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"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." – J.R.R. Tolkien

Tag Archives: Asian

Goshu Ramen Tei (NSW)

As the oldest Ramen restaurant in Australia, and one of the highest rated Japanese restaurants on Urbanspoon Sydney, I had great expectations for this place. Catching up with a friend who’d recently moved up from Melbourne was the perfect opportunity to check this place out, and it didn’t disappoint.

It was a windy and chilly day, but the place was still very busy. We felt a little sorry for the neighbouring restaurant, but there seemed to be a customer base only loyal to Goshu. Indeed, they had a take-away service which was being made full use of.

The menu had the usual variety of Japanese dishes, from curries, to bento boxes, and of course, ramen. For starters, we ordered a serve of gyoza.

Gyoza

Nothing too spectacular, these gyoza were simple and satisfying and were perfect to munch on while waiting for our main dishes.

I ordered the beef sukiyaki set.

Beef Sukiyaki Set

This was definitely larger than I expected, the flavour was stronger than I was used to. It was undoubtedly tasty, but perhaps too much so. I’m not sure what spices and condiments they used, but they were certainly liberal with them. Nonetheless, I polished it off, and the small seaweed salad that I had ordered too.

Seaweed Salad

My memory is failing me a bit (we ate a lot on that trip!) but I think my dining companions ordered a chicken udon dish and a chicken curry and rice dish respectively.

Chicken Udon

Chicken Curry and Rice

By all accounts, the food was delicious and the serves were massive. Definitely value for money! The service was extremely efficient and friendly. As their menu says, “Your hostess, Aiko, always smile, from Aichi, JAPAN”. You could help but smile back.

Goshu deserves it’s reputation as being a great Japanese restaurant. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of noodles, I’ll be sure to try their Ramen next time.

Goshu Ramen Tei
5 York Street, Sydney
Mon-Sat 11am-10pm

Goshu Ramen Tei on Urbanspoon

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Tetsuya’s (NSW)

I’ve been putting off writing about the degustation at Tetsuya’s for sometime because it’s so intimidating: not only are there so many dishes to cover, but the quality of the food was such that neither my words nor my pictures will do justice to it. I do like to share my eating experiences with you guys though, so here goes nothing. I’ll say straight up though, if you ever have the chance to dine at Tetsuya’s, don’t miss it, and get accompanying wines if that’s your style too.

Even though it’s centrally located, upon entering the restaurant there’s immediately a sense of serenity that wouldn’t be feel out of place in the Japanese countryside (or so I’d imagine given I’ve never been to Japan). In any case, the dimly lit, intimate surrounds were welcoming and comforting, perhaps even more so with the absence of music. The faint chatter of the rest of the patrons, and the sound of the Sydney rain falling outside was all the soundtrack that was needed.

As expected, the waitress was charming and knowledgeable, and we knew immediately that we were in for a treat as she went through the list of courses, barring the desserts which she was keeping as a surprise. At first, the sommelier wasn’t aware that we wished to match wines to our meals, but after this was sorted out, he was nothing if not friendly and helpful for the entire night, always at the ready with wines that were well-matched to the dishes.

With much further waiting, the first entree arrived at the table, and we promptly forgot what the rest of the dishes she had named were. So began the massively enjoyable fun of the guessing game.

Corn Soup with Soy Cream

This cold corn soup with soy cream was, perhaps, just a little odd. I wasn’t really sure what to make of it in all honesty. The corn lent just a little bit of sweetness, but other than that, there weren’t any dominant flavours. As a wild guess, I’d say this was to simply set our palates for the following courses. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong though!

Next up, the ‘optional course’ (incurring a small surcharge) of fresh pacific oysters with rice vinegar & ginger. You think we were going to pass up this opportunity? Not a chance.

Pacific Oysters with Rice Vinegar & Ginger

The oysters really were the star of this dish, with the balance of the vinegar and ginger perfectly highlighting the oysters to gently flavour them without overpowering their freshness. I’ve only ever eaten oysters once before (they were terrible) but even with my limited oyster-eating experience, I could tell that these were almost as perfect as you could hope for.

I was less enthralled by the next dish: Savoury custard with sea urchin

Savoury Custard with Sea Urchin

Having never eaten sea urchin before, I was a little overwhelmed by its strong flavour, and didn’t particularly like it. Is it an acquired taste? In any case, its strength actually made the custard seem bland, which wouldn’t be the effect that they were after.

The sashimi of kingfish with blackbean & orange was obviously fresh and quite good, but not mind-blowing.

Sashimi of Kingfish with Blackbean & Orange

The blackbean and orange was certainly and interesting combination and one which worked well. Not well enough to have me craving more, but leaving room for the mains isn’t a necessarily a bad thing.

The first of the mains was spectacular, and perhaps the highlight of the entire night (yes, even including desserts and my penchant for sweets).

Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with Shaved Fennel and Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Caviar

It also had the longest name of any dish I’d seen: confit of Petuna ocean trout with shaved fennel and unpasteurised ocean trout caviar. I can see why this is Tetsuya’s signature dish. The fish was firm yet delicate, so it cut easily yet still held its form. The crust had just the right amount of flavour and crunch to enhance the taste of the fish. The caviar were like little golden gems of slightly sweet liquid happiness. I felt royally fancy eating this. This restaurant is known for their seafood and this dish justifies their reputation as one of the best in Sydney.

Even though I fully understand that with a progressive degustations, lighter flavours must precede the heavier, especially in the case of meat dishes, the rest of the mains felt a little boring after the brilliance of the trout. They went by in a little bit of a blur, so they’ll go by in a little bit a blur here too.

Steamed Queensland Spanner Crab with Bean Curd, Foie Gras & Junsai

Another seafood dish this time with crab meat (I hear they made this on Junior Masterchef?). The spanner crab was faintly sweet, and the textures matched perfectly. I just wish there was a little more colour to the dish, but now I’m just be fussy because it was a perfectly delicious course.

Braised Veal Shank with Broad Beans & Smoked Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is one of those things I grew up eating, and would beg Dad to let me eat it from all the bones in the dish. Is it any wonder that I preferred the accompanying bone marrow to the veal itself?

Breast of Quail with Paleta Iberico & Garlic Puree

My tastebuds still aren’t well trained enough to tell quail from chicken, but I remember liking the accompanying flavours better than the main in this dish too. I do like my pork though, in pretty much any form – just ask my friends.

Seared Fillet of Cape Grim Beef with Wasabi and Braised Mustard Seeds

The final main for the night was the seared fillet of beef. This was the best beef that I’ve had in a long time (the last time was at a specialty steakhouse). Even though we were starting to fill up from the many previous courses, I could have eaten more of this dish. Thankfully this isn’t possible, because the three decadent courses of desserts (yes, three) were more than enough to round off the meal.

Hay-Infused Ice Cream with Sorrel Granita (left) and Bread & Butter Pudding (right)

Hay-infused ice-cream? You mean, grass? Well, it tasted like grass, but not in a bad way. It was light and refreshing and well suited to clearing the heaviness of the mains. The bread and butter pudding was sweet and buttery, but I was more than ready for the chocolate dessert to be brought out.

Choclate Pave with Cream Cheese Ice Cream & Cinnamon Twigs

Apart from eating bone marrow, I’m also one of those people who eat cinnamon twigs, but that’s not really important. What’s important was that both the pave and ice-cream were absolutely delicious. I love the bitterness of dark chocolate, and the slight saltiness of the cream cheese, so this dessert was definitely my favourite.

As is the trend, the night was capped off with miniature macarons. While not as good as some specialty stores (in Sydney especially) macarons are always delicious in my book, so these suited me perfectly fine.

Macarons

Wrapping up after almost four hours, we walked out of there buzzing in a bliss induced by good food, good wine and good company. Now I have to justify returning to Tetsuya’s just to enjoy it all over again.

Tetsuya’s
529 Kent Street Sydney
Lunch: Sat 12pm –
Dinner: Tues-Fri 6pm – , Sat 630pm –

Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon

HuTong Dumpling Bar

HuTong Dumpling Bar isn’t one of those places that you can just walk into without a reservation. Only a madman (or madwoman) would even attempt such a thing given how popular this Melbourne institution actually is.

HuTong Dumpling Bar

Luckily for this madwoman and her mother though, deciding to try our luck at 6pm on a Monday night was a brilliant idea and resulted in us getting a table without much waiting around. The downside is of course, that there’s only so much that two people can stomach, and even though I can eat a heck of a lot, my mother isn’t nearly as accustomed to gluttony. She’s also not the most adventurous of diners, so we stuck to relatively simple dishes without much fanfare. The first dish to come out were the wontons accompanied by hot chilli sauce.

Wontons with Hot Chilli Sauce

These little morsels weren’t too oily, and the oil certainly looked like it would pack a strong chilli hit but alas this was not the case. Chilli is meant to be spicy and this rated a mediocre on the spicy scale. If you ignore that aspect though, the wontons were definitely passable. What came next was definitely a lot more impressive.

Xiao Long Bao

Ta Da! The famous Xiao Long Bao! I doubt there have been many diners who have passed up the chance to try this dish at HuTong. While not as mind-blowing as reputation would have, they were still delicate, juicy and full of flavour. There is a good amount of soup contained within each wafer thin wrapper and wasn’t too hot as to burn us. How do they get the soup in there though? By my understanding, this seemingly magical feat is undertaken by inserting a frozen stock cube within the wrapper before they’re cooked. Something that I want to try at home, but somehow seems all too hard. Perhaps I’ll just leave it to the experts.

As humans cannot live off dumplings alone (as much as we would like to), we ended up ordering a dish to share and being the chilli fiends we were, chose one that sounded like it would provide a nice hit without being overpowering.

Steamed Eggplant with Minced Pork in Chilli Sauce

The dish that arrived certainly wasn’t overpowering, and suffered from the same lack of spiciness that the wonton dish did. There was a generous serving of eggplant, but steamed eggplant can get a little bland after a while. Perhaps we should have just ordered another serve of Xiao Long Bao and then everyone would have been happy, well, maybe the restaurant wouldn’t have been greatly happy if we’d lingered on for too long. Thankfully, the allure of an unopened box of moon-cakes was enough for us to decide that we’d had a satisfying meal overall, and were thus ready to leave. Unless I get an overwhelming craving for their signature dish, I doubt I’ll be returning here – it’s just too busy and too…delicate… for my tastes.

HuTong Dumpling Bar
4-16 Market Ln, Melbourne
Daily 11.30am-3pm, Sun-Thu 5.30pm-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-11.30pm

HuTong Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon

Mamak House

(I’ll start this review by mentioning that I know the owner of this place, but I’ll try my best to be fair regardless.)

I hardly venture out of the city with my restaurant choices, but somehow this is the second place that I’ve visited on Chapel St in as many months. Mamak House is newly opened yet even though the space is small and sparsely decorated, a cheerful atmosphere still exists. Perhaps this is due to the view of the kitchen afforded by the open ‘window’ from behind the register, and the chill out music that plays softly, but more than likely it’s because the staff are so friendly and happy.

When it came to order, I found that the menus were a little odd; they came in two parts that weren’t bound together. For around 15 people, this lead to a little confusion over which parts of the menu we each had but between us we finally figured it all out.

And the food? It’s cheap and very tasty so who can complain. I didn’t manage to take decent photos of most of the dishes (you try stopping the hungry masses after a training session), but here are the photos that I did get. We ordered a large amount of entrees, mainly roti and curry dishes, as we knew the there was a single chef. Sating our hunger a little as the mains weren’t expected to come out extremely quickly was a very good idea it turned out.

For my entrée order, the dish named ‘Duck Mantou’ piqued my curiosity. For those not familiar with Chinese cuisine, Mantou are steamed buns typically eaten in Northern China. Rarely having fillings, the prospect of having these filled with duck was enticing. I was more than a little surprised when it arrived on the table however.

Duck Mantou

Deep fried? Unexpected, yet very, very tasty and addictive. Thankfully, I was sharing my entrée as I doubt that I could have eaten more than one due to the sheer amount of oil. I could do with another one now! Seeing as I’ve never seen anything resembling this dish at another restaurant (even considering my relative lack of experience concerning Malaysian restaurants), I guess I’ll have to make the trip out to Windsor again for this dish alone.

The two mains ordered were much more conventional, if still not quite purely Malaysian.

Fried Rice

The fried rice was soft, with the ingredients quite well-balanced. In particular, it was not too heavy on the eggs or the salt as can happen.

Curry Chicken

The chicken curry was good as expected, with tender piece of chicken and just the right amount of spice. I wanted to try some of the other dishes (I’ve been told the Laksa dishes were also very good, and the Mee goreng quite addictive) but I didn’t feel like gorging myself this time around.

No matter, there’s plenty of time in the future to visit. The restaurant is still very close to Windsor station, so the trip isn’t too painful, even for a girl who spends 90% of her time in the city.

[Update 25/12/2011: My friend has unfortunately now sold the place – I guess it’s time to head back and try it again under the new owners once renovations have finished].

Mamak House
97 Chapel Street, Windsor
Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm

Mamak House on Urbanspoon

Little Red Pocket

After catching up with a friends for very interesting and slightly addictive drinks at this newly opened venue, I decided that a return visit was required and completely justified as it’s so close to work. Seeing that it wasn’t really appropriate to return for hard-hitting drinks on a workday however, a lunch visit was decided upon instead.

Little Red Pocket

A few pots of tea from their extensive tea list accompanied by a plate of Edamane Beans temporarily sated out appetite while we waited for our food to arrive.

Tiekuanyin Tea

Edamane Beans

The beans were lightly salted, with just the tiniest bit of oil making them addictive. I could probably convince myself that these were ‘healthy’ snacks, but in hindsight, the amount I consumed meant that I certainly ingested more salt than was good for my body. Who can argue with such deliciousness though!

When our mains arrived, we quickly realised that the bento boxes were high quality and definitely good value for money at less than $20 each. Coming with a generous serve of rice, miso soup, pickles, Pocket Salad and two oyster filled spring rolls, there were salmon, chicken, beef, tempura and vegetarian options on offer.

You read that right. Oyster filled spring rolls. Fresh oysters wrapped in crispy pastry topped with wasabi mayo and tobiko (flying fish roe). Even my seafood-hating dining companion loved them. Soft and juicy with just the slightest bit of crunch coming from the spring roll shells, the small taste left you wanting more. I should move on to the actual feature dish of the bento boxes, however. I ordered the Tea Cured Salmon Bento.

Tea Cured Salmon Bento

Most places I’ve been to serve plain salmon sashimi in the bento boxes, but the extra effort involved in tea curing the fish really makes a difference. There wasn’t any ‘fishy’ taste or smell (which can sometimes be off-putting), instead, just delicate, melt-in-your-mouth salmon that had just a hint of smokiness. I guess it’ll be hard for me to go back to regular sashimi after trying this.

One of my companions was craving meat, and so ordered the beef teriyaki bento.

Beef Teriyaki Bento

The beef was very lightly cooked. If you tend to have your steaks well-done (why?), I wouldn’t recommend this dish to you. If you’re like me though and like your meat medium rare to rare, they’ve done this almost perfectly. Finely sliced and tender, this was a second giant tick of approval for the bento boxes.

My remaining companion, being both non-beef eating and non-seafood liking ordered the chicken teriyaki bento.

Chicken Teriyaki Bento

I liked the chicken a little less, but perhaps that was just as a result of the other two being so brilliant, and my tendency to find chicken a little flavourless. My companion enjoyed it immensely though, so I guess that’s a third tick. We were actually meant to get another dish as part of the promotion they were running, but seeing as we forgot to order it, it’s no wonder that we didn’t end up getting it. We were pretty full after eating the bento boxes, so perhaps it was a good thing that we left sated, but not full to bursting.

The service was fast and friendly, and the venue is a nice and quiet retreat from the business of the CBD. I don’t think this place will stay hidden for long though, it’s too good not to become popular.

[Edit: May I have been wrong? They seem to have closed indefinitely for lunch which is hugely disappointing. They’re still open as a bar, but please open the restaurant again soon so I can get my bento fix!]

Little Red Pocket
Mezzanine, 422 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Tue-Fri 1130-12am, Sat 6pm-3am

Little Red Pocket on Urbanspoon

Chef Lagenda

Being in the mood for some Laksa on a quiet Tuesday night, it was decided that a short trip out of the city, and up to Flemington would be perfect. The original plan was to go to the famous Laksa King (which I hadn’t visited since its reopening) but after seeing the packed interior and the long queue at the door, it was decided that the short walk two doors up to Chef Lagenda was the more attractive option.

Rumor has it the team running the joint are the same ones from the old Laksa King, but who cares either way as long as delicious food is served. Of course, the first thing to be decided was which laksa should be ordered. Chicken, vegetarian and seafood were all on offer, as well as the combination of shrimp, fish cake and chicken that we eventually decided on.

Curry Laksa

We weren’t disappointed. The noodles were soft and springy, without being soggy, the pieces of meat were tender, and the all important soup was brilliantly flavoured and not overpowered by the taste of coconut milk (which can sometimes happen).

One cannot be satisfied by laksa alone, so we ordered a couple of other dishes. There was nothing particularly good or bad about the Steamed Chinese Broccoli with oyster sauce, because, let’s be honest, the dish is pretty hard to mess up.

Steamed Chinese Broccoli

It did tick the box of getting our vegetable intake for the meal though, so it definitely passes. The Hainanese Chicken Rice could have been better though.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

The meat was a little too dry for my liking, but perhaps the Malaysian style is different to the mainland style? I wouldn’t know, having never been to Malaysia, and not being a frequent visitor of the Malaysian restaurants here. I’d like to rectify one/both situations in the near future though so I’ll be a little more informed next time.

My only other problem with the place was that the table was too high/I am too short, which made eating a little uncomfortable yet the service was friendly and fast. Overall, I was happy with the experience as the laksa, the most important aspect of this restaurant, was faultless.

Chef Lagenda
16 Pin Oak Cres. Flemington
Mon-Sun 11am-10pm

Chef Lagenda on Urbanspoon

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery

For my birthday lunch, I caught up with a few friends at a small restaurant that I’d been meaning to try for the better part of four months. The Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery is run by the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order and consequently, only serves vegetarian fare.

Who knew that vegetarian food could be so tasty, and that mock-meat could actually taste like real meat!. I’m not sure how they manage it, but I suppose a hundred years worth of experimenting would get results. In retrospect, the slow and tranquil nature of both the surrounds and the makes it a venue you’d probably want to avoid in your lunch hour. Luckily I could get away with taking a little extra time on my special day!

As has somewhat become a custom when dining out at Chinese restaurants, we ordered tea first up. One of my friends had never tried Oolong tea, so that was the obvious choice. To our delight, it also came with delicious taro cakes! I’m certainly not one to complain about dessert before lunch.

Oolong Tea with Taro Cakes

Seeing as we wanted to try multiple dishes, we decided to split our order, with the foresight to only order dishes that could easily be split between four people. For appetisers, we ordered fried wonton.

Fried Wontons

They were crispy, without being oily, and filled with mushroom goodness. I usually shy away from wonton having more a preference for simple dumplings, but surprisingly the limited menu didn’t have them. Maybe I should be ordering more wonton in the future if this is how good they are though.

We also ordered steamed filled buns, but for some reason, I didn’t end up with a photo of them, or at least, not one without my friend making ‘Immagonnaeatyou’ faces at it. Probably not appropriate for this blog, but hilarious all the same.

Moving on though, we ordered a few dishes for substance. First up, noodles in soup.

Noodles in Soup

Nothing much to comment, other than the mock meat was delicious, and we were seriously contemplating ordering a second serve. This was before the wrapped, glutinous rice dish (Zongzi 粽子) came out though.

Zongzi

Zongzi

These things are filling! I love these, and have a craving for them about once a month (but don’t particularly want to buy the ones from the Asian groceries). I’m too lazy to attempt them myself, but it might be a good idea to head home sometime and make a batch with my parents. I might be able to coerce my friends too considering this was the first time any of them had eaten one, and they all seemed quite taken with the dish.

To finish off, there was a round of red bean spring rolls for dessert.

Red Bean Spring Rolls

Maybe we should have eaten these first. These rolls were about three times the size of the ones at Camy Shanghai Dumpling! I’d say they were also tastier, and not much more expensive.

The end bill was also a nice surprise, coming in at only $15 per person. If I have more time to spare in future lunch breaks, I’d definitely come here again. Or perhaps just pop in and pick up a serve of Zongzi/Red Bean Spring Rolls. I highly recommend this place, just not if you’re in a rush. You won’t even miss eating meat, promise!

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery
141 Queen St, Melbourne
Mon-Fri 11am-3pm

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery on Urbanspoon

Oriental Teahouse

After saying that I would try yum-cha in the CBD again after a long hiatus (4.5 years), I ended up at Oriental Teahouse with a couple of friends during my lunch break. Being a classy eatery on Little Collins st, it’s a popular option with city workers however as we got there nice and early (noon), we managed to avoid most of the lunch crowd. While the restaurant was almost empty, and a little chilly, when we first arrived, by the time we had finished our meal, almost every table was occupied and it was a bustling hive of warmth and activity.

Oriental Teahouse

While waiting for my companions to arrive, I ordered a warming tea to chase away the winter blues.

Ginger & Barley Tea

I’m one of those odd people who like to eat the edible things in tea. The red thing is actually a dried hóng zǎo (or Jujube in English as Wikipedia informs me). I can go through bags of them, but I usually reserve that habit for when I’m home, or in China.

When my companions finally did arrive, shivering from the cold outside, we started the fun process or ordering from the tray of food being presented by the ever-moving waiters. For starters, we had a serve of the Chicken San Choi Bao (finely chopped vegetables & chicken served in a lettuce leaf) and Peking Duck (Roast Duck Served in a pancake with cucumber & plum sauce)

Chicken San Choi Bao

Peking Duck

From thereon-in, it was food galore. You ready for…

Football Dumplings (Football shaped dumplings filled with minced shrimp & pork)

Football Dumplings

Ginger Prawn Dumplings (Pork & prawn dumpling deep-fried then steamed with ginger sauce)

Ginger Prawn Dumplings

Roast Duck Dumplings (Filled with shredded duck meat, pork & vegetables)

Roast Duck Dumplings

Pork Sui Mai (Minced pork & prawn wrapped dumpling)

Pork Shu Mai

and to wrap it all up, Chocolate Dumplings (Chocolate filled dumpling with sesame seeds served with ice cream)!

Chocolate Dumplings

The quality of the yum-cha was astounding. Not necessarily 100% authentic, the dishes were all flavoursome yet delicate and there were no flavour clashes between mouthfuls. If I had to choose a favourite dish, it would have been the Football Dumplings, mainly because I can’t resist the combination of deep-fried sticky dough with seasame seeds on top. The Chocolate Dumplings also had this of course, but I don’t think you’re allowed to choose a dessert dish as a favourite dish for yum-cha.

Splitting some of the servings was a bit troublesome, but I suppose if you order lots of dishes, no-one’s going to complain. I’ll admit though that I was still a bit peckish after the meal, but decided to stop ordering as the costs were starting to add up as those who’ve been to a decent yum-cha can attest. There was a greater variety of dishes on offer though, and probably even more available had we decided to hang around longer, but alas, work has to be done on a workday. Maybe I’ll head back soon though, and try out even more of the dishes.

Oriental Tea House
378 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-4pm

Oriental Tea House on Urbanspoon

Darac Grill & Bar

Another day, another Korean restaurant. I think I need to branch out a little more, but for now, here’s a recap of an awesome visit to the new-ish Darac Grill & Bar. Seeing as the menu is peppered with Japanese dishes, it’s not quite a ‘true’ Korean restaurant, but I’m not that fussy (plus I generally like Japanese food more). Located on a section of A’Beckett street that I wasn’t even aware had restaurants, upon settling into the cosy little restaurant, I mentally chided myself for not finding out about this charming place earlier.

They have a good selection of food and our very friendly waiter was quite helpful in advising us, even though we eventually decided on a few dishes to share. For our entree – Takoyaki Salad.

Takoyaki Salad

I can’t say that I tasted much octopus, or that the dish was as burning hot as I’ve come to expect but it was sufficiently takoyaki-ish and tasty that I didn’t really care, especially as I was ordering a Japanese dish from a Korean restaurant. We knew things were going to get better when the waitress brought out a portable gas stove. After a few minutes, she came back with a bowl filled to the brim with soup and various meats, vegetables, beans, rice noodles, pasta and cheese.

Mixed Stew

Waiting for the massive pot of food to cook was tormenting, but the end product was worth the wait.

Mixed Stew (Ready to Eat!)

After tucking into the stew for a bit, it was temporarily forgotten as the Sashimi set was brought to the table. The menu had mentioned grilled sashimi, which confused us as sashimi is almost always served raw, but everything made sense when the waitress brought out a blowtorch. Yep, a blowtorch. Succulent pieces of fresh salmon and eel, with just the tiniest bit of them cooked to bring out flavour resulted leaving us diners very happy indeed. A pretty amazing dish for both the taste and the theatrics involved.

Sashimi Set 1

The last dish to come out were the Kimchi pancakes, even though they were probably better suited as an entrée dish. No matter though, the presentation was unique and the pancakes full of flavour. Perhaps not quite spicy enough for my tastes, but I couldn’t find any faults with it otherwise.

Kimchi Pancake

Darac is definitely a little gem hidden away in the new Little Korea section of the city. Well worth a visit for the food (and the friendly service).

Darac Grill & Bar
51 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne
Lunch: Mon-Fri, Dinner: Mon-Sat 6pm-late

Darac Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Gami

One of the most perfect dinners after training on a cold, wet night is fried chicken. Not any fried chicken mind you, but Gami Chicken and Beer on Little Lonsdale street was definitely an inspired decision by one of my friends. It’s a small but bustling place with a constant stream of diners and people getting take-away, an no wonder really, their chicken is amazingly tasty!

Gami Chicken - Honey Soy (left) and Sweet Chilli (right) Sauces

Yeah, I want to eat some now. Mustering the willpower to drag ourselves away from the chicken meant that we could sample the Corn Cheese dish (which is exactly what it sounds like), and the Kimchi pancake. Neither of the two were particularly brilliant but they were moreish nevertheless.

Corn Cheese

Kimchi Pancake

The restaurant also makes sure that each table has a constant supply of salad, turnips and prawn crackers. I was always curious about what is actually in prawn crackers, but not willing to risk being turned off eating them.

Prawn Crackers

Unlimited Salad

What I didn’t take a picture of was the 3L oak cask of Cass beer ($30) that was sitting on the table. Chicken and beer, what more could you ask for? This is a great place that will only get busier with time, so get in while you still can. Either that or grab take-away from there.

Gami
100 Lt Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Mon-Sun 1pm-3pm, 5pm-late

Gami on Urbanspoon

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