Tuesday, June 30, 2009

OF BOREKS & PIES @ QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET, MELBOURNE


Out of food in the fridge, so it's off to the market for some meat and vegetables. It's a 15 minutes walk from our place. We haven't had anything breakfast yet, and it's almost noon. We need a light pick-me-up before proceeding...

... this Turkish delight, Boreks (top), is the cheapest thing around - only $2.50 each. It's freshly made and still piping hot. It's baked dough filled with minced lamb, onion and herbs. It's a bit like Mutabak, or one of those Chinese pan-fried turnovers. They sell like hot cakes, as you can see from the queue in front of the shop. It's delicious needless to say, but I'm saying it!

You know, when you're in a foreign land, it's hard to grasp the usage of coins the first few days or weeks; it's better to dispense the notes, and let them give you the change, rather than sorting out the coin puzzle in the paying queue. And shopping for vegetables provides me the opportunity to get rid of the coins. As I buy in small quantities, they are usually a few cents here and there. The first time I was here, I managed to used all the coins in my pockets without pulling out a single note. It was a good practice getting acquainted with the different size coins.


After getting the week's supply, we grab 2 pies for lunch; A Beef Burgundy and a Guinness Beef pies. They look the same in outer appearance, so is he filling. As they are not in those rotating heat-me-up display unit, they are cold. The lady suggests the microwave oven, we say, yes. Wrong choice! As the pastry turns soft. The Guinness is the better of the two, as the Burgundy tastes ordinary.

Monday, June 29, 2009

THE SLOW LUNCH @ DA NOI, 95 TOORAKRD., S. YARRA, MELBOURNE


After a brief walk around Prahran Market, we found ourselves pounding the Street of Chapel - window browsing mostly, and were on the lookout for a place for lunch. We called ahead to place a reservation, when we were barely 5 minutes away, and the place was almost empty, saved for one lone occupied table at the back.

This is a very long and narrow restaurant which can only squeeze in 7 tables, tops. It specializes in Sardinian cuisine, and there's no printed menu - just handwritten one on a clip-on pad with no more than 10 items of whatever is good for the day, and it's all Italian sounding names with no description. I bet, this is the only menu that has been doing the rounds.

The lone waitress ran by the whole itinerary for lunch, and then brought us own-baked sourdough with first pressed virgin oil, and refills later while we waited for the food to arrive. We had four orders to be shared among the 4 of us.



We started off with the Antipastini Misti, which consisted of small appetizers of games, seafood and a bit of salad to get the appetite going. Chauvinistic Chinese will probably be foaming in the mouth in denial that Italians do eat some funky stuff (also the pasta myth). The tongue was good and not gamy at all, and just like ordinary meat. If you appreciate pig's tongue, this one had a different feel and texture.

The antipasto dishes were delivered, not all in one swoop, but one after the other once we finished them up. The fish was fresh off the grill when brought to the table; tasted a bit like the local Pak-Hu-K'nia. However, the octopus was a cold dish that was nicely marinated in olive oil and green onions. The other two cold salads had contrasting flavors: the cumin lent a strong flavor to an otherwise bland cauliflower, the capsicum just needed a bit of the basil to
bring its sharp, sweet taste together.

Venison's Tongue With Mixed HerbsGrilled Whitings (left) & Grilled Octopus (Right)
Cauliflower With Cumin Mix (left) & Grilled Capsicum With Basil (Right)

This lightly butter tossed pipi pasta gradually eased our way towards...

Spaghettini Alla Vongole (Spaghetti With Pipi)

... a heavier and nicely braised meat sitting on a layer of cornmeal, which is reminiscent of a bourguinon.

Polenta e Funghi (Venison On Polenta)

The next one is a faux pas in the order, which was rectified without so much of a fuss.

Stinco Al Forno (Lamb Shank)

A quail, pork sausages and lamb - all grilled with chutney accompaniment wound up a long 2 hour lunch on a Saturday afternoon. It's a rarity in a place where they let you enjoy and have the food sink in, before they serve the next one. It was almost 3 when we were through. No one was in a rush close shop for the afternoon... it was like a lazy afternoon back in Sardinia.

Grigliata Mista (Mixed Grill)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

JUICES @ TROPICANA JUICE/FOOD BAR, 213 ELIZABETH ST., MELBOURNE


Something to tide us over until dinner at 9... Giles Special & South American Delight. Whatever we do, don't stir the juices - that's the advice.

BBQ MEAT RICE @ PACIFIC BBQ CAFE, 213 LONSDALE ST., MELBOURNE


My first BBQ roast meal in town, and I went for the soy chicken and roast duck combo. The other plate was a combination of Char-Sui and Sui-Yuk (BBQ pork & pork belly).

This place is just across the road from QV. IOn the outside it looks like any ordinary BBQ frontage with meat hanging in the front window, but inside it's a different story all together. It's one of the better dressed up Chinese restaurant, with march furniture colors to the colors on the wall. It does not just sell BBQ meat, it's more of a funky HK type of joint that will sell you anything from spam breakfast to those shaved ice dessert.

The potion is good in relation to the bowl of rice. Presentation is neat and the meat is as good as it looks. How I wish they'd provide a bowl Lai-Tong, like Sydney's BBQ King. (I know, some of you are gonna to say, try the one at Richmond or even Chapel St.)

Soy Sauce Chicken & Roast Duck

BBQ Pork & Roast Pork Belly

Saturday, June 27, 2009

CHEAP LUNCH @ HANAICHI, QV, MELBOURNE


This is a fairly new establishment up on the upper concourse level of the QV. It's a Japanese fast food joint, serving traditional Japanese food. It's over-the-counter service, with its whole range of 8-items-menu fully displayed on the light-box behind the counter; wyoiwyg... more or less.

One thing you can't complain is its price. The Beef Yakiniku we had is only $6.50. It's marinated fried beef with onions, green pepper, daikon and sprinkle of sesame seeds on rice; all served in a paper tub. The potion is small by the standard here, but substantial to pull us through till dinner at 8, 9 or 10 tonight.

Most of its items are obviously pre-cooked, because the wait at the counter for the food was about 2 minutes. Presentation-wise, it looked good. Definitely tasted fresher than airline's food.



The place offers ample seating within its premises (one deck up on the side), however, there are quite a number of long tables afforded out in the open concourse for those opting for al fresno.


On a second visit, we had the pork curry rice, which is even cheaper; at $6.80 each it comes with a chilled bottle of tea of your choice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

TEA @ SUGARDOUGH PANIFICO PATISSERIE, 163 LYGON ST., BRUNSWICK EAST, MELBOUIRNE


We were at the neighborhood, browsing books at a cookbook specialty shop after our lunch at Café Vue. I noticed cannoli on the cover of one of the books. This piqued my interest of having it, despite of just having lunch barely an hour ago.

A few spins around the blocks we were here... a buzzing cafe with an interesting mix of crowd. A rustic feel to the place with its cluster of trinkets here and there, plus its bountiful of pastries spread. It has a charm of the country cottage.

However, our search for the cannoli was futile. Since were in the shop already, we settled for a cuppa despite the crowd.



I spotted meat pies on the menu board, so ordered my first meat pie; it's not a true meat pie in a sense - a Makhani Chicken Pie! It was good of its pastry, nonetheless. Still served with the obligatory tomato ketchup, on the side though; I had none of which - why spoil the taste of the original when it's so rich in flavor of its own? The custard croissant, and lemon curd tart held their own.

Do you notice, the plates and saucers aren't in tune with each other; and the croissant with a fork stabbed in the middle when brought to the table? Figuratively, this place share the same vibes as our kopitiam. It was way past 3, and there were still people lepaking, and this is long way from the tourist or business centre.



Thursday, June 25, 2009

LUNCH @ CAFÉ VUE, NORMANBY CHAMBERS, 430 LT. COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE


Julian on his day off, came to take us for lunch. This cafe is, I assume, the lowest echelon of a trio of French eateries; the other two being Bistro Vue and Vue de Monde, a Chef's 3 hatters and Melbourne's best restaurant for 2009. The tiny unassuming doorway (top right) leads to a narrow corridor with banquette seating on the left, while the cafe is in a glass windowed enclosure opposite, with seating inside as well.

