Category Archives: French

Entrecôte

Entrecôte
131 Domain Road
South Yarra
Vic 3141
+61 3 9804 5468

Entrecôte on Urbanspoon

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April’s always a little special for The Angmoh and I. It’s the month when we first met and, childish as it sounds, became ‘official’. Although the dating days are long over, we still try and do date nights if our schedules permit. And what better way to do date night on the very day of our anniversary?

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After seeing pictures of Entrecôte on Instagram, we thought it’d be the perfect romantic place to celebrate. French facades, pristine white tablecloths and dusty pink walls completed the set up. The dinner menu is straight forward and offers only 1 main: steak frites, The only variation is how well you like your meat done.

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Grilled Hopkins River steak, frites, sauce au berre herbe de la maison $39.90

After devouring crusty baguettes with smooth lush French butter, our dinner arrived real quick. The quality of the meat is superb with each bite oozing out lovely buttery beefy juices. Our only real quip was that the sauce, which had been liberally poured onto the steak, was pretty hot and continued to cook the meat just a tad over our requested “rareness”. Apart from that, it was darn good. The frites were not too oily with just the right amount of salt dusted on and were absolutely moreish.

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Soft leaves, radish, walnuts, Dijon vinaigrette

A side salad of butterhead lettuce, endive, radish and walnuts is also offered and unfortunately was overdressed.

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Lemon tart, creme fraiche $16.90

Next came the very reason why we I had decided to dine at Entrecôte. I had my eye on dessert, or specifically, the lemon tart. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was the tartest lemon tart I’d ever come across, so much so that The Angmoh cringed when he took a bite. I, on the other hand, loved how sour it was and happily ate all of it, elated that I didn’t have to share.

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Mont blanc – chestnut parfait, Manjari chocolate mousse, hazelnuts $18.90

The Angmoh picked the Mont Blanc, which was rich from the chocolate mousse and chestnut praline. It made a great counterpart to the lemon tart and was good but not quite as good as the tart.

Dinner at Entrecôte was indeed lovely. It may not be my choice of steakhouse but it certainly is where I’ll be hitting up for a beautiful citrusy dessert.

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Filed under French, South Yarra, Steak

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.

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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

Cheap and cheery CBD eats

Let’s face it. There are days where you’ve slugged all day at work, have totally forgotten to take something out of the freezer to defrost and just can’t face heading to the supermarket to buy and much less cook dinner. It’s times like these where something quick, simple, delicious and not to mention, cheap, is highly desired. Take a stab at the following four options: there’s Malaysian, Korean, Japan and French to suit fussy tastebuds.

Kitchen Inn
469 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9328 2562
Kitchen Inn on Urbanspoon

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It was one of those evenings after gym where I hadn’t prepared any food for dinner and couldn’t be half-assed to buy and cook something. I texted Fakebooo to ask if he had any dinner plans that evening and fortunately for me, he hadn’t and didn’t mind a quick cheap meal after knocking off work.

We decided to meet on the “Asian Food Stretch” of Elizabeth Street. I arrived earlier and started considered my choices, then discovered Kitchen Inn. Fakebooo arrived soon enough and commented that the “Kolo Mee” was pretty good. Since I’d yet to try Kitchen Inn, we decided to give it a go.

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Kampua special $11

While many Singaporean and Malaysian dishes overlap, several dishes in Kitchen Inn sounded alien to me. Fakebooo and I braved the unfamiliar and ordered two dishes that we did not recognize. I had the Kampua Noodles while Fakebooo sampled the Sarawak Laksa.

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Sarawak Laksa $10.90

My dish appeared as a bowl of dried yellow noodles topped with a small mound of char siew and prawns, garnished with a sprinkling of fried shallots. Some sauce (which I later found out contains pork lard) sits on the bottom of the bowl and all the ingredients are mixed deftly with chopsticks. It was delicious. Fakebooo’s sarawak laksa turned out to be somewhat similar to chicken curry noodles with a sprinkling of five spice. The soup was grainy with peppery bits but the fragrance and flavour made it enjoyable.

It was good crossing into unknown territories that evening and trying new and different Malaysian dishes.

Tarng
32 A’Beckett Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9639 4456
Tarng on Urbanspoon
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I love the décor at Tarng. The studded sunflowers on the black wall uplift what would otherwise be a dark and stern appearance for the restaurant.

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I was in the mood for kimchi stew that evening. The Angmoh loves his Korean BBQ, and so, ordered from the BBQ set of the menu.

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(Left) Kimchi stew – kimchi soup with pork and tofu $12.80
(Right) BBQ pork belly with spicy sauce $15.80

My stew was spicy and tangy, the perfect combination for tempting and whetting my palate. The pork melded into the soup and gave it a rich buttery roundness. The Angmoh’s dish was served on a sizzling hot plate that had the adorable shape of a fish. Unfortunately the ratio of sliced onions to pork was extremely skewed towards the former and it all swam in a pool of oily sweet sauce. I took pity on The Angmoh and graciously shared my stew with him.

While Tarng was a hit and miss this time, my previous visits have been enjoyable. Stick with the hotpots or stews, just to be safe.

Roule Galette
241 Flinders Lane
Scott Aly
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9639 0307
Roule Galette on Urbanspoon

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Transport away from the busy Melbourne CBD into a romantic alley of France with Roule Galette. It is cute, quaint and saturated with the essence of everything French. The music, the accents and, of course, the food brings back happy memories of Paris and a forlornly sigh in my heart.

It was around lunch time when we stepped foot into the café. The Angmoh’s smoked salmon crepe and my egg and ham galette were delicious and surprisingly filling. The crepes were nicely thin and had good texture. The balance of batter to ingredients was also well-achieved.

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(Top) Océane – smoked salmon and fresh yoghurt sauce with lemon and chives $13
(Bottom) Complète – egg, ham and Emmental $10

I have tried the dessert crepes on previous occasions and the one with rose jam is a particular favourite of mine. The jam is not sickeningly sweet and the sweet floral fragrance gives the dish a wonderful perfume.

Roule Galette is a good way to dodge the hustle and bustle of the city for a romantic escape into France.

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Dontoo
330 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9670 7113
DonToo on Urbanspoon

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To commemorate Mid-Autumn Festival, a small gathering was organized by Serena (Pigging Out Around the World) for a mooncake test taste. (I’d eavesdropped on a twitter conversation and shamelessly did a self-invite. Thanks Serena, for arranging this get together.) A group of 7, myself and Fakebooo included, huddled around the QV foodcourt on a cold spring evening and put 7 mooncakes on the line; there were 3 different brands represented across 5 traditional mooncakes and 2 snow skin mooncakes. Amongst the traditional yolk-filled ones, we compared white lotus with yellow lotus pastes.

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In the end, Maxim’s white lotus with egg yolk came out tops. It was smooth, not too oily nor sweet and had the wonderful light scent of the lotus seed. The snow skin mooncakes were god-awful and had overpowering chemical fruit flavours in the filling. I shudder at the very recollection of them.

Maxim’s mooncakes are readily available from the Maxim’s bakery in Chinatown but it is not produced by said bakery. The bakery borrows a famous brand from Hong Kong, the very same that produces and exports the delicious mooncakes. These mooncakes can also be bought from various Asian grocers.

After saturating our tastebuds with sugar, oil and lotus paste, Fakebooo and I made our way to Dontoo. We needed something soupy and wholesome to offset the heaviness of our pre-dinner dessert, and so, ramen it was.

Dontoo is by the same people of Don Don, famous for cheap and tasty Japanese rice dishes and bento sets. The former dishes up ramen during weekday nights. When you arrive at Dontoo, mark your order on the sheets provided, grab a table and wait to slurp up some delicious Japanese noodles and broth.

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My Kuon ramen dish was the most basic on the menu, with a serve of char-shu, soft boiled egg and vegetables. The soup was rich with dashi (or smoked bonito) and the generous serve of ingredients made it a very filling meal. The soft-boiled egg was gooey and had the delicious aroma of soy while the thick cut charshu was appropriately fatty, soft and sweet.

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Kuon ramen – charshu pork slices, vegetables, seaweed and seasoned egg $8.90

Fakebooo likes the Tsukemen at Dontoo and decided to have it again. The cold ramen noodles had a delightfully pronounced bite. They are dipped in a separately served salty soup to provide great flavour.

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(Top right) Tsukemen – chilled ramen served separately with “melt in your mouth” pork pieces and dipping sauce $11.90
(Bottom left) Kuon ramen

I suspect different provinces of Japan do ramen differently. I am very used to ramen served with Tonkotsu (pork-based) broths with pickled bamboo shoots. Nevertheless I very much enjoy the ramen at Dontoo. The texture of the noodles and flavour of the ever-important egg and charshu hit  the spot for me and hence is one of my recommended ramen bars of Melbourne.

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Filed under CBD, French, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Noodles, Ramen, Sweets

Bistro Guillaume

Bistro Guillaume
8 Whiteman Street
Crown Entertainment Complex
Southbank
Vic 3006
+61 3 9292 4751
Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I have survived a year together. He puts up with all my hangry irritable manners while I educate him on the finer points of dining, which will be pointed out later in this post. We decided to celebrate our anniversary at Bistro Guillaume.

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Mussels marinieres $23

The restaurant is located in Crown, situated along the river side of the establishment. The dark tables dimmed by the hanging billowy lights provide a cosy intimate atmosphere. The alfresco tables overlooking the Yarra also make wonderful people-watching opportunities.

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Spanner crab salad, avocado, cucumber and coriander $24

As we pondered the menu, The Angmoh displays an interest towards the escargot in the entrée section, and asks if ‘it is the same as the fruit bun’. Yup, that’s my man.

Escargot VS snail

The mussels were served on a warm heavy plate, steaming with the wonderful aroma of fresh sea and wine. The broth was creamy and not too thick with the mussels tender and not overly chewy. The crab salad was an utter delight. It was possibly the freshest, sweetest crab salad I had ever had. The avocado provided a velvety backdrop and the capsicum mousse enhanced the sweetness of the flaky crabmeat.

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Deboned Tajima wagyu rib-eye, crispy Kifplers and béarnaise sauce $72

The Angmoh had his eye on the Tajima wagyu, which was on the specials board for that evening. The Tajima breed of cattle is reputed to produce excellent marbling and meat quality. It is the exclusive genetic line of all Kobe beef, and fortunately for Australians, Tajima cattle have been imported here and restaurants have been offering steaks from these locally-reared animals.

The Angmoh’s steak was simply amazing. His words of ‘That steak is f***ing incredible and one of the best steaks I’ve ever had’ negated the necessity to describe how delicious, how flavourful and how meltingly tender it was.

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Venison tenderloin with beetroot and horseradish $37

My dish of venison with beetroot was superbly pink! The meat was cooked to perfection, succulent without a hint of gaminess. The beetroot puree was lusciously creamy but I found myself wishing for the horseradish to cut through. I unabashedly added mustard and that certainly worked too.

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Chocolate délice with violet ice cream and sour cherries $18

Though stuffed, we certainly couldn’t leave without dessert. The Angmoh’s chocolate délice was smooth and extremely rich in cocoa. I loved the subtle violet ice cream and couldn’t get enough of it. My lemon tart was citrusy and tangy, topped with a burnt-sugar crust (think crème brulee). It was perfect.

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Lemon tart with crème fraîche $18

Our evening at Bistro Guillaume was a splendid way to celebrate our first year. The food was well-executed and the ambiance was romantic. I anticipate another delicious year ahead for The Angmoh and I, and hope to expand his foodie education.

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Filed under Crown Casino, French, Southbank

Tetsuya’s

Tetsuya’s Restaurant
529 Kent Street
Sydney
NSW 2000
+61 2 9267 2900
Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon

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Cookie Monster, Freckles and I made an agreement awhile ago to celebrate Mardi Gras in Sydney. The time finally came and I suggested dining at Tetsuya’s. The 2 girls, also lovers of good food, consented to fork out $210 for the 10-course degustation meal and so, I made a reservation for 3.

Sydney greeted us with dreadful weather: it was windy, it was rainy, and was simple miserable. However, we were eagerly twitching our toes in our soaked shoes in anticipation of dinner. Better yet, Tetsuya’s was accommodating to cater to Cookie Monster’s pescetarian diet and squeeze in her man as a last minute request.

Tetsuya’s is housed in a refurbished heritage-listed site with a Japanese-styled garden to gaze upon while enjoying your meal. Ceramic and porcelain sculptures are boldly studded amongst the surprisingly large dining rooms. Although the restaurant is located in the busy CBD, the interior design seems to give an insulated bubble from the chaos of the city, and transports diners into a zen, tranquil space.

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We start off with some lovely white and grain rolls. The pot of butter that came with them appeared to be a fluffy emulsion with truffle and possibly parmesan. We couldn’t get enough of it.

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Chilled pea soup with dark chocolate mousse

Our first course was a chilled green pea soup, topped with a mini quenelle of dark chocolate. Who would have thought to put chocolate in soup? And to pair chocolate with peas?! I reckon chocolatiers should start producing chocolate-coated salty peas – they would make the most irresistible snack.

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Savoury custard with avruga

The next course left everyone speechless; it was exceptional and best enjoyed in private silence. The texture of the steamed egg was so smooth, I imagined this would certainly be equivalent to eating silk. After savouring it, Cookie Monster declared that it was the best chawanmushi she had ever tasted.

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(Left) Salad of the sea
(Right) Moreton Bay Bug tail with braised witlof and caviar cream

The salad of the sea was a beautifully plated art piece of tuna, kingfish, bonito and trout belly that had all been marinated, cured or lightly seared. It was a lovely end to the entrees. A lightly grilled Moreton Bay bug heralded the mains. It was fresh and sweet, and sat on a bed of caviar cream, with a pillow of braised witlof.

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Confit of Petuna ocean trout with fennel
Unpasteurised ocean trout caviar

Next was Tetsuya’s signature dish of confit ocean trout. It was a generous serving of gorgeous coral tender fish, topped with a black sprinkling that smelled almost like Maggi seasoning. I later overheard that it was dehydrated konbu.

The rest of our mains came steadily, each dish bearing a reasonably large portion of protein, delicately cooked and paired perfectly with its accompanying sauce or veggies.

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(Left) Baby N.Z. snapper with soy butter and nameko mushrooms
(Middle) Grilled breast of partridge with pearl barley and cavolo nero
(Right) Seared fillet of grass-fed Cape Grim beef with carrot and swede mille feuille

By the 8th course, all of us were getting quite snug around the belly and were wondering how we were going to fit two desserts in. A palate cleanser of pear sorbet quickly disintegrated that thought. It was extremely light, with every essence of pear (the fragrance, the grainy texture, the bite of skin) melting away the heaviness we might have felt from the previous dishes. It had magically cleared some stomach space, and whetted our appetites for dessert.

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(Left) Pear sorbet
(Right) Green apple and mint ice cream with basil jelly

The apple granita was another refreshing dessert. I personally think that basil or mint is a fantastic accompaniment to fruit and this dish had all 3 elements in it. It was delicious. Our final course was a rich chocolate mousse with Henessy cognac ice cream. I couldn’t detect any hint of alcohol in the ice cream, and it worked beautifully with the velvety smooth mousse. Our 10-course meal ended with some delightful petit fours.

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(Left) Chocolate and hazelnut marquise with cognac ice cream
(Middle) Petit Four
(Right) Cappucino

While I have had a few degustations where one or two of the dishes didn’t seem to appeal or simply disappointed, every dish at Tetsuya’s was well-received. I now understand why Tetsuya’s is on the San Pellegrino World’s Best 100 restaurants.

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Filed under CBD, Degustation, Fine Dining, French, Japanese, Sydney