Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tao's Restaurant

Restaurant: Tao's Restaurant
Location: 201 Bulleen Road, Bulleen Vic

Went there with my parents for lunch. We had the lunch set menu for $38 (no a la carte)

Atmoshpere was beautiful - we were nicely spaced out, and got our own little section of the restaurant. But I think this was due to the fact that there wasnt a lot of people.

Starters - Chefs seasonal Assorted Platter
(L-R) some sort of anchovy dish (I think, my dad enjoyed this and we got 3 complementary extra servings of this), scallop, tomato & mint (very strange)
A very strange but interesting combination of food.

Entree (mine)
Ice Age Sashimi
Not something you couldnt get anywhere else.

Entree (Mums)
Seasonal Vegie with Chicken Salad
Mix of the crunchyness and coldness of the lettuce with the warm soft chicken.

Ginseng Chicken Herbal
Quiet nice actually, but Im not a ginseng expert

Teapot style Bonitto

Drinking soup like you drink tea - by pouring it into a teacup and drinking from it. The lemon made the soup taste not so bland apparently

Some sort of Plume shot
Did not really like this at all, too sour for my liking.

Main (Dads)

Hot Stone Sizzling Steak on Bamboo Leave
Nice mix of flavours - sweet sour chilli

Main (mine)

Marinated Rack of Lamb
Average, my mum could make it at home with a better sauce. The mint sauce they used did not suit the lamb (in my opinion)

Main (mums)

Baked Ocean Trout with Avocado Sauce
Very soft, tender and nice flavours and sauce.

Rice of the day

Dessert (mums)

Fruit Sago

Dessert (dads)
Green Tea Panna Cotta
Pretty Good, and Im not a green tea fan.

Dessert (mine)
Cream Brulee (as spelt on menu)
Not the most appealing, but l enjoyed the thin layer of crunchy sugar on the top.

Overall, it was an interesting meal.
Would I go there again? Maybe with the feasters. Just so they can try it out.

♥ jenn

Tao's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Location: Level 2, Westfield Doncaster, 619 Doncaster Road, Doncaster
Cuisine: Greek

Early Bird Land Mezedes for two
Clockwise from top-left: beef and lamb keftedes, chicken souvlaki, lamb lady fingers, pork souvlaki
Center: loukaniki

This was one of the early bird specials for $30. At first glance there didn't seem to be all that much food there, but once we started eating, we realised that there was more food than we had thought there was!

Beef & lamb keftedes - char grilled Greek style meatballs, tzatziki
These were quite tasty. The meatballs were juicy on the inside, and nice and crispy on the outside. The tzatziki was fresh and tangy.

Chicken souvlaki
The chicken was a little on the dry side, although the sauce it came with was quite nice.

Lamb lady fingers - filo pastry rolls filled with lamb, raisins & feta, yoghurt-sumac sauce
The lamb lady fingers were very interesting and new to me. I quite liked the mix of the savoury lamb and feta, the sweetness of the raisins and the tang of the yoghurt. Unusual combination, but it worked.

Pork souvlaki
Like the chicken, the pork was also a little on the dry side, but the caramelised onions and the sauce that went with it was brilliant.

Loukanika - char grilled spicy Greek sausages, green olive sauce
These were very tasty too - slightly spicy and bursting with flavour on the inside. The sauce was a bit odd, but it also worked well with the sausages.


We eyed the table next to us get a serving of this in their degustation, and decided we wanted some too. It turned out not as good as it looked - the crumbs on the outside weren't anywhere near crispy and it was pretty obvious that it hadn't been drained properly of the oil from the deep fryer. Other than that, there was enough flavour.

Overall Impression: 8/10

Kouzina - Doncaster on Urbanspoon

Sammy's Kitchen

Location: North Quarter, Canberra Centre, Bunda Street, Canberra City 2601
Cuisine: Chinese, Malaysian

After stepping off the plane in Canberra, we decided we were hungry and went in search of food. Having read that a majority of the food was in and around the Canberra Centre area, we went for a walk and Sammy's was the first place that jumped out, so we went in.

Hokkien prawn mee

These noodles were actually quite good! There was actually a decent amount of prawns and the sauce was very tasty as well. The hokkien noodles and vermicelli worked quite well together and the whole dish was quite balanced except for the oversaltedness.

We also ordered a gado gado which I didn't get a photo of. It was quite tasty too, although the sauce was a little saltier than I had expected, and there was probably too much sauce for the amount of vegies and bean curd inside. It even had pineapple which was a bit of a surprise, but it surprisingly went well with the rest of the dish.

The price was more than typical Melbourne prices, but we had been warned that was the case with Canberra food generally. You can definitely get the same sort of food in Melbourne for a much cheaper price.

We didn't get a chance to go back, but we certainly discussed it plenty of times!

Overall Impression: 7/10
Sammy's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Vialetto Ristorante - Scallop Risotto

Location: 75 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
Cuisine: Italian

A late finish at work led us to Vialetto Ristorante for a quick dinner (quick for me anyway). After something easy to eat that hopefully would not take too long to cook, I ordered the scallop risotto. A bit on the pricey side, but at $19.50 it was well worth the money, There were plenty of scallops, which mostly tasted fresh, or at least not straight from a freezer, and the snow peas added a very nice crunch and light texture.

The others seemed to be pleased with their entrees, and were very happy that we were given one complimentary drink each. The service was pleasant, as should be expected in Hardware Lane, and the atmosphere was quite nice - I'm generally impressed by restaurants who use white tablecloths because it at least suggests they are clean and can be bothered washing them thoroughly. Leaves a good impression.

Overall Impression: 8.5/10

Vialetto Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Lazy Moe's - Breakfast

Location: 320 Canterbury Road, Forest Hill, VIC
Cuisine: Breakfast, Steaks, Modern Australian

After a big meal any time of the day (well, within reason anyway)? Head to Lazy Moe's. There are restaurants in five locations around Victoria so there's bound to be one near you! We headed there for brunch one late Friday morning. In fact, it would have been about lunchtime, but they serve breakfast until 4.30pm for lazy starters like us!

Moe's Big Breakfast - Two eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Tomatoes, Hash Brown, Mushrooms, Sauteed Onion and Baked Beans

Duckie ordered the big breakfast. Big is almost an understatement. This meal was massive. Everything was much better than the last breakfast we had at Issus. The bacon was decently cooked - not too burnt or dry but smokey all the same. The hash brown was crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. There was an endless mound of scrambled eggs. The mushrooms were actually sliced instead of whole. The sausage was tasty, not too tough, although the skin was quite plastic looking and came off fairly easily. The onions were somewhat lacking (in amount) and the baked beans seemed to come straight from a can of Heinz, not that it was such a huge issue. The dish was quite greasy, as you would expect from the types of food on the plate, but it was altogether "very yummy".

Queen's Breakfast - Smoked Salmon, poached Eggs, Spinach and Hollandaise sauce served on english muffin

I decided to go for something different and ordered the Queen's breakfast. No bacon or sausages, but there was plenty of smoked salmon and the egg was poached nicely so that it sat well on top of the muffin but was nice and oozy on the inside. There was perhaps a little too much of the Hollandaise sauce (or they should have put it on the side) as it was a little too strong and took away the taste of the salmon. The spinach was a good balance.

Service was nice, atmosphere a little hot and stuffy. Outdoor seating doesn't have a lot of ventilation and under the sun it can get quite uncomfortable. Indoor seating is nice. One other random thing to note is that their water tasted strange. Not quite filtered / spring / mineral water, but not tap water either.

Great value for money, and perfect if you are hungry!

Overall Impression: 9/10

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stokers Coffee Lounge

Location: 1033 Heidelberg Rd, Ivanhoe 3079
Cuisine: Dessert, Pancakes
Visit Time: Saturday, 9.30pm
Reviewed by: Listress

Visiting Stokers Coffee Lounge in Ivanhoe was totally on a whim. Having no idea where this place was or how to get there, the drive was an adventure and so was discovering the little shop in the middle of nowhere. "Is it open?" was the first thing I asked. But no fear, Stokers is open daily for dinner until 2am.
Walking inside, I am impressed by the retro decor. Be prepared to be transported back in time. A clock that's meant to be read backwards adorns the wall. The floor is laid with wooden floorboards and the fireplace in the centre of the room is as much a part of the decor as it is meant to keep you warm on a chilly winter night. The kitchen is open and the smell of cooking pancakes on the stove makes the ambiance of Stokers warm and inviting.

