Monday, August 3, 2015

Lobster August at Harry's Restaurant (by invitation), by Bureaucrat

When it comes to seafood, the lobster is king.  So imagine being able to pick from five different lobster dishes for your lunch or dinner - it's foodie heaven.  Beaker and I were special guests at Harry's Restaurant to kick-off their Lobster August.

For the month of August, Harry's Restaurant is showcasing five slipper lobster dishes which you can get in their bar or restaurant.  Slipper lobsters are a smaller type of lobster that has more intense lobster flavour.  This the best time of the year to eat them. The dishes are priced between $15 to $30, which makes it an affordable luxe treat whether you're coming for a workday lunch of a special dinner.

Bar menu - char grilled slipper lobster with chilli and grilled lime, sweet potato chips and aioli ($19)

We tried canape versions of the five dishes. The char-grilled slipper lobster was tender and succulent.  The grilled lime gave it a nice zesty freshness.

 Lunch menu: slipper lobster with ricotta ravioli, cherry tomatoes, mushroom, lemon and mint ($19)

The ravioli was a lovely light pasta dish.  The ravioli were fat pillows of minced lobster.  The cherry toms, mushroom, lemon and mint 'sauce' was nice and fresh, and was topped with Parmesan cheese.  And for me, it was reminiscent of pasta primavera.

Lunch menu: grilled slipper lobster burger w avocado, onion, tomato, rocket, tomato relish and fries ($15)


The burger was yummy as the lobster had a nice sort of salt and peppery crust.

Dinner menu: grilled slipper lobster w slow-braised Otway pork belly, served with crackling, mushy minted peas and raisin pork jus ($30)


A new twist on the classic 'surf and turf', the lobster and pork belly is rich and hearty.  The chunky lobster could hold its own against the meaty pork.

Dinner menu: Thai dry red curry of slipper lobster, grilled Thai eggplant and basil cooked in coconut cream (served with jasmine rice) ($28)


This was my favourite slipper lobster dish.  It was rich and creamy and full of flavour.  Perfect for a cold winter's night.


To round off our tastings, we had a range of sweet nibbles.


 Executive chef Ketan Seth (L) and sous chef Bradley in action

Verdict: we liked it a lot

Overall
Treat yourself with succulent seafood at Harry's Restaurant this month.  With five slipper lobster dishes on offer and wallet-friendly prices, you're bound to find a dish you'll want to try!

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Trunk Bar and Restaurant, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Back in July 2013, I had arranged a lunch at Trunk Diner.  I had high hopes for the place but, as they say, it's risky to have high expectations as, well, you know.  It's now 2015 and I find myself not at Trunk Diner but at Trunk Bar and Restaurant - the more swishy (i.e., pricier) version of the Diner.  I didn't arrange this lunch so I thought maybe the food and experience would be better.  So, how did it go?

What struck us all was the service.  It was slow.  Very.  Slow.  Almost fifty minutes after we had placed our orders, we finally got to eat.  My crispy duck breast w lentils, beetroot and hazelnuts ($24) was tasty with a generous amount of duck breast. I loved the beetroot mash and cubes and the flavoursome lentils.

The tempura battered market fish w hand cut chips and lime aioli ($24) was nice but we couldn't get past the fact that it was served with four, albeit chunky, chips.

The steak sandwich was made with a scotch fillet, caramelised shallots, gruyere, mustard on toasted sourdough ($23).  While it sounded good, Mr L wasn't too impressed with the size of the sanger and the minimalistic three chips.  As you can see, half the plate is empty.  

Ms B liked her margherita pizza. Even for a margherita pizza, I thought Trunk's version was rather lacking in everything.

Ms G's rigatoni w wagyu beef and veal bolognese ($24) looked deliciously yummy.  Fat rigatoni pasta smothered with an unctuous bolognese.  

If it wasn't for the bread at the start, we would have all be absolutely starving.



Verdict: we liked it.

Overall
Apart from the agonizingly slow service, the food here at the restaurant was pretty tasty.  In terms of service and food, I'd prefer the restaurant over the diner.  However, I wouldn't go here if I needed to finish a meal within a lunch hour.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

The Spice Tailor's curries and chutnis (by invitation)

A bitterly cold Melbourne night was a perfect setting for an Indian feast to remember - soul-warming food, punchy flavours and good company.  Thanks to the Spice Tailor, the Eat and Be Merry Crew flexed our cooking skills to whip up a delicious dinner using the Spice Tailor's latest range of products.  Armed with Coles voucher, Beaker and I got our aprons on to test out the Spice Tailor's fiery Goan curry, butter chicken curry, peanut & tamarind chutni, and mango chutni.  Using only one of each of these four products, we fed eight of us and had plenty left over. We used the recipes from the Spice Tailor, which we've included links to below.

With the peanut & tamarind chutni, Beaker made these gorgeous Indian-Vietnamese fusion grilled tofu summery rolls with spicy peanut sauce.

Still with the peanut & tamarind chutni, Beaker made this delicious red lentil and peanut dhal.  For added oomph, she also added some pan-fried paneer.

As a twist on the classic butter chicken, Beaker made it with seafood.  With its smooth and mild heat, it was a hit the little ones.

Despite the name, the fiery Goan curry wasn't too spicy.  As a chilli wimp, even I could eat this quite comfortably - it had a nice zingy chilli heat but nothing unbearable.  While the butter chicken/seafood was a hit with the kids, the adults loved the Goan curry as the flavour was deeper and more complex. 

With the gorgeously golden mango chutni, I used the whole jar to make a big batch of sticky barbeque chicken wings.  Definitely moreish and we couldn't stop nibbling at them!

Beaker sets a lovely table for our feast.


Overall
Oh so easy and oh so very tasty!  The Spice Tailor products are authentic and so easy to use - give it a go!  We loved how each product can be used in so many different recipes.  Check out the Spice Tailor's website for more info on the products including inspiration and recipes for a gourmet dinner. If you want to see the Spice Tailor's other products, check out our past review.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mesa Greek Cuisine, Abbotsford by Obelix

Looking for a decent place for Saturday night catch up with interstate friends, we opted for Mesa for dinner for a Greek feast.  It turned out to be fortuitous random choice as the food did not disappoint and the service was convivial without being disruptive to good conversation.

It seemed most patrons at Mesa chose their set menu and we followed suit.  It was $50 per person excluding drinks.  Instead of ordering a down scaled set menu for Kiddo, she chose a plate of chargrilled octopus instead and picked at whatever else we had.

We started with five entrees to nibble at:

A trio of dips (baba ghanosh, tzatziki and taramasalata) with accompanying bread.  There was a shortfall of bread to go with the dips.  We were so busy chatting we didn't ask for more bread but it would have been nice to have been offered more considering the amount of dips left over.  Ditto with the slow cooked lima beans, would have been nice to have more bread to sop it up with. Rissoles.  Oooh, these were very nice and meltingly tender.   

Saganaki.... you can't go wrong with pan fried cheese...

...Not enough bread...

...Whitebait. These were my favourite.  So crunchy and lightly spiced. 

Here is Kiddo's chargrilled octopus.

For mains, Mesa brought out some amazingly tender gyros to share.  We got the lamb and...

...chicken.  

The lamb chops were also executed very well.  Not over done at all and not still baa-ing. 

Greek salad with a substantial slab of feta was a God send to cut through the meatiness. 

And I almost forgot the seafood components - the crispy coated calamari...

... the grilled prawns and...

...the delightfully marinated tuna.  


We were pretty much hitting peak capacity at this point but there was desserts still to go with coffees and tea.  Desserts were a platter with fruit and galactoboureko and baklava.  I loved the galactoboureko as it was vanillay and custardy without being too sweet.  The baklava was a tad too achingly sweet for me. 

The adults had a variety of teas and coffees and beers.  Kiddo was served a Greek type mineral water flavoured with sour cherry.  She loved it. 

Verdict:  We loved it. 

Overall
Mesa is a popular Greek joint.  I would highly recommend the set menu as it offered a taste from a wide range from their menu.  There was a bit of an interminable wait for the mains but all in all, it was a pleasant (and tasty!) experience.  

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