Category Archives: CBD

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

 

 

 

 

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Basement
27 Russell Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9650 3708
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I were invited to attend to dine at Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. A chorus of “Irrashaimase” hailed upon our descent into the restaurant. Unlike a couple of other basement Japanese restaurants, Ikkuryu Fukuoka spares no expense with lighting. It’s bright, spacious and welcoming.

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Ikkoryu Original Tonkotsu – Ikkoryu original hearty tonkotsu ramen garnished with charshu, green onion, bamboo shoots, woodear and dried seaweed $15

We randomly chose a table to peruse the menu. The ramen offers plenty of customisation: the type of soup, the hardness of noodle, the amount of ramen oil, the amount of shoyu and so on. I decided to have hard noodles in original soup, with light ramen oil and light shoyu. The Angmoh was intrigued by the yuzukosyo spice and had his ramen with the yuzu tama tonkontsu broth and his noodles cooked to the original degree of hardness. As we were one of the first to arrive, we got to enjoy our noodles pretty early and were ushered to sit at the counter to dine on them. Accompanying the noodles were some gyoza which were excellent. The skins were crisp and thin, and the filling juicy with some sweetness coming from the pork.

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Yuzu Tonkotsu – yuzu tama tonkotsu is flavoured with yuzukosyo, one of the spices that the Kyushu region of Japan is known for. A spice experience in ramen like no other $17

Back to our ramen, these were pretty good. The soups were well-balanced with both savoury and sweet notes. The yuzukosyo in The Angmoh’s soup gave it its green appearance and a good kick of peppery spice. The noodles were of good quality, although I thought mine had the exact same bite or hardness to that of The Angmoh’s. The pork was fall apart tender and the shoyu-seasoned soft boiled egg had a gooey yolk. The only let down was the absence of bamboo shoots in both our bowls, one of my favourite ingredients when having ramen. I also thought the portions were a tad small for the price stated on the menu. Perhaps due to the nature of the evening, portions sizes were meant for sampling.

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Apple sake

We were also offered some complimentary apple sake, which was basically apple juice with a shot of sake. It was light and refreshing.

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Gyoza (5 pieces) – $11

However, once we were done with our noodles, we had to give up our counter seats. This got a little awkward as the restaurant had now filled up and not many table seats were left. Guests started shuffling about, so we decided to avoid the chaos and left (which also meant we didn’t get to sample the rest of the sides).

The Angmoh and I thank Ikkoryu for having us on the night of their soft launch. I’m looking forward for a revisit to devour their excellent gyoza and trying out the rest of the ramen menu.

Disclaimer: The Hangry Bitch and The Angmoh were invited to attend Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen’s soft opening of their first Australian Restaurant in Mebourne.

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Filed under CBD, Japanese, Noodles, Ramen

Joomak

Joomak
Basement, 407-409 Swanston Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9663 7123
Joomak on Urbanspoon
joomak booth

Melbourne boasts of secret laneways and underground restaurants. Joomak is one such place, hidden in the basement of the Druids House along Swanston Street. Head downstairs and be welcomed by blue discotech fairy lights draped across each private dining cubicle, great for group huddling and gossiping over Korean nibbles and drinks.

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Pineapple soju $16

Toong organised a girls night out to celebrate her birthday and hens night. It was a small gathering of herself, Long Legs, Q and me. Toong had been here several times and loved the pineapple soju. It tasted exactly like pineapple syrup, sans the taste or smell of alcohol, making it an underestimated beverage that is pleasant-tasting and easy to drink.

Food is of a share-plate concept with no individual rice dishes such as bibimbaps gracing the menu. A button is located on the pillar and pressing it signals the waiter to your table. That night we shared 5 dishes amongst us 4.

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Rice cake with seafood $24
Ban Chan

The dish of rice cakes with seafood was the first to be set down. Normally involving cheese, Long Legs had requested that the cheese be omitted. It wasn’t quite my thing. Firstly, I’m not a fan of the Korean rice cake, which I find rather dense and chewy. Also the sauce was heavy and sweet, making it a combination not to my liking. Long Legs does like the Korean rice cakes though, and found no fault with the dish.

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Kimchi and squid pancake $17

The rest of the dishes captured my full attention, especially the kimchi and tofu soup (which is one of my favourite Korean dishes) and the kimchi and squid pancake. The soup, while nothing to shout about, ticks all the boxes of spicy, bubbling and comforting. Oddly enough I liked the pancake (I wasn’t expecting to), with its resilient chunks of squid and undetectable kimchi flavour.

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Beef short-rib soup $16

We also shared a beef short-rib soup and a chicken stew dish whose particulars I don’t fully remember. Both was tasty and full of flavour, heart-warming and would be perfect for winter.

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Braising chicken with spicy sauce $17

If you’re interested in some eclectic Korean food and love exploring Melbourne’s hidden spaces, give Joo Mak a visit when you’re next passing by.

 

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Filed under CBD, Korean

Takeaway Special! Pop Up Scrolls, T by Luxbite

scrolls

Pop Up Scroll
86 Smith Street
Collingwood
Vic 3066
+61 4 3384 9281
Pop Up Scroll on Urbanspoon

One Friday night, I turned to The Angmoh and asked him in a most casual manner, “Angmoh*, watcha gonna do tomorrow since I gotta work?” to which he rattled off his usual weekend pattern followed off with a “why? Can I get you something?”

Well, since he asked, I couldn’t say no, could I? And that’s how I got myself 3 delicious scrolls from Eat a Scroll in Collingwood. I left the flavours entirely in the hands of The Angmoh, which tested the waters of our relationship if he’d returned with those filled with ingredients I didn’t like. We haven’t broken up, so he chose well.

The Angmoh made away with a cream cheese scroll, a chocolate and caramel one and finally, one with peanut butter and banana. These 3 were brioche-based, although there are croissant-type ones too. I’ll be honest, I had them on the Monday later. And guess what, they were still fresh and delish. The scroll itself was soft and not too buttery and the filling was gentle with the amount of sugar in it. Even the chocolate and caramel scroll was just right in terms of sugar and richness, leaving you without the feeling of sick.

My absolute favourite scroll of choice is cinnamon and I hope Eat A Scroll will someday create some old-fashioned ones too.

*I do not really call The Angmoh “Angmoh”.

T by Luxbite
2/517 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9629 9662
T By LuxBite on Urbanspoon

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(Left) Calamansi – jackfruit, chilli salt, longan, meringue, kaffir lime sherbet, vanilla tart $9
(Right) Yuzu – Raspberry, matcha marshmallow, meringue, baby shiso, vanilla tart $8

I swung into T by Luxbite after a shopping spree at Gorman. Shorts, skirt and raincoat poorer but fuelled with adrenaline and serotonin, I oohed and ahhed at the too-pretty-to-eat tarts on display. It was a hot day and already hyped from shopping, I found myself not craving chocolate. Instead, it was the lighter citrusy flavours that I was after.

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The tarts are priced according to their shape. I chose the Calamansi tart, which is circular, and the Yuzu tart, which is rectangular. Both tarts are filled with a rich citrus curd which is once again not too cloyingly sweet. The prominent taste of jackfruit in the Calamansi tart was very enjoyable. However, some of the flavours are lost on me, such as chilli salt in the former and shiso in the latter.

That tarts are lovely but I’ll wait till it’s much cooler before trying the Chocolate and Kuma tarts, which I’m sure will be fantabulous.

 

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Filed under CBD, Collingwood, Pastries, Sweets

Rice Workshop, Raw Trader

Rice Workshop
238 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9650 6663
Rice Workshop on Urbanspoon

rice workshop

Sometimes all I’m after is a quick no-frills tasty meal that is easy on the wallet and super satisfying. Rice Workshop is one such place where the food ticks all those boxes for me.

The concept is simple: choose your staple of rice or noodles, add on the seasoned meat and toppings (ontama egg for me), and if that’s not enough, pick from a selection of deep fried goodies to complete the experience.

beefbowl
Regular kimchi beef $8.50, add ontama egg

My comfort meal at Rick Workshop is the kimchi beef bowl with an added soft-boiled egg. The thin slices of fatty beef are marinated in a sweet soy with slight hints of maple. Paired with slightly spicy vinegary kimchi, it’s a sucker of a combination that gets to me each time. An ooey-gooey egg is cracked over the ricebowl and coats everything with a gelatinous slurpy egg blanket, yum!

Complimentary sides of pickled ginger or radish are available and I always pile my bowl high with the radish. The piquant crunch is irresistible!

A simple soft serve of matcha or black sesame is available for those needing to round up the meal with something sweet.

Raw Trader
10 Sutherland Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 4 7869 2008
Raw Trader on Urbanspoon

raw trader

For myself, I was hankering for a healthier sweet treat after gobbling up my meal. I crossed a couple blocks to Raw Trader, a healthy café situated near Short Stop Donuts that offers raw, unprocessed, vegan dishes. I indulged in a chai “cheesecake” and enjoyed the fragrant hints of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The texture of the cake was creamily smooth and made for a wonderful guilt-free way to finish up my day in the city.

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Chai cheesecake $10

Tummy satisfaction doesn’t always need to be in the form of a fancy degustation. I find that simple pleasures of delicious fuss-free food warms the soul. What’s your go-to meal for a quick soothing?

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Filed under Asian, CBD, Chai, Japanese, Korean, Raw, Sweets

Operator 25, Shortstop

Operator 25
25 Wills Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9670 3278
Operator25 on Urbanspoon

Shortstop
12 Sutherland Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
Shortstop Coffee & Donuts on Urbanspoon

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My brother and wifey fly over to get away from Singapore annually. This time round their little one, my niece, came along for the trip.

After collecting them all bushy-eyed from their night flight, we hightailed it to Operator 25, a café with eggs benny so legendary that it had travelled across the waters where my sis’ in law (SIL) caught wind of it in Singapore.

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Staying away from the bleak and sterile Scandinavian look that seems to be the rage of Melbourne, Operator 25 tucks into a little laneway bordered by worn brick walls and grey concrete. Completed with bleached wood topped with bright flowers, the overall atmosphere is inviting and warm.

menukids omelette
Ham and cheese omelette

A high chair is offered for my 18month old niece and once she’s settled the eating begins. Obviously being child-free, it’s never occurred to me to be offered or glance at a kids menu. I always assumed Aussie bubs feed off their parent’s dish as per the Asian custom, and the older ones with monstrous appetites would be stuffed to a comatose brim if they finished a dish from the usual menu. Operator 25 whipped out a kiddie menu, which downsized the portions, perfect for hungry little monsters and greedy parents not wanting to share. My niece had a dish of ham and cheese omelette, a humble but excellent dish which she readily opened her gob when offered a serve.

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House Benedict – potato rosti, grandmother ham, poached eggs, mustard and tarragon hollandaise $16

SIL had the eggs benny, of course, which she mopped up every bit of it. There was crisp rosti, perfectly poached gooey eggs and excellent ham, all topped with a rich yolky sauce of tangy mustardy hollandaise.

bacon and eggs
2 poached eggs on sourdough toast $10
Add smoked bacon $4

My brother, a man of simple pleasures, had bacon and eggs. He does like his breakfast pork and even said the very words “bacon is bacon; there is no substitute’. Amen to that. I daresay he was thoroughly satisfied.

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French omelette (of mushroom and 3 cheeses) on toast $16

And as for myself, as soon as I found out that the omelette of the day contained mushrooms and three cheeses, I was sold. There was enoki and swiss mushies, cooked down into a tasteful deliciousness, blanketed by stretchy cheese and peppered with chopped parsley. It was good, but could be punchier if the use of goats cheese was included.

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(Top) Peanut butter and jam $5
(Bottom) Earl grey and rose $4.50

Full and happy, I dropped them off at Queen Victoria Market for a quick grocery pickup while I made a beeline to Shortstop, the new, much-talked about and often photographed café. There was one thing and one thing only on my mind, donuts. I hopped in, picked up 2 and sped off to collect my awaiting passengers.

Later that day, I indulged in these babies. No, I didn’t have them all at once. I could… but didn’t.

earl grey rose

The earl grey and rose donut turned out to be a crumbly teacake. The glaze of rose water syrup was not too sweet although the scent and taste of oil could be detected. The peanut butter and jam on the other hand, was an absolute winner. The donut was made with a chewy bread-like batter and glazed with a lovely peanut butter drizzle. There was a generous stuffing of jam, and it too, like the glaze, was gentle with sugar.

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There are 7 more flavours to go through, and cinnamon/cardamom and rhubarb/ginger are high on my list. The next time I’m there, I’ll probably swing into Raw Trader to balance it all out with some healthy treats. You heard me alright, raw cheesecake, imma get you.

 

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Filed under Brunch, CBD, Donuts, Sweets

The Lui Bar

The Lui Bar
Level 55, Rialto
525 Collins Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
The Lui Bar on Urbanspoon

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A couple of seasons ago, I took a visiting friend up to the Lui Bar. High up on the 55th floor of the Rialto, it was an ideal place to soak in all of Melbourne and her gloriousness. Coupled with alcohol, what more could we want?

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The Lui Bar is exquisite. There’s plush lounges aplenty and the very fact that you are sipping on a cocktail, sprawled on leather amidst the clouds, provides a sense of class and exclusivity.

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(Left) The Vodka Pour Over
(Middle) Pina Colada
(Right) Leatherwood Old Fashioned

Being new to Melbourne, Opossum had a lot to take in. Since Melbourne was a coffee hub, we insisted he get an espresso cocktail. The set up was impressive with the slow drip coffee percolating into Belvedere vodka. It was a fantastic balance of both brews, each complimenting the other into a delightful head-buzzing concoction. I had a lovely mixture of honeyed whisky. The use of leatherwood gave the drink an easy sweetness, buffed up with leathery and herby notes.

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Mini burgers (David Blackmore Wagyu beef, barramundi) $18

With the very air of Vue de Monde spilling in, we had to order some food. The Wagyu beef sliders made one very delicious mouthful of burger. The patty was thick and juicy and was accompanied by the classic American pickings of ketchup, cheese and pickle. The beer-battered fish burger too was excellent. The fish was well-battered without being too oily and the house-made tartare was one of the best I’ve come across.

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Chickpea fries $12

The chickpea fries were oh-my-god-amazing. The legume had been pureed into a soft fluffy mix and then deep fried. Each baton was steaming hot, crunchy and at the same time, velvety smooth. I couldn’t get enough of them.

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The Lui Bar is a great place to chill and a haven for unwinding. Be it a bar-hopping tourist or a home-grown Melbournian, I highly recommend that you get into that elevator and shoot up to the Lui Bar for some good times. And of course, if the wallet isn’t complaining, complete the experience with the gastronomical theatre of Vue De Monde.

 

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Filed under Burgers, CBD, Cocktails

Mr Mason, State of Grace

Mr Mason
Shop 10/530 Collins Street
(enter via Little Collins Street)
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9614 4500
Mr Mason on Urbanspoon

State of Grace
477 Collins Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
+61 3 8644 7110
State of Grace on Urbanspoon

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French cuisine, dessert and wine make up a perfect night and that’s how it went down last Thursday evening at Mr Mason and State of Grace. They had teamed up to present a wondrous affair of delicious food and heady booze.

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Our evening started off the way every evening should begin, with French bubbles and canapes at Mr Mason. This was enjoyed al fresco with a guitarist serenading. Mumm in one hand, the other was free to snatch up the bite-size morsels circulating about. There was duck rilette with candied walnut, steak tartare, cured salmon on wafer and my favourite, red capsicum and goats cheese crepe.

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Wild mushroom pithivier, madeira, lentil vinaigrette

We were then ushered into the dining section. Black walls, tan leather couches and bronze lamps made up a very sexy masculine room. A short spiel was given on the dishes and wines offered that evening and then we were ready to tuck in. I sat with I-Hua, Ashley and Melissa and their plus-ones and while everyone almost simultaneously concurred that the pork belly was the most alluring item on the menu, Ash and myself swayed away from the carnivorous path and chose a mushroom number.

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Berkshire pork belly, smoked pork loin, cauliflower, raisin

Both were exquisite. I stole a bite of pork from The Angmoh and marvelled at the texture and flavour of the pork loin. It was tender, yet firm, and every bite oozed out a clean porky taste. The crackling was flawless. The mushroom pie had the most amazing balance of flavours with rich buttery pastry housing earthy meaty mushrooms that had been braised in syrupy madeira. This was paired with the 2012 Chant du Midi Rose that had notes of strawberries and cream. It was so wonderful, I’m hunting up a case of it to hoard.

The sides of beetroot with goat’s cheese and bacon on lentils weren’t too shabby either. The beetroot had been smoked, providing an excellent twist on this ubiquitous pairing. Bacon isn’t quite my thing and I steered clear, although I heard others raving about it as we crossed the road to commence on dessert.

state of grace

State of Grace is the most eclectic lounge I’ve come across. Decorated with random knick-knacks, it keeps a posh façade lightened by the quirkiest of ornaments. There’s plush Victorian settees, pristine white table cloth and English porcelain, but high up on a wall a giraffe gazes down to watch over all the mishappenings that may be about to occur.

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Dark chocolate mousse, hazelnut, jasmine, mandarin

Dessert comes with more alcohol, hooray! There’s dark chocolate mousse and a pumpkin and hazelnut financier, paired with either a moscato or a sticky botrytis Semillon. Chocolate mousse is The Angmoh’s favourite dessert in the world and he almost licked the whole plate clean. I was lucky enough to spoon away a small portion and it was eye-closingly devine. The financier was dense but lifted up by a fizzling cinnamon sherbet. To be honest, I was too entranced by the plate it sat on and pondered how I could make away with it.

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Pumpkin & hazelnut financier, date, spiced Chantilly, cinnamon sherbet

The night ended with flaming cocktails but alas, The Angmoh and I are aging homebodies and needed to be tucked into bed before the clock struck 10. We missed out on flaming cocktails but not before finding out the bar’s secret, hidden in the depths. We were gifted a goodie bag with drink cards and, mark my words, we’ll be back to complete the night by getting stupendously drunk and falling from grace.

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Behind this lies a secret stairway…

 

Disclaimer: The Hangry Bitch and The Angmoh were invited by The Publican Group Australia to participate in the Mason and Grace event.

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Filed under CBD, French, Sweets