Saturday, February 27, 2010

Replete Providore - Hawthorn

Name: Replete Providore

302 Barkers Road,
Hawthorn, 3122

03 9818 4448

Food: ModOz, Cafe,
Average price: $7.50 - $17.80

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:

Bruschetta - $10.50 (we ordered a half portion -$3.60 less )
of vine ripened tomato with bocconcini and basil drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

I prefer small tomatoes, such as cherry, or diced larger tomatoes on my bruschetta, therefore I didn't enjoy the awkward-to-eat quartered tomatoes which tasted bland and had a little too much pepper. The bocconcini tasted bitter (perhaps from the oil?) but the bread was nice. Overall though, it was a pretty bland bruschetta.

Ricotta hotcakes - $14.50
with Replete lemon curd and fresh strawberries.

This is a huge serving. It looks great but stumbles on taste. The pancakes had a small patch of cooked, dry ricotta in the middle which I found weird. The texture was akin to a damper, but stickier. They are very heavy and floury which I didn't like. The lemon curd was fairly weak in terms of lemon flavour and that buttery creaminess I was expecting. The strawberries were fine and the sauce was a touch bitter. Overall I didn't even find this sweet, just bitter and doughy.

Replete Breakfast - $17.80
Poached eggs, spanish sausage, Istra bacon, hash brown, roasted tomato & field mushroom with toasted sourdough bread.

The best part of this was the poached egg, the worst was the mushroom which was tasteless. Average, but not special.

Wicked chocolate fudge brownie - $4.20

I prefer my brownies closer to fudge than to cake - but for hubby these were pretty good. Unfortunately, we ate only half of the hot brownie and took it home to eat later, which by then it had turned solid as a rock - and after going into the microwave, it just wasn't that nice.

Phoenix Pear and Apple Juice -$4.80

R was a litle sad to see it was made 'from concentrate'. Other than that it was OK.

Cost: $51.80 for 3 meals, a drink and a snack. Doesn't seem to add up to the website prices, the instore prices seem to have gone up.

Service: Fantastic. We were acknowledged as soon as we walked in and given water and a menu as soon as we sat down. The waiter also recommended we at least order a half portion of one of the dishes instead as all of their dishes have large portions.
Atmosphere: Foodstore chic. Typical cafe style with bookshelves stacked with purchasable goods. The vibe was relaxed but spiritedly energetic. Everyone, including four-legged creatures, are welcome.

Parking: Ample - large amount of street parking, although the side streets are largely permit-only.


Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm

Would I return: No - still on the hunt for a better-than-average breakfast place.

Replete Providore on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cavallero - Collingwood

Name: Cavallero

300 Smith Street,
Collingwood, 3066

03 9417 1377

Food: ModOz, Cafe, Italian
Average price: Entree: $22 - $35, Mains: $39 - $48, Dessert: $16 - $17.

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:

Vanilla rice pudding with stewed prunes, rhubarb and apple

This looked impressive. The rhubarb was lovely, soft and tart whilst the apple retained a touch of firmness and the prunes their stickiness. They complimented the cool, vanilla flecked rice pudding wonderfully, however once they were gone the pudding was a little boring on its own. This was served cold, I think I would have enjoyed it more had it been warmer.

Minute steak sandwich.

Hubby enjoyed this. 

Freshly squeezed OJ.

Hubby liked this, I found it neither sweet nor sour enough for me - strange...

Cost: $ for 2 meals and 1 juice.

Service: Good. Food came out fairly quick and service was decent.
Atmosphere: Minimal and eclectic. We would have walked straight past this place had our noses not stopped us. The interior is fairly neutral with some dark tones and a single stuffed stag's head above the bar. The kitchen is completely open and overall it has a very laid back, relaxed feel.

Parking: Ample - decent amount of metered street parking.


Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 8.00am to 12.00am
Sunday 8.00am to 1.00pm

Would I return: Yes - if I am in the area.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Snow Pony - Balwyn

Name: Snow Pony

95 Whitehorse Rd
Balwyn 3103 VIC

Phone: (03) 9816 8911

Food: ModOz, Cafe, Organic
Average price: $4.90-$19.90

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:

Fruit salad - $11.90
our toasted museli, manuka honey, pot of cleo's yoghurt

Nothing special, what you would expect, another S would have liked some more muesli.

Smashed avocado - $18.90
thyme buttered mushrooms, marinated feta, torn basil, on wholgrain toast with poached egg

The bread was the Achilles heel. It was so tough and chewy that I have up trying to cut it and just tried my best to pull out the middle parts. Everything else was fine, although the mushrooms lacked a little. The poached egg was done well though.

Cost: $31.80 for 2 meals. 

Service: Horrible. Upon arriving we requested an outdoor table that needed to be cleared, to which the waiter responded, 'I will follow you out'. Well, 15minutes later I had to go back in to ask another waiter to clear the table and give us some menus. Another 10minutes later one arrived. After all of that the table wasn't even wiped and it was FILTHY. As were the glasses we were given. Small note - all the waiters were wearing baggy tshirts and shorts- none of which were the same so it was very difficult to even pick them out as staff. 

Atmosphere: A touch cramped. There are tons of chairs in front, inside and out the back, I couldn't even tell what the decor was as I was just trying not to knock someone over. From memory, it was just a standard cafe decor.

Parking: Ample - large amount of street parking, not a super busy area.


Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm
Sat-Sun 8.30am-4pm

Would I return: No - even though it's local.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Huka Lodge - Lake Taupo - New Zealand

Name: Huka Lodge

Address:  271 Huka Falls Road,
Taupo 3377,
New Zealand

T + 64 7 378 5791

Food: ModOz, English

Complimentary: It is part of the room tariff.
Bread roll with butter and salt.

Served warm.

Mushroom arancini.

These were our favourites - I had to restrain myself from spoiling my dinner.

Carrot ginger soup
This was too heavy on the ginger for me, it was also served at room temperature.

Seafood spoon

Clearly I have no clue what this was - hubby didn't like it though.

Cheese and petit fours buffet

Huge table adorned with fruit, cheeses, mini chocolates and cookies.

Entree: Crab cocktail
Tomato preparations, crunchy wild rice

Hubby liked this. I can't remember what my vegetarian version was.

John Dory
Pea, shallot and chive dressing

Veg version - leeks with peas and tofu 

A little boring and bland.

Mains: Caprese
Several preparations of tomato, mozzarella and basil.

Unfortunately this lacked a lot of flavour. I didn't even finish.

Blue Nose
Green herbs, half dried tomato, black olive

Somehow no photo, so no idea.

Hawke's Bay Lamb
Eggplant variation, goat's cheese, slow roasted capsicum

Hubby liked the lamb, but found the eggplant odd-tasting.

Salad leaves

Dessert: Chocolate all the way

HUGE let down - The white chocolate, pistachio coated roll was horrible and tasted like the fridge. The chocolate sorbet was bitter and grainy. Can't remember what the other thing was - I think grapefruit was part of it - but the whole thing was unsatisfying. 

Cost: Included in the room tariffs. 

Service: Great.

Atmosphere: Overall hunting-lodge-esque. There are too many rooms to summarise. Dinner can either be communal in the dark but vibrant dining room, or you can choose to eat privately in up to 10 locations such as a wine cellar, outdoor on the veranda, or in the study (our location) etc.

Parking: Ample.


Hours: Daily 8pm (for guests only except for Autumn and Winter).

Would I return: To the hotel - Yes - but not for the food.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cecconi's Cantina - Melbourne

Name: Cecconi's Cantina

61 Flinders La
Melbourne 3000 VIC

Phone: (03) 9663 0222

Food: Italian, ModOz
Average price: Entree: $22 - $35, Mains: $39 - $48, Dessert: $16 - $17.

Complimentary:  Bread with olive oil and olives.

We ordered: Entrée: Salad of beetroot & holy goat piccolos, toasted walnuts, honey & cabernet vinaigrette - $22

Classic ingredients and classically complimentary flavours - nice enough, but not exciting or interesting. For a moment or too I actually thought the beets had come from a can.

Jamon iberico, black fig, sweet rocket, hazelnut vinaigrette & balsamic jelly - $26

Once again, classic pairings - hubby's first taste of Jamon iberico though, and let's just say, it won't be his last.

Mains: Risotto with shaved summer black truffles, parmesan & truffle oil - $34

Once again, I am let down by a risotto. In this case it simply wasn't cooked enough. The rice was still chalky and too firm and therefore the sauce also was too watery. Had it had another 10minutes on the stove it would have been lovely.

Pan fried duck breast with plums & blackberries, duck sausage, green beans & witlof - $40

Hubby loved the flavours in the dish, unfortunately the duck was overdone and too chewy to eat. The duck sausage was nice.

Desserts: Strawberry & almond shortcake, macerated strawberries with vanilla cream, reduced vincotto - $17

Hubby and I ended up swapping dishes - this was originally mine but I found it a little dull and unsatisfying. Nothing really stood, out.

Baked peach & apricot agrodolci, passion fruit ice cream, zabaglione, pistachio puree - $17 

Whilst hubby didn't like this I enjoyed it more than the other dessert. Although overall it was bitter and sour, not sweet enough for a desert. The zabaglione was also too thin for me and the fruit undercooked.

Cost: $156 for 2 entrees, 2 mains and 2 desserts.

Service: Good - efficient and not noticeable, except for one waitress who put out an angry vibe and cleared our plates brusquely.
Atmosphere: Richly dark. I quite liked this interior with the dark hues, patterned chairs and most of all the smoked, etched glass diving the main area from the private dining - overall it reminded me of a luxury train carriage.

Parking: Ample- plenty of paid and limited street.

Hours: Mon-Fri noon-3.30pm, Mon-Sat 6pm-10.30pm

Would I return: No. The food was ok, but as I have said before, so many other restaurants to discover.

Cecconi's Cantina on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pure Tastes - Paihia - New Zealand

Name: Pure Tastes

Address: Paihia Beach Resort & Spa Hotel 
116 Marsden Road 
Paihia, Bay of Islands
New Zealand 0200

09 402 0003 

Food: ModOz,
Average price: Entree: $21-23, Mains: $31-34, Dessert: $15-16
4  courses $75 per guest, 5 course $85 per guest

Complimentary: Asparagus soup
A little watery for me but R liked it.

Cauliflower & potato soup
Thick, creamy and subtle but perfectly seasoned.

Kaffir lime palate cleanser

A little too jelly-like for me but hubby scoffed them down, nice strong kaffir lime taste.

Entree: Seared tuna, crab spring roll, shitake mushroom salad - $22 - four course

R didn't love this.

tomato and haloumi terrine - $21
walnut and rocket salad, balsamic reduction

This was nice enough.

Beetroot, goats cheese, mushroom -$22

This was nice, although a little heavy on the goat's cheese - I wish it had more of the sweet and tart reduction to cut through it - I don't think the mushrooms added much either.

Main: pan seared fish -$32
Herb linguine, tomato tian, shellfish and ginger foam - 4 course

caramelised pork belly - $32

cider infused potatoes, apple purée, caramelised onions & sage vinaigrette

R loved this so much as part of his 4 courses the next day he ordered it as his main - his favourite component was the caramelised apple.

ricotta and medtrainen vegetable stack - $31
herb consommé, micro salad

Once the consomme was added this was all a bit bland and watery, I didn't enjoy it.

Side dishes:  $7.50
northland kumara chips with parmesan olive oil

LOVED these - perfect texture and well seasoned - couldn't really taste the parmesan oil though.

gordon’s haricot beans gremolata

Great flavour and well cooked beans - yum, especially loved the garlic.

potato gnocchi, lemon butter & chives

Very subtle - a bit boring once the lovely ricotta runs out though.

Dessert: chocolate brûlée - $16 - four course
beetroot sorbet, beetroot hokey pokey, white chocolate oil

My favourite dessert - the brulee was lovely, couldn't taste the white chocolate oil but the beetroot elements added a nice earthy contrast and texture to the silky chocolate brulee.

coffee parfait -$15
whisky jelly, vanilla foam & cinnamon doughnuts

R didn't really enjoy this but I quite liked it (apart from the stale doughnuts and jelly).

taste of coconut - $15
mango ravioli, coconut tart, coconut & chocolate parfait

The ravioli was two circles of fresh mango with a coconut jelly disc in the middle. Surprisingly this wasn't super coconut-y. It was nice and subtle. Inside the chocolate cube was a parfait - perhaps coconut? The tart had lovely meringue kisses on top and a nice filling.

strawberries & cream - $15
balsamic roast strawberries, crème fraîche, basil jelly

This was a little small for me. The flavours went well (although I didn't eat the jelly) and R liked it.

Cost: $248.50NZD for one four tastes menu, 2 entrees, 2 mains, 3 sides, 3 desserts (over two days).

Service: OK. The second time we went when the restaurant was around 75% capacity the staff were flustered and it took a while for our plates to be cleared. They do try hard though to make sure you are happy and are very eager to please.

Atmosphere: Beachside relaxation. The palette is light blues and neutrals with surrounding windows allowing view to the beach and poolside. Very relaxed, although quite small.

Parking: Ample.


Hours: Daily 7am-10pm.

Would I return: Yes - if I was staying in Paihia.