Friday, July 30, 2010

Foraging for falafel

So where does one get the best falafel in Melbourne?

Its seems that the answer to this question may well depend on what sort of falafels you are looking for, the Egyptian version made from fava beans or the Lebanese style using chickpeas or varieties which have an each way bet with half half fava & chickpeas. All seem to add chopped onion, garlic, spice (cumin and coriander) & finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley & coriander. What ever your choice the aim seems to be to make sure they are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and a little springy to the touch – although it appears bicarb soda helps this last quality and that can leave one with a little slightly unpleasant after taste. And as for how you have your falafel - neat - or wrapped in flat bread with greens, vegetables and sauce. And that too will require decision making, yoghurt or baba ganoush, fresh or maybe pickled cucumber. 

here's a taster of the little critters frying away

So where to go? I’m working on the list but number one at the moment is Half Moon Café in Coburg -13 Victoria Street. Half Moons falafel are the Egyptian fava bean variety and the variety of accompaniments are all those listed above together with more choices like spiced cauliflower or what about something a bit funky like rocket. $6.00 worth of deliciousness. You'll find some seriously good photo's of Nabil Hassans falafel @
Half Moon Café on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sorry no pic's - too busy enjoying the evening; it was, after all, a celebration. It was the lack of the pictorial that had me procrastinating about publishing this post. But for the average punter a trip to a restaurant such as Momo isn't a weekly occurrence so I thought it worthwhile putting my penny's worth in the foodie blogosphere. Having enjoyed Greg Malouf's wonderful feasts at the original Momo incantation downstairs at 115 Collins Street, I was most curious to see what was on offer at the new (yes it's taken a while to get there!) location set in the Grand Hyatt. It is indeed a different experience, whilst still in the 'basement' this dining room is more reflective of the sophistication of its 5 star hotel environment rather than the exotic appeal of a Middle Eastern caravan as one headed downstairs to the old Momo. The food too has a more sophisticated focus with some marvellous dishes so I’m not sure if I'm attracted to gordy decor or maybe the original was more ‘authentic’ or I’m just hard to excite but I think the ‘old’ was more me than the ‘new’. But that’s not to say the experience was in any way disappointing it wasn’t.

The highlights:

• Veiled quail covered in leaves with chorizo-pine nut stuffing and mustard-whipped feta

• Button mushrooms with shankleesh, spring onions and house made porcini-flavoured prosciutto

• Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon and Momo's fabulous Sommelier who recommended it

• the lush ambiance of the dining room

• a chat with a past colleague, Greg (Malouf, that is!)

• and of course the wonderful company of my dining companion

Momo, Lower Plaza Level 123 Collins St, Melbourne

MoMo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Simple and smart

Quality ingredients maketh the coffee, the focaccia and the cafe. The menu is neither funky nor overly creative - it is the quality of the components that make up the small 'bill of fare' here that are the star of this business and their sister ventures. If you are seated near the kitchen you will see the paper thin slicing of the Prosciutto di Parma or the grating of the Grana Pandano from its wedge as they are needed to grace a toasted focaccia or top a freshly tossed pasta. Traditional uncomplicated dishes such as Spaghetti Pomodoro are fabulous. Another winner on my list of preferences is the incy delectable sweets, no ugly great 'slabs' here, with flavour equally as important as sweetness.

The service is typical 'Italian', efficient and consistent although some describe this as brusque and even arrogant. With reasonable prices, it is not surprising that getting a table can be a challenge at anytime of the day but a much better bet than most Lygon Street eateries. And of course pizza or mozzarella around the corner at DOC is wonderful - haven't tried the Mornington establishment, but next time I'm visiting the peninsula's art galleries I shall.

Carlton Espresso 326 Lygon St, Carlton  Carlton Espresso on Urbanspoon
and DOC 295 Drummond Street, Carlton South
and DOC 22 Main St, Mornington