Tag Archives: Melbourne CBD

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

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Mission #4: Simply Spanish

A belated post, but a while ago I met the lovely Steph also known as spooksnbubbles or Food For My Belly. After I invited her to one of my past events and it didn’t work out, we decided to catch up separately instead.

She let me choose a place, and as I was feeling like something not too expensive but not Asian, I decided to give Simply Spanish (Bourke St) a try after seeing positive reviews. I didn’t want an overly expensive meal but that’s the sort of prices you tend to get with tapas and large dishes like paella, so I thought the prices at Simply Spanish seemed reasonable. Continue reading

Gingerboy

With Melbourne’s crazy and unpredictable weather, I still haven’t managed to start Mission #2. Although what have I been eyeing? Well the Hideaway pop up at QV for one – it’s curated by Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and includes some special events and workshops, whilst acting as a cafe (Milky Joe) during the day. That was my go-to coffee back in my interning days! 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?

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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.

Burma Lane

I’m still surprised, that Red Spice Road‘s sister restaurant is not well known. But “not well known” still seems hard to define – most of the people around me had not heard of it, but the place was booked out the night we went.

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As with Red Spice Road, the service is always friendly and accommodating. I altered the number of guests a few times and they were neither annoyed nor snobbish. We also came quite late but my friends already present did not mention being rushed or questioned.

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It’s a nice place to enjoy a cocktail or some mocktails with your food and I always enjoy a good drink with experimental and Asian-inspired mixes.

RSR impressed me with a mocktail once, so I eagerly tried and enjoyed a THAI DAI ($9, right) which had lychee juice, pomegranate, kaffir lime. It even had a pomegranate in it, which was impressive. The lychee gave it a good degree of sweetness and the minty taste was not overpowering as it is in some drinks, allowing the pomegranate to shine.

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The food is a Western take of Burmese food with South-East Asian and Indian influences. We pretty much ordered all the meat since it was a large group, the top photo being the Lamb slow cooked in Yoghurt w/ Green Pea and Tomato Biryani ($27) and Rich Beef, Sweet Potato & Pickled Lime Curry ($28).

They were both so-so dishes, not amazing us, but exhibiting some different tastes. My friends were not fans of the beef. With its big tender chunks, it still seemed a tad dry and uninteresting. Unfortunately, a lot of expectations come with dining here and this take on Burmese cuisine does not seem to have the boldest flavours.

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We were excited to try their Roasted Pork Belly w/ Spiced Caramel Sauce & Herbal Salad ($29), after all, the most popular dish at RSR is their caramelised pork belly with apple slaw.

There was nothing wrong with the dish, but it had the same issue with comparison – the caramelised taste felt subtler than RSR, whilst the salad was nothing special. Even as a stand alone dish, I would find the pork belly acceptable but not a standout.

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I did enjoy the Prawn Dry Red Curry w/ Fried Cauliflower & Coriander ($29), as the sauce was nice and it had a tiny hint of spice. I think I was too busy enjoying the night to even notice the fried cauliflower!

We did notice that a lot of the dishes looked hot with the scattered chillies but none of them seemed to really be spicy except the chicken noodle dish below ($24). This was a little bland once again, besides the mint leaves and chilli tang.

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Despite similar prices to Red Spice Road, the food didn’t feel as satisfying. It’s possibly due to the weaker flavours and also servings are a bit smaller, as the restaurant is located on the Paris end of town.

We ordered a second round of food for the table so ended up with pretty much the remaining meat dishes and…

The Mushrooms stir-fried w/ Shan Tofu, Greens, Yellow Noodles & Coriander ($25, below.) This did not feel like the mushrooms were the main attraction of the dish but rather the tofu. Shan tofu is a Burmese tofu, and the inside texture and taste were almost like potato.

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We also had the interesting sounding Chicken Aloo-Rolled Chicken w/ Potatoes, Tomato, Spices, Lemongrass & Coriander ($28). The flavour was slightly different, the sauce seemed to demonstrate more vegetable flavours with a hint of Asian herbs. I enjoyed the chicken but felt like there was very little of it.

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Finally, we also had some classic calamari but it seemed quite plain compared to the fancy description of Calamari w/ Apple, Sweet Pork, Tomato & Herb Salad ($28). To me, it just felt like calamari, tomato and a few leaves…

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Unfortunately, this place did not live up to the hype. That is the unfortunate thing about having such a popular restaurant chain already, but may also explain why some people still haven’t heard of Burma Lane. The service and people are always top notch at both RSR and Burma Lane, but unfortunately this “contemporary” take on Burmese food has not won me over.

Burma Lane is located 118 Little Collins St and is open 12-3pm for lunch and 6pm-late for dinner. Check out their menu here.

Burma Lane on Urbanspoon

Anju Bar and Restaurant

Lately, I’ve been discussing and pondering over the idea of themes on my blog. Someone recently commented that I often blog about the same sort of places. Thus, next month I’ll be starting a new idea – so watch out!

For this month, let’s just say I’ll continue with my “usual” places, which I have realised consists of mainly Asian or modern Asian joints! (Check out this category, and it becomes even more apparent).

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Following my recent discovery of modern Korean restaurant Suda, I happened to discover another similar restaurant called Anju Bar and Restaurant via the procrastination that is Instagram.

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A friend mentioned it wasn’t busy last time she went, but with only two people, my friend and I still had to be seated at the bar on a Thursday night. It seemed most of the larger tables were taken or booked so I was happy that we were still able to squeeze in.

20140710_181647The menu is divided into traditional and modern dishes (click on picture above). I was surprisingly not overly hungry and decided to order the dishes that I’d heard most about, the sliders and the mother and son omelette.

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They also have plenty of Korean alcoholic drinks (click above) to go alongside your dish, from soju cocktails (again!) to rice wine (makgeolli).

You’ll notice, I drive often, so I had to go for a more tame pear juice ($4, below). I’m not sure if they make it themselves or not, but it came in the current trend of a mason jar mug, and had a nice, light and slightly diluted taste of pear.
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I have also seen pictures of an interesting ice-cream soju cocktail, as seen on The Bake-a-nista’s post, but I didn’t spot it on the menu above. It seems to involve dipping an ice-cream (on a stick) into your drink, so I hope they bring it back! It may have been a summer item.

20140710_183030Since all the sliders sounded amazing, we decided to order four of them. This included the soft shell crab (right), beef bulgogi (centre), pork bulgogi (spicy pork, left) and panko ebi (crumbed prawn, back). All sliders were $6 except the soft shell crab, $8.

Service was swift and attentive. It could be because we were right at the bar and in front of the register, but I’ve heard many good accounts. We asked for a knife to split our sliders and one was provided a mere few seconds later.

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Each slider had its own unique taste to match the filling. The prawn and soft shell crab had mayonnaise type of sauces and a slaw filling to match their crispy exteriors. I think I enjoyed the soft shell crab the most. It was crunchy and slightly juicy whilst complimented by the slaw and sauces.

The beef bulgogi meat was nice and sweet too, but a bit plain with not much else in there. The spicy pork felt a bit similar, but also didn’t feel suitable in a burger for me.

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Above is the mother and son omelette ($26), which was an oven baked omelette with cheese, bean shoots and spicy chicken inside. This was very cheesy, but I enjoy my cheese so it wasn’t a problem. The chicken pieces are a little hard to find but the cheese and egg make it a filling dish.

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The prices are more expensive than you would usually pay for Korean fare, especially as you get to the meatier options, but this is not your typical Korean restaurant. I’d gladly return for the lovely setting and service to try a few more items (and drinks), as it’s something a little different. But for now, I haven’t left with the desire to come rushing back immediately.

Warning: you will smell strongly of food when you leave, as the picture above shows how open the cooking area is at Anju!

Anju Bar and Restaurant is located at 18 Little Latrobe St and is open Mon to Fri 11:30am-2:30pm and Mon to Sun 5:30-11:00 pm.

Anju Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Sushi Hotaru


I was finally able to try a sushi train the other week, after debating over which one to try. The mixed reviews for Sushi Hotaru made me a bit reluctant but many people I know gave me firsthand accounts of liking it, so it felt like worth trying.
20140606_174624It’s a place you have to know about to find, as it’s up a few levels in Mid City Arcade on Bourke St, between Swanston and Russell St. Just go up the escalators and you’ll eventually see it (and perhaps a line in front of it)!

It doesn’t take bookings and I’d read that it would be quite a wait if you get there after 6pm. We managed to get there a bit after 5.30pm, thus we were given a number and we were only subject to a fifteen minute wait until our number was called.20140606_180006After we were called in we were promptly seated at two stools. You don’t really know where to put your jacket so I saw a lot of people just sitting on theirs’.

The novelty of the experience is the iPad touchscreens for where you are sitting. You’ll find most dishes on the train become repetitive but this is why you should take advantage of the iPad.

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The system is quite easy to use, with the menu divided into comprehensive sections such as hand rolls and nigiri (where the meat/fish is on top of the rice). You also use it to order drinks or call the staff – when we ordered water it came in a mere few seconds.

Furthermore when you order from the iPad, the staff in the centre of the room are continuously making fresh sushi to put on the train and also the ones that have been ordered. In a few minutes, they will hand it directly to you and the iPad will show a symbol to indicate it has been delivered. Technology!

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Each dish is $3 unless you see a sign indicating they are a special gold plate – they cost about $7.90, but I didn’t have any. You’ll get typical sushi such as salmon and crab drifting past you, but they look a bit plain compared to the gems you could order on the iPad.

It’s hard to remember what everything was, but I think the above was a spicy seared salmon nigiri, whilst the below seemed to be the salmon and onion nigiri. I love Japanese seared food so they were really enjoyable with their subtle, smoky flavours.

20140606_181418The hand rolls were also good value for the same price, the one we chose below was the obvious choice to us – soft shell crab! I enjoyed that this came out freshly made and quite hot, preferable to the sushi that has been on the train for a few rounds.
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The same goes for this crunchy crumbed prawn – it came out nice and warm, so that the crispy exterior was really prominent.

20140606_182649It’s hard to remember what every dish was – this below dish kept coming across on the train and we finally decided to try it. I think it was just teriyaki chicken with a lotus chip on top, thus not very exciting.
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I didn’t take pictures of everything but another favourite was one of the scallop sushi whilst dishes such as the eel cream cheese (bottom right) were interesting, but not necessarily winning creations.

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I enjoy this concept and wouldn’t mind trying another train such as Sakura Kaiten Sushi or the new one at the Emporium. What’s good about this one is the cheap prices compared to these other options and despite negative reviews, service was swift for me.

The moment we clicked the call for our waitress on the iPad, she was over and ready to count our dishes for our bill. The experience was very efficient. The dishes weren’t amazing, but it’s hard for a $3 sushi plate to cause that many sensations.
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I would definitely recommend ordering a lot, rather than waiting for it to come around. Then you’ll even get the benefit of a hot dish being passed over to you.

The beginning is the only slightly confusing part, as there’s no sign indicating how the queue works. The door to the restaurant had a green “Push to open” button and makes it look a bit intimidating to walk in and ask. We did eventually go in and we were given a number. But if you never walked in, you would be standing outside in line without a number and a bit lost, so just make sure you are definitely in the queue!

Have you tried the other sushi trains? Comment below about your experience!

Sushi Hotaru is located on the first floor of Mid City Arcade, Shop 118 200 Bourke St Melbourne CBD. They are open Mon-Sun 11am-10pm.

Sushi Hotaru on Urbanspoon