Two couples on a double date, we're ushered inside to a small intimate table of our choice. It's not busy yet, but there are a lot of staff on hand to take your order. The prices range from $10-$13 and we try the Fresh Strawberry Pancake. One of the boys orders a coffee. While there is nothing much to rave about the coffee, the pancakes come to us in hot plates. The sides are crispy, the pancakes sweet and the strawberries fresh. A small scoop of ice-cream is just enough to make it a complete dessert.

(I was so busy eating, I didn't take any pictures. Images from Google)

As we leave, the place begins to fill up and I witness customers crawling out of taxis and slide gratefully into Stokers for a midnight sweetener.

Expect to wait more than 30 minutes on busy nights and make sure you bring cash, it's a cash only business, but then again, that is just part of the old-fashioned appeal.

Overall Impression: 9/10

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kam Fook - Yum Cha

Location: Level 2, Westfield Shoppingtown, Doncaster
Cuisine: Chinese, Yum Cha

Having quite enjoyed ourselves the last time we had Yum Cha at Kam Fook, we decided to go there again for Father's Day lunch. I've also thrown in some photos from the last time we went.

Fancy little teapot for soy sauce

Prawn dumplings

The prawn dumplings are a staple to any yum cha meal, and these were probably the best dish of the day. The filling was tasty and had the right amount of the flavour. The pastry was slightly thicker than usual, but it didn't play too much of an impact on the overall texture.

Eel and glutinous rice parcels

The parcel consisted of a layer of glutinous rice and a slice of eel over the top. Not a fan of eel, I only tried some of the rice inside. The rice on the edge was a little crispy and tasted quite nice, the rice closer to the centre of the parcel was softer and tasted too much like eel for me to enjoy.

Shark fin dumplings

Fried stuffed capsicum and eggplant

Double mushroom in glutinous rice dumpling

This was one of my least favourite dishes - the glutinous rice wrapper just did not taste right, and it broke eaily, emptying out all the contents. The filling itself was not all that special either - it was merely filled wiht some corn kernels, two types of chopped mushrooms and some random other bits and pieces. Never getting this one again!

Vegetarian dried bean curd roll

These were again rather average, the bean curd was slightly tougher than expected, and the fillings again quite bland.

Century egg and pork congee

This one was very well done. The serving was bigger than you get at most other yum cha places. There was plenty of century egg (and you should all be less intimidated by it after Poh's dish on Masterchef) and not too much of the meat. The crunchy bits (like asian croutons) were quite nice and helped to break up the texture a little. Could have done with a little more salt and pepper, but on the whole was very enjoyable.

Marinated beef tendons

Not everyone's cup of tea, but these tendons were done extremely well. We didn't find a single piece that was too overcooked or too tough to eat. The sauce was very nice - sticky, salty and slighlty spicy too.

Prawn rice noodle roll

This was pretty good but not as good as expected. The prawns were nice and big, the rice noodle roll well cooked through and soft. The only problem was that the sauce. It wasn't completely off track, but it lacked a very obvious sweetness compared to the all the other restaurants I've had this dish at. My conclusion is merely that either used the wrong soy sauce, or didn't add enough sugar to it.

Shredded duck and preserved vegetables dumpling

This glutinous rice dumpling also disappointed, mostly due to the wrapper, but also that the filling was pretty tasteless. The duck meat was somewhat crumbly, dry and bland, and even the preserved vegetables did not add any extra flavour or moisture.

Tofu with sweet ginger syrup

One of my favourite desserts, and it was done extremely well. The tofu was cooked just right, so that it was soft enough to break easily but strong enough to hold itself together when not disturbed. The syrup was perfect - neither too much nor too little of the sugar or ginger. Left a very nice sweet and tangy taste in the mouth after eating it. Awesome way to end a meal!

The service was quite good, the waiters were attentive and quick responders. Well, all except one waitress who made the mistake of telling us that the deep fried calamari was deep fried white bait fish instead. Upon pointing out her mistake to her, she proceeded to tell us that it was calamari (well yes, that is what we just told you!) and asked if we still wanted it (if we did, we wouldn't have bothered pointing it out to you would we?). We had to repeat our request for her to take the dish away and remove the marking from the order sheet. I think she avoided outrtable for the rest of the meal.

