Very Good Falafels

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetMiddle Eastern food is one of my favourites. Grilled meats all piled high on a plate, with dips and pickled goods on the side, and everything can be wrapped up in a pita bread, what’s not to love?Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetVery Good Falafels do things a bit different here, as the name goes, they have a focus on serving up some of the best falafels in town, coupled with a rotation of house salads that can either be served on their own, or topped off with falafels.

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Falafel Plate – $10

I went for the signatory falafel plate, piled high with goodies ranging from pickles, trio of dips, and a simple salad, with three falafels and a large ladle of tahini to finish the whole thing off. To say that the falafels were very good is an understatement, they are probably the best that I’ve had to date! They were freshly made to order, and you can definitely tell by the crunchy exterior, and a soft interior that still had some bite to it.

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Falafel Plate – $10

I loved that I could assemble this plate however I wanted, whether it was pairing the falafel with one of the dips or throwing a bit of falafel with some vibrant vegetables in the pita bread to freshen things up a little.

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Salad – $10

Very Good Falafel has three or four house salads at one time, and unfortunately I failed to write down the options available on the night we visited (I know I know). However, I have it on good account that they were all better than your average house salad, with the beans salad (?) being my friend’s favourite of the night.

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As you can see, we wiped our plates clean. Very Good Falafel exceeded my expectations in the best ways possible, I was happy to see that something I often view as a side to mains that are much more exciting being the star of show. The tahini and hummus were also phenomenal, I had thought that nothing could beat home made hummus prior to my meal, but the silky and nutty blend here is much better that I could whip up in a food processor.

I had wanted to bring a tub home, but it was sold out at this point. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to go back.

How to get here:
Very Good Falafels is located on Sydney Road, catch tram #19 from Melbourne Central or Flinders Street Station, and get off at Stewart St/Sydney Rd, and the small restaurant is a minute walk away.

Very Good Falafel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cheerio

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI don’t visit Richmond as much as I’d like, given the endless dining options in the area. I did manage to sneak in a quick brunch there with a few friends though, and we chose to dine at Cheerio, a little cafe located off the main road.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

I’ve been really feeling egg-heavy dishes lately, and upon hearing great things about the omelette at Cheerio, it was a no-brainer to order.

The omelette was extremely soft and creamy, and the triple cream brie certainly helped in that respect. It is definitely not a light breakfast, but hey, I knew what I was getting myself into. Having said that though, the confit tomatoes and the asparagus hiding beneath the pillow of omelette did prevent the omelette itself from becoming dangerously heavy, and I was left quite impressed.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

The pumpkin soy toast itself was no ordinary bread, being from Woodfrog Bakery, one of my recent finds at a Sunday Market, the toast was quite structured, and did not disintegrate even when I piled the omelette on it.

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Avocado, Tomato Medley, Basil, Meredith Goat’s Cheese, Sumac Dressing, Toasted Pepitas, and Tomato Salt on Pumpkin Soy Toast – $16.00 With 2 Poached Eggs – $4.00

The other dish that I got to try was Cheerio’s take on the classic smashed avocado. The chunks of avocado were of exceptionally high quality, none of that under or over-ripe business here. I always love the addition of nuts and seeds to any dish, and the toasted pepitas were no exception.

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Cheerio seems a lot more homely than some other cafes around the area, and we really enjoyed our time here. If you’re looking for a bit of an escape next time you’re on the bustling streets of Richmond, take a detour and pay Cheerio a visit, I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.

How to get here:
Catch the train and get off at Richmond Station, and Cheerio is a short five minutes walk away.

Cheerio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miznon

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Has anyone tried Israeli food? If the answer is no, then you’re not the only one. Miznon promises to bring Israeli street food to Australia, and I was keen to see what it was all about.

Although Miznon is a new addition to the Melbourne food scene, the restaurant has already set up shop in Paris, New York, Vienna, and Tel Aviv. Opened by Israeli Masterchef Judge Eyal Shani back in 2011, its worldwide expansion meant that I went in with some high expectations.Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetUpon entering the restaurant, we were taken away by the lively and buzzing atmosphere, and the extremely friendly kitchen staff.

We got some of the best seats in the house, the table being right next to the free nibbles station, which included pita off-cuts, sauerkraut, tahini, tzatziki and some sort of chilli sauce. It was also a dangerous spot to be in, it was extremely hard for us to stop ourselves from eating the endless supply of pitas.

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The first of many oops

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White Spritz – $12.00

We had some cocktails to accompany the pita. The mixture of rose, soda and orange made the White Spritz a light and refreshing drink.

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Red Spritz – $12.00

The Red Spritz, on the other hand, was a lot more intense, with the addition of Campari, and the fresh plucked sage leaves.

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Clockwise: Sweet Potato, Calamari Plate, Sabich

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Sweet Potato – $8.00

Onto the food. We started off quite simple with a piping hot sweet potato straight from the oven, it was tender and sweet, and I’m so going to steal the idea of eating it with sour cream on the side, as it prevented the sweet potato itself from getting too heavy.

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Sabich – $12.00

Sabich is a traditional Israeli dish, featuring eggplant, topped with tahini, tomato perfume, and a sliced hard boiled egg. Sabich actually reminded me of the Japanese dish, Nasu Dengaku, i.e. miso glazed eggplant. Though the cooking technique is somewhat similar, Sabich had a much more earthy flavour, especially because of the tahini. The chilli on the side, though unassuming, was very spicy, so tread with caution.

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Calamari Plate – $15.00

The calamari plate was exactly that, lightly grilled calamari served with a salsa of sorts, made up of cucumber, tomato, onion and parsley. The dish was extremely refreshing, and the calamari was cooked perfectly. Although quite simple, the elements all complimented each other, and it was executed with care. My friend hates seafood (I know), but she actually ate a few pieces of the calamari, an indication of how good it was.

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Baby Cauliflower Flower – $13.00

The baby cauliflower flower is sort of a legend at Miznon, being featured heavily in its instagram feed. The whole head of cauliflower is boiled the grilled until tender, and every part of it is edible, including the leaves, which I liked more than I care to admit. The cauliflower falls apart at the prick of a fork, and after dipping it in some tahini and Atlantic salt, it’s simply irresistible, even if you’re not usually a vegetable lover.

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Clockwise: Pita with a Bone, Sac de Coque

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Pita with a Bone – $19.00

Although we were already becoming full at this point, more food were on its way. The pita with a bone is another dish I had been looking forward to all night, being a big fan of well-cooked lamb. The bones were plucked out with minimal effort, and the meat was so soft and juicy. The pita bread itself was perfectly airy, having earlier been deemed as the best pita I’ve had, based on the off cuts alone. Although I wished there was some sort of spice or acidity to lift the flavours a little, this was still a very satisfying experience.

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Sac de Coque – $14.00

Sac de Coque is Miznon’s take on a chicken salad, or at least that’s how it felt like to me. The pieces of the roasted chicken were a little dry, but it was made better by the aioli. Although this was not a stand out salad, it was a good way to sneak some green leaves into the meal to make us feel better about ourselves.

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Miznon was everything I expected and more, from the lively kitchen yelling out orders all night, to the prominent use of lunch bags and cardboards over plates, it had an extremely welcoming atmosphere. The flavours of the food were also top-notch, and I was happy to tick Israeli cuisine off my list. The only drawback is probably the price tag; for a restaurant that features street food, it certainly is on the higher end of things.

Although the menu at Miznon is only one page long, the variation of exotic dishes and pita pockets means that a future visit is required; maybe when I am no longer stuck in the full time student status.

Miznon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

How to get here:
Miznon is located on Hardware Lane, a short five minutes walk from Melbourne Central.

I dined as a guest of Miznon.

Jaidee Thai

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Thai food seems to be a bit of a hit and miss in Melbourne; whilst a pad thai is available in every food court, authentic papaya salads are hard to come by. One of my Thai friends gave a glorious recommendation of Jaidee Thai, and I was more than willing to give it a try.

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Som Tum Thai – $12.00

Piled high with thinly sliced papaya, with pieces of of tomato, snake bean and peanuts mixed through, this papaya salad is probably my favourite rendition of the dish. The dressing was very balanced, with hints of acidity, sweetness and heat. The little pieces of roasted peanuts were my favourite, adding more dimension to the salad.

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Nam Thok (Pork) – $15.00

The grilled pork salad was something I had never tried before. The pork were a bit dry than usual, according to my friend, however it was still quite flavoursome, with the help of the sweet and sour dressing. The mint leaves and red onion kept the dish on the refreshing side, and it helped to lighten up some of the heavier dishes we had ordered.

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Green Curry with Chicken – $14.90

Can you really go to a Thai restaurant and not order the green curry? Not in my book. The curry sauce was light and fragrant, with a good amount of fresh vegetables thrown in, and the large portion was another plus, which went perfectly with the coconut rice on the side.

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Coconut Rice

Speaking of which, the coconut was rice was a bit overcooked for my liking, however the coconut flavour was quite prominent, and there was even coconut meat thrown into the mix!

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Pad Se Ew with Chicken – $14.90

More carbs came in the form of the Pad Se Ew, and it was a much more exciting affair. The stretchy and thick noodles provided the perfect base to soak up all the flavour of the soy based sauce, and the fresh Chinese broccoli ensured that we felt good about eating our vegies.

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Mango with Sticky Rice – $7.50

Even though we were pretty full by this point, some dessert never hurt anyone. The simple mango with sticky rice, drowning in coconut cream, was the perfect way to end our meal. The sticky rice was a bit salty, which helped to offset the richness of the cream, and the slightly hard slices of mango rounded the dessert off.

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Jaidee Thai may seem like a run of the mill neighbourhood Thai restaurant at first glance, however its extensive menu and authentic flavours have won me over. In fact, I am willing to overlook the lackluster service to try out other items on the menu. The restaurant stayed relatively quiet during our visit, so if you’re ever in the area and don’t feel like waiting for Jinda Thai, this is a great alternative.

How to get here:
Jaidee Thai is located on Victoria Street, catch the train on the Hurstbridge and South Morang line, and get off at North Richmond, and the restaurant is two minutes walk away.

Jaidee Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beef Noodle Bar

After two weeks of this weird heat wave, the weather has finally cooled down enough so that noodles doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch for dinner. There are endless varieties of noodles all around the world, and I recently visited a small restaurant called Beef Noodle Bar, to try their specialty of, you guessed it, beef noodle.

There are several types of noodles even just within the beef noodle family, and Beef Noodle Bar serves the traditional noodles from Lanzhou, which is the capital city of Gansu, situated in northwest of China. Before dining at Beef Noodle Bar, I’ve only had Lanzhou beef noodle at a few restaurants in Box Hill, and they were not very memorable. After getting several recommendations to try out Beef Noodle Bar, I was keen to see how the traditional noodle would stack up.

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Mixed Shredded Kelp, Carrots and Vermicelli – $2.00

Beef Noodle Bar had a number of side dishes, most of which were at a reasonable price of $2.00. This small plate was nice and refreshing, with the three ingredients each offering a different texture.

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Beef – $4.00

The beef were the braised kind that is common around China, however, each area has their own mix of herbs and spices that they put in the braising liquid, resulting in an unique flavour. The ones that Beef Noodle Bar is quite mild compared to what I’m used to, but it was flavoursome nonetheless, and the tendon has been braised down where it was still had a bite to it, but wasn’t too chewy.

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Bean Curd – $2.00

I love soy products, in fact, there is always some tofu, beancurd puffs and the like in the fridge at home. These shredded bean curd sheets were light and refreshing, and were morish to have on the side.

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Beef Noodle (Wide) – $12.80

There were only two mains on offer, the beef noodle, and the beef noodle soup. You could choose the width of the noodles you were after due to the hand made nature of them, ranging from thinnest to widest. The noodles all come with a scoop of chili, spring onions and coriander, and you can request to not have any of the three, because of my strong distaste for coriander, no coriander were present here.

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I chose the wide noodles, and they were a bit overcooked for my liking. The stewed beef however, were very tender, and there was a good amount of it. This was a dry noodle, and it is therefore better suited for the warmer days imo.

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Beef Noodle Soup (Thin) – $10.80

Onto the soup version of the beef noodle. The soup was light and aromatic, and looked quite clear actually. The beef in the soup version were a lot more delicate in flavour compared to its stewed counterparts.

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The thin noodles fared better in the texture department, with a nice bite to it. It might be safer to order the thinner noodles if you like your noodles al dente.

Beef Noodle Bar has been getting quite a bit of hype from the international students community. Given its proximity to Monash University, and the recent opening of a new restaurant close to Melbourne University, it is clear that students are Beef Noodle Bar’s primary target audience. They’ve done a good job at that too, with food that is quite traditional and hard to find, in addition to being reasonably priced and having a quick turnaround, it is indeed a good place to grab a quick bite to eat in between classes. I probably won’t be doing so any time soon, given the weather, however, I am looking forward to returning once the weather cools down.

How to get here:
Beef Noodle Bar is located on Derby Road, take the train on the Pakenham, Frankston or Cranbourne train, and get off at Caufield Station, the restaurant is right outside the station.

Beef Noodle Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taco Bill

Taco Bill is a Mexican restaurant chain that has been around for a long long time. I always saw the storefront near my local station, and finally decided to pay it a visit on a Monday night.

Incidentally, Taco Hill have a deal of half price mains on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night, so we went ahead and grabbed an entree and a main each to share.

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Chile Nachos – $19.00

The chile nachos were one of the specials on the night, it was essentially your standard nachos with the addition of chilli con carne. The nachos were pretty tasty, with the classic combination of salsa, sour cream and guacamole, and plenty of cheese. In fact, the cheese meant that the corn chips were stuck together, making it a bit difficult to eat at times.

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Enchilada Nuevo Mexico – $22.00

The new Mexican style enchilada consisted of three corn tortillas stacked together, with beef, onion and cheese stacked inbetween, topped with more cheese, an egg, and mild chili sauce. On the side were some Mexican rice and frijoles, i.e. Mexican beans, and a beef taco. The serving of this dish was quite impressive, however, the flavours were lacking. The tortillas were soggy, and thew beef mixture just kind of tasted like beef stewed in a mix of store bought salsa and tomato sauce. Although this filled me up, I wasn’t very satisfied.

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Chicken Quesadilla – $18.00

My friend chose the chicken quesadilla, and unfortunately, this was a bit of a let down. The texure of the chicken was reminiscent of canned tuna, and it was rather dry and stringy.

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I didn’t have high expectations going into Taco Bill, and it was actually an alright experience overall. Although the food was not very authentic, the service was very friendly, and the dining space was welcoming. With the half price on mains three nights a week, I can see myself returning here for a weeknight meal when I don’t feel like venturing far from home.

How to get here:
The Blackburn Taco Bill is located on Railway Road, a short 5 minutes walk from Blackburn station.

Taco Bill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oh Deer

Korean food has slowly but surely made its way to my top three favourite cuisines, it’s just so versatile! Their passion for everything cheese is also a plus, and along came Oh Deer, a Korean fusion restaurant serving up a range of specialty food that are hard to find elsewhere in Melbourne.

We were given a menu to browse through, but we had out mind set on the Molton Cheesy Pork Rib set, which came with the pork ribs, kimchi fried rice, and two bowls of miso soup.

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Miso Soup

The miso soup looked promising with its cloudiness, and tasted quite pleasant.

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Cheesy Pork Ribs

Onto the star of the show, the pork ribs! The waitress put a gas stove top on our table, and placed the big stone pot on top.

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After a while, the cheese started melting, and she checked on us regularly, and cut the ribs up.

Banchan came in the slots on the outer edge of the stone pot, and were cooked in front of our eyes too. There were corn with mayo, omelette, tteokbokki, and mashed sweet potato.

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Mashed Sweet Potato

My friend and I both really enjoyed the sweet potato. However, I think because the stone pop is larger than the gas top, not all the banchans were heated evenly.

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After the cheese had completely melted, the waitress came once again, and wrapped the cheese around the pork ribs. The pork rib did not have a lot of meat, but the sauce was very flavoursome, and the cheese added some creaminess and complimented the sweet sauce quite well.

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Kimchi Fried Rice

After all the cheese was used up, the waitress cooked the kimchi fried rice with the leftover sauce from the pork ribs, and although there were not a lot of kimchi, it was still tasty and filling.

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I think for me, Oh Deer stands out with its novelty, but the food were of average quality overall. If you’re wanting to try something different then go ahead and give it a shot, but otherwise, I’d sit this one out.

How to get there:
Oh Deer is located on Royal Lane off Chinatown, less than ten minutes walk away from Flinders St Station.

Oh Deer Korean Fusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato