Tag Archives: salad

Mission #1: Yong Green Food

A restaurant recommendation that has often come up during my vegetarian mission is Yong Green Food. I made a quick stop by the other day and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out my new Canon 600D camera. Continue reading

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Mission #1: Lentil As Anything

You may have heard of Lentil as Anything, as there are several branches in Melbourne. It’s known for its unique payment method – you pay however much you feel it’s worth.

20140810_174059The most popular one is located at Abbotsford Convent, and so I had this in mind for my vegetarian mission. It wasn’t until I started looking it up online that I discovered there was one much closer to home in Preston.

The interior was small and basic, which was expected for a place that runs on donations. However as we were waiting for our food, we decided to check out the courtyard at the back.
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It definitely had that grungy feel with graffiti and dreamcatchers decorating the place, but it also looked like a great spot if you were to drop in for brunch or on a sunny day.

20140810_174527As it was cold, we remained at our table inside, but we were glad we made the effort to see what was hidden at the back.

20140810_175030This branch provides table service, which was prompt. I went with the curry platter, which came with some rice, dhal, curry, salad and pappadum. It wasn’t amazing, and the curry and dhal could have been a lot hotter (temperature-wise and spiciness-wise). To be honest, I’ve tried dhal made by a film festival colleague, which tasted a lot better!
20140810_175023My friend ordered the Indian minestrone soup, which seemed to have a herbal flavour in the soup that wasn’t to my taste. A little towards the end my friend also believed he found a hair in his soup at which point we moved on to the salad…
20140810_175534The Vietnamese salad was surprisingly delicious. I was reluctant to order something Vietnamese at a place like this because, as we are both Vietnamese, I didn’t think it would be up to standard. However the tofu on top was excellent, covered in some nice, sweet sauce.

Our only gripe would be there was not enough tofu!
20140810_180135My friend enjoyed his cappuccino, whilst I ordered a hot chocolate. It looked lovely but took a little while to come out and the froth felt cold.
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And so I’m glad I got to try something out of my comfort zone, which is what the mission is all about. Unfortunately the place did not surprise me with some amazing food, but the people were lovely and attentive. I might give the Abbotsford Convent one a go in the future.

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Lentil As Anything is located at 288 High St, Preston and is open for lunch 12-3pm and dinner 5-9pm everyday. Check out their menu here.

Lentil as Anything on Urbanspoon

As always for this month’s mission, I would like to remind you I have chosen vegetarian as my first adventure to raise awareness of the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne. Our program is now live and you can watch our trailer below!

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham is building up a reputation around the southern most part of St Kilda Rd. Many go for the coffee, others for the friendly smiles and service that greet you at the door. The first time I went to get something for lunch they didn’t make a good impression – they kind of stuffed up my order. But my colleagues and I decided to go for a dine-in lunch and I thought I would give it another chance.
20140327_125202 Their menu is quite simple and succinct, as can be seen by their breakfast menu here. They were a bit busy as we sat ourselves down, so we went to get the menus ourselves from the bench above. I ended up choosing a wrap from the display window rather than the menu, as the last time I ordered a tandoori chicken one for takeaway it was great – it was just the service that was the problem.

20140327_130336It’s friendly yet kind of strange that a staff member floats around the door and the front counter to greet you. That’s from in front of the counter – not behind. So when you order, you find yourself standing right next to the person serving you and asking what you would like. There’s not really anything wrong with it, but you will find it a change to your conventional processes of having a barrier between the server and customer.

I ordered a Korean beef wrap ($9) with a side of chips (I think it was about $3). I loved the presentation of everything, the bonus salad and the cute basket of french fries (below).

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My wrap was full of plenty of beef but it didn’t really have that spicy tang of Korean flavour I’m so used to. I was kind of expecting something similar to say a Koba BBQ burrito, a blend of spicy flavours, as the tandoori chicken wrap last time tasted exactly like it would in a meal. This is not to say the beef didn’t taste good, it just wasn’t what I expected.

It may seem silly but small aspects such as their glasses and brown sugar impressed us with their aesthetics. Unfortunately, what wasn’t simple was their special of the day. We were eyeing a few other meals with a large mug and wandering what everyone was getting.

It was not until we heard a waitress say that it’s their special that we noticed the sign high above on the wall, opposite the counter and not entirely noticeable. Another customer on our communal table highly recommended it, thus my friends who were in line, suddenly changed their minds to order the special.

Unfortunately one of my friends ordered the last one! It included a large mug of pumpkin soup and a sandwich with some pieces of bread to dip into the soup. My friend said she doesn’t usually like pumpkin soup but she liked this one, and continued to finish every little bit of the meal.

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Finally, my other friend was eyeing a teriyaki tofu wrap ($8.50) in the display. I love tofu as well, so teriyaki tofu definitely sounded appetising. In the end she went with the teriyaki tofu salad ($8.50) with extra chicken ($3.50) and the result below looked amazing and definitely worth the value!
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This cafe has evidently located itself to cater to the corporates, only being open during the week. It’s either full of people on their lunch break or those dropping by to get their daily fix of coffee. The staff are friendly but considering we had to get a menu ourselves, I think it would be a great idea to have a menu on the wall considering it’s quite short. Perhaps a sign indicating you need to order at the counter would also be good to invest in, to avoid any confusion.

Overall, I do enjoy their interesting variety of wraps and what they are trying to accomplish, so I hope they continue to find their feet in the coming months.

Green Eggs and Ham is located at 22 St Kilda Road and they are open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm. You can see their breakfast menu here, but you’ll have to check their lunch menu in store and their special’s board so you don’t miss out on anything like this!

Green Eggs and Ham on Urbanspoon

Fitzrovia

Working right down the road from this place doesn’t seem to help the wallet! The sandwiches are huge, bursting with vegies, greens and more, and always draw attention when we bring them back to work. This place comes up often in conversations about popular brunch places in Melbourne, so the next step was to visit for a proper meal.

The place is quite spacious, with lots of outdoor seating to bask in the St Kilda sun. We seated our selves inside, but it took a fair bit of time before we were finally served with water and menus. A great deal on the menu sounds tempting, and the majority have a unique feel to the dish.

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For example, an extra on the menu is lime and bitters cured Tasmanian salmon – much more impressive sounding than smoked salmon right? My work mate chose the salad of the day ($14.50) with the so called Tasmanian salmon on the side ($5, above), but she said overall the dish was a bit oily.

Another option to eat in, is their daily baked tart ($15.50), visible at the counter and varying every day, with a Dijonnaise salad. Each day is a surprise so you might come across a sweet potato or zucchini tart on display. When presented to us, the slice looked enormous and comparable to any other meal on the menu.

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My other colleague chose a fancier sounding salad, which also seemed more nicely presented than the salmon. It was the charred corn, avocado, quinoa, black eyed pea and pomelo salad ($16, above) with coriander & minted yoghurt dressing and extra chorizo ($3.5). Although it looks and sounds impressive, she said she wasn’t a big fan of the dressing; that it was okay, but she couldn’t have too much of it.

I was tempted by the bacon with gruyere potato cake ($19), but wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the taste of the gruyere cheese. Thus, I ended up with the safer, but still interesting option of sweet potato and caramelized onion fritters ($17.50, below), with poached eggs, thyme roast field mushrooms, snow pea shoots, grilled saganaki & truffled salsa verde.

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The dish is very filling with enough elements to entertain the palette. However, the saganaki (grilled cheese) was a bit too much, making the dish very strong and salty. The eggs were a tiny bit overdone so they didn’t ooze as much as I would have liked, but the fritters were just right.

This place is very appealing on first looks – a great deal of variety, full of atmosphere and an attractive display of different items everyday from sandwiches to salad and dessert. However, dining in may result in slow service and not the most amazing food despite high expectations. I’ve also tried their coffee and Mork hot chocolate, and haven’t found myself a fan of either of them. In fact, my hot chocolate was really muggy at the bottom. But – I do recommend their sandwiches!

Fitzrovia is open Mon-Wed 7am – 3pm, Thurs-Fri 7am-10pm, Saturday 8am-10pm and Sunday 8am-8.30pm. Their menu often changes so take a look at their current breakfast/lunch current here.

Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

Modern Asian Restaurants: Cookie

Upstairs on Swanston St, Cookie has been on my list for a while as it’s never been too far away. I was almost turned off from going there merely from a rude waiter on the phone, who snapped that he’s full on Friday night and doesn’t have any room.

However on the Friday, it seemed some online booking spots became free so I snapped one up and crossed my fingers that our service wouldn’t be as rude. Luckily, we were served by a lovely young lady and seated after a few minutes, as it was a bustling Friday night. Due to this though, the bar and restaurant was packed and the atmosphere was very much…LOUD.

It’s very dark but the dining tables are lit up with a single candle, providing romantic and dim lighting. The menu is a reasonable size, but I feel their drinks list is even longer. One of the first dishes we ordered was the sour pork belly salad with ginger, peanuts & curried rice balls ($21.50, bottom left).

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I think the pork was inside the rice balls, not separate (correct me if wrong). Either way, the idea is to break up the rice balls and mix everything together in order to enjoy the salad (end result below). The texture is similar to minced meat, it was different and had light flavours, the curry not really that strong, but this seemed suitable for a salad.

Next up we had the steamed mussels with lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger, coriander & chilli ($19.50 for half a kilo, bottom right). I think this was our favourite dish, all the seasoning and extra condiments ensured that the mussels kept us coming back for more. The extensive list of ingredients make it sound like it will be extremely rich and exotic, however I think they use small amounts of everything, allowing subtle flavours rather than the bold use of coriander, lime and chilli at Chin Chin.

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On a side note, after perusing a long and overwhelming drinks list, I went for a lychee lemongrass martini ($19, above, right) as I always enjoy the taste of lychee juice. It pretty much tasted like a classic martini infused with lychee, with some lychees in there too. You can browse through their cocktail list here, and see that you can even choose your own flavours for a frozen daiquiri.

Lastly, we ordered the pork spare ribs marinated with roasted chilli & soy ($23.50, below). They were chilli but not overbearingly so. The sauce merely tasted like your regular Asian chilli sauce, and I don’t feel like it went well with the ribs so I ate the ribs on its own. They were quite crispy and a good degree of salty, merely messy to eat in such a fancy atmosphere! And the serving was humungous, granted we did order the mussels and the ribs from the “Large Dishes” menu.

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As usual, the waitress was amazed at how much we ordered and even more amazed when she returned at the end and not a speck was left. I enjoyed the service quite a lot, as the dining area isn’t that large, it feels more intimate and like you are receiving more attention. Even though it was a Friday night, they were quite prompt and helpful at recommending dishes and the best way to enjoy them. However, a small note, they did recommend roti to enjoy with our dishes, although I don’t really feel it fit anywhere. It was a bit plain/soggy, so I would go with rice next time.

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The dessert dishes didn’t really appeal to me and I thought we should instead save our stomachs for a trip to N2 Extreme Gelato. Thus, instead of surprising the waitress even more, we received our bill in a very cute Peter Pan book. For some reason I enjoyed this immensely, as the book was still intact, and flipping through reminded me of childhood days on a very carefree Friday night!

Cookie is located First Floor/252 Swanston Street (same building as Rooftop Bar), and is open 12pm – 1am Sun-Thu and 12pm – 3am Fri-Sat. Find the menu here.

Cookie on Urbanspoon