Eating Chinese cuisine in Melbourne has primarily meant enjoying the delights from the southern part of this huge nation. Early immigration dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800's from of the Cantonese region of China limited our understanding of the diversity of this cuisine. But no more.......along with the well known stir-fry's of the Cantonese, Melbourne diners are increasingly being exposed to the bold, pungent and spicy Sichaun (or Szechuan) style and the hearty braises often featuring pickled ingredients from the cooler north. As the weather becomes crisper there is no better time to order dishes like braised pork and sweet potato noodles (pictured), skewered cumin and chilli lamb, dumplings or for the more daring - pig's ear! I also love the piquant shredded bean curd, cucumber and carrot salad (pictured). And at prices that allow for a bit of experimentation - order an extra dish just to try, it might just become one of your favorites.
Talking about Polpetti and Sugo (see last post!), the 'Pulpette dolce' at Bar Idda are rich beef, currant and cinnamon flavoured meatballs - slightly sweet and in a luscious sugo. An excellent accompaniment was the simple salad of potaotes, beans & cherry tomatoes and braised capsicums. Sit at the bar and soak up the atmosphere or book for a group as this food is fabulous to share. Wonderful service, great prices!
The fulfilment of another foodie dream today - what beautiful weather to spend the day in the garage of one of Melbourne's Italian families making sauce. Tomato pulp flavoured with just a little garlic, parsley, basil, salt, sugar & mirepoix (that's onion, celery & carrot). Three cases of Roma's, many shared recipes and plenty of family stories later enough sauce is safely housed in beer bottles for a whole year of pasta and other dishes including Polpetti. Thanks to Ange, Robyn, Rose and the whole family for sharing their day with Jas & I - what a treat!
..... no not carbohydrates this time. Two breakfast dishes go head to head for a great way to start the day.
Spicy baked chickpeas topped with Meredith goats cheese, a 'salad' of parsley, coriander & finely sliced onion, companioned with multi grained toast, poached eggs, slices of avocado and a squeeze of lemon!
Grilled mushrooms, Aussie feta & red onion jam on multi grain toast.
While simplicity is often my preferred style when it comes to food, Mitte's chickpea's are fabulous however the menu does display a penchant for complex - the flavour combination of pomegranate, cloudy apple and lime juice not simple either but also excellent and I could go on..... But the uncomplicated combination of Redcup's mushrooms also wonderful and at a cafe more than 5kms from the CBD - yay!
-Mitte, 76 Michael Street North Fitzroy -Redcup Cafe, 1124 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill.
The poll is closed but EatThis readers are definitely looking for good value, so here's my Top 9! Why not Top 10? - who wants to be conformist!!!
And while you're eating your way through the list share your favourites with us all or vote in the next poll - what's your favourite bread?
Moroccan Soup Bar (MiddleEastern, Non meat, $20 Banquet, Fitzroy North)
Tom Phat (Contemporary Asian, Open all day Wed-Sun, Brunswick)
Pacific Seafood BBQ House (Cantonese, Richmond)
Babka (Bakery/Cafe, Breakfast or lunch. buy some veggie bread to take home, Fitzroy)
Laksa King (Have the Laksa!, Flemington)
Supper Inn (Chinese until 2.30am!, City)
Quan 88 (Vietnamese, Richmond - of course!)
Mitte (Daytime cafe, Fitzroy North)
Tiba's (Traditional Lebanese fare, Brunswick)
......breakfast most places is gentle on the wallet/purse, but don't forget lunches. Limited choice set menu's for lunch at some of Melbourne's best can be great value. 2/3 courses, coffee together with all the finery can be had at: