Sunday, April 19, 2015

Eat. @ Sezar

6 Melbourne Place, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph (03) 9663 9882

Sezar is a restaurant in the CBD that serves up Armenian food.  I'd never had Armenian food before so I didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by how interesting and tasty the dishes were.

Starting off we had some very fresh Hervey Bay Scallops ($11) with cauliflower, cumin caramel and zaatar.

Next were the Spanner Crab Manti ($15), Armenian dumplings with sumac yoghurt and chilli oil.  

The lulu kebabs ($18) are spiced lamb kebabs served with sour cherry sauce and baby cos.  To my untrained palate the dish tastes Middle Eastern and very delicious.

The Glazed Pork ($29) with pomegranate and radish salad was again really interesting with the spices used in the glaze.  I loved that the unfamiliar flavours were so new yet tasty and comforting at the same time.  The pork was beautifully tender.

We also tried the BBQ wagyu tenderloin ($19) with garlic yoghurt and lavash.  Quite different from the lamb kebabs and the garlic yoghurt was perfectly matched to the spicy beef.

My favourite dish of the night was the twice cooked chicken wings ($17), with a pomegranate glaze and pistachio.  The glaze was amazing.

In fact I used the glaze on the Zucchini and Dill fritters ($9), which were already delicious but became amazing with the glaze!  

We were really full but couldn't leave without an Anoush (that's a sweet)!  So we shared their new style baklava ($14), made with crispy filo, walnut toffee ice-cream and salted caramel.  

We had a lovely date night out at Sezar, and was both impressed with the interesting flavours, the well executed dishes and the very reasonable price point.  The service was faultless and the staff was more than helpful to our many questions to help with ordering as we were not familiar with the cuisine.  Definitely something unexpected but we would highly recommend you give them a try!

Sezar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Eat. @ Yokozuna

Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341  Dandenong Rd, Chadstone 0425 115 581

We were sad to see Miam Miam go, but a new ramen place has popped up in its place.  Yokozuna says they are ramen experts, and we are keen to give any ramen place a go!   I love a good shopping trip to Chaddy and I love that there are now so many different cuisines and options for dining there.  We wandered in on a Saturday and were lucky to be served immediately as a party of five since a queue started up straight after we were seated.

We started with a couple of serves of karaage (Japanese fried chicken) ($6.9 for 4 pieces)  These were really, really more-ish when they're served hot, nice and crispy and perfect with the dipping mayo.

The Gyoza ($6.9 for 5 pieces ) were not as exciting.  The kids gobbled them down nonetheless so they did the job.

Hubby had the Ramen Red with pork ($11.9), which uses a pork and soy based soup with home made spicy mince pork on top.  Hubby says it's pleasant enough but not super spicy.

The Kids shared 2 bowls of noodles between the 3 of them, starting off with a Tonkotsu Ramen White ($11.9) with extra charsu ($4.9), which again was pleasant enough without being too salty or mild.

They also had the Torigara Ramen with teriyaki chicken ($11.9) which has a lighter, clearer soup.  I think they preferred the Tonkotsu but did not hesitate to finish this off either!

I actually wanted to have something different on the day and ordered a Salmon sashimi chirashi donburi with wasabi and ginger ($13.9), which I felt was a lighter option and was actually surprisingly filling.  

We were really happy to see that the Ice Matcha Latte with green tea softee ($6.8) from the Miam Miam days stayed on the menu as that was one of our favourite items to order from their menu. 

On another visit I tried out their Salmon Lovers Set ($15.9) which you can add a small udon for an extra $3.  The salmon was reasonably fresh and definitely better than Sushi Sushi next door but wasn't anything too special.

We're happy to see Yokozuna in Chadstone and hope it stays, as it gives shoppers a good choice to have relatively decent ramen fare in a shopping centre setting, albeit at a price higher than what I would usually pay at a shopping centre.  The staff cater well for children and they have high chairs and plastic serving ware for children as needed.   We've been back a few times when the queues have not been ridiculous and have enjoyed each of the meals. 

Yokozuna on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eat. @ Cumulus Inc

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD ph (03) 9650 1445

Hubby and I rarely go out on the day of Valentine's Day, but this year we serendipitously got baby sitting last minute, and decided to try out one of the restaurants with a no reservations policy, as it was already too late to book anywhere decent that close to the date.  So Cummulus here we come!

We started with the Fried Cauliflower with spiced salt ($7).  So delicious and more-ish - I think if I served cauliflower this way at home my kids would eat a lot more vegetables, don't you think?

Next up some Pig's head croquettes, with tartare sauce ($12).   The croquettes are full of flavour and the sauce gave the dish a tangy punch.  

From the Charcuterie we ordered the confit duck rillette, with  pickled plum and house made soda bread ($16).  The presentation was simple but you can taste the amount of thought and work that's been put into each element.   A fancy ploughman's lunch.  I loved it!

Next was the grilled quail, with white peach, walnut and bitter leaves ($22).  A lovely comforting dish with perfectly cooked quail. 

Rangers Valley flank steak, leek and miso with braised lettuce ($36) was tender mouthfuls of full flavoured meat cooked to perfection.

We also had the Grilled Flounder on the specials menu.  While it didn't wow me it was delicious and nicely paired with beans and topped with crunchy croutons.

Lastly we ordered 2 lemon curd filled madeleines, which I had been greatly looking forward to as I love madeleines and this is quite a famed item here.  Unfortunately I was a little disappointed as 2 of them were a little under cooked and not crispy on the outside, whilst the other 2 were quite lovely with a slight crispy bite and a spongey soft inside flooded with a lemony curd.

All in all a lovely Valentine's Day dinner.  Looking forward to our next visit!

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eat. @ The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

8 Raffa Place, Carlton 3053 ph (03) 8060 6987

You've got to love Melbourne.  We have no end to the list of great coffee and brunch places to try out.  

A couple of weekends ago the Eat.Play.Shop. family took advantage of the lovely Melbourne Autumn weather and ventured down to Carlton for some brunch before we headed off for a play in the Gardens.  Brunch destination - The Vertue of the Coffee Drink.

Finding the cafe itself was a fun game, since it's well hidden in Raffa Place behind the shops on Lygon Street.

Inside we found a lovely space filled with all kind of coffee paraphernalia.

We of course started with our usual mochas ($4) which was pleasant but slightly watery on the day.

The kids ordered the young whole coconut ($6) which was very refreshing and surprisingly full of juice, and also tried an Ice Chocolate ($6).  I had some of it and am happy to report that this had a good dose of chocolate, which I find lacking at a lot of places.

I had the Smoked ocean trout, ($21) which came with curried arancini, soft duck egg and a mango and chilli jam.  Loved every element of this dish, the duck egg is a nice change from the chook, the arancini were packed with flavour, the ocean trout beautifully smoked and the jam gave the dish a sweet and tangy punch.

The best thing about late brunches is that you get to order from both the breakfast and lunch menus!  Hubby wanted to try the Smoked Fish Chowder ($18), with Old Bay spiced squid, Port Arlington mussels, quail egg and barbequed corn.  I'm not usually a fan of fishy chowders but this one was wonderful, the ingredients fresh and "not-mushy", in a flavoursome thick chowder.  And a really pretty dish to boot.

Mini Me (sharing with her Daddy) ordered the Meatball Sub ($18), with pork meatballs, brioche roll, napoli, provolone, jalopenos, pancetta, sage, an apple slaw and beer battered onion rings.  Quite a substantial serve of food, they loved it.  Those onion rings were awesome!

Bubs had a dish from the "Little People" Menu, with the Kids Scrambled Eggs and Brioche soldiers ($6).  I love that cool coffee cafes now cater so well for the kidlets.  The scramble was beautiful and fluffy, and the brioche soldiers were fun and went down well!

Macaron Monster is a super sweet-tooth and tried a little of our dishes, but was really just hanging out for dessert.  We ordered a couple of the doughnuts from the baked goods display, although it was so difficult to choose between all the goodies there!

I'm pretty sure these were from Cobb Lane.  The salted caramel doughnut was ace, with that super oozy, sweet decadent caramel.

Whilst the raspberry and lychee custard one was a much more refined affair.  

The service was friendly and efficient and staff were accommodating for the kids.  We loved our visit to The Vertue of the Coffee Drink and will no doubt be back on a regular basis.

The Vertue of the Coffee Drink on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Eat. @ Journeyman

169 Chapel Street, Windsor 3181 ph (03) 9521 4884

Bubs and I visited Journeyman on one of our "brunch roulette" days.  Quite a busy cafe but there were plenty of wait staff and they were quick to respond to our queries and requests for bowls and extra cutlery.

As expected their coffee ($4) was top notch.  With beautiful latte art, a must from any decent Melbourne barista really nowadays!

Bubs and I shared the beetroot cured salmon ($18) with quinoa, avocado, chilli and kale salad, topped with poached eggs, feta and herbs.  It was delicious, felt super healthy and to be honest was massive in serving.  We couldn't finish it!

The service was friendly and efficient, we'll definitely be back.

Journeyman on Urbanspoon