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eG Foodblog: ChrisTaylor (2012) - On the south east side. Down south.

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#31 gfweb

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 08:09 AM

"Single origin, organic, fair trade coffee"

You sure you aren't in Portland, OR?

#32 Keith_W

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:48 AM

Hey Chris ... you should show them Acland St, Degraves St, Lygon St, Sydney Rd, Malvern Rd, and Station St ... as well as all the markets (Prahran, QVM, Footscray, and Camberwell) ... :)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#33 Toliver

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:32 AM

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The corn is added, after a ~30 minute soak in cold water. I've never bothered to soak corn before BBQing it, but I've been told it moistens the end result some.

I've never heard of soaking shucked corn like that. I have heard of soaking corn with the husks still on before BBQing so the husks don't burn so quickly when placed on the BBQ. Interesting.
Thanks for blogging!

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#34 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:06 PM

Enjoying the thread! Having lived in South Africa, (mieliepap and Boerewors and biltong- from wild animals)I found it cool to see the S.A. part! Braai vleis and all! We also visited Zimbabwe and Zambia- were you at the Boma Boma retaurant in Victoria falls area? Other than that, I feel dizzy by the huge and gigantic variety available shelves and shelves and then more-to the point of loss of senses.How on earth do you know what to pick up, to try and use? Trial and error? Experience from travels? Friends?


I went to the Boma at Victoria Falls, yes. I posted a travelogue about my (food-related) experiences there and elsewhere in the country.

Mostly, what I pick up I've heard about from other people--could be friends, could be the forum, could other food-related sources [cookbooks, magaine articles, websites. Boerwors caught my eye years ago because I saw a recipe thought them and figured, hey, a sausage with beef and pork and coriander? That sounds like something I want. Sometimes a product will just call to me from the shelf. 'Wild' olives? I know I want that.

And too, I tend to approach many food-related things with classic spectrum obsessiveness. When I found out I could go to a butcher or poultry store and order meats I'd never tried before--rabbit, hare, possum, muttonbird, pheasant, wallaby--it was pretty much an instant decision to not stop until I'd had everything. When I go to a restaurant, whether it's here (and it was the same when I went to Zimbabwe), you can bet I'm going to order the fillet of blesbok, the braised kudu, the braaied warthog steak. The rest of the menu ceases to exist.

"Single origin, organic, fair trade coffee"

You sure you aren't in Portland, OR?


Melbourne is a city of coffee drinkers, many of them very serious about their favourite source of caffeine (we're getting that way about tea, too, thanks to, er, T2). And, too, as you'll maybe pick up on at Queen Vic market, there's a bit of that greenorganichipster thing going on here. Mostly concentrated in little pockets on the city, aside from the odd cafe here or there. It's, er, not big out my way--Springvale and Dandenong and to a lesser extent Clayton (as much as it's home to Monash University's largest campus) are very different places to some of the inner suburbs. Too, Cumulus Inc (and Cutler & Co, for that matter), attracts a crowd that at least in part has the whole greenorganichipster feel about it. You'll possibly see a bit more of that side of Melbourne today, as I'm intending to visit Casa Iberica in Fitzroy and Monsieur Truffe in Brunswick East. I haven't shown a lot of that because as much as I like nice coffee and whatnot, that's not--and has never been--where I live.

Hey Chris ... you should show them Acland St, Degraves St, Lygon St, Sydney Rd, Malvern Rd, and Station St ... as well as all the markets (Prahran, QVM, Footscray, and Camberwell) ... :)


Looking at QV Market today and will maybe get the chance to hit Prahran market and Malvern road.

When annachan is settled and such in Melbourne we should use it as an excuse to have an eG dinner someplace.

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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#35 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:54 PM

Monsieur Truffe [Collingwood store]

Monsieur Truffe, which started out as a little stall at Prahran Market, is an interesting chocolate shop. Not interesting because it sells very nice chocolates, no--if I just wanted nice chocolates, I could buy maybe some Valrhona much closer to home--but because it's one of only a couple of chocolate shops in Australia that actually roasts cococa beans and, you know, actually makes--in the true sense of the word--its own chocolate. The roasting and whatnot isn't done at the Collingwood store, no. That all takes place at their (newer) store on Lygon Street in Brunswick East (which isn't too far away under normal circumstances, but isn't going to happen when I'm mostly travelling on foot in mid-30s heat).

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A selection of chocolates. Monsieur Truffe sells large bars (pictured), sample-size bars and various gift packs (which you can pack yourself, if you want to, say, sample chocolate of x% made from beans harvested in a bunch of different countries, or if you maybe want a broad spectrum of chocolates starting at white and ending at, say, 90%). They also sell baked goods, filled truffles and a selection of other chocolates, but the focus--especially for takeaway customers--is very much on the plain-packaged bars. They sell cocoa powder and drinking chocolate. There are tables and chairs where you can sit and get, say, a chocolate croissant.

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Baked goods including croissants and macarons, chocolate truffles, chocolate bars adulterated with various things (i.e. nuts) and samples of various new products ...

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Such as these roasted hazelnuts.

Smith and Johnston Streets, Collingwood

Smith Street, Collingwood, used to be known for heroin and crime, but gentrification rolled through and the street--while still a bit grotty--is now known for bars, cafes and restaurants, ranging from cheap and cheerful Vietnamese places to vegan places populated by greenorganichipsters with a taste for organic ale and lentils.

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Josie Bones, a restaurant/bar that specialises in two things, mainly: beer and offal. Two of the people behind this place were competitors on the first season of MasterChef Australia. I've yet to visit Josie--Collingwood is a bit of a pain for me to get to--but I own the book.

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A random organic store I wandered past ... and then into, when I saw that they sold beer, cider and wine. Aside from the gaia-friendly booze, they sold all the usual stuff for an organic shop--expensive fruits and vegetables, a selection of oils and vinegars, nuts and lentils and cereals of various kinds, juices, coffees and teas, herbs and spices and other things with alleged medicinal qualities.

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I turned down Johnston Street, destined for Fitzroy's famous Casa Iberica deli. Just before I hit Casa Iberica I ran into this place: a store specialising in awesome beer and wine and, to some extent, cider. They also sold a selection of whiskies, vodkas and other spirits, but I didn't pay too much attention to those offerings.

The beers and ciders were mostly Australian, but there were a few from other places: Belgium, France and the US to name a few. They stocked a lot of Australian beer and cider that's difficult to get elsewhere (you either need to go to a store like this, order online, go straight to the manufacturer or maybe try your luck at Sword's).

