Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Restaurant Review: Cookie

Location: 252 Swanston St, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9663 7660
Cuisine: Thai
Overall Impression: 7/10

Cookie is more than your average bar. For starters, it is one of Melbourne's most popular Friday night drinking spots (it helps that there is a dancefloor a quick flight of stairs away from it). And commendably, it manages to serve consistently good Thai food.
Steamed Tapioca dumplings filled with pickled turnip, pork and peanuts
Betel leaves with smoked fish, chicken and roasted coconut salad
Mussels steamed with ginger, lime lemongrass, chilli and coriander
Stir fried pork belly with red curry, green peppercorns, kaffir lime and green beans  
Asparagus, sugar snaps, spinach and garlic beans
Fat rice noodles with duck, cabbage, green peppercorns and basil
Salmon, prawn and pomelo salad with ginger and lemongrass

The food is basically jazzed up Thai food that thankfully retains authentic characteristics. My all time favourite dish at Cookie is their Stir fried pork belly with red curry. The crackling on that pork belly is crisp and indulgent and the flesh is always delectably tender and the luxurious red curry is always packed full of flavour. With larger groups, I would recommend ordering the banquet that starts from as little as $30 per person. It's a great way to eat your way through the Cookie menu especially if it is your first time. The service is brilliant and the staff are incredibly helpful and accommodating  The only downside is how popular this place is - it gets uncomfortably packed on Friday and Saturday nights.

Cookie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Restaurant Review: Misty's Diner

Location: 103 High St Prahran
Phone: 03 9510 1959
Cuisine: American
Overall Impression: 6/10

Misty's Diner is proudly American. A cheerful figure, you can spot Misty quite easily at the diner making sure patrons are getting enough food and having a good time.

 Looking through the menu, J, R and I couldn't go pass the chilli fries and wings to start.
 Bucket of wings
A bucket of buffalo chicken wings with: buffalo sauce, ranch or bleu cheese, celery sticks, your choice of mild, spicy, or po'man's cocaine sauce.
Chili Fries
Served with onions, Mexican cheese & homemade chili con carne with your choice of meat or vegetarian & your choice of mild, spicy or po'man's cocaine sauce.

This is seriously delicious heart-attack causing food. Greasy, crunchy and packed full of cheesy goodness the chilli fries and wings are to die for.

The celery sticks are served with contempt. The lie  lifeless on the plate, staring back at you reminding you of what you should perhaps be eating instead. But J, R and I are not easily distracted. The sauce served beside the celery sticks are dipping sauces for the wings. And these definitely add to the All American goodness of those crispy flavoursome wings.

 Baked Roast Beef
Sliced roast beef served open-face on white bread with mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies. Bring on the 1950's!

Our next course is the baked roast beef. The beef was surprisingly tender and cooked very well.  The mashed potatoes are well seasoned and luscious. Although a little rough around the edges, this is certainly a hearty dish that tastes like it was made with a lot of love.
Misty's American style Burger
American cheese, sauteed onions, lettuce, tomato, bacon, American pickles, egg & Misty's special sauce

More vegetables served with contempt!
 R couldn't resist choosing a few classics.
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie

The pecan pie was a winner. It had a beautiful pie crust and the filling was deliciously dense, moist and had just the perfect amount of sweetness. The ice cream on both the pies tasted a little strange though - it was quite foamy and lacked density.
Certainly a great American diner that is worth a visit.

Misty's Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, 18 June 2012

Weekend in Apollo Bay, Lorne and Geelong

Andrew's Chicken Joint
Location: 134 Mount Joy Pde, Lorne
Phone: 03 5289 1255
Cuisine: Chicken, Fast Food, Pizza
Overall Impression: 5/10
Our first stop was Andrew's Chicken Joint (a favourite among locals and the yearly schoolies and toolies crowd). The food was average. It was a mere notch above what you would expect from a food court but the prices were not dissimilar to one so it was certainly fair.
Andrew's Chicken Joint on Urbanspoon
River Tea House
Location: 4B Mountjoy Pde, Lorne
Phone: 03 5289 2099
Cuisine: Coffee/Tea, Latin American, Breakfast/Brunch 
Overall Impression: 8/10
River Tea House is a precious Lorne establishment. It is the home of the famous Lorne polenta cake. Beautifully tucked away but thankfully not too hidden, the cafe is cosy and the staff are delightful. We were impressed at the selection of teas on offer and incredibly appreciative for the good coffee.
Lemon Polenta Cake

At first instance, the main thing you notice is the peculiar textural element of the cake. The polenta certainly gives it a gritty texture. The flavours are beautiful. The tangyness from the lemon is perfectly balanced by the ample sweetness of the dense and moist cake. All in all it was a delectable cake. Although we found the texture peculiar at first, we quickly enjoyed it and craved it the next day (which is why as you will see, we stopped by again on the way home).
Good coffee
We finally arrived in Apollo Bay.
Chill @ the Bay
Location: 14 Pascoe St, Apollo Bay
Phone: 03 5237 1006
Cuisine: Tapas, Spanish, Wine Bar
Overall Impression: 5/10
We walked around for quite a bit trying to figure out where we should have dinner. Chill @ the Bay caught our eye. Although it was completely empty, against our reservations, we decided to pop in. J and I hadn't had Spanish food for a while so we thought it might be a good idea.
Spanish music fills the air when we arrive. And that exact same Spanish song we heard when we entered was repeated throughout our time at Chill @ the Bay.
Lamb Cochifrito - Slow cooked lamb neck in Rich Spanich flavours $16
Pork Ribs slow roasted in spicy sauce $17

This was the most disappointing dish of the night. For $17, this little bowl of ribs was far from what we expected. Being ribs, there were hardly and real meat we could eat which is fair but due to that fact, we certainly expected a bigger portion. The dish was also disappointing as the sauce was far too sweet and lacked any spice despite being described as being roasted in a spicy sauce.
Paella with chorizo, flathead fish, squid, mussel, king prawns, and butterfllied school prawns $45

The lamb and the paella were underwhelming and lacked flavour and punch synonymous with Spanish cuisine.
Churros (Spanish donuts) with chocolate dipping sauce (four) $8

While still very pleasant, the churros were unfortunately undercooked and doughy in the centre.

All in all, we were disappointed with the food we received and found the items we ordered overpriced for what they were. On the upside, the service is good and attentive and we certainly didn't have any trouble getting a table.   
Chill @ the Bay on Urbanspoon

Having a hike in Otway Park

Apollo Bay Seafood Cafe
Location: 119 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay
Phone: 03 5237 6008
Cuisine: Fish & Chips
Overall Impression: 2/10
After what turned out to be a 4 hour walk in Otway Park, we decided we to reward ourselves with Fish & Chips. We drove past Apollo Bay Seafood Cafe's incredible large blue and white sign and decided to satiate our hunger there.
And there it was. The most overpiced fish and chips I have ever had in my life. This was quite a bit over $30 and they were the two thinnest slices of fish I have ever seen. To make matters worst, everything else we ordered appeared to arrive in a downsized version from what is the norm. Perhaps this is something cafes are tempted to do when they trade on visits by tourists rather than regular customers. Certainly no goodwill here. We left still very hungry but so annoyed that we could not bear to order any more. This is certainly a fish and chip joint I would advise avoiding. So back to River Tea House we ventured. 

Apollo Bay Seafood Cafe on Urbanspoon
River Tea House

Thai red curry soup

 We had a big bowl of soup each and had more lemon polenta cake. YUM!
River Tea House on Urbanspoon

Khan Curry Hut Indian Restaurant
Location: 101-103 Ryrie St, Geelong
Phone: 03 5222 4471
Cuisine: Indian
Overall Impression: 5.5/10
We couldn't decide on what to eat so we settled for the "Royal Treat" banquet that was a mere $26.50 per person.
Entree: Samosa, Tikka, Onion Bhaji and Lamb Cutlet
Mains: Butter Chicken, Lamb Madras, Daal, Vegetable Korma, Rice, Naan and Raita

While the mains were very enjoyable to eat. They tasted like they had been dramatically altered to suit the Western palate. The curries were incredibly mild and the butter chicken was very sweet as was the raita. I enjoyed the Vegetable Korma as it tasted the most authentic and there was some heat.
Desserts: Mango Kulfi and Pista Kulfi

Overall, we found the service slow. We had to wait quite a while for our food to arrive and the staff seemed extremely confused - it was as if no one had ever ordered the Royal Treat banquet before and they were not quite sure what to do. To be fair, the food is of a reasonably good standard although not quite authentic and to the restaurant's credit the menu is extremely well priced. At $26.50 for a banquet it is certainly bang for your buck.
Khan Curry Hut Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon