Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sister of Society, Prahran (by invitation) by Benny

Our hosts Fraser and Olivia are expertly working the room, giving all of their guests a friendly welcome, ensuring that this launch event is going to be a success. A lot of thought and work has gone into the design and set-up of Sister of Society – an on-trend bar and nightspot in the fashionable part of Chapel St.

The view through the tinted full length windows gives a hint of the modish interior and great-looking bar – enough to pique the curiosity and draw you inside. Low lighting creates a warm enticing ambience, tinged bright red by the SOS neon on the wall. A mix of seating ensures the perfect spot to match your mood and the size of your party: squeeze into a comfy booth, park on a bench at a coffee table, convene around a bar table, or perch on a bar stool for counter-style eating, drinking and conversing. Looking for a bit of privacy? Head right down the back past the bar and servery and you’ll find a very comfortable nook, ideal for a half dozen or so close friends.

Sister of Society, Prahran, Morrocan spiced lamb
Moroccan spiced lamb with pine nuts, hummus, labne and pomegranate

Inside you will find craft beers (bottle and draught, both local and international), trendy cocktails and a decent selection of wines and spirits, plus great friendly service (which, to be fair, is hard pressed tonight, but is holding up very well). And the reason that Bilby Blue and I are here – the food!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Flying Woks, by Obelix

I approached the queue of Flying Woks food truck with much anticipation.  They certainly had the theatrics down pat.  Mighty big woks and guys stirring the contents within with big spades.  It was how I imagine witches would tend their bubbling cauldron(s).  

I gather from the Flying Woks' website, they offer a manner of all things Asian such as noodles, steamed buns, as well as paellas and Moroccan tagines.  However on the day that they visited, they were serving two noodle dishes.  

Flying Woks, food truck, rice noodles, vegetarian
One was a vegetarian rice noodles with a Tom Yum sauce.  This is what I had.  I ended up eating two of these noodle boxes as it was a scanty on the serves.  It was a bit lackadaisical.  The quality was akin to what I can cook at home (I'm not much of a cook).  It could have done with more vegetables and tofu.  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rosie, Parnell (NZ) by Bilby Blue

It had been a hectic day at the office, and lunch had been overlooked in the rush to meet deadlines. I deserved a special treat and Rosie – one of the eateries in Auckland’s Hip Group – looked like it could deliver the goods.

Its focus is on locally sourced, fresh, seasonal food, with the aim of letting the ingredients shine. And based on my experience, Rosie totally nailed it.

Rosie, Parnell New Zealand - zucchini flowers
When dining solo, I rarely have more than a main and dessert, but the entrée options sounded so good that I could not resist going that extra distance. For my entrée I chose the special of the day: fried zucchini flowers (from the Hip Group’s own farm) stuffed with pinenuts and feta, with charred zucchini, radish and zucchini puree. It was a great dish (the photograph does not do it justice). The feta by itself was extremely salty, but worked brilliantly when eaten together with the incredibly smooth zucchini puree.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thresherman's Bakehouse, Carlton by Bureaucrat

Thresherman's Bakehouse brings back waves of nostalgia for me.  As bright-eyed 17-year old uni student (yes, I was once precocious), I stumbled into Thresherman's and got bamboozled by the communal tables and left the place without buying anything.  They say uni opens one's eyes, and yes, my hayseed eyes were wide open and couldn't comprehend why anyone would want to share a table with strangers.

Nowadays, I can cope with eating at restaurants that have communal tables, though I still struggle to understand why people would want to rub elbows at the dinner table with Tom, Dick and Harry.  I mean, in any other situation you'd want strangers seated as far away from you as possible... anyone who's travelled on public transport could empathise on that point.  Therefore, if I'm paying for a meal, I want a table to myself, thank you!

As a uni student (or indeed a salaried slave), you can eat like a king at Thresherman's.  Servings are large and the prices are cheap; even better, the quality is pretty good, too.  I was curious to see if things had changed since I last visited there 12 odd years ago.

Thresherman's Bakehouse, Carlton, lasagna
Happily, very little, if any, has changed.  I was very glad that two items that we ate on a regular basis were still available, still tasted good and still at a good price.  I got both as a takeaway to share with the Lawyer as a nostalgic foodie trip.  The slice of lasagna is now around $10 - it's still meaty, cheesy and filling.  Good times!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mr Burger, by Obelix

Mr Burger has been floating around in food truck land in Melbourne for some time now.  While Bureaucrat (Little Bourke Street outlet in 2015) and Snooze (Vic Markets outlet in 2013) have both reviewed the shop-front versions of Mr Burger, F convinced me to try their iconic Mr Burger from the original food truck.

Mr Burger, hamburger, food truck
So here it is in its simplistic construction:  a sesame bun, ground beef patty, cheese, pickle, mayo, ketchup, onion, lettuce and a slice of tomato.  To be honest, it is not much different from the Hungry Jack's Whopper in terms of its constituents.  But that is not meant to be a negative thing.  It's a classic presentation and represents what a burger is to many.  There are times in my life where I yearn for a soft shell burger on a charcoal brioche bun but then again, there are times when only a classic will do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse Melbourne, North Melbourne by Benny

If you are seriously researching the history of Victoria, online searches will get you only so far. Eventually you will end up in North Melbourne at the unassuming but amazing Public Records Office of Victoria. I was providing occasional assistance to Bilby Blue’s quest for knowledge, and a busy morning riffling through archival boxes guaranteed we were ready for lunch.

Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse, baked meatball sub
Baked meatball sub – pork and thyme meatballs, Napoli sauce, pecorino and rocket served with taro chips

North Melbourne is home to quite a few breakfast/brunch places. Our chosen venue was favourably reviewed by Snooze way back in 2010, so it was high time to revisit the Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse Melbourne.