Casa Iberica

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Located in Fitzroy is Casa Iberica, a deli that specialises in products from Spain, Portugal and Latin America. You can buy chorzio and morcilla and imported ham. You can buy anchovies, both salted and canned, and other preserved seafood products. Most of the deli-type stuff can be had elsewhere--the same brands of canned beans and extra virgin olive oil and vinegar and paprika are avaliable all over the place, including sometimes in supermarkets--but there are a few things you'd have a hard time finding anywhere else in Melbourne, such as a wide range of dried chillies from Mexico (at very reasonable prices when compared to, say, the spice shop in Carlton), fresh corn tortillas (the supermarkets only sell the flour-based kind), cans of corn smut (I was tempted but didn't cave--spending a bit of money at that beer and wine shop probably discouraged me), some interesting sauces (I saw a couple made from Amazonian chillies and whatnot) and other assorted goods (industrial-sized cans of tomatillos and several kinds of pre-made mole). They also sell a limited selection of kitchenware. Before MoVida and MasterChef came along, you'd have to visit a shop like this--and there are very few of them around--to buy a paella pan and bomba rice.

Queen Victoria Market

There are a few markets around the inner 'burbs--South Melbourne, Footscray and Prahran are all a short drive/tram ride/train trip/bus journey from the CBD and all have a different focus. Prahran Market is all about expensive but very good quality produce, as it's in a wealthy area. Want the best salmon steaks, the best racks of lamb, the best mangoes? Go there. Just be prepared to pay through the nose for the privledge of eating well. Stalls at the Footscray market, however, tend to compete with each other based on price rather than quality. A lot of them cater to the area's high population of Vietnamese people (and other migrant groups).

Queen Victoria Market has a little bit of everything, I think. Many stalls sell the same thing as their neighbours and compete on price rather than quality, but there are also a few stalls that treat money as if its no object and offer very good quality produce (or totally organic/free-range/natural/vegan, if that's your idea of good). There aren't really any stalls that cater to the Asian market as well as, say, Dandenong or Footscray markets do. The few 'ethnic' stalls at Queen Vic cater to Europeans--Greeks, Italians and, to a lesser extent, the French and Spanish.

Incidentally, if you're a tourist in Melbourne, you'll probably come here. It's worth the trip. If you're staying a hotel but feel tempted (and why not?) by the steaks, seafood, 'roo or whatever, you can always buy your meat and tram it down to some public BBQs--there are a few along the banks of the Yarra (just don't touch or even look to closely at the water)--and cook yourself some dinner.

There's African shop, the photo of which I lost. Sells mostly ready-meals--beans in sauce, meat and beans in sauce, etc--as well as a few other, often very expensive, products, including biltong, droewors and mealie meal. I think this shop has gone down hill. When I first stumbled upon it maybe three or four years ago, there was a Nigerian guy at the helm. He sometimes sold ostrich biltong (it was expensive but very good and, because it was ostrich, worth the obscene asking price) and large dried fish (a very West African ingredient). He was a decent bloke, too. Shame.

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One of a couple of bakeries in the market. This one does a bit of everything. There's another that focused mostly on Middle Eastern stuff (bagels, pide and whatnot) and yet another that sells pies and cakes. The bakeries form a significant and attractive portion of ready-to-eat food at the market. There's a couple of food court-type places that I've never bothered with, a couple of cafes, a chicken shop or two and, finally, a couple of places actually worth bothering with: one that sells very cheap, very good Middle Eastern wraps and the Melbourne Bratwurst place, as featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. The bratwurst--I recommend the hot bratwurst with French mustard, saeurkraut and grated cheese in a roll--is worth experiencing at least once. It's good.

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A cafe that also sells a very large variety of coffees and teas.

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Butchers and poultry stores. Some, as you can see, compete on price (there's one, even, that sells huge trays of insanely cheap, but surprisingly not terrible, meat in large quantities) whereas others focus on quality. I've never got around to checking out the expensive organic place. My favourite is the one just down the way from the organic place, actually: it sells lamb and goat, but its main focus is great steak. You can get wagyu, Black Angus (very popular in Australia at the moment--even McDonald's and Four-n-Twenty pies use the stuff), Cape Grim, Riverine and other examples of premium Australian beef. Having worked through the selection when I was at the University of Melbourne and trammed past the market twice a week, every week to pick up dinner, I'd say without a doubt that the Cape Grim--the one grass fed option--is the best. The steaks are cut to order, meaning you can ask for a nice roastable piece or some thin sandwich steaks or pretty much anything in between. The butchers are very good at eyeballing what 300 grams of rib eye looks like.

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The Queen Vic branch of Koko Black, a very popular chain of chocolate shops. For a while there--and it's still on-going, I guess--stores that sold decent chocolate and let you sit down for a hot chocolate/coffee/whatever were very, very, very popular in Melbourne. Koko Black and its rivals, including the Lindt Cafe and Max Brenner (which, amusingly, often attracts leftist/socialist/anti-Israel protests) made/make a killing.

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The deli section. Most of the delis sell pretty much the same selection of products, altho' there are three or four that specialise in one line of products or anything.

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The French place is a good example. It sells a wide variety of cheeses, terrines, rillettes and other goods, including tins of foie gras.

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There's also a Polish deli.

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A stall that specialises in honey.

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The egg place.

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Some seafood vendors. Things that might jump out at you:

  • yabbies: these are a (very nice, by the way--I suggest buying some of them for your BBQ on the Yarra) kind of freshwater crayfish
  • the large, salt water crayfish: what passes for 'lobster' down here
  • bugs, either from either Moreton bay or Balmain bay, are the things that look a bit like small lobsters, I guess: they taste similar, too

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Swords, a stall that specialises in beer, cider and wine. Again, the focus is on smaller producers, imports and unusual beers.

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My favourite vegetable shop--expensive, yes, but not as expensive as some of the organic places just down the way. This stall has a little bit of everything (it's only small) but tends to have an interesting selection of tomatoes, mushrooms and fruit (you'll sometimes find, say, Buddha's Hand or Australian truffles for sale).

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Kenzan @ GPO

It seemed like a good day for sushi, so I headed to the GPO branch of much-loved and long-standing Japanese restaurant Kenzan. The mothership is locaed on the other side of the CBD. Their GPO branch is smaller and targetted at people looking for a quick but good lunch--either takeaway or sit-in--during their break at work.

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A reasonable and 'free' miso soup.

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The main-sized sushi selection. They offered to give me nothing but salmon, but I prefer variety.

The sushi was nice. Perhaps not as nice as what's served at the sushi bar in the mothership, but well worth the $23 asking price. It's made to order, by the way (altho' if you're in a hurry, you can grab a little plastic tub of the pre-made stuff to takeaway).

GPO

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A chocolate stall in the GPO. The GPO, by the way, was once Melbourne's main post office but is now an expensive shopping centre.

