Monday, March 28, 2011

Restaurant Review: Healesville Hotel

Location: 256 Maroondah Highway, Healesville
Link: http://www.healesvillehotel.com.au/
Cuisine: Pub, Restaurant
We decided to try Healesville Hotel as it was once hatted.
Shepherd's Pie
slow cooked lamb with vegetables, minted peas and rocket

Parmesan crumbed Chicken Schnitzel
roasted tomato, crispy bacon, cos and thick chips
Overall Impression: 5/10
Decent pub food. Nice and relaxed ambience.
Healesville Hotel on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Simply Spanish

Location: 116 Cecil St, South Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9682 6100
Cuisine: Spanish
Overall Impression: 3.5/10
J and I decided to check out South Melbourne market. And saw a cute little Spanish restaurant around the corner.
We both quickly decided we wanted paella. We tried to get the waitstaff's attention but we were ignored for about 20 minutes. As we had already been seated we thought we might as well give this place a shot. The service may be bad but the food could perhaps make up for the lack of any service.
We finally put our orders through. And then we waited.
And waited.
And waited.
And waited.
Half an hour later.
And the food didn't arrive. So, we asked tried to get any of the waitstaff's attention again and asked about what had happened with our order. We had both ordered the Paella Valenciana (big pot paella)... Which meant it would just come out of the massive pot of paella that was cooking at the front of the restaurant.
And it turned out they had forgotten our orders. The waitress came back in a couple of minutes with our Paellas. Finally.
The paella smelled delicious but as I tasted it, it was clear that something was amiss. A good paella yields a 'socarrat', a delicious caramelisation of the bottom layer of rice. This was notably absent from the dish. The flavours were good but ordinary.

Simply Spanish on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Restaurant Review: Q1

Location: Q1 Resort & Spa, 9 Hamilton Street, Surfers Paradise QLD 4213
Link: http://www.bestrestaurants.com.au/restaurants/updateStats.aspx?restaurantId=3464&websiteUrl=http://www.Q1.com.au
Cuisine: Modern Australian Was at a conference in the Gold Coast and had the opportunity to try out Q1. Smoked breast of chicken garnished with witlof salad and tossed with julienne of apple, snow peas and aged balsamic

This was very dissapointing. Really just tasted somewhat like a grocery store bought caesar salad. The dressing was extremely thick and creamy. Which was nice, but had too much salt, in my opinion. The saltiness was unnecessary, given it was tossed with smoked chicken breast, that would have added ample saltiness to the mixture. I found the dressing very overpowering and could taste not much else. If this wasn't the case, the aged balsamic would have otherwise provided a good balance that would have cut through the creamyness of the dish Thinly sliced beef tenderloin served on a bed of rocket leaves tossed with extra virgin olive oil, shaved parmesan and cracked pepper Grilled Atlantic Salmon marinated with tarragon served with braised fennel on crushed new and sweet potatoes complimented by an orange sauce
Roasted lamb loin marinated with rosemary and chilli pesto complimented by Roma tomatoes salsa and basil jus and roasted pototoes
This was beautiful. Cooked to perfection. Ample seasoning, flavours sealed. Pink in the middle. Very hearty with beautiful flavours.

Orange and Grand Marnier marshmallows and fresh strawberries served with hazelnut and white chocolate mousse in mini chocolate cups
Japonaise- layers of crisp hazelnut meringue flakes with chocolate ganache, hazelnut sauce and a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with roasted almond flakes
What an amazing dessert. Perfectly balanced on the palate. The meringue layers just melted in my mouth. A great finish to a good meal.
Overall Impression: 6/10 Very nice ambience, good food.

Restaurant Review: Margo's

Location: Crown casino, Southbank
Link: http://www.crowncasino.com.au/margos
Cuisine: Modern Australian Veal shank slow-cooked veal served with mashed potatoes and vegetables

This is the second time that I've had the Veal Shank and its actually pretty good. The veal has good flavour, it was tender and falling off the bone. The mash was deliciously buttery. The only down side was the vegetables. They had simply been boiled and then tossed on the plate.
My friends had the $12 steak and said it was tender and cooked to perfection.

Overall Impression: 5/10
Great for a casual catch-up dinner. Situated in the gaming area, I guess it could not be anything else. Service was quite good. Waiters served us crusty white bread upon arrival with a smile. Food arrived promptly and was, given the prices (assuming you get the $12 meal deal), a reasonable meal.
Margos on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine

Location: 25 Market Lane, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9650 0848
Link: http://www.shoya.com.au/
Cuisine: Japanese Serving consistently good Japanese fare, Shoya has been a long favourite of mine. This time we decided to visit during lunch. There are several lunch menu options that range from about $25 to $65. To my delight, the quality of service and the food delivered was not compromised even though the lunch menu option is relatively cheaper to the usual a la carte.

The thing that I enjoy most about visiting Shoya during lunch is that it really breaks up the day at the office. Shoya's restaurant structure consists of 6 split levels including a traditional Horigotatsu, which is my favourite. I was very happy that we were seated there as it has such a relaxed ambience and for some reason it feels like I have ducked out of the office for a little Japanese adventure.
Chawa Mushi
Savoury Egg Custard
Agedashi Tofu
Chilled Bean Curd
Seaweed salad
Sashimi
Sushi rice topped with Salmon Sashimi and Salmon Roe
Tempura
Grilled Fish
Udon
Green tea ice cream

The sashimi was fresh, the chawa mushi was silky smooth, the tempura had a clean crispness about it and the green tea ice cream was dense and creamy. It was a good meal. Cannot wait to go back!
Overall impression: 7/10
Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Restaurant Review: Innocent Bystander

Location: 336 Maroondah Highway,Healesville
Phone: (03) 5962 6111 or 03 5962 2533 (after office hours)
Link: http://www.giant-steps.com.au/menus.php
Cuisine: Bistro style
Overall Impression: 5/10

Innocent Bystander is a trendy little café in Heallesville. Its worth dropping by for a free tour of their winery (tour information is on their website). It’s a very relaxed environment with cheerful waitstaff and a good bakery on site.
Pizza: spicy pork sausage, buffalo mozzarella, san marzano tomato & chilli
pizza: roast mushroom, ricotta salata, white truffle oil, garlic & parsley
buxton farm smoked trout salad with witlof, red radish & pickled cucumber
pizza: prosciutto, san marzano tomato, parmesan & parsley

For dessert we had Tarte Tatin & hot chocolate (kennedy+wilson 70% dark with valrhona.
The Salmon salad was at best plain but the pizzas on the other hand were good. The sweets (from what I hear) were yummy. Overall a good casual lunch. Highly recommended if you are going with a small group (around 8 people) as they allow small group bookings.
Giant Steps / Innocent Bystander Winery on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Locale, De Bortoli

Please refer to our latest review of De Bortoli here.

De Bortoli Winery and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Mandala

Location: 133 Commercial Road, South Yarra
Phone: +61 3 98279297
Link: http://www.mandalarestaurant.com.au/
Cuisine: Ethnic Fusion
Overall Impression: 5/10

Decided to have dinner with J at this restaurant. Ambience wise, this is quite a nice restaurant. Cute fittings and fixtures. Its a bit noisy for my liking but overall, it was a good night out. The menu comprises of a range of Asian food and some western food as well. Don't expect a 'fine dining' experience and you will be alright!
Entrée:Okra Fritters Chicpea batter okra cubes with apple tamarind chutney
This dish was quite bland. Lacked basic seasoning - salt and pepper.
Main: Soft Shell CrabWith pickled plum, toasted peanuts, cherry tomato
This was a highlight for me. The softshell crab was crisp on the outside and deliciously moist on the inside. Yum!
Main: Slow Cooked Lamb ShankWith spiced bokchoy, wombok and market vegetables
This is an example of an attempted fusion dish. It tasted alright but it wasn't anything special.
Dessert: Pistachio Kulfi With wild berries and mango puree
A bit too creamy for my liking. The 'pistachio' bit of the kulfi was overpowered by the large amount of cream in that Kulfi. I guess its a matter of taste since J liked it.
Mandala Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon