Celebrating birthdays with Movida madness

A super Saturday night dinner at Movida to celebrate a couple of birthdays! The four of us (Ben & I and the Kooyong couple… joking, joking!), had been planning a Movida dinner for ages (and you need to plan for it given the wait to book). These birthdays seemed a very good reason to finally book it in! It had been probably two years since my last visit to Movida, a restaurant that used to be my favourite, but with the explosion of new kids on the block, my focus had moved to trying out new stuff, rather then re-visiting old stuff… I definitely won’t be leaving it as long in the future! It is still deserving of the top spot!

We started the evening with a little glass of the Roederer… because we were celebrating… and complimented the meal with 3 more bottles of french and spanish wine… Including a particulalry delicious garnache! YUM!

And what a meal it was! I got to be the orderer… And I was really hungry… Check it out below… Mr Kooyong showing off the salty cod fritters!

Salt Cod & Potato Fritters with Lemon Emulsion

Spiced Chicken Escabache Tapa on Crisp Crouton

Oh the Jamon! This was probably the dish of the night for me! So flavoursome, so delicious and the toasted bruschetta… I can’t believe it beat the lamb and the beef which were also both fabulous!

24 months aged jamon on bruschetta

Pyrenees Wet Roast Lamb Breast with Fino & Paprika Sauce

Rabbit with croutons & grapes

Slow Cooked Baby Leeks with Butter and Garlic

The famous beef cheek….

Slowly Braised Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree

What do you think of my ordering huh?! AMAZING! Can you believe we ate all of this!?! But wait… there’s more… We also hoed into some amazing dessert… churros, creme caramel and the top dessert…

Hot Chocolate Ganache Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream & Nougat

Sometimes I feel old because I can’t remember the last time I was in a nightclub… But then, when I have a Saturday night like this one… Great friends, less pain on the wallet and no hangover (okay… maybe a little headache)… I realise that the future is bright 🙂

MoVida Bar de Tapas on Urbanspoon

Surprise! Tuesday night chef’s table at Attica

Ben had told me we were having dinner with his parents on Tuesday night… Tuesday night was public holiday eve again! Woot! I got home from work and asked where we were going… “Not sure but probably a pizza place on Glenferrie Rd”… Excellent, some pizza and a few glasses of wine with the in-laws to be! 15 minutes later I was ready to go… Ben looked up and said “A bit casual aren’t we?”… Uuummm…. For a pizza place on Glenferrie Rd?? And more to the point… I was dressed perfectly fine! “Excuse me?! I would dress like this for Vu De Monde!”… Wowsers, a fight before we even got out the door… I was seriously grumpy as I drove towards Glenferrie Rd, when Ben started directing me in the opposite direction… I began to think something funny was going on…. and when I parked near the corner of Kooyong Rd and Glen Eira Rd I suddenly understood the irony of my earlier comeback! We weren’t going to Vue De Monde but rather Attica! Melbourne’s best restaurant according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and the location of my favourite meal ever. Good Tuesday night surprise Benny! Especially on a public holiday eve! Double Woot!

butter, whipped olive oil & table decoration

Tuesday night is Chef’s Night at Attica. This is when Ben Shewry and his team test and develop new menu items. It costs $95 a head for five courses and you can match wine for an additional $70. I have added a photo of the evening’s menu.. it’s not very descriptive. In fact, it’s hard to imagine what you will be eating from the list of ingredients describing each course.

That’s the beauty of it! The shiitake broth flavour was INCREDIBLE. I knew I could smell mushrooms cooking when we walked in. They must have been cooking hundreds of them to get the depth of flavour that was happening in this tiny bowl of clear broth with eleven types of basil leaves and a liquorice leaf floating in it. No photo of the first couple of courses as I felt a little funny taking pics for some reason (until I’d had a few wines of course). Each course was very small but blew me away with the flavour combinations. Really hard to describe too. I had to keep telling myself to slow down and really enjoy each little plate of food. For once I was happy to keep nibbling on the delish bread between courses as I wasn’t afraid of getting too full!

Roasted pigeon with thinly sliced turnip and black cabbage

shredded radish & watermelon on granita with liquorice leaf

The dessert was slightly too strange when it first came out but as the granita melted it became more enjoyable. I was really hoping for a final treat like the last time we came and my wish came true when the bird nest arrived with four gorgeous caramel filled eggs to really finish the meal!

caramel filled chocolate eggs

Attica again lived up to the hype as Melbourne’s best… I can’t wait to go again on a Tuesday and see what new dishes are coming out of that genius kitchen!
Attica on Urbanspoon

South Melbourne lunch special…

So we have a new South Melbourne local but there is a problem… It’s so bloody good that it’s getting super busy. The place is run by a team of two behind the bar and stove…. oohh… I get it now… Stove Monkey… Suddenly the name makes sense but I think they may need to be hiring another Stove Monkey soon to keep up with demand… There aren’t that many lunch spots in South Melbourne where you have to queue: the market dim sims…. and Origami Japanese but this is going to be the latest methinks…

They do a few sandwiches and a couple of soups that you can have eat-in or take-away. They are brilliant sandwiches and soups too… peeps in the office start calling from 11am to find out what’s on for the day but in my opinion the two absolute winning dishes that you must have if you have time to eat-in are the cuttlefish & calamari spicy tabbouleh salad and/or the fried chicken on coleslaw with a crispy fried egg… What does a crispy fried egg taste like? Try it… It’s definitely worth it!

calamari & cuttlefish on spicy tabbouleh

Pork Belly Ciabatta

chicken with coleslaw and crispy fried egg

Stove Monkey on Urbanspoon

Grand Prix lunch at Ichi Ni

Another family Sunday lunch and another VERY hungover sister of mine… I have clearly, finally, grown into my role as the mature, intelligent and beautiful older sister… It was the first weekend both sisters were in Melbourne for at least 2 years… Big occasion and one sister had never met the other sister’s boyfriend (of four years)… Wow! Plus the wonderful Aunt Chrissie was in attendance. SO many family catch-ups, so much fun! It’s like we are in training for Family Xmas (a tri-yearly event that moves around the country to each of my father’s siblings state of abode)… This year Victoria. Lookout!

We started with some nibbles:

Endamame

I picked Ichi Ni for this particular Sunday lunch, having seen the weather and with the hope to catch a few rays in the awesome front courtyard. It is also my favourite Jap Jap restaurant. Awesome food, location and ambience, whether you sit inside or out! I totally forgot the Grand Prix track is just around the corner and Sunday was the big day… oops. Bad for traffic but frikkin cool for airshows right? ha! I also hadn’t been to Ichi Ni for a while and was certainly craving some ebi mayo….yyuuummmm… BEST PRAWNS IN MELBOURNE!

The incredible, amazing ichni ni ebi mayo

I did think we would be sharing a few bottles of wine over our lunch, however littlest sister’s hangover brought the party mood down somewhat… We did sample a rice beer, a soy beer and a glass of crisp australian reisling for me…. the perfect accompaniment to the following feast…

The LARGE sushi and sashimi platter - art on a platter

Soft shell crab roll

Spicy Dragon Roll

Littlest sister’s state was not improving and the raw fish array, which was fabulous, was probably not helping her cause….

sick sister

Another lemonade and a serve of deep fried chicken and she seemed on the up by the time we had finished our fab family fun lunch…

Tori Kara - deep fried marinated chicken.. for the sick little one

After a great lunch, the perfect combination of fresh and fried, we took a stroll along the St Kilda foreshore, we checked out the markets and most randomly… we took a quick ride on the scenic railway at Luna Park… MUCH SCARIER than I remember… haha
Ichi Ni Izakaya on Urbanspoon

A GAStronomical start to the day in South Melbourne

There are a lot of good things about working in South Melbourne. Food choice being at the top of my list, particularly brekkie choices. If I go out for brekkie it’s rare that I would go past some kind of hot dish with eggs. My feeling is, if it’s cold, it’s pretty easy to do myself. There is one exception that I go back to time and time again…. The muesli at GAS on Coventry St South Melbourne. I am not going to say it’s the best in Melbourne as I cannot claim to have tried them all (and have heard the muesli at Pope Joan is to die for) but in my muesli realm it is definitely the best yet. I am talking about the roasted muesli of course.. And although this dish is essentially a cereal, I think it would be difficult to claim a low fat tag…. I could be wrong but his stuff tastes far too good to be healthy!

On this particular morning, a work friend and I were just going to grab an energy boosting bite to eat before a three hour meeting. We went to GAS but we were trying to be healthy so we ordered away from our standard roasted muesli with greek yogurt and two serves of rhubarb and instead ordered a similar, seasonal speciality… the mango cheeks with rhubarb, pomegranate and greek yoghurt…

Mango cheeks, rhubarb, pomegranate and a special side dish

Notice anything..??

We just couldn’t go a brekkie at GAS without the muesli and asked if we could get a little on the side…. hahaha!
Gas Eatery & Supplies on Urbanspoon

The Second Ladro – South of the River

This is a tale from 2011… A dinner at Ladro Greville St… probably first half 2011 but I was back very recently for another hit with the bookclub ladies.. On that most recent visit I was very lucky. Most of the bookclub ladies seem to be pregnant and we had the set menu which included a prosciutto, salami & pancetta plate…. enough for 16 ladies…. See what I mean? Lucky! WAHOOO!

Anyway back to the visit that we have pictures for because it is a meal that sticks in my memory as one of my best italian meals ever. I’m going to say there were three of us at dinner. Normally with this gang there would be four but I can’t find enough meals to feed four so am guessing one of the girls couldn’t make it this particular evening. We ordered a pepperoni pizza, the pasta special and the main special to share as we are a happy, adventurous group that like to taste everything. I have actually been to Ladro’s a few times between this visit and the bookclub visit. I have had my fingers crossed that this pasta special would return… my favourite pasta dish alongside the seafood agnolotti with cherry tomatoes at Carlisle Wine Bar… but alas I have never seen it again.

simple & delicious pepperoni pizza

flat gnocchi with pancetta, bocconcini & incredible salsa

Fabulous roast pork loin, with cornichons and I think polenta

Obviously we got dessert since we had skipped on the entree (to be healthy) and shared a delicious tiramisu and chocolate ravioli… sweet pasta is aahhhmmmmaazzzing! And by the way, when I say shared, I’m pretty sure I mean, the others had a taste and I polished off the lot..

dessert duo: tiramisu & chocolate filled ravioli

Ladro Greville on Urbanspoon

2011 part 2 – The fine food of Bali…

Okay another flashback but not too far this time…

Six months ago, on an amazing girls trip to Bali, I got my eat on in a serious way! It was such an amazing trip that we have booked in again for 2012 so you can expect another posting like this later in the year. We visited a few old favourites and some newbies…

KU DE TA is still my favourite place for daytime nibbles by the beach, 10 years after the first time I visited. This time around, we stayed in Uluwatu, far from the hustle and bustle which was wonderful but it made our trips in to Seminyak less frequent and therefore much busier. On this occasion we had spent the morning at Bodyworks for pampering sessions and were re-fuelling before an afternoon of shopping. See what I mean about busy? Perfect day really!

tomato gazpacho with shredded prawns, cucumber, peppers & sourdough croutons

soft shell crab salad with green beans, cherry tomatoes, chilli, lime leaf, mint, coriander, peanuts, & nham jim

tuna carpaccio with preserved lemon, fried capers, chilli and salmoriglio dressing

lobster & pork gyoza with spring onion & black pepper vinegar

The view from KU DE TA at our lunch..

Next up is Sarong which was my favourite dinner spot for the last trip. We had to book for this one. Frikkin awesome asian food served up in a heavily decorative room… Think red velvet drapes, gold brocade and heaps of chandeliers. Amazing ambience. I can’t remember the exact dishes but I can tell you it was the best pork belly I have ever had… and believe me, I have had a lot!

incredible pork belly - crap pic unfortunately

... can't remember what this was... very green though!

pretty lights

lightly cooked fish from the coconut grill with chilli vinegarette

chilli prawns with pink grapefruit and mint. This was SERIOUSLY HOT in the chilli way! YUM

empty plates

Finally, two pictures from our favourite place in Bali… Nammos Beach Club at Karma Kandara Resort. We spent way too many days lazing on this beach, munching on the incredible parmesan truffle fries and delicious pizzas and drinking Coronas or Bintang…. Can’t wait to be back here…

the beach club

my fav nammos pizza - fig, gorgonzola & prosciutto

And that it all on Bali… for now…