Melbourne 3000: Tuck Shop

Apart from the fake Tuckshop design that resembles Santas Place in a shopping centre at Christmas time, this eatery doesn’t have much to offer.

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Especially if you’re after something other than salad to eat.

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The vegetarian roti made toasted contained baby spinach and an antipasto platter of vegetables, to which do not go with the roti.

The concoction nearly burnt my mouth and I was left hungry after spending $9.50 on it.

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The design of the shop and paper bags are nice but in terms of food Tuckshop doesn’t offer anything interesting. Personally, I don’t find sitting down to eat in a Tuckshop trying to be trendy in an overly modern and corporate NAB building inviting.

Also I saw an eyebrow hair in my wrapper.

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Hmmm.

Tuck Shop on Urbanspoon

Kensington 3031: Kensington Fish and Chips

The couple of other times I’ve been to Kensington fish and chips were memorable, but not for the right reasons. However On Friday night I was so keen on getting fish and chips and watching the footy, I decided to give it a ready hot go again and boy did I get lucky this time!

I ordered the fish and chip pack over the phone and drove straight past the gym to pick it up, where I should’ve been going to sweat it out instead.

My order was ready in fifteen minutes. It was clear the team behind the counter of this tiny tuck shop were working hard. They also coordinated well to get the orders out, and with a metre high pile of frozen chips ready to be deep fried on demand, it was looking like it was going to be a hectic Friday night.

Bad memories of soggy fish and chips from Kensington were wiped from my mind when I got home and looked down into the polystyrene container. I finally had my own evidence as to why this fish and chip shop is so well loved in the neighbourhood. It’s all about the $8.95 fish and chip pack. Classic fried fish and chips with a wedge of lemon were served with a side of subway style crunchy lettuce, sliced tomato and onion with a balsamic dressing. The addition of a potato cake provided me with extra glee.  This time, I was happy. Simple but perfectly fried fish in a light batter and chips kept crisp in the container, as opposed to the other times where I’ve received a soggy mess wrapped up in butcher paper. If the salad was tossed together rather than assembled in the container, I would rave on about this even more.

I recommend the $8.95 deal to anyone (who doesn’t have high cholesterol) as a lazy Friday night slob treat.

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Fish and Chips & a potato cake with Salad

 

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Kensington Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

Melbourne 3000: Gong De Lin

Whilst walking along Swanston Street, you may see a big yellow sign with some Chinese words and underneath ‘Vegetarian Cuisine’ in green writing. This is your queue to keep on walking. If you end up travelling up to Level 3 in Noodle Kingdom’s elevator, then unfortunately you have missed the queue and  you will be welcomed by Gong Din Lin’s sterile surroundings.

Melbourne  has a few Chinese mock-meat vegetarian venues, but none quite like Gong De Lin.
The menu is extensive, to say the least.
Menu Page 1

Menu Page 1

Menu page 2

Menu page 2

In fact, the list of dishes is so astounding that I can’t even advise you what the name of the dish I ordered was. I can confirm that it was a soup, with bok choy, and Chinese mushrooms with hokkien noodles in vegetable stock. The ingredient that is really throwing me here is the golden coloured puffs of funghi or dumpling.

Vegetable and Mushroom Noodle Soup

Vegetable and Mushroom Noodle Soup

I’m going to lay it on the line here, I didn’t like the soup, nor the venue that brought to mind a hospital. There was an odd scent in the air and the general feeling of being in that restaurant was bleak. I sat close to the window, spilling my noodle soup on the butcher’s paper, anxious to leave. In one’s view, I will not be returning here. However, those that are interested in vegetarian and vegan cuisine should pay Gong De Lin a visit as there are copious amounts of other dishes to try.

 

 

Gong De Lin on Urbanspoon

Footscray 3011: 8bit

You will often find me at the markets in Footscray purchasing avocados for 99 cents per kilo, at the medical centre getting health checks or dining at one of the many superb Vietnamese restaurants.

You won’t normally find me (or anyone in Footscray) at a burger joint. Until now.

