Archive for June, 2010

June 15, 2010

Lorca, Melbourne

by minibites

French toast with poached pears & maple syrup

After days of Degraves St breakfasts, it was time to move forward to uncover another laneway. Not many people venture through here, but across Degraves is another laneway of cafes, soup kitchens and sandwiches. After following a lingering smell of coffee, I fell into Lorca. With the thought of indulgence, I opted for the french toast served with poached pears, maple syrup, and if all the above wasn’t sweet enough, a dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon. The poached pears transformed a simple dish into a delicious one.

Enjoying my french toast, coffee and watching a movie in the laneway made me feel very far away from home.

Lorca
7-9 Centre Place
Melbourne

Lorca on Urbanspoon

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June 14, 2010

The Press Club Symposium Degustation, Melbourne

by minibites

So for a few days of fun and cheap takeout with my mates in Melbourne, my boss lands in the city for a few days of meetings and business. He asks me where I’ve been and whether I’ve booked a great place to wine and dine for dinner. My answer? Nope. His answer was an incredible odd look stating the fact that I was in the gorgeous city of Melbourne, a supposed food enthusiast and I had no excitement in my eyes about finding a new restaurant. He casually suggests we try our luck and squeeze in a booking at The Press Club.

We got incredibly lucky.

Being extremely indecisive, we opt for Symposium Degustation menu consisting of eight dishes with seafood, chicken, pork, lamb and finished off with a chocolate and berry dessert. My excitement finally got the better of me and I was grinning ear to ear in anticipation.

Seafood skewers, feta “cigars” and tomato soup

First up, there were complimentary fresh breads with amazing olive oil, olives and black salt – and what a fantastic idea of being able to choose your type of bread! Shortly after, our first official dish rolls out – seafood skewers served cold and crispy feta cheese cigars with a tomato soup with a mix of tapioca, basil, tomatoes and many other herbs. My first impression of this strange concoction is its striking resemblance to tabouli. It’s surprisingly light and sweet to taste; perfectly matched with our skewers.

“Taramosalata”

Next up is the Taramosalata, a dish of fresh oysters served with olive oil cous cous made with liquid nitrogen that is drizzled over the oysters at the table. Another component to the dish is the potato chips with a seasoning that tasted like bacon and we were reassured that it was completely vegetarian. I’m not the greatest fan of fresh oysters but I did give two a go before passing the last one across the table. The olive oil definitely added a little something something that made it less daunting to consume a oyster raw.

“Tzatziki”

The Tzatziki, a bed of swimmer crab topped with a swirl of cucumber sliced so thinly like “spaghetti” served with a cucumber yoghurt soup poured over the dish at the table. This dish felt usual at first but it’s probably one of my favourite dishes of the night, especially a bite with all the components; crab, cucumber and yoghurt soup. The cucumber was so amazingly sliced that I was convinced it was anything else but cucumber until I inspected it closer.

“Chicken”, pastelaki of chicken wings, kritharaki, mytzithra snow

Next up are a series of meats, starting from the lightest of them all, the humble chicken. The waiter serves us two anonymous dishes with the dome on top with “mytzithra snow”, delicately shaved parmesan cheese on the side. As the waitress lifts the dome, it reveals to us a pastelaki of its wings swimming in kritharaki, a pasta very similar to risotto. The chicken bursts with flavours and spices and the subtle kritharaki adds the right touch of saltiness.

“Pig”, bangalow pork, loin, belly, pork baklava, apple horiatiki

The next dish is the pork; a bangalow pork which is very sweet to taste. A piece of generous fatty pork slice is served with a pork baklava and  topped with an apple horiatiki and puree. As a lover of pork, this was one of my favourite meaty dishes of the night. The pork baklava added a new and exciting element with pork cooked with sweetness and nuts, but my favourite would have to be the compliments on the dish to the pork – the fantastic crunch and sourness from the granny smith apples and the carrot and star anise puree that added a new texture to the dish. I polished this off in no time…

“Lamb”, neck, miso mousaka

The last of the savory courses is the lamb “neck” served with miso mousaka, black garlic, shortbread garnished with candied feta and a saffron and shallot puree. Not a lover of lamb so it was difficult to appreciate the unusual components of this dish. I did devour my lamb which was cooked to perfection, so the distinct taste and scent of lamb was nicely masked by the tenderness and amazing glaze and candied feta.

“Refreshing”, frozen citrus, yoghurt snow

As a pre-dessert, we had a refresher dish of greek yoghurt masked as a sorbet on a bed of frozen citrus. The citrus has an amazing tang of bitter and sweet, and the yoghurt is one of my favourite components of the night; it was just the perfect palette cleanser.

“Aphrodite”, white chocolate mousse, cherries, roses, soil, scent

To top of the night, is George’s famous Aphrodite dessert with an array of chocolate, berries, cherries, roses and strawberry dessert delights. As it arrives, it’s definitely delightful to the eyes. The “scent” component was surprisingly the most intriguing and left us both in giggles; different to what was shown on Masterchef, our waitress armed with a perfume atomiser doused us with rose water! Although very visually appealing, the dessert had a little too many components that confused my taste buds and all I could smell was rose water – in my hair, dessert and skin. My favourite would be the white chocolate mousse that revealed a hidden burst of berry flavour and the edible sugar coated rose petal on top.

For a first timer at The Press Club, I’m glad we choose the degustation menu which gave us a window to taste most of the menu. Nice laid back atmosphere with fantastic knowledgeable staff who definitely enjoy their wine and food. Amazing wine recommendations from the wine waiters.

Awarded 2 hats by The Age Good Food Guide 2010

The Press Club
72 Flinders St
Melbourne
www.thepressclub.com.au

The Press Club on Urbanspoon

June 3, 2010

Melbourne, Autumn 2010

by minibites

I’m back from another spontaneous foodie and Socceroo filled weekend to Melbourne. Expect a few more brunching hot spots and updates on some old goodies!

June 1, 2010

LL Wine & Dine

by minibites

I’m so happy that I discovered this sooner than later. Hidden amongst the alleyways of Kings Cross, this restaurant bar has absolute potential, with a delicious collection of dishes, strong cocktails and a quirky interior. The restaurant captures the vibe of Hong Kong’s underground – and this space has been transformed from an once 1980s illegal casino, pornography dungeon and steel room.

From the outside, you can grab a drink in the skinny corridor-sized bar or wander inside past the pornographic wall, eccentric wall designs into a warm, Chinese influenced dining area.

Big trouble in little China

Unable to choose my cocktail, I quickly opt at the last minute for the Big trouble in little China, containing 42 below vodka, vanilla and pineapple shaken topped with fresh coriander. Surprisingly this becomes the favourite cocktail of the night and even though I’ve never had coriander in a cocktail before, it was a fantastic touch to this drink. Another recommendation would be the Red Dragon; a mixture of sweet and sour of coriander, raspberries pressed then shaken with chilli infused vodka, peach schannps and cranberry juice – unusual but hits the mark.

San choy bau of chicken

For entrees, we devour with LL’s twist on the san choy bau; instead of duck, there are pine nuts, chicken, lemongrass, mint, topped with spicy lemon dressing served in a large lettuce cup. A nice spicy kick start to the meal.

Black tea & star anise smoked duck breast pancakes

Next on the agenda are  DIY duck pancakes, served with traditional dipping soy bean sauce, cucumbers and spring onions. The duck pancakes are tender and cooked just perfect, with subtle hints of black tea and star anise flavours smoked through.

Beef eye fillet

More mains roll out on our miniscule table; beef eye fillet which are slow cooked and braised in house spices, served with chinese greens & baby carrots. Wonderfully tender meat that fell apart when served. The baby carrots also deserve a honorary mention, simple but blanched perfectly to maintain a soft yet crunchy touch.

A dish that I unfortunately forgot to capture due to the fact that I was too busy devouring and laughing the night away, is the chili & garlic crumbled soft shell crab served with wasabi mayonnaise – my favourite dish of the night. A definite must for those salt and pepper squid lovers who enjoy a great chili kick and more kapow from the wasabi dipping sauce.

Coconut cream, lychee and topioca panna cotta

Full to the brim, we share our dessert; the coconut, lychee and tapioca panna cotta, served with mango gelato and sugar pastry. Not your usual panna cotta but the flavours are refreshing and light, just perfect to top off our meal. It has a good jiggle but I was hoping for it to be a little more generous…

Great food and drinks with a fantastic atmosphere served by friendly and some pretty cute waiters too! Bookings are essential.

LL Wine & Dine
42 Llanklley Place
Kings Cross, Sydney
www.llwineanddine.com.au

LL Wine & Dine on Urbanspoon