Most of us have tried Mexican food. It’s hardly the realm of the culinary wanker, tacos, enchiladas & nachos are what we all made as kids from Old El Paso packs! However, an authentic Mexican meal? No most of us haven’t tried one. So it was decided we needed to visit Los Amates to find out what food is really like in Mehico! Also we brought a swag of our food loving friends.
When we sat down there was a lot of looking at our surroundings, we appeared to be in a room with murals painted on the walls of skeletons and other ‘Día de los Muertos’ decorations.
For starters we got the ‘Sopes’ – corn based tarts topped with beans, sauce, cheese and guacamole. Tasty little buggers, but nothing to brag about.
Next came the nachos: they come in small, large or chicken! A fact which some of us won’t get over. As odd as it may seem this was the highlight meal for most of us as the chicken was done in such a lovely manner (with tomato and spices) and went so well with the delicious nachos. It was a great all round dish, and we’d recommend sharing a plate for starters.
For mains we all shared 4 different varieties of taco; lamb, beef & chorizo, pork – Al Pastor and mushrooms in cheese. The lamb was surprisingly tasty, served with a simple salsa. The beef & chorizo was also a favourite, the pork one was interesting but we weren’t really fans of the shredded dry meat, also we all had too much of the (very!) hot sauce which came with it, most of us simply assumed it was just another salsa….we were wrong! The mushrooms in cheese was a great option to break up the meat and diffuse chilli with, however if you’re thinking of ordering it as a standalone meal we discourage you strongly as it is very rich. There is so much (delicious) cheese and it is a heavy, rich dish.
For dessert we all shared the ‘Tre Leches’ cake, the caramel egg-custard and the corn flan. Each was great in it’s own way, the milk cake sweet but not too heavy, the caramel custard rich and sweet, the corn flan was surprisingly light, sweet and served warm.
This is a great place to check out, the meals aren’t too cheap however, and if you’re looking to share it’s cheaper to select several meals that chose the sharing options. We are definitely going back to try the cactus. (yes you heard right!!) Also worth noting are the spectacular cocktails and sangria, a meal would not be complete here without one so don’t come when you’re stingy.
Danielle – 3.5 chicken Nachos
Natalie – 3 Tres Leches
Us looking very pleased
34 Johnston St Fitzroy
Hello there fellow foodies! Apologies for taking so long to get this on the net but we have been coming to terms with what is easily our favourite place since we started eating the planet. Cafe Barcelona is located right next to St Kilda beach in a small nook amongst other restaurants and cafe’s, we were lucky enough to find this diamond in the rough thanks to a twitter follower! There are so many great options but in the end we got the option C Lunch Banquet! 4 decadent dishes of glorious tapas bliss!
Before we get into it we’d like to give a disclaimer for those who haven’t had much experience with tapas; yes, it is a collection of small snack like dishes, but no you cannot just plough your way through 10 of them like at yum cha! Tapas are generally speaking much richer, more decadent sncks. There’s a lot of deep frying and bread based things. You should probably only start of with a small selection and then work your way across one dish at a time. And this is coming from us, the queens of excessive eating! The drinks are splendid too, and with a bar along the window it’s worth a drop in for drinks if you’re in the area.
Berenjera con queso (Eggplant chips with aioli) - Oh. My. God. Eggplant has a gooey quality which makes it feel even oiler and bad for you than potato! We can’t understand why anyone would have chips made out of potato when these exist in the world! The batter on the chips was so crunchy and when you bit in this gooey eggplant flavor just hits you in the mouth, gorgeous!
Croquets del dia - filled with cheese and bits of chorizo. They had a tomato relish under them which contrasted with the oily deep fried crispy texture of the bite. These were interesting but could have been skipped.
Gambas al ajilio (Prawns in a garlic butter sauce) - not like you’ve ever had it before! As with the other dishes this was very rich, buttery and oh so delicious.
Chorizo al porto - Dish was absolutely to die for! Wow, I mean wow. It was served with a sweet peppery sauce, obviously the sweetness goes with the savory pork flavour of chorizo but WOW. This dish was just so perfect. The flavours balance out in such a divine way. Also the pepper in the sauce warms your throat as you eat it. It is the ultimate sweet and peppery dish.
We followed up our banquet with a spectacular dessert selection, we shared the churros with a chocolate dipping sauce and the chilli chocolate panacotta. The doughnuts were of course divine, but we’ve all tried a good deep fried churro (if you haven’t please stop reading and do so immediately) but it’s the panacotta that we’ll never forget for as long as we live! It was perfect in every way! The texture, flavour, and topped with a berry compote which contrasted the heavy creaminess of the cream.
We’re both pretty in love with this place. Anyone with a culinary bone in their body should check it out. The restaurant isn’t huge (if you want dinner on Fri/Sat we’d recommend booking ahead) but the space and décor is presented in such a warm, authentic fashion you’ll feel like you could stay for hours!
This is the first place we’ve both been happy to give 5 stars to! We’re hardly the David and Margaret of food (if we were though I’d be David – Danielle) but it’s still a huge achievement!
Danielle – 5 sangrias (woah that’d knock me out!)
Natalie – 5 pannacottas!
Spanish Tapas Restaurant
25 Fitzroy Street,
Phone (03) 9525 4244
We found the door to narnia on the way… but no golden terrace? Anyway… Sydney road once again took us on a tour of Turkey, We originally were looking for Afghani food and were under the impression from a google result that Golden Terrace was indeed Afghani food. Word on the street was that it was epic Turkish place! So in true food blog style we went with it.
Golden Terrace is set up in a friendly manner, has a family vibe about it and when we sat down for our lunch we felt at home. We decided against another banquet (the easy option) and went bat shit crazy ordering anything that caught our eye!
We started once again as you always should, with dips! They consisted of hummus (FRESH!!) tatziki, olive, capsicum and baba ghanoush. They were very nice and still better than what you would buy in the supermarket but nothing really outstanding. This was followed by grilled eggplant drowning in yogurt. The eggplant was flavorsome but didn’t have the kick we were looking for, it was a nice addition to the overall meal though!
We both ordered kebabs, one mixed donor kebab and one lamb donor kebab. Both were good, the chicken in the mixed was very tender and Natalies personal highlight. But towards the end of eating Danielle found the meat to be over seasoned.
We finished the meal with a Turkish pizza which was topped with beef, egg, tomato and green chillies. The pizza was our highlight of the meal, was beautifully seasoned and the chilli gave it the kick it needed without being a show stopper and burning our mouths. The only issue we had was the fact we had stuffed ourselves on the previous dishes, but our host got us a take away bag without even needing to be asked! (We were holding our stomachs and groaning in pain so it may have been a give away)
So all in all Golden Terrace was a good choice, there are definitely worse but not our top choice. However we would gladly go back for the pizza alone. So thanks Golden Terrace for giving us one hell of a lunch!
Natalie 3/5 eggplants!
Danielle 3/5 chillis!
803/805 Sydney Road Brunswick VIC 3056 - (03) 9386 6729
Open Daily 11am-11pm
Hello fellow gluttons! After almost a year long hiatus we are back on the food blog! In the past month we have been to TWO Turkish restaurants! Both were “Lezzetli!”as well as on Sydney road! But we will begin by gloating about Zara’s!
Zara’s is a pretty trashy looking place, but dont be deceived foodies! For the poorly chosen decor just adds to the charm of what was one of the most scrumptious banquets we have consumed! Being the scoffs we are we went with the King’s Banquet - a $30 tour of Turkey via food (no passport required!)
Of course it began with dips - the staple of any Mediterranean meal. The dips consisted of hummus, tatziki (our favorite), capsicum, and baba ghanoush. Were served with side of bread (Turkish of course) and a mini potato salad which seems out of place but the flavors complimented the dips! The dips were fresh which is something that makes all the difference as the flavour is so much more vibrant when served fresh. This was followed by a fresh, basic salad and 2 glorious dolmas with natural yogurt smothered on top, the dolmas weren’t amazing but tasty nonetheless.
Next came the first meat dish (yes you heard right!) which was a iskender kebab (from the spit) with yogurt and tomato sauce on top. The meat was…. epic! Tender, well seasoned, fresh and exactly as how it should be served.
Our second meat dish was a mixed grill of lamb cutlets, what resembled a meatball on a stick and chicken skewers on a bed of white rice. everything was juicy, perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned. You honestly couldn’t find a better mix grill around! Even the rice was perfectly cooked, it melted in your mouth and while basic was very tasty.
By this point we were in pain from eating so much, so we were looking forward to a light ending to the meal. Zara’s delivered. With bite sized Turkish delights and baklava, they were both just the right size and a standard ending to a meal. Nothing fancy just nice. We should mention that the coffee was only instant which we think was a one off and was therefore pretty shite, but we were so full of food that it didn’t impact on our overall enjoyment.
Oh also, when we arrived we got a flat tyre which ended with us setting up deck chairs on Sydney rd waiting for the RACV!
So, if you have no qualms about sitting amongst a lame decor, head on down to Zara’s where we had the meal of our life! It’s absolutely our favourite Turkish restaurant in Melbourne!
Danielle: 4/5 dolmas!
Natalie: 4/5 baklavas!
166-168 Sydney rd, Coburg VIC
It was about time we did something Eastern European! And so this is how we found ourselves at a rather swish Croatian social club in Footscray. Katarina Zrinksi has both traditional Croatian food and your standard local social club bistro fare (i.e seafood baskets, steaks the size of your head etc.) We, of course, went down the more traditional path and started with Croatian coffees. They were exciting, presented in a copper coffee server, one each with about 2 coffee’s worth in each one. However despite it being quite smooth and creamy it was amazingly strong, impossible to fall asleep after a couple of these!
We got the antipasto platter as a starter, we were met with meat, and when we say meat we mean copius amounts of cold meat and cheese along with some olives and about half a loaf of crusty bread. We devoured it. The prosciutto was tasty and almost had a smoked taste to it which was a nice twist. The salami was the typical hungarian mild salami, it was nice but nothing special as well as the kabana. The olives were homemade and there was variety of kalamatta or green olives. The feta cheese was tasy, but there could have been more to even out the meat. Of course we were quite full after this but we stuck to our guns and decided to do the whole 3 course meal!
Next were the mains, and after such a massive amount of meat we ordered… ok we ordered more meat consisting of a mixed grill and cabbage stuffed with pork. We ordered entree sizes and thank goodness we had the foresight to do so due to the fact they were still a mammoth size.The mixed grill had various meats such as grilled pork, chicken and sausages with pan fried mushrooms, chips, capsicum, coleslaw and salad. It was really nice and not too much meat which meant you could enjoy the whole dish including the capsicum etc. But we thought that the salad could’ve been bigger, and a bit better, or there could’ve been more vegies.
We almost didn’t have any dessert, but encouraging each other to stick to our guns, we soldiered on. We ordered 2 crepes, one with rose hip jam and the other covered in roasted walnuts and cinnamon, which complimented each other amazingly and both with a side of ice cream. They were both really delicious and with the ice cream perfect end to the meal.
We were both very very pleased as we rolled out of Katarina Zrinski, with full bellies and a satisfied smile. It’s a very casual atmosphere, but nicely decorated. It would suit both a formal dinner as well as a casual get together. It’s worth noting that the Croatian menu is quite short, with only about 10 things to chose from, including appetisers.
Katarina Zrinski Restaurant
72 Whitehall St
(03) 9689 5866
We decided we were tough enough to ‘take on’ a few more dishes (but not the lot) and enjoyed some faux pork ribs (recommended) taro prawns (that is faux prawn with taro paste inside, very interesting), faux chicken nuggets and the Gold and Silver balls (neither silver, nor gold).
In conclusion, this is a great place to go to if you or your friends are either vegetarian or vegan, or you simply want a change of pace with your food. It’s not authentic obviously, but is satisfying, and the faux meats and seafoods are certainly fun, and some quite convincing. At about $4 a dish Vegie Hut is a very affordable place.
Danielle: 2.5/5 Gold and Silver balls Natalie: 3.5/5 faux ribs
Vegie Hut 984 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill 03 9898 2287 www.vegiehut.com.au
As the months have gotten colder we decided to try something a little spicier. So with our Indonesian expert, Olivia in tow we moseyed on down to Nelayan Indonesian Restaurant on Swanston st. Nelayan is a very casual eatery, with a bain-marie and pre-packaged snacks and desserts at the counter. Upon entering you will almost always find Indonesian people snacking away on the food that they miss from home, and it’s always a good sign to find the natives of the cuisine snacking away at the place you walk into.
We ordered from the board and from there they were cooked fresh to order. We also chose one of the pre packaged deserts, terang bulan also known as sweet martabak which was like a pancakey crumpet with melted chocolate an Indonesian cheese, which is not actually Indonesian but a dutch dish that is prevalent in Indonesia due to their history. We ate this first while waiting for our meals to come but it’s actually a desert. It was scrumptious!
Then our mains arrived, soto which is a soup made with a lot of spices, chicken, tomato, and a kind of fish cracker in it served with rice and lemon wedges. Oh my god it was amazing! If you were to cross a laksa wih a Vietnamese pho you would have something along the lines of this gorgeous dish. The second main was ayam penyet which was a chicken with crispy skin with dried shallots on top and rice, it was spicy and too salty, however it’s said in Indonesia that when the food comes out and it’s too salty it’s because the chef is to be married, so on that note the chef was clearly engaged. The third main was lamb satay with peanut sauce, it was spicy and the sauce was rich and generously slathered across the lamb that was beautifully tender.
Nelayan is a great casual place to grab a feed if you’re in the middle of the city anytime of day. It’s cheap and a little different to the typical quick meal in the city, it’s rich and filling so great value. Just remember to be adventurous and check out everything they have because you never know what delicious treat you will find.
Danielle: 3/5 Avocado juices!
Natalie: 2.5/5 Bamboo skewers!
Nelayn Indonesian Restaurant
265-267 Swanston Street Walk