Göz City – Gözleme Charm

panda 4 rating

Menu:
The Menu Gözleme menu halal (1)

One of Grazing Panda’s readers emailed me about Goz City to let me know that it was a restaurant that I should add to my Halal Restaurant tab – and from that time onwards I was keen to check it out. Having visited Turkey earlier in the year I was looking forward to eating one of Turkey’s famous age-old foods.

Goz City is the first of its kind – the first standalone speciality gözleme store in the Melbourne CBD, well just Melbourne even – and was opened in January by Taylan Aksoy. Aksoy together with his dad Alan also owns Koy in South Melbourne – where you can purchase gözlemes as well; and on a busy day they can sell upwards of 300!

Goz City is a smallish store located near the corner of Little Collins and Williams Street in the Melbourne CBD, complete with a cosy, homely and relaxed vibe. What I love is that you can stand out the front and watch through the front window as the gözleme are made. You can watch their swift, efficient process as they churn out these traditional flatbreads. The process involves the yufka pastry being rolled, flattened, filled with your choice of topping and cooked to order.
The menu consists of four different varieties – Cheese & Spinach, Herbed Chicken & Mushroom, Minced Meat (Beef) or Mushroom & Vegetables – which are $10 each (or if you want to purchase it with a drink $12). These are complemented weekly, with unique and seasonally-driven gözleme flavours.
There are also Boreks ($4 each or if you order it with a coffee for $6) available in the same flavours, as well as Pides (such as Tomato & Egg or Sucuk Sausage & Egg for $5 each or $7 with a coffee). There is also the option of House Made Soup served with a toasted Turkish Bagel (when I visited the soup of the day was Mushroom). There is also a great selection of Turkish, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspired salads such as Cypriot Cauliflower or Quinoa Tabouli.
Coffee served is from Tobys Estate and comes in a House Blend as well as a Single Origin.

Their main focus is on takeaway – but if you get in early and beat the rush there are around 14 seats available – both inside and outside – there is a high bench for seating as well as some lower wooden tables. Lines are out the door especially if you arrive after 12pm with the wait time not too long (you are getting fresh, made to order gözlemes after all!).
Earthy, rustic and warm tones are used throughout the venue coupled with black and white pictures. Gözlemes are presented on a wooden board – with the gözleme cut into convenient mixed sized rectangles and served with sour cream. The serving size is very generous (I struggled to finish the entire serving!) – and the dish is very very filling. I ordered the Herbed Chicken & Mushroom gözleme – which had been seasoned perfectly and tasted great. The bread was cooked just right as well – crispy on the outside and soft on the lower layers. My only critique would be that instead of the gözleme being served with sour cream I would have preferred it to be garlic sauce.
I also had a minced lamb borek – which was a tad bit on the oily side – but was succulent and delicious. The pastry used for the borek is thin, light and crunchy.

There are also Homemade Turkish sweets such as Baklava and Turkish Delight available for sale as well as Turkish Coffee.

Goz City combines the age-old gözleme tradition with a distinct modern twist – offering a unique Turkish food experience. Gözleme is fast becoming the latest street food craze to hit town and if the queues are anything to go by – it will be one to stick around for a while to come!

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Refer to the pictures above or go to http://www.gozcity.com.au/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Cosy, Homely and Relaxed
Service: Friendly
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.gozcity.com.au/
502 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Tel No: 9041 5667

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 4:-00pm
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED

Goz City on Urbanspoon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gozcitycbd
Twitter: @GozCity
Instagram: Goz City

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Hooked – Delicious Tasting Healthy Seafood

panda 4 rating

Menu:
Menu at Hooked Lunch Menu at Hooked Specials Menu at Hooked

Hooked is the brainchild of Ray Good and has been around for a while now serving healthy seafood – in three different branches – Fitzroy, Windsor and its newest branch in Hawthorn. I was lucky enough to be invited to try out their latest branch.

The fit-out is exactly what you would expect to find beach-side with a modern twist – white rustic wooden panels combined with white washed exposed brick walls. There is a large communal table at the centre of the venue, surrounded by wooden tables which largely seat parties of two. To the right along the wall are sailor striped booth style seats and a lifebuoy with the inscription – Hooked – In Cod we Trust – further adding to the seaside vibe. Painted on the brick wall as you walk in is a mural of a blue grenadier, further on the wall is a painting of a diver complete with a diving suit – something for you to admire whilst you await your food. These extra touches, together with the friendly smiles of the staff behind the counter complete the warm and welcoming feel.

The menu is located on top the counter which you order from – which is reminiscent of a your local fish and chip store. There are a plethora of selections to decide from. There is a Seafood section from which you can order House Fish (either Grilled or Lightly Tempura Battered) or Calamari (Grilled or Salt & Pepper Battered) both served with either Hand Cut Chips OR Rice & Asian Greens OR Salad. There are Boxes available – Box for One (1 House Fish, 6 Calamari), Box for Two (2 House Fish, 8 Calamari, 2 King Prawns) and a Kids Box (Fish Bites or Calamari with Rice or Mini Chips and Juice Box or Water – with a side salad). The two Boxes also come with the same option of Hand Cut Chips, Rice & Asian Greens or Salad.

There are also 3 different burgers to choose from – Hooked Fish Burger, Seared Tuna Burger and a Veggie Burger. If you are feeling like something different maybe you can try out their Taco and Burrito Menu (Fish Burrito) – with two selections of tacos – Baja Fish and Grilled Prawn. If Salads is more your thing – there are three delicious sounding salads to choose from – The Hooked Salad, Superfood Salad – think quinoa, broccoli, spinach, sunflower seeds etc and an Asian Slaw.

There are also specials that you can have during Lunch hours, as well as a Fisherman’s Soup all for $10.95. You can also buy Extras if you want to add to your meal – such as Chips, Prawns, Scallops. In addition to this are their Home Made Sauces – Dill & Caper Tartare, Sambal, Salsa Verde or Sweet Chili. What’s great is that they give you a recommendation as to which sauce works well with a particular dish. For example the Sambal is delicious with grilled fish with rice or salad. There are also Gluten Free options available. Drinks include the usual soft drinks, Charlies range of fresh juices as well as Phoenix New Zealand Organic drinks.

I decided to order the Box for One – and chose Grilled Fish and Salt & Pepper Calamari, as well as Rice & Asian Greens, with Sambal sauce on the side (I went with the recommended salsa – but was keen also to try the sauce). The dish comes out served on a large white round plate, with the seafood on the one side and the rice and Asian greens on the other with the salsa and a slice of lemon in the middle of the two. The house fish they serve is blue grenadier – the fish was fresh, white, fleshy and cooked to perfection and tasted absolutely delicious – you really don’t need the addition of anything else. The fish remained succulent and juicy which was another win. The rice has a mix of sweet and savory flavours – thanks to the combination of soy, kecap manis together with a dash of sesame oil. The grains are separate – just the way I like my rice. The Asian Greens are blanched and lightly sautéed – keeping in theme of being healthy whilst being the perfect accompaniment to the rest of the dish. The Calamari was another standout – I loved the lightly battered salt and pepper tempura flavouring. There wasn’t a thick layer of batter rather a light covering, which allowed you to enjoy the freshness of the calamari and also made for a less greasy dish overall.

S ordered the Superfood Salad (Quinoa, Broccoli, Rocket, Spinach, Semi Dried Tomatoes, Peas, Mint, Toasted Pumpkin, Sunflower Seeds & Sesame Seeds finished with a drizzle of Yoghurt Lemon Dressing) with a side of House Fish together with the Salsa Verde sauce. We shared our dish with each other so I got to sample some of her Superfood salad. Once again the salad had a combination of refreshing flavours and crunchy textures which was finished off well thanks to the yoghurt lemon dressing. S liked the salad so much that since then she has tried to replicate this at home. The Salsa Verde sauced packed a punch of flavours with coriander being the main character and was quite delicious.

Hooked prides itself on producing healthy food with the key factors being highlighted – low in fat and cholesterol, high in protein and rich in Omega 3. This is thanks to the use of cholesterol free cottonseed oil in all their cooking. Their chips are freshly hand cut from Gippsland potatoes each and every day, and cooked from scratch using cottonseed oil. A fun fact to note is that Hooked will not serve any flake – after all it isn’t a fish!

Hooked has created a modern day healthier version of your local fish and chip shop – which includes an inviting ambiance and vibe that makes you feel like you have just spent a day at the beach. Together with friendly and warm service, delicious tasting food and funky décor – it should be next on your list to visit!

Note: Students can receive a 10% discount (Monday to Thursday 11:30am – 5pm)
Another thing to note is that the Fitzroy and Windsor branches are fully licensed, with the Hawthorn Alcohol License coming soon!

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Refer to above pictures or check out http://www.hooked.net.au/menu/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual, Warm, Inviting and Beach-like
Standout Dish: House fish & Calamari, Superfood Salad
Service: Friendly and Welcoming as well as prompt – we were surprised at how quickly our food came out, despite being quite full.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.hooked.net.au/contact/hawthorn/
669 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
Tel No: 9939 4412

Opening Hours:
Sunday to Wednesday: 11.30am-9.00pm
Thursday to Saturday: 11.30am-9.30pm

Hooked on Urbanspoon

Other Branches
http://www.hooked.net.au/contact/fitzroy/                                                               http://www.hooked.net.au/contact/windsor/
384 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy                                                                                         172 Chapel Street, Windsor
Tel No: 9417 7740                                                                                                               Tel No: 9529 1075

Opening Hours:                                                                                                              Opening Hours:
Sunday to Wednesday: 11.30am-9.00pm                                                                      Sunday to Wednesday: 11.30am-9.00pm
Thursday to Saturday: 11.30am-9.30pm                                                                       Thursday to Saturday: 11.30am-9.30pm

Hooked on Urbanspoon                                                                                                      Hooked on Urbanspoon

 

Popol Nah – Latin American in Carlton

panda 3.5 rating

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After the footy one evening N & I needed a place for dinner and decided to venture to the Carlton area. We used to frequent this area quite a bit back in the uni days, but as of late this hasn’t been the case. Carlton (Lygon Street in particular) is best known for its abundance of Italian restaurants filled with pizzas, pastas and gelatos – and lesser known for other cuisines such as Thai, Latin American or even Modern Australian. I had come across Popol Nah a Latin American fusion restaurant located at the city end of Lygon Street and decided to try it out on this night.

Popol Nah – which can be roughly translated to “The Peoples House” occupies a medium sized space – set amongst the Italian competition of course – and has an interesting design element to it. There are wooden planks running along one wall, overlapping each other in a haphazard style that oozes creativeness along with a modern version of a moose head. On the other is a textured crinkled white wall, together with two antlers hanging. There are large sticks placed in a vase of water which is located at the bar. Quirky, fun and a tad bit strange but it works. There is a communal table at the front of the main dining area, along with wooden tables that seat from two to larger parties. There is also seating at the front on Lygon street itself, as well as small courtyard at the back. Popol Nah can seat around 80 people. The interior is created by Peter Strateas and Mario Luca Carlucci of Strateas (a Brunswick based label). Popol Nah is open 7 days a week for both brunch and dinner.

The menu is created by New York based, Honduran born Cali Rivera and constitutes of South American and Latin fusion cuisine. The dinner menu is split into three sections – Chicos (Small dishes), Intermedio (In Between dishes) and ends with Carnes (Meats). There is also a Desserts menu with a selection of 5 different dishes such as Dulce de Leche, Rice Pudding, Chocolate Cake and Poached Quince just to name a few. There is also a Brunch Menu available which is split into 7 sections – Licuados (Smoothies), Huevos (Eggs) – you can choose from Baked Eggs or Scrambled Eggs, Ensaladas (Salads) – you can choose from two different vegetarian salads such as Mixed Seasonal Fruit with Mint and Ginger or Zucchini, Kale, Cucumber and Pickled Veggies, Bocadillos (Sandwiches), Empanadas (Baked Pasties) – there is a vegetarian option – chickpea, sweet potato, silver beet with crème fresca or one with chorizo and potato with coriander mayo, Anafres (Hot Plates) – which constitute of cheese fondue and lastly Mas Comida (More Food) – which have dishes such as Lamb & Beef Meatballs, Patatas Bravas and Prawn skewers.

There is also an extensive drinks menu – from Sangrias, Cocktails to a variety of Wines – from countries like Spain, Chile, Argentina and Australia – to an interesting selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Carolyn Brown the sommelier has a great understanding and knowledge of drinks and has put together a great selection. I decided to try the Chicha Morada – a non-alcoholic drink which had Purple Corn, Pineapple, Cinnamon and Cloves. The drink was purple in colour – due to the use of purple corn of course. I have never had purple corn before – but I think that it essentially tastes the same as yellow corn but has better health benefits and a higher amount of antioxidants. The combination of pineapple, cinnamon and cloves made for an interesting taste – not too sweet with spicy hints. It was a non-alcoholic version of a sangria and I really enjoyed it.

The first dish we ordered was the Empanada De Chorizo Y Papa – Chorizo and Potato in Baked Pastry with Coriander Mayo. N really enjoyed this – the pastry was crisp, crunchy and tasty on the outside with the chorizo and potato filling on the inside flavoursome and light. The mayo was creamy and a delicious addition.

I ordered the Ceviche De Camaron – Carribean Style Ceviche – Shrimp, Red Onion, Lime, Coriander, Tomato and Chips. The combination of ingredients was refreshing – I especially liked the addition of the coriander and lime. My favourite part of this dish was the chips – they were crispy, crunchy and tasted delicious. They had just the right amount of seasoning and worked well with the ceviche. I also liked the presentation of the dish – it came out in a stone mortar and pestle and the way in which the ceviche and chips were positioned reminded me of a bouquet of flowers.

The last dish we ordered was the Cordero Ranchero – Slow Cooked Lamb Shank in Spicy Tomato, Fresh And Dried Peppers with Quinoa, Kale and Cucumber Salad. The lamb was cooked beautifully and fell off the bone – just what you want from a dish like this. The sauce looked spicy and N said it did have a hint of spice to it. I tried the Quinoa, Kale and Cucumber Salad – which was fresh, flavoured with a tang as well as a hint of chilli – the perfect combination. The dish was presented well again – the contrast of the blue background of the rectangular plate against the bright browny red sauce was magnificent.

The service of the staff is great – everyone that served us was really friendly and happy to offer us suggestions and ensure we had everything we needed.

The brunch menu looks really interesting and I will definitely be back to try out some of their dishes. The décor is interesting and very different to anything you would normally find on Lygon Street. Head down and check out some great tasting South American fusion food.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – For the Brunch, Dinner and Drinks menu refer to http://popolnah.com.au/?cat=2
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Interesting, Unique and Funky. Great relaxed feel.
Standout Dish: Empanada De Chorizo Y Papa
Service: Friendly, Helpful and Warm
Online Booking: No, but Popol Nah takes bookings.
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://popolnah.com.au/
171 Lygon Street, Carlton
Tel No: 9347 3293

Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 11:00pm
Sunday: 11:30am – 10:00pm

Popol Nah on Urbanspoon

Dr Morse – Bringing Crowds Back to Abbotsford

panda 4 rating

Menu:
Dr Morse Menu

N and I headed to Dr Morse before heading out to the footy on a Sunday for lunch. Dr Morse is located on Johnston Street in Abbotsford, near the old Collingwood Football club (and near Victoria Park train station).

Dr Morse is the bigger older brother of Jr Morse – a coffee window which opened up in January this year – by Jon Costelloe and Anth Daniel (owner of The Aviary and The Vic Bar) together with manager Pete Walsh.

Dr Morse offers quite a large area of space and even has a beer garden out the back. The interior consists of exposed brick walls, concrete and timber – and includes the original early 1900s mural advertising “Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills” – which gave the venue it’s name. The renovations were all done by friends and took almost a year.

There is a mix of seating – a high communal table, some lower tables that seat two to four as well as window seating near the entrance, that allows you to look out onto the main street and crowd watch. The fit-out is simple but modern and works well as a whole creating a warm and relaxed feel.

The menu is created by head chef Josh Clark (ex 50 acres) together with sous chefs Kane Papworth (ex Proud Mary) and Tyler Preston (ex Chin Chin). The menu is split into 4 different sections – Sandwiches, Salads, Meals and Sweets. There are five different sandwiches to select from with a couple of vegetarian options, two different salads to choose from and 4 different meals dishes. These dishes include a classic beef burger, lamb ribs, chicken or fish with chips. For the sweets – you can try the S’mores or the poached pear, as well as a range of cakes and sweets from the counter. The usual drinks are available – coffee (hot or over ice), Tea from Storm in a Teacup, as well as freshly squeezed market juices and drinks from Soho. Coffee is sourced from a Canberra roastery – ONA.

For my lunch meal I ordered the Organic Quinoa, Avocado, Pistachio, Pomegranate, Corn & Egg Salad, as well as the freshly squeezed market juice of the day which was Apple & Blackcurrant. My salad came out looking quite colourful, with all the elements mixed together and the egg and watercress leaves placed on top. The egg looked to be cooked perfectly – with the right amount of gooeyness. The salad was a winner in my books – I loved the tanginess of the salad coupled with the bursts sweetness of the corn and the pop of pomegranate. A really great tasting dish and the serving size was quite generous as well. Pity I couldn’t take away the remains for later. Healthy and Tasty – you can’t go wrong!

The freshly squeezed market juice was refreshing as well – the hint of blackcurrant was nice and wasn’t overpowering which was good.

N ordered the Chicken and Chips with Slaw and Gravy. I tried some of his chips – and they were delicious! He did enjoy his dish and particularly liked the slaw.

We didn’t have time and I was really full to try out the desserts – but there is always next time! Next time I want to check out the courtyard / beer garden. For a great chilled out vibe with great tasting food and drink – come and try Dr Morse out!

Check out the review for Jr Morse at https://thegrazingpanda.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/jr-morse-coffee-window-fun/

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to above picture
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual, Funky and Relaxed
Service: Friendly and knowledgeable
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
https://www.facebook.com/drmorsebar
274 Johnston Street, Abbotsford
Tel No: 9416 1005

Opening Hours:

Hours (Dr Morse)
Sun to Wed 11.30am–11pm
Thu to Sat 11.30am–1am

Hours (Jr Morse)
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm

Dr Morse Bar & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Operator25 – Hidden Treasure

panda-3-5-rating22
House Cured Ocean Trout, Poached Egg, Crunchy Shaved Asparagus and Horseradish Cream on MuffinsHouse Cured Ocean Trout, Poached Egg, Crunchy Shaved Asparagus and Horseradish Cream on Muffins

Pan Roasted Trout on a Bed of Cauliflower Cream and Beetroot CrispsPan Roasted Trout on a Bed of Cauliflower Cream and Beetroot Crisps
Operator25 is newly opened cafe that is located off the bustling LaTrobe St in the Melbourne CBD. It located between Flagstaff Gardens and Melbourne Central shopping centre. This cafe gets its name from the building that it is housed in – it was Melbourne’s very first switchboard back in the 19th century. This building is heritage listed.
The venue is modern with high ceilings and has differently sized tables – a higher table where you can still on stools or the normal height tables. The staff are friendly and welcoming and always have a smile on their face. They are courteous and warm as well – just what you want when you are hungry.
H and I went here for lunch during the working week on a really gloomy and rainy day in Melbourne. Operator25 serves all day breakfast and I was tempted by the breakfast menu however I decided to go with a pick from the Lunch menu and got Pan Roasted Trout on a Bed of Cauliflower Cream and Beetroot Crisps. H did order from the breakfast menu and got House Cured Ocean Trout, Poached Egg, Crunchy Shaved Asparagus and Horseradish Cream on Muffins. The menu is modern Australian with the usual favourites for breakfast with the additional changes to certain dishes and the lunch menu is similar too. Lunch menu selections includes two burgers to select from, as well as duck ragu or lemongrass chicken with quinoa just to name a few. There is a dish for everyone. Even the little kiddies – there is a Little Operator Menu for them.
The dishes are presented in an elegant and beautiful manner- with the two dishes we got being in layers. My fish was cooked perfectly and the cauliflower cream was smooth and creamy – just the right consistency. The beetroot crisps were interesting and were a bit too sour tasting for me,but it was an interesting addition. There is a wedge of lemon if you need it, however I think the dish was seasoned enough to not need it. The dish also came with two pieces of bread – I didn’t really think this was needed, and I didn’t end up finishing my bread off. H said his dish was good as well and the horseradish cream was especially good and fresh. The addition of the shaved asparagus is something you don’t usually see in many dishes.

Operator25 is great place for lunch and is somewhere I want to come to try breakkie out. The french toast sounds delicious!

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast (all day) – Early Operator, Lunch – Noon Operator and a Children’s Menu – Little Operator
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual and Inviting
Service: Friendly, Welcoming and Warm
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
25 Wills St, Melbourne
Tel No: 9670 3278

Opening Hours
Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Operator25 on Urbanspoon

The Last Piece – Great Brunch in the Burbs’

panda-4-rating1

I have been wanting to check out The Last Piece for a while and on this Saturday N needed to pick up some merchandise from the Hawks Nest and The Last Piece is located a couple of doors down from there. Perfect!

The Last Piece is located in Mulgrave at the Waverly Park Estate, and overlooks the grounds where Hawthorn train. Double incentive to check out this place! =p The Last Piece was buzzing with activity and smelt of delicious coffee and food when we went. The fit-out has a modern and contemporary feel to it with black tiles, high ceilings and an upstairs area which can be used for functions. There is a mix of sofa/booths and tables to enjoy the food and coffee. There is also a large terrace area at the back which overlooks the oval that would be great in the sunshine.

The team behind the renovations and rejuvenation of The Last Piece is Mark and Attil Fillipelli (who own Il Foranio) together with Adrian Ciorciari and Rebecca Romanelli have created this pizza and house-made pasta cafe in the suburbs. Not only is their focus on pizza and pasta, but on coffee and desserts. Coffee is sourced from St Ali, Noisette Bakery provides the bread with desserts and pies from Il Fornaio.

The menu is quite intriguing and is seperated into different sections – All Day Breakkie, Coffee&Co, Take Me Home Tea, Juicy Juice, Lunch Time and Hawks Under 12s. The dishes & drinks have interesting names to them just to make things more interesting. I did have trouble deciding what I wanted and looking around the venue, seeing dishes coming out of the kitchen only made it harder to decide what I wanted. I decided on Quinoa Fritter with Poached Eggs, Avocado, Mushrooms, Candied Walnuts and Yarra Valley Feta and N had the Big Breaky.

To start with I ordered a latte, followed by a Chai Latte. The Last Piece serves Panella instead of the usual sugar or brown sugar. Panella is unrefined whole cane sugar from West Columbia which is processed organically to give a delicate caramel flavour. You can purchase Panella from here as well for $12 for 500 grams. The coffee was nutty and creamy and the Chai Latte is a Calma Sutra Wet Chair which was just as good.

The dish I ordered for breakkie came out beautifully plated up – the Quinoa fritter on the bottom with layers of spinach, avocado and egg on top surrounded with mushrooms and the candied walnuts. I have had quinoa before – mostly in a salad form but never in a fritter form. It was tasty! The fritter itself was moist and just the right thickness – I am not a fan of thick fritters – and was cooked to perfection. Pairing it with all the aforementioned ingredients only enhanced the flavour. N enjoyed his Big Breaky as well but would have liked more chorizo. The serving sizes are quite generous here.

If breakfast is anything to go by I definitely have to come back here to check out dinner or even their lunch menu. It is pizza and pasta that they specialize in and as they are all home-made I really don’t think you could go wrong. The menu has been created by Ray Carthew, and looking at the menu, the interesting names of dishes continue – such as the Rex Hunt, Shane Crawford,  Mary had a little lamb pizza’s – just to name a few. The variety of ingredients that are mixed together peak my interest as well.

The Last Piece is such a great addition to the ‘burbs, and no matter where you are you really should check it out! And if you are a Hawthorn AFL Supporter, there is even more of a reason to visit – what is better than seeing your favorite players and eating delicious food all in one!

What is even more exciting to note is the team behind The Last Piece together with Hawthorn Footballer Josh Gibson are opening a new venture in Brighton called Schoolhouse – a sister cafe, on site coffee roaster and coffee education centre. I cannot wait till it opens to check it out =)

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – All Day Breakkie Menu, Lunch and a Dinner Menu is available – check out http://www.lastpiece.com.au/Menus.html for more info
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Modern, Comfortable and Relaxing. Has a very vibrant and buzzing feel to it. Great for a weekend catch up.
Standout Dish: Quinoa Fritter with Poached Eggs, Avocado, Mushrooms, Candied Walnuts and Yarra Valley Feta
Service: Friendly and Always happy to help
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://www.lastpiece.com.au/Contact.html
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.lastpiece.com.au/
Waverley Park
7/2 Stadium Circuit, Mulgrave
Tel No: 9545 3040

Opening Hours:
Monday & Tuesday: 7am to 4pm
Wednesday – Friday: 7am to Late
Saturday & Sunday: 8am to Late

*The Last Piece is open for Dinner from Wednesday to Sunday

The Last Piece on Urbanspoon

The Grain Store – Honest Cooking!

This gallery contains 9 photos.

It had been a while since a couple of the girls from work had caught up for lunch and I picked The Grain Store as the venue. I had heard about the place and heard about the healthy and fresh … Continue reading

Captain Melville – Melbourne’s Oldest Pub

panda-3-5-rating1

For one of my regular dinner catch-ups with A, I picked Captain Melville. I had read about this place and was keen to check it out for my self. Captain Melville is located in one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs (back from 1853) and was originally called Mac’s Hotel. Located on Franklin Street and what used to house the former Miss Libertine, the team of Paul Scanlan, Alan Sam and Roshan Nijar have created this new “bushranger” vibe pub restaurant. The name iteslf, Captain Melville is named after Francis McCallum – a legendary bushranger himself.

Captain Melville has been refitted by Breathe Architects together with the National Trust in order to keep this heritage listed building in tact. As you walk into the large wooden doors (wood is massive theme at this venue) there is a casual front bar area and banquette style seating. As you walk towards the back there is a large communal dining hall which is decorated with steel tent structures and olive trees (and the original bluestone brick) to create a modern take on the Gold Rush era. I loved the rustic feel to the place and the quotes that are placed around the venue. It really does feel like back in the day.

Captain Melville offers a communal dining experience complete with share plates, steaks, snacks and pub food with a menu designed by chef Shayne McCallum. To start off with the ingredients sourced from sustainable Victorian farms and producers in the regions.

I had looked at the menu online before coming to the restaurant so I knew what I wanted for my main. As I was there with A, we decided to get two share dishes to start off with and went with the Salt & Pepper Squid and the Quinoa Salad. The Salt & Pepper Squid is one of the best that I have ever had. The squid was fresh and perfectly seasoned, and the batter had a delicious crunch to it. To top it off the Black Garlic Aioli was absolutely delicious. It worked so well with the battered squid. This is a definite must try (my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it..yes it was that good!) The Quinoa Salad with Beetroot, White Zucchini, Pomegranate, Shanklish, Honey Yoghurt was another stand out dish. The combination of the shanklish and honey yoghurt and the pop of juiciness and tang from the pomegranate was delicious. The addition of the beetroot further exemplified the dish.

For my main I ordered the Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi, Heirloom Tomatoes, Dried Olives and Parmesan and A ordered the James Squire Golden Ale Battered Flake, Salad, Hand Cut Chips. My Gnocchi came out beautifully presented and was quite a colourful dish – set amongst the background of a black plate, the heirloom tomatoes and Parmesan lit up the plate. The Gnocchi was soft and perfectly made and the flavours worked well together, albeit I could have used with a bit more salt and pepper. A didn’t really rate her Fish and Chips and thought the Hand Cut Chips could have tasted better and been a bit more crunchy. The serving size however was quite generous.

Next up was dessert! The Australian theme is quite evident through the menu from the Australian classic – Lamington as well as using Anzac biscuits in the Chocolate Mousse Dish. A ordered the Chocolate Mousse, Anzac Biscuit, Chocolate Sponge, Meringue and I ordered the Frozen Lamington  – Coconut Parfait, Chocolate, Raspberry. Between these two dishes the Lamington was the clear winner. The Lamington was served frozen and teamed with chocolate and raspberry – it was delicious and creamy and somewhat reminded me of an ice cream cake. The Chocolate Mousse was rich and smooth and the meringue tied this dish together, however as a whole although beautifully presented the flavours were a bit of a let down.

Overall, Captain Melville is a fantastic place to check out. They are known for their cocktails and drinks as well and I want to come back and see what they can do in the form of mocktails. There are also other items on the menu that I do want to try out like Wild Mushroom share dish and the Soft Shell Crab roll.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu –A selection of single dishes, shared dishes, larger dishes, a selection of steaks and desserts – Check the menu out at http://www.captainmelville.com.au/menu/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual and Comfortable. There is plenty of room for a big function or even after work drinks
Standout Dish: Salt & Pepper Squid, Black Garlic Aioli
Service: Fantastic, attentive and super friendly
Online Booking: No, but you can contact them to make bookings
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.captainmelville.com.au/
34 Franklin Street, Melbourne
Tel No: 9663 6855

Opening Hours:
Kitchen                                                                            Bar
Monday-Wednesday: 11am – 11pm                         Monday to Tuesday: 11am – 12am
Thursday: 11am – 12am                                                Wednesday: 11am – 1am
Friday: 11am – 2am                                                        Thursday: 11am – 2am
Saturday: 12pm – 2am                                                  Friday: 11am – 3am
Sunday: 12pm – 8pm                                                     Saturday: 12pm – 3am
Sunday: 12apm – 12am

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Albert Street Food & Wine – Consistently Fantastic!

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Details for Pictures in Slideshow:
Selection of Cured meats
Oysters
Albert St Steak Tartare
Baccala, “Green Goddess”, Grilled Bread
Salmon Tartare with Avocado
Gnocchi with Carrots, Braised Beef
Steak with Beetroot and Cream
Pearl Barley Risotto, Grilled Leek, Smoked Pancetta, Parmesan
Spaghettini, Prawns, Charred Corn, Black Garlic, Green Chilli
Meyer Lemon Tart
Phillipa’s Strawberries with Meringue and Balsamic Ice Cream
White Chocolate and Almond Tart with Strawberry Sorbet
Pizza – Mushroom, Rosemary, Gorgonzola
Olives & Bocconcini, Pesto Genovese, Ciabatta
Chicken and Leek Pie with a Side Salad
Salmon with Potatoes
Spring chicken cassoulet
Chicken with Potatoes, Apple
Sides: Broccolini and Quinoa with Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Yoghurt
Phillipa’s Chocolate Bullet

Albert St Food and Wine is a former bank building that has been renovated into a stylish, classy yet relaxed restaurant. It also houses a bottle shop and produce store – where you can buy freshly baked varieties of bread. It is described by its creators – Executive Chef – Phillipa Sibley(she also has a Phillipa’s in the City which sells varities of breads and pastries), and owners Stuart Brookshaw and Ruth Giffney as an “all-day eatery,wine bar and store.”

The restaurant is set up with the bar located in the centre of the restaurant with seating on either side. Seating compromises of table seating as well as high table seating for a more casual laid back feel. Although I must say the high table seating can get a bit uncomfortable over a long period of time.

The food at Albert St Food and Wine is consistently great. The dishes are flavour-packed and amazing. I was impressed on my first visit there and the second time around the menu had changed but yet the food and flavours were different but of the same high quality and taste. On my first visit I had the Spaghettini (with a delicious mix of Prawns, Charred Corn, Black Garlic, Green Chilli) as my main – what made this dish unique was the charred corn – I have never had this in a regular spaghettini dish and I think it really made this dish. A definite standout dish and a must try!

The Salmon Tartare with Avocado as an entrée was delicious and is quite heavy to eat on your own so I suggest you share this entrée as you should leave room for mains and dessert. The sides of Broccolini and Quinoa were another highlight. The flavours were simple yet tasty and that’s something great about Albert Street Food & Wine. It was after eating the Broccolini here that we started to cook Broccolini as a side at home to eat with most meals.

Phillipa Sibley is known for her desserts so the expectation of these being spectacular is rife. Phillipa’s Chocolate Bullet is nothing short of amazing, and her sorbets are like silk. The combination of the dark chocolate and the sweet strawberry sorbet works great together. The Strawberries with Meringue and Balsamic Ice Cream is a bit underwhelming and is nothing too fantastic to rave about, but the Meyer Lemon Tart definitely has the right amount of tanginess and oozes yum!

I can go on and on about the food and the place as well the service being exceptional, but really you should get yourself down there and try out the food and experience for yourself. It is my first 5 Panda Rating for a restaurant!

Rating :
 5 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – A la carte Menu – can be found at http://www.albertst.com.au/menus/AlbertStFood&WineMenu.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Classy and stylish yet comfortable
Standout Dish: Spaghettini, Prawns, Charred Corn, Black Garlic, Green Chilli, Salmon Tartare and Avocado, DESSERTS
Service: Fantastic and Friendly
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.albertst.com.au/
Corner of Albert St & 382 Sydney Rd
Brunswick
Tel No: 8354 6600

Opening Hours:

Store open
Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 11pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am to 11pm

Restaurant & Bar Open
Tuesday to Friday – Lunch & Dinner: 12pm to late

Saturday & Sunday
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner: 8am to late

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