Tag Archives: dinner

Mission #1: Vegetarian

It’s not what you think – I am not going vegetarian for one whole month. Although, perhaps one day I will discipline myself enough to conquer that challenge.

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Instead, I am starting my first mission, which I’d love you to be part of! I want to focus on certain cuisines each month, to be more adventurous and explore specific genres. Furthermore, I want to involve my friends and readers, by taking blogging further than just reading and commenting online. Read on!

Mission Overview
Part of this month will involve me going out there in search of some great vegetarian places – and I would love recommendations of where to go. Everything from your niche little local, to the inner suburb gems. Even if I can’t make it to those places, I will gladly list them in my “Insiders of the Month” on the righthand column.

During this time, I will post my usual, miscellaneous adventures, but towards the end of August, I will report back to you guys with a series of vegetarian experiences.

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Dinner Event
I’d also like to invite you all to a vegetarian dinner, so you have the chance to share this adventure with me. To ensure everyone can comfortably chat to each other, this will be a small dinner event, so spots are limited. Please express interest as soon as possible via email with numbers, so I can organise this adventure!

Where: Shakahari Too, 225 Clarendon St, South Melbourne.
I am leaning towards this restaurant after reading some good reviews about both the southern and northern branch. Click below to see the full menu – I am still open to suggestions if you’d like to sway me!
When: Friday 15th August, 7pm
Price: Mains $20-$22.50, Desserts $6.50-$15.50
RSVP: By 10th August
Facebook event: Click here – invite open to everyone!

menu

Why this cuisine?
I hope to do this every month – but the main reason I chose vegetarian as my first mission is because I wanted to raise awareness of an organisation I work for. Well, volunteer for. We are all volunteers, so I’d love your support for this fantastic festival. Please take a read below and I hope you enjoy my first mission!

EFFM2014_LOGOS 150wThe Environmental Film Festival Melbourne is a non-for-profit organisation and annual event, now in its fifth year. This year, the festival will run from the 4th-12th September at Kino Cinemas, 45 Collins St, Melbourne. I’d love for you to come or to check out the website here.

Look out for our program, launching soon this August. Share this with your friends who might be interested, and if you’re feeling generous, you can also support us with a donation here

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Tazio Birraria Pizzeria & Cucina

Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to a large dinner for Weekendnotes writers at Tazio – an Italian restaurant located on the corner of Flinders Lane and Exhibition St.

Another writer volunteered to write the review on Weekendnotes, but I thought I’d love to add a few more non-Asian restaurant posts to my own personal blog. Did you know I’ve only ever posted one Italian place on my blog?

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The idea of the night was to showcase their large tables for functions. The table seated 24 people, thus 12 writers and their plus ones. It was great to meet some of the writers who you see post so often on Weekendnotes, and finally find yourself able to match faces to names.

With the function already catered for us, we were provided with a special Weekendnotes banquet menu (above). The good thing about Italian food is that it is perfect for sharing, thus the menu was designed for exactly that.

20140716_191938They also provided cocktails at a special price ($12.50), but as we were both driving, we chose to have mocktails – Safe Sex on the Beach and a No-jito ($9.50 – these were not included in the banquet). Service was great because we arrived a bit later and as we sat down, someone was already over to check what drinks we would like.

I enjoyed that you could have drinks similar to your usual cocktails but without the alcohol, as I’m not a big drinker anyway, it feels like you’re not left out and don’t miss out on the great flavours! 

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Whilst everyone arrived, chatted and settled in, the table was served with antipasto – including cured meats, feta, olives and herb bread. I guess I haven’t been exposed to antipasto much in my life to judge it, and found myself eating the usual meat and bread.

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Meanwhile, the chef came out to speak to us about Tazio’s concept of simple Italian food and talk us through our dinner menu and plan. He was a bit quiet and not loud-spoken, but we appreciated that he made the time to come out to talk to us at the start and end of the meal.

20140716_200153There was quite a break in between the entree and mains, which could be because they were allowing us time to get to know each other and chat, or also because they wanted to ensure everything came out at the same time.

Sides included patate fritte or chips with roast garlic aioli and salads – I don’t think you can go wrong with aioli but the chips were nothing special. Pictured below is the rucola – rocket, radicchio, parmesan and balsamic, a simple dish, usually $7.50, to lighten up your intake of pizza and pasta.
20140716_200258But this was only the beginning. After this our mains began to appear rapidly. Below is the classic margherita – I once heard someone say that it is best to judge an Italian restaurant on their margherita. These pizzas were thin and simple, herby and flavourful, but this was not the most memorable pizza.
20140716_200400The Della Mare – prawns, spinach, mozzarella (below) looked interesting, but I didn’t feel the prawns suited the pizza. I feel like there needs to be a little more topping to compliment it or something added to the sauce to make it work.
20140716_200503I did enjoy the last two pizzas more than the others, the Veneto – roast peppers, goats’ cheese, pancetta (Italian cured pork belly) and Treviso – crushed oven dried tomato, caramelised onion, basil.
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The Treviso felt like a more exciting vegetarian option than your classic margherita, with its extra dimension of flavour from their caramelised onion, feta and herbs.

The Veneto was also a simple meat option for a pizza, with a good amount of goat’s cheese. A suitable creation to represent an Italian restaurant with goats’ cheese and pancetta, a sort of Italian cured meat similar to bacon/ham.

20140716_201031Many people fell in love with the prawns, tomato and lemon zest risotto, but I have always found risotto tends to be too creamy for my liking, and this was one of them. Eating too much of a creamy or cheesy meal usually does not sit well with me after a while.
20140716_201102Meanwhile, the penne amatriciana – chicken, pancetta, chilli, garlic, napoli – did not seem that different from a similar dish my mum usually whips up at home. The sauce at Tazio does taste slightly different and more authentic, but still does not warrant any exclamations that it is the best dish.
20140716_201423Overall, the night was more for a good catch up and chat, full of getting to know people and enjoying food surrounded by people you usually aren’t surrounded by. The food was good, with some pizzas earning my tick of approval, but generally not outstanding.

Image taken from the official Weekendnotes write up by Nadine

It did, however, stick to the its concept of simple, Italian food. It is also a nice, classy atmosphere with good service, so drop in if you are after a sophisticated yet affordable Italian meal.
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Tazio is located at 66 Flinders Lane and is open 12pm-late weekdays and Saturdays from 5pm. Find their menu here and book online here.

Tazio Birraria Pizzeria Cucina on Urbanspoon

Mon’s Adventures was invited for a complimentary banquet with eleven other Weekendnotes writers and friends – all to promote their function table.

Modern Asian Restaurants: Fumanchu

Fumanchu has come up in my food searches before, but I’ve always been weary due to reviews about service and the fact that it’s related to Miss Chu, which I’m not a big fan of. But, as I felt like trying a breakfast with a twist, I thought the risk might pay off. Not to mention the place is conveniently located in the northern suburbs.

20140316_124235There is no sign at the front to indicate that you’ve reached the right place and when we walked in, we thought we had walked into a bar in the middle of the day. The place emanated a pub atmosphere with its pink neon lights and walls lined with alcohol. However, the waitress assured us we had reached Fumanchu, so we decided to sit alongside the window bench, which displayed more of typical cafe decor than the front counter.

20140316_114612 copyMeanwhile, the artwork of the seats along the bench displayed some sort of mid-20th century Asian film poster images. This made more sense after a quick Google search, discovering Fu Manchu as the name of a fictional character with an iconic moustache.20140316_115731 To start with, I ordered a mango juice whilst my friend ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee. My mango juice appeared to be freshly made as it didn’t feel full of extra sugar usually in bottled juice. The coffee surprisingly came out in a traditional fashion, with the Vietnamese coffee filtered and dripping into the condensed milk. After this, you pour it into your glass of ice. It was impressively presented but time consuming when you desperately want to drink your coffee! It was also quite strong for my liking.20140316_120931

As a fan of this Japanese food, I couldn’t go past the Japanese Okonomiyaki Pancakes ($17, above) from the ‘Something Different’ menu. It comes with shredded cabbage and peas inside the pancakes and is served with house cured salmon and wasabi mayo.

The pancakes tasted different to the ones you would get in a foodcourt, which seem to have more of a filling. However, this felt freshly made and a bit healthier with an abundance of peas. They were adequately sized to go with the salmon. The salmon provided a complimenting texture and flavour to the pancakes, which could have been a little plain on its own.

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My friend was tossing up between the Asiaotic Saute Mushrooms and the Asian Omelette ($15, above) and ended up choosing the latter with extra mushrooms. The omelette consisted of wok-tossed free-range eggs, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), Asian herbs and roti bread topped with fried shallots.

I didn’t realise the omelette would be served wrapped in roti bread, which was interesting. I also enjoyed that the side of mushrooms was a mix of different mushrooms including enoki, providing a proper Asian air to the dish. With egg and Chinese sausage, the dish incorporated many ingredients already familar to me so it filled me up well, but it wasn’t outstanding.

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I was glad I gave Fumanchu a chance as it ended up providing quite decent food. The service was okay but not horrible, it can just be a bit difficult catching someone’s attention because the place is quite spacious. The tables around me were packed when I arrived around 11.30am but empty by the time I left (pictured above).


Image courtesy of their Facebook – some lovely artwork I noticed on a wall before I left.

They also serve dinner with more recognisable Vietnamese meals such as pho (rice noodle soup) and bun (vermicelli noodles) but I’m still dubious about the authenticity, especially when they also serve non-Vietnamese dishes such as mee goreng. I’m happy to try Asian inspired dishes but when it comes to traditional food you’d have better for cheaper in Footscray or Springvale. That being said, I haven’t actually tried it so if any one has tried their dinner food please tell me about it in the comments!

Fumanchu has changed its name to Chumanchu but it doesn’t feel too official with their name still the same on Facebook. The restaurant is open Tue-Sun 8am-10pm and is located at 2 Gilbert Road, Preston. Check out some old versions of their breakfast menu here and takeaway dinner menu here.

Fu Manchu on Urbanspoon