Monday, 28 July 2014

I have Gormandized

Fairly new to the scene and making a significant entrance would be Ascot Food Store. A perfect possie for anyone wanting an explicit menu followed by outstanding service, all with smiles and grace.

There is nothing on this menu, that I wouldn't want to eat. Every dish is exciting within itself, and for me it's like a kid in a lolly shop who can't decide whether to get the 5 mates for 5 cents or some musk sticks.

It's not a standard affair for breakfast dishes, it's bold luscious flavours intwined together to lift and gage the love of food that everyone is on the hunt for.


Wild pine mushrooms, with parsley garlic butter on a toasted brioche, delicate pecorina and finished with a rich duck egg sets a new standard to just mushrooms on toast.

Soft toasted brioche slice soaks the juices from the grilled mushrooms, and combined with a duck egg that has a runny golden yolk, truly takes you away from your morning blues. Mix it up with a little side of pork belly instead of bacon, and you have dies and gone to heaven.

Such bold flavours from the egg and the mushrooms mixed with the butter did scare me with the intensity of richness, but it is perfectly balanced.

Fried egg with green mango salsa, peanut praline and pork belly is a succulent dish that pork lovers can not pass.

Golden scrumptious pork belly falls apart and has a sweet mouth watering crackle. Balanced with a fried whole egg and off set with a refreshing green mango salsa and the nutty substance of praline is unusual but perfect.

Although finding this dish a little dry, however the runny yolk does fix this. Ensure that all compnants are eaten together to allow for an even better experience of joy when eating. Add a side of avocado and goats cheese, if you find it still to dry.

If you have a sweet tooth, you can't go past the coconut sago pudding served with freeze dried lychees, nigella seeds and resting in a lime syrup. Perfect sago I have to say and the best way I have has it in some time. Those bursts of freeze dried lychees were awesome and a fight to the last one when sharing.  Enjoyed with a  70% hot chocolate, it's not a disappointment.

Fresh delicate flavours with hints of zest but off set with the fresh bursts of raspberries makes for a very enjoyable dish...... maybe not for breakfast as for my taste a little too sweet for a first meal of the day, but hey.....  it you have that desire for pancakes first thing you would need to go for this or the other dish that caught my sweet tooth's eye was the brioche with spiced raspberries, macadamia nuts and creme fraiche. YUUUUM!

What I loved about Ascot Food Store was the amazing attentive service. I have never in my days had so many staff if I was enjoying my meal. It may sound as though it's almost too much, but it was done so casually those who don't work in the trade wouldn't think twice about it.

The team was under the pump and everything was done briskly and they are all still smiling. No intense ringing of bells for service, not loud chatter from other waiters, no screaming of coffee orders, it was peaceful and a perfect enjoyment.

I have certainly found my new haven in my hood. And I know I will be going back, because I have to get through this amazing menu, I don't want to miss out on any dish.




Ascot Food Store
320 Ascot Vale rd
Moonee Ponds
9370 2649

Ascot Food Store on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Awe-inspiring Masterpiece

The salt waves are rapidly hitting the shores of Half moon bay, and I'm sure you have read that in the last week that part of their pier has been washed ashore, but this shouldn't deter you from venturing down to Cerberus Beach house for an impeccable meal.

Cerberus is an outstanding family restaurant that is here to separate themselves from the surrounding competition and deliver something so mouth watering, that you will be in an awe of amazement and happiness.

Today I had the honour of meeting Cerberus's new Head Chef James Blight. Impressive talents have been brought to us from UK Michelin kitchens and years experience through the Private Dining RACV club.

Speaking with James I was able to get in touch with his inspiration and how Cerberus Beach House will create the best dinning experience you could ask for.

To be able to separate themselves from the basic calamari and chips that most of the Brighton - Moordialloc coast restaurants show on there menu's, Cerberus continues to stand out on presenting nothing but freshness and perfectly balanced cuisine that honestly can not be found anywhere close by.

A vibrant Ocean Trout tartare with seaweed and Jabari vinegar was outstanding.A perfect palate cleanser for the beginning of what was to come. Lightly cured pieces of ocean trout sat vibrantly surrounded by a seaweed sauce with hints of apple, fresh crisp cucumber rolls and shaved radish. The flavours were so natural, that you can tell that love of fish went into this.

To follow was something I will dream many nights about, and whilst I write this I am smiling wishing I could have another plate in front of me. Seared scallops with braised ox tail on a bed of celeriac pure, caper berries and rosemary wafers.

I can't express enough how glorious this dish is, and it has to be now one of my top 10 favourites. Seared scallops were so sweet and perfectly opaque, matched with a tender and rich ox tail that brought so much depth and flavour. The most smoothest and creamiest puree bundles everything together. Flawless is all I can say, add a little bit of everything on the wafer that dissolves but hits you with rosemary flavours you too will be wowed in amazement and glory. Could I perhaps say defiantly one to go on the food porn charts.

Golden sweet pork belly makes for anyone to become gluttonous in eating. 12 hour slow cooked Pork belly served with burnt bulbs and nasturtiums and confit swede. Pork that simply falls a part when you gently place your fork through is everyones dream, of which it has come true. Ash like onion sauce infused with squid ink truly enhances the sweetness of the pork. My question is, how come by crackle never turns out this way, crisp sweet and golden but not so crisp that your knife cant cut through the crackle.

Rich and tender Short Rib is another dish that simply falls apart naturally and holds beautiful meaty flavours that makes for a hearty winter dish. Slow cooked Black Label Short Rib accompanied with a parsnip puree, shaved cornichons, confit radish and finished with a truffle sauce.

Bold flavours a plenty with the infusion of truffle and short rib, but honestly you wouldn't want to experience anything other than this during winter. The crisp bread crust adds subtle texture and breaks up the creamy puree and succulent meat.

Dessert of a sample plate for two is a perfect way to bring your evening with a close. A sample of the Souffle of the day - in this case apricot souffle with raspberry sorbet, Pistachio and olive oil cake served with poached rhubarb and buttermilk sorbet and who could shy away from the Bitter chocolate mousse with hazelnut feuillentine with candied orange and served with grand marnier sorbet. Every part of the plate stood out on their own and made for a decadent, naughty and sweet ending.

Dishes such as the mains in the city would not even flinch in asking for $35-$40.00, it is outstanding that Cerberus continues to hold it's true to there focus of family and you will not see a main above $30.00, and entree's around the $17.50 mark.

Cerberus Beach House aims to deliver the best from their produce and not damage the wallets that we are grasping onto so tightly these days. It's a friendly and warm atmosphere with the team being outstanding in service. Owner Jamie Helliwell, Head Chef James Blight and team of Cerberus Beach House are here to showcase city dining in a place where family and friends can gather or perhaps for a romantic evening out.

It's funny though, speaking with James and understanding the industry myself I simply asked the question, is this what you always wanted to do? The answer NO! But surprisingly it's clear that this was what James was made to do. There is no shying away from the 11-12 hour days, the glory of his job is presented in front of you, and that's got to make anyone feel proud.

If you haven't been already, and know how much I rave about Cerberus then once again you are missing out and if you're reading about Cerberus Beach House for the first time, please don't wait any longer.... go there!

Capture the flavours and enjoy the view...... There's nothing else that needs to be said.


Cerberus Beach House
Boat Shed 12
Half Moon Bay, Black Rock
9533 4028

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Yum takes a new level of meaning

Some may think that Pizza is all about the double cheese thick oily base, and that the best time to enjoy it is lounged back at home in front of the T.V.  However it has not always been the case.

For years we have continued to change the recipes and given us the perception that this is how it should be. This perception is wrong. I was shown today the true balance that should be recaptured to each of you to how a true Pizza should be.

Naples, Italy invented the pizza 200 years ago where it was to be a nutritious and healthy meal. That's right I said Healthy. Now when you think about all your places where you eat pizza I am fairly certain you can not place a healthy label on them.

Melt, located in Windsor has brought us an outstanding Wood fire pizzeria. Everything is made to order in a walk the line environment where you can happily choose a Classic pizza variety or go crazy and design your own.

Dough that is no oil, fat or sugar is made on site from a recipe that was taught to owners Dan and Elise whilst in Naples. I can not describe how amazing this recipe is, but to say perfection is not even enough how truly amazing this is.

We asked Dan today to give us a classic and what he would love to create, and by golly gee both were as good as each other.

The Classic of Hot salami which sits on top of a delicate tomato base finished off with caramelised onion, black olives, fresh chilli and a touch of Mozzarella.

For the free styler we got to devour a delicious Pesto base covered in sausage, red onion, roasted pumpkin, mozzarella and a touch of oregano.

The great thing about Melt is the process of the creation. Watch the dough be rolled, choose from the locally sourced, fresh and perfectly presented produce that are displayed in front of you for your choice, chat with the staff and watch the art of your pizza come together.

By the time you have got to the end and selected a drink at the bar, your pizza is ready and possibly at the table before you. That's right it's that quick.

Here you all are sitting at home waiting for your delivery that takes approximately 30 minutes and be just warm. But here I am driven out for 20 minutes and got my pizza in 2 (decision making not included in this time frame - that would clearly vary. It's almost like a kid in a lolly shop for me).

