Tagged: melbournefood

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

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Brighton 3186: The Little Ox

As a ‘northie’ visiting the east for their ‘beaches’, two friends and I were looking on Urban spoon for a place with ratings above 80% to have lunch. The Little Ox appeared to have good reviews and likes so we sat down in the outdoor area on a balmy supposedly 38 degree Melbourne day (in reality it was a top of 30 with high winds that blow everything on the ground into your face and your hair sticks to your lipgloss).  The funky and low volume outdoor music at this quaint little cafe was nice, as was the service.
The menu was contained in one double sided A3 page with an all day breakfast, some specials, a lunch menu and salads.

As a advent lover of vegetarian dishes, I was surprised there wasn’t one vegetarian dish on the menu. Perhaps that is because I am a ‘northie’ and used to numerous vegetarian choices on cafe menu’s.

I ordered the calamari and broad-bean salad which was good for a salad (I have been working out so I have been more inclined to choose the salad when I go out nowadays). The mixture of calamari, watercress and broad-beans with whatever dressing they put on it was delightful. I’m not sure what the croutons or miniature squids were doing in there though. That wasn’t on the item description.
My friend ordered the multigrain avocado on toast and an egg dish; both looked like standard cafe dishes. My friend was glad they had gluten free bread though.

I like this place, and might come back if I want to hang out in Brighton or Sandringham and lie on beaches full of sticks and brown sand.
I recommend The Little Ox cafe to Melbourne’s east siders who want to be hipsters, but are way too rich to move to the north.

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The Little Ox   on Urbanspoon

Melbourne 3000: SUD

I arrived at this intimate restaurant located on King St for a Christmas lunch with colleagues.

When I arrived I was greeted by the joyous and flamboyant waiters (one had spectacles like heston blumenthal and a moustache which turned up at the ends) and took a seat at a carefully set up table.

Soon enough our champagne flutes were filled with Italian sparkling wine and our glasses with San Pellegrino sparkling water.

The first entree to arrive was Caprese, Buffalo Mozzarella on a bed of fresh sliced tomatoes, with a little fresh basil and balsamic dressing drizzled around the dish. The thought this in my mouth was way better than how it actually tasted. Apparently the buffalo mozzarella was very fresh and upmarket but the general flavour of the dish was bland.

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The diavoletti was a much, much better as an entree. This young drawn curd hung, smoked and wrapped around green olives and a sliced chilli was one of the greatest things to have ever entered my mouth.

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Meanwhile our glasses were topped up with more and more imported red wine by the interesting waiters. I asked one particular waiter if there was a bathroom and he said ‘no, you have to go and shit outside.’ I wasn’t interested in shitting, but nevertheless I found his inappropriate sarcasm humorous,
mostly because of the accent. He admitted that he wasn’t from Italy. I can’t tell you what accent it was. I was having a great time and highly tipsy and amused at the SUD waiters non pretentious and friendly demeanour.

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I chose the Atlantic NZ salmon-filet for my main, in a bed of braised eggplant, peppers and zucchini. For $36 I’m glad I wasn’t paying as I can prepare better salmon at home on the BBQ. The slice of salmon was approximately $3 at the nearby Vic Market and really wet inside instead of flakey. The bed of vegetables resembled a kind of salsa.
Albeit colourful, this dish was a disappointment and I prefer Tasmanian salmon filet.

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The person next to me received a well presented rib eye. Can’t comment on flavours as I didn’t try it, but there were no complaints from her.

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And then the Vanilla Bean Panacotta served with rhubarb and strawberry arrived and naturally I forgot all about the salmon.

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I also had the pleasure of tasting the tiramisu, but one spoonful of this rich coffee liqueur and cream was plenty for me.

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After dessert and numerous glasses of imported Italian red wine, I was presented with a a warm coffee made with Italian liqueur in a martini glass. This coffee topped off a brilliant dining experience at SUD, not paid for by me.

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Fitzroy 3065: Trippy Taco

I went to Trippy Taco on Sunday with 2 acquaintances and left with heart burn and a truckers arm.

We wait for half an hour for an obnoxious group of individuals, who probably live in Fitzroy, to leave one of the tables outside. One was cleaning his shoe with a napkin. When they finally left, their dishes and leftovers remained at the table for 10 more minutes until we decided to take it in ourselves.

I had the Tofu Asada Burrito and tried the chilli fries and nachos. The asada burrito is good, I do enjoy raisins in savoury dishes and I found their secret use of beetroot in the burrito to be interesting. The spices used on the chilli fries left a dry feeling on my tongue and the nachos were average. I just don’t get why people like the chilli fries here. The Reverence do better seasoned Mexican fries.

There is a lack of tables for patrons (only 2 outside) and non existent shade outside. My entire right arm and shoulder got extremely sunburnt.

I recommend Trippy Taco to people wearing colourful patterns with a hang over. There is a better Mexican restaurant called Los Amates in Fitzroy.

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Trippy Taco on Urbanspoon

Footscray 3065: Bo De Trai

I love Footscray, and i usually love vegetarian restaurants but the location can’t save this Vietnamese/ Chinese restaurant from a bad review.

Near the door is a 10% off sign and I thought to myself,

Really, 10% off? Ten percent off what? Surely it can’t be everything. That’s weird

We walked into the deserted eatery and asked to order take away. The menu was easy enough to read, but ordering the food was difficult as I don’t speak Vietnamese.

I chose the spring rolls for a starter and the imitation pork and veggie hot pot for main, both for take away.

The spring rolls were crunchy, but tasteless and the imitation pork looked like a prawn cracker soaked in water.

It tasted like a bit of bread soaked in water. The sauce in the hot pot was boring and the vegetables were boring and chopped roughly.

My Austrian acquaintance ordered the Chinese mushroom which were really just plain old button mushrooms in some Chinese sauce. They looked very unappetising.

My other acquaintance got the Tom Yum Soup, and left it in the kitchen as it tasted like nothing.
Disappointing, but I should have known better than to eat here. The lack of people in the restaurant and the 10% off sign should have been a red flag.

I’ve heard good things about this restaurant, but after the meal my acquaintances and I got, I will certainly not be coming back here. There are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants on Hopkins St I would rather pay to eat at. I will pay more attention to red flags moving forward.

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Bo de Trai on Urbanspoon

Williamstown 3017: Novel Kitchen

I sat down at this cafe prior to going to see the Sea Shepherd, currently living at Williamstown docks.

I began with a orange, carrot and finer juice and was exuberant at how fresh and delicious this was.

I ordered an assortment of side dishes including toast, the rosemary potato rosti and avocado. Looking forward to the rosti, I took many bites and couldn’t taste the rosemary or any seasoning.

I would recommend this cafe to all Hobson Bay visitors looking for fresh and organic food but you need to weigh up the below pros and cons.

1. The waiter didn’t know if the bread was vegan for my daughter, even though this is a cafe that prides themselves on being vegan friendly.

2. The food was under seasoned, it was like they were afraid of flavour.

The pros are:

1. The juices were freshly squeezed, flavoursome and they add delicious additions like fresh ginger and lemon for no extra charge.

2. There is no extra charge for soy.

I am very impressed by pro number 2.

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Novel Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Northcote 3070: Northcote Social Club

I’ve heard a mixture of opinions about The Northcote Social Club, some saying it’s dingy but renovated, and some telling me not to expect much at all.

I walked into a dim lighted pub in a questionable area, but was pleasantly surprised when I saw I saw the outdoor furniture and hanging tropical plants in the beer garden. The back of pub is appealing to a young, trendy crowd and the atmosphere they bring is fun and free.

I skimmed through the very simple pub food menu and didn’t see anything outstanding that I felt like eating so I ordered plain old ‘fish and chips’, making sure the dish came with tartar sauce and lemon.

After a bit of a wait my dish arrived and I was about as excited as when I was reading the menu. What appeared on my plate were 2 flathead tails and some frozen chips with a very basic salad.

My acquaintances ordered the lasagna and chicken poppers which were very generous in serving size.

The birthday boy I came here for got a chicken Parma which was incredibly cheesy. Apparently the ham was a little too thick, but the chicken itself was alright.

Sounds mediocre to me.

I’m not sure I would eat here again. Perhaps I would try the portabello mushroom burger as it looked quite good. I recommend the food here to hungry, drunk patrons.

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Northcote Social Club on Urbanspoon

Prahran 3181: Third Wave Cafe

I was invited as a guest to eat at this new cafe in a side street off Commercial Rd, Prahran. Usually it is a battle to find a park when eating out in Prahran or Windsor due to the busy shopping strip known as Chapel St, however Third Wave cafe is situated next to Safeway car park, making finding a close park a breeze. My good friend I brought along was very glad we found a park with ease and was impressed with the cafe’s modern decor.

The service was attentive, polite and fast. To begin with we ordered soy lattes, the coffee really was ‘superb’ as the advertising for the cafe claims.
The menu was like reading a book, with breakfast, paninis a lunch section, a Russian menu and sweets. Tossing up between the Raspberry and Mascapone panini and the Brie, Fig Jam and Walnuts, I opted for the later. I saw the option for gluten free bread and I took it. Alongside this panini, I ordered the Cherry Cheese Blintzes. The panini contained a considerable amount of cheese, and the fig jam and walnuts went well together. The gluten free bed was the standard gluten free bread from every cafe in Melbourne, the small square and tasteless loaf. The Blintzez were a far more superior dish. The blintzez are similar to a crepe, but thicker. Folded into parcels and filled with the perfect amount of mascapone cheese melted with the cherries, the blintzes were a real treat to eat.

My friend and I were very satisfied with the flavoursome and generous servings at this cafe. When my friend finished her ‘big breakfast’, she said she would certainly come back. So would I. I would love to try the Borsche here, as my Polish friend recently introduced me to this thick sour beetroot soup the morning after drinking expensive wine. Even though my first taste of Borsche was the Maggie soup variety from a packet, it was delicious and I am very impressed Third Wave has it on their menu.

Third Wave cafe likes to mix sweet and savory, with an assortment of dishes available breakfast and lunch. I recommend Third Wave cafe to adventurous diners, as well as those who like to stick to their elementary eggs on toast for breakfast/ lunch.

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Third Wave Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Third Wave Cafe on Urbanspoon

Fitzroy 3065: Shawcross Pizza Joint

At a social event, I had the honour of tasting what is apparently Melbourne’s largest pizza.

It was very large in diameter (22 inches) and tasted like everything you would expect from a margarita pizza with fresh tomato.

I expect the pizza makers employed at Shawcross had some extra training in tossing pizza dough.

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Shawcross 22 inch pizza vs regular large pizza

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Shawcross Pizza on Urbanspoon

Footscray 3031: The Reverence

The 45 minute wait for my chimichanga was worth it.

The generous servings and variety of gluten free, meat, vegetarian and vegan options on the menu attract a wide range of people.

My two daughters came with me to this run down bar in Footscray and were very pleased with the busy young crowd, and their meals. The pulled pork made from jackfruit, with apple sauce and almonds pleased my youngest daughter, and the eldest enjoyed the vegan quesadillas immensely. However she thought the bar’s slim selection of hot sauces could be improved.

Footscray does it again with fresh, affordable vegetarian food. I recommend this to anyone looking for decent bar food in inner west Melbourne.

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Reverence Hotel on Urbanspoon