The Meat and Wine Co

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.

Raspberry Beret – $19.00

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.

Wagyu Tartare – $16.00

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!

Monte – Grain Fed 120D – Rump – $29.00

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.

Monte – Grain Fed 120D – Rump – $29.00

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.

Pork Ribs (Half Rack) – $39.00

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.

Mac & Cheese – $12.00

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.

The Meat & Wine Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Secret Kitchen

Secret Kitchen has been doing well in the Melbourne market, having opened several restaurants, ranging from those that offer a quick bite, to others that serve up a wide array of Chinese dishes in a modern and sleek setting.

Today, I will be recounting my visit to the latter of the two varieties, where I had yum cha on a weekend, something that I definitely don’t do enough. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, yum cha is popular in the Guangzhou province and Hong Kong in particular, the idea is that waiters and waitresses will be pushing carts filled with plates of goodies around the restaurant, and when they reach you, you make pick at your heart’s desire. It can be quite overwhelming at times, given the large variety of dishes, but it is something worth trying.

Braised Chicken Feet

Braised chicken feet is a must-order for me at yum cha. The chicken feet were deep fried then braised in a sweet soy garlic marinade, and are quite morish to nibble at.

Siu Mai

Another classic, the skin of the siu mai was a little too soft, but that was made up with the plump prawn and pork filling.

Har Gow

How can you have siu mai without har gow? These translucent goodies always have me mesmerized. The filling is a lot less finely chopped in comparison to that of the siu mai, which meant you could really taste the plumpness of the prawns.

Wasabi Prawns

Onto something more innovative, the prawns in this case were wrapped in a thin, airy and crispy pastry. The wasabi mayo drizzled on top had a good wasabi kick to it, something that a lot of restaurants are lacking.

Steamed Beef Tripes

Back to the more traditional side of things, the tripes had a quite light and delicate flavour.

Sticky Rice with Chicken

One of my friend has never tried sticky rice with chicken, so we decided to order it for her sake.

Sticky Rice with Chicken

Inside the glutinous rice, there was a filling of chicken and mushrooms that had been braised in soy beforehand. If you were looking for something more carb heavy, this would be a good pick.

Vermicelli Rolls with Prawns

The vermicelli rolls were silky smooth, and contrasted well with the freshness of the prawns.

Red Bean Cake

We originally wanted to order some egg tarts for dessert, however they had already sold out unfortunately, which meant we settled for the red bean cake. Nonetheless, these were quite light in texture and not overly sweet.

Salted Egg Yolk Lava Buns

These buns were quite hard to hunt down, only because the friend that wanted to order them thought they were custard buns rather than salted egg yolk ones, but we did manage to get our hands on them, thankfully.

Salted Egg Yolk Lava Buns

The crispy top were reminiscent of both the roast pork buns at Tim Ho Wan, and pineapple buns sold in Chinese bakeries. The bun itself was quite sweet, and the salted egg yolk centre was rich and creamy.

Secret Kitchen offers a somewhat less traditional but more enjoyable experience than most yum cha restaurants, and that comes from the atmosphere and service mostly. The food may not be particularly authentic, but they were all enjoyable, and it would be a good place to take those who have never had yum cha before. Remember to make a booking though, especially on the weekend, as the restaurant has become quite popular.

How to get here:
Secret Kitchen is located on level 3 of Doncaster Westfield Shoppingtown, which is accessible via many buses.

Secret Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Murasaki Tanuki

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.

Takoyaki – $6.50

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.

Curry Udon – $11.50

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!

Miso Soup served with the Bento
King Salmon with Miso Bento Set – $19.00

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.

Murasaki Tanuki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tipo 00

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.

Bread with Whipped Ricotta

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.

Polenta Fritta – $9.00

The polenta chips were creamy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and the generous sprinkling of rosemary parmesan was delectable.

Octopus

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.

Burrata – $16.00

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.

Calamari – $19.00

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.

Casarecce – $25.00

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.

Tagliolini Al Nero – $28.00

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.

Gnocchi Di Patate – $32.00

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.

Pappardelle – $34.00

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.

Tipo 00 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato