Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Melbourne Report

O hai. Mai naem is Perl and mai hoomanz let in sum straynj hoomins to stae at mai hows. Thay wented owt 4 sooshee and ated THIS MUTCH and did nawt brings me anny!1!! But thae patteds me lotz sew iz OK reely.

Who said they wanted more cats on this blog? You're sorry now, aren't you? At least it's a nice photo despite, or rather because of, the crappy phone camera.

So anyway, the Bloke and I were in Melbourne recently, and of course ate and drank at many varied places. We stayed with A, J & C, the people illustrated by the pile of plates. They live in Coburg, which is an easy tram ride from the city centre, and a magical multicultural wonderland for food shopping. I noticed Greek, Lebanese, Turkish, Italian, Vietnamese and Indian places. J obviously loves it - he introduced me to George the Greek deli owner, and the lady in the Bollywood sari & bling shop, and pointed out all the best places for fresh roasted coffee, nuts, cakes, bread and much more.

We also went out to eat a lot. Our first night we dined up at the Paris end of Collins St, dahling, near Bvlgari and Gucci and all that. We ate sushi from a sushi train - hence the collection of plates - and it was wonderful. The standouts for me were some seriously excellent sashimi, a tataki beef salad, and some cute little red bean paste buns that looked like mini-iced chocolate doughnuts. The place is Sakura, at 1/61 Little Collins St.

We spent an evening at the Tiki Lounge in Richmond. We had a pre-dinner MaiTai in a ceramic tiki mug, then popped round the corner to the Grand Hotel for pub grub, on the recommendation of the Tiki Lounge bartender. Their dining room is quite expensive and the menu reads like very fine food. It has a one chef's hat rating. But the Lounge Bar is more affordable. For $24 I had a superb veal pot roast, with potatoes and spinach, the meat melting tender and the juices as good as my friend HH's pot roast chook. Which is high praise, let me tell you. The Bloke had a $13 pizza, which he pronounced to be good. After that we went back to the Tiki Lounge for dessert cocktails and slightly tongue-in-cheek lounge music from the Kahuna Daddies.

I also enjoyed a scenic brunch at Fairfield Boathouse. I inhaled coffee, fruit salad with cream, and porridge with cinnamon apples and maple syrup, chatted a bit blearily, and declined to go boating. It didn't seem quite right the morning after several cocktails. But it was lovely sitting on the terrace looking over the water and watching the others row about.

We met up with some other friends at Cookie, on Swanston St. This upstairs bar boasts antique pressed tin high ceilings, a long wooden bar, and absolutely massive wine and beer lists. I'm told they do good Thai food, too, but we just had a few chips for bar snacks.

We had one takeaway lunch from Akaar, the Lebanese pizza spot in Coburg (254 Sydney Road). I saw a couple of other "Lebanese Pizza" places about, but as far as I know this idea hasn't spread to Canberra yet. It's good food: a thin yeast dough with fillings baked on top like a woodfired pizza, but then it's folded in half. Sort of like the missing link between Italian pizza and Turkish gozleme.

And our hosts provided for us as well, even though we were out and about so much. A made us a great pancake breakfast one day. She also made a cauliflower curry soup, which I'm using as inspiration to make my own variant. Very unusual, and good.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Hey! It was great to have you folks at the Tiki Bar the other night. I'm glad the food at the Grand was alright... I really should make the time to get over there!