Sunday, April 30, 2006

New Royal Garden

Introduction: On corner of High St Rd and Blackburn Rd, Syndal
Ambience: Always crowdwd and bustling

Service: As efficient as it can be

Food: There is an a la carte menu and a reasonably priced takeaway menu but we went for the Yum Cha (7 days a week) They have a good variety of dishes. I particulrly liked the roast suckling pig and the pork stuffed eggplant. unfortunately I felt the majority of the dishes I tested were somewhat lacking in taste. The sesame prawn toast was luke warm as were the spring rolls and also tasted the worse for that. The sago pudding dessert was also a disappointment Our host, Bang Chua was extremely accomodating and re deep fried the spring rolls but it should not have been necessary

Wine: BYO or licenced

Price: About $25 will get you a pretty good meal

Comments: A long time favourite with a large Chinese clientelle failed to please me on this occassion.

Score: 13.5/20

Le Petit Bourgeois

Introduction: A small surprisingly good suburban French restaurant at 330 Waverley Rd, E Malvern
Ambience: Pleasantly decorated, well spaced tables, gave me the feeling that this was a nice place to be. A homely atmosphere

Service: We were well looked after by the wife of the chef

Food: Classical french style. The menu is not large with interesting meat and fish dihes. For entrees ($15)the Scallops in a rich cream sauce were excellent but surpassed by the crab presented 3 ways
Mains ($26) the Kangaroo was outstanding the lamb excellent and the confit of duck about average.
Desserts ($11) also very good both the souffle and the Il flottante worth having for the sweet toothed
Wine: BYO corkage $3/person They have a small list at reasonable prices

Price: 3 courses are about $60/head

Comments: Well worth a second visit. I really liked it

Score: 15/20

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Introduction: On the foreshore at 40 Jacka Boulevard, almost directly behind Luna Park with pleasing views over the Bay from most tables.
Ambience: This is a comfortably appointed relaxed homely restaurant.
Service: Unhurried, informed, unobtrusive and obliging

Food: For starters, at around $19, we loved the crispy soft shell crab with (not very) spicy pork sausage, baby leaves baked beans and caper vinaigrette. Not so much to my taste were the black mussels 'acqua pazza' steamed with white wine, tomato, fennel seed and parsley.
For mains (around $37) I tried the whole baby snapper, perfectly cooked, the barbecue lamb rump, with creamy mash, baby vegetables, lentils in a rosemary garlic jus also excellent. The Queensland leader prawn are very large but still require some dissecting skills to get the most from them. I also tasted the Battered King George whiting and the Roasted best end veal which wre all to be recommended. After all this I tried only one dessert (mostly $16.5) from the very attravtive list - the Cappuchino creme brulee with zabaglione and a sugar pastry twist. This bears little resemblance to a classical creme brulee but nonetheless had a lovely creamy texture and pleasing coffee taste
Wine: There is an extensive list from about $40 upwards with many French, Spanish and Italian as well as Australian wines. The Yarra Valley is surprisingly underrepresented in the red wine sections. We enjoyed a Margaret River, Franklin Station, Cab Sav Merlot

Price: Upwards of $55/head

Comments: One of Melbournes best restaurants
One surprise their chips are actually pieces of roast potato!!
Score: 16/20

Friday, April 21, 2006

Tien Tien

Introduction: A Vietnamese restauant with two sites. We visited the Barkly St St.Kilda establishment
Ambience: Set in a large, noisy, barely furnished room not really distinguishable from dozens of other restaurants of this type
simple but quite pleasant
Service: Unexceptional - not at all bad but not particularly good

Food: Wide range of entrees and mains with chefs' specials on blackboards on the walls. Stuffed eggplant ($6) drenched in a heavy black bean sauce lacked taste however the Lettuce Bun, another name for san chao bao, with plum sauce was very good as were the spring rolls. The garlic prawns were also reasonably tasty.

The deep fried flounder ($19.5) was cooked to a crisp so it was hard to find any fish! They have a "Must Try" (which is always a Mekong River dish) in each section of the menu. Seduced by this I tried their Mekong River Beef which was a slices of beef and pieces of tomato and peppers in a mild chilli sauce - hardly spectacular!!
Wine: They have a reasonable but also unexciting list. BYO corkage $2.5 per bottle.
Price: Entrees about $6 Mains about $18
Comments: A reasonable suburban Vietnamese restaurant Amused to see the Vegetarian section Mekong River -Must Try dish has a footnote Not recommended for vegetarians!!!!

Score: 13/20

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Vao Doi

Introduction: At 300 High St. Kew. Apparently the name means "New Start" which it was for the owners when they originally set up the restaurant in Victoria Street
Ambience: A big bustling rather peculiarly decorated restaurant

Service: Nothing special

Food: This is sort of 'upper class' Vietnamese at slightly higher prices for those in the neighbourhood who can afford not to go to Victoria Street

Rice paper pork and prawn rolls $7 are a nice appetizer but I preferred the South Vietnamese sugar cane prawns $17 for four. The roast quail is also excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the southern beef and coleslaw salad. I found the ginger duck casserole disappointing - it was hard to tell that it really was a duck. Both the grilled pork with rice noodle cake and the chicken with basil and cashews were reasonable without being exciting.
Wine: They have quite an extensive wine list for a Vietnamese restaurant or BYO

Price: Entrees about $7 mains about $18 to $25

Comments: Upmarket Vietnamese

Score: 14/20

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Introduction: Owned by next door restaurant (Tiamo) at 330 Lygon St Carlton where Cafe culture is booming
Ambience: It's a cafe/restaurant and has no pretensions to be otherwise

Service: OK

Food: Really tasty. Seperate kitchen from Tiamo. The duck and mushroom risotto was very good, the tortellini tartuffo excellent and the spaghetti don giovanni, really marinara, also very good

Wine: Very limited list. BYO if you want anything special

PriceVery reasonable - around $15 for mains

Comments: Excellent for a spot of lunch