Tag Archives: mocktails

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

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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

Chuckle Park

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In the mood for something other than Asian but not too pricey, I discovered this hip little place on a laneway on Little Collins. Wandering along Little Collins, this laneway of hipsters and Friday night drinkers burst with animation from the everyday streets of Melbourne.

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The tiny laneway is lit up by strings of jars, with the Chuckle Park truck at the end for you to order food. Wooden tables with plants and bright red stools are scattered for a limited number of people to sit.

Chuckle Park is owned by and located next to the bar, New Guernica. Luckily for us, they were full of people for Christmas celebrations, and we received tickets for a complimentary drink on the way in to the Chuckle Park laneway. We were informed at the bar that this would be a shot, we have no idea what it was but we enjoyed it because it tasted nice like apple (they called it their appletiser promo on their entrance board).

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After this we went back downstairs to loiter in the laneway and wait for a table at Chuckle Park. It didn’t take too long and we swooped in on a table as some people were leaving. Then came the usual tough decision of what to eat!

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Their menu can be described as Spanish-inspired, with a short yet simple selection. We ended up with three pulled pork rolls and one meatball wrap and our table number was provided on a pebble (above). We also couldn’t resist their fantastic looking cocktail jars so we ordered a jar of raspberry mojito (Bacardi, raspberry liqueur, fresh lime and mint, $35) and a fruity mocktail.

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The pulled pork roll was surprisingly quite spicy, and we discovered the meatball wrap was too. On closer inspection the items are more detailedly described as pulled pork roll with slow spicy pork, cheese, walnut, fennel and slaw ($10) and tasty meatballs in pita wrap with authentic tomato spiced sauce, cheese and spinach ($10).

They didn’t seem to cut back on any ingredients and it proved a naturally messy meal. As they didn’t hold back on the meat, the spicy fillings satisfied our bellies. The pork was nice and tender and the burgers oozed with a bit of sauce as we tried to keep them together, thus the wrap wasn’t as troublesome.

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The cocktail jar may look large, but it technically holds around four or five drinks, so it was easily shared between three of us. There’s lots of ice so the raspberry flavour was more outdone by the mint leaves.

I asked if they did mocktails and so they provided their standard drink, with all their fruit juices and more mixed together. The flavour is hard to describe with so many juices involved but with an abundance of fruity fragrances and a dash of sour aftertaste, it seemed to taste more interesting than the cocktail.

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Overall, it’s a great little place and provides a unique vibe compared to a standard bar or restaurant. If you can’t stand smokers you might find it a little claustrophobic being in such a small, enclosed space yet outdoors. The meals are impressive for a small outfit and the idea seems to have proved popular.

Chuckle Park is open Mon-Thurs 12pm-late and Fri-Sun 12pm-1am. See their menu here.

Chuckle Park Bar and Cafe on Urbanspoon