Thursday, February 12, 2015

Eat. @ Jardin Tan and Play @ Botanical Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra 3004 ph (03) 9691 3888

A day out to the Botanical Gardens brought an impromptu visit to Jardin Tan, the Shannon Bennett backed Vietnamese fusion restaurant that opened in the Gardens last year.  As such we didn't have a booking, and so could only order from the bar menu, but we didn't have any expectations so it wasn't a big deal.

We started off with some drinks, including an expensive but delicious coconut ($7).  Lemonades from a large dispenser was refreshing at $4 a glass.

And followed with a Vietnamese coffee.  Happy that it was a traditional Vietnamese drip coffee, although I did see other ice coffees served a cute beaker. 

We started with Cha GioThit Heo ($14) which was a Vietnamese pork spring roll.  This was quite delicious and had a bit of a spicy kick to them.  (Even without the chilli garnishing the rolls).  Unfortunately we only found that out after giving one to Bubs only to have him start crying and polish off an entire glass of lemonade to put out the fire.  Bad parents!

Next up another spicy dish in Ga Chien ($18) which was fried chicken with a firecracker sauce.  This was really more-ish and I definitely would have liked more for the price but I also recognise that this is no ordinary eatery at your local park.

We also shared a Banh Mi Tom Hum ($22) which was their lobster roll. This was very delicious.

We then ordered a dessert platter ($9) which came with 3 desserts randomly picked out by our server from their selection.  Macaron Monster however was very keen on their creme brulee so we ordered one of those as well ($4).  There was a mousse with passionfruit curd, a raspberry cream filled choux pastry and a coconut and palm sugar panna cotta if I recall correctly.  

After that we had a fabulous walk through the botanical gardens.  New things we have noticed include a gondola ride in the waterways ($65 for a family) and the children's play area.  We brought along our Timmy Junior which is a toy I remember from my childhood and the kids had a ball flying it and learning about kinetic energy from their science geek parents.

We returned to the outside cafe area of Jardin Tan for afternoon tea, and had a couple of donuts (blackberry jam and passionfruit curd).......

as well as some choc tops to cool off after an afternoon of fun.

All in all an afternoon at the botanical gardens is a free, fun place to go with kids.  The addition of Jardin Tan means that you have the option of dining in style, with delicious food in a lovely setting.  The food and prices are far, far away from what I remember of my own visits to the gardens when I was little!

Jardin Tan on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 6, 2015

Eat. @ Tall Timber

60 Commercial Rd, Prahran 3181 ph (03) 9676 9333

I won a voucher at the gorgeous Lou Salon on Greville St in our kinder's trivia night raffle, and took the opportunity to visit Tall Timber on my way there (sans kids!).  It was so nice having their beautiful mocha ($3.8) by myself!

The Brekkie Board ($16.5) is always perfect for someone like me who is no good at making up my mind, and a little bit of everything is always fun!  The Lime and Coconut museli that they use from The Wild was a standout.

I brought the kids back on the way to Prahran Market during the school holidays and besides having the brekkie board again we tried the lunch menu BBQ Pulled Pork brioche burger ($18).  A pretty burger ticking all the right boxes with a smokey pulled pork and pretty and refreshing slaw salad.

We ended with a sweet ice chocolate......

....and something sweet.  A Cobb Lane carrot cake hit the spot.  I love love love their carrot cake!

Another wonderful cafe for Prahran locals!

Tall Timber on Urbanspoon

Toilets - yes
Highchair - yes

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Eat. @ The Merrywell (Downstairs Burger Bar)

Clarendon Street, Crown, South Bank ph (03) 9292 7468

During our "staycation" in Melbourne over Summer, we took advantage of the free tram zone in the Melbourne CBD and zipped all over town.  An impromptu visit to the South Bank area landed us at The Merrywell during happy hour so we ended up with burgers and fries for dinner.

The Happy Hour deal is pretty good.  For $15 you get a burger and pint.  There's a variety of beer on offer at The Merrywell but for us it was colourful pints of soft drinks with paper straws.

Hubby and the kids had the K.I.S.S Burgers, with a robust meat patty, mustard, ketchup, onions, pickles, mayo and cheddar.  The patties are meaty and juicy and the burgers were simple as its name implies but pretty darn fabulous.

I had the MW Club which was a "Sam-wich" with buttermilk battered chicken, bacon, cheddar, tomato, and mayo in a damper roll.  A good alternative if you don't want a beef burger. 

Of course we had a side of fries and onion rings ($8) which went well with the burger and drinks.  Perfect bar meal. 

We also ordered a salted caramel shake ($7) which came with swirls of cream and a cherry on top.  Unfortunately when I took a sip I found a shard of glass (fortunate as it wasn't one of the kids who got it).  The staff was good though and was apologetic and it was replaced with a new one. 

A great burger bar, extra good during Happy Hour and a cool place to hang out after work.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 30, 2015

Eat. @ Pop Up Scroll

86 Smith Street, Collingwood 3066 ph 0433 849 281

The next new "old thing" in sweets has "popped up" in Collingwood in the form of Pop Up Scroll. 

I'm always up for something sweet so Bubs and I dropped by for an early afternoon tea the other day. 

We were served by a couple of friendly ladies with cute little aprons and they were very nice to Bubs.  He generally only likes to lick the icing off the top of cupcakes and has the ability to leave the cake perfectly in shape (eww), but to my surprise he wolfed down the mini scroll and we had to get another  (bigger) one which he again devoured!

The scrolls ($4.5, with mini versions for $3) are brioche based which explains the buttery softness. The original cream cheese is simply tasty and I can't blame Bubs for wanting more!

We bought some more scrolls to take home after our afternoon feast.  The Cherry and Pistachio had a delicious caramel topping that made me want to lick the screen of my camera just from taking a photo of it!

The Cherry, Cream Cheese and Gingerbread was a bit fancier and had a lovely Christmas-y feel to it. 

And last but not least we tried the chocolate and caramel.  Couldn't keep the little fingers from my photos, that's how much they liked it!

Can't wait to go back and try more flavours.  I am inspired to try my hand at making some at home too!

Pop Up Scroll on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 26, 2015

Eat. @ Kong BBQ

599 Church St Richmond 3121 ph (03) 9427 1307

We went and tried out Kong with our "Carnivore" friends Matt and Jo.  Matt works near there and is a veteran but this was our first outing to the "Korean Chin Chin", which has been on our radar but we've not had the chance to visit as yet.  Similar to Chin Chin, Kong has a no reservation policy, and we had a one hour wait from leaving our names at the door to being seated, which was spent pleasantly down the road at the pub.  A coffee martini later we stuck to the exotic but non alcoholic drinks once we got back to Kong. 

Once we've ordered, the food came at a quick but not rushed pace.  We started off with the famous Buns, firstly filled with soft shell crab ($6 each), with a salted duck egg relish and coriander.  The flavours were amazing, and I am most impressed with buns which were fluffy and soft, yet not soggy and not dense, a difficult task apparently as it's more often than not done badly.  These buns were perfect!

Likewise the Spicy Pork Belly with pickleed cucumber and Kong crazy horse chilli ($6 each) were to die for.  The crackling was super crunchy and had us asking for more!

Next we had the Hot wings with Gochujang and Chipotle ($12 for 6 pieces), crispy wings with really a spicy sauce.  I still prefer my standard KFC, but this was a great spicy version.

No Korean meal is complete without some Bulgolgi of course, so we ordered the Bossam Bulgolgi Black Angus ($28).  The BBQ meats here is so beautifully done.  

Did I mention this was a meat-fest?  So of course there were ribs.  BBQ Baby Back ribs ($36 full rack) with that crazy horse chilli again.  Very more-ish, and yes my mouth was on fiiiiire!

We did have a non meat dish, a trio of kimchi ($7) showcasing the different types of pickled cabbages and mushrooms Kong has for offer.

I regretted not having dessert at Chin Chin so even though we were quite full we did not leave without this time!  I did choose the Black sesame ice-cream ($11) thinking it's a refreshing dessert which it is, however there were 4 big scoops (I'm not complaining seriously) so it's a good dessert to share!

Jo and I also both wanted to try the Coconut Sago with passionfruit pineapple triffle ($12), which was a lovely combination and a great asian twist to the traditional triffle.

And last but not least Matt, who is American, had the Apple and Walnut tart ($12) with miso butterscotch and Japanese whiskey ice-cream, amongst jokes of Americans and their apple pies.

Another lovely night out to another great addition to Melbourne's food spots.  Friday nights are hip and noisy and probabaly not very kid friendly, but like Chin Chin, I would be game to bring the kids for early dinner especially since my bunch is really into Korean food right now.  Can't wait to come back and try other things on the menu, and of course for more of those buns!

Kong BBQ on Urbanspoon