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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lunch @ Les Boucheries Parisiennes

It's been too long between visits so for our last restaurant meal of 2009 we're off to Les Boucheries Parisiennes. There's a few new dishes on the menu and some favourites so we've left the decision making in the very capable hands of Chef Paul.

les boucheries parisiennes© by Haalo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dinner @ Church St Enoteca

It's the last dinner for the year at Church Street Enoteca and when they reopen in January, there will be a new menu and a new chef. So for this meal Paalo's recreating his first dining experience while I've gone for my favourite newer dishes.

church st enoteca© by Haalo

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lunch @ Barkers Wine Bar & Bistro

We are back thanks again to another trip to Ikea but this time we've finally made it into the Bistro.

We began with a couple of dishes to share:

barkers wine bar© by Haalo

Monday, December 07, 2009

Lunch @ Barkers Wine Bar

We've worked out that Barkers is conveniently placed if you're either on your way or have just come from Ikea - eat before if you need some strength to face the crowds or eat after to soothe those frazzled nerves.

Today we've just managed to survive Ikea, a celebration is in order. As the bistro is full we're back in the wine bar for lunch.

barkers© by Haalo

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Lunch @ Charcoal Lane

*Good News - Charcoal Lane has now got their license!*

While Charcoal Lane still unfortunately doesn't have their liquor license but there's been some interesting changes to the menu.

For lunch, there's now a sharing menu - smaller sized dishes that you can share and here are the dishes we selected:

charcoal lane© by Haalo

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Truffle Dinner @ Il Bacaro

Last year we missed out on the white truffle dinners at Il Bacaro but not so this year. As soon as we were informed that Alba white truffles were on the way we swiftly booked a table.

The truffles were available as an extra - in either an entree or main course size to accompany the regular menu but a truffle degustation option was also available which unsurprisingly was the route we took. One of the nicest things is that the truffle is shaved at the table so you don't miss out on any of those wonderful aromas.

Onto the degustation:

Il Bacaro© by Haal

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lunch @ Barkers Wine Bar and Bistro

Barkers Wine Bar and Bistro is a newish development in what used to be the Beehive Hotel. It's owned by Sovereign Hotel Group and while the executive chef is Michael Lambie, the head chef is Tony Twitchett, who has moved from his position as head chef at Taxi (also owned by Sovereign).

I've gone on record twitter to say that I don't like the name, for me this will always be the Beehive Hotel. While there may well have been some legal impediments that prevented them to use Beehive, it's a real shame they couldn't find a way to incorporate the name. Regardless, they must be doing something right because the Bistro is booked out, so we're offered the option of dining in the wine bar

barkers wine bar© by Haalo

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Brunch @ La Luna Bistro

We're off to do some Panettone shopping in Carlton and since we're in the neighbourhood a visit to La Luna is in order.

la luna bistro© by Haalo

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Breakfast @ Home Dining Room

There's a new breakfast chef at Home Dining Room so there's some new things appearing on the menu, such as this

Home Dining Room© by Haalo

The details:

Home Dining Room
601 Burwood Road
Phone: 03 9819 5555

Breakfast and Lunch - 7 days
Dinner - Tuesday to Saturday
Fully Licensed but offer BYO wine Tuesday to Thursday

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Truffle Degustion @ Chateau Yering

What place has comfortable chairs? It's the answer to that question that sees us heading to the Yarra Valley for a visit to Chateau Yering. Well, that and the small fact that their Alba white truffles just came in early this morning!

Eleonore's at Chateau Yering will be hosting a series of truffle dinners - the first of which was last Friday, the next is tonight (Saturday) with another happening next Saturday. From our experience of their previous truffle dinners, it is something you really don't want to miss.

For lunch, we are given the option of ordering a la carte, partaking in their regular degustation or trying the truffle degustation. We pretended to mull over the decision so not to appear too pathetic and desperate, truffle degustation for 2 thank you!

chateau yering© by Haalo

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dinner @ Koots Salle a Manger

Koots currently has a special 6 course degustation on offer for either lunch or dinner and being as we are, fond of this form of dining, we've toddled off to sample the fare.

It begins with

Koots Salle à Manger© by Haalo

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vue de Awesome

I do quite like Vue de Monde but someone on Urbanspoon took it to another level

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lunch @ Charcoal Lane

Charcoal Lane is the result of a partnership between Mission Australia and the Victorian Aboriginal Health service and has been described as the indigenous version of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen©®™

The aim of Charcoal Lane is, in their own words, "to provide the opportunity for Aboriginal and disadvantaged young people to transform their lives through traineeships and apprenticeships". A highly worthwhile objective I'm sure you'd agree.

charcoal lane© by Haalo

Friday, October 23, 2009

Breakfast @ Collective Espresso

Huzzah! You can actually get decent coffee in Camberwell and you can thank Collective Espresso!
Collective Espresso© by Haalo

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lunch @ Church Street Enoteca

It's a while between lunches at Church St Enoteca but the news of pork cheeks on the menu had us scurrying in.

For starters:

church st enoteca© by Haalo

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lunch @ Cafe Vue at 401

At the end of our previous posting on the new Cafe Vue at 401 we did say we'd be back and we've been true to our word. This time, we're here for lunch.

Cafe Vue© by Haalo

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dinner @ Garden Court Restaurant

The rest of our afternoon is spent relaxing and watching the league final - it was tense, it was tight, it had the most biased commentary ever heard, Eddie McQuire calling a Collingwood match has nothing on this, but in the end, the result was simply beautiful.

Now it's time for our final meal in Sydney and this was probably the second thing we arranged on our trip. We knew that if we came to Sydney we would have to catch up with one of our favourite maitre d's Matt. We first met Matt at Fenix and he then moved on to Les Boucheries Parisiennes. A few months ago he left and took up a position at the Sofitel Sydney. You always knew with Matt around, an evening of excellent service, food and wine was guaranteed. So tonight we're heading back to the Sofitel and this time we're visiting the Garden Court Restaurant.

Garden Court Restaurant© by Haalo

Lunch @ The Bathers' Pavilion

Just when they'll lulled us into a false sense of security and we actually think Sydney taxi drivers have improved, we get one that brings us back to earth. It wasn't the fact that he was sneakily reading his large screen tomtom using a magnifying glass, it's that he dropped us off at the wrong spot! It was a bit of a walk in shoes that are not made for walking but we did eventually make it to our destination, a little late but in one piece.

bathers' pavilion© by Haalo

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Wentworth Afternoon Tea

With the rain pouring down and a big day of eating planned for tomorrow, we decided to try something a little different and venture out for a spot of Afternoon Tea.

Having done a bit of research it seems that the Sofitel has the best offering. Even though we'll be dining there tomorrow what swayed us was their more traditional take on the afternoon tea and that they serve the Wentworth Cheesecake using the original recipe which dates from the hotels opening in 1966.

Wentworth Afternoon Tea© by Haalo

Friday, October 02, 2009

Jeff Martin: Back of House

jeff martin

The Artist as genial host.

Having known Jeff for some time we were very excited to have a sneak peek of his latest work "Back of House" just before the official launch. I was particularly looking forward to seeing the finished works having viewed several pieces "in progress" at Jeff's Appleton Street Studio.

The first "Back of House" exhibition was part of our own Melbourne Food and Wine Festival last year and took us on a journey through the Kitchens of some of our best local restaurants. In this series, the kitchens of Sydney have been explored.

This appears to be the first and longest event of the Sydney International Food Festival and is being held at the Shapiro Gallery until October 14.

Lunch @ Glass

Having checked into our room at the Hilton and gathered our bearings, with the inclement weather we decided not to stray too far for lunch but instead venture into the on-site Luke Mangan restaurant, Glass Brasserie

glass© by Haalo

Flight - Melbourne to Sydney

October is the start of the unfortunately named Sydney International Food Festival or SIFF. Perhaps my brain is just wired a little differently but I just can't help but mentally add the word less every time I hear or see SIFF (I'll give you a minute to work that out). I'm just thankful we don't have the Melbourne International Literary Festival though the name might just inspire us to see some of the usual drivel that accompanies such festivals.

The reason we're going to Sydney is to attend a friend's exhibition opening which just happens to be a SIFF event but more about that in a later post.

Unlike overseas trips we're leaving at a more civilised time of 10.30am. The run to the airport is a quick one so after checking in we have some time to relax in the Qantas Lounge.

While we wait we have an excellent view of not one but three A380's.

a380© by Haalo

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Regional Dinner - Calabria

It's the second in this series of Italian Regional Dinners held at Church Street Enoteca and this time we're here to enjoy the food and wines of Calabria.

church st enoteca© by Haalo

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lunch @ Koots Salle a Manger

Koots may not have been open for Monday lunch but it certainly is open for Tuesday lunch and Paalo and I have sneaked out for a little treat.

At lunch you have the option of a la carte or "Prix Fixe" which is a 2 courses for $30 special. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays they also offer a $25 Plat du Jour

To start:

koots salle à manger© by Haalo

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lunch @ Matteos

Having finished up early I decided to check in with Elle and see if she was free from lunch. While the answer was yes, finding some place open on Monday proved a little more difficult. Ultimately we decided to go with a tried and tested venue, Matteo's.

For lunch apart from the regular a la carte offering there is also a lunch special menu, 2 courses & a glass for $35. Since some of our favourite dishes were also on the lunch special we've gone for that option.

For starters:

matteos© by Haalo

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Breakfast @ Provence Bakery

Provence is positioned across the road from Buick's Cafe. A tiny place you'll find a few tables inside - it really is more bakery than cafe.

provence bakery© by Haalo

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Regional Dinner - Trentino Alto Adige

Church St. Enoteca are once again holding a series of Regional Italian Dinners - the first of which focuses on Trentino-Alto Adige.

church st enoteca© by Haalo

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Breakfast @ Replete Providore

Replete is one of those places that seems to always be full and have a perpetual queue out the front. Due to these factors, we don't like crowds or queuing, we haven't eaten there that often but when we have over the years, it's been rather good. However, during the course of this latest visit we are left scratching our heads and wondering just when did it get this bad.

replete providore© by Haalo

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lunch @ Persimmon

The National Gallery of Victoria is currently running a Dali Exhibition.

dali exhibition© by Haalo

and as you can't take photos inside the exhibit this is all that you'll see unless you go there yourself. While we left the exhibit feeling a little underwhelmed that feeling soon changed after our lunch at Persimmon.

Breakfast @ Cafe Vue

We're off today to see the Dali exhibition and our first stop is to the new Café Vue at 401 St Kilda Rd.

Cafe Vue© by Haalo

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dinner @ Church St Enoteca

A casual tweet that wagyu rib eye on the bone had just come in certainly attracted our attention and it didn't take us too long to decide to head over and try our luck.

Because of the size of the rib eye, this is a dish for two and takes about an hour so we ordered our dishes to take this into account.

To celebrate this meat feast, there's no better way to start then with a selection of cured meats.

church st enoteca© by Haalo

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Breakfast @ Buick's Cafe

We really should know better than try to go out for breakfast on Father's Day. With most places full, we end up at the relatively quiet, Buick's Cafe.

buick's cafe© by Haalo

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Age Good Food Guide 2010

The tarot cards have been consulted and this year's fortunes have been divined.

"Vittoria" Restaurant of the Year
Jacques Reymond

Chef of the Year
Andrew McConnell

Best New Restaurant
Cutler and Co.

Service Excellence Award
Chris Young (Jacques Reymond)

Country Wine List of the Year
Royal Mail Hotel

Best New Country Restaurant of the Year

Country Restaurant of the Year
The Merrijig Inn

Wine Service Award
Lincoln Riley (Taxi)

Wine List of the Year

Short Wine List of the Year
Gill's Diner

Young Chef of the Year
Nicholas Poelaert (Embrasse)

Professional Excellence Award
Maurizio & Arnaldo Terzini

Dish of the Year

Donlevy Fitzpatrick Award
Movida Next Door

Now for those all important chapeaus:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lunch @ Centonove

For lunch today we thought we might revisit places we hadn't been to for a while - our first stop was Della Nonna which was surprisingly closed. As we weren't that far away, we then tried Canvas, which though open, we found that the restaurant was closed. Our third stop was Centonove which thankfully was open.

We begin with something to share

centonove© by Haalo

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dinner @ Nuevo 37

It's our anniversary and falling on a Monday, there's not a lot of choice out there when it comes to dining. To kill a few birds with one stone, we're staying at the new Hilton South Wharf and coupling that with dinner at their main restaurant Nuevo 37.

nuevo37© by Haalo

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Truffle Degustation @ Chateau Yering

It's finally here - the day we've been looking forward to for a year. Yes, we are truly truffle tragics.

Truffle Degustation @ Chateau Yering© by Haalo

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dinner @ Vue de Monde

It's Paalo's birthday so we're off to Vue de Monde and unlike our last visit, my eyes are in perfect condition and my taste buds are all working fine!

We begin, as always with champagne, which is soon joined by the Amuse


A much different form and presentation when compared to previous offerings - the oyster is a clair de lune and it sits under an apple gel

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

European Vacation - Scandinavia

We sadly come to the last in this series of European Vacation with Raymond Capaldi - the final destination is Scandinavia which explains why Abba is playing during dinner.

As with the previous dinners there are some options - in this case the first is a Tribute to Noma.

matteo's© by Haalo

Delicately smoked, soft and gelatinous, oozy explosions of eggy goodness

matteo's© by Haalo

The whole pot was generously filled with a delicate and fluffy tarragon cream topped with a crunchy malt soil, into which spankingly fresh radishes had been planted. What surprised me is that most people just ate the radish and left the tops behind.

To Drink: Carlsberg Pale Lager, Elderflower Vodka Martini


matteo's© by Haalo

To drink: 2007 Delatite Sylvia Kabinett Style Riesling

A delicate and refined offering - it teases you with the aroma of smoked eel and then charms you with it's light touch.


matteo's© by Haalo

To Drink: 2005 Bannockburn The Estate Shiraz

The belly is rolled and stuffed with a sausage like farce, the skin a good blend of crunch and caramel like chewiness. Those celeriac sticks coated in hay ash are a real taste sensation.

~Side Dishes~

matteo's© by Haalo

There's a subtle flavour of beer to these slightly firm onions

matteo's© by Haalo

The carrots still have a nice bite to them, the pork greaves just shatter in your mouth

matteo's© by Haalo

A stand out salad where each mouthful offers a new combination of flavours.

A salute to Rene Redzepi of Noma for putting Nordic food on the world stage.

matteo's© by Haalo

To Drink: 2005 Late Harvest Viognier

A dessert that isn't obvious and probably did stretch some people but for myself, I really did enjoy it. I think the key that bound the goat milk curd and iced sorrel was that thin, translucent sheet of anise caramel. It give you an initial crunch which then became chewy, which in turn released a refreshing anise flavour that cleansed your palate.

~To Finish~

matteo's© by Haalo

To finish off both an amazing month of dinners and to celebrate a rather stunning celebration of Scandinavian cusine, it's fitting that we end with Aquavit. If you managed to attend all of the dinners I think you'd agree, we've experienced something quite special.

matteo's© by Haalo

No meal is really complete without a peek into the kitchen where all the hard work is done.

The details:

533 Brunswick Street, Nth Fitzroy
Phone: 9481 1177

Lunch: Sunday-Friday from noon
Dinner: 7 days from 6pm



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

European Vacation - Spain

A more relaxed evening is in store tonight as we enjoy the third European Vacation with Raymond Capaldi dinner - this time we taste the delights of Spain.

This week the extras are 3 tapas dishes and 2 side dishes and I don't really have to say that we've opted for the complete menu.


matteo's© by Haalo

The mussels are buried underneath gorgeously moorish salsa, which has just enough bite to keep you wanting more. The presentation is delightful.

matteo's© by Haalo

Crisp coated bites of chicken, chard and saffron - so good we ordered another plate!

matteo's© by Haalo

Did we just step into a black & white movie? No, that's just my wonky colour problems again though I have finally figured out the reason. Coloured candles! Poor silly camera cannot cope with the varying light and since I'm not going to use flash you'll just have to put up with it.

matteo's© by Haalo

Beautiful baby leeks, grilled until just tender, served in their own envelope. It was interesting to note how the garlic allioli mellowed in flavour when eaten with the leek, a brilliant match.

To drink: Delgado Zuleta La Goya Manzanilla


matteo's© by Haalo

To drink: 2006 Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño

They may look like olives in the photo but they are Volcanic Butter beans, a rather remarkable ingredient that I am going to have to get my hands on.

~Plato Principal~

matteo's© by Haalo

To drink: 2004 Marqués de Riscal Reserva Tempranillo

The next photo shows the tenderness of the lamb.

matteo's© by Haalo

A push of the fork and it slipped off the bone.

~Side Dishes~

matteo's© by Haalo

matteo's© by Haalo


matteo's© by Haalo

To drink: 2007 Gandia Moscatel Fustanova

Just when you thought things couldn't get better, we were served this. This is a dessert where it is greater than the sum of its parts - eat the components separately they are okay but put them together and you end up with something special.

To top of a wonderful evening we finish with glasses of NV Bodegas Alvear 1927 Dulce Viejo Pedro Ximenez.

The details:

533 Brunswick Street, Nth Fitzroy
Phone: 9481 1177

Lunch: Sunday-Friday from noon
Dinner: 7 days from 6pm