This trendy diner has just recently opened at 8 Droop St, Footscray, and is attracting quite the crowd. I went on a Sunday night and just missed a line of 10-15 people that were waiting to order. Everyone in the diner were munching down on what appeared to be delicious juicy burgers that stand upright in small cardboard containers. The concept is genius, as I assume the juices will be caught by the cardboard box and not run down your top. I love the skilful way the owner has chosen to locate 8 Bit, in an area where western style eateries are scarce.

After witnessing how good the burgers appeared I attempted to order the crumbed portabello mushroom burger. Prior to this I overheard the cashier inform my friend that they were out of onion rings. As I pondered getting the burger, he told me they were out of mushrooms.

Disappointed by this information, I ordered some potato gems covered in hot cheese sauce and onions.

The topping was delicious, even though the potato gems were clearly a McCains frozen product.

I want to say I was satisfied, but I wasn’t. I was after a drink but the line at front of house was too long. I felt sorry for the one cashier. I was in awe that they ran out of onions and mushrooms as 8bit is located about 5 metres from Saigon fresh fruit and vegetable market. For goodness sake if the stock was running low during the day this could have been easily rectified.

I hope to return and try the mushroom burger soon. For now I leave you with some photos of potato gems.

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Potato Gems with Cheese Sauce, spring onion and onions

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Potato Gems & Ketchup

 

 

8bit. on Urbanspoon

Melbourne 3000: Pacos Tacos

After polishing off half a bottle of wine with work colleagues I was pretty excited to eat what was described to me as “fresh cheap and delicious tacos.”

I headed off down to 500 Bourke St and up the stairs to level 1 to the Pacos Tacos establishment.

I arrive at what looks like a very trendy little beer garden wedged between high rise buildings. The furniture had plenty of character, which is more than I can say for the cashier.

In line with the fact that Australia ranks fourth in the list of the fattest country in the world, after America and Mexico, Melbournian’s newist craze seems to be unhealthy American diner cuisine. Burgers and chilli fries served in colourful plastic baskets are popping up everywhere at the moment from Brunswick to St Kilda.

At Paco Tacos, I was surprised that my nachos and tacos arrived in the classic American diner red oval basket. I had got the impression from friends that the tacos here were modern and fresh. The initial excitement I felt about coming here to eat fresh faded and was instantly replaced with the guilt of eating cheap fast food.

I am aware that all tacos are messy, but when I pay for them I expect them to be somewhat nicely presented on the plate (or oval basket). Luckily they tasted better than they looked. The Pescado was simply delicious. Next time I am craving fish and flavour, I will be ordering the Semolina Coated Fish, Chipotle Mayonnaise, Radish & Pickled Zucchini nestled in a soft flour tortilla.

The calamari taco was nice too, but the fish taco was far superior.

By the time I tried the sloppy looking nachos, which claim to be delicious in description; Tortilla Chips, Salsa Verde, Pico de Gallo, Chipotle, Cheddar, & Pepita Seeds, I had drank a few beers (one contained hot sauce) and they didn’t taste anything different to something I could prepare from an Old Ell Paso kit.

Overall I was somewhat comfortable in my surroundings, confused by the Spicy Beer I drank, delighted with my $6 fish taco, but wouldn’t bother with the nachos again. I recommend dining at this established if you’re young, hip and want a cheap taco.

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Top: Calamari Taco Bottom: Fish Taco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pacos Tacos on Urbanspoon

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Small Nachos

 

Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur: Restoran Woods Bio Marche

Vegan, vegetarian or are you some other kind of pain in the butt in the big fishy city of Kuala Lumpur? Can’t find anything to eat besides green or mixed veggies and garlic? Then you must visit Woods Bio Marche Restaurant in the tourist driven area, Bukit Bintan, for macrobiotic food.

The restaurant is immaculate, with orderly tables and chairs and a neat shelf at the entrance with a variety of organic and dairy free products for sale.

The service was outstanding and the waiter speaks English very well. The food was bought to our table gracefully, and with a smile.

