Sunday, 28 June 2015

Rubiki


Baked Gnocchi with cauliflower and pea cream and toasted almonds? Sounds just like my cup of tea... Rubiki is tucked behind the Ringwood North shops. Head chef, Ben Duncan, uses food sourced from local producers and uses only free-range eggs, small goods, chicken and pork and grass-fed beef and lamb. The new Winter menu had just arrived the weekend we tried Rubiki. Although the Winter menu was very appealing, I did find the menu lacked smaller and lower priced meals with most meals priced in the high teens. The interior was industrial with a black roof and concrete floor. The hanging pot plants and soft lighting mellowed the space.



WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Parisian Breakfast – Confit garlic, onion and chilli, sautéed with mushrooms, kale, tomato and pickled lemon topped with fresh herbs and goats cheese served on grilled sourdough ($18.00)
·        Rubiki’s Benedict – Poached eggs with slab bacon accompanied by a caponata salsa, drizzled with a blood orange hollandaise ($18.00)
·        Winter’s Ploughman – Corned beef, cauliflower gratin, cornichons, Dijon mustard and potato and rosemary sourdough ($22.00)
·        Shepherd’s Pie with garlic and rosemary potato crisps ($18.00)


WHAT WE ATE...
I decided to have the ‘Baked Gnocchi with cauliflower and pea cream and toasted almonds ($19.00)’. The waitress insisted that I add a slab of bacon ($4.50), which I declined. The triangles of charred gnocchi were covered in the luscious, velvety cauliflower sauce. A pop of freshness was provided from the peas and the toasted almonds added texture. It wasn’t too rich despite having a creamy sauce.

Baked Gnocchi

My dining companion chose the ‘House-made Baked Beans with toasted sourdough and roasted field mushroom drizzled with truffle infused vincotto ($16.00)’. The waitress suggested a poached egg ($2.50) be added to the dish which my dining companion agreed to. The beans were rich and flavoursome and the mushrooms tasted wonderful. However, it would have been enhanced by some added chorizo or a crumbling of feta. Also, a bit of fresh herb action on top wouldn’t have gone astray...

Baked Beans

WHAT WE DRANK...
A ‘Honeycomb Milkshake ($7.00)’ was definitely tempting me as was the Larsen and Thompson English Breakfast Tea ($4.00)... However, I chose coffee. My latte ($3.80) made with Padre Seasonal Blend coffee was very weak indeed. I’m not sure if my frothed milk even contained coffee... No latte art either.

Latte

SERVICE...
The service was indeed very friendly but I did find that the up-selling on absolutely everything we ordered to be very off-putting...



Address: 204 Warrandyte Road, Ringwood North, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9879 0869


  
Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 4.30pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 3.00pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Tokyo Sake, Mister Fox, and The Firehouse...



Friday, 26 June 2015

Platinum Restaurant


There are few fine dining restaurants in the outer east of Melbourne. If you are seeking a sophisticated dinner, it usually involves a journey to the inner suburbs or further out to the Yarra Valley. Instead, why not try Platinum Restaurant which is located in the East Ridge building complex in Chirnside Park. The restaurant has a seasonal menu that showcases produce from the Yarra Valley. We sampled some of their dishes from their new Winter menu. We went on a weeknight which was fairly quiet but I would suggest you book well in advance for Friday and Saturday night as you may find yourself left disappointed... As well as dinner, they are open for lunch all week and breakfast on the weekend.


WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Twice cooked pork belly with a chilli caramel, pear cider chutney a crispy noodle salad ($17.00)
·        Slow braised beef cheeks on creamy polenta, with baby vegetables and sweet onion jus ($32.00)
·        Confit duck leg, white bean and smoked ham hock cassoulet, rocket, hazelnut and parmesan salad and cherry jus ($32.00)
·        White chocolate and mango cheesecake with passionfruit sorbet and a coconut meringue ($13.00)


WHAT WE ATE...
Firstly, we were offered some complementary bread which was accompanied by a dish of olive oil. Ripping off pieces of the warmed bread and dunking them into the fruity olive oil was a perfect start to the night’s proceedings.