David Jones Food Hall

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The grocery section of an upmarket department store. Some nice, and sometimes interesting, products ... with prices to match.

Bits and pieces of Clayton

Some photos I took on the very short walk from the train station to the supermarket.

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The view from the Dandenong-bound side of train station: a few Indian restaurants, a (shit) bakery and a couple of Indian grocers, including large India at Home.

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A very popular but shit Indian restaurant. There's one exactly like it pretty much exactly across the street. The shame of it is that that the place that used to be here, Sarawan, offered very nice curries for a very reasonable price.

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India at Home's most serious competition--there are a lot of other Indian grocers in the area, but Sarawan and India at Home are by far the largest. As with IaH, Sarawan doesn't just sell food (spices, a limited selection of fresh vegetables, large sacks of rice, beans, canned goods, frozen goods): it also sells music, movies, religious trinkets (little statues of gods and whatnot), cosmetics and haircare products.

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One of a couple of Japanese restaurants in the area. Very cheap and ... not bad. Not great, either, but for $9 the 'Jyu Jyu box', which contains rice, three gyoza and some teriyaki chicken isn't a bad meal. At the very least, it beats most of what's locally avaliable.

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Used to be part of the Sarawan empire (they had the grocer, the afore-mentioned restaurant, this place and a butchery around the corner). Sells Indian food and pizzas, some of which are Indian-themed (i.e. there's a goat mince pizza jacked with spices).

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A small Greek shop that sells a very large range of nuts, beans, dried fruit, grains, tea, coffee and lentils. Also stocks canned goods, spices, biscuits and other pre-packaged sweet things and a few small selection of Greek cheeses (small as in maybe 2-4 different kinds).

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The afore-mentioned butcher, a Korean cake shop, an Indonesian restaurant, a Korean restaurant.

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A selection of kangaroo products sold in one of Clayton's two Coles supermarkets. Two supermarkets from the same chain are kept apart by no more than a carpark (one of them used to part of the chain's 'cheap' label, Bi-Lo, but the company rebranded all of it's Bi-Los to Coles, so they were left with two stores and, presumably, decided that was a better situation than vacating one, which would allow the competition to move in).

The haul

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Two gift packs from Monsieur Truffe--one for myself, one for my father.

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Smoked paprika from Casa Iberica and a bottle each of beer, cider and wine from the organic shop.

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Beers and ciders from the beer and wine place in Collingwood. Saison Dupont, incidentally, is one of my favourite beers. Henry of Harcourt produces excellent cider: I've yet to try their perry or 'last apple', but the Duck & Bull is my favourite cider of all time, standing up nicely even to expensive French ciders.

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Some of the products I purchased at the Queen Vic. A little can of foie gras, some raspberry beer and finger limes (the plan is to use them in a gin and tonic). Not pictured: Black Russian tomatoes, Swiss brown mushrooms, a bread roll and 300 grams worth of Cape Grim porterhouse.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 23 January 2012 - 10:02 PM.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#36 Keith_W

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 10:29 PM

I was in the city today ... just got home! Sounds as if we almost crossed paths ;) And yes it would be good to meet up with annachan and a few others for an eG dinner somewhere. I am going to Cutler & Co tonight for my 40th birthday :(

Edited by Keith_W, 23 January 2012 - 10:30 PM.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#37 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 10:39 PM

You should have a nice meal and birthday there. When I went (same thing happened, annoyingly, with the Royal Mail in Dunkeld) I was far too sick to enjoy any of it, but got the impression it was very good. Degustation with matching wines, I hope. >_>

Chris Taylor

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#38 annachan

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:05 PM

When annachan is settled and such in Melbourne we should use it as an excuse to have an eG dinner someplace.


That sounds fantastic! :wub:

#39 nikkib

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:23 PM

Who would you say the up and coming chefs are in Melbourne?
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#40 annachan

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:28 PM

So much information!

I got a few questions:
*How does Monsieur Truffle's chocolate compare to Koko Black and Max Brenner (not a fan of either)?
*Casa Iberica - does it have Jamon Iberico de Ballote? If not, have you seen it for sale anywhere?
*What is South Melbourne Market like as compare to the others (Queen Victoria, Prahan)? Any other markets worth checking out?

#41 Keith_W

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:47 PM

anna, I think Casa Iberica has Serrano, and not the real stuff. I have seen Iberico in Jones the Grocer (Chadstone and Doncaster), Simon Johnson, and in a few posh butchers, e.g. Peter Bouchier of Toorak.

South Melbourne market also focuses on quality. It is slightly downmarket compared to Prahran, but you can buy almost the same things there. It has a very good Polish butcher - which is reason enough for me to make the trip.

Other markets worth checking out - Footscray and Springvale (Vietnamese and Asian produce).
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#42 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:54 AM

The demon rum

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My wine collection. It's mostly made up of French and Australian reds, plus a few Italians, South Africans, Spanish, New Zealanders, Americans and Argentines for good measure. Most were in the $20-30AUD price range, which down here, at least, can buy some reasonable plonk. Most were purchased from either Dan Murphy's or Nick's, a wine and spirits retailer that's well worth checking out if you're in either Doncaster or Armadale.

The three standing bottles are an organic shiraz I bought earlier today, some Penfolds 'Bluestone' port and a sparkling shiraz. Most notable bottle is, I guess, the '03 St Henri, which I'll probably be opening up on Thursday. The goal of the collection isn't to put everything away for a long time, altho' there are a handful of bottles I'm hoping to keep for 10+ years. Basically I decided that I wanted a collection that covered as many varietals as possible as I wanted to try new things.

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Spirits, liqueurs and such.

Minis: Appleton Estate 8, Sullivan's Cove Double Cask (rum and bourbon), Patron Silver, Midori, St Germain, Jameson

Whiskies: Canadian Club, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey Rye, Bushmills 10, Hellyer's Road Original (Pinot Noir finish), Smith's Angaston 8

Rums: Mount Gay Eclipse, Green Island

Brandy: Martell VSOP, Grand Marnier

Gin: Hendrick's, Tanqueray

Other: Pernod, Amaretto, Galliano Vanilla, Americano Rosso, Green Chartreuse, Campari, Espolon Reposado, Absolut, Chambord, Cointreau, Kahlua, Maraschino

Etc: rose water, orange blossom water, Angostura bitters, bullshit grenadine

Not pictured: sweet red vermouth, tonic water, soda water

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Single malt scotch.

Aberlour a'Bunadh (batch 28)
AnCnoc 12
Ardbeg 17 (ind. bottling)
Ardbeg Uigadail
Auchentoshan Valinch
Bowmore 18 (ind. bottling)
Coal Ila 11 (ind. bottling)
Coal Ila 28 (ind. bottling)
Glenfarclas 15
Glenfiddich 12
Glenfiddich 21 Gran Reserva
Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or
Lagavulin 16
Laphroaig 18 (ind. bottling)
Talisker 10
Talisker Distiller's Edition (1996)

Literature

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The book collection. Not pictured are some recent purchases/gifts still on their way to Australia:

Marque - Marque Best
Eleven Madison Park - Daniel Humm
MoVida Cocina - Frank Camorra
Joy of Mixology - Gary Regan
Wine Bible - Karen McNeil
Serious Barbecue - Adam Perry Lang
Nobu Vegetarian - Nobu Matsuhisa

On the matter of finger limes ...

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Here's what a finger lime looks like when you cut it open.

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Here's what it looks like when you dump the 'caviar' into a glass, muddle it up some (so the little balls don't just float on the surface of the drink) and then proceed to make a gin and tonic in the same glass.

Steak and etcs

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Following the Hawksmoor at Home way of seasoning: black pepper at a 50:50 blend of regular salt and smoked salt.

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On the BBQ.

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Meanwhile ...

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Rare. A bit more smoked salt and pepper, too, at this point.

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Incidentally, rare grass fed steak and foie gras pate go together really, really, really well. The lazy man's tournedos rossini.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#43 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:04 AM

So much information!

I got a few questions:
*How does Monsieur Truffle's chocolate compare to Koko Black and Max Brenner (not a fan of either)?
*Casa Iberica - does it have Jamon Iberico de Ballote? If not, have you seen it for sale anywhere?
*What is South Melbourne Market like as compare to the others (Queen Victoria, Prahan)? Any other markets worth checking out?


I'm not a fan of Koko Black or Max Brenner either, but in my limited experience with their products (I've only had a couple of his chocolates before and haven't opened my sample pack yet) I like Monsieur Truffe. A lot. Until the place became well-known thanks to food blogs and such, they didn't seem to give a shit about the cafe aspect of the mothership store (and the Brunswick place didn't exist at that time)--it was all about the chocolate. And to me, that's a good sign. There are lots of cafes in Melbourne--a few of them very good, even--so it's not like we really need another one.

I didn't see a particularly interesting selection of jamon when I was there. A lot of the meat products they make themselves. You could try a few of the delis in Carlton (I'm thinking of a place on Lygon Street, just down the way from the Brunetti mothership) or basically everywhere Keith_W suggested.

I've been to South Melbourne market only once and even then, it was a very brief trip--I had limited time and it was looking for something specific, so I ignored everything else about the place.

All of the markets I've been to--Queen Vic, Footscray, Springvale, Prahran, South Melbourne, Dandenong, Springvale--are worth the trip at least once, I think. They all have their strengths and--and maybe this isn't the correct term at all--weaknesses. Prahran, Dandenong and Footscray markets in particular are surrounded by lots of interesting places to eat or shop, ranging from The Essential Ingredient in Prahran to some of those shops (and a few I skimmed over) in Dandenong.

I've yet to check out Camberwell's market but I've heard good things.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#44 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:57 AM

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Henry of Harcourt's Perry. I haven't had this before: I've only had their Original and Duck & Bull ciders, the latter being me favourite cider. These are ciders (and perries) made fairly close to home, by the way--Harcourt is a town maybe 90 minutes drive (which, in Australian terms, isn't much at all) from the Melbourne CBD. It's known for apples. A couple of small-but-decent cider places do their thing out there--Henry's, obviously, and Bress (which also makes wine and, of course, has a Bresse chicken as its logo).

Cider is very popular in Australia at the moment, altho' the style of cider that's popular is very different to what Henry makes. Think very sweet drinks that may or may not taste a little bit like sweet apples or pears. Some of it's made locally, some of it's imported from Scandanavia. The Duck & Bull is a fairly dry, cloudy cider and is, pretty much, everything I like in a cider. Most of the French (and a lot of the English, such as the Weston's range) cider that's sold at Dan Murphy's is drier than big sellers such as 5 Seeds, Rekorderlig and Strongbow.

The perry is nice, by the way.

Tomorrow's plan of attack? It's going to be warm, although not as warm as today (about ten degrees cooler), so I reckon I'm going to be BBQing again. This time, however, I'm going to buy some seafood from Oakleigh. A mixture of things that look good is the plan--could be shellfish, could be prawns, could be garfish, could be a whole trout. While I'm there I guess I'll wander around the market and a few of the food-related places (cake shops, butchers, nut and bean places, etc). Oakleigh, unlike Clayton, has remained very, very, very Greek.

Lunch will be at PM24, a recently-opened and well-regarded French bistro in the CBD. And too, given I'll be in the CBD and have already knocked over a couple of the big destinations--Queen Vic and the Food Hall--I might show you a bit more of the city itself.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 24 January 2012 - 02:02 AM.

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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#45 Broken English

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:44 AM

What's the Marque cookbook like? I'm desperate to get my hands o it but it's not released here until October. I think I may well have to order it from back home and pay the exorbitant shipping.
James.

#46 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:00 AM

I don't know: it's still in the post. The restaurant is incredible. I'm hoping there are recipes for the rabbit and duck egg dishes we had.

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#47 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:27 AM

Monsieur Truffe

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Tasting a small piece of each bar at the moment.

In case the labels are difficult to read, there's white (36%, no origin statement), milk (38%, Venezulean cocoa), milk (40%, Ghanian cocoa), milk (42%, Ecuadorian cocoa), milk (49%, Venezulean cocoa) and dark (52%, no origin statement). My father's sample box has a different selection.

All of the chocolates are nice. I don't eat enough chocolate to be able to offer serious, detailed tasting notes, but ...

  • in the white 36% I can taste the cocoa, which is nice--in fact, this is by far the best white chocolate I've ever had
  • the four different milk chocolates are all very good--my favourite being, by a narrow margin, the 49% from Venezuela--not surprising, tho' as I tend to enjoy chocolate that sits at that ~50% mark
  • least favourite is the 'dark'--the single origin stuff is much better. Truffe sort of focuses on single origin chocolate and I understand that chocolate from Ghana is different to chocolate from Ecuador or wherever else, but I kind of expected a blend of cocoa from all those places to still be good. And it is ... if you compare it to, say, a bar of Lindt or whatever, but it's easily the weakest bar in the box
  • next time I'd like to get, say, the 49% Ghanian, Venezuelan and Ecuadorian, just so I could make a direct comparison between the three points of origin (I don't know if Truffe gets cocoa from anywhere else)
  • there's a piece of paper in the box that mentions 'like coffee [and] wine, the natural flavours will depend on the type of tree, the quality of soil and the know-how of the chocolate maker.' They offer chocolate appreciation classes in-store.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 24 January 2012 - 03:32 AM.

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#48 ChrisZ

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:52 AM

Chris,

I'm really enjoying this, it's always interesting to see your home town presented through someone else's eyes.
I also appreciate the distances you've travelled so far- for the benefit of overseas readers, Melbourne is a geographically HUGE city. While the suburbs that Chris has named may not mean much to anyone overseas, they're not at all close and you've really covered some distance in only a few day. Great job :-)

I've often wondered how (if?) your epic restaurant trip to Sydney has changed your outlook on food and eating out? I enjoyed your write-up a lot, and I've re-read it several times, and I'd love to hear your thoughts now that some time has passed. Was it just a fun week? Was it something more? Did eating 14 amazing meals in 7 days leave a more lasting insight? I'd really love to know...

-Chris

#49 nickrey

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 05:01 AM

I don't know: it's still in the post. The restaurant is incredible. I'm hoping there are recipes for the rabbit and duck egg dishes we had.

Only rabbit dish in there is young white rabbit with wakame, cashew and zucchini. The book also has a recipe for poached duck egg with salt and vinegar cabbage.

eta. I'd better add that each recipe in the book is somewhat conversational. He doesn't have the traditional ingredients, methods, etc. Also, he does not do substitutions: if he uses a pacojet, that is what is in the recipe; similarly, vacuuming fruit or vegetables to achieve a texture is written as if you have this machine. The foreword is by Rene Redzipi, which gives you some idea of the level of recipes included. This is a high-end cook's book.

Edited by nickrey, 24 January 2012 - 05:12 AM.

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#50 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:37 PM

Chris,

I'm really enjoying this, it's always interesting to see your home town presented through someone else's eyes.
I also appreciate the distances you've travelled so far- for the benefit of overseas readers, Melbourne is a geographically HUGE city. While the suburbs that Chris has named may not mean much to anyone overseas, they're not at all close and you've really covered some distance in only a few day. Great job :-)

I've often wondered how (if?) your epic restaurant trip to Sydney has changed your outlook on food and eating out? I enjoyed your write-up a lot, and I've re-read it several times, and I'd love to hear your thoughts now that some time has passed. Was it just a fun week? Was it something more? Did eating 14 amazing meals in 7 days leave a more lasting insight? I'd really love to know...

-Chris


I was thinking of this the other day, actually, when replying to annachan's thread. The answer is 'yes' and I'm somewhat surprised to hear/see myself say that. Why? Because it seems the standard in Sydney is slightly higher. Or let me rephrase that. Go to 10 restaurants in Melbourne and 10 restaurants in Sydney. There's a greater chance you'll have more awesome meals in Sydney than you will in Melbourne. There are truly great restaurants in Melbourne and I'm sure I've yet to experience some, but Marque, Bentley, Four in Hand and est. in particular are hard to beat. When I went to describe the quality of Jacques Reymond, Marque popped into my head as a point of reference. It's good, sure, but it's not Marque-level great. It hasn't ruined Victorian restaurants for me: it wasn't long after my trip to Sydney that I went to and really enjoyed Daylesford's Lake House.


I don't know: it's still in the post. The restaurant is incredible. I'm hoping there are recipes for the rabbit and duck egg dishes we had.

Only rabbit dish in there is young white rabbit with wakame, cashew and zucchini. The book also has a recipe for poached duck egg with salt and vinegar cabbage.

eta. I'd better add that each recipe in the book is somewhat conversational. He doesn't have the traditional ingredients, methods, etc. Also, he does not do substitutions: if he uses a pacojet, that is what is in the recipe; similarly, vacuuming fruit or vegetables to achieve a texture is written as if you have this machine. The foreword is by Rene Redzipi, which gives you some idea of the level of recipes included. This is a high-end cook's book.


The cashew and wakame recipe is indeed the rabbit in question.

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#51 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:07 PM

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Welcome to Oakleigh, a couple stations down the line from Clayton. Oakleigh is home a lot of people who were born/whose families came from Greece. In fact, the city of Melbourne has the world's second largest population of Greeks (we're after Greece itself, obviously). Oakleigh is one of my favourite places to shop. As much as Prahran market's seafood is very nice, Oakleigh is my go-to seafood destination: most of the fishmongers are very good and they manage strike the right balance between good prices and quality merchandise.

Niko's Quality Cakes

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Niko's is one of many (and probably the most popular example of) Greek cake shops/cafes in Oakleigh. As you can maybe see, the range of products covers some very Greek things and some, er, not very Greek things. They also have a limited selection of booze, if you'd maybe prefer a shot of vodka to a coffee with your cake. The cakes are okay.

My old housemate briefly worked here, making wedding cakes (a very popular and very profitable part of the business).

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A Mars Bar cake and coffee. The coffee wasn't so nice--even tho' I didn't add any sugar myself it had a too much sweetness to it (and no, it wasn't the sugary, sludge-like coffee you can ask for in such places). The cake itself wasn't bad, altho' I doubt I'll be eating any more cake for the next couple of weeks (I usually dislike sweet things).

Oakleigh Market

Oakleigh has a little market, open 3-4 days per week, located in the shopping centre. It's small and the stalls are largely aimed at the Greek market--you can buy 1/4 goats, for example, and all manner of nuts, Greek cheeses, olive oils and such. The prices are quite reasonable.

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Some of the cheeses on offer at the deli.

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Same stall: hams and other cured meats. This place used to sell a small but nice (and very cheap) selection of liqueurs and spirits, ranging from amaretto or ouzo, but I noticed that they no longer sell such things.

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A nut shop.

The market also has a couple of butchers and a fishmonger. I'll cover butchers and fishmongers in more depth in just a minute.

Butchers and poultry stores

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The butchers tend to cater for a largely Anglo and European customer base. Most of them stock goat--in large roasting joints and chops as opposed to 'curry pieces'--and veal.

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A German butcher. A reliable source of veal, good pork (the pork neck, for example, is about $6/kg more than what I'd pay in any of the Asian butchers in Clayton) and cured meat goods, ranging from smoked bacon to frankfurts. Indeed, this place makes its own frankfurts and such. That's rare.

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Rabbits, turkey products and chicken offal for sale at a poultry store.

Seafood

Oakleigh's real strength, so far as I'm concerned, is it's seafood. It's close to home and, as I said earlier, most of the fishmongers sell good quality fish at reasonable prices. It's more expensive than Springvale, but you'll have an easier time finding the good stuff here.

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Smoked trout, a couple of varieties of Australian oyster, mussels, pipis and a couple of varieties of prawns ('shrimp' to many of you).

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Squid. You can often find a variety of squid-related products--fresh baby and adult squid, frozen tubes, frozen rings and, sometimes, marinated pieces of squid.

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Blue swimmer crabs (almost always sold dead) are readily avaliable in both Oakleigh and Springvale. They're very good value for money, as the meat:shell ratio is good (for crab, anyway) and the meat is nice.

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A shot of my favourite seafood place.

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And another. Here you see a few kinds of frozen shellfish and prawns and, too, tenderised octopus tentacles.

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The smoked trout again.

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The same shop, still (it's not as large as the photos suggest): oysters, shelled prawns (avaliable as is or marinated with herbs and such) and a variety of fish fillets.

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This shop is, incidentally, the most expensive one in Oakleigh (although it's still cheaper than most of the stalls at Prahran market). It is, however, the best.

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A shop a couple of doors down. I stopped here to buy some garfish.

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The garfish are in the middle--they're the long fish with pointy noses.

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I've been meaning to attempt baby occy on the BBQ for a while now, so I stopped somewhere else to buy some.

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Barramundi: one of our most popular (and best) species of fish. Often sold live in fishmongers in Box Hill and Springvale and, sometimes, Clayton. Snapper, seen next to the barra, is also popular.

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Some other fish. Note that the majority of these fish are caught locally or, maybe, in New Zealand. Legally you have to tell customers if you're selling imported seafood. Most places limit their imports to frozen prawns and such (which come from Vietnam, etc). You're more likely to find a lot of imports in Springvale than you are here.

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Two kinds of flathead. Flathead is a popular and delicious species of fish.

Greek grocers and delis

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These stores are dotted around Oakleigh. They sell pretty much what you'd expect--lots of nuts and beans, large tins of olive oil, jars and cans containing a variety of edible things, olives and other deli products, cheeses and processed meats. Most don't just sell Greek stuff, either--you can usually find chorizo, pecorino, anchovies and other generically European foodstuffs.

Walking around Oakleigh

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Come lunchtime, this place is packed. And rightly so. For $12 you can get a huge plate of chips, salad and roast lamb (or chicken). Don't bother with the chicken--it's not very good. The lamb, however, is something. I tend to prefer medium-rare lamb, but Orexi's lamb is the kind of well-done-greasy-salty-fall-apart-awesome you can't help but shovel happily into your face.

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Another cake shop--this one is run, I believe, by a relative (brother, maybe) of Niko (that's the guy's actual name, by the way). The two don't get along, I'm told--this isn't a surprise, as it's maybe 20-30 metres from Niko's.

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Korean grocer.

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Like many bottle shops in Clayton and Oakleigh, this one attempts to cater to the tastes of the locals.

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A little shop that sells fresh pasta. I didn't bother going inside as they hadn't set up properly for the day.

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One of the fruit and vegetable shops. Again, the balance of price and quality is decent. Fruit and vegetables are typically more expensive here than in Springvale and even Clayton, but the quality is generally superior.

The haul

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Rainbow trout, garfish, prawns and baby octopus. The bowl contains squid in my go-to marinade (thanks to an old episode of River Cottage) of salt, pepper, chilli and garlic. All of this is going to be thrown on the BBQ later.

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#52 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 10:54 PM

PM24

PM24 is a French bistro located in the CBD. Until this afternoon I'd never been there, but I'd heard and read consistently good reports about the place. For the duration of the Australian Open they're running a reasonably priced lunch special. To me that sounded like the perfect excuse to train it into the city for food.

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Blink and you'd miss it. This part of the CBD, actually, is home to a lot of nice restaurants. Walk a block or two in any direction and you'll run into places such as MoVida, MoVida Next Door, The Press Club, Mamasita, Chin Chin, Cumulus Inc and Kenzan (the mothership, not the one I went to yesterday).

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Interior of the restaurant. Just behind the pass--it's hard to make out--there's a large rotisserie oven. In this the restaurant cooks chickens, ducks and lamb. While we were there we saw them tending to a long rack of lamb.

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The by-the-glass page of the wine list. I ordered tasting glasses (which turned out to be more generous portions than you'd expect) of the '06 Rhone and '05 Moulis en Medoc. Both excellent. The Rhone was my favourite, with its strong allspice aftertaste.

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Today's lunch menu. The menu changes every day--yesterday's menu was still tacked up out the front when we went in and it was different aside from the chocolate tart and cured salmon.

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Bread and butter service. I have a weird thing about judging places based on how awesome their butter is. French butter that's so rich someone could mistake it for cheese? That's the good stuff. PM24's bread and butter was okay.

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The cured salmon with potato blini and horseradish cream. Salmon was of exceptional quality. I really liked this dish.

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The rotisserie-cooked leg of lamb with beans and sauteed potatoes. As much as the menu said something about mint, the dominant herb was thyme, thyme, thyme. Not that that's a bad thing. A nice piece of lamb. Superior, I think, to the slow-cooked shoulder my girlfriend ordered.

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The excellent frites and the slow-cooked lamb shoulder (which was still good, by the way) with 'summer vegetables' and eggplant couscous.

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At the end of your meal, whether you've ordered dessert and coffee or not, a waiter drops by and snips off a piece or two of PM24's housemade strawberry marshmallow. Unsurprisingly, it was very sweet. Surprisingly, it tasted like honest-to-God fresh strawberries.

MoVida

Time for dessert. No, I don't mean chocolate tart--I much prefer savoury to sweet--I mean tapas. For this I walked around the corner to MoVida.

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Here it is. Like many more than a few notable Melbourne bars, cafes and restaurants, it's located in an alleyway.

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And right next door, oddly enough, is MoVida Next Door. This place was opened because back when it opened MoVida was insanely popular--you'd have to book a couple of months in advance to get in. Next Door has a no-bookings policy. Both restaurants are still very popular, as are the one and a half MoVidas located at the other end of the CBD, MoVida Aqui and its terrace bar (there's a new one in the airport, too, which I only heard about when I actually walked past it). The mothership, Next Door and Aqui are equally good and offer slightly different experiences. Aqui, for instance, takes advantage of its greater floor space by offering more grilled meats and seafood and other dishes best cooked over coals, such as paella.

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The bar.

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The kitchen, along with copies of the MoVida books.

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The menu. In addition to these offerings were three or four specials and the dessert menu (written in chalk on the wall).

I ordered an Old Fashioned (using Woodford Reserve, my go-to bourbon and seemingly the one bourbon on offer at MoVida). This turned out to be a bit of an issue--one bartender had no idea how to make it and asked another for assistance. The second guy tipped out the first one's ham-fisted attempt and then had me guide him through the process of making it. The end result was nice enough.

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The anchovy with tomato sorbet. It was a nice anchovy, although I don't think it was on the same level as the tin of Ortiz anchovies I bought the other day. Sometimes MoVida--heck, maybe even today, I can't say I asked--will just sell you cans of Ortiz to eat at the bar.

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Obligatory bread service shot.

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The roast lamb breast. Very rich, yes, but good.

Home again, home again ...

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Pulling out of Flinders Street station, heading into the city loop (our 'underground' or 'subway') you see the Rialto tower. The observation deck, located near the top of the taller half of the building, is home to Shannon Bennett's Vue de Monde. Vue de Monde is one of our three-hatted restaurants (the best ranking there is in our local restaurant guide, The Age Good Food Guide). Over the years it's moved from Carlton (which you'll see on Friday) to the CBD itself (just down from where MoVida Aqui is, in fact) to the newly renovated observation deck (it used to be the regular kind of observation deck, with coin-fed binoculars and lots of tourists).

Italian deli, Clayton

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Some of the pastas on offer at the Italian deli I've mentioned a couple of times. The pasta is avaliable from a number of manufacturers in a large array of shapes and sizes and at a variety of price points, starting from a couple of dollars for the cheap stuff to $15 and upwards for a packet--and I'm talking about a regular 350-500g packet here) of the fancy stuff. Also avaliable are pastas for people with odd diets. This shop is my go-to destination for most cured meat products, olives, pasta and expensive canned tomatoes.

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Part of the oils section. The selection isn't huge, as this isn't the kind of area where many people can afford to pay $50 for a small bottle of artisan extra virgin olive oil.

Clayton again

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Ducked into the supermarket for a moment and spotted some coconuts and lychees. Pretty much every supermarket stocks such things, but I'm told that they aren't always so readily avaliable overseas.

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Part of the strip centre at the end of my street. The Thai/Burmese place is okay--it's in the Good Food Guide too and has been for a few years running--and the little place next door sells groceries and hot foodstuffs (a fairly limited selection, as it's a small shop) from Sri Lanka. There's another place a few doors down that offers a slightly wider selection of goods, including foodstuffs from India, Fiji and Mauritius. And, of course, there's Harry's Outlet, the Greek place.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 24 January 2012 - 11:00 PM.

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#53 Broken English

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:18 AM

I don't know: it's still in the post. The restaurant is incredible. I'm hoping there are recipes for the rabbit and duck egg dishes we had.


I love the restaurant, I've been three or four times and haven't had a bad moment there. From what I hear, the book is basically the story of the last few years, so it's likely that they'll be in there.

Please keep me in the loop when you do get it, and tell me if it's worth the $150 with shipping (plus the shipping back home when my overseas escapade ends ... and I already have Modernist Cuisine to send home somehow :shock: :raz: )
James.

#54 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:23 AM

$150? No way. Look at booko.com.au for the cheapest prices for books. Shipping from, say, an Australian store like Fishpond might cost you a little bit, but I reckon you'd get two copies for $150.

Anyway.

Seafood and such

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Prawns in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. The shells, heads, etc were left intact but I carefully slit the prawns' backs to dig out the poo chutes.

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The occy was new to me--I've never cooked it before, let alone on a BBQ--so I Googled around for recipes. The first one I found told me to simmer it for 20 minutes in a mixture of red wine (in went the little bottle of organic shiraz) and balsamic vinegar, dunk it in a mixture of tomato sauce, chilli sauce and soy sauce and then BBQ it. It sounded odd to me, but the recipe had been rated highly by a lot of people, so I attempted it. Here's the occy simmering in the wine/vinegar mixture.

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The trout is stuffed with a couple slices of imported prosciutto. The garfish is seasoned with fennel seeds. Both, too, have been dusted with salt and pepper.

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The fish went on the BBQ first, as I figured they'd--the trout especially--would take the longest to cook.

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The baby octopus. I decided to behead it and split it in half.

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The finished meal: the seafood, a simple salad and bread from the Italian deli. Now, I haven't BBQed much seafood before--I don't cook a lot of seafood at all, in fact--so I had mixed success. The garfish and trout were nice and the squid and prawns were okay but the octopus was tough. The flavours worked--I'll use that simmering liquid and marinade again--but I need to either buy younger octopus (I've seen smaller ones around) or ... something.

A purpose for orange blossom water

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I figured I better find something to do with the orange blossom water I picked up the other day in Dandenong. CocktailDB suggested an 'Opal'--a mix of gin, Cointreau, orange blossom water, sugar and orange juice. It's okay, I guess. I don't think I'd make another one tomorrow, but I'm sure I'll get the urge to revisit it again some time--already I'm thinking a modified version, maybe with bitter oranges, could be nice®. The orange blossom flavour is strong, easily dominating everything else, even though there's a lot more gin and Cointreau and orange juice in there than anything else. And that's okay, I guess, as I don't mind the flavour of orange blossom. File this under 'has potential'.

Australia Day

Tomorrow, the 26th, is Australia Day. Australia Day is a public holiday that, in theory, acknowledges the arrival of First Fleet (of convicts and other settlers) in an area that would one day grow into the city of Sydney, home of such awesome restaurants as Marque and Four in Hand. In reality, Australia Day, like most Australian public holidays (including and especially ANZAC Day, which is, I guess, a bit like your Veteran's Day) is an excuse to not go to work (although many shops are still open for business) and instead drink beer and BBQ sausages.

Me, I'm having a couple of people over--only a small gathering--and swapping the VB for, say, a bottle of St Henri '03. The dodgy supermarket 'BBQ beef' sausages shall be swapped for the haul from Rob's British Butchery (although I'm saving the chorizo for Sunday night). In addition to the sausages, I also bought a butterflied leg of lamb from the supermarket.

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The lamb is currently sitting in the fridge, immersed in a mixture of white wine (should be fino sherry, but unless I want to drive to Dan Murphy's I have a choice between cheap and nasty Australian foritifed and cheap but acceptable Australian wine), olive oil, smoked paprika, chilli powder, salt, garlic, nutmeg, cumin and turmeric. The marinade comes from the first MoVida book, actually--it's a marinade for 'Moorish lamb skewers'. I'm testing it for Sunday. If it's a winner, the skewers will be part of the tapas/pintxos line-up for a family meal.

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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#55 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:44 AM

Who would you say the up and coming chefs are in Melbourne?


Sorry, I didn't see this question until just now. I honestly don't know--I don't so much follow the careers of people as eat the food--so I'm happy to handball this question to someone with more knowledge on the subject than I. I can name a few chefs who have become well-known and successful in recent years--Frank Camorra and Andrew McConnell come to mind straight away--but I can't tell you who will be big and running their own very popular place, say, two years from now.

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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#56 LaurieB

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 05:15 AM

This is glorious.

And I need a recipe to approximate "Kanga Bangers". It's just too much fun to say.

#57 Kouign Aman

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:23 AM

Its a grand tour you are giving us!
Favorites spotted so far: almond horns :wub: and "Bum Burner" sausage. :laugh:
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#58 nickrey

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:33 PM


I don't know: it's still in the post. The restaurant is incredible. I'm hoping there are recipes for the rabbit and duck egg dishes we had.


I love the restaurant, I've been three or four times and haven't had a bad moment there. From what I hear, the book is basically the story of the last few years, so it's likely that they'll be in there.

Please keep me in the loop when you do get it, and tell me if it's worth the $150 with shipping (plus the shipping back home when my overseas escapade ends ... and I already have Modernist Cuisine to send home somehow :shock: :raz: )

Try Amazon UK, they have copies.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#59 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:52 PM

A lot of shops are closed on the public holidays, meaning my options for shopping for tonight's dinner were limited. I realised, too late, that I needed to buy some sherry vinegar for tonight (I'm preparing a salad from the MoVida cookbook: roasted capsicum and tomato w/ cumin and sherry vinegar). The Italian deli, which always has the stuff in stock, was closed. I didn't really feel like a drive to, say, Chadstone shopping centre (which you'll see tomorrow) to pay twice the going rate for the stuff, and it's not yet sold in (most) supermarkets and it's certainly not avaliable in the Greek places, so I decided to make do with balsamic vinegar. I'm trialling the salad for Sunday night's tapas dinner.

Harry's - again

The first port of call was Harry's Outlet. I had to buy some dried beans for Sunday (chickpea and broad beans) while I remembered and check to make sure they really didn't stock sherry vinegar (they don't).

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It's hard to walk in and out of this place--or the Italian one, either--without stopping and buying some olives. I opted for a small tub of the kalamatas marinated in balsamic vinegar and rosemary. I also bought a tin of stuffed vine leaves.

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Part of the cheese selection. There are a couple of Italian cheeses on offer--parmesan, pecorino--but mostly it's all Greek, Greek, Greek, ranging from feta and other soft cheeses to hard, crumbly, powerful cheeses. When I first moved to Clayton a few years ago, I tasted pretty much everything on offer there.

The fruit shop

After passing through Harry's and the supermarket, I headed to the fruit shop to pick up some flat leaf parsley and Adelaide tomatoes. I then remembered I haven't really shown you this place before, so I took a few photos. It's a large shop and does a reasonable job of catering to Clayton's European and Asian communities. You can buy all manner of leafy vegetables, ranging from endive to rocket to radicchio to boy choy to wombok. You can choose from a range of peas and beans, dried and fresh, including the 'normal' French or green beans, snake beans, borlotti beans, sugar snap peas and broad beans. You can choose from three or four varieties of eggplant. The quality of the produce is generally excellent and the prices are reasonable.

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'Lebanese' eggplants. Also avaliable are the 'normal' big ones with the black skin, some long and skinny ones also with black skin and the tiny South East Asian variety.

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Part of the bean selection and, too, okra and fennel.

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Part of the mushroom selection. You can also get the standard white button mushrooms, Swiss browns and portobellos.

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Part of a section dedicated to Asian fruits and vegetables (although there are still plenty of Asian fruits and vegetables dotted through the rest of the store).

Australia Day BBQ

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The first stage for making the salad is to roast the capsicums, onion and garlic for 50 minutes at 200C.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#60 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:10 PM

Australia Day BBQ

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The capsicums have just come out of the oven.

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The finished salad. In addition to the capsicums, onion and garlic, the salad also contains tomatoes. The dressing is made from extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, the roasting juices from the capsicums, the roasted garlic and cumin seeds.

Hanaro Mart

Hanaro Mart is a Korean grocer (which also sells some Japanese products) in Clayton. I went in to buy some a tub of kimchi and ended up walking out with a bottle of black raspberry wine. These things happen.

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A selection of kimchi and other pickles.

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Chilli and bean pastes of various kinds. I've found that so far (not that I've cooked a lot of his recipes), everything David Chang asks for in the Momofuku book is avaliable here.

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Frozen vegetables and a few other odds and ends. At the bottom of the fridge there are three different kinds of Korean booze, including rice wines and the black raspberry wine I purchased. You can also sometimes find Australian rice wine (which I didn't know existed until I stumbled upon it in this shop) and two or three kinds of Korean beer. There is also a selection of non-alcoholic beverages: juices, soft drinks (both Korean and American drinks such as Dr Pepper, which can only really be found at stores like this or the one or two American grocers we have in Melbourne) and milk-based drinks, as well as some 'others', such as aloe vera-based beverages.

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Part of the noodle section. Hanaro Mart and Hong Kong Supermarket both stock a very impressive variety of noodles.

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Frozen dumplings. All of the Asian grocers and most of the restaurants will sell you frozen dumplings, to be steamed/deep-fried/boiled at home.

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Thin slices of meat intended to be grilled Korean-style. You can also find frozen seafood.

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Part of a section dedicated to biscuits and other sweet products such as Poky.

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Preserves and honey.

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A variety of condiments and marinades. Most of these are very cheap. In my student days, my housemate and I would buy a $2 bottle of marinade and use it to flavour a big pile of cheap meat--rump steaks, chicken wings, slices of pork belly--and sit out the back in our postage-stamp sized backyard with all its rocks and two metre tall weeds, grilling over Heat Beads on my little Weber kettle, drinking beer (or worse: making 'cocktails' by Googling recipes involving Bailey's, Black Sambuca, Butterscotch Schnapps, Kahlua and vodka).

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Part of a section dedicated to seaweed.

Ping's and Clayton's restaurant scene

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A tub of the boiled pork dumplings. Ping's is a little restaurant in Clayton that serves what I consider to be be cheap and cheerful Chinese food. Such places are very common in Sydney and Melbourne. They account for the bulk of the restaurants in Chinatown and Springvale. It's not uncommon for a restaurant to say, oh yeah, we're a Cantonese/Shanghai/Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant, but to serve lots of generically East Asian stuff. Menus--and this is true of Ping's as well--often have ~150 dishes. In Clayton, where they are many Asian students, restaurants such as Ping's are especially popular. Ping's has 150 items on the menu, but the only dishes worth ordering are the dumplings. Likewise, there are places just down the road that specialise in roast meats or hot pots but still have epic menus.

We also have a lot of cheap and cheerful Indian places in Clayton and plenty of cheerful (but not as cheap) Korean places, as well as a couple of competitively-priced Indonesian and Malaysian places. The Indian places may say, oh, we specialise in Nothern Indian/Punjabi/whatever, but they all have basically the same menu.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between






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