Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cossies Cafe Restaurant

We stumbled upon this tiny cafe in Surry Hills a few months ago while looking for a place for brunch and we've been back twice since then :) I highly recommend their home-made wedges (which are not wedge shaped but potatoes cut in half, seasoned and deep-fried).

On our most recent visit, I ordered the Steak Sandwich just because it came with a side of wedges. The steak sandwich was good as the steak was quite tender and nicely seasoned with cracked black pepper and my favourite BBQ sauce.

Little Sis had the Chicken Burger which also came with wedges. The chicken was moist and juicy but the dish could do with a little more vegies.

H's Big Breakfast with Scrambled Eggs. The eggs were creamy and smooth and the bacon was lovely. Also included are sausages, baked beans and toasts.


Cossie's
638a Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

(02) 9699 8482

Ca de Vin

I am going to skip ahead and not blog about our Mornington Peninsula eating adventures until some time in the future when H has more time (as I have finally convinced H to write a food review) to write about his new found favourite fish n chips which is as you guessed it in Mornington. Instead I will continue on our Melbourne food journey with this fabulous cafe serving exquisite Italian cuisine.  

Ca de Vin came highly recommended by both Ms I and Ms Van and thus we saved our stomachs (no breakfast) for this anticipated feast. But be warned, do not go looking for Ca de Vin when you've got a growling tummy as we spent a good 30 minutes looking for this place. We finally stumbled upon the eatery after walking pass 2 Japanese eatery that share the same laneway between the GPO building and Myer Central. 

Once seated we quickly peruse the menu and decided to order 2 mains to share (forewarned by Ms I that servings are large here) and prayed that there will be enough room for dessert. 

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Our first dish was the Tartufo ($21) which is a pizza topped with field mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese and balsamic reduction. The ingredients were very fresh and the balsamic reduction really brought out the flavours of the mushrooms and ricotta. Yum!

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Next up was the Seafood Alio Olio ($28). This is the best seafood alio olio I've ever tasted. I've not come across an alio olio that had anchovies in it but the chef here had included anchovies (ground to a paste so that you don't see it but you can smell and taste it) into this dish and I absolutely loved it. Also, the addition of finely crushed nuts, coating each strand of spaghettini together with the flavours from the olive oil, anchovies and seasoning .... I just can't find words to describe the exquisite burst of flavours with each bite you take.

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We were very full by the time we finished both the mains but we just had to order the "special" dessert of the day which was a Dark Chocolate and Beetroot Cake ($11). Although the cake looked as if it had been microwaved (chocolate sauce melting onto the plate) the taste was sensational. One would never expect beetroot to go with chocolate but this was a great combination. There was a sweetness to the rich dark chocolate cake that could have only come from the beetroot. 

This place is indeed a great find and would definitely be one of my favourite places to go when I'm in Melbourne.


Ca de Vin
Melbourne GPO, Postal Lane
Cnr of Bourke St and Elizabeth St
Melbourne VIC 3000

(03) 9654 3639 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pacific Seafood BBQ House

Ms Van was in desperate need of her rice fix right before our trip to Mornington Peninsula. She's a big fan of rice and would choose rice over anything else if she had the choice. Thus we find ourselves at one of her regular haunts; Pacific Seafood BBQ House which was also on the way down to Mornington Peninsula. Since she's the regular we put our trust in Ms Van to order us our lunch.

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The first dish arrived and it was the trio plate of Roast Duck, Chinese Roast Pork and Soya Chicken. All three dishes were cooked beautifully. I loved the roast pork the most. Imagine crispy crackling (which by the way was very tasty) together with a moist stack of succulent meat and tender fat without any porky smell or porky taste. Yummm..

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She also ordered the Salted Egg Yolk Prawns. These were delicious too. The prawns were nice and large, encrusted with crunchy, salted-egg batter.

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For some fibre Ms Van ordered Stir-Fried Snow Peas with Fresh Scallops. This dish was also really good. The scallops were fresh and snow peas nice and crunchy.