The menu was extraordinary compared to every other menu we had seen in Malaysia so far. The choices are perhaps slightly comparable to Yong’s Green Food in Brunswick, Melbourne.

For entree the cabbage soup was very enjoyable, with tasty bits of shredded soy, imitating chicken, floating in the divine broth.

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Cabbage soup

My long time good friend’s entree of satay skewers were also to die for, made from hand- minced shiitake mushroom and complimented by a crunchy peanut herb dipping sauce.

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Satay Skewers

My entree of Japanese influenced steamed tuba rolls with veggie filling and lime sauce entree was sweet and faultless, cost RM 15.90.

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Steamed tuba rolls with veggie filling and lime sauce

Our main dishes arrived shortly after our entrees, my ‘de-stress’ Bento box was both nutritious and delicious. Included in the boy’s compartments was sweet potato salad, a shiitake mushroom steak with vegan mayonnaise, friend rice with tofu, scrambled tofu and pickled vegetables. Every compartment was filled with something wonderful, this dish was faultless.

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De-stress Bento Box

I also got the opportunity to take a bite of juicy, wholesome burger, which was made from a patty of lentils, salad, vegan mayonnaise and a whole wheat soft bun.

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Lentil burger

The second time we came here for lunch and got the brown rice vermicelli noodles with mixed vegetable, shiitake mushroom steak with soy mayo and the spring rolls. All meals were delightful.

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Brown rice vermicelli soup

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Shitake steak with vegan mayo

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I recommend Woods Bio Marche to vegetarians looking for nutritional vegetarian food in a peaceful environment, who are prepared to pay more than the cost of greasy fried white rice and fish sauce vegetables in the streets of. Kuala Lumpur.

The restaurant can be found at:

Wisma Bukit Bintang 28 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Website: http://www.healthyfoodmalaysia.com

Bukit Bintang, 50250 Kuala Lumpur: Nasi Hadramot Restoran

Hadromot is a middle eastern restaurant specialising in Lebanese and Iranian cuisine. There’s a number of lamb and rice dishes, but the selection of vegetarian dips described in the menu is astonishing.

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As my good friend and I wanted a felafel wrap we ordered the ‘felafel sandwich’, which reminded my of Gino’s kebabs back in Melbourne. However it lacked sauce, with only a small amount of hummus and no garlic sauce available at the restaurant. The fries inside were an unnecessary addition.

I recommend to Hadromat to those in Bukit Bintang looking for halal meals, dips to share or a kebab.

If you want to find this establishment the address is:

51 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Langkawi Airport, Malaysia: Marrybrown

Since I have been travelling around Malaysia I have seen numerous Marrybrown’s, a fast food fried chicken chain restaurant, located especially in developed areas and airports.

Marrybrown has vibrant posters of fried popped chicken, plastered on their windows, the bright orange establishment creates a buzz just from their advertising.

At Langkawi Airport, after walking aimlessly around looking for something other than imported to leone or peanut m & m’s, I tried my first Marrybrown meal. The service was immediate and the cashier was attentive and helpful. The menu contained the typical fried chicken poppers, drumsticks, burgers and fries, but also contained a fish burger, fish and chips, creamy mushroom soup, plain rice and spicy porridge.y

To my surprise they even had a veggie patty burger, so for RM5.90 I ordered this, with a side of small fries, total RM7.90.

Upon sampling the fries I was convinced Marrybrown had learned the recipe for McDonald’s fries, as they were exactly the same in terms of appearance, texture, crunch and taste. Perhaps someone from deep inside McDonalds headquarters got a job at Marrybrown and utilised Mcdonald’s recipe, I would say McDonald’s may be required to involve a patent attorney if they want to keep their share of the fast food market.

The veggie patty burger had a very sweet and glossy bun and contained only a deep fried hash brown and lettuce. The lettuce and hash-brown were also exactly the same as McDonalds lettuce and hash-browns. If this veggie patty burger had McChicken sauce on it I would’ve enjoyed it immensely, but unfortunately the sauce-less burger felt incomplete.

I recommend Marrybrown to those who love fried chicken, and McDonalds fries and are perhaps at a busy Asian airport without any fruit.

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07000 Langkawi : 7th Roof Seafood Restaurant

After discovering our hotel at Aliah Residence had a terrible menu with limited variety and zero options for vegetarians, my vegan travel buddy and I took a walk down Kampung Kuala Teriang to look for other places to eat.

Kampung Kuala Teriang is a long road that heads to Langkawi Airport. There are a few small family owned eateries, all about 500 metres apart. We visited each one and were disappointed at the choice of food, service and lack of air con / fans. I was also tired of looking at the same colourful cheap plastic chairs. Most of these eateries only had five items on their menu’s, such as ayam and nasi goreng. My instinct told me this cuisine would’ve been home style authentic Malaysian and flavoursome, but we had special requests today and could not get past the language barrier.

After walking for about a kilometre along the busy road, moving to the swampy side of the road when a motorcycle or vehicle approached, we found 7th Roof. Often there is a family of cattle walking across this road and today we were lucky enough to see them cross a few times, my vegan friend scared for their safety. I assured her the cattle know what they are doing and must’ve crossed this road a thousand times.

7th roof was a touristy seafood restaurant, but we were pleased there was a small vegetarian section.

Apart from the mixed vegetables in garlic sauce, the rest of the dishes served are seafood, The squid with onions and a Malay style sauce was a bit overdone. However, the tiger prawns and lobster are only RN15 to RN25 per 100grams and there are many delicious sauces like garlic butter or curry to choose from.

The Choy Sum cooked with a potent garlic sauce was delicious, as were the crispy vegetable spring rolls with savoury spices.

I enjoyed the food here, as well as the the restaurant’s peaceful ambience. It was although the establishment was located in the middle of a rainforest, when in fact it is situated in a swampy area. There is anti mosquito coils underneath each table, however I guarantee you will get bitten here.
The free wifi was a positive incentive for us foreigners to come to this restaurant, but was temperamental. The waitress and owners spoke good English and Chinese and provided fantastic service, willing to cater for vegetarian/ vegan diets.

I recommend 7th Roof for those on romantic dates or groups wishing to share many seafood dishes.

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Auburn 3123: The Geebung

Currently I am in the Perhentian Islands relaxing and enjoying many authentic Malaysian curries, but back in Melbourne I attended ‘The Geebung’ for dinner with a potential suitor.

When it was suggested we go to ‘the Geebung’ I thought this was an Australian slang word for ‘Geelong’, however since the pub is located in Auburn, the upper class neighbouring suburb of Hawthorn, my presumption was incorrect. I do not understand why this venue has such a strange name, but apparently it has a great party vibe on Sunday nights.

This reminds me that basic spirits, house wine and pints of tap beer were $5 during happy hour, Friday night. I was impressed at the array of premium beers to choose from. The friendly bar staff will happily pour you a Mountain Goat, Fat Yak or James Squire Golden Ale.

The date turned into a friendly group hang out, and didn’t eventuate into anything further. The food however, was above average with above average prices. Modern Australian is on the menu at this upper class pub, with quinoa and vegetables instead of fried chips served as side dishes to meta and fish.

This was my first taste of sword fish, and I enjoyed it immensely. The fish was cooked to perfection (3-4 minutes pan fried on each side and then for 5 minutes in the oven I would say). I was surprised at how solid sword fish is, compared to other flakey and soft fish. The dish presented like a dogs breakfast, however the flavoursome quinoa and vegetables complimented the fish and reminded me to not judge a book by it’s cover.

After my main meal I moved outside to the little bustling beer garden and took a peek at the dessert menu. I’m not normally a sweet tooth, but I tried the chocolate mouse and it was spectacular.

I recommend The Geebung to those who don’t mind paying around $30 for a delicious pub meal that is modern, thoughtfully prepared and healthier than those found at the average pub.

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Geebung Polo Club on Urbanspoon