Bread and olive oil

I started with the ‘Tasmanian oysters served natural with salmon pearls and a lemon vinaigrette x 3 ($9.50)’. I could have had the oysters served Kilpatrick but I love fresh oysters in their natural state with a squeeze of lemon. The salmon pearls added an extra salty kick.

Oysters

My dining companion chose the ‘Assorted marinated olives with Yarra Valley Persian fetta ($6.00)’. This is definitely a dish to share... maybe between four! The mountain of olives was elevated by the delightful and creamy fetta. I helped my dining companion as much as I could but there were just so many olives.

Olives

For my main, I was going to choose the beef cheeks which I have ordered before and found to be delicious, but instead opted for the ‘Yarra Valley sweet potato and kale ravioli with semi dried tomato pesto, spinach and Persian fetta ($29.00)’. I have tried their Autumn pasta of asparagus, lemon and ricotta and was keen to see if their Winter pasta was of the same high standard. I actually thought that this pasta was even better!  The crunchy sweet potato crisps added a wonderful textural element and complemented the pillows of glorious green pasta. I’m also a big fan of Yarra Valley Persian fetta...

Ravioli

My dining companion decided to have the ‘Crispy skinned salmon, prawns in garlic oil, crushed potato, green beans and Café de Paris butter ($34.00)’. The skin was indeed crispy without the salmon being overcooked. The decadent butter melted over the tender beans creating a gorgeous accompaniment to the salmon and prawns.

Salmon

WHAT WE DRANK...
We began with one of my favourite wines, the ‘Mount Langi ‘Billi Billi’ 2013 Pinot Gris’ ($8.00)’.

Pinot Gris

We also tried the ‘Yering Farm Run Rabbit Run Chardonnay 2012’ ($7.50)’.
  

SERVICE...
When I have been here in the past, the service has been excellent but on this occasion it was a bit haphazard. The first wine order was missing in action which we had to follow up on and they were slow to clear plates. Perhaps they are more efficient when the place is busy...


Address: 1 East Ridge Drive, Chirnside Park, VIC

Phone: 03 9727 1255



Trading Hours:
Tues – Fri: 11.30 - late
Sat – Sun: 8.30 - late

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Café Rondiné, Round Bird Can’t Fly, and the Lilydale General...



Thursday, 18 June 2015

Upcoming Event: Shortest Lunch in the Yarra Valley

Photo courtesy of Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries

The Winter Solstice (shortest day of the year) is this weekend and what better way to celebrate than with a tour of the Yarra Valley’s smaller winemakers. The Shortest Lunch allows you to wander from one boutique winery to another whilst enjoying entrée size meals, wine and live music. As well as being a fantastic day out, you are helping the community as the money raised from the entry/souvenir glass goes to the local CFA. You could also make a whole weekend of the two-day event by staying overnight in the picturesque Yarra Valley. To find out more about the event, check out the Shortest Lunch website: http://www.yarravalleysmallerwineries.com.au/events/shortest-lunch-2015


Date: Saturday 20th June 2015 and Sunday 21st June 2015

Time: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Cost: $15 Entry - Includes a souvenir glass and allows access to all the wineries involved
  

Billanook Estate
380 Edwards Road, Chirnside Park
A recipe handed down from Nonna of soft homemade potato Gnocchi pan seared and tossed with your choice of a traditional Napoli pomodoro sauce with fresh basil or a Picante Gorgonzola cream sauce $14
Semi dark chocolate (70%) mousse and wild berry coulis (gf) $7
Barista coffee
Live Music

Boat O'Craigo
458 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
Steamed Asian dumplings - choice of Ginger Prawn, Pork & chive or Asian vegetable dumplings $15.00
Five dumplings per serve with ginger & coriander soy, plus steamed rice, Chinese broccoli & oyster sauce (Shiitake mushroom sauce for vegetarian). 
Vanilla bean Pannacotta with stewed rhubarb $10.00 
Espresso coffee 
Live Music

Brumfield Winery
Cnr Queens and Beenak Rds (539 Queens Rd), Seville
Open Pie of premium Yarra Valley beef slow cooked in Brumfield Shiraz, with creamy mash and roasted veg $15 (GF available) 
House made Focaccia bread, served with Mediterranean roasted and marinated vegetables and dips, with pistachio-dressed greens $15 (GF / dairy free / vegan / fruct. suitable available) 
For kids: Cheddar & tomato toastie + juice box $6 (GF avail.) 
Flourless Chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon Cake with house made ice cream (GF) $8 
Espresso coffee 
Live Music

Elmswood Estate
75 Monbulk Seville Rd, Seville
Souvlakis - Lamb or Chicken wrapped with the usual toppings & roasted garlic sauce $14.50. Vegetarian option - Falafel souvlaki $14.50. Cheese plate for Two - Double cream brie, Stilton blue and Vintage cheddar with the works $18 
Espresso coffee
Live Music

Five Oaks
60 Aitken Rd, Seville
Our famous Canadian Pancakes to be enjoyed, for breakfast, brunch or dessert. Served with Canadian Maple Syrup, Bacon, Sausages or with other toppings of your choice like Lemon and Sugar, fresh Fruit, Nutella, Cream or Ice-cream $14 
Espresso Coffee 
Live music

Killara Estate
Sunnyside Road, Seville
Inspired from the Hills of Italy, Duck and Mushroom Risotto $16
Roast your own chestnuts on the hot coals $5 
Enjoy a real pick me up with our authentic Tiramisu $12 
Live Music & Open fires, matched with warm Italian hospitality

Millers Dixons Creek Estate
1620 Melba Hwy, Dixons Creek
Winemaker Graeme Miller's own recipe of chicken, chickpea and vegetable soup (GF) served with freshly chopped garden chives and crusty Ciabatta bread $12
Colaneri family's superb caramelised onion, goat's cheese and almond ravioli $15 
Chocolate Brownie with vanilla bean ice cream from the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie $7
Live Music

Payne's Rise
10 Paynes Rd, Seville
Beer Braised Pulled Pork Belly Baguette served with a crunchy apple slaw $14.50 
Wild Mushroom & Gruyere with white truffle oil Handmade Pie (V) $7.50 
Kids Chicken Subs with Sweet Chilli Chicken Tenders & all the usual fillings $7 
Cheese boxes - a selection of Gippsland Cheeses with Fig & Walnut Rolada $15 
Espresso Coffee 
Live Music

Seville Estate
Linwood Road, Seville
Crispy cooked pork belly with chickpea and chorizo braise and Pedro Ximenez Glaze $15 
Twice cooked gruyere soufflé with ratatouille $15 
Kids meal: fish and chips $10 Sticky date pudding sticky toffee sauce $10 
Espresso coffee 
Live music

Seville Hill
8 Paynes Road, Seville
Slow cooked lamb shank infused in a tomato and Seville Hill Cabernet Sauvignon salsa with a herbed polenta gnocchi (GF) $16 
Barley & winter vegetable soup served with warm parmesan & thyme fouggase (V) $10 
Seville Hill farmed cherry and plum crumble served with a homemade late harvest Sauvignon Blanc custard $10 
Espresso coffee 
Live Music

Steels Creek Estate
1 Sewell Rd, Steels Creek
Classic duck cassoulet with smoked spec, Toulouse sausage, braised beans, tomato, herbed crumbs and sour dough served with crisp garden leaves $16.00 
Veg option: Roasted pumpkin, pine nut, and ricotta cannelloni with tomato, sage and herbed crumbs $15.00 
Hot churros with chocolate and almond milk sauce $5.00 
Live Music

Whispering Hills
580 Warburton Highway, Seville
All meals cooked in our 13 tonne wood-fired oven, served with wood-fired bread & cold smoked butter. Slow cooked plum and rosemary pork shoulder, celeriac & potato gratin with rocket sauce $18 (GF) 
Quinoa & wild garlic cakes with Salbitxada sauce (tomato & almond) $15 (Veg & GF) 
Dumplings in a quince & pinot noir syrup served with double cream $10 (GF option) 
Espresso coffee 
Live Music

Wild Cattle Creek
473 Warburton Hwy, Seville
Mediterranean vegetable and goats cheese filo parcel served with a fresh salsa $15
Pan seared trout with green papaya, capsicum and an Asian style salad $15 
Mint semifreddo between layers of chocolate sponge with a liqueured cherry glaze and raspberry puree $15 
Espresso coffee 
Live Music

