Category Archives: South Yarra

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

Maya Tequila Bar & Grill

Maya Tequila Bar & Grill
74 Toorak Road
South Yarra
Vic 3141
+61 3 9866 8836
Maya Tequila Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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I’m a bit of a sucker of a penny-saving deal. So when Maya Tequila Bar was featured on Living Social, I readily bought a coupon for 2 and was even the first to call to redeem it. For $35, we got to feast on 2 entrees, 2 mains, 1 side dish and 1 dessert. Yup, all of that for just $17.50 per head.

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(Left) Tototopos – El Cielo’s corn chips with guacamole
(Right) Tromba gambas – prawns, tromba blanco, cilantro, tomato salsa

Having made the reservation for 7pm on a Friday night, The Angmoh and I arrived on the dot to find the little Mexican restaurant packed and the waitstaff overwhelmed. We waited at the entrance awkwardly and was told by the chef to head into the dining section to get some table service. Halfway in, we were informed that our table had yet to be ready and we had to sit by the bar. We clambered onto bar stools and started with a couple of sangrias while waiting for about 15 minutes before finally getting a table.

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El cordero asado – roasted spiced lamb ribs, orange, pomegranate 

Food came pretty swiftly thereafter. Spying on the tables around us, it was obvious that the majority of diners were also having the Living Social deal. Our starters were totopos with guacamole, popcorn prawn and lamb ribs. The corn chips were pretty nice although The Angmoh thought the avocado dip had a stale smell of prolonged refrigeration. The prawn popcorn appeared to be deep fried prawn cutlets coated in a lovely seasoning of paprika and spices. Paired with a tangy zesty tomato salsa, these were moreishly good. The lamb ribs were next to grace our table and they were splendidly devine. They were charred, packed with flavour and yet tender enough to slip off the bone. Each pomegranate jewel burst with tangy sweetness, making it a delightful pairing with the succulent meat.

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(Right) Pollo mole burrito – shredded chicken, corn salsa
(Left) Broccoli, cauliflower, orange

The burrito came next with a salad. The chicken had been slow-cooked in mole, a Mexican sauce that contains chocolate. This made for one extremely flavourful burrito and jam-packed with cheese, an extremely filling combination too! Between The Angmoh and myself, we barely ploughed through it, having consumed all the food from before. The salad with its citrus segments helped cut through some of that fullness.

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Chile chocolate mousse

The Angmoh was curious for a shot of tequila and considering that the restaurant does contain the word “tequila” in it, you’d think that a tequila menu was available. This wasn’t the case but the bartender came up, had a quick chat to find out what The Angmoh might like and poured him a couple fingers of liquor. He was served a tequila described by the bartender as a “sipping tequila” rather than a tequila for shooting, and he found it very pleasant. Dessert was a very smooth and rich chocolate mousse with an after kick of chilli. It glided down easily and made for an extremely complete dinner.

The food at Maya could not be faulted although service needs to be worked on. I submitted feedback through Living Social and was impressed to receive a cordial reply that they were working on improving just that. This same deal at Maya is back on again at Living Social and I definitely recommend going for a hit of delicious Mexican food.

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Filed under Mexican, South Yarra

MoPho Noodle Bar

MoPho Noodle Bar
1A/7 Yarra Street
South Yarra Vic 3141
MoPho Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I found ourselves wandering around South Yarra after watching a live taping of Channel Ten’s Are You Paying Attention. The show’s much better during the filming and we were disappointed by how much was cut out when we watched it on the telly the following day. My appetite for poultry was stimulated from the verbal insults between Tom Gleisner and Glenn Robbins in regard to their manhood.

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MoPho was a quick escape from the drizzling rain, a stone’s throw from the Como Centre where the taping took place. I love the portrait of the panda in faux crane stance but, surprisingly, the restaurant had nothing bad-ass about it. It was quiet that night, despite being a Saturday evening. There’s plenty of dark tones softened by the rolls of banners amidst the ceiling.

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MoPho’s menu offers dry, soup and salad noodles, with most of the items having a fusion twist. My chicken noodle soup came with a clear broth, decorated with 2 bunny ears of bokchoy leaves. For a dish that is typically meant to cleanse and soothe the soul, this was unfortunately a letdown. The soup lacked depth, the chicken was poached in an overtly sweet stock and a more generous serve of healthy greens could be offered.

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Shredded chicken, spring onion, sesame seeds, chilli oil, egg noodle $15

The Angmoh, on the other hand, ordered a tasty winner. The fried hokkien noodles were full of wok hei and the pork was crisp and delicious. There was a confident sprinkle of chilli that went well with the sweet sauce. I didn’t quite like the sweetness of the dish but it did suit The Angmoh.

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Hokkien noodle, slow roast pork belly, oyster mushrooms, broccoli stems, chilli and garlic $17

There were plenty of takeaway orders that night and I imagine MoPho to be quite pleasing for the local (angmoh) neighbourhood palate.

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Filed under Noodles, South Yarra

Einstein’s Relative

Einstein’s Relative
1/9 Yarra Street
South Yarra Vic 3141
+61 3 9078 9801
Einstein's Relative on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I stumbled across new café Einstein’s Relative a couple weeks ago. Our initial intentions to brunch at Two Birds One Stone were blown to hell and back by unpleasant noise pollution on Claremont Street from nearby roadworks. Einstein’s Relative is indeed related to Einstein 251 of Caulfield and has occupied the space of former café Outpost. The sitting space is still small but more alfresco options are available along Yarra Street.

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(Top) Double2 – double ristretto and milk $3.50
(Bottom) Piccolo latte $3.50

With the Sausage in tow, we nabbed an outdoor table and quickly warmed ourselves up with a couple of coffees, by Candyman beans. They were well-made and a great start to the morning. The drinks list is appealing with items such as the aptly named Dulce De Licious milkshake or the self-explanatory Nutella milkshake. It did require some discipline and I refrained from ordering either.

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Double2 – double ristretto and milk $3.50

The Angmoh had a surprise crave for a vegetarian brunch and ordered the smashed avocado with added poached eggs. The avo was smashed just a touch too far but the generous serve of feta and crispy crunch of radish made up for that. The eggs were poached perfectly and The Angmoh moped up all the gooey yolk with the delicious sourdough.

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Smashed avocado – smashed avocado topped with crumbled feta, chilli and dukkah on seeded sourdough served with lime $12.50

I too went vegetarian with baked beans for breakfast. It had broad beans, kidney beans and chickpeas stewed in a rich tomato sugo. The unexpected pairing of beetroot gave it some sweetness, with flavours further punctuated by little bursts of goats cheese and dukkah. The Sausage, who leans towards a more carnivorous palette, gobbled down bits of stew-soaked bread rather eagerly.

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Relative baked beans – spicy baked beans with dukkah crumbed poached eggs, gourmet feta and beetroot served with seeded sourdough $16.50

Einstein’s Relative offers delicious coffees and brunch items and has ascertained the perfect brunch equation.

 

 

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Filed under Brunch, Coffee, South Yarra

Maru Shih Japanese Cafe

Maru Shih Japanese Cafe
49 Toorak Road
South Yarra
Vic 3141
+61 3 9077 9108
Maru Shih Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

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After spending 1 week in Japan, The Angmoh returned, only to still crave the cuisine. Our attempt to rock up at Ichi Ichi Ku without a booking on a Sunday evening fell through and we desperately searched for a Japanese joint in South Yarra. This is how we chanced upon Maru Shih Japanese Cafe.

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Maru Shih is a small, easily-missed sushi shop along Toorak Road. Don’t let the shabby cramped space on ground level fool you. I was charmed down to my itsy bitsy toes as the waitress ushered us up the stairs. We walked past a painted bookcase, a corner table with little hearts, a seductive love seat, and settled down at a table overlooking Toorak Road.

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(Left) Okonomiyaki – Japanese savoury pancake with seafood and vegetables $6
(Right) Deluxe Prawn Avocado Hand Roll (8 pieces) $9

The menu is simple and contains all the usual Japanese items in any local Japanese dining hole. The sashimi, having only the choice of salmon, was served fresh and sweet. The okonomiyaki here is one of the better ones I’ve come across in Melbourne. It is served quartered, with a good mix of batter and cabbage. The bases are crisp with a soft middle that isn’t too soggy, and the pancake is topped with a balanced drizzle of Japanese mayo and teriyaki sauce. Our choice of sushi roll was a simple affair of avocado and prawn.

