Shimbu

Shimbu - East Brunswick

Shimbu – East Brunswick

Shimbu is a Tibetan restaurant recently opened on Lygon St in East Brunswick. They serve a combination of traditional and modernised Tibetan food and all of it will make your mouth water.

Shimbu - Bar

Shimbu – Bar

The venue is modern and they have some traditional Tibetan artwork and masks on the wall, which further expresses the traditional/modern feel.

Shimbu - Lychee cocktails

Shimbu – Lychee cocktails

They have a range of cocktails that are sweet, sour and refreshing. We had the lychee ones that were actually not overly sweet and were dangerously easy to drink.

Shimbu - Momos

Shimbu – Momos

Momos are Tibetan dumplings; they can be steamed or fried. The steamed ones were filled with a tasty beef filling and are carefully crafted into a shell shape. The fried dumplings were basically the love child of a Shanghai dumpling and a samosa. It looked like a Shanghai dumpling that had been deep-fried but was filled with curried beef and potato. hey had veg dumplings too.

Shimbu - SFC - Shimbu fried chicken

Shimbu – SFC – Shimbu fried chicken

The Shimbu fried chicken aka SFC was great. They were boneless chicken strips that were super crunchy on the outside and super juicy on the inside. They use chicken thigh, which explains the extra juicy part. And they were served with two sauces. A soy and a tomato relish.

Shimbu - Salad

Shimbu – Salad

The roasted sesame salad was some leafy greens with a sesame sauce topped with sesame seeds. A good side dish.

Shimbu - Spicy pork belly

Shimbu – Spicy pork belly

The spicy pork belly was cut into little slices and coated in a sticky sauce that packed a punch. It had a good kick of chilli and the pork bits were fatty and wonderful.

Shimbu - Coconut chicken curry

Shimbu – Coconut chicken curry

The bedhai coconut curry with chicken was light and fragrant. The chicken was moist and the curry had a good balance of flavours. One of my faves.

Shimbu - Honey beef curry

Shimbu – Honey beef curry

The nyamo kyurmo was honey beef in a tomato-based sauce. The honey and beef married perfectly and created a caramel beef flavour. The slices of beef were tender and the sauce was balanced well and had fresh herbs through it. It was delish.

Shimbu - Vegetables and vermicelli

Shimbu – Vegetables and vermicelli

The mixed vegetables were stir-fried in soy and were served with vermicelli noodles. It was a lovely light noodle dish.

Shimbu is a stylish Tibetan restaurant sharing tasty family recipes. And if you’re not sure what to order, they have the feed me banquet which will definitely leave you food coma-ing.

I heart Shimbu!

Olives x

Shimbu
Address: 58 Lygon Street, East Brunswick
Phone: 0405 319 161
Facebook: www.facebook.com/shimbu
Trading Hours: Tue-Sun: 5pm – 10.30pm (closed Monday)

Shimbu Tibetan Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hawker Hall

Hawker Hall - Windsor

Hawker Hall – Windsor

Hawker Hall is the latest edition to Ben Cooper’s restaurant empire and it’s located in Windsor. It’s a happening place with a big open dining space. Good food and good vibes is what keeps this place so busy. It embraces the bold casualness of hawker style food from Singapore and Malaysia and the flavours pack a punch.

Hawker Hall - Housemade soda

Hawker Hall – Housemade soda

They make homemade soda, raspberry and mint was refreshing. They also have a range of alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and cocktails.

Hawker Hall - Nyonya style fried popcorn chicken

Hawker Hall – Nyonya style fried popcorn chicken

The Nyonya style fried popcorn chicken is a good beer snack. Bite size fried chicken pieces w chilli mayo.

Hawker Hall - Panfried braised oxtail dumplings

Hawker Hall – Panfried braised oxtail dumplings

I know the words ox-tail can be a bit frightening when you see it on the menu but rest assure these pan-fried ox-tail dumplings were anything but. The dumpling skin was thin and the filling had a meaty beef flavour with fresh herbs. They were nice.

Hawker Hall - Beef rendang

Hawker Hall – Beef rendang

The Malay coconut beef rending is their signature dish and it only takes one mouthful to understand why. The flavours are big, bold, intense and balanced to perfection. The meat is tender, the curry is incredibly flavoursome and I love the touch of toasted coconut on top. I first encountered this dish when it debuted at the night noodle market as per the photo. Totally recommend this dish.

Hawker Hall - Salmon in banana leaf

Hawker Hall – Salmon in banana leaf

The Otak Otak came in a little wrapped banana leaf parcel. It was salmon with a fragrant indian curry and coconut. The salmon melted in you mouth, the texture was amazing. The aromatic flavours with the soft salmon were beautiful.

Hawker Hall - CKT

Hawker Hall – CKT

The char kway teow a.k.a CKT was yum. It wasn’t the thick flat rice noodles I’m used to in a CKT but it was still hella tasty. It had a smokey soy flavour and was mixed up with prawns, bean shoots and lup cheong (chinese sausage). I loved that it had chinese sausage.

Hawker Hall - Penang duck curry

Hawker Hall – Penang duck curry

The Penang duck curry was yum. The shredded duck was moist and it had a nice flavour. It had those mini eggplants that are so super cute and was topped with chopped peanuts.

Hawker Hall - Red sticky date pudding

Hawker Hall – Red sticky date pudding

The sticky red date pudding with coconut caramel was delish. It was soft and pudding like with a sweet, sticky coconut caramel poured over it. It was accompanied by the softest, creamiest coconut ice-cream ever. It had a really lovely texture. We ordered an extra bowl of ice-cream because it was so good.

Hawker hall is very popular like the other Lucas Group establishments, so just a heads up if you’re planning a dinner I suggest to go early otherwise you may have to wait an hour or two.

I heart Hawker Hall!

Olives x

Hawker Hall
Address: 98 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
Website: www.hawkerhall.com.au
Phone: 03 8560 0090
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun: 11am-1am (everyday)

Hawker Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia - St Kilda

Fitzrovia – St Kilda

Fitzrovia is a restaurant in St Kilda where they do home-style (comfort food) meals that warm the heart. The dishes are tasty and well executed and inspired by provincial Italian and british cuisines. They have a focus on top quality, local ad seasonal produce and Chef Paul Jewson has recently created a new spring menu.

Fitzrovia - Bar

Fitzrovia – Bar

Fitzrovia feels like you’ve walked into somebody’s home. It’s got a warm feeling about it. The dining space is decorated with boxes of fresh produce, bookshelves, old typwriters etc. And to go with the feel of the place, the meals are served in a rustic home-style manner and cooked with lots o’ love.

