Tag Archives: Flinders lane

Mission #4: T by Luxbite

If I had the power of foresight – this month’s theme might have been “Invites” – this week itself has been pretty crazy! I won this invite to T by Luxbite’s launch party by participating in a regram competition on Instagram and the chances were slim, but I was one of the last ones picked. Huzzah! Continue reading

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?

20140716_190330

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! 

20140716_190336

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.

20140716_191221

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.
20140716_200635

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.
FB_IMG_14055012348741514

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: Chin Chin

Chin Chin

In the early days, I was rejected from this place numerous times and due to the ridiculous wait times, I never ended up hanging around. But finally, on a late Sunday lunch in 2012, I managed to avoid rejection.

Now, I am an avid fan of this popular restaurant, and I have visited four or five times without needing to wait. I will let you in on that secret later. Due to my many visits, I realise I have quite a lot of dishes to talk about, so here it goes!

The number one dish we keep going back to Chin Chin for is the twice cooked Victorian beef short ribs with coriander and prik nam pla (Thai sauce) (below, far right, $29). The beef is so delicate, it literally falls off the bone. The sauce on the side adds a bit of a sweet, lime taste if you’re after it, but if not, the sauce that it already lies in and coriander are already rich enough to satisfy the tastebuds.

IMG_20130705_150225

My first time there, I also fell in love with the barramundi and caramelised pork belly green apple salad (top left, $27). On my most recent trip, we found the pork a bit dry, perhaps indicating that rumours I’ve heard of the restaurant’s quality deteriorating might just be true.

After several visits, I kept checking Urbanspoon to see what other dishes were popular. The son-in-law eggs with chill jam (above, bottom left, $8), kept popping up so we gave that a go. The flavours, as usual, were rich and interesting and the outsides of the eggs had a nice texture, almost like a subtly crispy skin. I wouldn’t mind ordering it again as a side to help fill me up a bit more for $8, but not a must-have dish.

IMG_20130705_090314

Pictured above, is the barbecue pork satay ($23). I keep forgetting it’s a main on the menu from this picture, as this was treated as an entree even from the way they served our food (they served this first). As good as it was (I could find no fault), I don’t think it’s special enough to differentiate from other satay skewers for half the price at most Asian restaurants.

My friend also enjoys the Massaman curry ($29), however one time we ordered the green curry ($25), and discovered that their curries can be a bit salty. Other satisfying dishes I’ve tried include the DIY pork rolls-ups ($19), kind of like peking duck but with braised suckling pig.

IMG_20130125_211859

Another friend was quite a fan of the wagyu salad or Crying Tiger (above, $29). I did like it, but sadly I couldn’t enjoy it as much as her, being the weak person when it comes to chilli! The other dish pictured is just some fried rice ($18), I don’t feel it’s anything special to talk about and I say stick to steamed rice.

What I crave from Chin Chin besides the beef, is the grilled banana roti with condensed milk (below, $12)! The pastry-like roti oozes with warm banana, and combined with the sweet condensed milk, it makes an excellent way to end a good meal at Chin Chin. I’m not sure why the palm sugar ice cream sundae (below, $14) seems more popular – I found it hard to eat a lot of it due to too many strong flavours, as if the abundance of salted honeycomb, palm sugar icecream and lime syrup were all competing to win.

IMG_20130125_180746

Now on how to get in? Well firstly, dinner will always be hard. If you are really keen, it’s probably better to go early dinner around 5 or so, and not on a weekend night. It’s a good idea to give the restaurant a call, because even if you can’t book (they only book for 10+), you can at least ask how long the wait is or if there are any free tables before heading there.

Lunch is often not that hard due to most people being at work, or you can go at an off-peak time between lunch and dinner around 2-3pm and it won’t be so hard!

I was meant to to write about other restaurants, then I realised I’ve visited Chin Chin enough to constitute one post. Look out for Part 2!

Chin Chin is located at 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne and is open 11am until late. They have also opened GoGo Bar underneath, where you can have some drinks whilst waiting for your table or enjoy some bar food/entrees from the Chin Chin menu.

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

Hidden treasures: Vapiano

IMAG5281

The beauty of Melbourne, is that it’s hard to run out of places to eat. Hidden in every nook and cranny of the CBD is something waiting for you – an indie burger place, a new pub, a hidden Asian gem.

We ventured on Flinders Lane, not our usual way (to Chin Chin), but between Queen and Elizabeth to discover a spacious Italian place. If you haven’t heard, the unique thing about their restaurant is that they provide you with a Vapiano card each and some menus. You order at various stations for pasta, pizza or drinks, you tap your card on the counter, they record your order and then cook it. This helps with that dreaded moment when splitting bills, when notes start flying, coins starts dropping and confusion ensues.

IMAG5282

It’s an interesting approach – you get to choose your type of pasta and see it being made fresh. This does mean a lack of service as you wait for your order, grab some cutlery and bring it back to your table. However, they do clear the tables quite frequently. The wait for the pasta is also not too long, but I observed for the pizzas that you have to take a pager.

IMAG5284

We were all quite satisfied with the results! I chose the “POLLO AMATRICIANA:
chicken breast, tomato and herb sauce with onion, mushroom and bacon” with fettucine as my pasta (bottom dish). The servings are generous and tasty, and I didn’t find it overpriced. They also provide you with complimentary bread if you like.

IMAG5288

The other refreshing aspect is the cute decor inside. The little pot plants and warm lighting make a very comfy atmosphere for a night out or catchup with friends. Another bonus: the complimentary gummy bears at the front desk where you enter/pay at the end.

A downside? The card states that if you lose it, the value that must be paid is $75! (Solution: Just don’t lose it!)

IMAG5289

Overall, it was a new and fun experience. I have seen some average ratings but my friends and I found the experience very enjoyable. The venue is surprisingly large and this means for a place that only takes bookings for 10 people+, that they will usually be quite equipped to fit everyone in!

Vapiano is located on the corner of Flinders Lane/Fulham Place (between Elizabeth and Queen St) and is open between 11am-11pm.

Vapiano on Urbanspoon