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.

Website: www.mamasita.com.au

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.

Website: www.colombos.com.au

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.

Website: http://www.ilsogno.com.au/

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Snow Pony - Balwyn - review

Name: Snow Pony

95 Whitehorse Rd
Balwyn 3103 VIC

Phone: (03) 9816 8911

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

Complimentary:  Iced clockface cookies with our bill.

We ordered: Lemonade scones with bon maman jam & Chantilly cream - $3.50

A enjoyed this (served with raspberry jam this time) but didn't like the fact that the jam was served in one large jar rather than individual portion sizes. She was put off by the fact that another patron might have doubled dipped before her.

Spanish potato tortilla with manchego

This was average. The potatoes were cooked through but the dish was hot and cold, perhaps from being reheated rather than being made to order. It was also bland in terms of the flavour profile, I was tempted to add salt to pick it up a bit.

Hopkins River Eye fillet steak sandwich, beetroot & blood orange relish, caramel onions, bacon, roast tomato, aged Maffra farmhouse cheddar & a poached gooey egg - $21.9

Both S and Mr.M enjoyed this as much as they had previously. Still the best dish on the menu according to them.

Service: OK. When we arrived on a Saturday morning we were told a table would be ready in about 15mins, unfortunately that 15mins turned into 45mins, and when you are 8months pregnant standing on the sidewalk on a 7degree Celsius wintry morning it's a little too long when you only expected to be waiting 15mins. After being seated and ordering the food still took a while to come out as they were at full capacity, we also had to ask after the brownie which they seemed to have forgotten, so after hoping to eat breakfast at 11am we ended up eating at 12:30, by which point we were grumpy and hungry.

Atmosphere: A touch cramped. There are tons of chairs in front, inside and out the back. Mostly dark, neutral colours. The noise level gets really loud when full and if seated at the front you are subject to cold draughts whenever the door is opened.

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

Website: http://www.snowpony.com.au/

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

Would I return: No - the waits are too long for breakfast.

Snow Pony on Urbanspoon