Pacific Seafood BBQ House
Shop 8, 240 Victoria Street
Richmond VIC 3121

(03) 9427 8225

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cafe Vamp (Updated)

Updated Jan 2010
http://www.theage.com.au/national/workers-fined-115000-over-bullying-of-cafe-waitress-20100208-nlrj.html?autostart=1

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One should always have a hearty breakfast to start out one's day. For us however, that first meal was brunch but we followed that advice to the tee by having some very scrumptious and heart warming food especially in the chilly Melbourne weather.

Ms I brought us to Cafe Vamp in Hawthorn, just down the road from Swinburne University. The cafe was already full by the time we got there at 11am and the only place left was the courtyard dining area. It was a chilly morning but the wait staff assured us that the heaters were running and we would be comfortable outside. Once we made our way to the back we realised that we were not the only ones there. Two of the three tables had already been taken up and those were the ones closest to the heaters! We were very tempted to find someplace else to eat but our growling tummies begged us to stay.

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I loved the look of the menu although upon closer inspection and combined with a good imagination one can conjure up some pretty terrifying stories of what the drawings could mean. OK enough of my ramblings and lets get back to the food...

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H ordered the Brekky Pide ($15.50) which looked fantastic. The pide were two slices of nicely toasted white bread and sandwiched in between were fried eggs, bacon, cheese and hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise sauce was just yummy.

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Ms I and I decided to share the Chicken and Mushroom Pie ($17.50) which was delicious especially on a cold windy morning. I loved how the boys in the kitchen had carved out the name of the cafe and included that on the pastry.

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The pie was filled with generous amounts of chicken, mushroom and bacon too, topped with puff pastry. The brilliant addition of bacon to the dish added extra oomph which made the pie super slurp-worthy delicious.


Cafe Vamp
727 Glenferrie Road
Hawthorne VIC 3122

(03) 9818 3141

Opens daily 7am - 4pm

Friday, June 12, 2009

European

My cousin introduced us to EUROPEAN on our last trip to Melbourne two years ago and we loved it so much that we pestered her for a whole month before we were scheduled to arrive that we had to have dinner there and to "please book early". The lovely lass kept her promised and booked us a table for six the first night we arrived. Our dinner companions for the night were my cousins (I've got 9 cousins in Melbourne at last count) and Rove McManus. Well he was sitting a few tables away from us so that makes us dinner companions? 

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Once seated, we were given the menus followed soon after by the bread basket. The bread; warm and soft on the inside and slightly crusty on the outside was served with whipped butter. I was not a big fan of the butter as it was too light for my taste. 

Entrees

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Mr V had decided to go vegetarian for two weeks and as a result of that ordered this amazing dish of Stuffed Zucchini Flowers ($10.50). The batter had a mixture of spices on it with a leaning towards Indian spices which was delicious.  

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I ordered the French Onion Soup w/ Braised Beef Shins & Gruyere Toast ($18.50). Oh what a  delight to be able to drink this hearty soup that warmed all my senses and got rid of the chills of the Melbourne winter. This is by far my favourite version of French onion soup.

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Roasted "St John" Bone Marrow ($19.50). H was very excited when he saw this offered on the specials menu as he has been going through a bone marrow phase. I'm not very keen on bone marrow unless it's in a stew but H throughly enjoyed this dish digging away at the bones and only stopping short of sucking out every last ounce of marrow.

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The rest of my cousins ordered the Fish Soup w/ Roasted Shellfish & Saffron Aioli ($20). This dish was brought out with the shellfish arranged on the plate and the soup in a little jug. The soup was then poured onto the shellfish. While you sit and watch the pouring of the soup onto the shellfish, the wonderful aroma of the fish soup wafts up to greet you hello before you fall in love with the delicate flavours of the soup that makes you all warm inside. 

Mains

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Mr V's Herb & Potato Gnocchi Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil ($26.50) was delicious. A good winter dish as it warms your soul. 

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Ms Van had ordered Veal "Holstein" ($32.50) which was from the specials menu. I googled Holstein and the results state that Holstein is a special breed of cattle originating from North Holland or Friesland. The dish looked very much like a veal schnitzel and a very tasty schnitzel at that. The crumbed outer layer was flavoured with lots of herbs and it came with an egg on top.    

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As with our last trip, H and I ordered the Chateaubriand ($72 for two pp) and so did Ms I and Ms E. The meat is salt roasted until medium rare and served sliced with fat chips, half a bone marrow, sauce foyot and a blue cheese and endive salad. The meat was very smooth and tender that it melts in your mouth. It was superbly cooked and soooo delicious. The salad of blue cheese and endives was divine although I wasn't too keen on the chips as they were cut too thick for my liking as I like my chips thin and slightly crispy ala McDonalds.

By the time we finished our mains we were stuffed and couldn't fit in any dessert which was a waste. H and I had decided beforehand to take it slow with the food as we had almost 6 days to cover Melbourne so no pressure there to fit in desserts.

*Note - Apologies for the bad photographs as it was indeed very dim in there.


EUROPEAN
161 Spring Street
Melbourne

(03) 9654 0811

They are open 7 days from 7.30am to 3.30am

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ice Cube Seafood Restaurant

My colleagues and I have been meaning to plan a night out for some time now when one of us received an email "buy one main and get another free" to Ice Cube Restaurant, located on the ground floor of IMAX building. The office emails started flying between us and dinner was organised for Friday night. 

This place is huge and we all love the quirky light fixtures that reminds me weirdly enough of  blood vessels. There were 8 of us that night but I only managed to get pictures of 2 main dishes; mine and H and our 2 desserts.  

I ordered the Moreton Bay Bugs ($32). Ice Cube served the bugs grilled with half a lemon. The bugs were grilled to slightly burnt around the edges which I found added extra omph to the dish. On the fresh-o-meter scale these bugs were very fresh, which led to nice sweet succulent grilled meat. Yum! The only drawback though was that there wasn't enough meat in the bugs to fill up my stomach. All the more for dessert!

H had the "Catch of the Day" ($27) which was grilled leatherjacket. Kudos to the chef as the fish was grilled to perfection. This was really super delicious that I almost finished off half of the dish and my moreton bay bugs. 

Chocolate Creme Brulee w/ Peppermint Ice Cream ($13.80). The creme brulee was delicious. It's akin to walking into a warm and inviting room from the freezing cold. The custard was rich, warm and chocolate-ty and the peppermint ice cream was a good contrast to the creme brulee. A combination that brings out the flavours and textures of both items on the dish. 

This is my favourite dessert but for the life of me I can't remember what it's called. I remember terrine in there somewhere so I conclude that it was a Dark Chocolate Terrine w/ Orange Sorbet. Adding the candy floss to the dish was pure genius. From top we have orange flavoured candy floss, orange sorbet, slice of preserved(?) orange (I think the orange was cooked in sugar and orange juice until skin and all is sweet and edible. I know there must be a name for it. Anyone?) and a rich, melt-in-your-mouth-going-weak-at-the-knees chocolate terrine. *swoon*. I would just go back for the dessert it is that good!  


Ice Cube 
IMAX Theatre Complex
31 Wheat Road
Darling Harbour NSW 2000

(02) 8267 3666

www.icecubeseafood.com.au

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Made In Italy

I have been working in the Wynward area for two and a half years now and only found out about this awesome little Italian pizzeria on the back streets of Wynward, York Lane. 

As you can see from the picture above, this place is tiny! It's made up of a sandwich counter /coffee making area / cash register and to the right of the counter which can't be seen in the above picture is the kitchen which has a pizza baking machine. We were quite fascinated by the machine as it moved slowly along baking the pizza as it went. One downside though is that there are no tables and chairs for patrons to sit on as this is strictly a take-away joint.

The four of us shared 2 large pizzas ($20 each). The Meatlovers; made up of tomato, cheese, cabanossi, pepperoni, bacon, italian sausages, ham and herbs was just delicious. The base was very thin with just the right amount of doughy-ness and crispy crust. 

My favourite though was the Gamberi; tomato, cheese, fresh prawns and garlic. This dish was super awesome that I couldn't stop thinking about it all weekend and had to have it on Monday when I was back at work.


Made In Italy
37 York Lane
Wynward NSW 2000

(02) 9299 0900