I just love the set up of the restaurant. The tables are nicely spaced out, the chairs are all wooden and a little traditional looking, but huge! There are also a couple of private function rooms which can be joined together or split up as needed.

We will be back one day to try out the dinner menu.

Overall Impression: 8.5/10

Kam Fook on Urbanspoon

Groove Train (Revisited)

Location: Level 3, Melbourne Central
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Groove to the Caesar salad: pesto croutons, crispy pancetta, poached egg & parmesan cheese

There wasn't quite enough dressing on the salad, but it was just what I was after, something small to tide me over since I wasn't quite hungry yet, and after a massive seafood platter yesterday, I wasn't in for eating a lot. Bacon bits were crisp, smokey and full of flavour, the lettuce leaves were crisp and fresh, and the pesto croutons were amazing. It was like biting into mini cubes of crunchy garlic and herb bread. The meal would have tasted much better had I added the grilled chicken, but as I wasn't hungry, the size was perfect!

What the others got:

Smoked salmon salad: mixed lettuce with chilled green beans, potato, baby spinach, wood fired zucchini, tossed in a whole grain mustard mayonnaise

Warm Lamb & Cous Cous Salad: tender lamb fillets placed on a fruit & walnut filled cous cous stack, garnished with cucumber yoghurt

Greek salad: fresh fetta, black olives, garden tomatoes, cucumber, cos lettuce & vinaigrette

Fried Calamari: lightly floured & fried, garnished with salad, tartare sauce, served with chips

Service was very attentive and the waitresses were very patient with our orders. The food came out on time and they didn't mind that we had seated ourselves on the farthest table outside in the walkway. As a frequent customer, I think I will be back again soon.

Overall Impression: 8.5/10

Groove Train on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Margo's: Hot Seafood Platter

Location: Gaming Area, Crown Entertainment Complex
Cuisine: Grill, Seafood

Having talked about this for ages, I've finally tried the seafood platter at Margo's!

Hot seafood platter for two

The platter came in two-tiers, and included:
  • Half a grilled crayfish
  • An entire fish
  • 6 oysters Kilpatrick
  • 4 pieces of grilled calamari
  • 6 x prawns
  • 4 x scallops
  • 6 x mussels
  • 4 pieces of crab legs
  • Thousand island sauce
  • Garlic aioli/tartare sauce
  • Plenty of lemons
In addition to all the above, we were also given a bowl of shoestring fries and a bowl of garden salad. We didn't touch many of the fries as they were a little on the dry side and not quite flavoured enough.

The bottom tier

The platter was extremely good value for money, especially since it includes an entire fish and half a crayfish. The oysters Kilpatrick were amazing. There was plenty of flavour in the sauce which was able to cover up most of the fishy taste from the oysters (ie: not exactly the freshest oysters I've had, but certainly very close). The fish was also very nice and fresh. A lot of the seafood was a slightly overcooked - the meat from the crayfish and prawns were quite tough and chewy, The crab was slighltly crumbly which was not really expected. The scallops and mussels were very nice, a tad overcooked, but tasted beautifully with a squeeze of lemon.

And yes, we did finish off the entire platter!

The place was bustling, and considerable noisy. If you're looking for a quiet night, this is not the place to be - the waiters rush around all over the place but they at least keep the place in order. However, the service was pretty prompt despite the platter coming out later than expected.

I will be back again, but not for a long while and probably just to get the crayfish mornay again! I think for lobster and crab, I'm going to just go back to KunMing in Chinatown, or go somewhere more local.

Overall Impression: 8.5/10


Location: 8 Centre Place, Melbourne
Cuisine: Breakfast, Café

Issus Big Breakfast

Serving size was very generous, but possibly too much bread. The whole dish was just plain average. Mushrooms were bland, bacon, eggs and tomatoes weren't anything special, and the bread...just too extensive, too thick and not crusty enough.

Eggs 'how you like them' with a serving of bacon

One of the most disappointing breakfasts I've had out. The eggs were not only burnt on the one side, but not quite cooked enough on the top side, even for sunny-side up. The bacon was dry, tough and chewy. The bread was awfully thick and not crusty enough. There wasn't much excitement in the dish at all.

The service was pleasant, but ridiculously slow. From the quality of the food, it seemed like they forgot about the food and overcooked it. Oh well, will not be returning here again.

Overall Impression: 2.5/10