We were here before noon, slightly ahead of the lunch crowd, and managed to find a table by the corridor. The waiter came and rattle off its off-the-menu offerings. We ordered a set of the Lunch Box, even though we didn't quite catch a word of what the waiter said it was. Then we had one of its vue burger with pommes frites; yes, an American entity in a french venue. Lastly, there's the Yorkshire pudding, ordered 'cos of its name, but I was warned that it's a small dittily. But it seems everything served are petite...

Yorkshire Pudding With Wagyu Beef and Mashed Potatoes

... indeed it was small; yet the 3 of us took a sampling bite of it. The long yellow wiggly is the mash. And the dollop on top of the pudding is its gravy, and with 2 strips of bacon like wagyu beef at the side topped off a delatible offing. For a yabby out of the water, everything tasted great.

Vue Burger With Fries


What's there to be said of a wagyu beef patty sitting on a bed of salad greens, topped with cheese and mayonnaise, all sandwiched within a lightly toasted, sesame-seeded bun? The thick slab of patty is welled seared on the outside, and yet moist on the inside with no pinkness or juice. A sheer joy to bite into without the firm patty falling all over you - alas, for about 3 chomps! That's all in praise of a lil' bugger.

Lunch Box Of The Day

The Lunch Box is a Pandora's box of sort 'cos you never know what you're gonna get. It changes monthly with its full course of a meal - from starter, salad, savory to a sweet.

This month's box consists of Smoked Salmon Rillette (dip with chips), Tabouleh Salad (cous cous), Hare and Pumpkin Samosa, and Caramel Slice.


Canalé And Latte

Finally, the above 2 rounded up a Fan's Fare For The Common Man.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DUMPLINGS @ SHANGHAI NOODLE HOUSE, 242 LT. BOURKE ST., (TATTERSALLS LA.), MELBOURNE


This is one of the cheap eats in town. For $7, you get a 15 pieces of poached dumpling, Sui Jiao. And it comes with one bowl of peanut chilli sauce, which is a dip. For that they don't skim on ingredients either. The dumplings are fully packed with meat, not more vegetable and others ratio, and it's of average moderate size. They taste great without the overpowering flavor of the chives used, and yet you don't the feeling of overstuffed with meat as you bite into them. The dip is not hot despite the presence of chilli - it's more like a thick broth with peanut paste and chilli in it. It's a great compliment to the dumplings.

The cafe is just 4 blank walls painted lime green, and with highlights of its menu in cycadellic colored papers pasted on the wall - that's minimalist art for you! It's self-service when it comes to drinks. You just help yourself to the free tea provided in the large tea canister sitting on top of the utensils table by the main entrance (below right).


Finding this place may be tricky as it's listed as Lt. Bourke St. on the net, but is actually on a lane off that street. It's opposite Target, and right at the end of Sambal Kampung and Kimurakan (previous eats).

A word of caution, my niece was mugged on this lane in broad daylight - not alone but with a couple of friends. She hasn't eaten at this place since.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DRINK @ PUSHKA ESPRESSO BAR, 20 PESGRAVE PLACE, MELBOURNE


No Kopi-O-Peng... so have been having Kopi-Si (Kopi-Chi), Latte if you must, for the caffeine fix. This is another of the hidden cafes at some obscured alleyway. Prices are standardized throughout, so it does'nt means you get a better deal at one of these places.

This is a tiny L-shaped joint with about 7 2-seater tables, and a 4 x 6 kitchen space to work in. And it's manned by a lone hip lady. A simple piece of plywood serves as the menu, with the food items silkscreened onto it; consists of mostly sandwiches and a few cakes and pastries.


My milk-intolerant companion has a soy latte; and we share the piece of egg tart. It's one of those mornings we get up before lunchtime, so this is just a bite before the 'real' thing. These 2 drinks and a pastry will get us 4 laksa specials and kopi-O-pengs back home; and this is no Starbucks!

Portugese Egg Tart

ABOUT THIS BLOG

As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

May the Farce be With You!

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