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Chin Chin

14 Oct

It seems every dining publication you open you are bound to find a feature piece on Chin Chin – the Asian hawker style slash awesome bar slash super cool decor place that has openend up on Flinders Lane.

Don’t bother calling to make a reservation. Chin Chin is one addition to the growing list of restaurants who serve customers on a first come first served basis.

Feel like a spot of dinner at 7.30? You’ll probably be swamped in a huge line waiting to see what the fuss is about.

My secret is to go there first thing for early lunch (it opens at 11 AM) or visit in the downtime between 3-5 when the lunch crowd has left and the dinner crowd is yet to devour the place.

I have been 3 times now and each time I have been shown to a table straight away.

So anyway on to the food.

The hype is dead on – this place is a knock out.

Check out a few of the photos and let your tongue salivate.

Roti bread and rice

Son in law eggs

Tofu salad

Penang curry with eggplant

Ingredients for the DIY spring roll

Finished product: DIY spring roll

Special coconut ice drink


The offerings aren’t too bad as far as veggie options go. There’s a few selections in each section and they are all extremely delicious.

Special shout out to the son in law eggs (amazing) and the DIY spring rolls. The only thing I would suggest is perhaps putting a little more eggplant in the curry, I counted about 2 pieces in the whole bowl!

Counting down the days until I can frequent Chin Chin once again.

Vegetarian options: 7/10
Food: 9/10
Decor/interior: 9/10
Service: 7/10

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Mamasita

7 Oct

Mamasita opens its doors at 5 PM on Saturdays.

I was attending a film at 6.30, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to head down and try Mamasita early – minus the famous crowds.

I turned up at 4.50 to be greeted by a line 15 deep. I was shocked – my supposed ingenious plan was not so genious at all.

Reluctantly I lined up. I felt like my 15 year old self lining up amongst sweaty teens to see the hottest touring US band.

But instead of the band, I was lining up to eat Mexican food.

Crazy? Perhaps. Worth it? Definitely.

The food was fab, I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ordered and found the staff extremely helpful and friendly, without being annoying.

There are heaps of veggo options and EVERYTHING is gluten free! Special mention for the soft taco and the corn.

Anyway enough of my blabbing – check out the pics.

'de Frijoles con nopales' - baked black beans, cactus, ‘pico de gallo’ & queso fresco

'de Champiñones' mushrooms, roasted corn, spinach, epazote & goat's cheese

'de Maíz' sweet corn, black beans, epazote, jalapeño salsa & queso fresco

'Elotes callejeros' street Style‛ chargrilled corn, queso, chipotle mayonnaise & lime

Tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa

Vegetarian options: 8/10
Food: 9/10
Decor/interior: 8/10
Service: 9/10

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Chilli India

7 Aug

Indian is hands down one of my favourite cuisines.

The tantalising, exciting. flavours. The spice. The HUGE amount of vegetarian options that are always on offer. There’s nothing not to love about Indian food. (Okay not entirely true – I don’t love the huge amount of calories in every dish!)

I am always on the search for great, traditional Indian food after travelling to the subcontinent last year where I sampled some of the most amazing flavours!

It’s fair to say that Chilli India, tucked away in a little alley in Melbourne Central, is pretty close to what I ate abroad.

Don’t be put off by the simple cafeteria style seating, the best food is usually from the most simple looking places!

Indian food is usually correlated with thick, heavy curries and papadams, but there is so much more to this amazing cuisine.

South Indian food is one of my favourites – in particular dosas, which are thin pancakes filled with stuffing and are broken off in pieces with your fingers and dunked into sauces.

This is exactly what I ordered as well as my old favourite – eggplant masala.

Dosa

There is a huge selection of stuffings for the dosas but I picked the spiced egg and it was delicious!

Their eggplant masala is also the best one I’ve had in Melbourne.

Eggplant Masala

No Indian meal is complete without some saffron rice and garlic naan! Superb!

Naan

Saffron rice

If you’re up for some Indian, I DEFINITELY recommend giving this place a try.

I didn’t manage to get a photo this time, but order the chilli paneer as well – amazing.

Indian is the perfect cuisine for us veg heads- there are more veg options than meat ones which is a nice change!

Vegetarian options: 10/10
Food: 9/10
Decor/interior: 4/10
Service: 8/10

Chilli India on Urbanspoon

The Italian

19 Jul

My boyfriend and I headed to the famous Melbourne eatery “The Italian” for his birthday lunch.

I had heard great things about this place so was excited to give it a try.

Not surprisingly given it’s a fine dining restaurant, there were few vegetarian options.

For my entree I ordered the caprese salad –> tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella

Caprese Salad

And for my main I selected the “roast butternut pumpkin ravioli with sage cream and ameretti”

Ravioli

My boyfriend and I shared sides of chips with aioli and the rocket, fennel and parmesan salad.

Chips

Rocket salad

I underestimated how generous the servings would be (I usually find fine dining portion sizes are quite small) and we committed the sin of over ordering and being unable to finish all of our food.

With this being said, everything I ordered was gorgeous and tantalising.

I loved every meal that emerged, including the bread with olive oil and olives at the start.

A meal like this isn’t complete without dessert.

So we shared the Vanilla panna cotta with strawberries, blueberries and mint and the Crème brûlée – needless to say they were both creamy, indulgent and melted in my mouth.

Crème brûlée

Vanilla Panna Cotta

 

The Italian is an institution and it’s not hard to see why.

The service was attentive and friendly (without being pretentious) and the atmosphere was relaxing.

I will definitely be back when I can!

Vegetarian options: 4/10
Food: 8.5/10
Decor/interior: 9/10
Service: 8/10
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Rockpool Bar & Grill

29 May

Winner of pretty much every food award ever invented in Australia, you don’t need me to tell you how amazing (and pricy, the prices you expect to pay at fine dining restaurants!) Rockpool is. I’ll leave that to the real food critics.

However the vegetarian foodies out there might appreciate a review of the vegetarian choices, so here I go.

Rockpool is renowned for its steak. Veg heads: try not to turn back the way you came when you are walking into the restaurant and rumps of meat are hanging in the windows. Persevere. You are catered for!

My delicious glass of red recommended by the barman

There are a few vegetarian options in each section of the menu, as well as a few items on the menu the chefs are happy to modify without the meat.

However I have been about five times to Rockpool and I must say each time I go there are less and less vegetarian options.

I decided to share with mum. For starters we ordered the Jerusalem Artichoke and Cauliflower Cream Soup with Mushroom and Gruyere Toast and the Wood Fire Grilled Vegetables with Tzatziki.

The soup was magnificent and PERFECT for a cold Melbourne day.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Cauliflower Cream Soup with Mushroom and Gruyere Toast

It was creamy and delicate and I loved the flavour of the artichoke (my new favourite vegetable). However I must say I couldn’t really taste the cauliflower.

It came with a mushroom toast which unfortunately was soggy by the time it came out after soaking the soup up.

This being said, when I go again and if the soup is still on the menu I would definitely order this again.

We also shared the grilled vegetables with tzatiki which admittedly sounds mundane, however the Mediterranean veggies that featured (peppers, zucchini, tomato, eggplant and leaks) were grilled to perfection – moist and soft.

Woodfired Grilled Vegetables w Tzatziki

The tzatziki sauce and olive oil transformed the simple dish into a delicious starter.

For the main we decided to order the King Prawns with Goats Cheese Tortellini, Burnt Butter, Raisins and Pine Nuts (Mum took the prawns) in a main size as well as share some sides of onion rings, mash potato and potato and cabbage gratin.

Goats cheese tortellini

Goats cheese tortellini – melts in your mouth. The homemade pasta combined with the raisins and pine nuts makes this a simple, yet hearty dish that leaves you more than satisfied when finished!

The onion rings are a personal favourite, especially when I ask for a side of aioli with it. MUST order.

Note to self: sides are delicious, but your stomach just simply can't eat ALL of that food!

All in all, it IS possible to be a vegetarian and eat at Rockpool and the veg options are delicious, which is great considering at the end of the day it is primarily a steak restaurant. Just keep in mind veg heads, you are not spoilt for choice.

P.S this is at the bottom of the menu, found it rather interesting!

Would I go back? Yes
Vegetarian selection: 3.5-4/10
Food: 9/10
Decor/interior: 9/10
Service: 7/10

Rockpool Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Buddha

25 May

To celebrate the end of the uni semester I headed to Chocolate Buddha in Federation Square.

The joint has been around I believe since Federation Square was first built (correct me if I’m wrong).

It serves modern Japanese food in a communal atmosphere, (all of the tables are long benches a la Wagamama) and has a pretty good range of vegetarian and vegan options.

Chocolate Buddha

Keep in mind the lunch time menu is a shortened version of the dinner so if you’re after the full range, come in the evening.

I’m sure you’ll agree that nothing is better than hot soup and hot green tea on an icy Melbourne day so this is exactly what I ordered.

I ordered the Yasai Soba: Deep fried silken tofu with fresh snow peas and baby corn, menma, wakame and spring onion in a vegetable soup with ginger, sesame and chilli oil over soba noodles.

I also ordered the Nasu Nanban Roll: Nori roll filled with deep fried eggplant, mizuna, marinated vegetables and nanban sauce (sorry I didn’t get a photo, I wolfed it down too quickly!).

The idea with this kind of food is to begin eating it soon as it arrives. None of that wait until everyone is served business which is torture when you’re starving!

I have to mention firstly how gorgeous the tofu in the soup was. For all those tofu lovers, it was one of those melt-in-your-mouth style silken tofus that absorbed the flavour of the dish whilst retaining its texture. Yum!

The soup itself was pretty good, probably tasted even better because today was so cold. Worth ordering if you’re after a hearty, nourishing soup.

The only thing they could improve on is probably adding some shitake and enoki mushrooms to the dish. Need my Jap mushrooms when I’m eating Japanese!

I enjoyed the nasu roll. The eggplant went down a treat and had a lovely sweet flavour to it.

I was a bit disappointed in the fact the sushi came out with no dish to put my soy sauce in and no wasabi. Little improvements the management should probably take on board.

I had to move the sushi pieces to the edge of the plate so I could use the depth of the bowl to hold the soy sauce.

First world problem? Yes. An annoying one at that.

Next time I go I’m going to order this green tea ice cream – looks delish.

Green tea ice cream

Would I go back? Yes
Vegetarian options: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10
Decor/interior: 7/10
Service: 7/10

http://www.chocolatebuddha.com.au/

Chocolate Buddha on Urbanspoon