Chicken and Corn Pie with Salad from Avist Cafe

89 Flemington Rd, North Melbourne

Avist is one of the few quality places near my work. They make these awesome homemade pies (well, parcels, really) – the pastry is nicely short, and wonderfully flaky, and the filling is moist, tasty and you can see exactly what’s in it. Big shreds of chicken. Yummo! The salads rotate, but there’s usually an experimental one. This one was pumpkin, potato and carrot, with some rocket etc. Pretty standard, except they (for some reason) had kiwifruit in it. A little oddly sweet, but still very enjoyable.

Grazer’s Plate (for two) at Tusk Cafe

133 Chapel St, Windsor
Phone: 9529 1198

OK, so I was really quite drunk at the time, so I ordered a starter for two as a main for one… but just about everything on this plate was awesome! Highlights: smoked sweet potato dip, saganaki, grilled eggplants, chorizo.

Tusk on Urbanspoon

Pho dac biet at Little Saigon

258 Victoria St, Richmond
Phone: 9428 8288

Yup, yet another pho review. The soup was very tasty, but this was more a result of too much MSG than anything else. Good noodle to meat ratio, but there was a lack of peppery beef sausage, and the greens/shoots were a little on the stingy side. Not bad, but only go there if Pho Chu The is closed or full.

Little Saigon on Urbanspoon

Lamb rump at (um, yeah) Elephant and Wheelbarrow

94-96 Bourke St, CBD

Phone: 9639 8444

Despite the cringe factor of eating at a pub chain, this wasn’t bad. I forgot to ask for it rare, though they didn’t ask, so I guess there may not be an option. The stuffing was good, though there was altogether too much of it. Good with the chips I poached off my friends’ plates.

The Elephant and Wheelbarrow on Urbanspoon

Dessert trio… by me!

My friend invited me to a dinner party on the weekend, and I offered to bring dessert. The last dinner party we had co-hosted with another friend had consisted of no less than six courses, so the bar was high.

I was told the theme was loosely Mediterranean, so I was struggling a little. In the end, I went slightly Spanish, with some Moorish influences. Then I sort of just abandoned the theme…

Top left is crema catalana. A variation on creme brûlée, only accented with citrus and cinnamon instead of vanilla. Next to that, is a baked peach in filo, topped with pistachio and cardamom spiced ricotta. In the foreground is some orange, date and fig gastrique, and finally two macarons: one with a dark chocolate and tangello ganache, the other with white chocolate and passionfruit. All in all, a smashing success! Paired with a Yering Station late harvest Pinot Gris.

Com tam suon bi cha trung at Dong Que

102 Hopkins St, Footscray
Phone: 9689 4392

I will admit to being drawn in by the photos of food in the window (which often is not a good move) but I was reassured by the breadth and presentation of the menu – a display folder with thick plastic sleeves, and photos of the specialty dishes.

The com tam (broken rice) was satisfactory, but not amazing. The pork chop was a little underseasoned, and the nuoc cham (prepared fish sauce) lacked punch. Points for a perfectly fried egg, and ample amounts of bi (shredded pork and pork skin).

From the look of the menu, perhaps I should have been a little more adventurous, but com tam is often a good benchmark for Vietnamese restaurants in Australia, I find.

Dong Que on Urbanspoon

Breizoz French Creperie

Brunswick St & Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Phone: 9415 7588

It might just be because of the reputation, or that I’m not a huge crepe fan, or perhaps they were just having an off night. But I was distinctly underwhelmed. First of all, they were out of sausage. And cider. And ice cream!? Sacre bleu! Anyway, the provencale (cheese, egg and ratatouille) was quite good, but just made me think I want curry sauce and Malaysian roti. the chestnut and rhum flambé crepe was exciting, until I got to the rum-soaked bit. then, not so much. Better than the Pancake Parlour, if you’re a crepe fan.

Breizoz French Creperie on Urbanspoon

Pho dac biet at Pho Dzung

234 Russell St, CBD

So I have this theory that regardless of what size you order, you get the same amount of pho, in a different sized bowl. This medium bowl is kinda overflowing with greatness.