Zomato + Locanda

I love tomatoes. I’ll eat them all day err’ day. So when a company that sounds like Tomato asked me to head along to Locanda for a bit of a ‘hey, how are you’ shindig, I of course accepted. So you don’t think I went to dinner with some form of super salad, I’ll clarify. Zomato are the new creative kids on the Urbanspoon block. Tackling the foodie site and giving us more info about our favourite topic, eating! Check out Urbanspoon and Zomato on the Google machine for more info.

The kids of Zomato around the world are catching up and calling it #zomatomeetup. This one was here in little ol’ Melbs at Exhibition St’s Locanda. With an option of bar, restaurant or private dining, these guys have the trifecta, and to be honest, the food was a lot more tasty than I was expecting. I’m one of those people who are always a bit skeptical about the restaurants connected to hotels….except for no.28…and Melba….ok so maybe there’s a few that have changed my mind.

IMG_2912

Let’s cut to the good stuff. The food. But! First. The people! Must say, a damn cracking good group were in attendance at this fine meetup. Great team working for Zomato as well as some lovely bloggers where you of course have to do the awkward “Yes that’s your actual name, but what’s your blog name?” and then you realise that you are pretty much besties on Insty. Good times.

IMG_2901

I’m on the 3 bean diet.

The Locanda staff greeted us with a tray of espresso martinis. My usual choice for a ‘dessert’ drink, and not pre-dinner, but hey, it was goooood.

The conversations were flowing about all of our first world issues, mostly revolving around food (sur-prise sur-prise), and we were soon shown to the adjoining room, with a beaaautiful marble table covered in food.

There was oysters, salt and pepper squid, crostini, poached duck and freakin amazing spicy pepperoni and prosciutto. Yes to everything, please.

IMG_2899 IMG_2897 IMG_2902

My plate was piled high and my portion control issues were in over drive. Pretty sure I had half the oysters…and the duck….and post of the plate of that prosciutto. I know, i’m a sucker for anything close to bacon. Fantastic spread by Locanda.

We were all having a brilliant time over Mumm Champagne and then I realised, hooray they’re all like me! The chefs walked through with a little bebeh roast pig and two huge racks of beef and the room went silent. Husband always says I stare at food instead of listening to the conversation at the table, and here were a table of people just. like. me. Yay. Friends.

IMG_2925

Hey, Wilbur.

IMG_2919

Watching the chef carve these babies was like watching Picasso or Michelangelo. Eyes wide. Cameras poised. We were ready to eat. Again. Fantastic. Crispy pork crackling to top it off? Yes. Yes. And yes again.

When scrolling through my photos, I must have had a brain fart when I was distracted by the pig and didn’t get a snap of my other favourite dish of the night. Fries. Truffle. Parmesan. Truffle Fries. *The crowd goes wild!*

I had seconds. And thirds. ok and a few more fries. Because they were truffle fries. Noone leaves truffle fries behind.

The Cab Sav was now flowing and this merry bunch was having a brilliant night. Especially now we were all chock full of meat and truffle goodness. No better way to be on a cold Melbourne night.

But of course it was soon time for that stomach to kick in. Dessert time.

IMG_3854 IMG_3849 IMG_3848

Yes I had both cheese and sweets. Don’t question it. Just go with it. Amazing chewy pistachio macaron. And the blue vein cheese. Ohhh the cheese.

Overall a great night out with a great crowd, definitely check out @edgeofmyplate and @olivesundays on Insty and in the blogosphere.

Locanda, good times.

8/10

Locanda Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

The spoon of the serving variety.

Hm. Not your best title, JP. But far from the worst.

A couple of weekends ago, my future name sake JT and I ventured to the beautifully appointed, spacious….space of Servery and Spoon in Malvern. Our destination was the great and powerful Chadstone but of course we needed a lot of energy prior to entering into the monstrous building.

I have wanted to try Servery for a while now. Side note. Yes Servery and Spoon and I are now friends, so I just call him Servery for short. As soon as you walk in, you want to stay there all day. Fantastic, welcoming space with plenty of room for the masses. We managed to get there between the breakfast and lunch crews, so got a table straight away which is always a welcoming factor in Melbs.

Straight off the bat, the service was great. Noone rushed us, no rudeness. Just quality service with a smile. And yes. I’ve heard it a few times and I can confirm it. Everyone that wants to help you is good looking. Another reason to visit Servery soon. Not that you’ll need one after looking at our food.

IMG_2436

Arty dranks shot.

I was ready for a feed and to curb the cravings whilst perusing the menu, I went with a Long Mac and an Orange juice. Cold pressed to be precise. I may be wrong. But it was exactly what I needed for this bright Saturday.

The conversation went from people watching, to wedding talk to everything in between and not once were we pushed to order. Grazie to the staff once again.

IMG_2438 (1)

We both umm’d and ahh’d but I knew I had to go with the Dukkah crusted eggs. Because its dukkah. On eggies. Enough said. This was easily once of the best breakfasts I have had in Melbs. And I have eaten A LOT of breakfasts. I very rarely venture to Malvern for breakfast, but this will change that for sure.

This brekky has all of my favourite things and more. They don’t even give you boring lemon. That’s griddled orange on the side of your plate there, JP. And it adds the perfect zing to the dish. Ah I sound wanky. But it’s really that good. The eggies are served with smashed avo (brekky staple), marinated goats cheese (breakfast/lunch/dinner/brunch/linner staple) and sautéed spinach on sourdough/gluten free bread for moi.

OH the flavour. I could have eaten a baker’s dozen of these eggs. I have an egg problem. I will probably one day turn into a chicken.

IMG_2439

Now this snap got a lot of love on insty, and it’s not hard to see why. Everyone loves a bit of #yolkporn. I sliced open that bad boy and yolky goodness came oozing out. Ooooh. JT and I just sat there admiring it for a while. Damn delicious.

IMG_2437 (1)

JT’s brekky was as equally scrumptious with equally as amazing yolk porn. Her brekky was as pretty as a picture on the plat, with the eggs accompanied by asparagus and many many greens. Parmesan was also a welcome change to the usual brekky ‘dressings’ and the dish was gone in a flash.

I do warn you. There is a produce store connected to Servery and Spoon so don’t expect to leave without a big bag of goodies. That place has it all and more. They even sell fancy carry bags so your bag can match your fantastic produce. I could probably live at Servery and Spoon. I might just camp out the back and wander in whenever I need my fix of dukkah crusted eggs, ridiculous produce or even a damn fine cake.

Oh yes, the sweets cabinet up the front will make anyone drool. There’s flavours to match any tastebud. I guarantee you won’t be able to pay your bill without staring at that chocolate/chai/fruit/pastry goodness. Oh the goodness.

One brilliant morning. Oh, Servery. You are now, quite possibly, my favourite brekky spot in Melbourne. Sunshine, open spaces, fantastic food where they let a lot of the produce speak for itself. What more could you ask for!

Get there. Quickly. Ah-mazing.

12.3294/10

Servery & Spoon on Urbanspoon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hashtag 3 and 1 at Tarrawarra.

Flicking through the Melbourne Food & Wine Fest Guide is just a feast for the eyes. I’ll go to that one, no that one, or that one….ok all three. But I must admit, the Tarrawarra Estate is one of my faves so when ‘3 Wine Guys & a Gin Man’ popped up, well that was a no brainer. We were to be absolutely spoilt by Melbourne Gin Company, TarraWarra Estate, Mayer Winery & Hoddles Creek.

IMG_2159

Tarrawarra Estate. Aka. God’s country. It’s what you think of when you think ‘Yarra Valley’. Rolling hills, beautiful sunsets, amazing wine and the food, oh the food. I’ve ventured here once before with Fiancé and I made him fall in love with duck liver pate. For someone whose favourite food is Spag Bol, this was a huge accomplishment for me. Bravo, JP. Helping amazing food reach the masses, one fiancé at a time.

IMG_2175

Back to Saturday. Beautiful day in Melbs. Or so Mother Nature led us to believe. But we can get to that later. We started with delicious cocktails brought to you by Melbourne Gin Company and canapés on the new deck space. This area is damn delightful and I felt like I was a character in wind in the willows…or something where you stand on a deck and the trees sway in the breeze. Bliss.

IMG_2170

As my buddy JW (‘Jessica’s All Good Things’. Lovely lady. Check out the blog) and I had been discussing Negronis a lot of late, with a Melb Gin Negroni on the menu, it was a done deal. And did it deliver! Such smooth gin, Campari, vermouth, what’s not to love. Perfect Negroni.

The canapés rolled out with the lovely waiters and we knew we were in for a delicious night. I’m going to put it out there, I’m pretty sure this is what heaven looks like. Cocktails, amazing scenery and oh so tasty food. Sign me up.

Trays of oysters were moving around and I had to sample a few to get a true appreciation for one of my favourite things. Well that was the excuse I used anyway. The gin and tonic granita provided a great punch on the oyster but still managed to let the little morsel shine and not be overpowered. Balance. Yep. Balance.

FullSizeRender

Another favourite of the canapés were the dukkah crusted olives. Oh em gee. These were incredible. Warm and crispy with the smooth olive on the inside. Thankfully they came in pairs. And the lovely waitress knew to sneak back to me on her laps so she became my new friend for the evening.

What I loved about this evening of delights, aside from the incredible food and wine, was the passion. Not in a wanky Masterchef way, but the three winemakers and gin man present, as well as those presenting the food were full of the stuff. They made you feel so welcome and wanted to share their story with you. Each one of them spoke so enthusiastically about the reason they get out of bed each morning (SO early) and why they do what they do, and each person at that dinner would have gained a greater appreciation for what was put in front of them.

Bravo to you. I raise my tea cup (wishing it was TarraWarra Shiraz) and salute you.

IMG_2334

We were seated and welcomed by the lovely Ben of the Tarrawarra variety and our eyes met a beautiful vine leaf and scrumptious menu that I held back from drooling all over. It was going to be a feast and a half and at that point I regretted eating every canapé three times over….ok four times over. My portion control issues were very evident on this particular evening. And every other evening now I think about it.

IMG_2337Slow cooked salmon, tahini yoghurt, coriander, walnut

Slicing a piece out of this bad boy was like digging for treasure. In a very smooth, easy to cut landscape. Well that analogy didn’t work well, but hopefully you get what I mean.

The sous vide salmon had been prepping all day and was damn perfect. Yet to meet someone who doesn’t like tahini so the combination of that yoghurt with coriander and walnut provided the best accompaniment for the salmon. I would say it was my favourite dish of the night, but the rest was just as delicious so I can’t decide.

IMG_2327

Now, I’m no wine connoisseur. I know what I like, I know what I don’t, and I occasionally throw in a fancy word to make myself sound slightly more sophisticated. I haven’t ever really been a fan of Chardonnay. Never floated my boat. But. There’s a but. The three provided with the salmon were the perfect pairing for the fish. My personal favourite being the 2014 Mayer Chardonnay.

I must say, the company at the dinner was so entertaining and we learnt so much about TarraWarra’s endeavours as well as the local winemakers and gin man who had joined the party for the evening. Like, Melbourne Gin Co took a whole year to perfect the flavour of their dry gin. Grapefruit peel from Gembrook, rosemary from his mum and dad’s backyard….gotta love the locals.

IMG_2342

The next dish looked as though it was from a feast in Game of Thrones. Plates piled up with rabbit with a honey cardamom glaze were placed along the table and you could hear the ooohs and ahhhs. I think they were mostly coming from me. This rabbit, accompanied with almond skordalia was delightful once again. Surprisingly only one attendee of the large group hadn’t tried rabbit before and she loved it, and so will you. Fantastic meat. I could have had the whole platter to myself. Almost did.  The rabbit was served with a Pinot Noir from TarraWarra, Mayer and Hoddles Creek. Each with their difference twists on the tongue. Let me just say, there also was not a shortage in the vino. None of this, sip and move on business. My glass remained full throughout the evening and it was done in such a sneaky way, I hardly ever saw the waiter. Brilliant sneak work. I commend you.

IMG_2347

The dishes were accompanied by salads all put together from produce from the TarraWarra Estate Kitchen Garden. A field of dreams in my opinion. They even make their own vincotto to dress salads like a fantastic caprese with tomatoes of all colours. Ah it was superb. Another salad highlight was the sautéed warrigal greens, chickpeas, harissa and my fave, preserved lemons. Who would have thought that combo could taste so good. It wasn’t as pretty as a picture, but the taste made up for that tenfold.

We soon noticed that the weather was matching the way our wine was going. From a beautiful light breeze and sunshine to a darker more complex system. Ha oh JP, stop with the analogies. But you get my drift. Again. Lovely light chardonnay, to pinot noir and now we were moving into duck country. The land of the Merlot and Cab Sav. The storm was rolling in and we saw some incredible lightening rolling in over the valley.

In my opinion, rain, hail or shine, TarraWarra has one of the best views in the Yarra Valley so if you haven’t ventured to this fantastic restaurant and gallery, please do.

IMG_2352

Because we all needed more food, the next dish soon came out and this was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most. Once again served in a piled high ‘Game of Thrones’ like manner, the duck almost glimmered in the light. Twice cooked duck leg to be precise, along with salt and sugar (do do do do do do aww honey honey) cured duck breast and picked plums. Oh the glory of it all. I managed to get a rather large portion of leg and breast….probably because the plate was right in front of me and I just couldn’t say no. The breast was rare and delectable and the legs were the best I’ve seen in my days. Heidi Klum has nothing on these babies. Oh JP. Please stop.

Must admit I am more partial to the complex, ‘deeper’ reds and I was thoroughly looking forward to the 2012 TarraWarra Estate K Block Merlot and the 2014 Mayer Cab Sauvignon and they did not disappoint. As described to us, the ‘standard’ Merlot gives more of a donut flavour on the palate. And no, not cinnamon or chocolate. There isn’t that ‘fullness’. The hole is missing. Mm donut holes. Whereas TarraWarra is more ‘generous’ with that flavour and I enjoyed it immensely. So much in fact that I purchased a bottle (and a bottle of Shiraz) as we were leaving.

IMG_2355

Pannacotta perfection.

We were well and truly full by this stage but of course, it was time for the dessert tummy to do it’s thing. Pannacotta. A brilliant finish to the evening. Light, yet a lot of flavour and exactly what we all needed after such rich meats. This Lemon Verbene Pannacotta was the base cradling some delicious gin and tonic jelly and was accompanied by a drunken apricot. Oh Mr Apricot, I think you’ve had enough. When you start talking to an apricot, I do believe it is in fact you, that has had enough…..awkward.

This spectacular dessert was accompanied with a rather pleasant 1er Yarra Valley Pinot Blanc and a 2013 TarraWarra Single bock MRV. Both of which I wasn’t sure I would enjoy, but they were a great match with the pannacotta.

I had a spectacular night with my buddy JW and the crew from TarraWarra and I thank you again for your hospitality throughout the evening. It was a mighty fine ode to everything that the Yarra Valley should be.

TarraWarra Estate are apparently coming back to the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival bigger and better than ever in 2016 so make sure you get your tickets. I will be first in line, fo sho.

TarraWarra Estate on Urbanspoon

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peter Rowland Catering. My new bestie.

IMG_2358

Sunday. Funday. Festival. Yes.

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival has landed here with a giant kerplunk! Odd sound effect choice but I am going to run with it.

Over the course of the festivals various restaurants, chefs, drummers and randoms in the street with be flexing their culinary muscles and showing off what Melbourne is known for….rain. I joke. Food, my friend. Food.

On Sunday I was invited to a Blogger brunch, where we gather together, talk about food, take photos of the food, look at the food, take more photos of the food, and finally, most importantly, we eat the food. We eat a lot of the food. Ok fine, we eat all of the food.

IMG_2361

The brunch was put on by the lovely people of Peter Rowland catering and what a spread it was. Delicious samples of what is to come throughout the festival.

And yes for you party poopers, I am supposed to be on a gluten free diet at the moment, but let’s just hope my doctor doesn’t read my blogs….

IMG_2243

mmm. Gluten.

Walking into our space, the incredible smell of fresh bread overpowered the senses and I was once again in awe of gluten.

The sun was shining (then it rained a little….then the sun came back) and we were ready. I love brunch. Totally an excuse to have sparkling and cheese before midday and feel as if you are doing it in a very classy manner.

IMG_2229

The food just kept coming and it was delicious and the presentation was, as always with Peter Rowland, on point. We had ploughman’s boards piled with brilliant pumpkin bread, dips and cheeses, mushroom tartine, ham tartine and panzanella salads. The hardest part was acknowledging that you were full and trying to stop eating. As per usual, I failed at this miserably.

IMG_2233

The mushroom tartine was delicious with the goat’s cheese. Well let’s face it, anything is delicious with good goat’s cheese.

I have often discussed the term of ‘breakfast dessert’, which is totally a thing. Especially when dining at cafes like LBSS with delicious hashtag-raw treaties in their cabinet up front. So as you can imagine, brunch dessert is definitely a thing too. ESPECIALLY when Tivoli road are involved.

Enter donuts. Bloggers drooling. Silence.

IMG_2366

They were moved around to get the best angle, this way and that, with one almost making an escape off the side of the table. These babies were photographed more than Eddie Redmayne at the Oscars. (Side note: pausing to reflect on the gorgeousness that is Eddie Redmayne…..)

Tivoli Road Bakery are known for these scrumptious morsels of fluffy gluten and today was no exception. The bloggers were on them like seagulls to the last hot chip on the beach. I grabbed a lemon curd donut which was curd-ilicious. The tart lemon filling broke up the sugary dough and ahh I was in heaven. So much love for the donut. We also discussed how insty has so much love for the donut. Whack a donut or a burger on there and the ‘likes’ go cray cray. We all love the bad food that’s oh so good.

IMG_2241

We were chatting for a while and although the discussion was very entertaining, there was a lonely donut just sitting there staring at me that kept my attention. Oh Mr Donut, it’s ok. I’m here. So I of course, took one for the team and sampled/devoured the last donut which was the salted caramel filled donut.

Now don’t sound the alarms, but I’ll admit I am not really a fan of salted caramel. I’ll tolerate it. I mean its salt…and caramel. But it’s not my top choice. This was a great donut but I definitely preferred the lemon curd.

After I while I managed to stand and roll myself away from the delicious feast from Peter Rowland. Any event. I will have you on speed dial, sir.

Brilliant way to start a day and I can’t wait to sample more of what the festival of festivals has to offer.

JP x

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I scream, you scream, Yarra Valley Ice Cream!

It’s a hard life being a food blogger. Our portion control issues are continuously tested time and time again and I fail every time. When someone asks you, “We have 12 flavours for you to try today, how many would you like?”….the answer is always 12. 12 indeed. Always 12.

IMG_1951 copy

Recently, I was invited to a sneak peak taste test of the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery’s Ice cream Festival! That’s right, my friend. 12 days ahead of creamy deliciousness. 12 days. It’s probably better than the 12 days of Christmas for us food folk. No partridges in a pear tree here! Or you might even find a delicious pear gelato. Mmm ice cream.

IMG_2322

My day. Tough life. 

Each day the Ice creamery will have 12 different flavours available. So let’s do that maths….that’s 144 different flavours to try over the span of the festival! I’m on 12 currently and looking forward to making a good dent in the other 132. (That’s right, I can count too. Not just a pretty face).

I ventured into the lovely Q studio to sample these delicious treaties and was in sugar heaven. Yep. All part of the bride diet by JP.

It was ridiculously hard to choose a favourite and I think I changed my mind about 12 times. There will be flavours to suit any palette at the festival, even those who love the classics.

IMG_2318

I ate allll that. Pat on the back.

To give you an insight into my ice cream love – I do prefer the standard gelati that you would find in a gelateria in a backstreet of Florence. Give me a bucket of pistachio and hazelnut and I’m a happy lady. Messina probably has too much going on for me. My fave at the moment would have to be Spring Street Grocer. So for me, the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie festival is the perfect combination. And remember there is also the ridiculously large free sample bowls of melt in the mouth chocolate to tempt you there as well.

I got to sample a range of goodies and started off with the chocolate brownie. The brownie being the Chocolaterie’s best seller. And for good reason. I have demolished one (ok, several) of those bad boys in the past and let me tell you, that is one damn fine brownie. Close your eyes and imagine this (I just realised the error of my writing being that you can’t close your eyes and read at the same time, but you get the idea…) ….

IMG_2314

Melted couverture milk chocolate with chunks of their scrumptious brownie. Oh yes. Rich, deliciousness that’s fun for the whole family. Unless you give a litre of it to a 3 year old, then you’ll have crazy sugar times ahead.

Another favourite was definitely the Lemon Myrtle Sorbet. A surprise for me for sure. Big fan of lemon sorbet usually but I was expecting the lemon myrtle to be overpowering and I thought I might be digging into a herb garden’s worth of flavours. Boy was I wrong. I had sampled a few of the rich flavours by this point (snickers, peanut brittle, pancake) so this was oh so refreshing with great flavours. Mhm. As my fellow blogger @gastronomel (look her up, she’s great) pointed out, this would be bloody delicious mixed with Limoncello. Mhm. Perfection.

IMG_2317

There’s even a flavour for you licorice-loving folk. Trust me, I’ve never been a fan of licorice in any form. But the flavour of this gelato was delicious! Mixed in with the tang of fresh raspberries and that was a winner. Not mywinner, but will definitely be a big seller.

Now drum roll. It took me a while. Hours in fact. And many discussions with the poor team at the Q studio to finally decide on my favourite of the 12 I sampled. I’m going to have to go with the Dark Orange. (Tadaaaa). This was a rich, intense sorbet that was broken up by orange peel and a hint of Grand Marnier. Oh lordy, it was good. And as it’s a sorbet, it’s pretty much #cleaneating. Right?

It bordered on tasting like the best cake batter you’ve ever tasted. Which is of course an excellent trait. I know you’ve all licked the mixing bowl, or spoon, or both many a time. Don’t lie. We all have.

If you see it at the festival, eat it. Eat it all. Actually eat all of them. And you can! For a sample of the 12 flavours available on the day, you only pay $12! I feel like I should be advertising a set of steak knives as well with this kind of enthusiasm, but I reckon that is a brilliant price to sample some of Victoria’s finest.

There will also be an Ice Cream menu of delicious sundaes etc to choose from if you want to go that extra mile with your affection for Ice cream.

Plus you can sit back and let the kids run off the sugar in the beautiful outdoor areas that the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie shows off every day. Ah I sound like the girl on Getaway, but trust me, go there. Eat all the things. Roll home. It’s worth it.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

Ice Cream FESTIVAL

18th Feb – 1st March

(Yes it’s on right now. Right. Now. Go!)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hello, Operator?

So I work in the ‘daggy’ end of the city. My area is the jeans-joggers combo of the fancy outfit of Melbs. We struggled for decent cafes for a while there but now, the hospo peeps are seeing the potential of jeans and joggers and we’ve graduated to Nike frees and black skinny jeans. Ha oh JP, please give up on the fashion analogies.

Cut a long story short – Operator 25 is in town and has been for a while now. Serving damn good food and cawfee to the kids of Melbs.

I ventured there recently with ma work buddy MB, fellow foodie and fellow bacon lover. We started with cold brew coz that’s how we roll. It was good. Not strong enough for me, to be honest.

IMG_1364

Whenever I say the phrase ‘strong enough’, I think of that part in Harry Potter where someone says to his buddy Voldemort, ‘But master, you are not strong-g enough’. And he pronounces the word ‘strong’ really phonetically. Just me?

Back to the coffee. We are both used to the super strong Sbriga cold brew (Little Lonsdale’s italiano gem) so this was a little lighter than we had hoped for. But still a nice, smooth drop. Or drip. Cold drip. Yep, continue.

We had both been drooling over Insty picks of Operator’s corn fritters so MB ordered them quick smart. With bacon. Of course.

IMG_1363Brilliant party on a plate.

Duck egg yolk porn galore. Amazing dish. The finished, bare plate was testament enough. Such great flavours and with crispy, fluffy fritters, it’s a no brainer. Heirloom tomatoes, smooth-as goat’s cheese. Ah I’m drooling thinking about it. Unfortunately not gluten free, so I decided to peruse for something else.

There are a few GF options at Operator 25 so I decided to stick in the no-gluten zone as requested and give the salad a crack. This exceeded my expectations 10 fold. It was so tasty, I would have had thirds. Right, not that unusual but so good! There was everything in this grain salad and the flavours were fantastic. Highly recommend!

IMG_1362

Oh and I added bacon. And I dare say it; it didn’t need it. How could I say such a thing? Because the salad was THAT good.

We had great service that day as well, nothing better than a damn tasty meal and lovely peeps to serve it to you. Great lunch spot for any city slicker.

I’ve had a couple of hits and misses with Operator 25 but this was a great experience and hope they will continue.

Come down the daggy end of the city some time and check out the Operator goodness.

8.5/10

Operator25 on Urbanspoon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shanghai Version New-Point-Oh. New Shanghai.

Ha, JP, you’re hilarious.

So. Yes I’m getting married. My future sister in law has my first name. So, yep, we are going to end up with the same name. Think of the fun we will have. Ok there’s not alot we can realllly do. But hey, we can try and confuse as many people as possible.

To discuss our future endeavours, I took her to Emporium’s lotus flower in thorns, New Shanghai. I was invited to sample their fare by ID Collective and golly gosh. I am so glad I was. And to those haters (who gonna hate hate hate) and say ‘Ah you’re going to talk up it, coz you got it fo’ free….”, think about the times you told yo’ mamma you didn’t like her cooking, and you got that fo’ free. I’ll tell you if I don’t like something. (finger click click click).

Back to the place of amazingness.

IMG_2192

Ahhhhhh. (Angel sound. Not sound effects from a scary movie)

From the moment we entered, the staff were fantastic. We felt so relaxed throughout the entire dinner and not rushed at all. Nothing worse than needing to keep a dumpling on your plate so you’re not kicked out. Especially as I’m the one who usually wants to eat the last one. New Shanghai has got the service, the fitout and the damn tasty food combo.

We settled into the lively atmosphere with a lovely glass of T’Gallant Pinot Gris. We were offered the valentines day special cocktail of a Chocolate Martini, but I wasn’t sure that would mesh well with some dumpling love….

Yes I have recently been advised to try a Gluten Free diet by the doc, but when offered gluten, you take the gluten.

With a huge menu, it was so hard to make a decision for those of us decision-al-ly challenged. So we left it in the trusty hands of our waiter.

IMG_2182

The best of the best. Hutong eat your words. There’s a new dumpling king in town.

First up were the silky as …silk  Xiao Long Bao, aka steamed mini pork buns. These little bags of goodness were filled with delicious, hot pork and a light broth that was just amazing. Adding the pickled ginger and vinegar was just delicious and these were gobbled up by JT and I momentarily. These are, by far the best dumplings I’ve had. No joke. Go there. Right now. Well they are closed now. But go. Soon.

IMG_2184

Pan Fried Pork Dumpling. SO Crispy.

Next up were the Pan Fried Pork Dumplings. At first, I was surprised they had served very similar fillings to us. But after one bite, I was so glad they did. Loved the crisp bottom layer of the dumpling and the flavour of the pork inside was delicious once again. I can’t find any more descriptions that compare to these dumplings and mini buns. AH-MAZING. I didn’t want to stop eating. And I didn’t.

IMG_2185

Chinese New Year Speciality.

IMG_2187

Delicious bok choy and sneaky shiny mushrooms that wouldn’t come into focus.

Admittedly, we were rather full after the dumpling deliciousness, however we ‘forced’ ourselves to keep eating. The next dish is a Chinese New Year speciality of stirfried Rice Cakes, pork mince and XO sauce. Incredibly massive serving. Just the way we like it.

Ok, I’ll also admit I wasn’t exaccctly sure what the rice cakes were until we were informed. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this dish if I was just perusing the menu so I am glad we were served it! Great flavours and who doesn’t love XO sauce.

We thought we were done. But. wait. The smell hit me before the dish came to the table. Enter the crab of the soft shell variety. Wish you could catch these bad boys in the crab pots. But you need some serious skill to make it taste this good.

IMG_2188

Crispy. Salt. Pepper. Crab.

I do often overlook salt and pepper squid/calamari/crab as there is never enough ‘meat’ for my liking. Enter this dish. Fantastic tempura coating and it let the crab meat speak for itself. Brilliant dish. Highly recommend. Massive portion again. Perfect for those of us with #portioncontrolissues. I’m not sure JT wants me to marry her brother now she is fully aware of how much I can consume. Ha, who am I kidding, she knew I eat a ridiculous amount of food.

We were offered an array of desserts, but, yes I’ll say it, I was too full to go near it.

It wasn’t until we left that I noticed the line of people waiting to get in! Not once did we feel rushed, nor were we hurried along, or asked if we would like the cheque (my pet hate…if we wanted the cheque…we would ask for it!)

Thanks to the team at New Shanghai for providing a great atmosphere to some cracking food.

I was a bit sceptical about a restaurant within a shopping centre. But hey, Emporium isn’t a ‘shopping centre’ and New Shanghai certainly isn’t just any restaurant.

10/10

New Shanghai on Urbanspoon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers