Ribs & Burgers

American BBQ was all the craze a few years back, and Ribs & Burgers was one of the first few restaurant that introduced the cuisine to Melbourne. A lot has changed since then, and Ribs & Burgers is a fully fledged chain restaurant at this point, with four joints sprawled across Melbourne.

Pork Baby Back (Large) – $34.90

The full rack of baby back ribs smelt amazing when it landed on our table. The meat was falling off the bone, and the sweet caramelisation from the grill added an extra layer of flavour to the ribs. This was definitely worth the inevitable sticky fingers.

Chips

The chips were nothing to be scoffed at either, golden and crunchy, this may push the meal from being rich to decadent, but hey, you’ll never find me complaining about chips this good.

Beef Ribs – $23.90

The beef ribs were basted in the same signature BBQ sauce of Ribs & Burgers, but the result was completely different. The meaty flavour was a lot stronger in this case, and although it lacked the tenderness of the pork baby back, it would be ideal for someone who is a serious carnivore.

Apple and Cabbage Salad

Balance is key, and the crisp and light apple and cabbage salad was the logical counterpart to the rich beef ribs. Eating bites of the salad between the ribs ensured that your arteries aren’t too overly clogged by the end of the meal.

Compared to some of the more upscale steakhouses, Ribs & Burgers is a no-frill sort of deal, and the ribs remain tasty after all this time. It may not be an ideal setting if you’re trying to seriously impress someone, however, the laid-back vibe makes it perfect for a quick weekday dinner, and that’s clearly been working out for Ribs and Burgers.

How to get here:
I visited Ribs & Burgers at its Hawthorn location, which is located on Glenferrie Road, about 10 minutes walk from Glenferrie Station.

Ribs & Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Enter Neighbour

Enter Neighbour has recently celebrated its first birthday, being situated in Camberwell, where there are plenty of cafes, it certainly takes something special to stand out. In an attempt to do so, Enter Neighbour revamped their menu to focus on high quality produce, while also jumping on the boozy brunch train, where for $35, you are able to have an unlimited number of cocktails with your food.

The space may initially seem small, however, there is also another room as well as courtyard, allowing the cafe to accommodate both smaller and larger groups.

Soy Flat White – $4.30

I’ve recently changed my coffee order to soy flat white, purely because I enjoy the nuttiness from soy milk, but also not enough to have it in the fridge at home, not being a soy milk drinker myself. Although there was no fancy rosetta present due to the difficulty of creating decent foam with soy milk, Enter Neighbour uses quality beans from Axil Coffee Roasters, and the resulting drink is full and robust.

Summer Passion

Onto the boozier side of things, we had the cocktail special called Summer Passion. This was seriously Summer in a cup, or rather, a cute jar in this case. A mix of passionfruit, pineapple, gin and spritz, it was light, refreshing, and easy to drink without being overly sweet.

Nanban Chicken – $18.5

The Nanban Chicken at Enter Neighbour has all the essential elements that are present in the traditional Japanese dish, however, the changes made by the chef meant that it was a lot lighter and healthier. From the light batter of the chicken to the use of black rice, which also added a ton of texture to the plate. The gribiche sauce, which is typically found in French cuisine, went surprisingly well with the dish, offering some acidity to brighten everything up, and tied it all together nicely.

Benedict Cumberbatch – $19.00

The benedict featured pulled lamb, which was tender and flavoursome, and I also really enjoyed the contrast between the pickled cabbage and the rich hollandaise. Although the hollandaise did lack the sweetness from the saffron which was promised on the menu. The pumpkin puree also felt like an afterthought, which I don’t think matched particularly well with the other flavours on the plate. However, each element was executed well, and with some small changes, this has the potential of being a winning dish.

Hand Cut Chips w/ Sriracha Aioli – $7.5

The chips at Enter Neighbour were of the rustic variety, and while they were cooked well, and the centre was quite fluffy, I did find the portion size to be on the smaller side, especially considering the price tag, which was surprising considering that everything else we’ve tried by this point was quite well-priced.

Being away from the hustle and bustle of Camberwell means that Enter Neighbour has the benefit of holding the charm of a local cafe, but with a menu that is much more sophisticated than your average brunch hotspot down the road. The offering of boozy brunch gives it another edge, and is something that will be especially enjoyable for a birthday celebration or the like.

If you are feeling like avoiding the crowd, why not venture out a bit further and give Enter Neighbour a go?

How to get here:
Enter Neighbour is located on Camberwell Road, catch tram #75 and get off at Summerhill Road/Toorak Road, and the cafe is just two minutes walk away.

I dined as a guest of Enter Neighbour.

Enter Neighbour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fukuryu Ramen

It’s crazy to think that not that long ago, it was near impossible to get a good bowl of ramen in Melbourne. The situation is definitely a lot loss dire now, with ramen joints popping out all across town. Fukuryu Ramen was, however, one of the first decent restaurants that specialises in ramen, and I was interested to see how it fares against the newcomers some years later.

Red Dragon Ramen – $15.90

Wanting something with some kick, I went for the Red Dragon Ramen, which is said to be the spiciest ramen on offer. The noodles were slightly curly, and had a good bite to it. The soup was indeed, quite spicy, definitely capable of making you sweat as the heat builds up. Besides the spiciness though, the soup base was also full of umami, and quite thick, benefiting from a long and slow simmer of the pork bone broth. The trimmings of chashu were fatty and satisfying, and the egg was also cooked perfectly.

I’m happy to report that Fukuryu Ramen has stood the test of time, and is a reliable place to visit for a good ol’ bowl of ramen, especially now that we’re finally getting some cooler weather!

How to get here:
Fukuryu Ramen is located on Corrs Lane, which is just off Little Bourke Street; a short 7 minutes walk from Melbourne Central.

Fukuryu Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The White Elephant

Since opening its doors just over a year ago, White Elephant has become a local favourite for authentic Sri Lankan food. I don’t have too much experience with the cuisine myself, and was excited to try it out.

Lamb Curry – $18.90

The aromatic lamb curry may seem small, but the large chunks of lamb and potato meant that it was actually quite substantial. The lambs were cooked until tender, and the fluffy potatoes really took on the creaminess of the sauce.

String Hoppers Set – $18.00

We ordered String Hoppers out of curiosity, having never seen the dish elsewhere. It came with coconut sambol, which had a strong coconut flavour from the use of both coconut flesh and coconut milk, and added some crunch to the curry too.

String Hoppers Set – $18.00

The chicken curry was also part of the set, and I was surprised to see chicken on the bone being used. Although this meant that it was slightly more difficult to eat, the meat was extremely flavoursome, especially when you drizzle some of the sauce on top, which had quite a thin consistency. We thought that this was similar to a Malaysian curry, although the sauce consistency was quite different.

String Hoppers Set – $18.00

The string hoppers themselves turned out to be pancakes that were made of rice noodles akin to vermicelli. Although unusual, I did find this to be a little salty, especially when eaten with the chicken curry.

Eggplant Moju – $15.00

Our vegetarian dish of the night was eggplant moju, and this was unanimously voted best dish of the night. The pieces of the eggplant were first pan fried to result in great caramelisation, before being finished off in the pan with a mix of spices including cinnamon, making this a light and refreshing contrast to the heartier meat curries. The cooking method actually reminded me of Yuxiang eggplant, a Chinese dish of eggplant cooked in a soy-based sauce, although the flavours are quite different.

Godamba Roti – $3.50

We originally wanted to try out the Pol Roti, but were told by the waitress that that it is not to everyone’s taste, and were talked into getting the Godamba Roti instead, which was essentially a plain roti. This did set a good benchmark though, the roti was fresh and flaky, and was perfect for dipping into all of the curries.

Cheese Roti – $4.00

The Cheese Roti is the much more indulgent cousin of the Godamba Roti, and the stretchy cheese meant that this was good enough to eat on its own, but even better when eaten with the curries.

Yellow Rice – $10.00

We were not going to try the yellow rice given the number of other carbs we had already ordered, but this is a signature side dish at White Elephant, and the waitress insisted on serving us with a smaller portion to try out, which we happily obliged with. The subtle creaminess of the coconut milk meant that this was mild and fragrant, and again, great for soaking up the curry sauces.

The food did take a while to come out at White Elephant, given that it is a mother-daughter operation. With only the daughter being the floor staff also meant it could be difficult to get her attention, especially when the restaurant was busy.

Living in the other side of town means that I don’t have the luxury of dropping by White Elephant to grab some takeaways for dinner, but the enticing and unique combination of flavours of Sri Lankan food has guaranteed my return.

How to get here:
White Elephant is located on Barkly Street, catch bus #220 and get off at Clarke Street/Barkly Street, and the restaurant is a minute walk away.

I dined as a guest of The White Elephant.

The White Elephant Sri Lankan Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Colourful Yunnan

Colourful Yunnan was a pioneer in bringing Yunnan cuisine to Melbourne. Starting off with its Carlton location, the restaurant has since expanded into the suburbs. Even in Box Hill, where there are Chinese restaurants sprawled in every corner, Colourful Yunnan has found its footing, and attracts a moderate following on any day of the week.

Pao Lu Da – $6.50

As far as I’m aware, Pao Lu Da can only be found in Colourful Yunnan. Originating from Thailand and Myanmar, the coconut drink contains sago and torn pieces of baguette, which soaks up the creaminess of the drink. If you’re a fan of coconut, this is definitely worth trying.

Rice Noodle Soup with Stewed Pork Intestines – $13.80

Now this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but pork intestine, when done right, is something that I am quite fond of. The intestine can be a bit fatty at times, however, the spiciness of the soup does a good job of balancing that out. Although I wish there wasn’t so much chili oil floating on top, which I actually scooped out into a bowl so that I’m not drinking oil the whole time.

With its updated interior and expansive menu, it’s easy to see that Colourful Yunnan has found a winning formula of a restaurant. However, I do think that the quality of food is better at Tina’s Noodles right around the corner, with each variation of soup having a distinctive flavour at a similar price point.

How to get here:
Colourful Yunan is located inside Box Hill Shopping, get off at Box Hill Station and head upstairs, and the restaurant can be found in the same complex.

Colourful Yunnan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Punjabi Curry Cafe

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Curries is one of the ultimate comfort food in my book. Meat and vegetables cooked down in a large pot, with a variety of herbs and spices, and paired with plenty of rice and naan, ticking off everything that’s needed to create perfect Winter dinner. Punjabi Curry Cafe certainly looked promising, with its dark and sleek setting, and a tandoor situated towards the back of the restaurant.

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Pani Puri (8 pcs) – $7.99

Pani Puri is a common street food in India. The delicate puri shell is filled with a mixture of potato, onion and chutney.

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Pani Puri (8 pcs) – $7.99

Although small, each bite created a firework of flavour inside your mouth.

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Clockwise from the top: Beef Masala – $15.99; Butter Chicken – $14.99; Punjabi Kadai Paneer – $14.99
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Beef Masala – $15.99

I really enjoyed the beef masala, the gravy was thick and fragrant, and the meat were very tender.

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Butter Chicken – $14.99

I use butter chicken as my benchmark for all Indian restaurants, and the rendition at Punjabi Curry Cafe, although creamy, was nothing to write home about. The pieces of chicken were a little dry, and although there was plenty of sauce, it was quite run of the mill, for lack of a better term.

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Punjabi Kadai Paneer – $14.99

We wanted to try something a little more adventurous and landed on the Kadai Paneer, the sliced paneer were cooked in a thick tomato based gravy with a heavy hit of spices, Kadai masala in particular. It was definitely an interesting dish to say the least, and its lightness was appreciated considering that the other curries were on the heavy side of things.

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Saffron Rice – $4.99

The fluffy saffron rice was the perfect vehicle for all of the curries.

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Garlic Cheese Naan – $7.99

Fresh the tandoor, the greasy garlic cheese naan was delicious on its own, and even better when dipped into the sauce of the curries.

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Pista Kulfi – $6.99

We ended the meal with some pistachio kulfi, i.e. Indian ice cream. The ice cream had the texture of a solid sorbet, and the pistachio flavour was quite prominant.

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Punjabi Curry Cafe is what you would expect from a neighbourhood Indian restaurant, the curries were of decent quality, and it would be a great place to hit up whether you’re feeling like a heavy-duty Indian dinner out, or just looking to grabbing some takeaway on the way home.

How to get here:
Punjabi Curry Cafe is located on Johnston Street, catch tram #86 Waterfront City Docklands to Bundoora RMIT and get off at Johnston Street/Smith Street, and the restaurant is a short three minutes walk away.

I dined as a guest of Punjabi Curry Cafe.

Punjabi Curry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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