Fitzrovia -Salt and pepper calamari

Fitzrovia -Salt and pepper calamari

The hot and sour salt and pepper calamari was delicious. It had a crisp light batter and was soft and just melted in your mouth. The calamari was sitting on a green papaya salad with vermicelli noodles, coriander, mint, lime, cashews and a roast chilli dressing. I loved that the salad was cold but the calamari was warm. It was packed with flavour. It was fresh, hot and sour and salty and spicy. Yum.

Fitzrovia - Chickpea and black quinoa falafel

Fitzrovia – Chickpea and black quinoa falafel

The falafels had chickpeas (naturally) and organic black quinoa, which was interesting. They were really tasty and went perfectly with the sumac spiced labne which was like an aromatic yoghurt dressing. The falafel sat on a bed of turmeric roast cauliflower, smoked eggplant caviar, minted dukah and pomegranate. Loved the pops of fresh pomegranate.

Fitzrovia - Chicken saltimbocca w polenta

Fitzrovia – Chicken saltimbocca w polenta

Loved the chicken saltimbocca it was delicious. It was free-range chicken breasts wrapped with crispy prosciutto, sage and tallegio (cheese). It was sitting in a soft mascarpone polenta. That polenta! It was so amazing I could totally swim in it. And it was topped with crispy fried wisps of leek which were tasty and added crunch. This was one of my faves.

Fitzrovia - Grain salad

Fitzrovia – Grain salad

The whole grain new seasons asparagus salad had a nice texture. It had lentils, black barley, pine nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, herbs, spanish onion, lemon and fresh pomegranate. It was served with a tahini labne. I wasn’t sure where the asparagus was but it was really tasty so I didn’t mind much.

Fitzrovia - Signature polenta chips w truffled parsley and parmesan

Fitzrovia – Signature polenta chips w truffled parsley and parmesan

The Fitzrovia signature polenta chips looked like a stack of jenga. Edible jenga of course. They were golden and crisp on the outside and smooth and silky in the middle. They were covered in truffled parsley & parmesan. You could smell the truffle as soon as they hit the table. Delish.

Fitzrovia - Crumbed veal w tomato, rocket and parmesan salad

Fitzrovia – Crumbed veal w tomato, rocket and parmesan salad

The South Gippsland milk fed veal fillets Milanese were like awesome crispy snitzels. The meat was so tender and the lemon zest, parsley & parmesan crumb was beautifully crunchy. It was paired with an anchovy mayo and a simple salad with organic truss tomato, rocket and shaved Parmesan, which was really nice.

Fitzrovia - Confit duck leg w braised black lentils

Fitzrovia – Confit duck leg w braised black lentils

The thyme and garlic confit free range Ovens Valley duck leg was tasty and moist. It was served with braised black lentils which were just cooked (still had a nice bite to them), brussels sprouts (who knew I liked them) and a gribiche sauce.

The chef Paul Jewson likes to describe the food as ‘what I imagine chefs would like to cook at home on their days off’ which makes sense. It’s home-style food but cleverly put together. Fitzrovia is a great place to visit for breakfast, lunner or dinner. Dinners are back hooray.

I heart Fitzrovia!

Olives x

Fitzrovia
Address: 2/155 Fitzroy St, St Kilda VIC 3182
Website: http://fitzrovia.com.au/
Phone: 03 9537 0001
Trading Hours: Mon-Tues: 7am-3pm, Wed-Fri: 7am-9pm, Sat: 8am-9pm, Sun: 8am-4pm

Fitzrovia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Note: Olive Sundays was invited as a guest to Fitzrovia.

Supernormal

Supernormal - Street view

Supernormal – Street view

Supernormal is an Asian inspired menu created by the talented Andrew McConnell who is known for his highly successful restaurants, others including Cumulus Inc. and Cutler & Co. The menu offers bold flavours that work in complete harmony and create the perfect balance of flavour and texture. Ah-mazing!

Supernormal - Everybody loves ramen

Supernormal – Everybody loves ramen

This sign was cute. The venue is a large open space with simple contemporary deco.

Supernormal - New England lobster roll

Supernormal – New England lobster roll

The New England lobster roll was a winner. It was thin slices of perfectly cooked lobster, creamy herb mayo, a bit of watercress on a lightly toasted, soft buttery bun. It was sensational.

Supernormal - Sauteed mushrooms w rice cakes & sweet soy

Supernormal – Sauteed mushrooms w rice cakes & sweet soy

The sautéed mushrooms with rice cakes was tasty. There was a range of beautifully sautéed mushrooms and the rice cakes were deep-fried cubes of ginger flavoured rice. It was all sitting on top of a creamy (parsnip i think) puree. Love!

Supernormal - Vegetarian dumplings

Supernormal – Vegetarian dumplings

The vegetable dumplings were great. They had spinach, tofu and spring onions and were sitting in a delicate vinegar sauce.

Supernormal - Prawn & chicken dumplings w chilli, vinegar sauce

Supernormal – Prawn & chicken dumplings w chilli, vinegar sauce

The prawn and chicken dumplings had a great kick of chilli. They were sitting in a chiili oil and vinegar sauce and were topped with dried chilli and fresh spring onions. Delish!

Supernormal - DIY duck bao

Supernormal – DIY duck bao

We had the twice-cooked duck bao, which was sort of like peking duck pancakes, minus the pancakes plus a few baos. The duck had a crispy coating and the meat was tender. What you do is: you shred the duck, pop some meat in the super soft bao with a piece of cucumber and add some plum sauce. Yum!

Supernormal - Duck bao

Supernormal – Duck bao

Then you dip the bao in the vinegar and eat. It was so delicious and fun putting them together yourself because you can make it just the way you like it.

Supernormal - Salad of brocollini, tofu, candied walnut & toasted seaweed

Supernormal – Salad of brocollini, tofu, candied walnut & toasted seaweed

The salad of brocollini was one of the salads you do make friends with. It had a great balance of flavours and textures. There was a combination of broccoli and brocollini, soft tofu, candied walnuts, crunchy rice puffs and toasted seaweed scattered on top.

Supernormal - Beef cheeks w eggplant, crispy tripe and pepper sauce

Supernormal – Beef cheeks w eggplant, crispy tripe and pepper sauce

Braised beef cheeks are a great winter meal. The beef fell apart easily and was in a sticky pepper sauce with eggplant. The tripe I was unsure about at first. Who in the world knew tripe could be so delicious. It was little deep-fried bits of crispy, that sort of tasted like crackling. It was delish.

Supernormal - Fried custurd w ginger syrup

Supernormal – Fried custurd w ginger syrup

The fried custard was incredible. It was cubes of vanilla and ginger custard, battered and deep-fried with ginger syrup poured over the top with bits of candied ginger. I love ginger, custard and fried food so I had a slight inkling that I would fall head of heels for this one. Loved it. The custard is piping hot so try to eat it slowly at first, but I completely understand if you can’t help yourself.

Supernormal - Baked meringue w jasmine, raspberry & lychee sorbet

Supernormal – Baked meringue w jasmine, raspberry & lychee sorbet

The baked meringue was lovely. It had a nice shell and was soft inside. It was topped with cream, a dehydrated raspberry crumb and a scoop of lychee sorbet, which we though was an actual lychee at first glance. The lychee sorbet had an intense lychee flavour it was awesome and brought all the flavours together. There were little jellies around the plate and a raspberry jasmine coulis underneath the meringue.

Supernormal - Peanut butter parfait w salted caramel soft chocolate

Supernormal – Peanut butter parfait w salted caramel soft chocolate

The peanut butter parfait is popular for a reason. It was incredibly indulgent and reminds me of a snickers bar. The peanut butter parfait was super smooth and had a great peanut flavour. It was covered in a dark salted caramel with roasted peanuts on top. It had a layer of crushed peanuts as a base and a quenelle of soft chocolate on top. It was very rich and super delicious.

I really enjoyed everything we ate. All of the meals were modern and creative. Our waitress Sue was so lovely and very knowledgeable about the food and the company. She was also telling us about some of the exciting new ventures Andrew McConnell has in the pipeworks so be sure to keep an eye out.

I heart Supernormal!

Olives x

Address: 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Website: http://supernormal.net.au/
Phone: 03 9650 8688
Trading Hours: Sun-Thu: 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-midnight

 

Click to add a blog post for Supernormal on Zomato

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Windsor

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Windsor

Highline Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant that uses local produce to create an exciting and Australian inspired menu. It’s located upstairs at the railway hotel in Windsor. The ingredients are top quality and sourced from local providers. It definitely celebrates and embodies the paddock to plate concept. Simon Tarlington is the man behind the menu and he takes you on a journey with every mouthful.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Venue

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant- Venue

The venue décor has a modern vibe and there is a fireplace on the back wall and has comfy seating spaces. The menu was presented in an envelope, sealed with a red wax stamp, which was an elegant touch.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Farmhouse snacks

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Farmhouse snacks

We started the meal with some farmhouse snacks, which were presented on a wooden board with pieces of chorizo, salami and oysters. The meats were tasty and the oysters were an interesting rendition of a Kilpatrick oyster. There were smoky chunks of bacon at the bottom with a dehydrated oyster on top. The smokiness complimented the texture of the oyster.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Warm bread and Koojong Valley olive oil

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Warm bread and Koojong Valley olive oil

Warm bread was served in a cute little mesh bag with a side of Koojong Valley olive oil and salt.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Variations of prawn and pumpkin

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Variations of prawn and pumpkin

The first starter was ‘variations of prawn and pumpkin.’ The delicate flavours and textures worked in complete harmony. Each element on the dish had its own character and no element overpowered the other. The pumpkin puree was so smooth and full of flavour, the thinly sliced disks of pickled pumpkin added a bit of crunch and acidity, the poached prawns were perfectly cooked and the prawn fluff had an intense prawn flavour and a subtle light and rough texture. The aroma of the prawn and pumpkin broth was enticing. It was a beautiful start to the meal.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Rabbit terrine

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Rabbit terrine

Next up was the rabbit terrine. It had a full-bodied hearty flavour and was made really well. There was a beautifully cooked pink piece of rabbit in the centre. It was rolled in radicchio, which added a little bite of bitterness and the pickles were good to cut through the full-bodied flavour of the terrine. The side of shredded cucumber added freshness and the fresh figs added a light sweet flavour. It was topped with super thin buckwheat crisps.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Sauce pouring action shot.

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Sauce pouring action shot.

Then there was duck. This was one of my faves. There was a slice of perfectly roasted Gippsland duck breast (so tender) with crispy skin and shredded duck leg with a caramelised top. Yes you heard correctly, this juicy duck leg stack had a bruleed top. You could crack your spoon into the top like a crème brulee. It was sweet and juicy, amazing!

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Gippsland Duck and root vegetables

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Gippsland Duck and root vegetables

There were some colourful root vegetables to accompany the duck and the celeriac puree was silky and smooth. The liquorice dust had a great flavour and was deliciously subtle and there was these super thin crispy, wispy carrot bits that added texture. The duck jus brought all of the elements together. It was marvellous.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Oak Valley Lamb

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Oak Valley Lamb

The Oak Valley lamb was divine. It was so tender. It melted in your mouth because it was so tender. It was delicious. Did I mention it was tender? The celeriac and smoked chestnuts added a fresh crunch to the meal. And the lamb jus amplified the flavour of the lamb. There were three strips of lamb bacon, which were delicious. It had that smoky bacon flavour, it was interesting to have a different type of bacon. It was delish! The slices of pickled quince were sweet and sour and the celeriac puree was creamy. They were fantastic with the lamb.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Choc-mandarin obsession

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Choc-mandarin obsession

For dessert we had the ‘choc-mandarin obsession.’ The chocolate was sourced from the Daintree rainforest in north QLD which is a chocolate farm in oz. The chocolate mousse was so smooth. It was full of flavour and not too sweet. The crumb was a combination of chocolate and dehydrated mandarin. There was different size bits in the crumb which created an exquisite mouthfeel with a bit of chew. There were bits of mandarin jelly, which were bursts of intense mandarin flavour and cheeky bits of fresh mandarin pieces in amongst the crumb. There were thin chocolate shards placed on top, which were super thin and crispy. Yum! The chocolate shards looked like branches from a tree emerging from the chocolate crumb.

The Railway Hotel - Highline - Passionfruit jellies

The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant – Passionfruit jellies

We finished our meal with little squares of passion fruit jelly, which had a beautiful passionfruit flavour and was coated in a floral maybe lavender sugar.

They have a lovely wine selection so you can get your degustation on and pair a glass of wine with each of your meals. The ingredients used are from local providers and are of the finest quality, so the menu will often change depending on what’s in season. It was a nice escape. Even though the location was close to home, the dining experience made me feel like I was far away at a winery somewhere.

I heart The Railway Hotel – Highline Restaurant!

Olives x

Highline Restaurant
Address: 29 Chapel Street, Windsor VIC 3181
Website: https://www.therailway.com.au
Phone: 03 9510 4050
Trading Hours: Mon-Sat: 6pm til late

Highline on Urbanspoon

Note: Olive Sundays was invited as a guest to the railway hotel – Highline restaurant.

Yong Green Food

Yong Green Food - Street view

Yong Green Food – Street view

Yong green food is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant created by people wanting to make a difference. It has a really nice vibe about it. The food is organic, eco-friendly and no living beings are hurt in the making of these incredibly delicious meals. My brother suggested the place (him being vegetarian and all) and I had some doubts at first (me being a meat eater and all) but I eat my words, I was pleasantly surprised.

Yong Green Food - Venue

Yong Green Food – Venue

It’s a humble space with oriental artwork on the wall. And it is perfect for people with special requirements or preferences because each dish on the menu states if it is raw, vegan, organic, GF, NGO (no garlic and onion) etc.

Yong Green Food - Drinks

Yong Green Food – Purple So Mac, LLB & tumeric detox shot.

They have lots of drinks available, you can opt for a smoothie, juice or probiotic drink or alcoholic beverages like a beer, wine, soju or sake. My sister had an organic lemon lime bitters, which was delish. I’m not usually a lemon lime bitters gal but this one was particularly good. They also had detox shots in turmeric, sprulina and acai. We tried the turmeric one, which was really nice. I thought it would taste like curry or something (which would be weird) but no it almost tasted fruity like. My brother got the Purple So Mac, which was Soju, Mountain goat organic steam ale & green apple syrup. It was yum but it was strong. When we were leaving I noticed lots of people had jugs of cloudy white liquid which sort of looked like rice water. Turns out it was rice beer and apparently it’s milky, semi-sweet and tangy said the menu. Definitely on my list to try next time.

Yong Green Food - Nachos w chia chips

Yong Green Food – Nachos (chia chips w sunfried seed salsa, cashew cream & guac)

We had some nachos to start with, which were a little different to your usual nachos. Instead of corn chips they had chia chips. They had a good crunch and a grainy texture just like corn chips. Then they had the three classic nacho sauces, guacamole (really good guac), cashew cream (sour cream sub) and sunfried seed sauce (salsa). It was inventive and tasty.

Yong Green Food - Homemade kimchi gyozas

Yong Green Food – Homemade kimchi gyozas

The homemade kimchi gyozas were marvelous. I loved them. The dumpling case was soft and a little sticky like fresh handmade dumplings and the filling was really tasty. It was served with a chilli soy sauce. So delicious!

Yong Green Food - Rawsagne

Yong Green Food – Rawsagne

I was excited about the rawsagne. And yes rawsagne is a raw lasagna. It doesn’t have layers of pasta sheets because lets face it no one wants to eat raw pasta. Instead it had thin slices of layered zucchini w mushrooms, avocado, cashew cream (like creamy béchamel) & raw walnut bolognaise. It was really yum and somehow didn’t taste raw. It almost replicated the texture of lasagna. It was interesting concept and totally delicious.

Yong Green Food - Fried nori rolls

Yong Green Food – Fried nori rolls

The fried nori rolls were filled with tofu, vegies, sesame leaves and mung bean noodles (kinda like vermicelli). They were wrapped in nori (which has quite a strong seaweed flavour) then dipped in a light rice batter and fried. It was nice.

Yong Green Food - Buckwheat crepes

Yong Green Food – Organic buckwheat crepes

The organic buckwheat crepes looked so pretty and colourful. The crepes were thick for crepes, i’d say they were half way between a crepe and pancake. They were nice and fluffy. They were filled with braised shitake mushrooms, cabbage and sprouts. It was accompanied by a wasabi soy mayo, which had a subtle mustardy bite. It tasted really earthy and healthy it was nice.

Yong Green Food - Tofu katsu

Yong Green Food – Tofu katsu

The tofu katsu was delicious! Everything on the plate went together well. The fried tofu patty was made w shitake, veggies and arame (sea oak). It was battered with organic quinoa and fried. Yum! And it was served w biodynamic brown rice, coleslaw and house made katsu sauce and pickle. It was really good.

Yong Green Food - Raw tiramisu

Yong Green Food – Raw tiramisu

All of the desserts except the ice creams were raw vegan, organic and GF. The tiramusu was amazing. It tasted like tiramisu and somehow had the texture of tiramisu too. It didn’t have sponge fingers but somehow they managed to incorporate something that replicated the soaked sponge texture. It was exceptional. Loved it! It had organic spiced rum, espresso, brazil nuts, cashew, agave, dates, raw cacao powder and coconut butter.

Yong Green Food - Chia pudding

Yong Green Food – Chia pudding

The chia pudding was really good. The chia seeds puff up which create an interesting texture. It’s sort of like little sago pearls with a chia seed in the middle. It was topped with a mixed berry coulis, which had a fresh berry taste. And a dollop of cashew milk, which had a similar texture to coconut milk. It was a good dessert.

Yong Green Food - Green tea ganache

Yong Green Food – Green tea ganache

I thought the green tea ganache might be like a thick fudge but it was more like a slice. The texture was coconutty like a macaroon with a slight green tea flavour. It was good. It was made with macha, brazil nuts, goji berries, coconut, agave and covered in raw chocolate.

Yong Green Food - Raw white choc cheesecake

Yong Green Food – Raw white choc cheesecake

The raw white chocolate cheesecake was smooth and creamy. It was more creamy than tart, it was delish. It was made with cashews, raspberries, agave, cacao butter, macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.

I was so impressed with the food. There were lots of surprises and it was an eye opener for me that vegetarian/vegan food can be so delicious. My brother may be onto something after all. It was so yum that I seriously left the place considering being a vegetarian. Hmm not now but maybe in the future. There’s that saying, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world,’ Ghandi had the right idea and I think this restaurant does too.

I heart Yong Green Food!

Olives x

Yong Green Food
Address: 421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Website: http://yonggreenfood.com.au
Phone: 03 9417 3338
Trading Hours: Mon: closed, Tue-Sun: Lunch 12pm-4pm Dinner 5pm-10pm (except Wed closed for lunch and Sun dinner closes at 9pm)

Click to add a blog post for Yong Green Food on Zomato

Grand Trailer Park Taverna

Grand Trailer Park Tavern - Melbourne

Grand Trailer Park Taverna – Melbourne

Grand Trailer Park Taverna is a spin off from the ‘Dandenong Pavillion’ restaurant with a focus on their renowned beef burger. It recently opened in the city and the burgers are mouth-wateringly (is that a word?) delicious.

Grand Trailer Park Taverna - Caravan

Grand Trailer Park Taverna – Caravan

The venue is a large open space with lots of park benches and open caravan booths (all indoor). Cute setup. There are crumpled paper menus scattered across the bar (trailer park style). You order at the bar, take a number and find somewhere to sit.

Grand Trailer Park Taverna - Outdoor area

Grand Trailer Park Taverna – Outdoor area

We sat outside in the sunshine with the beautiful city view.

Grand Trailer Park Taverna - KSA burger

Grand Trailer Park Taverna – KSA burger minus the salad

We got the KSA burger (the dpavillon celebrity burger), which has a premium Aussie beef patty, cheddar cheese, tomato, butter lettuce, special burger sauce & American mustard on a toasted brioche bun. The actual burger (like the meat patty) is a real star. It’s grilled and juicy, just overall really tasty.

Grand Trailer Park Taverna - Francis Underwood burger

Grand Trailer Park Taverna – Francis Underwood burger

We also got the Francis Underwood burger, which is basically the same as the classic KSA burger but with a bonus mac and cheese croquette sandwiched in. Yum! The toasty brioche bun was buttery and had sesame seeds sprinkled on top, delish. The meat was juicy, the cheese was melty and the lettuce and tomato were fresh. The mac and cheese just made it that extra bit more indulgent and the sauces brought it all together. It was fantastic.

They also have a mushroom burger if you don’t feel like meat. And if you don’t feel like bread, you can order a no carb protein style burger, where they give you a lettuce bun in place of the bread (saw pics on instagram) and also you could probs request to have mac and cheese croquettes in place of the bun (also seen on instagram). Hmm not for me though, I like buttery buns and I cannot lie, these other burgers can’t deny. Hehe. Next time I’ll be getting the Atomic burger. It sounds amazing. It’s a beef pattie, cheddar cheese, chilli cheese kransky, crispy bacon, BBQ sauce and truffle cayenne mayo on brioche. Yum! All the burgers sound amazing!

Grand Trailer Park Taverna - Hand cut chips

Grand Trailer Park Taverna – Hand cut chips

The hand-cut chips are delicious. They’re more soft than crunchy, sort of like roasted potatoes hand cut into chips and then sprinkled with sea salt flakes. Yum!

Grand Trailer Park Taverna - Kinder Surprise Milkshake

Grand Trailer Park Taverna – Kinder Surprise Milkshake

They have four awesome spiked milkshakes. We got the Kinder Surprise shake, and oh my it was so good. It was spiked with Frangelico and Baileys and it was super delicious. Definitely up there in my list of top milkshakes. It had an actual kinder surprise on top (yay) and the milkshake was amazing. They also do a Maker’s Mark bourbon, salted caramel, maple bacon shake, a marshmallow, blue-haven, vanilla vodka shake and a peanut butter and jelly shake with Captain Morgan’s Rum. Yum, yum and yum!

On the menu there is a range of desserts that I wanted to try (bananrama, wizz fizz ice-cream etc) but that double carb burger really stole all of my stomach space. I saw the chocolate waffle stack get placed on the table next to us. It looked so good. It was like a dessert burger. It was Nutella parfait, fresh cream and strawberries sandwiched between two house-made waffles drizzled with Nutella sauce. You can also get the waffle stack with peanut butter parfait and caramel sauce. Yum! Maybe next time.

The décor is cute, the staff is really nice and the burgers are great. A perfect place to hang out with your mates for a burger and some bevvies.

I heart Grand Trailer Park Taverna!

Olives x

Grand Trailer Park Taverna
Address: 87 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Facebook: http://www.grandtrailerpark.com.au
Phone: 03 9972 3699
Trading Hours: Tue–Sat: 11.30am til late (closed Mondays & Sundays)

 

 

Grand Trailer Park Taverna on Urbanspoon

Coda

Coda - Street view

Coda – Street view

Coda is an amazing restaurant tucked beneath the hustle and bustle of the city. In a basement off Flinders lane, this hidden gem has a sensational menu and provides a memorable eating experience. The food is inventive, inspiring and undeniably delicious.

Coda - Bar

Coda – Bar

The venue was dimly lit and had an intimate feel and a great wine selection. The service was great, the staff were friendly and attentive.

Coda - Spanner crab, galangal, roasted chilli and lime betel leaf

Coda – Spanner crab, galangal, roasted chilli and lime betel leaf

The spanner crab was cold and fresh. It had galangal, roasted chilli, lime and fresh tomato. It was a perfect starter to the meal. You fold up the lime betel leaf and eat it like a little taco. The flavours were light and refreshing.

Coda - Eggplant and tofu lettuce delight, enoki mushroom, crispy garlic and black vinegar

Coda – Eggplant and tofu lettuce delight, enoki mushroom, crispy garlic and black vinegar

The lettuce delight was nice, it was a san choi bao w eggplant, tofu, enoki mushroom, crispy garlic and black vinegar.

Coda - Hervey Bay scallop, pearl tapioca and Yarra Valley salmon caviar

Coda – Hervey Bay scallop, pearl tapioca and Yarra Valley salmon caviar

The Hervey bay scallop was amazing. It was seared perfectly and the pearl tapioca was buttery and creamy and had a brilliant texture. It was topped with Yarra Valley salmon caviar. I don’t usually eat salmon caviar because it reminds me of the opening scene of ‘finding Nemo’ but I thought it would be a shame to set this aside because it looked really pretty. Turns out it is delicious! The caviar pops in your mouth with bursts of saltiness it was exciting and absolutely divine.

Coda - Tempura bugs with caramelised chilli

Coda – Tempura bugs with caramelised chilli

The tempura bugs were lightly battered and cooked to perfection. Simply amazing! I wanted to order more of these, they were so light, tasty and easy to eat. They were paired with a caramelised chilli sauce that had quite a kick and a side slaw. It was delicious! It was presented with the deep-fried bug shell, which was impressive and tasted similar to pork crackling. It was yum!

Coda - Fried cauliflower, pine nuts and pomegranate with goats cheese dressing

Coda – Fried cauliflower, pine nuts and pomegranate with goats cheese dressing

We had the fried cauliflower as a side. It was topped with pine nuts, pomegranate and covered in a goat’s cheese dressing. It was tasty. There were lots of different textures and flavours it was great.

Coda - That’s Amore Buffalo mozzarella, zucchini fritters, mint and pea salad

Coda – That’s Amore Buffalo mozzarella, zucchini fritters, mint and pea salad

The zucchini fritters were delicious little croquettes, they were creamy and moreish, good comfort food. The simplicity of the smashed peas, pickled shavings of zucchini, mint and That’s amore buffalo mozzarella made this a very sophisticated dish. All the flavours went so well together.

Coda - Aperol cured Huon ocean trout, pickled beetroot, crème fraîche sorbet and carrot mousse

Coda – Aperol cured Huon ocean trout, pickled beetroot, crème fraîche sorbet and carrot mousse

The Aperol cured Huon ocean trout looked like art. It had beautiful colours and textures scattered across the plate. The pickled beetroot was cut into tiny little cubes. They were so small that they created an interesting texture that really complimented the smooth silky trout. Then there was the perfect quenelle of crème fraiche sorbet and perfectly smooth carrot mousse. Yum! The flavours were amazing. The trout was delicious and the finesse of those tiny beetroot squares made this dish something remarkable.

Coda - Sweet corn parfait, caramel popcorn, passionfruit, strawberry and white chocolate

Coda – Sweet corn parfait, caramel popcorn, passionfruit, strawberry and white chocolate

Then for dessert we ordered the sweet corn parfait. There were lots of different elements on the plate. There was caramel popcorn, passionfruit, a bright pink fresh strawberry sorbet and bits of strawberry fruit leather (like roll ups). There were sweet syrup cake balls and white chocolate bits. It was really fun to explore the dish and find surprises of deliciousness.

Coda - Dark chocolate ganache with chocolate crunch, aero, mandarin and liquorice

Coda – Dark chocolate ganache with chocolate crunch, aero, mandarin and liquorice

We also ordered the dark chocolate ganache w chocolate crunch, aero, mandarin and licorice. I was hesitant at first because I’m not a huge fan of licorice and it seemed strange to have chocolate, mandarin and licorice. I was wrong. It was delicious. I was going to just avoid the licorice areas if I didn’t like it, but it ended up being my favourite part of the dish. There were little parfait balls of licorice, which were creamy with a really subtle and delicious licorice flavour. I can’t believe I almost didn’t order it because of the word licorice. The licorice parfait was incredible. There was a bar of rich dark chocolate ganache in the middle with big rustic chunks of aerated chocolate sitting on topped, sprinkled with a chocolate crumb, dots of mandarin gel and dehydrated mandarin pieces. The mandarin balanced the sweetness of the chocolate and gave it a touch of citrus. It was sensational.

Coda - Toasted meringue, vanilla sponge, coconut, pineapple and yuzu

Coda – Toasted meringue, vanilla sponge, coconut, pineapple and yuzu

The toasted meringue looked beautiful. It was covered in this white snowy dust. There were big soft peaks of toasted meringue, which had a toasted outer and melted in your mouth. They tasted like camp-fire roasted marshmallows yum! There were also little crunchy meringues, fluffy vanilla sponge, coconut cream, pineapple and yuzu which was really citrusy to cut through all the sweet. It was fantastic.

Everything we ate was exciting and delicious. Each meal took you on an exciting journey where you became completely immersed in the dish you were currently eating until the next dish arrived and you became completely immersed in that one. The service was great, the venue had a good atmosphere and the food was outstanding. It was truly an inspiring experience.

I heart Coda!

Olives x

Coda
Address: Basement 141 Flinders Lane
Website: http://www.codarestaurant.com.au
Phone: 03 9650 3155
Trading Hours: Mon–Sun (7 days) Lunch 12pm-3pm, Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm

Coda on Urbanspoon

8bit.

8bit - Footscray.

8bit – Footscray.

8bit is a burger joint inspired by 8bit games. At the counter they had a Mario stuffed toy, an old Nintendo control, a space invader tips jar and a one up mushroom figurine. A whole lot of nostalgia was going on. Then they had an American inspired menu with a range of burgers, franks, fries, soft serves and milkshakes. The reminiscence mixed with awesome food really makes this place a winner.

8bit - Venue.

8bit – Venue.

The staff wore overalls, with the straps crossed at the back (Mario styles) and the girl at the counter was wearing awesome 8-bit pixel framed glasses. They all fit in with the theme. They had an open kitchen which was tiled with lots of squares just like 8bit games and had little tetris squares of colour which sort of looked like little hearts.

8bit - Princess Peach.

8bit – Princess Peach.

The burgers are named after games like double dragon, golden axe & altered beast. The mushroom burger is called the 1 up mushroom burger (very cute). The table numbers were characters from games, made out of those plastic beads that you iron to stick together. We got princess peach but they had all different ones. I saw astroboy, sonic and even yoda floating around.

8bit - 8bit burger w cheese.

<yum> 8bit – 8bit burger w cheese </yum>

I ordered the 8 bit with cheese, which was a juicy beef patty with tomato, lettuce, red onion, pickles, mustard, 8BIT sauce (which was like a tasty tangy tomato sauce) with melted cheese encased in a soft toasted buttery brioche bun. It was a good-sized burger and each bite was so tasty. It was full of flavour. It was delicious!

8bit - Golden Axe burger.

<yum> 8bit – Golden Axe burger </yum>

We also got the Golden axe, which had crispy fried chicken, cheese, sriracha mayo & slaw. That was yummy too. It had a big fillet of crispy chicken and went well with the brioche bun. They also had a range of hot dog options. I want to try the fatal fury, which is like a chilli cheese dog.

8bit - 8bit burger and beer battered fries.

<yum> 8bit – 8bit burger and beer battered fries </yum>

As a side they had beer battered fries, onion rings and ye good ol’ potato gems aka tater tots. I do miss those little clouds of potato goodness.

8bit - Cheese and bacon fries.

<yum> 8bit – Cheese and bacon fries. YUM! </yum>

We ordered the cheese and bacon fries. Wow! These were so delicious I couldn’t believe how good they were. I’d suggest you order these fries with your burger. You won’t be disappointed. They were thick cut beer battered fries with cheese sauce, big chunky bits of bacon and fresh spring onions. They were delicious!! They also had chilli cheese fries and loaded fries, which I’m confident would be yummy too.

8bit - Strawberry cheesecake soft serve.

<yum> 8bit – Strawberry cheesecake soft serve </yum>

The soft serve of the day was strawberry cheesecake. It was soft, smooth and creamy and tasted just like a strawberry cheesecake. The flavour was spot on and the texture was just perfect. We loved the strawberry cheesecake soft serve so much that we ordered the strawberry cheesecake milkshake as well.

8bit - Strawberry cheesecake milkshake.

<yum> 8bit – Strawberry cheesecake milkshake </yum>

The strawberry cheesecake milkshake was delicious! The milk shake was thick, more like a thick-shake, which is what I prefer. And they even put biscuit crumbs in the milkshake and on top. It was so yum I wanted to try all the flavours. They had salted caramel, peanut butter and a chocolate bar shake.

This place brought back memories. It made me remember the days when I was inseparable from my SNES (16-bit same same). And also reminded me how much I love the simplicity of a classic burger, fries and milkshake (3-hit combo).

The staff were really friendly and informed us before we ordered that it might take 45mins for our meals to be ready because it was really busy, which is nice. It was worth the wait. the food is delicious and the diner style restaurant creates a cool and casual environment to catch up with friends and grab a byte to eat.

I heart 8bit!

Olives x

8bit
Address: 8 Droop Street, Footscray, VIC 3011
Website: http://www.eat8bit.com.au
Phone: 03 9687 8838
Trading Hours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 11pm

8bit. on Urbanspoon

Rue & Co Melbourne Pop-Up

Rue & Co - Melbourne Pop-Up.

Rue & Co – Melbourne Pop-Up.

We were wondering around for a place to eat for dinner and saw some astro-turf and bright lights, which captured our interest. We walked over and had inadvertently stumbled upon a Melbourne pop-up on Collins street. Surprise! Awesome food. It was great, they had three shipping containers turned into food stalls and heated seating areas. Eating, seating and heating, exactly what I wanted on this cold winters night.

Rue & Co - Melbourne Pop-Up.

Rue & Co – Melbourne Pop-Up (Kong, Jimmy Grants & St Ali)

Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, it got better. We were surrounded by some amazing artwork. There was a giant portrait of a woman on the wall and a digital installation projected on the other wall with a range of moving images. My fave part of the installation was the diamonds floating across the screen, they sort of moved like hot air balloons floating in the sky.

Rue & Co - Melbourne Pop-Up - St Ali beef burger.

Rue & Co – Melbourne Pop-Up – St Ali beef burger.

There were three stalls. One was Salvatore Malatesta’s St Ali where you can get some amazing burgers. They serve yummy breakfast burgers in the morning and other delicious burgers during the day and night. They also serve quality coffee and some cheeky desserts. Delicious giant cookies yum! I had the beef burger with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and special sauce. It was classic and delicious. They had the mushroom trip burger with a pickled wild mushroom for the vegos, which sounded yum too.

Rue & Co - Melbourne Pop-Up - Jimmy Grants souva and chips.

Rue & Co – Melbourne Pop-Up – Jimmy Grants souva and chips.

The middle stall was George Calombaris’ Jimmy Grants. They had the Mr Papadopoulos (which is the lamb souva w chips mustard aioli, onions & parsley). The meat just falls apart, the bread is soft and fluffy and the chips are already in the souva. Love it. And the Homer, which is the veg option, has tasty falafels, greek yoghurt and helenic slaw. They also had some salads (the famous grain salad), jimmys dimmys (dim sims) and their chips with feta, garlic oil and oregano yum!!

Rue & Co - Melbourne Pop-Up - Kong Korean honey & garlic chicken wings.

Rue & Co – Melbourne Pop-Up – Kong Korean honey & garlic chicken wings.

The third stall was Chris Lucas’ Kong which had Korean chicken wings, steamed buns and some roti wraps. So many yummy things to choose from. I tried the chicken wings w honey, garlic and sesame seeds which was nice, they had spicy ones too. They had pork steamed buns and tofu ones that looked delicious. They were those open steamed buns, Gua Baos. They also had some roti wraps, which I want to go back and try. Pulled pork, slaw, kim chi, siracha mayo all rolled in a roti wrap. Sounds delish.

It was mostly exciting because I didn’t know the pop-up was there. I must have missed the memo but I’m glad I did because just finding this place accidentally gave it all the more charm. We had some restaurant ideas in mind but hadn’t decided on where to eat. We naively wondered right into the adventure we were looking for.  This pop-up came out of nowhere; I guess that’s what they do best. It was great! Sometimes when you are wondering through life, something unexpected throws all your ideas out the window and presents to you exactly what you are looking for.  If something great comes your way, don’t be scared to change your plans.

I heart Rue & Co!

Olives x

Rue & Co Pop-Up
Address: 80 Collins Street, Melbourne
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RueandCo
Trading Hours: Open until 10pm daily (I think they open at 11am)

Shizuku

Shizuku - Street view.

Shizuku – Street view.

We had heard the legend of the ramen burger, the tale of a burger with no bun. According to the story, the bun is replaced with golden patties made entirely out of egg noodles. We had seen and eaten them only in our imaginations and we knew in our heart it was our duty, nay, our destiny, to try these ramen burgers for ourselves. Plus it was dinner time so this all worked out swimmingly.

Shizuku - Ramen burger w miso soup.

Shizuku – Ramen burger w miso soup.

The first ramen burger in Melbourne was created at Shizuku, so that’s where we went. There were two options. Both of which are served with a bowl of miso soup (an especially delicious miso btw). I ordered the candied pork belly with plum and prune sauce and kewpie mayo which was amazing.

Shizuku - Ramen burger w candied pork belly.

Shizuku – Ramen burger w candied pork belly.

My brother ordered the veg option, the miso-glazed eggplant with sweet miso jam. Both were yum. The ramen is packed tight to form the patty so you loose the bounciness of the noodle. I imagined the outer part of the ramen patty to be crispier and softer towards the center but the whole patty was the same soft texture throughout. It was still really yummy though and its fun to eat a bowl of noodles in a hand held motion.

Shizuku - Ramen burger w miso glazed eggplant.

Shizuku – Ramen burger w miso glazed eggplant.

We tried the chargrilled rolled pork belly which was absolutely delicious. It looked amazing and tasted even better. The thin slices of pork and julienned cucumber made the dish delicate. It was topped with cha shu sauce (sort of like Chinese char siu) which made the dish stand out with the simple and stunning flavours.

Shizuku - Chargrilled rolled pork belly.

Shizuku – Chargrilled rolled pork belly w cha shu.

The Hiroshima crumbed oysters were also delicious. Piping hot oysters, crumbed with panko, deep-fried then placed back in their individual shells, oh so cute. They sat beside a fresh salad with kewpie mayo and a dark sweet sauce (I think it was oyster sauce –which would seem fitting). Or it could be the same sauce as in the ramen burger, the plum and prune. Either way, the point i’m making is the sauce was yummy.

Shizuku - Hiroshima crumbed oysters.

Shizuku – Hiroshima crumbed oysters.

The wasabi prawns were incredible. So delicious! We got the wasabi mayo on the side because my mum feared that it would be too hot but it wasn’t. It was just right. The prawns were cooked perfectly, the tempura batter was light and fluffy, and the wasabi-mayo ratio was perfection. I loved these so much.

Shizuku - Wasabi prawns.

Shizuku – Wasabi prawns.

To finish our meal we had the green tea ice cream with a Japanese black sugar fusion melt (which tasted like molasses), dusted with soy bean powder. It tasted just like green tea. The black sugar melt was a little bitter but it was a refreshing finish to our meal.

Shizuku - Green tea ice-cream.

Shizuku – Green tea ice-cream.

They had heaps of really interesting and imaginative dishes on the menu but we couldn’t order everything and we had already eaten to our stomachs capacity. I definitely want to go back. They had these cheesy nori snacks on the menu which was tasty cheese wrapped in seaweed, deep fried and sprinkled w seven-spice chilli. Sounds interesting huh. They also have caramalised lotus salad, karaage popcorn chicken with secret batter and a range of gyozas yum!

Shizuku - Decor.

Shizuku – Decor – Pretty lights that look like beautiful flowers.

The décor was simple and stylish. The lights looked like lots of cables emerging from the ceiling with these crafty designer lights hanging from the cables. They looked like beautiful flowers.

I heart Shizuku!

Olives x

Shizuku
Address: 309 Victoria Street, Abbotsford
Website: http://shizuku.com.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shizukujapanese
Phone: 03 9995 8180
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun: 11.30am-2.30pm (Lunch), 5.30pm-til late (Dinner)

Shizuku on Urbanspoon

Shapes are ninja…

Being able to cook is not everyones forte. Some people know they can’t cook and resort to take-out or pre-packaged food. Some people are great chefs who cook in their own home restaurant every night. And then there are people like me, who think they cook well until they watch Junior Master Chef on tv and it becomes apparent that they are no more than a big novice in the kitchen.

When I was minature, my priorities in life were walking, talking and collecting caterpillars and I thought myself very ambitious for the time. However these little super power people at the same age were caramalising nuts, whipping up a souffle and preparing a beef wellington for dinner. It’s discouraging for my cooking skills and technique but encouraging to see the bright people who will soon be running our world.

Being a rookie chef, I have found a little secret to making food more appealing. The shapes have it! The solution to average cooking is shapes. If the food resembles an identified familiar object, you get instant smiles and the food is likely to be well received.

Food imitating life, a philosophy for amateur chefs to come.

Perception is king. If the food looks inviting then you already start feeling good about it. So for the not so good cooks, I’ve got an easy fix 3-step solution to cooking.

1. Make a basic food
2. Utilise your range of cookie cutter shapes
3. Think of a fun name.

Voila! People love that its fun and forget about the quality of food.                                        These work a charm.

Pancake Farm – Pancake mix in the shape of barnyard animals.
Starry Night Tatas – Potatoes carved in the shape of stars.
Chicken Love – Crumbed chicken cut out like little hearts. Awwww shux.
Pizzagon – Easy! Cut the base of the pizza into a hexagon and carry on as usual.
Alphabet Fruit – Melons work well with cut-out shapes.
Fairy bread – In the shape of…wait for it…fairies.
Ninja Cookies – Biscuits in the shape of ninjas. Loser gets eaten.
The all famous Smiley Breakfast – Fried egg eyes, buttered mushroom nose, bacon smiley mouth and rosy tomato cheeks. yummo!

If you are the grand chef at home but you cook the same meal every, say Tuesday, you can make it fun by adding shapes to the meal. For example in minestrone soup, you could use alphabet pasta. Just a little change for a lot of fun.

Although shaped food may encourage people to play with their food, it also makes it enjoyable, sparks a smile, initiates laughter and can create a big mess. But then what is life if you don’t get a little bit messy.

Olives x

The Food Crew…

Everyone plays an important role at the dinner table. Here are some definitions of the members of a food crew, thou who shall not be named, you know who you are…

The Indecisive – The question is simple, what do you want to eat? The response is complicated. “I don’t know, maybe, I usually like that but not today, hmmmm, just wait don’t order, you order first, wait wait, I don’t know what I feel like, ummmm”.

The Hygenist – The person who wipes down all of their cutlery with the inside of their serviette before eating (the inside of the serviette hasn’t yet touched the dirty table), then reaches for their bottle of hand sanitizer out of their bag after touching the dirty menu.

Beverage control – This person orders a bottle of wine for the table and beers where necessary. Your glass of water seems always full because they are consistently topping up your drink, they know the importance of staying hydrated and want to share the gift of water. As you take the last sip of your beer, they have already ordered you another of the same.

Glutton – Their eyes are way too big for their stomach, they insist on ordering everything on the menu and lots of it. Suddenly when the food arrives they’re ironically not that hungry anymore. They usually instigate dessert when everyone is soooo full they’re already on the verge of barfing.

Custom Made – This person always orders something that is not on the menu. They see a dish on the menu and create their own rendition to suit their needs. They are big on extras and exclusions, mix and match sauces and ingredients included but on the side. These characters are easily identifiable when water can not, and will not be consumed without a fancy slice of lemon.

The Vegetarian – To hell with meat! they protest. They are ecstatic when the choice of venue is Veggie Bar on Brunswick street and disinterested in attending dinner at Steakhouse in Port Melbourne. No meat? No thankyou! I say, but each to their own. However some like to repeatedly mention that you are eating a once live animal whilst engaging in your meal of choice. I know it’s factual but denial is a happy place.

Garbage Disposal – When everyone is full to the brim, this character eats the food that is left over so people don’t feel bad that they’ve wasted all this food when there are starving children in third world countries.

The Financier – The person who grabs the bill when know one wants to look at it and rounds up the monies for our departure. There’s also the dude who likes to pull out their iPhone to calculate the cost per person right to the very cent.

What often goes unnoticed is that the peculiar imperfections of each character create the circus of madness you need for a memorable meal. So appreciate the net of balance you’ve unintentionally chosen to join your table in life.

Olives x

S marks the spot…

I was planning a dinner party and tried to veer away from the usual themes like Italiano, Thai cuisine, Mexican Alla Boring. So I decided to plan a three course meal where the key ingredient was “S”.

That’s right, every dish started with the letter “S”.

First up as an appetizer we had Spanish onion Soup with Sourdough croutons. The main event was Spagetti with Salmon, Spinach and Sundried tomatoes. And to end the evening, Scones with Strawberry jam and Spray whipped cream.

Of course there were added ingredients that started with other various alphabet letters but lets not be disheartened by those minor details. You can go that extra mile and put Serviettes on the table, bring out your finest Silver wear and only serve Sauvignon Blanc all night but that’s up to you.

It was a Success! It was interesting just brainstorming the possibilities. Then it got me thinking of other themes that could be unique yet palatable.

A colour theme? yes lets work with the colour orange. For entrée you could have a homemade pumpkin soup. For the main, an apricot chicken stir fry with carrots and sweet potato. Finally an orange and vanilla panna cotta. om noms!

Or maybe focus on a single product and explore its many forms. Like corn for example. you can warm up conversation over a cup of corn tea, have grilled seasoned baby corn for starters, chicken and corn risotto balls battered in cornflour for main, then corn ice-cream for dessert. ahh way to much corn in one meal. scrap that.

How about your name as the theme. Well my name’s Mel, so for example I would serve something like cara-Mel flavoured marsh Mel-lows with Mel-ted chocolate aside scoops of Mel-on?

I don’t know but weirdo themes are good fun and can make the dinner a lot more thoughtful than your average roast. Try it next time you organise din dins at your place.

Olives x