Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cold Wave Meditarranean at Gorski and Jones

Ok ... its been a few months since my visit to Gorski and Jones. I think its symptomatic of my foodie malaise that I haven't rushed to the computer and braggingly fashioned a post on how amazing the experience was soon after. But I have kept the photos on my iphone and enthused about G&J's Antipasto plate and the Cured Meat Selection to all my hapless friends. And now, dear readers, its your turn.

The shining light on the Cured Meat selection ($25) is the spreadable calabrian salami - thats the meaty quinelle in the centre of the plate - see photo below. It was delicious ... and spicy! And far outclassed its Serrano ham and sopresso surround.

And have you ever seen such bounty on an Antipasto ($25) dish before? Quail, eggplant, pickled anchovies, fritatta ... oh my. Well worth the price of admission.

For mains there was fish and goat ... all perfectly cooked and flavoured. I can't remember what the exact details were, but I remember being taken by the rusticity of the simple presentation and how flavour combinations were kept simple and unfussed for maximum effect. Both fish and goat were melt in your mouth tender.

For dessert, an inspired Tiramisu (unlike any I have ever tasted) ...

And a pannacota served with baked peaches which were slightly bitter from the char ... heaven.

A lovely new addition to the Smith Street stretch already groaning under the weight of expectation and gastronomic excess. Someone put their foot on the foodbrake please. Law of diminishing returns Peops!

PS - bread is Baker D. Chirico and the headily scented olive oil isn't some exotic Italian Spanish hybrid, but good old Aussie grown!

Gorski & Jones on Urbanspoon

Jonah and the Whale

Ok ... time for a poetry slam!

"There's a new man in town
Jonah and the Whale
He's going to love Smog, he just doesn't know it yet
He's going to love Pasta and home made tomato sauce
He just doesn't know it yet
Jonah and the Whale

There's a shiny new penny in the del mastro bag
Jonah and the Whale
They're going to love that he sings "dress sexy at my funeral, my good wife" at the top of his lungs
They just don't know it yet
They're going to love that it kills the speakers on the babycom
Jonah ... they just don't know it yet ... and the Whale

There's a new snag on our circle of friends
Jonah and the Whale
He's jacksuited ready for a spar with his mother's flash and a father's proud heart
He just doesn't know it yet
We're going to love him as much as whats gone before and the ever after
We just don't really know it yet
Jonah ... and the Whale."

DC - Dec 2012

(on clearing up old photos and lisening to a random Smog mixtape)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Volante Christmas!!

Ok ... hello my dear blog readers, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and to thank you for your attention and your thoughtful comments.

We're about to descend into a maelstrom of Yuletide insanity, so we celebrated early with a Christmas present to ourselves.

We happen to wander down String Bean Alley at the Victoria Markets when we came across the Meykers stand housing products by Simon Cunningham (Volant Designs) and Gregory Burton (Visual Fields).

We were immediately taken by Simon's light fittings made with pressed plywood and coloured perspex. If you've been in The League of Honest Coffee in the city you would have noticed his Coffee inspired wall art.

We actually had our hearts set on a particular design which was no longer available when we returned for our final purchase. So we ended up with this:

We love the cream and blue colours against the wood, and its conical shape. This is where its going to go:

Now all we need is to organise an electrician to fix the botched job that currently exists in the ceiling. Cannot wait.

So once again ... Happy Christmas one and all.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas Lunch at Trocadero!

Ok ... "out at the trocadero ballroom, the glamorous highlife" only for an afternoon, sipping Jacquesson amongst the Range Rover driving ladies who lunch! We walked through the newly revamped Hamer Hall, with its oddly subtle take on 80s chrome and copper, to the heavy doors housing Melbourne's latest addition to her gastronomic coterie of fine wining and dining, Trocadero.

A long bar in definition, with uninhibited views to the Yarra at the more savoury end of Southbank, where we sat down to a lazy lunch in celebration of that time-honoured tradition that is the work Christmas party.

Heading full pelt into a bottle of Prosecco, we perused the menu between bouts of insane convo and delirious laughter, but the must have thanks to the well connected LS was the Hummus and Fried Chickpeas served with Lavosh ($9). Best Hummus evah, you ask? Betcha by golly and wow.

To append this heightened dip, we had the San Daniele Prosciutto (40g) served with pickles ($16) and another recommend, the Chicken Liver Parfait with golden raisin puree, apple and Chamomile Jelly ($18), a dish to make Maggie Beer cream her Culottes.

The Prosciutto and pickles were suitably mild, in defference to the old money pallates more accustomed to the gilt edged habitats of the Via Veneto, rather than some rustic crumbling stone Villagio replete with a toothless Nonna pummelling reams of dough with her mannish hands.

The Parfait was a little too strong for my liking and the sweet jelly and puree just a little too jarring for my Asian tastebuds. Although I think it went down a treat with some of the other participants in our Yuletide soiree.

For a main, I opted for the Squid Ink Tagliolini served with Crab, Chilli and Tomato ($32). I am a sucker for Squid ink. There is something dramatic about the unctiousness of the colour, and with crab as fresh as this, it was like ascending to heaven with each successive mouthful.

LM's choice of the Onion Risotto with Toasted Grains and Pecorino Pepato ($29) was a pretty dish, made even more appealing with its artfully placed shards of crisp fired onions. You could almost taste the flavour and in its heady Alliumic scent.

GA's Toasted Lamb Sandwich served with Fontina and Green tomato relish ($16) arrived a-table in surprisingly literal form. But the lamb was perfection.

AW's 180gm Minute Steak served with Onion and Mustard was equally prosaic in presentation, but by all accounts it was redolent of a night out in a tiny Parisian cafe with ruddy faced Gallicians singing Chansons about a tiny mouse who makes it big in a circus ... or something ...

The Seared Scallop and Herb Gnocchi ($29) was all Mastercheffy in its presentation, and I believe also got the thumbs up.

But it was the lovely PO's dish that would be my pick if ever I return for a meal here. It was simply described on the menu as Market Fish, Lemon Oil ($32) and that was exactly what you got. A whole fish, plonked on the plate, drizzled with lemon oil and served with a lemon cheek. Absolutely amazing!!

For sides we couldn't go past the Fried Zucchini flowers with ricotta, tomato and lemon ($15) - Brilliant!

And the Triple (Yes!) cooked potatoes served with a Truffle Aioli and garnished with grated Pecorino. Need I say anything more??

Whatever you choose, remember you need to allow room for dessert. I didn't get very far past caramel and chocolate so I ordered my very first choice - Caramel cooked cream, with pear, chocolate and a super salty Popcorn crumble ($17)!! It looked pretty, and it tasted wonderful. I don't need to work on anymore superlatives than that.

Other offerings at the table included a toffee ice cream with Berries, Hazelnut and a Milk Mousse ($17). This one came a close second to the Caramel and Popcorn. The Milk Mousse was interesting though ...

There was also a selection of sorbets ($14), but I can't really remember the flavours, partly because I'm not very interested in Sorbet, and also I was all about the Caramel and the popcorn at this stage.

It was interesting having after lunch drinks at an outside table and looking round at the evening clientele ... erring more on the, shall we say, mature end of the age spectrum, with some rather inventive garment choices. But we didn't really care, the Cuvee and Cru was flowing a little too easily. Golddigers unite and scamm a bottle of Jacquesson Cuvee No. 735 (PoA). I guarantee you would have never tasted Champagne like this before - Bubbles with a Scotch Whiskey chaser!

And here's something to get you in the mood ...

Trocadero on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Kimono my House!! - Yuichi & Mari's wedding

Ok ... I was in Kimono heaven on the weekend! We trundled off to Monbaulk on the pictureque Orlinda-Monbaulk road to Nathania Springs to witness our friends Yuichi and Mari tie the knot.

 Theirs was not the only knot being tied ...

There were Obi Sashes being tied ...

There was even a rope knotting parlour trick thrown into the bargain ...

And at one point a balloon popped and out came a bottle of champers ... bless.

Mari looked AH-Maazing! (oh and so did Yuichi ... but really its all about the bride!)

Congratulations Mari and Yuichi!

Oh and here is that seminal Sparks track from Kimono my House!!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Take Five, Dave! Vale Brubeck

Ok ... what is it with band kids and Dave Brubeck's Take Five? I guess its a way to learn everyone's favourite time signature, the old 5/4 (bet the boys from Radiohead know this piece inside out!) And by extension, the old 7/8, and even better, working triplets into a regular beat ... at some point you're just going to have to quit the "counting how many beats in a bar" bitch and just feel the syncopation. And here's a tip for you music kids out there, if you're learning an instrument, but you don't really listen to music, then perhaps its time to ponder one of life's big questions - Why!

So Vale Brubeck! You made counting lessons so much more fun, and you taught me how to take risks with accents and syncopation and attack. (ps Question for you Dave in Jazz heaven, did people used to mistake you for Martin Landau when you were older?)

And here's my favourite Brubeck tune:

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - another Wendy Post!

Ok ...

"Halo Wendy!!"

Ich liebe deine Schuhe. Sie machen so viel Spaß. Binde sie fest, oder sie koennen sich loesen. Dann faellst Du und verletzt Dir deine Knie. Und Deine Knie sind sehr hübsch.

All yours Wendy!!!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ride a painted pony let the spinning wheel spin ... ok I'm not talking about gambling!

Ok ... so Clay came through with the goods. It took nigh about 2 months but it was well worth the wait. Some would posit that we're making a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but our Pioneer Rondo 3000 is a solid belt driven platter, even though its the 21st century equivalent of a no-name Euro wonder that you could possibly pick up at Aldi's today.

The belt's changed, the speed's calibrated, the make-shift earth wire removed, but the crowning glory is a switch of its not too shabby audio-technica cartridge to an amazing Ortofon 5e stylus.

Yes you still hear the clicks and pops on an old record, but oh the subtleties, and the background effects set well back in the mix, like clear atmos after a short shower of summer rain. Amazing!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Stupidity plus!!

Ok ... Apologies in advance. I had to clear up storage space on my Google photos and inadvertently killed some of the picture on my blog! Stupid me!! Feel free to give me the side-eye.

A Samosa is not a samosa in any language ... CBA at African Taste Seddon

Ok ... Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba* ... which is pretty much what I wanted to say when we were shown our table because finally, yes finally we have made it to this damn place ... a place we've heard and read so much of ... a place where there seems to be a steady stream of bearded chambrays and their mustard coloured girlfriends clogging up every inch of available space in this seemingly large, but actually quite small cafe on the outskirts of Seddon main.

And was it worth the wait? You betcha!!

We started with one of African Taste's popular entrees - Cramped Cauliflower - Golden fried Cauliflower in a spiced batter - simple yet effective is how I would like to describe this. I'm not one for overcooked Cauliflower drowned in icky white sauce, so this was a perfect way to serve this oft overlooked vegetable. I can see why its a popular starter.

We also had the Beef Sambossa - i.e. Samosa - crisp filo triangles filled with dry spiced fried beef mince - not quite like its curried cousin - a slightly sweeter and milder flavour - and certainly moreish.

For mains we shared the Mololia (I think I got that right) which is lamb cooked with spinach in a gelatinous sauce - I'm not sure how they made it gelatinous, but it was borderline slimy but don't let that put you off. It was wonderfully flavoured with a nice hint of chilli heat. Definitely a standout.

We also had the Spice Fish Tibes but opted for rice instead of injera. I'm not a fan of the bi-carb method of tenderising, and unfortunately the fish pieces did have that fake pliable texture, but don't let that put you off. This was a surprisingly mild concoction that we both enjoyed. But for some odd reason I felt that it could do with a bit of kiam chye (salted {read pickled} vegetables).

And to wash all of this saharan goodness down, we opted for a South African cider. Its my new tipple.

Oh and our waitress was gorgeous!

African Taste on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A little bit of Persia in Seddon - Lunch at Advieh

Ok ... everyone knows the main drag of Seddon now and I'm sure we all have our habitual routes but it pays to widen your sojourn further along Gamon Street to a not so little cafe called Advieh. According to the interwebs, Advieh is a type of Persian spice mix, and indeed the cuisine at this cafe is Middle Eastern at heart. So is the decor ... wonderfully so.

I've passed this cafe numerous times, but I keep forgetting that its there. So in between shopping for bits for fixing our gutters, we made it a point to take our mid-day repast at Advieh.

You don't realise how expansive the space is until you step inside. Ample seating with the cutest tile inlaid banquettes and a massive table near an open fire just ripe for a Winter's day. We sat ourselves down in the window nook and perused the menu with delight.

M went for the Lamb kofta in toasted Turkish bread, and I went for the Lamb Kofta wrap. Both were sizeable meals but what was immediately apparent was how extremely fresh all of the ingredients were. So much so we didn't mind the comparatively long wait (but I am niggling here).

I wonder if there is advieh in the kofta mix, the flavours were balanced and it was not too super salty. I haven't had such a juicy crunch of lettuce in a sanga for a very long time. And whatever is in the garlic sauce and tabouleh mix reveals a deft hand at handling strong piquant flavours in the kitchen.

Coffee here is a 5 senses blend barristed to perfection, both in flavour and temperature. A certain establishment could take some notes here. Although I think flip flops are a safety hazard for staff in a cafe ... no?

We are certainly going to be back especially since parking isn't such a bitch and there are some stunningly pretty houses along this stretch.

Oh and I've been told that the baclava is out of this world. It certainly looks heavenly rustic.

I love living in the West so much I could cry!

Advieh on Urbanspoon
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