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    melbourne, oz
  1. debortoli's, dixons creek, yarra valley monalto, red hill, mornington peninsula sunnybrae, birregura, west of geelong is my short list. there are many others......just cant think at the minute.
  2. also ironic/topical/interesting .... many a friday night finds me hanging around the neighbour Interlude finds itself. we frequent the standard hotel in fitzroy street and have been known to pop into the Labour in Vain on the corner. I usually stick my nose against the window of Interlude to check for menu changes! Last friday was as described above, but we ate at Kenzan.
  3. googling his name pulls up: biography here an article he wrote here and a review of his work here he has some credability in his field, no denying that. imo, he has none in the hospitality industry after reading one restaurant review.
  4. OMG i totally forgot chef robin lurks here. and this article is causally dismissing the work of one of our own brethren (sorry mate - you might not have known that - you are stuck with us now! ) could not agree more about expressing one's opinion. i have more than enough opinion than one man should have probably. and i look for other's opinions and comment to further valid and meld my own perspectives on life and living. and more so in the case of restaurant reviews, talk about an arena where one must weight up personal opinion through rose coloured glasses. i.e. one man's meat is another man's poison? (is this a good pun or a good analogy?) my angst at the review did not even consider any factual inaccuracies, for in many cases, as a reader i am unable to verify such details myself anyways. but as a reader and a diner, i was not impressed with the way he dismissed the dining experience as a chore, and then communicated the experience so half heartedly while exhibiting lack of knowledge along the way. Upon reflection, i now have more of an issue with the editor of that section. Why did he publish that piece as is? This is a national paper, with a high profile review column covering some of the best restaurants in the country. Indeed, up til now, i respected the column for the points of view expressed for other restaurants around the country. What advantage/gain is made publishing this piece? As mentioned, were they trying a 'new angle' with a layman's point of view? Did the editor 'miss' the 1/2 page of copy, because of the author's other credible writing and it slipped through to print? hopefully most knowledgeable readers will dismiss it. like i said, maybe i have given it too much profile as it is. maybe it is just my ego.... thinking i could have done a better job!
  5. ozmouse and PCL. There, there's two of them. for the record...... when you read my reviews of top shelf restaurants, you are getting a very biased point of view. if i have decided to drop 100's of dollars to eat out, the decision making process of selecting a restaurant has me in a position where I will pick an establishment based on my exposure to available info and that process has me walking into a joint wanting to have a good evening. you could say they had me from hello. i look at dining out as a luxury i am fortunate to partake in. i come from a very average social economic background, and do not take opportunity for granted. At the same time, it is my hard earned money being expended. i rely on the current media to keep abreast of food and wine in this country. on the other hand, i worked in the industry for 10 years, have travelled abit, dined out a bit, cooked abit, hunted and gathered abit. a bit of passion there. i do not consider myself a writer. but i know what i like.
  6. Did anyone read the Interlude restaurant review in the Weekend Australian on Saturday? It was in the weekly restaurant review column in the lifestyle section. I am sorry to bring this up without the article at hand (article is not on the web that I can see, nor did my newsagent have a copy this morning), but I have to vent. It has been written by someone, whom’s name I do not recognize, and more to the point, by someone with not much expertise in the area of hospitality or fine dining. Two points that pushed me over the edge was he admitted to not knowing what degustation meant up till 2 years ago (remember Interlude has only degustation menus now). And continuing on the theme, his apparent lack of knowledge of the word sous vide. In addition there was the dismissive attitude in the article with regard to being invited on a ‘freebie’ review outing to the restaurant in the first place. Finally summarizing, (and I am paraphrasing here), there was no real reason to return to dine there! Why would the Editor want to use that column to express this sort of commentary on a restaurant? I googled the author’s name at the time, and he is an accomplished jorno and author. But what is his credibility with regard to hospitality or dining? Are they trying to publish a ‘punters’ view of the fine dining? Anyways, as a restaurant review I thought, at minimum, it was dismissive and un-informative. Indeed, considering the profile of the paper, and the weekly column, damaging to Interlude’s custom. To put it bluntly, any of us reading this forum, have more interest in, and would deliver a more knowledgeable and informative review of an establishment than Saturday’s effort. No wonder the restaurant review fraternity have such a bad reputation. I put this one up as an example as not doing them any benefits. Am I missing the point? Or am I just fueling the fire with regards to the debate/merits of restaurant reviewing?
  7. LONGRAIN MELBOURNE (apologies for length. original text was used in email to sydney-siders. cleaned up abit for this forum.) Considering Longrain’s long awaited arrival by industry folk and myself, I actually had a 'unscheduled' visit last sat night. (Note: I am not in the above-mentioned group. I don’t carry any credence other than eating at Longrain Sydney approx 1 year ago, and labelling it some of the best food I have eaten in Australia!) Longrain finally opened in November, and considering the hype prior to its arrival, the opening has been VERY low-key imo. Certainly the xmas holiday period and all it entails helps override anything it in wake. That is the main reason I never got there before the end of the year - just too busy and just too full from holiday excesses! Last weekend, we were supposed to be parked down at the beach. I was planning a nice meal at home - fish and giaconda chardonnay was as far as I got - when I got the call Friday night from BF: “I forgot I had arranged to play tennis Sunday morning, so could you come into town for sat night? Let’s go out for a nice dinner. Your choice!” WOO HOO! He did not know what he just said! Well I was on the phone in a flash, but excitement quickly turned to disappointment. Taxi – after 10. Ezard – after 9pm. Interlude – NO! Mo Mo – closed. GRRR plans were not going my way….. But of course Longrain was in town! And of course they don't accept reservations! This is not a favourite industry practise of mine, but it will work in my favour this evening. So I got all decked out in my trendiest shirt (read: pink) and pants (very tight after xmas season) for a big night out at melbourne’s newest and one of australia’s best reviewed dining establishments! Longrain is located at the top end of china town - an area with quite the dining pedigree, with many culinary finds in the nearby alleyways, and the chinese legends that dominate the street. I think Longgrain will fit in just fine! Large bi-fold open windows had the vibe of the joint spilling into the street, even as we approached the building. The large rectangular warehouse is half dining room and cocktail bar, with open kitchen along the back wall. Longrain's signature 3 long dining tables were along the left side and from memory 4 round tables of 8 (with lazy susans in the middle) parallel to that (did I read somewhere these tables can be reserved?) A length of wall and the U shaped bar creates the space for cocktail lounge on the right hand side. Industrial space with modern colour splashes sums it the look (apologies to designer for description). I'm sure the glass tiles that look like shimmering green fish scales had some money spent on them. The noise and people provide most of the atmosphere. From the start, service seemed hassled for most of the night. Yes it is a frenetic environment, but the wait staff should temper that, not add to the chaos imo. We were not greeted at the door, then hurriedly approached when we got to the bar. A 45-minute wait would have us sitting at 8pm. Not bad for a sat night. No seats in any of the nooks and crannies, so we perched at the bar where we could. We had to wait for the fabulous cocktails Longrain is renown for i.e. more harried staff, (but the one bartender had biceps worth watching shake cocktails!) Being a wine snob (and a cheap b*stard), I cringe at $14 cocktails, however, in hindsight, these are 1st class drinks, using 42 degree vodka et al and quality ingredients. Compared to the pedestrian stuff that is passed off around town at $10, these were very good bevvies. Nice start and I was in the groove! We were just about to order a second cocktail, (I think it was going to be something with watermelon in it), when we were called to our table. It was less than the 45-minute wait. But we then had to wait for the host to rustle up our credit card from the bartenders. I was near-sighted for the weekend after leaving my glasses at work on the friday. I was dismayed when we were sat at the end of the last table at the back of the restaurant - the whole restaurant was a blur from there! But as it was pointed out, it was the best spot in that situation, as I was able to check out every single person that went to the bathroom that night! While we did not have the bevy of beautiful people I encountered in sydney, I think there were 4 heavily pregnant women dining there that night. Don’t know what was going on there, might have been mothers groups or something (and they went to the toilet a lot)! Next to us, a newsreader from one of the big stations. We were greeted straight away professionally and personably, but after this initial greeting, the rest of the service was minimal or harried (i.e. wine gulged into glasses) On the way into town, I was saying for such an anticipated visit to a restaurant, it was weird that I already knew what I was going to eat: “betel leaves - pork hock - fish curry - gewürztraminer to wash it down. But we would not be able to fit in the egg net”. "Like hell" BF said. "How could I know what I wanted?" "The menu could be different?" "What if there were other pork dishes?" (he cant go by pork) "I will make certain we have something different." FOOD betels leaves with smoked trout and eggs - Perfect little gems. explosion of thai flavours and freshness. with the smokiness of the trout lingering. grilled scallops in shell - with similar thai flavours as above. barely cooked scallops with charred tops and bottoms served on the shell. While it was similar to the taste above, they are just mouthfuls, so it was like another longrain hit I had waited so long for! freshly opened oysters with ginger chilli . - served with the second half of shell. (very important point imo). so fresh. Tiny. Hot (from chili). Reminded me again why you get passionate about oysters. caramelised pork hock with chilli vinegar - the star of the evening. one of the ozmouse’s top 10 dishes. different format to the one I had in sydney. (could be better. hmmm. don't know.) it was cubed and deep-fried with the 5 spice caramel sauce and the chilli vinegar served separate. all crunchy on the outside and luscious sweet meat (and fat) underneath. then add the layers of sweet, hot and sour on top of that! YUM YUM YUM. swordfish in green curry - perfectly cooked fingers of fish with a curry sauce with a depth of flavour and 5th dimension that I can’t define. (BF said last time he can remember that taste was eating royal cuisine 15 years ago in Bangkok). steamed rice - another star of the evening. perfect foil for the food. glossy individual grains. fragrant. Steaming. I ordered more. Huia Gewurztraminer - NZ . very nice indeed. at the beginning I thought it was very austere. But in hindsight, with the explosion of flavours in your mouth, this wine was more than capable of taking the heat and spices. so not austere at all. very happy with this choice. It was a great night of food and wine. Long awaited arrival, with high expectations, but it all delivered for me. I would like the room a little less rowdy. but, I guess it is a fun place to eat and drink. I was a little disappointed in the service. Not that they failed to deliver (actually wrong food did get delivered to us), but as mentioned, I just got this sense of being too busy to deliver attentive service. We walked out the door without a salutation. BF thoroughly enjoyed it. Stating it was a perfect place for socializing and eating. By the way, he tried many combinations off the menu prior to ordering, but in the end could not get past the pre-empted offering I had envisioned. But as he says... wait till next time …he will order. And here is another reason you go with people... to have more opportunities at the menu. As it would have it, while we were eating, the couple opposite us left, and BF said, “Hugh Jackman and Deb will join us for dinner”. They did not. Instead a friend of the BF’s he had not seen in 6 years sat down. Lots of gos to catch up on there … If you like thai food and a fun night of dining, I say make your may down to Longrain. Take a group and scam one of those round tables. It will be a great night out. But I’m thinking, next time…. a single seat at the bar, and a whole pork hock to myself……
  8. Nice to see all the recent activity on the boards people! Hello/welcome/congrats/ahoy to our new specialists PCL & Shinboners! I would like to think i would be a regular contributor, but you know how it goes people.... the busier you get the less time you have! isn'nt that a redundant statement. duh! I can even brag about a much improved social calendar that includes eating out more!!! Had a fab gasto-trip to noosa a few weeks back and this past week alone saw me at Shiri Nui, M.. and Movido (unique week!). doG knows i have an opionion on it all, so i should post more ofteneh!!?? Anyways, feels good here. feels like home!
  9. Well there ya go.... i dont have to buy the magazine anymore.... they list all the travel articles on the website as a pdf. Check it out!
  10. Sydneyjames is pretty much on the mark with his description - in between, happy homemaker magazine, and gourmet traveller. Published by the ABC. Critically successful– Best Food Mag @ some cookbook awards, and commercially successful, as the format is now published in England. I will go further and go to bat for it thought - as I am a subscriber. Was delivered yesterday in fact! FYI - I subscribe to delicious, gourmet-traveller and g-t wine. Buy Divine and NZ cuisine when I have time. When it first came out I derided it as another copy cat/trendy mag jumping on the ever-burgeoning foodie trend. But I changed my tune because: · It was cheap to buy. (now $6.50 @ newsagents but less than $5 subscribing) · It is Australian. · It has columns from all the celeb chefs (so I did not have to buy their merchandise!) · The monthly regional foodie trip article is excellent and is my favourite part every month! This month Great ocean Road. I now use this as a reference more than gourmet for regional Australian travel. · And lastly, I do cook out of it more than gourmet traveller now adays. But this is more to do with the convenient accessible mid-week slap together type recipes the mag carries. Such if life….. In short - I like it. Look forward to it monthly. Fills a niche Gourmet Traveller does not fill for me. I say give it a read this month! PS I have never been to the website! Interesting, considering my cyber additction. On my way now….
  11. i would like you to consider renting a villa instead of a hotel rooms for your family. many of the upmarket villas cost the same as hotel rooms for families, and some of them includ drivers and cooks/maids!! more to the point, you will have an indelible balinese expereince if you stay in a villa (as opposed to a corporate hotel chain in bali).
  12. ozmouse here! food and bali... to me the 2 go hand in hand. i fell in love with the place and that was before having such great food experiences. firstly, thanks for mentioning my post. i did not think of it as memorable, but re-reading it did bring back some good memories. what still surprises me, is the breadth of food experiences you can have in bali. great indonesian food. or almost any other nationality as well. that was a bit of a surprise for me. these are only my opionions, and i have only visited bali once, so take all this with a grain of salt. my suggestion re accomodation and eating out, is to ensure you are not in one of the resort enclaves such as nusa dua or in an isolated resort. you just cant walk or get to the best restaurants easily. At the same time i would not stay in kuta - not my idea of a holiday my preferred location would be legian or seminyak. nicer hotels and villas, and more to the point you can walk to whole streets of restaurants from your hotel door. NOTE: seminyak is becoming quite the hotspot for dining out!! if staying in seminyak must meals imo are at Ku De Ta restaurant the dining room (beautiful garden setting with 100's of candles around you) la lucciola (overlooking the ocean a bali tradition. breakfast is my favourite!) the Bali Eats website is a great resource for restaurants. i also hang at The Bali Travel Forum more than i do here. you can get everything you need to know about bali from these kind folks. if you go to Ozmouse Goes to Bali you will get the start of my trip report, with details of many beautiful meals! you will have to do a search for the other days, including one of the highlights of my trip The Bumbi Bali Cooking School i could go on and on, but this is a food site not a travel site. so any other further questions please ask!!! happy to give highly opionated comment!
  13. I was just mentioning this a couple days ago... we never eat liver anymore.... will make the liver, bacon onion standard next week! till then, i remember a recipe for liver in milk. i cut out the recipe years ago, but dont remember making it. i believe it was seared and then baked maybe? anybody heard of similar?
  14. what an enjoyable thread to read everyone's culinary journeys! i grew up in the praires of canada and was greatly influenced by the produce gathered, harvested and killed on the farm. great foundation for an appreciation of food and the process it takes to the table. after testing myself with technique and impressing people with complicated dishes, the biggest chance in the last 10 years is a return to quality produce and simple preparations. that also has something to do with lifetyle as well though. and then ingredients - olive oil would be at the top. chili. asian ingredients. and then as someone mentioned.... good wine. how many bottles of crap did i used to drink!! great reading guys!
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