Thursday, 25 February 2010

Capital Kitchen, Chadstone

Capital Kitchen provides an opportunity to the wandering zombie wage slaves to absorb some oxygen and vitamin D in the soul-destroying weatherless biosphere that is Chadstone. It’s done well to please the tastes of the uniform characters that frequent the mega shopping centre. Edgy enough with it’s clashing JB Hi Fi industrial lighting and faux mounted antler heads with a sales section that sells things for gourmet food sounds out this place is serious about its superficial and food.

It provides a strong case to not settle for the food court but you’ll over pay for regular café fare made from fresh, quality products. So why get a whopper when their grilled cheeseburger comes with tomato relish and brioche type buns? A toasted ham and tomato when you can opt for the club sandwich featuring poached chicken, egg, bacon, avocado and lemon mayonnaise, or steak sanger with fancy carmelised onion bread and onion jam? Because they are actually pretty good.

Won’t completely fill your void of emptiness but it’ll help. And make you look a little less anaesthetised. Maybe even slightly joyous.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? Shop G041, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone, VIC
What? Lunch around $15

Left to Right : Capital Kitchen Sandwich, Steak sandwich, Grilled Cheese Burger

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Rich Maha, Vermont

Rich Maha version 1 is the place that Vermont South Shopping Centre can thank for putting it on the map. From humble beginnings, the empire has expanded to a CBD and Geelong offshoot that could well be the Sofia’s of cheap, reliable Indian/Malaysian/Sri Lankan cuisine.

As you’d expect, there’s tandoori, tikka, vindaloo, butter chicken, korma, freshly made roti and dosai. Then there’s the pasanda curry of cashew, cream and lamb for something a little bit different with that distinctively buttery, savoury nutty flavour. Or splash out on the Malaysian fish head curry, piled with creamy eggplant and tomatoes, that has a depth of flavour only a quality fish stock can provide. Desserts limited, but the liquid sweets of mango lassi yoghurt drink, milo, tea tare or ice should satisfy.

With the amount of customers, rich this place certainly is. Vermont would be poorer without it.

3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? Shop 3, 499 Burwood Hwy, Vermont South Shopping, Vermont South, VIC
What? Around $10

Left to Right : Beef Vindaloo, Lamb Pasanda, Fish Head Curry, Roti, Thosai, Rice, Mango Lassi, Tea Ice

Friday, 19 February 2010

Blue Dish, Highett

One French person’s trash is another Frenchy’s treasure. Highett’s much loved French Corner recently closed but in it’s place, a neat café of granite tabletops and simple chestnut bentwoods as risen from the ashes. It might look a little different, but the simple menu is still firmly rooted in Paris, or some other French city. Crossiants, baguettes, eggs Provencale, soufflé and gruyere, croque, and French toast to give you a flavour.

Those looking for sumo sized meals will think Thierry Henry might be in the kitchen cheating you, but these uncomplicated, homestyle dishes will leave you satisfied. Eggs scrambled slowly in the pan providing different temperatures and textures of white and yolk, delicious on sourdough and even better with a side of bacon. Hammy Lyonnaise snag with embedded shards of pistachio come with baked beans that are so not SPC. From the specials board, there might be a delightfully light sweet corn fritter, or a heavier gnocchi with a beef burgundy. Finish it off with coffee that’s so good you’ll get a takeaway.

You’ll be hard pressed to find reasons not to treasure this corner as much as the last. Unless you’re an Irish World Cup fan.

3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 326 Highett Rd, Highett, VIC
What? Smalls $3.50 - $6, Large $12 - $17

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Suzuki Night Markets, Queen Victoria Markets

Pry yourself off the couch, away from Loser, Two and a Half Men or RSPCA Animal Rescue and spend the night at the Queen Vic Markets discovering minority cuisines prepared by real Aussies, arts, crafts and other stuff you don’t really need.

Every Wednesday evening during summer is your chance to spend some quality time out of the office and under the tin shed sauna surrounded by a carnival atmosphere and musical entertainment. Get in early for a plastic chair and avoid the crowds for a Nepalese or Caribbean grilled chicken, a paella or two, over priced gozleme, true Mex or outback tucker fresh off the coat of arms. Colours of the rainbow gelato and homemade lemonade slushees unsurprisingly popular on days over 25 degrees. So much to try, and if you manage to eat your way through everything you’d fit nicely on any one of those Wednesday night prime time telly programs.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? Queen Victoria Markets, 513 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, VIC
What? Around $10

Left to Right: Gozleme, Mexican Beef, Outback platter, Nepalese Grilled Wings, Nepalese Grilled Chicken, Caribbean Chicken

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sofia’s, Camberwell

I’ve got a guilty pleasure. I like Sofia’s… and after an absence that stretches as far back as seventh September two thousand and four, I’d forgotten how enjoyable the place was. It won’t get Michelin Star recognition but if they did for value Sofia’s would surely get three. So it’s a little daggy, the wooden tables and chairs well worn and has experienced the health scare that a Vietnamese bakery knows all too well. But how could you not smile when they bring out the platter of crumbed fried calamari that glistens and has more rings than a Zamels store. Being Italian there’s the usual Western selection of pastas and pizzas with toppings that are more than generous. Then there’s dessert, where gelato is served like they are forever indebted to you in these disproportionately small stainless steal sundae bowls. This guilty pleasure is gonna take another 5 years and 145 days to work off the weight.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? 857 Burke Road, Camberwell, VIC
What? Pastas around $14, Pizzas $17

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Auntie’s Dumpling, Carnegie

Auntie’s Dumplings brings to mind that old dilemma… Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Whether you had your dumpling cherry popped at the popular Glen Waverley spot or the Carnegie relative, you're confronted with the same delicious options. Be it the fried pork or chicken and prawn dumplings, the braised pork belly in noodle soup or rice, fried sliced rice cake or xiao long bao, they are destined to please. There might be a stark contrast in skin tones and eye shapes in the clientele of the two suburbs, but it goes to show the love for the mighty dumpling is highly desired by all nations.

3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 68 Koornang Rd, Carnegie, VIC
What? Under $10

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Espresso Elements, Hampton

Having something at Espresso Elements might give you a Sherlock Holmes moment. One, read menu and navigate special blends. Two, deal with indecisiveness to place order. Three, receive coffee. Four, pick up beverage and place to lips and consume. Time to gratification: instant. Time in memory: a bloody long while. Serving coffees and real hot chocolates that are right up there with Melbourne’s elite, you won’t be complaining about their methods. Chance of return: highly likely.

4 / 5 yums!
Where? 305 Hampton Street, Hampton, 3188
What? Coffees, Teas Chocolate between $3-5

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