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Sunday, February 27, 2011

La Belle Miette

I stumbled upon this cute little French patisserie on Hardware Lane once upon a lunchtime a few weeks ago, at which point they had only been open for a couple of weeks. The store only has a handful of seats available but that's not a problem for me as I tend to take away sweets later for dessert. I have visited twice and service is friendly and helpful.

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Shown below are Lychee, Cherry Blossom & Sake, Violet & Blueberry, Rose, Raspberry Ganache & 72% Cocoa Single Origin Chocolate (Venezuela). They also have a few other flavours available as well.

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My favourites were the Chocolate and the Violet & Blueberry - the Chocolate was a delight as it resembled the texture of a fudgy chocolate brownie and slightly rich in flavour.  The Violet & Blueberry, while it wasn't supposed to taste like it, was like a Fruit loop (I confirmed with A that he thought the same too!) so we loved this one too.

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Another lovely patisserie catering to Melbourne's love of Macarons. The packaging is very pretty and the macarons are yummy so I would come back again. The boxes are perfect for a gift so I may consider it as a treat for a special someone next time around.

By the time this is posted up, I will be in lovely Sydney feasting my heart out and also watching UFC 127 live at Acer Arena!! Does anyone else watch? :)

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Will I return? Yes, I loved the macarons here and the variety of flavours are lovely.

La Belle Miette
30 Hardware Ln
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9024 4528

La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bistro Thierry

Taking advantage of A's upcoming birthday, I decided to book a lovely dinner at Bistro Thierry as he wanted something a bit more lowkey. Several good things have been said about Bistro Thierry and I'm so glad that it exceed our expectations.

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We were seated at a table next to the window, and although the view of Malvern Rd isn't anything special, it did pull us away from the hum of other diners and gave us some privacy.

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We ordered a bottle of the Carlei Estate Pinot Noir 2005 and I'm definitely no wine expert so the description is as follows: The palate shows white peach, citrus and grapefruit mingling with hazelnuts. This is wrapped in a creamy texture that is dry with crisp but gentle, firm acid at the finish.

Starting off with Snails, we could smell them even before they arrived. The comforting and mouth watering smell of garlic and parsley butter prompted us to ask for more bread so that we could soak up all the juices that escaped the snail shells. The snails were wonderfully tender and accompanying butter was enough to satisfy my inner fatty boomba.

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Snails baked in garlic & parsley butter

Now this is another entree that will have me resisting the urge to lick the plate, being a civilised person and all, you know. The scallops were cooked the way I love them, to the 'only just-cooked' stage and almost transluctant in the centre. The cauliflower mousse was great to showcase the natural sweetness of the scallops.

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Pan seared Scallops with cauliflower mousse

After watching all three friends eat various Steaks the night before at The Point, I had no choice but to order the Steak Frites with Bearnaise sauce to satiate my red meat cravings. The Eye fillet was perfectly cooked to a medium rare and the crispy french fries were well seasoned as was the bearnaise sauce.

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Steak Frites with Bearnaise Sauce

A chose the Oven Roasted Duck which he enjoyed a lot. I only had a bite of the duck which was wonderfully flavoursome and tender.

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Oven Roasted Duck with sweet potatos & ginger confit puree

For dessert, you cannot go past a Creme Brulee so that's what I had. The golden toffee crust gave way to a beautiful vanilla bean seed speckled custard. An oldie, but you know it's a goodie!

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Creme Brulee

A decided to go with the Chocolate Souffle which was light & fluffy yet decadent at the same time especially after the hot chocolate sauce was poured in. Also a very nice dessert.

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Chocolate Souffle with hot chocolate sauce & vanilla bean ice cream

Service at Bistro Thierry is dished with a french accent and a lot of playful teasing on the waiters' behalves and our experience was made more enjoyable as a result. I would definitely come back again without hestitation for the good food and would rate it as my favourite French Bistro restaurant I have visited so far, above say, Bistro Guillaume and France Soir.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 9/10
Value: 7.5/10
Will I return? Yes, the food and atmosphere were really enjoyable.

Bistro Thierry
511 Malvern Rd
Prahran, VIC
(03) 9824 0888

Bistro Thierry on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Point

We dined at The Point in Albert Park on a night that featured the faux-Summer phase that Melbourne has been going through for the past few months. I don't mind so much as I can't handle the intense heat that typical Melbourne summers experience and the dreary weather still did not falter the incredible view that The Point offers. My dear A's birthday was the occasion and it was a lovely setting to celebrate his birthday.

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After perusing the menu, we settled on sharing a few entrees to start with. We were also presented with complimentary Amuse Bouches of Cured Salmon with Orange foam. With speckles of black salt sprinkled over the foam, it created a nice balance of salty and sour flavours to compliment the Salmon. This was a great way to start off the night.

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Cured Salmon with orange foam

The Scallop tartare was placed in front of us while the waitress poured a warm rich cosomme around the plate. I would have prefered to have larger pieces of scallop instead of in tartare form as the flavours of the scallop (which I love) were lost amongst the consomme. The plate it was served on also made it slightly difficult to scoop the small pieces of tartare unless you tilted it over.

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Scallop Tartare with consomme & quail yolk

The suckling pork crispy ontop and the meat was succulent, it was nice however I still rate Cutler & Co's suckling pig better.

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Western Plains suckling pork, grilled marron, sauce ravigote and carrots vichy

The Venison carpaccio was tender and well flavoured however I did not particularly like the bitter chocolate as it didn't feel as if it meshed well together although others did not mind the combination.

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Onkaparinga Valley venison carpaccio, Roquefort emulsion, pear jelly and bitter chocolate

My pigeon was difficuly to slice with the butter knife provided however, it was incredibly tender and very tasty. The gnocci did not have any substantial truffle flavour and the carrot and vanilla puree was a touch too sweet (I don't like it when there is too much sweetness on my savoury dishes) however I would class the dish a sucess. I enjoyed every bite despite a few elements being borderline for me.

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Roasted Wycheproof pigeon, truffled gnocchi, carrot and vanilla puree, sauce salmis

My bestie, S, had the Beef Tasting Plate which was comprised of 5 portions of 3 different beef types. I had a few bits and can confirm that they were all delcious and cooked perfectly to her preference. She was also offered various sauces to go with her dish.

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Beef Tasting Plate - Individual portions of Sher Wagyu, Hopkins River grain and Cape Grim pasture fed beef

Both of the boys opted for Eye fillets, one pasture fed and the other grain fed. The waiter explained the difference was that pasture fed is supposedly meant to have more flavour while the Grain fed is more tender. I am too novice to be able to tell the difference but both were nice and well cooked. These were both served with Roasted bone marrow garnish which we were estatic to see but it wasn't spectacular of a garnish as we wished it would be.

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250g pasture fed Cape Grim Eye fillet, The Point Bone Marrow garnish

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250g grain fed Clare Valley Eye fillet, The Point Bone Marrow garnish

By this point, the unrelenting pounding rain started leaking through the ceiling above our table and once we stood up away from the leak, it actually started pouring heavily through the ceiling. We could not fault the staff for this unfortunate weather affecting their premises, however we were left standing away from our table for a good 5-10 minutes while the staff dealt with the water (which was also starting to drip around other patrons' tables. When we were finally seated, we weren't offered any apology for the delay or situation. We were in good moods and didn't let it ruin our night but I still believe the lack of awareness towards us in this situation is dismal of a two-hatted restaurant.

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30 minutes after this situation unfolded and we were re-seated, we were finally able to order our desserts. Before our desserts came, we were given complimentary palate cleansers of Cranberry jelly & granita which was nice.

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Cranberry jelly & granita

The Vanilla bean cheesecake looked pretty and impressive when it came out however, we were expecting an actual cheesecake or something that had elements similar to a cheesecake so the tubes of cheesecake encased by a roll-up type exterior as well as the melting yoghurt sorbet left us disappointed. The saving grace of this dessert was the fresh berries and the shards of crunchy caramel. It was nice but definitely not memorable.

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Vanilla bean cheesecake, new seasons berries and yoghurt sherbet

The surprise of the night was the Dark chocolate nemesis which we only ordered as an afterthought. The dense rich chocolate cake was a texture explosion with soft pillows of beetroot meringue, caramelised bananas and vanilla sorbet. All the elements went really well together and we all scraped the plate clean.

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Dark chocolate nemesis, flavours of banana, beetroot and coffee

Overall it was a beautiful setting for a dinner between friends. We enjoyed the company, food and wine although there are a few factors in which I believe this restaurant falls short on.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 3/10
Value: 6.5/10
Will I return? No, although the food was nice, the service fell short especially when we were just standing around waiting for a new table after our table got flooded.

The Point Restaurant
Aquatic Drive, Lake Melways
Albert Park, VIC 3206
(03) 9682 5566

The Point Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cumulus Inc. Part 2

I'll admit I'm a victim of revisiting the same places even though I've blogged about them, it's a sin of a food blogger but sometimes if you love that place, you can't help it! That is what happened one day after work when we dropped by Cumulus Inc. for a quickie dinner before a night out in the town.

Arriving just after 5:30pm, I was glad to see plenty of tables available and we were promptly seated with food & drinks menu in hand. Another sin to commit as a food blogger... to order the same dishes!! And that is what I did, although I can justify it and say that Mr A hadn't tried them before.

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We couldn't help ourselves but start off with a glass of Oakridge Pinot Noir 2008 for myself and a Buddy for Mr A. Soon after, our Foie Gras parfait with toasted brioche arrived which was delicate, creamy and rich. We enjoyed it and ordered another serving of brioche to finish it all off.

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Foie Gras parfait with toasted brioche

The Tuna Tartare with crushed green pea salad was still as good as I remembered although it didn't have the lemony zing to it that I had previously experienced. I generally hate peas but these peas were so fresh and sweet, almost as if they had just been freshly picked.

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Tuna Tartare with crushed green pea salad

To accompany our main, we chose the Spiced cauliflower with goats curd which consisted of so many different flavours which all went so well together.

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Spiced Cauliflower with goats curd

To finish off the meal, we had the Mustard crumbed pig's tail, white cabbage, horseradish & apple. The gelatinous texture of the pig's tail was immensely enjoyed by us and the almost-slaw like salad, helped cut through the fattiness of the pig's tail. My first experience eating pig's tail (from what I remember anyway) and a very good one at that.

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Mustard crumbed pig's tail, white cabbage, horseradish & apple

Unfortunately once we paid for the bill and left in a hurry to meet some friends, I remembered about the lemon curd madeleines so no dessert.
Service is friendly and helpful and the food is always consistently good. A note to myself that I must come out to the city on the weekend one day to sample the breakfast menu.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 7.5/10
Will I return? Yes, the food at Cumulus Inc is always good and is good for a quick dinner in the city.

Cumulus Inc.
45 Flinders Ln
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9650 1445

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mamasita

Apologies for the epic lack of posts.. Work has been incredibly cruel to me so that even though I have a huge backlog of places to write about, I haven't had the chance yet. Here is a quick post about Mamasita which is literally just a few steps down from Mr A's workplace, so it was the most convenient choice for a quickie dinner.

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After going through the menu with the waitress, we ordered quite a bit  and later on, we realised perhaps a bit too much. Out came our drinks which was a glass of Sangria for myself and Tecate Chelada (a Mexican Beer with a salt rim & lime) - perfect for a hot day.

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We started off with the corn, which has rave reviews and I can see why. The corn is sweet and juicy while the flavours are a combination of spicy, tangy and creamy. These left my lips slightly burning but they were worth it!

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Elotes callejeros - ““Street Style”” chargrilled corn with queso, chipotle mayonnaise & lime

I found the Tortilla chips were not as crispy as I hoped they would be and the guacamole was a touch too salty for my tastebuds but Mr A was starving so he demolished the whole serving.

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Tortilla chips with salsa & guacamole

The toppings were placed on a small crisp tortilla chip and were the perfect bite sized entrees. I really liked the flavour combination, especially the avocado, with the crab meat and the habanero (a type of chilli) gave it a nice kick.

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Tostaditas de Cangrejo - Crab meat, avocado, cucumber, tamarind mayonnaise & habanero

Mr A and I opted to choose two different tacos and I'm glad I had the grilled fish taco. It was full of flavour and the fish was not dry as I often dread. Mr A's braised beef  was deemed okay.

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Taco de Pescado & Taco de Res y Chorizo - Grilled fish with lime, achiote paste & red onion salsa and Braised beef & chorizo with coriander & onion

After the tacos, there was quite a bit of a wait for the rest of our food and eventually after 20 minutes or so, our Quesadilla and Grilled prawns came out together. I found sections of the Quesadilla that were cripsy and tasty which I enjoyed, and other bits which were dripping in oil and soggy as a result. I ended up nibbling the good bits and leaving the rest on my plate.

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Quesadilla de Pollo - Chargrilled chicken with ‘‘pico de gallo’’, coriander & queso fresco

The prawns were okay although I would have preferred if they were slightly less cooked. The green almond sauce and toasted garlic were nice but I wasn't wowed by anything on the plate.

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Camarones gigantes al ajillo - Grilled prawns with toasted garlic & green almond sauce

We were completely stuffed at this point so unfortunately we had to miss out on dessert. I found the service from one of the waitresses was lovely and she was happy to help us through the menu however found one of the other waiter's service very abrupt so it really depends who serves you. The food at Mamasita is not ground breaking or something that I would class a 'must-visit' in Melbourne but the long line of people waiting down the stairs on a Monday night must mean something.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Will I return? Yes, the Mexican fare here is decent and it's good for a quick bite, once in a while.


Mamasita
Level 1, 11 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9650 3821

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

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