Friday, July 3, 2015

Lucky Penny, South Yarra (by invitation) by Obelix

I'm a Viking cuisine virgin.  My limited experience of Nordic food predominantly centred around Ikea's Swedish meatballs.  So I was intrigued when the Lucky Penny invited us to try their Winter dinner menu aptly named "Hunter's Kitchen" which was based in Nordic cuisine.


We kicked the evening off with the spirit of Yule tide, lovely jars of mulled wine infused with spices and citrus.


Our entrees were light Scandinavian affairs featuring thinly sliced rare wagyu, cauliflower, muster and freeze dried horseradish.  This was my pick of the entrees.  The wagyu delicate and tender.


The second entree to share was the cured salmon, celeriac puree, cornichons, dill, celery leaves, salmon roe and on the ubiquitous rye.


Whilst it was a cosy candlelight ambiance, I was relieved that the lights were cranked up for the mains for the purposes of taking a good food pic. Here we have our side dish which was roast beetroot, rhubarb and buffalo mozzarella.  The rhubarb on its own was a tad over sweetened for me but the mozzarella under cut the sweetness very well.


As the saying goes, 'when in Rome, do as the Romans'...when in Norway, do as the Vikings??  We tucked into what I would presume to be synonymous with Viking fare....big chunks of slow cooked venison.  Done with venison sausage, confit red cabbage and spiced pear chutney.  This hearty pan fed MC and I.


MC and I were given to share a sweet to end the evening.  Our's was the blueberry and elderflower crumble with vanilla ice cream.  A real dessert for a winter's night.  It was quite a nutty crumble for the squirrels amongt us.

Verdict:  We liked it.

Overall
The Lucky Penny's Winter Menu has a creative take by featuring Nordic cuisine.  For something a little bit different, worth a look-in.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Niko Niko, Chadstone by Obelix

Niko Niko was a tip off from a friend of mine who reckons it's a good place for cheap eats.  The Bureaucrat and I checked it out one Friday night.  The place was busy with young families and local Tafe students. 

Despite the name Niko Niko sounding more Japanese, the menu is Chinese.  The menu was split between stand alone rice and noodle dishes as well as dishes which one shares around the table.  The Bureaucrat and I decided on stand alone individual dishes and forego the sharing. 


I ordered the Yang Chow fried rice ($9).  I wasn't sure what I was expecting but what was served was a heaping place of fried rice with a few prawns and spring onions throughout.  It does not sound enticing and truth be told, it didn't look very appetising either.  But surprisingly, it was very tasty.  It had a lovely "wok hai" throughout.  It was the perfect comfort food on a wintery cold night. 


The Bureaucrat ordered a stir fried beef with egg gravy with rice ($9.50).  She advised it could have done with more egg gravy but like I, she was quite impressed with the flavours.  Once again, not a pretty dish but it was satisfying. 

I had major food envy as I watched the girl on the next table tuck into her stir fried beef noodles with soy sauce.  I made a commitment to come back for it.  And I did.  Here is the evidence. The beef was tender which was a relief.  I was a bit worried it would be chewy.  Not bad for lunch under a tenner. 

Another Niko Niko encounter was on an uninspired work night.  It was very good value for around $10 give or take a dollar or so for each rice or noodle.  Kiddo had the seafood combination with rice noodles.  It was generously sized and there was enough for a leftover snack the next day.  


The proprietress recommended the Cantonese beef with rice.  This was under a tenner and apparently one of their signature dishes.  The beef was tender with a lovely black pepperyness.  I can understand the appeal.


This was the miss of the bunch.  It was twice cooked rice with chicken and Chinese sausage.  It was a bit bland despite tub of soy sauce to pour on top.  I couldn't discern any real difference with the rice being twice cooked.  Maybe I'm a philistine.  Also the chicken was hacked into knobbly bits which I find disconcerting.  I like to recognise what part of the chook I am partaking in.


But my absolute favourite was the slow cooked pork belly with preserved vegetables.  Doesn't sound appealing but it but melts in your mouth.  It was simultaneously sweet and salty.  Love.

Verdict: We loved it. 

Overall:  I anticipate I will be a repeat offender at Niko Niko.  Cheap eats, good quality of food and quick service. 

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Tien Dat, Box Hill by Bureaucrat

Although we were all at Tien Dat to throw a surprise birthday party for Big Fil, it turned out that we were the ones that were given the surprise.  Having thought that Big Fil was reaching a milestone birthday, we all felt a bit silly when Big Fil explained to us that his milestone birthday was still one year away (d'oh!).  In any case, it's the thought that counts and we told Big Fil to remember to look surprised next year.

As there were quite a few of us, I was only able to take photos of the dishes that were close to me. Ms No Meat had ordered the vegetarian Vietnamese salad, which looked good to me but she said it was okay.

The Lawyer and I shared an entree of the steamed rice noodle pancakes. It was served on a bed of beanshoots and topped with slices of this porky pate and dried shrimps. A delicate but distinctly porky and shrimpy flavour, with a pleasantly chewyish texture - I quite liked this.

My grilled lemongrass pork vermicelli salad was okay.  I've definitely have had better.  Lots of noodles but the pork wasn't juicy and overly lean and it had rather minimal amounts of salad ingredients (shredded carrots, cukes, lettuce and herbs).

The Lawyer's mixed tripe and beef pho was also okay.

And he also got an iced coffee for drinks.


Verdict: we liked it.

Overall
The consensus among all of us was that Tien Dat was okay but it used to be much, much better.  It is undeniably popular as the place was packed out - both upstairs and downstairs.  However, for those of us who had been loyal Tien Dat diners, they felt that Tien Dat is resting on its laurels.  As this was my first visit, I thought it was okay but nothing exceptional about the food.

The service was a bit slow and erratic.  The drinks and dishes came out at different times, which didn't necessarily reflect when they were ordered, and we had to follow up with the staff a few times to check where our orders were at.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Comptoir des Archives, Paris by Bureaucrat

Having wandered around the artsy Le Marais region in the 3rd arrondissement, we were needing sustenance and a place to rest our feet for a while (plus, I had to consult our map to figure out how to get back to the hotel).

One thing that I love about France is the plat du jour.  You can eat so well on a budget if you pick the dish of the day.  Lucky lucky me, today was duck breast with Lyonnaise potatoes. This amazing serve of delicious duck was 11 euros.  Gorgeously plump slices of duck breast, smothered in gravy, served with lots of pan-fried potatoes. Miam miam! The dish came with some bread.

We also shared an entree of onion soup.  This was pretty good but we've had better for sure.  A nice deep savoury broth which was loaded with finely sliced onions and topped with melted cheese on slices of baguette. 

Needing a caffeine hit, the Lawyer also got a coffee, which was rather weak.


Verdict: we liked it a lot

Overall
A nice spot for a meal.  Friendly and quick service.

Address
41 Rue de Archives
75004 Paris
Telephone: 01 4272 1356
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