Thursday, July 31, 2014

Little Tommy Tucker, Bentleigh by Big Fil

There’s lots to like about Little Tommy Tucker.  I thought the food was good and the layout better, that in spite of being packed to the rafters and noisy it was still a pleasant place to eat.  What really stood out though was the service, with ‘the bearded charmer’ (yes, I do watch American Pickers) providing the friendliest and most efficient café service we have come across in the last four years.
We did make a bit of a mistake though.  Normally we are crack of dawn breakfast eaters, getting to where we want to visit around 8am when most of the competition for tables is still asleep.  Arriving around 10 meant that we had to join the queue waiting for a table to become free.  Fortunately the wait was only ten minutes or so, after which we were shown to our spot right in the middle of the room.
The menu is interesting, to the extent that we ordered three breakfast items to share.  Even then there were a few casualties, things we would have liked to try but had to leave behind. 
First up for the day though was Snooze’s foraged pine mushrooms, served with cottage cheese, rye toast, a poached egg and crunchy quinoa.  Definitely her favourite dish of the day: a nice balance of spices, textures and elements although a smallish serving size and a slightly overcooked poached egg.
I went for the Gippsland Sirloin Steak, with chilli fried eggs, English sausage, tomato and horseradish celeriac salad.  For me the element of the dish which stood out were the nicely cooked sirloin steak.  The tomato, the salad, the sausage, the fried eggs, while there were no issues with any of these elements it was something that sounded excellent on the menu, didn’t quite live up to my expectations on the plate.  It’s obviously all high quality produce and treated with care and respect.  But we can’t all like the same things and I found the flavours a little restrained.
To finish up we ordered the buttered Dr Marty’s crumpets, with fresh banana, smashed honeycomb, banana custard and Canadian maple syrup.  Nice firm banana, although a little lacking in flavour and sweetness, my favourite element was the smashed honeycomb.  What was a little disappointing though, as with my main breakfast the flavours were more restrained than I really like, maybe some nice leatherwood honey rather than the banana custard.
Overall a very good café that I am sure will be someone’s absolute favourite, even if it wasn’t mine.  A real happening sort of vibe (which not many places in Centre Road have), an excellent fit out and outstanding service, and food that is pretty as a picture.
Food – 8
Service – 9
Ambience – 8
Price – 7
432 Centre Road
Bentleigh VIC 3204
Tel: (03) 9576 5174
Little Tommy Tucker on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Giveaway - WIN a cookbook and sauces from The Spice Tailor

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition :)

The winners are:
  • First prize goes to Udana who will share his Spice Tailor meal with his work colleague Daniel.  Because Daniel doesn't like spicy food he will default eating it, which means more for Udana.
  • Second prize goes to Mandachic who will share her Spice Tailor meal at a dinner party because she's always been known to add spice to the night.
Udana and Mandachic, you have until Friday, 1 August 2014 to email the Eat And Be Merry Crew (eatandbemerrycrew @ with your names and postal addresses.  Your details will be forwarded to The Spice Tailor for prize distribution.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to taste test The Spice Tailor’s range of curry sauces.  Created by British chef, Anjum Anand, these flavour-packed, easy-to-use sauces are fantastic as they sure beat any curry sauce/packet/jars that’s in the shops.  Best of all, there’s absolutely no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives in the sauces – everything is natural – just as it should be!

Thanks to The Spice Tailor we have two prizes to giveaway to our dear readers!

• First prize is a copy of Anjum’s latest book, Quick and Easy Indian (RRP $35), and two packets of The Spice Tailor sauces.

• Second prize is two packets of The Spice Tailor sauces.

How to win
Answer the following question by leaving a comment below:

“Who would you share your Spice Tailor meal with and why?”

The rules
1. Two winners will be drawn randomly and their names will be published on the blog on Wednesday, 30 July 2014.

2. Winners have until Friday, 1 August 2014 to email the Eat And Be Merry Crew (eatandbemerrycrew @ their names and postal addresses.  The winners’ details will be forwarded to The Spice Tailor for prize distribution.

3. Comments that are left anonymously will not be considered.

4. One entry per person.

5. Only Australian residents can participate in the competition.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let Me Be Frank, South Melbourne by Bureaucrat

For a double birthday celebration, we decided to mix things up a little in this bureaucrat's world.  Instead of lunch or dinner, and instead of a prix fixe or degustation menu, the Lawyer and I decided to do breakfast instead. Also, instead of staying in the east, or heading into the city/Southbank, we went for something that's located between the two geographic locales.

Perhaps I've been a bureaucrat too long but going for breakfast at a cafe and paying, on average, $15-$22 for a plate of eggs doesn't make budgetary sense.  It ain't cost-efficient nor fiscally sound, and I can't help wondering what the opportunity cost of my dollars and cents (and sleeping-in time) would be if I just boiled an egg for myself at home.

Religion usually bores me and, as a kid, I'd do almost anything to avoid going to church.  However, I'm older and probably wiser, so now I can tolerate some religion - especially when there's a cafe attached to it.  Let Me Be Frank is a cafe that's located next to a bluestone church and it's associated with Father Bob Maguire foundation.  We booked a table and on the appointed morning, we all rambled our way into LMBF.  It's a great space - high ceilings, lots of natural sunlight, couches, communal table, original artwork, heaps of fresh flowers and a real warm and relaxing vibe to the place.

To fully wake us up, we ordered a latte for the Lawyer, tea for Beaker...

...and for the rest of us, a pot of fresh soy chai for each of us.  This was pretty fine chai - deep, aromatic and blissful.

Not to be outdone, Bubba Chuck got a hot chocolate in a takeaway cup (just like a grown up!) with her kiddies' breakfast burger - bacon, egg on a brioche bun w salsa.  She wolfed this down 

I went vegetarian and got the avo and feta smash w quinoa and corn salsa on sourdough.  I loved the use of quinoa to up the protein levels for the dish.  Great savoury tomato salsa, too.

Mother Hen and Mr Strong got the Hungry Frank for two.  Your choice of eggs, homemade baked beans, good quality ham (proper porkiness), grilled toms, avo, mushies, wilted spinach, hash brown on sourdough. It was epic and totally delish.

The Lawyer got the adults' Breakfast Burger w bacon, egg, cheese and salsa.  While all the dishes were pretty good value, this was a steal at $8.50.

Beaker went for the Healthy Frank - sourdough, poached eggs, fresh toms, herbed cottage cheese, lean bacon, avo and wilted spinach.

Food – 8.5
Ambiance – 8
Service – 7.5
Price – 8

We all really enjoyed our breakfasts - quality, fresh produce is used and you can tell by the flavours.  Quite generous serves and well priced too.  As much as we all liked our breakfasts, we were all really keen on coming back to try the lunch menu.  Definitely a keeper and definitely will be coming back.

Let Me Be Frank
217-239 Montague St  
South Melbourne 3205
Telephone: 0433 419 683

Let Me Be Frank on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 28, 2014

Adelaide Pho, Adelaide (SA) by Big Fil

Given its slightly off the beaten path location I was surprised at just how busy Adelaide Pho was.  I mean, just after 12 on a Thursday afternoon and we were lucky to get the last table for 2 in the place. 

Appeared quite a diverse crowd too, students, office workers, and members of the local Vietnamese community looking for a taste of home.  Tables turned over fast though, and even if full at worst I doubt we would have been waiting more than 10 minutes for a seat.

Inside it's pretty minimalist, red painted walls, fairly plain tables and chairs, just a few decorations on the wall.  It makes no pretense to fine dining but has a bit of a buzz to it, of happy diners munching through assorted rice and noodle dishes, or of slurping up their bowls of pho.

When available, something which I always like to order in Vietnamese restaurants is the grilled quail.  For me it's one of those true tests of a cheapish Vietnamese restaurant, at its best crisp, juicy and full of meaty goodness, but if not done right dry and unappetizing.  Served quartered the quail was mediocre, average rather than either good or bad.  Not too dry, fairly good flavours, but to be honest there are better available.

Better was my pho.  In what wouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knows me it was the combination pho for me, nicely pink slices of beef, some sliced beef sausage, and while not as much as I'd have liked a few pieces of tripe and tendon.   The soup had good flavour, the noodles were nicely done and not overcooked and sloppy, the serve generous.  Nothing spectacular about it and I would have preferred some of the fillings a touch more generous but good, honest and filling.

My favourite dish of the day through was Mrs S' combination pork on rice.  As it wasn't my lunch I only got a sample rather than the full deal, but the roast pork was good with a nicely crisp skin, and the accompanying egg properly fried so that the yolk could be mixed in with the rice.  Best part of the dish and the day though was the delicious fried pork chop, which was wonderfully moist and tender.

Friendly, quick, cheap and tasty, overall the food and service were good, the atmosphere that of a cheap and happening place where the most important thing is the food.  Just how I like my pho houses really.

Food - 7.5
Ambience - 7
Service - 7.5
Price - 7

199 Waymouth Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Tel: (08) 8212 0997

Adelaide Pho on Urbanspoon
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