Tag Archives: nightlife

Rue & Co

I wrote about the new eating spot Rue & Co recently on Weekendnotes but I’m yet to express my opinion on the food.

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It houses Melbourne foodie names such as St Ali (which has cafes in North and South Melbourne), Masterchef George Calombaris’ Greek venture, Jimmy Grants, and Kong, a taste of Chin Chin’s Chris Lucas’ yet-to-open restaurant.

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You’ve probably heard all about it by now, but it also contains a large work of art by street artist RONE (the portrait in the first picture), whilst fairy lights and projections add to the beauty at night.
20140502_175028After examining the menus, we felt spoilt for choice. Lucky we had a group of five or so, which means we could all get something different.

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As a massive lover of Chin Chin, I was eager to try Kong (menu above), influenced by Korean and Japanese food. The buns looked a little small and not too interesting as we peered over at other peoples’ meals. One friend chose the roast pork belly kong bo ssam (below). We weren’t entirely sure what it was, but the description says it is served with kimchi, ssam jang (spicy sauce) and butter lettuce ($14). We also thought it’s hard to go wrong with pork belly.

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Unfortunately it was a bit underwhelming for $14. The sauce was light and doesn’t add much flavour, and I’m not sure what the difference between lettuce and butter lettuce is, as it tasted fairly normal.

I also ordered a ssam roti roll with BBQ lemon and gochujang chicken with slaw, Korean chilli paste and zucchini kimchi ($12). This was like a normal wrap in roti bread with a touch of spice. It’s possible I’ve set my expectations too high because of Chin Chin, but I’d be happy to try the restaurant when it opens in Richmond and its full menu before I completely write it off.

Kong on Urbanspoon
Meanwhile, my friends were lining up at Jimmy Grants for the 200g slow roasted lamb shoulder ($18.50, below), served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. I’ve heard a lot about Jimmy Grants but never had the chance to drop by the original restaurant, so this location seemed convenient.

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They also bought a serve of chips with garlic, feta and oregano ($7, above), which were nice whilst the lamb was standard, but serving size seems a bit small for $18.50.

I preferred the souvlaki, Mr. Papadopoulos ($9.50, below), which another friend ordered. It contained lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley. This was surprisingly the best thing I tried that night – even my friend who doesn’t like Greek food enjoyed it too.
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Jimmy Grant's on Urbanspoon

After this I was still hungry so it was time for round two! After much debate, we went with a shroom burger with caramelised onion and thyme from St Ali’s Church of Secular Coffee with chips ($12, below right). It’s a good option for vegetarians as the mushroom is large and juicy.

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My friend didn’t realise the omission of the word ‘meat’ so was a bit disappointed haha, but I guess for non-vegetarians there are more exciting burgers. Someone on my Instagram recommended the soul searching burger, which contains kimchi and shrimp with spicy mayonnaise.

The St Ali menu has changed slightly after its initial opening from the menu below, thus now each day has a special burger and some names may have changed.
Whilst my friends went to get our burger, curiosity took the better of me and I went to try some of Jimmy Grants’ dim sims ($7.50 for 3 pieces). I’d seen many people express their love for these on Instagram, but for my friends it was a bit odd with ingredients such as peas inside. *A lovely reader has pointed out these are in fact capers not peas. Not that odd, however still not entirely to my taste. The dim sims contain cabbage, chicken, coriander and capers!

I was indifferent, but they didn’t live up to all the hype I’d observed and I would choose my sister’s homemade dim sims any day!

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We didn’t have any dessert as we headed off to Sugar Hit Melbourne – Bollywood that night.

This just meant I found an excuse to drop by one morning before work. The only thing open at this time is St Ali and although it was 10am, a long line of corporates and everyday Melburnians greeted me (below).

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As I overheard someone tell his colleague, “Yeah that’s what you do in Melbourne. Coffee.”

St Ali has some of the best baristas in the world, so why not drop by? I can concur my latte was great and I rarely like lattes without a hint of flavour. I eyed the interesting profiteroles on the menu last time so I bought a mixed pack of six to share with colleagues ($3 each) on this occasion.

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The chocolate and hazelnut was great, with a little hazelnut on top, chocolate cream inside and a bit of a crumbly texture akin to a cookie and different to your normal profiteroles.

The salted caramel was great too, with the salty hint not too strong. I can’t decide which one I liked more!

Church of Secular Coffee on Urbanspoon

Overall, the food did not wow me as much as I’d think these big names would. Maybe I didn’t try the right items, but I think it’s the atmosphere and beauty of Rue & Co that really draws you in.

Rue & Co is open from 7am until late every day and is located at 80 Collins St, Melbourne CBD.

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Sugar Hit Melbourne: Bangkok Nightlife

20140404_182207If you didn’t hear me plugging this sweet event last week (pun intended), I can assure you that you missed out on some amazing desserts. Lucky for you, there’s still two more events to come in May and June.

Last Friday, I attended the first night of Sugar Hit Melbourne, a collaboration between Krimper Cafe, Luxbite, N2 Extreme Gelato and Mork Chocolate. It’s lucky we arrived early, as people dawdled in the laneway because the line got extremely long later on.

Whilst we waited, some people were using fluorescent tape to create some impressive artwork (right). The basketball hoop, the hopscotch matching Krimper’s neon pink sign, and more, turned the area into a vibrant scene dubbed “Play Laneway”. It seemed to encapsulate the playful feeling of Melbourne’s laneways and street art.

I wasn’t entirely sure how it would work – I thought perhaps it would be a market-like setup in the laneway. However the entire experience is actually one big line passing different stations inside Krimper  – something we realised a little too late.

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Upon entering, we passed some little stalls including one for greeting cards and one full of Asian snacks from Mr. Nice Guy Thai. You then pass the cafe counter where you can order Mork hot chocolates or “Morktails”, Thai milk tea in bags infused with vodka or savoury food such as pork sliders by Krimper. We also spotted a DIY photo booth – but thought that could wait until after the food!

We would have tried some drinks but by the time we realised we were part of one big line, we had passed and found ourselves reaching our main target – the dessert corner featuring ever-so-poplar Luxbite and N2 Extreme Gelato. I had healthily been stalking their Instagrams and Facebooks for menu teasers, as I thought this would help me make my decision as to what to order. But everything sounded so good that we decided to order everything!

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Although the lining up was a bit hectic, the swiftness of Luxbite and N2’s service was quite impressive. From N2, I had the lychee champagne bucket ($8, top left), featuring lychee sorbet, lychee jelly bits and a pipette of champagne. It tasted pretty much how I expected it to. I’m not a big fan of champagne, but I love lychee and the flavours were subtle enough until you squeeze the pipette!

My friend had the Bangkok nuts ($8, top right), which had coconut cream sorbet, a sticky peanut centre and a layer of creamed corn topped with whipped Thai milk tea cream. What a mouthful – quite literally. I don’t usually like coconut but I really enjoyed the sticky peanut centre and the milk tea cream was an innovative idea. It’s amazing how much they can do with one cup of gelato.

IMG-20140404-WA0028 I’d fortunately won a free Luxbite dessert, hence this tube dessert called Love You Long Time ($9, above), which included condensed milk panna cotta, caramelised banana, pandan cream, coconut & peanut crumble and ginger & pineapple macaron. Not a great fan of pandan either (I know, you’re thinking what do I like?), but the layers of this dessert really bring everything together to create a taste sensation. I especially enjoyed the crumble and caramelised banana. You can taste the Asian/Thai influences and the result is delicious.
IMG-20140404-WA0007Next up was Luxbite’s Sood Tee Ruk or “Ultimate Sweetheart” ($7, above). This was a kalamansi lime curd tart with kalamansi confit, longan, chilli salt, meringue, kaffir lime sherbet. I’d never heard of kalamansi until this day but discovered it was a type of lime. Thus, it was similar to a lemon meringue tart, but nicer. The crumble of the meringue along with the lime flavour balanced out well and the tart had some interesting parts inside. Luckily for those who missed out, Luxbite just revealed today that they will be selling the dessert this weekend!
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The ultimate surprise and my favourite was a collaboration between Luxbite and N2 – mango sticky rice ($10, above). This included coconut & pandan sticky rice, mango boba, coriander, caramelised shallots, mango lemongrass sorbet, palm sugar caramel and basil seed. The sticky rice was a familiar taste for an Asian person like me and it’s normal for it to be eaten as a dessert.

But this brought sticky rice as a dessert to a whole new level, with the popping of the juicy boba balls, a delicious syringe of palm sugar caramel, and sorbet oozing seductively all over it. The entire dish worked so well that I hope they bring it back in the future!

Sugar Hit Melbourne will occur again with a Bollywood theme on May 2nd and one more time with a K-Pop theme on June 6th. Check out their Facebook and social media to hear all the latest updates. 

Meanwhile, if you can’t make these events you can always drop by the respective stores. I’ve already blogged about N2, so I’ll give a special mention to Luxbite. I’d recommend their banoffee opera cake (left) with hazelnut sponge and banana ganache. It’s rich, but great with a cup of tea. You can also try their famous Lolly Bag Cake as featured on Masterchef or their interestingly flavoured macarons. They’re even selling a Luxbite and Mork Chocolate collaboration of salted caramel hot chocolate that you can mix up at home!

Luxbite is located 38 Toorak Road, South Yarra and you can view their online menu here.

LuxBite on Urbanspoon