Yering Farm
St. Huberts Rd, Yering
The annual signature dish at Yering Farm, home made hot apple pies served with fresh cream and accompaniments. Hand picked granny smith apples picked from the family orchard lovingly baked into pies, just like Nanna used to cook $15 
Platter of mild, mature and vintage cheese, crackers, fruit bread, pickled veg, salami and dried fruit $15
Fresh coffee and tea
Live Music

Yileena Park
271 Steels Creek Rd, Yarra Glen
Gourmet Burgers, select from: Chicken with Chilli Jam and Asian Slaw or Aussie Beef with caramelized Onion, homemade Chutney and mixed Greens $15 
Falafels with Hommus and Mediterranean Vegetables $15
Live Music


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Café Blac



Five minutes spent wandering around Readings in Hawthorn... Check my watch... I’ve been there for one hour! I must confess I am addicted to Readings. Now, I can fuel my bibliophile addiction by popping down the road to a café that has a ceiling covered in waves of books! Downstairs, Café Blac looks like a regular café but upstairs is a book lover’s paradise where even the coffee machine is mounted on an altar of books. They hire the room out for functions but if it’s free, you can enjoy your eggs with a side of books.





WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Wagyu beef burger with vintage cheddar, Roma tomato, cos lettuce, truffle mayo and red onion jam on a brioche bun and chips ($16.50)
·        Cajun chicken, smashed avocado, tasty cheese and spinach focaccia with garden salad or chips ($14.50)
·        Veggie Blac – free-range eggs with smashed avocado, homemade beans, Roma tomatoes, wilted spinach and Swiss brown mushrooms on organic sourdough ($17.00)
·        Salt and pepper calamari with homemade tartare, garden salad and chips ($17.50)


WHAT WE ATE...
I chose something from the daily specials. The ‘Spinach and ricotta cannelloni with balsamic dressed side salad ($15.50)’ was scrumptious. The two tubes of cannelloni contained a creamy filling and were covered in a nicely seasoned sauce and lots of gooey cheese. The salad leaves were super fresh.

Cannelloni

My dining companion ordered the ‘Breaky Burger – free-range fried egg, bacon, Swiss brown mushroom, tasty cheese, cos lettuce, and tomato chutney in a brioche roll with hash browns ($14.00)’. This was also fantastic and the large, juicy mushroom provided an extra touch of luxury.

Breaky Burger

WHAT WE DRANK...
A glass of Squealing Pig Pinot Noir ($8.50) might be the perfect match for your lunch... or a caramel milkshake ($5.00). My Latte ($3.50) was so good! It was extremely luscious and silky.

Latte

SERVICE...
Even though we were away from the action upstairs, we were provided with wonderful service.




Address: 707 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9818 8965



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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Crabapple Kitchen, Liar Liar, and Brother Fox...


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Little Chloe


As a lover of all creatures great and small, I had dropped by the RSPCA to purchase the new Entertainment Book. After spending some time perusing what eateries were contained amongst its covers this year, I spied Little Chloe and thought that we should try it out. Little Chloe has a modern, woodland theme going on with timber features, tree and butterfly motifs, and artificial turf wall details. The space is separated into two rooms by a low wood panelled wall. I love the cute upside down teacup lights. 



WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Buttermilk pancake stack with blackberry, lemon cream cheese, macadamia, and blueberry coulis ($15.50)
·        Japanese chicken curry with grilled eggplant, zucchini and red capsicum, served with steamed rice ($18.00)
·        Chinese broccoli and pork belly stir-fry with garlic and chilli, served with jasmine rice, fried egg and crispy shallots ($17.50)
·        Kid’s porridge with strawberries ($7.50) 


WHAT WE ATE...
Little Chloe’s menu is Modern Australian with a big Asian influence. I decided to have the ‘Red chilli scrambled eggs with crispy bacon, spring onion and Persian fetta on sourdough toast ($15.50)’. My favourite place to have chilli scrambled eggs is Finders Keepers in Hawthorn so they have some stiff competition... The tremendous pile of scrambled egg had just the right amount of heat. The bacon and Persian fetta were perfect additions.  

Red Chilli Scrambled Eggs

My dining companion chose the ‘Tasmanian smoked salmon on a potato rosti with mango and green tea chutney, smashed avocado and Persian fetta, and a poached egg ($17.50)’. This seems to be a popular dish as everyone around us was ordering it too. The crunch of the rosti went well with the opulent smoked salmon and smashed avocado. The mango and green tea chutney was a unique accompaniment that worked very well.

Potato Rosti

WHAT WE DRANK...
Little Chloe is a Micro Roaster and their coffee is very good indeed. Filter coffee is available via AeroPress, V60, or Batch Brew for $4.50. My Latte ($3.80) was yummy with both fruit and chocolate notes.

Latte

SERVICE...
The tables were pretty close together which I’m not a big fan of unless I want to listen in on a riveting conversation next to me... The service was efficient but lacked a bit of warmth.


  
Address: 1810 Malvern Road, Malvern East, VIC 

Phone: 03 9885 2194




Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 7.00am – 3.30pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 3.30pm
Public Holidays: 8.00am – 3.30pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Terminus Lane and Mr Foxx...


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Terra Rossa


As an only child, I do not have to compete with my siblings to outdo one another for Mother’s Day. Thus, I usually take my mum out to celebrate Mother’s Day not on the actual day, in order to avoid set menus and hectic venues. This year we went to see the ‘Medieval Moderns - The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’ exhibition at the NGV followed by lunch at Terra Rossa in Flinders Lane. Terra Rossa is located in the historic Swiss House building and has an Italian based menu. They are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late night rendezvous... It would be a fantastic venue at night or a romantic date with its dark and sexy atmosphere and chandeliers. They also offer a Pausa Pranzo lunch deal on weekdays for $18.00 where you can choose from a list of mains which changes weekly. Plus, you can add a glass of house white, red or sparkling or tap beer for $5.




WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Penne carbonara, guanciale, black pepper, parmesan ($26.00)
·        Char-grilled and raw zucchini, rocket, ricotta, sherry vinegar, capers ($22.00)
·        Prawn, chilli, tomato, garlic, parsley, rocket pizza ($24.00)
·        Crumbed Otway pork cutlet, grape, walnut, herb salad ($30.00)


WHAT WE ATE...
We started with some ‘Wild mushroom arancini, crispy parsley, parmesan, garlic salt ($14.00)’. I could have just eaten a big plate of these! They were crunchy with a soft scrumptious filling. The crispy parsley was a novel addition.

Arancini

Next, we tried the ‘Fritto misto: prawns, squid, mussels, scallops, garlic, chilli ($18.00)’. The wonderful seafood was surrounded by crispy batter that I dipped in the very spicy sauce.

Fritto Misto

For my main, I ordered the ‘Beef cheek lasagna, Chianti, mascarpone, rosemary ($28.00)’. Arriving on a black tile, the pot of lasagne was gorgeously luscious. The beef cheek was tender and pulled apart easily. The dressed salad leaves cut back the richness.

Lasagna

My mum opted for the ‘Potato gnocchi, wild mushrooms, porcini butter, parsley ($27.00)’. The gnocchi was light and the buttery sauce was heavenly.

Potato Gnocchi

We were becoming very full at this stage but we finished our brilliant lunch with an ‘Amalfi lemon tart, raspberry sorbet ($14.00)’. The zingy tart had both a beautiful filling and crust. The raspberry sorbet was very refreshing.

Lemon Tart

WHAT WE DRANK...
We began with a couple of delicious glasses of Mumm Cordon Rouge ($15.00) as it was a Mother’s Day celebration after all. I need to find some sparkling ‘Dadd’ for Father’s Day...

Mumm

We ended with a couple of ‘Rossini’s ($11.00) – Prosecco, strawberry nectar and maraschino cherry’. Well, maybe I helped Mum with hers too... Anyway, the Rossini was very yummy but I had a fresh blueberry in mine instead of a cherry which didn’t really matter.

Rossini

SERVICE...
The place was fairly quiet probably because everyone had spent their money the weekend prior for Mother’s Day. However, we were provided with excellent service.



Address: 87 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9650 0900




Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 7.00 am – late
Sat – Sun: 8.30 am – late 

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Chin Chin and Supernormal...


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