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Salmon Sashimi (10 pieces) $12

The Angmoh was in the mood for Japanese curry, something which I’m not a huge fan of. He had katsu curry udon. I can only describe the soup to be a watered down version of Japanese curry and not to say it wasn’t good, it’s just not quite my thing. The chicken katsu on the other hand was a perfectly crumbed and deep-fried piece of chicken breast. The batter was well-seasoned and, despite soaking in the soup, didn’t lose its crunch.

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Katsu Curry Udon – Fried crumbed chicken curry, spring onion and thick udon noodle soup $10.50

I loved my tempura udon. The tempura was non-oily and housed plump juicy prawns. The soup was gentle and sweet, perhaps made from a stock of kombu. I slurped up the entire bowl right down to the very last drop.

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Tempura Udon – Tempura prawns, egg, seaweed and thick udon noodle soup $10.50

The Angmoh and I had no complaints at Maru Shih. Service is authentically Japanese and the food is unpretentious and satisfying. Give Maru Shih a chance the next time you’re in the mood for a no-fuss Japanese meal.

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Filed under Japanese, Noodles, South Yarra

B’stilla

B’stilla
30b Bray Street
South Yarra
Vic 3141
+61 3 9826 2370
B'Stilla on Urbanspoon

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B’stilla, pronounced Bas-tee-yah, has been on the The Angmoh’s list of “places to take the girlfriend to” for quite awhile. Of course, this list has been suggested by me and after more than half a year had passed since I mentioned B’stilla, I had to take matters into my own hands. This opportunity arose when Kicci visited in November and suggested dinner at B’stilla. I leapt at Fakebooo’s invite, and accepted on The Angmoh’s behalf.

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Flourless orange cake, mint tea

It was wintry cold and wet that evening. We had picked the later seating at 8pm, and were starving by the time we got there. In retrospect, we probably could have turned up earlier and still be seated; it was quiet that weekday night. The line-up of tagines prepare the palette for slow-cooked, spiced, tender Middle Eastern food.

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We approached dinner treading on cautious ground that evening. Middle Eastern wasn’t a cuisine any of us were familiar with and I found the juxtaposition of sweet amongst savoury to be a common feature.

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(Left) Lamb ribs, apricot, cardamom $13
(Right top) B’stilla – chicken, duck, almonds, cinnamon, saffron, egg $14
(Right bottom) Chargrilled goat keftas, hazelnut, honey, argan oil $9

An amuse bouche of a spiced nutty orange cake with sweet mint tea commenced dinner. Instead of the usual refreshing or neutral palate cleansers, this sweet start helped awaken the tastebuds for the flavoursome dishes to come.

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(Left) Cous cous, pumpkin, smoked chilli, coriander, preserved citrus $9

(Right) Smokey eggplant, crispy garlic, sesame, coriander $9

Our entrees consisted of lamb ribs, bastilla and goat keftas. The lamb ribs were meltingly tender, topped with a crisp skin. The apricot marmalade helped cut through the richness of the dish. The bastilla, which the restaurant is named after, was our unanimous ‘must-try’ dish of the night. While well-executed, my Chinese palate didn’t quite appreciate the marzipan and sweet flavours in a meat pastry dish. The goat keftas had The Angmoh’s sigh of approval. I loved the honeyed hazelnut argan paste and was secretly tempted to get the recipe for a hair masque.

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Lamb tagine, ginger, cinnamon, date $30

A change of plates signalled the arrival of our mains. The babaganoush was fantastic. The roasted pureed eggplant had a good balance of salt, oil and smoke. The flavour was further enhanced by sesame seeds and garlic chips. The couscous had roasted pumpkin, which I ate without any complaint for the first time in my life. It was simply that good. We were pre-warned that the couscous would be spicy and it certainly was. It was a pleasant surprise to see the use of chilli in Middle Eastern cooking. Our meat selection came in the form of beef short ribs and lamb tagine. The tagine reminded me of oxtail stew, sticky with unctuous melted cartilage in a rich tomato stew, sweetened by Medjool dates.

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Beef short rib, carrot jam, preserved lemon $32

Although precariously close to bursting, we simply had to order dessert. After all, having started with something sweet, it only made sense to end it the same way. We ordered three to share, although I loved the flan so much that I pretty much hoarded it all to myself. The crème caramel was silky smooth and it sat in a moat of sweet datey syrup. The infusion of roses and sprinkling of dried pink rose petals had me falling head over heels over and over again.

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(Top right) Tahini ice cream, honeycomb, orange blossom $10
(Bottom left) Rosewater flan, dates, walnut nougatine $11

Another dessert deserving a mention was the tahini ice cream, which turned out to be Fakebooo’s favourite. The tahini ice cream was nutty and perfect against the masala beetroot pate. The fairy floss was wispy thin and disappeared on the tongue, leaving a gentle trace of orange.

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Khrinjos (Moroccan doughnuts), citrus curd, almond $12

Dinner at B’stilla was perfect, there was delicious food, lovely attentive service and excellent company. It makes a great foray into Middle Eastern flavours with spices perfectly balanced. So head off rowdy Chapel Street into the magic carpet ride of spiced heady flavours that is B’stilla.

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2 Birds 1 Stone, Zumbo

Two Birds One Stone
12 Claremont Street
South Yarra
Vic 3141
+61 3 9827 1228
Two Birds One Stone on Urbanspoon

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Zumbo Patisserie
14 Claremont Street
South Yarra
Vic 3141
Adriano Zumbo Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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One Sunday morning, after The Angmoh had finished his rowing class, we made a beeline for Two Birds One Stone. Previous visits have resulted in abandonment due to long queues and impatience on our part. That morning, as I powerwalked down Claremont Street, an odd marshmallowy-melting-candlewax of bizarrement appeared before me. Zumbo’s, here’s where you are! Having stumbled upon it, I made up my mind to make away with dessert from the famous bald dessert-creating Sydneysider even before we sat down for brunch.

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Smashed avocado and feta with capers, tomato, radish, shallots and dill on toast $15.50
Add poached egg $2.50 each

Two Birds One Stone is pretty and classy. Some of its décor elements can be found in sister Top Paddock. My previous visits have always ended up with me ordering the ham hock sandwich so when I noticed that this wasn’t on the menu, I was tied between emotions. There was disappointment as I could not sink my teeth into their delicious house-made melt-in-the-mouth perfectly salted and bloody tasty ham, but there was also elation, as I could finally move on and try something new.

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Leek and potato roesti with house smoked salmon, soft herb salad, pickled cucumber and a poached egg $18

The Angmoh ignored my ramblings and quickly new what he wanted. His smashed avo dish with added poached eggs was described to be “fanbloodytastic”. For such a ubiquitous, almost obligatory item on the menu of every café, 2 birds does this superbly well. The creamy avo was half smashed with good quality feta and the poached eggs bled out their scaldingly-bright orange yolks in a viscous flow.

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I made my decision after a long moment of humming and hawing. The roesti with house cured salmon was simply wonderful. My poached egg was momentarily forgotten and was set down in its own little dish before I initiated. It was a beautiful mix of tastes and textures. There were flavours of fresh herbs from mint, dill and parsley, paired with sharp pickled cucumber, contrasted against brackish fishy salmon only to be smoothed over by buttered potatoes and leeks.

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(Left) Piccolo latte $3.80
(Right) Iced chocolate $6

Of course I can’t complete a brunch post without a mention of coffees. Brewed from 5 Senses beans, my piccolo latte was nutty, rounded and very creamy. The Angmoh’s iced chocolate, almost forgotten, came as we were almost done with our meal. It was thick and overpowered by chocolate syrup.

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Saturated with artificial sweet chocolate, The Angmoh refused to select a cake from Zumbo, much to my despair. I pleaded and prodded for him to order his favourite flourless orange cake but he was stubborn as a mule. As we stood in queue, I stretched, bent, twisted and poked my head around to read the descriptions of the cakes on offer. Wassaup-bi was an interesting and odd combination of banana, peanut butter and wasabi. And you know what, it totally worked! The velvety wasabi was mild and complimented the nutty praline and heady banana.

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Wassaup-bi – banana bread, peanut crunch, banana jelly, chiffon cake, wasabi ganash, peanut Chantilly $9

I was extremely pleased with our food adventures that Sunday morning. Two Birds One Stone offers good coffee and brilliant food. There was the occasional slip in service that was quickly rectified and that is absolutely excusable on a busy Sunday morning. This little pairing in South Yarra is definitely a foodie’s must-try.

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Filed under Brunch, Coffee, South Yarra, Sweets