Monday, April 27, 2015

Jinda Thai Restaurant

We are delighted to announce that we have found, in our opinion at least, the best Thai restaurant in Melbourne. Jinda Thai in Abbotsford serves up some of the best Thai food we have ever had and they make a mean iced milk tea as well. We always wished for Home Thai or Chat Thai to branch out from Sydney but thankfully, we now have an authentic place of our own here in Melbourne. We ordered from their regular menu(they have a lunch menu) and had:

Fish cake - Jinda Thai's own recipe (AU$8.90) - Springy and full of flavour, it also has a slight kick to it. Wonderful little entree and good for sharing.

Tom yum - spicy and sour soup with lemongrass and lime leaf. A signature Thai dish with prawns (AU$16.9) - Not very spicy, a little sweet and the generous serving of prawns was cooked well. Large enough to share between two or even three.

Deep fried soft shell crab with pepper and garlic sauce (AU$17.9) - Perfectly fried, the crabs(two pieces) were crispy and juicy with just the right balance of pepper and garlic.

Roasted duck in red curry (AU$17.9) - Thinly sliced pieces of duck in a slightly sweet red curry. Loved the other ingredients(lychee, pumpkin etc) in the curry as they really made this a complete dish.

Ice cream grati - coconut ice cream, coconut flavoured sticky rice, crunchy peanuts  and palm fruit (AU$8.5) - Lovely end to a beautiful lunch. It had good texture contrasts and a nice light flavour; not too sweet.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star ½

Type of venue: Thai

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 1-7 Ferguson Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067

Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Grand Trailer Park Taverna

Sitting above the corner of Bourke and Russell Streets, Grand Trailer Park Taverna is a cool concept and certainly has a wonderful atmosphere. Only complaint was that the staff were a little too quick in wanting to clear the tables without even asking. We were going to have dessert but after the poor service, we left in a hurry. We had two burgers(but only reviewing one) and a shake(not spiked):

KSA -  Premium Aussie beef patter,  American cheddar cheese, tomato, butter lettuce, special burger sauce and American mustard on a lightly toasted brioche bun. It is certainly a delicious burger. A smaller burger compared to the others on the list but if you are after a no-frills burger, you can't go wrong with this one.

Salted caramel and maple bacon milkshake - had this without the alcohol. Presentation was good especially with the piece of maple bacon. Tasted a bit average as far as milkshakes go though.

Service: :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star ½
Value for money: :star :star :star ½

Type of venue: Burgers,  American

Worth a return visit? No. 

Address: 87 Bourke Street,  Melbourne

Grand Trailer Park Taverna on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Oriental Spoon

We have tried several Korean restaurants in Melbourne over the years but have not written a review on all of them. This is our latest review of one of our favourites. Oriental Spoon is a casual restaurant offering a large variety of dishes that are perfect for sharing. Some say it is pricey compared to the many choices in the city but if you ask us, as with most cases, you pay for what you get. This time we had:

Chicken fillets in chilli sauce and mozzarella cheese - Don't let the three chilli symbols put you off from ordering this. You can ask for a milder version. It is cheesy and slightly spicy. Quite a large portion of moist, tender chicken, it is seriously addictive and delicious.

Sizzling Korean beef ribs - You can't go wrong when ordering beef at a Korean restaurant. It is tender, smells incredible and sizzling away when it arrives at the table. The ribs are tasty and go perfectly well with the sides that accompany your meal.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star ½
Value for money: :star :star :star :star  ½

Type of venue: Korean

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 254 La Trobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Oriental Spoon on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 19, 2015


We wanted to escape the dreary weather in Melbourne and decided on a short drive to Daylesford to try something new. The weather was perfect and there were lots of people who had the same idea as us. Larder in Daylesford serves up your typical breakfast fare as well as some interesting menu items showcasing local produce. We ordered from the sharing menu and had:

Larder tasting plate (AU$29) - featuring Chef's selection of house made produce: chicken and pork terrine, chicken liver and sherry parfait, Gorgonzola mousse, cured Ocean Trout, smoked Trout mousse, roast fennel and cannelloni bean dip with fresh baked ciabatta. Generous tasting board with plenty of sliced bread. Our favourites were the chicken liver parfait and Gorgonzola mousse.  The smoked trout mousse was a little too light in flavour. A good way to try what is on offer.
Thick cut fries (AU$9) - hand cut from locally farmed pot
atoes with rosemary salt and mayo. Creamy and fluffy potatoes done well. Very chunky and more towards wedges which we like.

Hush puppies (AU$9) - Southern American style fries cheese and herb balls with bbq sauce and mayo. Delicious fluffy, pillowy balls with a soufflé like texture. Good on its own and it had a nice cheesy flavour. The bbq sauce tasted like it was spiked with alcohol and was certainly an interesting sauce.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star ½

Type of venue: Breakfast,  Modern,  Coffee

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 57A Vincent Street, Daylesford VIC 3460

Larder on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wagyu Ya

Waygu Ya in South Yarra serves up delicious Wagyu beef and other tasty Japanese fare. We heard that Novak Djokovic had his meal here one year and decided to have their soy milk hot pot for dinner. They also do good value lunch sets and this is what we had this time:

Harami set - the thick part of the diaphragm muscle, extremely limited portion with only 1kg per cow. Full flavoured and delicate texture. The set comes with potato salad, fried chicken pieces, salad, miso soup , yummy steamed rice and a piece of orange. You also get three sauces but the meat doesn't need any extra sauce. The steamed rice also comes with this braised fatty meat that is so addictive.

Japanese style soy milk hot pot - smaller version of what you would have for dinner. The unique flavour of the hot pot goes really well with the Wagyu beef that is sliced perfectly thin. Literally melts in your mouth.

Service: :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star ½
Value for money: :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: Japanese

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 156 Toorak Road, South Yarra VIC 3141

Wagyu Ya Japanese Chargrill Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Borsch, Vodka and Tears

We felt like trying something new and ventured along Chapel St, Prahran for something tasty for dinner. We have walked past Borsch, Vodka and Tears many times but never tried it. All we can say is the service is excellent, the vodka/drink list is amazing and they serve up excellent Polish food. We can't wait to go back.
Salt cod and potato croquettes - crispy salty deliciousness. Good snack to have and went well with the vodka tasters we had.

Polish dumplings with porcini mushroom and sauerkraut with a bread-crumb coating - first time having Polish dumplings and we really enjoyed the mushroom and sauerkraut filling and the unique coating/shell.

Char-grilled Kiełbasa, roasted Kransky, Russian salad, horseradish, German mustard, onion jam, ajvar, pickles - enjoyed the different condiments and salad on the plate. The sausages were interesting, a little dry but maybe that's how it is supposed to be. Will still order it again as it is quite nice.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star ½

Type of venue: Eastern, European, Polish

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 173 Chapel Street,  Prahran VIC 3181

Borsch, Vodka & Tears on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Red Hot Wok

Whenever we feel like some Malaysian Chinese dishes, we head to Red Wok in South Yarra to get our fix. We usually order three dishes to share and this time was no exception. We had:

Sambal kangkung - our go to vegetable dish. Slightly spicy, the water convolvulus is cooked perfectly with just the right amount of seasoning.

Flaky tofu - deliciously soft egg tofu with a light soy dressing.

Salted egg chicken ribs - chicken ribs are popular everywhere right now. The seasoning on this is just right; slight saltiness from the salted egg granules, the taste is reminiscent of butter prawns as there is the addition of curry leaves as well. Juicy, crispy goodness.

Service: :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: Chinese,  Malaysian

Worth a return visit? Yes

Address: 313 Toorak Road, South Yarra VIC 3141

Red Hot Wok on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hammer & Tong

We felt like something different for breakfast last Saturday. Finally settled on Hammer and Tong and we were not disappointed. Although it had been a while since we have been here, the menu options are always interesting and fresh. We had:

Salt and pepper french toast, fried duck egg, maple, chorizo smoked oreo crumbs, duck egg and salted caramel ice cream (AU$21) - A very modern twist on the classic French toast but everything went really well together.  The fried egg was perfect, as was the ice cream. Enjoyed it very much.

Breakfast ramen with 62C hens egg, bacon, shitake mushroom, spring onion, bacon dashi (AU$19) - a light broth with perfectly cooked egg, this is a healthy Asian inspired breakfast item. Good for those cooler mornings and for those wanting something different.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star ½
Value for money: :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Breakfast, Brunch, Coffee

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 412 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 12, 2015

BOY and Co.

BOY and Co. is extremely popular among school kids. We have never eaten in a place where 90 percent of the staff and patrons are under the age of 15! At least that is the impression we got when we were there on a Saturday afternoon. It serves two things: milkshakes and fries. We decided to give it a go despite reading some mixed reviews and it was actually pretty good. All in all, a good spot to come to for a snack and drink. We had:

American pie milkshake - apple pie and shortbread in a shake. Tastes good, it was thick and you can definitely taste pieces of shortbread throughout.

Black and white - cookies and cream shake. Again, a thick shake done well with good flavour and consistency.

Sweet potato fries with saffron and garlic aioli. Complimentary sauces are available at the tables. Otherwise, different sauces are available for an extra charge. The aioli was alright but may be better suited with the fries. The sweet potato fries were crunchy and delicious. Good accompaniment to the shakes.

Service: :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: American

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 224 Glenferrie Road, Malvern VIC 3144

Boy & Co on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tommy Ruff Fish Bar

So, it was Good Friday and we were starving and after a fish and chips type of meal. Tommy Ruff was where we headed to and boy was it good. Will have to try their traditional fish and chips next time. We had:

Seafood chowder with fish, prawns and mussels done Tommy's special way - it isn't your typical creamy seafood chowder. What we got is a light seafood broth with seafood pieces. Light and delicious.

The crab claw burger - Soft shell crab with slaw, coriander and special sauce. Crispy, juicy, meaty crab with a nice slaw and dressing. Reasonably priced and the side of chips was perfect.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star ½
Value for money: :star :star :star :star ½

Type of venue: Fish and Chips, Burger, Seafood

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 1/3 Carre Street, Elsternwick VIC 3185

Tommy Ruff Fish Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Shanghai Street

Melbourne's best xiao long bao is probably found in Hutong. The best version found anywhere in the world is undoubtedly Din Tai Fung and good news for Meburnians as it is opening soon in Emporium. In the meantime however, there is Shanghai Street on Little Bourke St, which is an extremely popular dumpling restaurant. It is fast, efficient and cheap. We had:

Xiao Long Bao - for the price you pay, this isn't too bad. Just don't go comparing it to Din Tai Fung. If it is your average dumpling restaurant you are comparing this to, then you won't be disappointed. The broth actually stays in the dumpling skin and it isn't too oily. Just a shame the dipping sauce doesn't come with any sliced ginger.

Dumplings in chilli oil and peanut sauce - the combination of peanut sauce and chili oil make this extremely addictive. Slightly spicy and makes you want more and more. Quite a large portion as well so well worth it. Tried to buy the peanut sauce in the Asian supermarkets but could only find sesame sauce so maybe they make their own?

Service: :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star  ½
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Chinese

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 146 Little Bourke Street,  Melbourne VIC 3000

Shanghai Street on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spice Temple

Spice temple offers the best yum char we have had. We have had yum char in many countries and although Spice Temple isn't cheap, the quality and uniqueness on offer is something we will gladly pay for. Just a shame it is only served during lunch times on Thursday to Sunday. We had:

Salt and pepper squid, pickles and XO Slider - good to try as the squid is cooked perfectly and the slider is just a dainty morsel to get things started. 

White cut chicken gua bao - deliciously moist chicken, with accompaniments not unlike what you would find with a Hainanese chicken rice, except it is enveloped not in rice but a pillowy bao.
Jade scallop and crab - delicately sweet seafood flavours in this steamed dumpling and the dumpling skin is super thin.

Glutinous rice dumplings with chicken - lightly fried, the dumpling shell is made from the glutinous rice. Crispy and delicious.

Tea smoked duck breast with pickled cabbage and Chinese mustard - we order this every time we eat here. Beautifully light smokiness and perfectly pink duck breast. Goes extremely well with the pickled cabbage and mustard.

Egg custard with crab and XO sauce - just love the fried spanner crab meat with the pillowy soft egg custard and house-made XO sauce. Slight hint of spiciness but so tasty you could have it on some steamed rice.

Egg custard tart - are these the best egg tarts in the world? They could be. Extremely flaky pastry and the egg custard is just set and it is so wobbly you'd think it isn't ready yet. One never seems quite enough.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Chinese, Fusion, Yum Cha

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC 3006

Spice Temple on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 6, 2015

Recipe - Flourless Carrot Cake

Having just got a Breville Kitchen Wizz Pro, we wanted to test it out. Being Easter, we thought a carrot cake was in order and we could also try out the grating disc. To our surprise, it only took 31 secs to grate 5 carrots! No more manually grating for us!

I have always been a Donna Hay fan and here is my favourite Flourless Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing recipe. This recipe is also gluten free.

5 eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sunflower oil
3½ cups almond meal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
400g carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup shredded coconut
½ cup roasted slivered almonds
½ cup currants

Cream cheese icing
250g cream cheese, chopped
⅓ cup icing sugar mixture, sifted
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line the base of a lightly greased 24cm springform tin with non-stick baking paper and set aside.
Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and whisk for 15 minutes or until thick and tripled in volume.
Place the oil, almond meal, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, carrot, coconut, almonds and currants in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
Fold through the egg mixture and spoon into the tin.
Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes – 1 hour 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached.
Allow to cool completely in the tin before refrigerating for 2–3 hours or until firm.
To make the cream cheese icing, place the cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the lemon juice and beat for a further 1 minute or until smooth. Run a small knife around the edge of the cake and remove from the tin. Spread with the icing to serve.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Pidapipó could be the best gelato place in Melbourne right now. Just a shame they ran out of the honeycomb fingers. Having been regulars at Gelato Messina and Helados Jauja which we think serve up wonderful gelato and ice cream, Pipapipó certainly gives them a run for their money. We tried:

Plum - very refreshing sorbet and the generous use of plums is evident in both the flavour and texture of it. Simply refreshing and delicious.

Banana milk - loved the banana flavour(lady finger variety used?) and it is quite a light, milky gelato.

Service: :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Italian,  Dessert, Ice Cream/Gelato

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 299 Lygon Street, Carlton VIC 3053

Pidapipó on Urbanspoon