This is definitely one of the most hyped
brunch places in Melbourne and we were very much looking forward to our
visit there. After a very long wait to get in, a possibly an even
longer wait for the food, what arrived at the table certainly wasn't all
worth the drawn out anticipation. I had the polenta corn fritter dish
and added bacon while M went for something sweet. I was very unhappy
with my dish which was bland bland bland; not even the bacon was enough
to lift the dish. M was also pretty disappointed with his choice and was
uninspired by the coffee, which he described as 'average, not terrible
but definitely not great'. Worst of all, we both got sick (an upset
stomach) afterwards, which we suspect may have been due to brunch.
M very highly rates the coffee here, which I guess is half the appeal of these brunch places for a lot of people. However, when I came here with a friend we had a terrible time of it. After the inevitable (for these hyped brunch places) we were hastily seated. I had a disappointing iced coffee and baked eggs which were bland and overcooked. My poor friend T got a duck confit, a favourite dish of ours, which proved to be very dry. Honestly, you know you're not doing very well when you manage to make duck cooked in its own fat dry.
Bowery to Williamsburg
According to M, the coffee here isn't amazing: very American, well expressed with a lot of crema but not the best roast for a black coffee, much more suited to a sweet latte or the like. However, this is definitely one of our favourite brunch and sandwich places in Melbourne. The sandwiches here (including the meatball sub and reuben) are always very tasty and very good value at $10. The options sides you get are also great, particularly the ridiculously tasty mac n cheese. M also loves the Shashoukas here, which are only available at breakfast time. We've been here on several occasions and the only thing that's been a bit disappointing was a hot smoked salmon in a pumpernickel bagel.
Like other hyped brunch places, the way here is long and you can't book
but unlike some of these other places, the wait is worth it.Pretty well everyone in town knows that this place does some of the best cakes in Melbourne. You can't come here without at least checking out their gorgeous cabinet full of beautiful cakes and macarons. The savoury food here is also very good; the reuben sandwich I had here was very tasty, albeit overpriced at $19. The mushroom with polenta we had here was also amazing.
Hammer & Tong
Another very popular lunch place in inner
city Melbourne, and another one not worth the hype in our opinion. The
pork belly dish we had here had pork belly which was very fatty and
poorly rendered, soggy 'crackling, and the promised 'chilli jam' legit
looked and tasted just like sweet chilli sauce. M wasn't crazy about the
coffee; he said it had a nice crema but the roast itself was too bitter
for a black coffee. I hated the drink I had; their housemade orange
fizz which tasted like it was made with oranges which weren't very
fresh. You know when you eat an orange and part of all of it is very dry
and its taste has distinctly musty overtones? This tasted like that in
This is one of Dad's favourite places to go to
when he's in town and I follow along so I can get my fill of snow crab.
The snow crab they do here isn't as great as many of the Chinese
restaurants in Perth, possibly because they are more familiar with the
WA ingredient. However, it and the other seafood they make is still
pretty tasty and fresh. Prices are also not as steep as one might expect
given the over the top (in a good way), gilded decor. They also do a nice, and not too
pricey, yum cha where you generally don't have to book.
Dainty Sichuan, Box Hill
We came here with a few
friends for their famous hotpot, which the Good Food Guide had said good
things about. I've long since learned that the Guide isn't necessarily
the best authority out there for good food. One of the apparent points
of difference for Dainty Sichuan is that you get your own little hotpot
instead sharing one with the table. While this was pretty convenient for
a big table like ours, it's certainly not the only restaurant out there
that does this. It's also one of the few places out there were you pay
for your hotpot by ordering a la carte, whereas most hotpot is an
all-you-can-eat deal. Hotpot is probably the only scenario/cuisine in
which I prefer the latter, because it usually provides much better
value. On this occasion even though we didn't order loads, it came to
about $35 per person. This would have been fine if the meal was great,
but we didn't enjoy it very much.
Something the Good Food Guide raved
about were the homemade fish (and other seafood balls). I'm actually a
big fan of the processed MSG-laden kind you buy frozen from the Asian
grocery and the ones here didn't taste anyway near as good. That's not
to say home made fish balls can't be good, I've had ones before (usually
made with mackerel) which were very tasty. The problem with Dainty's is
that they make theirs with what I strongly suspect to be Basa, a
rubbery and awful fish which makes equally awful fish balls. They also
almost certainly made their prawn balls with those shiteous frozen
Vietnamese imported prawns. I'll stick to my cheap, all-you-can-eat
Peko Peko, Fitzroy
Peko Peko in Fitzroy, not to be confused
with the restaurant of the same name in South Melbourne, is one of those
restaurants where we had two very contrasting visits. The first time we
came here, we loved it. The dishes we had here the first time around,
including the chicken makizushi and salmon don thing were very tasty.
However, on our most recent visit we had a very different experience.
The miso soup I ordered was frankly awful and the tuna maki we got was
very stingy with the tuna and just not very good. The chicken karaage
was also gristly, cloying and not very crispy. The teriyaki don we had
was pretty tasty but not enough to save the evening. We also found the service here ambivalent at best and at times, abrupt.
A very popular location for Canberrans; I know plenty
of people at work who love this place. However, if you come, be prepared
for dry and bland pulled pork, the same deal for the brisket, wings
which were far too 'wet', flavourless and not at all charry or crispy.
The corn bread was disgustingly dry. The chicken. however, was pretty
tasty, juice and flavoursome. The service here is of about the same standard as the food. I
suppose the banquets are pretty cheap if you want a lot of (not very
Came here on the recommendation of a friend and because it's close by to my sprawling ducal estate. Ordered the bebek butuku which was described as roast duck on the menu but ended up being much more like a braised duck, definitely no crispy skin. However, the half a bird was very tender and pretty flavoursome, albeit not as amazing as we'd hoped given that it was a house specialty. We also had a pretty average beef rendang and some mee goreng which again was tasty enough but not charry enough and too wet for my liking. All in all pretty tasty and a good choice if you feel like Indonesian in Canberra, but we won't be rushing to go back.
Asian Noodle House, Dickson
Had a very plain and greasy kway teow here, no wok hey. The laksa that M got was alright, very average especially in light of the fact their pride themselves on their laksas. The second (and hopefully last) time I came here I was dragged kicking and screaming here by friends; seriously, I was so reluctant to eat here it nearly started a fight. That time I had a chicken crispy fried noodle which was was predictably very mediocre and laden with large strips of ginger which rendered it rather unpleasant to eat. I live close to the Belconnen Asian Noodle House and needless to say, I've never bothered to eat there.
Ka Sushi Ramen
Came here once with Mum on a Sunday when many other restaurants in the vicinity were closed. Mum ordered the tonkatsu ramen which, from the morsel I tried, didn't agree with my palette at all and she definitely wasn't crazy about it herself. I ordered the small beef rice bowl which didn't taste at all how a good Gyudon should; it didn't seem to use the right ingredients, resulting in a flavour imbalance. The resulting flavour, while not completely horrible, did taste rather odd and overtly acidic, as opposed to the lovely sweet flavour a good Gyudon ought to possess.