Friday, November 11, 2011

Burch & Purchese - South Yarra - review

Name: Burch & Purchese

Address: 647 Chapel Street
South Yarra, VIC 3141
03 9827 7060

Food: Sweets

Average price: $4.50 - $170

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered: Puffed quinoa & malted orange caramelised white chocolate - $11
Salted caramel spread - $12.50

Once again I've been led astray by other's raves. For me this bar was equally sweet and bitter.  It was cloyingly sweet with bitterness from the orange. There was a hint of caramel but it was lost in the flood of sugar. The texture was also a touch grainy after the melt.

Salted caramel spread - $12.50

Well, I am a sucker for salted caramel so it's no surprise I was eating this out of the jar. I will, however, not be buying it again as there is no ingredients list and I fear that its texture may be due to either corn syrup or even gelatine, neither if which I wish to consume. I wish they would list the ingredients so those who are vegetarian or have intolerances could consume their products.

St Clements & vanilla marmalade - $10.50

This is heavy on the peel with quite a bitterness to it, but I still enjoyed it. A decent marmalade, albeit rather pricey.

Chocolate, caramel & hazelnut spread - $12.50

If they hadn't sold this as their version of 'Nutella' I might have liked it's rather bitter non-chocolate taste, but alas I was expecting sweet chocolate with hazelnuts and a hint of caramel, which it did not deliver. To me this had zero chocolate taste and was predominantly a bitter nutty caramel. It didn't tickle my tastebuds at all.

Passionfruit meringue cloud - $4.50

The best out of the three, I really needed the tartness to soften the saccahrine sweetness. Unfortunately, as with all three meringues, there was a heavy raw egg flavour that I just couldn't get past. I also found the thick harder shell rather 'chalk-like' on my teeth which was unpleasant texture-wise. It seems the meringues just aren't for me.

Strawberry meringue cloud - $4.50

Really sweet and bubblegum-ish.

Blackberry meringue cloud - $4.50

Quite sweet with a really subtle blackberry flavour.

Butterscotch popcorn ice cream - $12

If I could only eat one ice cream for the rest of my life this would be it. Exactly as described this creamy concoction tasted of salty popcorn and toffe-esque butterscotch upon an almost vanilla ice cream is sublime - 500ml ain't large enough!

Violet honeycomb crumble ice cream - $12

My husband almost kissed my feet when I handed him this. Attica's violet dessert is his all time favourite and now he can relive that delectable pleasure every night with this ice cream. I have a feeling next time we go he will be emptying the entire supply and that still won't be enough.

Banana, caramel, rum - $9
caramelised white chocolate & vanilla mousse, macadamia spiced speculaas, caramelised banan cream, passionfruit jelly, caramelised milk solids, passionfruit curd, chocolate vevet spray

After all the hype I was left feeling a little blase about this one; to me it was rather 'baby food bland' with only sweet banana coming through. The passion fruit was the saving grace for me with its vibrant bursts of tartness, wish there had been more.

Chocolate, mandarin, salted caramel - $48
Kendari 60% chocolate mousse, Murray River salted caramel, burnt mandarin cream, St Clements marmalade, aerated choclate shortbread, chocolate mirror glaze

This was a gift for my gorgeous K who loved it. It's the classic 'Jaffa' flavour done really well.

Service: Over the phone they were absolutely lovely and helpful when I placed my order.

Parking: Street parking but Chapel st can get rather busy.


Tues - Sun 10-6:30pm.

Would I return: Yes. We will be loading up on their ice creams as per hubby's request.

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Churchill Cafe & Larder - Surrey Hills - review

Name: Churchill Cafe & Larder

Address: 13 Hamilton St
Surrey Hills, 3127
(03) 9890 3444

Food: ModOz, Cafe,
Average price: $3.50 - $20

Complimentary:  Bread and hummus.

We ordered:
Main: Eye fillet, sautéed mushrooms, smoked bone marrow, pomme frittes and red wine jus - $36

Mr.M: Very tasty. I usually don't like mushrooms on my steak but they were nice. Nice charcoal flavour and the fries were good.

Mushroom risotto, peas, asparagus, goats cheese and truffle oil -$30

Nice mushroom flavour but the rice was watery and lacked the oozy cohesiveness I like in a risotto. I would have like some more cheese as well to add that sharp punch and interest to the rice. Overall it was OK

Dessert: Chocolate fondant, rum and raisin ice-cream   - $15

Mr.M: It was great. Nice ooze. Ice cream was strong in alcohol but still nice.

Vanilla Crème brulêe, with rhubarb compote - $15

The brulee had a fantastic 'crack' - the sugar top was great. Whilst the custard was extremely smooth it was also extremely bland. There was no flavour to it, and if eaten without the sugar topping there was no sweetness to it whatsoever, it was almost akin to whipped cream. The bulk of flavour came from the tart rhubarb, the custard of the brulee was basically acting as a plate for the fruit and the sugary crust.

Service: OK. We went on a Thursday night and were the only people in the entire restaurant, even upon leaving there were no other patrons so it is hard to judge the atmosphere or noise level. Despite being the only two people in the place it still took over 40mins to get our order...the waitress was great though and kept our water topped up.

Atmosphere: Shades of brown. The decor is modern punctuated by artwork and a communal mosaic table. Despite also being open for dinner the room maintains its cafe-vibe.

Parking: Good - there's a decent amount of street parking and a carpark for Mont Albert station that runs alongside the road.


Hours: Dinner wed-sat 6.00pm- late, Breakfast sat 8.00am-11.30am, Breakfast/lunch sun 8.00am-3.00pm

Would I return: Yes. My dishes weren't stellar but hubby's were good enough to warrant a second try.

Churchill Restaurant/bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Village Cafe - Balwyn North - review

Name: The Village Cafe

Address: Shop 2/74 Doncaster Road
Balwyn North
(03) 9859 8111

Food: Cafe

Average price: $3.50-$14.50,   $7.00-$18.00

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered: French toast with maple syrup & berry compote - $13

Mr.M didn't enjoy this as he found the toast too soggy for his liking. I tried some and whilst I agree that the middle of the toast was also rather eggy and wet, I still thought it was nice flavour wise.

Forest mushrooms on toast with goat's cheese - $11

I thought this was lovely, although the serving size was a little small. The mushrooms were well cooked and seasoned. The bread was soft and easy to cut through  and the creamy goats cheese was wonderful. Quite satisfying.

Big Breakfast - $16.90
 two eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom, tomato & hash brown served on toast

S and A thought this was fairly average.

French fries with aioli - $6

Chips were cooked well and aioli was nice, they did taste like they had come from a freezer packet though.

Passionfruit muffin

Nice, large muffin that was moist within. The passion fruit flavour, whilst there, was muted though as the muffin was quite sweet. Would have enjoyed it more had the passion fruit been more prominent.

Lemongrass & ginger tea - $3.80

Lovely tea. Must warn you though that some of the tea leaves can end up looking like short black hairs in your cup. After thinking my tea pot was dirty they replaced it with another bag and tea pot and the same thing happened, so don't be alarmed as it's just the tea leaves.

Chai Latte - $3.80

Mr.M: It was alright.

Mocha - $3.50

Affogato - $4.50

Service: OK. Food came out fairly soon after ordering, but they didn't offer us any water despite the fact we all ordered coffees.

Atmosphere: Local cafe. The glass windows flood the cafe with light giving it an 'airy' feel. We went on a Sunday so the cafe was filled with well dressed church-goers coming in for a coffee after mass. The noise level was decent.

Parking: Ample. There are 3 medium sized carparks as well as street parking. But if you go on a Sunday be warned as the church causes spots to fill quickly.


Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-4.30pm; Sat-Sun 9am-3.30pm

Would I return: No. There are many cafes to try nearby.

The Village Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mamasita - Melbourne - review

Name: Mamasita

Address: Level 1, 11 Collins St

(03) 9650 3821

Food: Mexican, South American

Average price: Entree: $3.80-$8, Mains: $5-$40, Dessert: $5-$10,
Complimentary: Salsa

We ordered: Entree: Elotes callejeros - $4.40ea
"Street Style" chargrilled corn with queso, chipotle mayonnaise & lime

This was by far my favourite dish of the night. As a million others have already said, it's the combination of sweet corn, salty cheese, spicy chipotle and sour lime that make your taste buds dance. I shall definitely be trying to replicate this at home.

Mr.M: This was nice.
Main: de Pollo Quesadillas - $14
Chargrilled chicken with ‘picode gallo’, coriander & queso fresco

Mr.M: This was so boring I had to force myself to eat it, but it was due to high expectations from the buzz about it.
Quesadilla de Huillacoche - $14
Mexican truffle, mushrooms, roasted corn, epazote & queso fresco - $14

This was a bit of a let down as on the menu, it sounded so good. The flavour was predominantly the mushrooms, it seemed to lack the sweetness from the corn or the saltiness from the cheese. It was too earthy with only the mushroom coming through. Without tooting my own horn, I have made nicer quesadillas at home.
Sides: Platanos Machos - $4.50
Fried plantains, salsa & queso fresco

These were the surprise of the night. I loved them with the salsa and cheese, on their own they lacked flavour dimension and were a little too starchy for me (the plantains tasted like a cross between a banana and a potato). Hubby thought they were delicious also.

Mr.M: I quite enjoyed these.

Dessert: Flourless chocolate cake with tequila sauce & PX jelly - $12

This was OK. The cake was a nice standard flourless chocolate cake which had a nice cocoa depth to it. I didn't like the tequila sauce of PX jelly as I am not a fan of alcohol.

Apple fritters with pear & vanilla sorbet - $9

The standout in this dish was the pear and vanilla sorbet which was more like an ice cream with its gorgeous creaminess, I loved it. The fritters were OK, like fritters your mum would make.

Service: Good. The food comes out super fast as most dishes are able to be prepped to 'fast food' quickness. The waitresses were helpful when ordering and cleared the plates quite quickly.

Atmosphere: Jammed in. If you are lucky enough not to be hugging the wall all the way down the stairs and out the door waiting for a table then you will be placed at either one of their few tables or more likely on a stool along a bench. Being heavily pregnant sitting on a high stool was not optional so we were lucky in that we managed to maneuver ourselves into a table originally meant for 3 (they do not like to split their table arrangements). Even at the tables though we were very close to the other diners, and even with the loud noise level we could hear their conversations easily. They also prefer to have you sit at the bar whilst waiting for a table, rather than coming back when it's ready.

Parking: Decent - street parking is limited but there are always the paid carpark lots nearby.


Hours: Mon-Wed noon-midnight, Thu noon-12.30am, Fri noon-2am, Sat 6pm-2am (they close for 2hours or so before 5pm).

Would I return: No. The fact that they don't book means that waiting is practically inevitable, and in all honesty the food isn't worth waiting around for.

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Colombo's - Balwyn - review

Name: Colombo's

250 Whitehorse Rd

(03) 9836 6442
Italian, Take away, Fast food

Average price: $7-$32 for dine in.

Complimentary: Nothing.

We ordered:
Main: Mushroom pizza
Tomato, cheese, onions, garlic,  mushroom, oregano

This was average. The base was slightly doughy and overall the flavours muted (mushrooms were as tasty as cardboard). After being spoilt with all of the gourmet pizza joints around the standard pizza is no longer satisfactory. Better than Pizza Hut but not Crust/Pizza Capers etc.

BBQ pork ribs with salad

Mr.M: I could only eat half of the ribs as they were horrible. The meat was gooey and the salad tasted old. The fact that this was almost $30 is ridiculous.

Dessert: Chocolate mousse

Supposedly homemade but this tasted like every other pizza places packet mousse - more about the cream and sugar than any real chocolate flavour. On a positive note the serving size was generous.

Service: OK. The food came out quickly but the waiters were barely seen even though they were all very friendly, no checking up on whether we liked it and you pour your water yourself. That said they were happy to box up any leftovers for us.

Atmosphere: Family budget. The atmosphere is pretty much the same as other restaurants of its ilk - think La Porchetta or Sofia's. In this particular branch the floors are tiled with wooden tables and chairs as well as an entire wall of sports memorabilia. The noise level depends on the number of patrons, at full capacity my guess is it would be quite loud.

Parking: Ample street parking as well as a Safeway car park across the road.


Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-late

Would I return: Only if desperate, there are better lower budget fast food/dine in places out there.

Colombo's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

il Sogno - Surrey Hills - review

Name: Il Sogno

Address: 512 Whitehorse Rd
Surrey Hills 3127 VIC
(03) 9830 1052

Food: Italian

Average price: Entree: $9-$17.90, Mains: $18-$32, Dessert: $10

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:  Entree: Bruschetta with roasted peppers & bocconcini - $12

This was plain; too simple, it needed something to balance the acidity of peppers, something to give it a flavour punch.

Pork & pistachio terrine, with wild figs & vincotto - $16.90

Mr.M: Fairly nice.

Main: Risotto with asparagus, peas, broccoli & zucchini with truffle oil - $26

The rice was extremely mushy and watery; it tasted almost exactly like what my mother used to cook up for our dogs (rice cooked in stock with diced veg). It wasn't creamy or al dente, it basically just tasted like stock, rice and bland veg. I barely ate any of it.

Tortellini veal with crushed peas & ricotta - $27

Mr.M: the pasta wasn't cooked around the edges and was quite thick, I didn't like this a whole lot.

Dessert: Lavender infused panna cotta with blueberries - $12

When you arrive you are given the spiel on how this restaurant is all about 'freshly made' and 'seasonal produce', so I'm not sure exactly how blueberries are seasonal in the middle of Winter (they also have peaches on the dessert menu too)...
The questionable seasonality aside the lavender flavour was gorgeous and paired well with blueberries. The panna cotta was touch soft texture wise but otherwise nice. I felt the dish needed something else though, maybe something with some crunch or more blueberries as the lavender panna cotta dominated.

Chocolate & hazelnut semifreddo - $13

Mr.M: I really liked this even though I needed a knife to cut through it.

Even though hubby liked it, to me this tasted exactly like those chocolate mousses you get from pizza places, but frozen. And frozen so solid that Mr.M had to request a knife just to be able to break a chunk off. The semifreddo tasted predominantly of cream/milk and sugar, with a hint of chocolate and hazelnut. And as mentioned it was hard to gauge the texture seeing as though it was frozen solid.

Service: OK. The service seemed a little scattered with most of the waiters hanging around a table of 8 joining in on their conversation. The food came out fairly quickly though and our water was kept topped up.

Atmosphere: Sleepy. Despite being told we only had one hour to eat on a Friday night the restaurant was only 30% filled and when we left was still the same. The restaurant patrons seemed to be predominantly older and dining in large parties. Most were regulars as the waiters sat around with them chatting whilst they ate. The decor is neutral with wooden tables covered in white linen and painted taupe wood panelling on the walls with framed coloured photographs of Italy and some hanging copper pots as decoration. The seats at the front windows will feel a huge draught whenever someone opens the door.

Parking: Ample. Plenty of street parking.


Hours: Thu-Fri noon-3pm
Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm

Would I return: No. The food was no better than what I cook at home and the pricing a little expensive for the quality you are getting.

Il Sogno on Urbanspoon