shish kebab but we ordered the Pilau a special long grain Basmati rice with raisins some shaved nuts and fine strips of carrot served with meatballs. This required our chef to run in to the retaurant next door from which he returned with the rice dish and a light lamb curry with lentils. Another excellent dish.

No desserts. No tea or coffee. Soft drinks in the frig.
Wine: Not available

Price Mains $6 to $10 Bread $1 and that's all there is

Comments: This place has two things going for it. It's very tasty and it's very cheap
As seems to be becoming customary in some of these places rather than serviettes they have a box of tissues on each table!
Score: 12/20

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wallah Falafel and Grill

Introduction: A Moroccan and Israeli influenced Shishlik, Burger or Pita pocket restaurant at 302 Carlisle Street Balaclava
Ambience: Pretty well indistiguishable from a dozen similar places on strip shopping centres

Service: Amiably inefficient

Food: The Pita pocket stuffed with eggplant, hommus and garden salad with plenty of beef - you could have lamb, beef kebab or chicken if you liked, was large and very satisfying. Served with a tiny plate of lightly marinated vegetables it made an excellent lunch. Their Felafel balls are large, crisp on the outside and soft in the centre and go well with the lightly lemon flavoured hommus

Price: Cheap cash only at present Dips $6 - 7.5 Snacks $4 - 9 Pita pockets $7 - 8.5 Mains $15 - 17.5

Comments: Open from 11.00 am 'till late every day. Rather limited menu but good value for a meal of its type A revisit was as good as before with the addition that the menu is being enlarged and now includes salmon fillet - barbecued, and steak

Score: 13.5/20
Comment After a fire their has been a pleasant renovation. Other changes include an increase in prices by $3 or $4 and a credit card facility. Service is also improved

The Age Cheap Eats has given them 2 stars

Friday, March 10, 2006

Lemnos Tavern

Introduction: Traditional Greek style tavern on High St. Prahran
Ambience: Nicely decorated with nostalgia inducing pictures of Greek islands. White linen tablecloths and serviettes.

Service: Efficient

Food: The usual dips, served with bread. The fried eggplant was particularly good. We tried 3 fish dishes. The whole boned barbecued whiting was as good as it gets - this delicate fish deserves its reputation as the queen of fish. The barbecued Blue eye fillets were also very good. The barbecued boned whole snapper was slightly less successful as there were plenty of bones left. The flesh of the snapper is a lot more fibrous but the taste could not be faulted. The side dish of potato chips was to my taste - crisp and well cooked

Wine: BYO -
my host provided!
Price: Around $50

Comments: Astonishing to find that Tartare Sauce was not available! Still worth a visit

Score: 13.5/20


Introduction: On the Marina at St.Kilda this is a beaut setting particularly on a warm summer night
Ambience: Very open with increasingly louder music as the night passes. A bistro/cafe style
bare wooden tables many with views across St.Kilda or the bay
Service: Our waitress was well informed but aggresive in style

Food: Surprised me with its quality which was better than I expected. The entrees are substantial. The pork belly and duck stack a small meal. Despite explicit explanation of what warm blue means and a promise to return the dish if overcooked the less than tender porterhouse steak came back medium rare. A second attempt was rare but I resisted the temptation to send it back again. The linguini marinara was excellent with good taste and lots of seafood - salmon, prawns, mussels, calamari and wimpy's

Wine: A small and very ordinary list.

Price: Seems to be about average these days. $45 per head

Comments; Reasonably good food. in an unsophisticated place with considerable potential

Score: 13/20

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cafe Vic

Introduction: At the Arts centre. Set up for prompt service for pre show dinner or post performance supper.
Ambience: Always packed before performances, which is 6 nights a week. Tables outside on warm nights

Service: Take your tray, examine the menu while in the queue, uniformed staff fill the order, move to the cashier, go and eat! You need about an hour to have a comfortable time to eat without hurry

Food: Pretty good. We were running a little late so only tried two dishes. The piping hot beef pie with mashed potato and steamed vegetables and the lamb rump with same vegetables and mash.

Both were well prepared, the large piece of lamb medium rare, the vegetables crisp and the mash smooth and creamy. Other dishes such as pork on Asian greens and a chicken dish looked attractive.
Wine. Asmall selection including 175 ml bottles

Price: Modest. Mains $16 to $21

Comments: I will have to try this again

Score:: 13/20