Monday, April 1, 2013

Sunny's Pizza - Aireys Inlet - review

As mentioned in my previous post, the selection of eateries in the picturesque town of Airey's Inlet is rather limited. 
On one rather rain-soaked bedraggled evening that neither of us wanted to venture out of our warm cave to search for food, we decided to order some pizza for a quick pick up.

Pot Luck - $15.50.

After a quick look on Urbanspoon I decided to try the much recommended Pot Luck which consists of tomato, rosemary, garlic, roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, pepper, parmesan and sea salt.
I was THRILLED with this pizza. It was absolutely delicious  The potatoes were perfectly tender and it had the right balance between salty and sweet. I have since ordered it every single time we have gone back down to Airey's. I don't even wish to try any other vegetarian pizza on offer.

Weekend at Gazza's- $17
Mango chutney, sweet chilli chicken, cashews, red onion and tzatziki

Mr.M was also very happy with his choice - full of flavour.

Chocolate and hazelnut calzone - $9.50

When we ordered this the first time it was everything you want a dessert calzone to be - the filling was unctuous chocolate delight. It was so incredibly delicious we ordered two the second night, however they couldn't have been more different. We thought perhaps they had been overcooked and the chocolate had seized so we rang Sunny's and asked if they could make another two However these were the same. We asked them why they were different and they told us they were using a new mixture which included a cake mixture  We have since tried them again and unfortunately it was once again, like the second mixtures - bland, not very chocolatey, lumpy. Such a shame.

We can't comment on the service as we have never dined in. But be warned that whatever they estimate for pick up, add another 5-10minutes on top.

Sunny's Pizza has become our favourite eatery in Airey's Inlet so far and the only one we have repeatedly gone back to. It's not just good pizza for Airey's, it's good pizza full stop.

Sunny's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Freestone's Roadhaven - Airey's Inlet - review

Airey's Inlet is a quaint but wonderfully picturesque coastal town located between Angelsea and Lorne on Great Ocean Road. It's most distinguishing landmark is the stunning Split Point Lighthouse. It is also a stone's throw away from our favourite beach in Fairhaven. 
During the sweltering heat of Summer we head down to this tiny town, teeming with wildlife and charm, and throw ourselves into the crashing waves until we are cooled and refreshed. In terms of restaurants at which to refuel, there are only a handful of choices.
The one that stands out most would be Freestone's Roadhaven.
It's not often you see an American Style diner, swathed in turquoise blue and accented with shiny chrome. At the front they have their Malt Shop specialising in milkshakes, towards the back you pass the quite extensive collection of vintage cars as well as a few jukeboxes and movie memorabilia. Upstairs is where the diner is located. Upon entering, feet moving along a black and white checkered floor you are greeted by waitresses right out of American films with their signature diner dresses. Model cars line the walls and towards the back you have the option of dining on their balcony overlooking the peaceful inlet.

We only ordered a few items, they are as follows.

Buffalo chicken wings - $9
Mr.M enjoyed this.

Malt Shake

Mr.M loved this.

Painkallac Salad - spinach, pine nuts, pear, goats cheese, with lemon mayo - $12

D thought this was OK.

Chocolate Brownie

This was disappointing. It tasted old and needed much more cocoa flavour.

The service was quite slow. And unlike the detailed decor, the food was sadly, average at best. Perhaps we allowed ourselves to get a little too excited at the prospect of having a great American Diner experience, or perhaps diner food is only meant to be ho-hum and if so, we did indeed have an authentic experience.
That being said, there aren't many options in Airey's Inlet to dine for dinner, so we will most likely return, if only for a Malt Shake.

Freestone's Roadhaven on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 22, 2013

Small Town Bakery - Kew East - review

One sunny afternoon, on my way to visit the husband at work, I spotted a new addition to the High St shopping strip. With a wooden picket fence and neon yellow chairs it grabbed my interest enough to warrant a peek. Their window was filled with beautiful rustic loaves of organic bread which I am always on the lookout for, and to have it so close to the spouse's workplace made me jump with glee. (Inside they have a bread schedule to let you know what loaves are coming up)
Looking at those delectable loaves made my tummy rumble so I decided to pop in. The space itself is quite tiny but wonderfully decorated. The first detail that caught my eye were the cheerful bouquets of billy buttons which are a personal favourite flower of mine.
The colour scheme is natural with bright yellow accents and plenty of rustic wood and old-school chalk boards. The display case is the center of attention and filled with quality-looking items that are labelled with the cutest pegged and twined tags.
Behind the counter are large wooden boxes filled with supplies such as free-range eggs, scales and juices. 
The packaging is right up my alley - I wrap all my gifts in brown paper so I loved the small cardboard boxes for the salads and the brown paper and serviettes the other items come in; simple but stylish. 
They also have a record player, which on my first visit was filling the air with the music of the Jazz great, Miles Davis and on my second visit a selection of cool funk from the 70s.

Enough about the interior - unto the food!

Roast Beef with Dijon Mayonnaise, Rocket and Caramelised Onion - $7

Mr.M enjoyed this. He also wants to mention their Beef Empanada which comes with a delicious tomato chutney.

Quinoa, lentil, bean, rocket and veggie salad - $7

This is the second time I have purchased this salad. It is light yet filling with earthiness from the lentils, nuttiness from the quinoa, freshness from the herbs and sweetness from the diced veg. I have to also mention their Broccoli, cranberry and sunflower seed salad which I buy whenever it's available - it's delicious.

Dream bar - $5

With a name like that expectations are made, luckily for this little rustic beauty it was tremendously dreamy. The meringue like crust gives way to a gloriously fudgey chocolate center speckled with walnut pieces and chewy coconut which sits atop a crumbly base. I am incredibly smitten with anything that consists of cocoa-y gooeyness and so I am already thinking of heading back tomorrow to purchase another of these bars (ok, make that 2...).
Highly recommend to any sweet tooths. I have also tried their scones which were generous portions and delicious.

Lemon Bar - $5

I adore lemon bars, but so far none that I have purchased have truly satisfied my criteria until today. The ratio of lemon curd to shortbread base is spot on. The crust is akin to a creme brulee and cracks beneath your teeth to reveal a lusciously decadent filling that melds the right amount of tartness to sweetness. Another repeat purchase for sure.

Their selection of food is good quality, diverse and reasonably priced (I have noticed so many cafe sandwiches these days priced at $10!). I have also tried their vegetarian smashed avocado roll and the bread itself was so incredibly soft with the slightest hint of sweetness, and I am not even a bread person! They also have vegan empanadas as well as salads so even vegans are catered for.

With both of my sweet picks being so successful I am eager to try more of their desserts, especially the single origin chocolate brownie - drool... 

With friendly service, delicious, affordable and interesting food, not to mention great music, you can't go wrong with a visit to Small Town Bakery. 

Small Town Bakery on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 18, 2013

Estelle Bar and Kitchen - Northcote - review

Mr.M and I found ourselves with a babysitter and 1.5hours to ourselves. Naturally, we set straight about to finding a restaurant to glutton the time away. 
Mr.M felt like some Modern Australian so after a quick search on Urbanspoon I stumbled upon a restaurant in a suburb that to be honest with you, wouldn't have even registered on my radar to dine in. Seeing so many rave reviews we thought we couldn't lose, and as luck would have it we snagged a seat at the bar.

The restaurant itself is very intimate, the smallest of spaces, dimly lit with patterned walls and a wooden bar. Mr.M remarked that the tiled wall reminded him of a public bathroom though. We informed our waitress that we only had 1.5hours to spare and what courses could we fit in that time, she remarked that they could definitely do 7 in that time frame, but I was dubious and decided to play it safe with the 5 courses for $70., which was fortunate as we ended up leaving 10 minutes late.

We started off with some appetisers:

Jerusalem artichoke with Persian feta
This was my favourite of the trio. 
Fake chicken skin with yoghurt

This was quite oily and a strong acrid overtone.
Pickled rockmelon

Mr.M enjoyed this one the most. It was quite fresh and light.

Aviation cocktail ginmaraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice.

Mr.M thoroughly enjoyed this cocktail, even if he did find it a touch strong.

Leek, fennel and olive

This was pleasant, the olive paste was the starring element and brought the subtler leek and fennel flavours together.
Eggplant, soy and sesame

I was incredibly hungry and yet I had to force myself to finish it - the seawood and salt factor was too overwhelming for me, it wasn't balanced.
Heirloom tomatoes and fior di latte

This was nice enough but nothing flash, middle of the road tomato salad and consomme.
Green apple and coffee

Mr.M enjoyed this.


I enjoyed this. The little 70s orange droplets (I cant remember what the flavour was) were delicious and kicked everything up a notch. 
Sher Wagyu, burnt onion and horseradish

Mr.M's favourite dish of the night.
Sour cream, pumpkin and salted caramel

I feel like there must be something wrong with me, because contrary to all the reviews I have read, I did NOT like this at all. For me, it was reminiscent of soggy bread. There was no flavour that spoke to me and the textures were unappetising. It is probably one of the least delicious desserts I have ever had. I honestly don't know why so many other customers liked it...

Perhaps I walked in with too empty a belly because after their 5 courses I felt as though I had only eaten a standard entree. Their portion sizes are quite small, even for degustation.
The service was also slow with our empty plates remaining before us for 15 minutes each time. 
I do want to say though that our bartender was fabulous, and on more than one occasion it was he who alerted our waitress to remove our finished plates and ended up bringing us the bill.
With dining out being a rare occurrence for us now, I don't think we shall be returning.

Estelle Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trocadero - Southbank - Melbourne - review

The moment I heard of this restaurant and peeped at their menu I was chomping at the bit to make a visit and fill my belly.

Trocadero is situated within the Art Center at Hammer Hall. Perfectly positioned on the banks of the Yarra facing the iconic Flinders street station and federation sqaure. With your meal you also get a view. The decor is relaxed but polished with a dark, neutral colour theme. The staff are dressed in t-shirts but the patrons were a mix of casual and dressy. Trocadero sites itself as a bar-slash-brasserie, practically open all day with quick-bites for the pre-theatre crowd.

We arrived on a gloriously sunny Thursday evening and ordered the following:

The evening started with a bag of complimentary bread which Mr.M devoured.

Berkshire pork cacciatore and venison calbrese salami - $15

cooked potatoes, truffle aioli, pecorino $11

I ordered this as my entree. The potatoes were probably a touch overdone for me, and I was hoping for more of a truffle or cheese flavour, they were surprisingly mild. Mr.M on the other hand, ADORED them - but he is a 'potato chip' fiend.

zucchini risotto with black truffle

This was a special, and I regret not ordering the onion risotto instead. The consistency was a touch watery for me, and with the zucchini as the main flavour component it was all rather bland. Even the generous shavings of truffle didn't help punch up the flavour.

beef, chipotle pepper and quinoa sausage, chickpea fries, harissa $28

Mr.M asked our waitress what she thought was their best main dish, and this is what she suggested. At first Mr.M was a little hesitant to order sausages and fries, but after he tried some he changed his mind. The chips were delicious although Mr.M hoped there had been more. The sausages were so incredibly juicy that Mr.M exclaimed they should come with a warning  in case someone pierce it and be squirted in the face. It was a touch spicy but overall Mr.M enjoyed it.

caramel cooked cream, pear, popcorn crumble, chocolate $17

The chatter about this dish was assaulting me from all sides - so needless to say my expectations were quite high. It looked scrumptious and very generous, I tend to find some desserts tiny so was incredibly pleased with the portion serve. However, I barely finished half. As many have said, it is decadently rich. As someone who is sadly dairy-intolerant, the cooked cream part was just too much for me to handle. What I loved most about this dish though was the popcorn crumble in its salty deliciousness and the sticky caramel - caramel popcorn is a favourite of mine, and this dessert was what caramel popcorn would be if it reached enlightenment   Despite the fact that my body wouldn't allow me to eat it all, I would order it again and perhaps eat more topping, less cooked cream. It truly was delicious.

chocolate pudding, milk toffee ice cream $17

Mr.M ordered this was and incredibly happy with it. The chocolate fondant had a glorious ooze and exquisite cocoa richness. Desserts were definitely the stars of our evening.

The staff were friendly and the food was wonderful. We will definitely be returning.

Trocadero on Urbanspoon