Brim CC is a no-frill Japanese restaurant that serves up a range of home-cooked comfort meals, including their famous curries, which you can have paired with a salad or a soup; omurice, udon and the like.
The decor is minimal to say the least, with tables that could fit around ten to fifteen diners. Although simple, it was very welcoming. There was bookshelf to browse through, and a Japanese map made with stuffed cloth, highlighting some of the attractions you could find in different prefectures of Japan.
It was quite a humid day, which meant that I had to pass up on the curry to prevent myself from sweating up a storm, and settled for the titular bento box instead.
The bento plate, rather than box, reminded me of how versatile Japanese food can be. The plate was filled with Japanese potato salad, rice balls, meatball, tofu topped with a sweet miso sauce, and a carrot salad.
Everything was cooked with love and care, and I especially enjoyed the miso sauce. It was a nutritious meal that left me feeling satisfied but not stuffed.
Brim CC is nothing fancy, but the food here reminds me of dishes that can only be cooked by a mum, delicious and nutritious. Maybe it’s not a great place to impress a date, but on nights that you’re not quite feeling up to the task of cooking yourself, this is the perfect place to be. Oh, and the fact that most dishes cost under $15 definitely doesn’t hurt either.
How to get here: Brim CC is located on Little Collins Street, a short 5 minutes walk from Southern Cross Station.
Some food trends come and go, but Korean fried chicken is here to stay, and I’m all for it – nothing brings satisfaction to the table quite like a plate of greasy chicken.
While there are some promising restaurants that can always be counted on, I had wanted to try out Goodovening for a while now. The restaurant had been packed on the few times that I had walked past, so we made sure to book beforehand.
The outdoor seating area was reminiscent of restaurants scattered on the streets of Seoul, being slightly elevated, lit dimly and the tables are set under clear covers, which means diners can sit outside all year round.
I have no idea what these were, and it’s hard to describe the taste. They were sort of tasteless to be honest, and quite hard, but were fun to nibble on nonetheless. We finished chewing on these quickly actually, and the waitress was more than happy to bring us more without us having to ask.
Of course, we had to test out the benchmark first with some fried chicken. The batter looked promising, and indeed had that light airiness that I have become accustomed to. We chose soy garlic for the flavoured half, and although the chicken had less sauce on it than other places, they were sweet and tangy, and the crispy batter was not compromised at all.
The chicken came with a cabbage coleslaw and we also order some chips ($5.00) with it, because hey, if you’re going to be frying chicken then you might as well fry some potatoes on the side!
Cheese make any food taste better, and Koreans are known for putting cheese over absolutely everything. The spicy chicken pieces were very punchy and had a nice kick to it, and the cheese added some creaminess to the dish.
Although nothing out of the ordinary, these rice balls were adorable and fun to eat with the chicken, and also helped to tame down the spiciness when needed.
We’ve gone all out at this point, so what’s one more chicken dish? Carbona chicken is exactly as it sounds; the pan was filled with boneless fried chicken, fries and cabbage, all served on top of a thick and creamy carbonara sauce. This was indulgent to say the least, with the crunchy chicken paired especially well with the richness of the sauce. We all thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite of this.
The dinner actually turned out to be a surprise birthday dinner for me, my friends had bought me my favourite cake from Bibelot, and it was a really enjoyable night for all of us. My friend had asked one of the waiter to put the cake in the fridge at the beginning of the meal, along with some candles. At the end of our meal, the same waiter came out and plopped the cake box in the middle of the table, without opening the box or clearing out our chicken bone filled plates first. I was so confused by this point, and my friend had to ask him to bring out the candles and a lighter in two separate attempts. I mean it was a little odd, but we all had a good laugh about it. It probably just came down to a matter of miscommunication, but I guess just make sure that you ask the waiter to bring out the cake more clearly if you were also celebrating a birthday?
We tried out three styles of chicken at Goodovening, and maybe that seems like a lot, but the extensive menu actually made it really difficult to narrow our choices down. I’m definitely looking forward to returning, although it’ll be hard to not order the Chicken Carbonara again, I will try to venture out and try out some of the other chicken dishes on offer.
How to get here: Goodovening is located on Queen Street, get off at Flagstaff station and the restaurant is around seven minutes walk away.
Italian food has become synonymous to summer days for me, since going to Italy itself is not happening anytime soon, I’ve settled for trying out some new Italian restaurants for the time being.
A25 has three locations in Melbourne already, and recently added some vegan options to their menu, which I was more than happy to try. The airy and funky space looked promising, and I was ready to dig in to some good ol’ pizza!
Aperol Spritz is my go-to drink in the warmer weather. It’s light, sparkling and fruity, what more can you ask for?
The truffles fries came with the pungent smell of truffle, which means you’re either going to love them or hate them. I am personally a huge fan of truffle, and thought these were delectable.
Featuring a range of grilled vegies, the pizza surely looked promising. I thought the vegan mozzarella was actually pretty decent, I mean sure, it doesn’t exactly give off the same creamy taste, but it did the job. The vegies were quite sweet after being roasted, especially in the case of the roasted pumpkin and capsicum, and this was offset nicely by the brininess from the olives scattered across the pizza.
With the titular A25 pizza touted as a favourite, I had to give it a go. The combination of prosciutto and fresh mozzarella is always a classic, and the homemade pesto and roasted pine nuts added some earthiness to the pizza.
With deals such as $15 pizza and pasta for weekday lunches, A25 has become a hotspot for those that work in offices closeby. Indeed, the outside terrace was filled with patreons grabbing a quick bite to eat during rush hour.
The expansion of the menu will certainly be appreciated by those that frequent the restaurant, as it means that they are able to bring friends who may have dietary requirements to dine with them, while still being able to get some traditional offerings themselves, a feat that has become harder to accomplish.
So next time you’re in need of a mixture of vagan and non-vegan options, why not give A25 a try in one of its three locations?
How to get here: I visited the South Yarra location of A25, which is on Chapel Street. Catch tram #78 and get off at Malcolm Street/Chapel Street, and the restaurant is right next to the tram stop. Alternatively, catch the train on the Sandringham line and get off at South Yarra, and A25 is around 10 minutes walk away.
I’m always down for a good piece of steak, and what better place to go than a place that has meat in its name?
The Meat and Wine Co specialises in an assorted array of meat dishes, that combines African and Australian cuisine, a fusion that is not commonly found in Melbourne.
The restaurant has several locations in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, and on this occasion, I paid a visit to its Hawthorn East location. The interior was filled with wood and leather, clearly a hub set perfectly for meat lovers.
It was a nice and warm day, and what better way to start your meal than a sweet cocktail. The raspberry beret had a mixture of vermouth and gin, ensuring that there was mixture of sweet and floral notes. The raspberry gave it a summery touch.
We shared an entree of wagyu tartare, something that I have grown to be fond of. The mixture of pickles and smoked yolk, when mixed through with the minced steak, lifted the heaviness of the meat. The addition of crackling meant that there was plenty of texture. My only gripe is the limited pieces of lavosh that the tartare was served with!
The Meat & Wine Co has its own exclusive source of beet – Monte, because why not? There was a range of different cuts available, and unfortunately, our waiter did not offer to explain them all to us. After some reading myself, I chose the 120 days grain fed piece of rump.
The steak certainly looked amazingly, with perfect char marks and all. It was quite juicy and tender, and did not have a strong beef flavour, which is what I expected. I asked for medium-rare, and did think that it was slightly overcooked.
The accompanying chips, on the other hand, were as good as thick cut chips can be, with the contrasting texture of a crunchy exterior paired with a fluffy interior.
We settled on the pork ribs for our other main. THe ribs were cooked perfectly, the sweet and sticky glaze meant that there were plenty bits of meat that were caramelised.
The side farm salad was simply yet refreshing, and prevented us from getting too guilty.
We shared an addition side of mac and cheese, a dish that never disappoints. The rustic interpretation that The Meat & Wine Co offered was quite mild in flavour, with some smokiness coming through from the charred cauliflower.
I certainly did enjoy my meal at The Meat & Wine Co. Although there was nothing especially innovative about the menu, each of the dish was executed well. I’m still on the hunt for that perfect piece of steak though, until next time.
How to get here: The Meat & Wine Co is located on Riversdale Road, around a 7 minutes walk from Camberwell Station; alternatively, catch tram #75 and get off at Camberwell Junction, and the restaurant is a minute walk away.
Local gems are some of my favourites, especially when authentic food is found in unlikely places. Murasaki Tanuki certainly falls under both categories, being a small Japanese eatery located on a inconspicuous shopping strip.
Sure, the interior may seem quite bare when you first enter – tables scattered around, with minimal decoration. However, the restaurant was filled with diners even during lunch hours on a weekday, which sort of hints at the quality of food that can be expected.
Takoyakis are some of my favourites, although they’re usually pretty good – think gooey batter containing octopus bits, and topped with a mix of takoyaki sauce (what I think of as Japanese BBQ sauce) and kewpie, and what could go wrong? However, it has also been truly difficult to find ones that stand out from the rest, especially after having tried some of the best renditions in Osaka.
The Kanto population are said to prefer a more textured take when it comes to takoyaki, and this description matched the version served here at Murasaki Tanuki; being quite different to the Kansai rendition that I had become accustomed to. They were a lot crunchier, which of course, highlighted the soft interior.
Given the weird humid yet cold weather that Melbourne is currently experiencing, a bowl of warm curry udon was in order. The soup was very thick and boasted the milder and sweeter flavour of Japanese curry. The thickness can be attested in this photo, as there were pieces of tender beef and slippery udon hidden beneath the soup too!
There were plenty of bentos to choose from, and they each come with miso soup, sashimi, an array of side dishes, takikomi gohan, i.e. rice that’s cooked with the addition of scallops and vegetables in this case, and the main dish of your choosing, which in this case, was the daily special of king salmon with miso.
The salmon was grilled perfectly, and the sweetness of the miso enhanced the freshness of the fish. It even had crispy skin!
The extensive menu at Murasaki Tanuki covers all of the standard Japanese fares depending on what you’re craving on the day coupled with the reasonable prices, especially when taking the high-quality of produce into consideration, it is easy to see why the restaurant has become a local favourite. Whether you live nearby or not, Murasaki Tanuki is worth a visit!
How to get here: Murasaki Tanuki is located at the Studfield Shopping Centre, catch the #901 Frankston to Melbourne Airport bus, and get off at Studfield SC, and the restaurant is a short two minutes walk away.
There are plenty of good Italians restaurants in Melbourne, yet if you asked ten different people where you could find the best pasta, Tipo will probably be mentioned more than a couple of times. The restaurant has been on my radar for years, from memory, they used to not take reservations, and the intimate dining space meant that a table was hard to come by. However, that is no longer the case, as bookings of all group sizes can be made now. This made things significantly easier for us, as a group of us had visited Tipo for a birthday celebration.
Free bread can never be the wrong way to start a meal, especially when they’re freshly baked from the kitchen, and served with some cool whipped ricotta, like the one served at Tipo.
The polenta chips were creamy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and the generous sprinkling of rosemary parmesan was delectable.
Next, we ordered the octopus form the daily specials. The tentacles had a gorgeous char on them, and the smoky flavour really came through. The sweetness of the corn contrasted well with the smokiness of the octopus.
Cheese is always a winner in my book, and this was no exception. The creamy and cool burrata had a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the caper berries added some tang to the plate, while the capsicum offered its sweetness, rounding off the dish.
The vibrant colours of the purple potatoes and the broad beans made this a visually enticing dish. Again, the smokiness of the calamari was more than welcome. This was a more subdued dish in comparison to the Octopus, as the flavours were all in a similar profile.
Tipo’s menu comprises mainly of pasta, and we each ordered a different dish because variety is the spice of life. These little twists of casarecce had simple additions of radicchio, pork sausage and white wine. The bitterness from the radicchio can be a bit divisive, as one of us thoroughly dislike the bitter taste. I however, thought that it contrasted nicely with the juicy pork sausage. Although this was not mind-blowingly good, it was still a good plate of pasta.
The squid ink tagliolini has become synonymous with Tipo at this point, and I had to of course try it on my first visit. The tangles of tagliolini was cooked perfectly, of course, the only way that Tipo knows how. The addition of fresh squid and bottarga meant that the sweetness of the crustacean really had a chance to shine.
Another unanimous favourite was the gnocchi in a duck and mushroom ragu. The pillows of gnocchi were the best I’ve ever had, they were the perfect balance between being soft yet retaining a bite, and not overly starchy like gnocchis can often get at restaurants. The rich ragu was also a delight, the generous pieces of duck meat meant that this was an extremely satisfying bowl of pasta.
The pappardelle was essentially Tipo’s take on a traditional bolognese, substituting wild boar for beef. The thick pieces of pappardelle were again, perfect, and acted as the perfect vehicle for the bolognese. Although refined, this was still at its heart, comfort food that puts you in a happy place.
Although the $5 per head cake surcharge was a bit hefty in my opinion, the food at Tipo actually reached the high expectation I had going in, which is saying a lot. The service was on the briskier end, but it was still courteous enough. The price tag at Tipo means that I won’t be returning for a quick lunch anytime soon, but I’m certainly more than happy to re-visit the restaurant when the occasion calls for it.
How to get here: Tipo 00 is located on Little Bourke Street, a short five minutes walk from Melbourne Central.
BurGround is a 3-months-new restaurant that features burgers (duh), salads, healthy smoothies, not-so-healthy milkshakes, and some traditional and not-so-traditional sides that go hand in hand with the mains.
The space is large and airy, and you can tell that a lot of love and effort was put into it to ensure that it caters for both smaller and larger groups. On the day that we visited, the burger-eaters ranged from students, couples to large families.
We started things off with Crazy Daisy, said to be one of the owner’s favourite smoothie. It features mango, banana, yakult, yoghurt and coconut water. The sweetness of the mango was the highlight of the smoothie, and the interesting addition of yakult added some layers of flavour to the drink.
On the more indulgent side, nothings a beats a good-ol cookies and cream milkshake. BurGround definitely didn’t pull back on the use of Oreos, as its crumbs were present in every sip. The milkshake was not overly-sweet, and was worth every calorie if you’re a fan of anything cookies and cream.
The sweet potato chips were nice and crispy, in fact, it was probably one of the crispier renditions I have tried, giving us the first glimpse into the expertise BurGround had over the deep fryer.
The onion rings had a satisfyingly crunchy outer layer, that contrasted well with the sweetness of the onion. The only problem I had was the some of the larger pieces did not fit into the quaint little sauce ramekin, an issue that could be resolved by breaking the ring into pieces of course.
Onto the main events – the burgers. The first thing you notice about the Skyrider would be the hot pink bun, made by including beetroot juice in the making of the brioche.
The burger was more than its bun though, in this case, as it was stuffed with goodness, including beef patty, chorizo, tomato relish, sriracha mayo, cheddar and rocket – cause greens. Overall, this was a quite enjoyable burger, the beef patty was cooked well, and the chorizo and sriracha mayo added a kick to it. I did find the tomato relish a little overwhelming at times though, and less of it would have allowed the other flavours to come through better, and also help in retaining the integrity of the buns.
Keen for something that is more out of the box? Then Merry-Go-Round might be a good pick. Stuffed full with three pieces of pork belly, pickled cabbage that was reminiscent of a cross between kimchi and sauerkraut, cheddar and wasabi mayo, this was definitely a winner.
The pork belly was full of flavour, and the pickled cabbage did its job by cutting through the richness. More wasabi mayo would have been ideal in this case, as it would have provided a contrasting flavour. Some crackling definitely wouldn’t have hurt either, but then again, that might just be me being greedy.
You might think that that was the end of our meal, however I pretty much saw a plate of crispy wings at every other table, and couldn’t resist but to order a small plate to try myself, especially after being told that it was better than the wicked wings from KFC. The looks of these wings certainly resembled the KFC version, the batter gave crunchy a whole other meaning, and although not spiced as heavily as wicked wings, these were equally as morish, and the pickled cabbage again, lifted the whole dish a little.
With plenty of burger restaurants floating around Melbourne, BurGround certainly does its bit to hold up to the competition. There were something for everyone, whether you were after a traditional burger, something a little bit more creative, or God forbid, a salad, BurGround will be able to satisfy your cravings. The fried goods are equally hard to pass up, and there were talks about adding fried cheese to the menu in the near future, yup, you heard it here first. So next time, if you’re bored with Grill’d next door, why not give BurGround a shot?
How to get here: BurGround is located on Puckle Street in Moonee Ponds, a short three minutes walk from Moonee Ponds Station. There are also plenty of street parking on the strip, if you were planning to drive.