The saying 'Less is more' truly comes to play to make the perfect pizza and as you can see, it may not look like the pizza you're used to but it is truly going to change your mind as to how pizza should be.

It's so light that it's almost like the base disappears as you enjoy the surrounding flavours of your toppings.  The hits of spice in the Salmi pizza is softened by the caramelised onion and smoothed out by the touches of mozzarella.

The creation of the sausage pizza is bliss as soon as you take your first bite. Sweet pumpkin flavours, balance between the pesto base pork sausage. This one became the hit list of recreation for next time.

The enjoyment had eating pizza was remarkably strange, in a great way. Usually you eat pizza and straight away you feet fat, bloated and under satisfied. But here I felt great. I felt I had eaten healthy and their was not anxiousness or internal voices saying 'umm you shouldn't have eaten that'.

Melt is a great place for those who want to get together for a casual catch up with friends, have a drink and eat pizza. It's perfect. Tables for 4, areas for date night and an area for a gathering of 8 where you can have your own secluded room so you don't annoy the remaining diners with being too loud.

During Summer you should catch some raise in the outside court yard that engages warmth and bright colours.

The interior is warm and homey, with touches of Edison and hanging terrariums. Casual dining at it's best, and there is only welcome feelings whilst dining.

Owners Dan and Elise have put their hearts into every part of Melt and you can see it when they smile. They are proud in what they deliver and hats off to them for the hard work they have put in to showcase nothing but amazing pizza, that is nothing but enjoyable.

It's great to see people so proud of what they showcasing, and continue to extend their service from the moment of walking through the door to the moment they say farewell as you leave.

FLAWLESS!


Melt
171 Chapel Street
9533 7110

Melt Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 19 June 2014

1 UP

I figured that with all the addiction going towards Mario Cart 8, and also me becoming engaged with the world of Nintendo games for the first time at the age of 30+ (shameful I know) there is nothing better than to discuss the wonders of 8 bit.

8Bit, located in Footscary has become a rapid hit on the burger front with the inspiration of incorporating the game world into the food culture.

Now don't judge me, but not being a gamer myself I seemed very vague and didn't understand the titles of the burgers, but my wonderful partner in crime, Paul has since educated me into the world of Nintendo. Not saying that I didn't know who Donkey Kong or Mario was, but the games themselves was something I didn't get into growing up.

So know that I have been drawn into this society of WiiU I feel even more excited to speak about 8 bit with the enthusiasm that you feel when you hit your opponent with a red shell, or you get that boost to push you over the line to come first.

Accentuated around parts of nintendo games where you can aspire to continue to feel part of the world by grabbing a 1 Up Burger or a Golden Axe Burger 8 bit draws the attention from all that pass by on the lunch hour.

I went for the Altered Beast; Beef pattie with cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, bacon, 8bit sauce and BBQ sauce. The other was the Double Dragon; Double beef pattie, bacon, mustard, cheese, pickles and lettuce with 8bit sauce. Both burgers were on sweet burger buns and the patties were juicy and not greasy.

The flavours were fresh and delicious and lead to a very enjoyable burger. My favourite thing is that the burgers come in what I would call a 1/2 box. Something you can easily grab with two hands and enjoy eating your burger with out the sauce dripping down your shirt. Thumbs up to that idea!

The accompaniments of chips are always a good choice, and here they are golden and crunchy. Onion rings are not my favorite from my travels, more I guess like how a fish and chippery would deliver. But then again they are still light and have a lovely crunch and sweet onion ring centre.

We did venture to the next step and although exploding at the seams we grasped our hands to share the 1942 hot dog. Grilled Bratwurst dog with pickle relish, mustard mayo, curry ketchup and slaw. Full flavoured and delicious. This dog delivered everything you would expect and along with the burgers made for very happy eating.

Now without fail you usually have the burger and shake combination, so don't be shy in ordering shakes here. Salted Caramel, Peanut butter, Strawberry cheesecake or Chocolate bar. Any of these flavours will perfectly wash down either burger or dog.

It was a great stop by at 8bit, and I couldn't believe how quickly it filled up with take aways flying out the door and people crossing their fingers to get the better characters as their numbers as they sat down to dine. The service was quick and the staff friendly even with working frantically over the lunch period, just after they have opened their doors.

I will surly be returning, but for now I am headed off to do some laps as Lakitu on my Yoshi bike with Cloud gliders.


8Bit
8 Droop Street
Footscray
9687 8838
8bit. on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Pho-give me father as I have Sinned

Pho is beginning to be this years trend and I can see why. Something that can be so simple but capture a perfect balance of flavours and is easy on the pocket, who wouldn't be craving Pho.

Coming into winter all the Pho kitchens of Melbourne will soon be having lines out the door.

But it's not always just about the Pho, although a big factor. It's the little extras you can enjoy on the side. The spring rolls, rice paper rolls and the Banh Mi's.

Recently I was invited down to enjoy dinner with a group of fellow Pho lovers at Pho 24, located on the corner of Little Bourke and Spencer Street, of which I was blown away with their Pho-nominal (pardon the pun) menu.

Starting our evening with delicate rice paper rolls filled with Barramundi, Prawn or Chicken, and choosing between the traditional Hoisin sauce as the accompaniment or changing the pace with beautiful homemade chilli oil or my favourite satay chilli oil.

For those who love a kick of chilli and the acidic lemon dive into the Octopus salad. Not only does it make your tastebuds dance but it sure will bring that smile on your face. Jam packed with freshness, and the dressing truly holds impeccable flavouring that you can't bring yourself to stop.

I am a Banh Mi lover and I have to say, diving into the pork Banh Mi I was taken away to my happy place.  Succulent pork coated in a soft paprika sauce combined with fresh vegetables, chilli and coriander and a sensational house made pate, you will end up one happy person.

A crusty baguette soaks up all the sauce and pate and encases the chilli. It was that gorgeous I had to rush one home to the Husband for him to devour. I had to share my joy.

Now for the extravagant Pho. If you want something that is going to be made for you in record breaking time, go for the Pho. A choice of Beef, Pork, Chicken, Vegetarian or Barramundi are on offer. A regular size is huge and the large eye popping.

I did choose the pork which was in a clear and silky like broth that allowed the vegetables to hold their own flavours which is perfect. You don't want everything to taste the same in a Pho. Wedges of lemon or lime adds the citric flavours to allow you level out the Pho to match the palate. Adding chilli, fish sauce for saltiness and the best part, pick your herbs to add.

Along the wall and on the tables fresh pots of herbs are their for your choosing. Snip off some basil and mint and your Pho will become the best Pho, matching to your taste like ever before.

If you want to try something away from the norm, I have to say go for the Barramundi. A bowl of incredible smoked broth and amazing succulent Barramundi pieces blew my mind. It has got to be one of the best Pho's I have ever tasted. My eyes lit up with enjoyment and have not stopped thinking about it since.  Not saying that my Pork Pho was terrible, but wow.

What I love about Pho 24 is that every dish in itself it eye catching. Bold luscious fresh Vietnamese ingredients stare boldly at you as you eat. It makes you feel uplifted and brings a vibrancy to you while you eat.

I got to enjoy hearing about the owners adventures and backgrounds which has developed Pho 24 what it is today. Taking traditional Vietnamese dishes and flavours and incorporating French techniques into their cooking has really shone through.

Being right across from Southern Cross station Pho 24 is non stop in service and ensure that it is fast and efficient, understanding their clientele and the amount of suits that venture out for a quick lunch break. And hey, its ok..... They don't judge the slurping here wither.

Wine on tap by D.O.C wines ensure to be a perfect match to your Pho or Vietnamese delights too, so you can make for a casual meeting or night out before the Footy.

It's worth venturing there for a nourishing, bold flavoured evening or lunch. I know I'll be going back shortly.


Pho24
656 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
5915 9047

Pho24 on Urbanspoon

Friday, 28 February 2014

Just listed in top 10

In the 1900's somewhere in the land of America a man by the name of Louis Lassen created the brilliant creation of a Hamburger. A sandwich holding 1 or more cooked meat patties served usually with a conjunction of lettuce, bacon, pickles, tomatoes, cheese and finished off with a condiment such as mustards, tomato sauce or relishes.

Over time we have played and created our very own version of the perfect burger. Adding in beetroot, pineapple, egg, onion rings, hash-browns, the works.It never ceases to amaze me how we create something that no longer fits delicately in your mouth like a sandwich. You need to either dislocate your jaw to get it in, in one bite or dare I say it use a knife and fork to eat something that should always be held in your hands

TLBC other wise known as The Local Burger Co has just been listed in Melbourne's top 10 burger bars, and I must admit they are goooooood. Located on Rathdowne street, Carlton this small little Burger bar is becoming a hit to many locals.

Nothing to over the top in flavours, just simple and fresh. Me being a lover of burgers though did get excited about the fact that today's special was a sliders tasting plate. Who wouldn't say no to that when you can't make up your mind on what burger you want.

The selection of sliders were BBQ Beef, Pulled Pork and American Cheese. The BBQ Beef had a sticky smokey BBQ sauce smothering the beef with a fresh slaw, and was delightful. The American Cheese burger is everything you expect melted cheese over the beef patty with a thick layering of American mustard and tomato sauce. But my favorite was the delicious pulled pork made with a wasabi mayo and pickled ginger. Subtle delicate flavours that burst in your mouth makes if for pleasant eating.

 My Burger friend in crime went for the Mushroom burger; a slow roasted mushroom with roasted eggplant, halloumi cheese, lettuce relish and mayo. Adding a serving crisp bacon in their too and you have yourself a whopper of a meal.

For sided the chilli cheese fries were delicious and the hot wings.... ridiculously delicious. The Chilli cheese fries were mild and oozed with melted cheese and jalapenos, beans and red chilli. The wings were smothered in delicious sticky hot sauce that gave you chilli sweats but were that amazing you couldn't stop eating them. It was one of the best hot sauces that I've had, slightly sweet and sour flavours but a wham of chilli.
Milkshakes served in jars to wash it all down with are always a good choice or if you like the American softies, cherry cola, dr pepper are there for you to.

It was a delicious treat to experience the Local Burger Co and I have already been back, and have been telling friends to go there. Eat in, Take away of hire a picnic basket and enjoy it in the park. What more could you ask for? No matter where you want to eat a good burger the options are already there for you.

This little gem really does deserve to be in the top 10 Burger places of Melbourne, even after it only opened it's doors 5 months ago. What a way to start a new business with a Bang.

The Local Burger Co
687 Rathdowne Street
Carlton
9347 7561
The Local Burger Co. on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Over dosed on Dosa

Whats a Dosa you may ask, well it's about time you all learnt.

A Dosa is a very light Indian fermented crepe made from a rice batter. A staple dish if you will is popular in the Southern Indian states.

It is not in Southern India where I find my Dosa's though, it was actually hidden in an old Bicycle shop.

Over Dosa has zoned in this spot for a fancy pop up with chairs decked out, and bright colours to bring some fancy Indian casual dining to our door steps of Fitzroy.

Three flavoursome Dosas are available for choice or if your extremely hungry do all three.  Classic Potato Masala; potatoes with traditional herbs and spices is quiet mild but showcase bold flavours. If your one for more simpler flavours this is the choice for you.

Spicy Tamarind Pumpkin; sweet, sour and spicy is exactly everything it says it is. Very strong flavours combined with soft sweet pumpkin. Very tasty indeed and it does awaken the taste buds.

Smokey eggplant with peas; Char grilled eggplant with a mild tomato and onion gravy with fresh green peas. The eggplant is well smoked and so it should be as it's been done over an open flame. The essence has really been captured within the aubergine. Sweetness from the tomato does cut through the smoke flavours and is very mild in spice and very enjoyable. The fresh green peas adds an additional freshness to the Dosa.

Each Dosa is light with a golden crisp casing, they really do remind you of a French crepe, but you know it's not. The flavour of the Dosa is unique and somewhat incomparable in flavours to anything else you have eaten.

We went for some of the Poppers as well; unusual lentil nuggets served with a light hot chilli chutney. These Poppers are explained to be a sauce soaker. Gorgeous crunchy coating with a thick lentil texture in the centre. I actually tried all the chutneys with these poppers and discovered that the creamy coriander and mint chutney was my personal favorite with these bite sized nuggets.

Now being a Pop up/ Food Truck that Over Dosa is, they are currently no longer in the position I found them. Now they are currently on the move providing friendly service to the festival goers or the Melbourne Zoo Twilighters.

Owners of the operations Kunal and Tyson are here to serve and educate you all on a good Dosa. They've had someone tell them before that it's better than their mum's. Now that's saying one thing, they are great and you have to go find them.

Their heart and soul has gone into OverDosa and it shows, not only in their faces when they are talking to you about their dishes, or in the technique they use when making the Dosas. It comes through from beginning to end. They are proud of their accomplishments and so they should be.

The Dosas are unique and you can't fins anything similar in the Food trucks that roam Melbourne streets.

So if you are looking for something far from the ordinary burger or taco you get from most Food Trucks, track these guys down. It's worth a shot.

You can tell you've found them as they always go that one step more by presenting their truck or pop up with there chairs and bright cushions to give it that final touch to draw you closer. And if you're still lost looking for them, look for the giant peacock painted on the side of the truck. You can't miss it.

Check out OverDosas facebook page for updates on locations
https://www.facebook.com/OVERDOSA that way you will never miss out on something great.


OverDosa
0413 102 914
Food Truck (on the move)

Overdosa on Urbanspoon