Chinese

Kuku Mama

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Cheeseburger Dumplings – beef, pickle, cheese, Bobby John sauce

Although these are not your typical dumplings, this is certainly fusion done right. Within each dumpling was perfectly cooked beef and plenty of melted cheese, which was delicious when eaten with the pickle and the sauce. The dumpling skin was a bit chewy though and needed to be steamed a tiny bit longer.

★★★★☆

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Vegetarian Dumplings – sweet potato, shiitake, enoki

Unsurprisingly sweet and mushroomy.

★★★☆☆

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Bao – Peking roasted duck, pickled cucumber, hoisin

Soft pillowy steamed buns with a decent amount of tasty duck.

★★★★☆

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Tacos – blackened salmon, herb crema, chicharron

★★☆☆☆

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Mac & Cheese squared with Bobby John sauce

★★★☆☆

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Crinkle cut chips, honey, soy, sesame, chilli, spring onion

A great mix of sweet and savoury.

★★★☆☆

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Bao – soft shell crab, kewpie mayo, Kuku kimchi

The soft shell crab had good crunch but lacked any actual crab taste.

★★☆☆☆

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Balinese coconut seafood curry with herb rice

The curry was a little on the bland side, while the herb rice (ie. the coriander rice) was a little salt heavy. So I suppose the flavours balanced out when you ate them together.

★★☆☆☆

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Bao – southern fried chicken, slaw, BBQ sauce

The crispy tender chicken combined with the slaw and BBQ sauce made for terrific baos!

★★★★☆

Overall:

This was such a cool place. From the vibrant decor to the comfortable booths and couches, Kuku Mama is a fantastic place to eat, drink and simply hang out at. Service was quick while the food was creative and reasonably priced. Make sure you come with a few people because there will be lots of things on the menu that you’ll want to try.

Kuku Mama

105 Chapel St, Windsor, VIC

(03) 9529 6900

http://kukumama.com.au/

Kuku Mama Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tim Ho Wan

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Whenever a new restaurant opens, I often wait a little while so that I can read other people’s reviews and get a feel of the place before I head there myself. Thus I was fully aware of how long the queues here can become and decided to go on a weeknight. We arrived at 5:40pm and were immediately handed green clipboards with order forms to fill out.

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By 6:00pm we were seated and once we pressed the buzzer at our table, a staff member appeared and confirmed our order by marking it on our menu/placemats. We didn’t have to wait very long before our food arrived…

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Pork Dumpling with Shrimp

★★★☆☆

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Steamed Egg Cake

★★★★☆

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Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp

★★☆☆☆

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Pan-Fried Turnip Cake

★★☆☆☆

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Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling

★★★☆☆

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Rice with Chicken, Sausage and Mushroom

★★★☆☆

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Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver

★★☆☆☆

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Baked Bun with BBQ Pork

★★★★☆

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Beancurd Skin Roll with Shrimp

★★★☆☆

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Prawn Dumpling

★★★☆☆

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Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimp

★★★☆☆

Overall:

While I enjoyed my experience at Tim Ho Wan, there wasn’t anything in particular that makes me want to go rushing back. I found most of the food to be comparable to that found at good Yum Cha places around Melbourne, except the portions here are smaller and it’s a bit more pricier. What really stood out for me however was the steamed egg cake (which was incredibly light and fluffy), and of course the baked buns with BBQ pork (which had a sweet and crispy exterior that strangely worked well with the savoury BBQ pork interior). Service was prompt and efficient and I admire how well organised and smoothly this place runs. Avoid this place at peak lunch and dinner times if you hate long queues, otherwise there are plenty of seats that have been thoughtfully placed along the queue so that you rest your feet while you are waiting to get into this Michelin-starred restaurant.

Tim Ho Wan

206 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC

http://www.timhowan.com.au/

Tim Ho Wan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lawyers, Guns and Money

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Chicken Congee, Ginger and Spring Onion

★★★☆☆

Crispy Wonton Skins, Masterstock Egg and Century Egg

★★☆☆☆

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Fish Fragrant Eggplant

Spicier than expected and had a distinct fish sauce flavour.

★★★☆☆

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Trung Nguyen Black Coffee with Condensed Milk

★★★☆☆

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Ceylon Tea with Condensed Milk

★★★☆☆

Overall:

Whenever I travel to South East Asia I often have Hawker style congee for breakfast, so I love the idea of having more places like this available in Melbourne. That being said, I couldn’t help but compare the quality and quantity of congee at this place to that from overseas. The chicken congee here was $12 for a relatively small bowl and while it was warm and comforting, it wasn’t anything spectacular. So although Lawyers, Guns and Money provides something that is out of the ordinary, I think I’ll stick to ordering congee while I’m overseas (or making it myself at home).

Lawyers Guns Money

Lawyers, Guns and Money

505 Little Collins St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9614 5989

http://lgmmelbourne.com/

Lawyers, Guns and Money Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

12’s Cafe & Co

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(pan fried dumplings with crispy flake)

These light and crispy dumplings were tasty on their own so I didn’t even need the chilli dipping sauce.

★★★☆☆

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Potato Pocket

(crispy potato croquette filled with crab, corn and creamy sauce)

Predominantly potato.

★★☆☆☆

Chicken Ribs

(crunchy panko crumbed chicken spare ribs)

Fantastically crispy and well flavoured.

★★★★☆

Crackling Crackle

(roast pork crackling chips)

Lightly salted, non greasy and satisfyingly crunchy.

★★★☆☆

Char Siu So

(BBQ pork in puff pastry)

Delicious yum cha fusion.

★★★☆☆

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PC 007

(potato chips with 7 herbs and spices)

Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, nicely seasoned.

★★★☆☆

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Peking Duck

(12’s Peking duck with salad greens, pickles, cucumber, served in a twister roll with plum sauce)

A fresh take on the classic Peking Duck Pancakes. The succulent duck and the crispy skin was simply moreish.

★★★★☆

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Crispy Hainanese Chicken Salad

(steamed chicken with crispy skin served on cold soba and salad with 12’s soy and sesame dressing)

★★★☆☆

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Tempura Soft Shell Crab

(soft shell crab served with cold soba and salad with 12’s soy and sesame dressing)

★★★☆☆

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Pork

(slow cooked pork belly in master stock served on rice cake with Thai green apple salad)

This pork belly was seriously amazing! Cooked in an 80% steam oven, the fat is rendered out allowing the stock to completely infuse leading to incredible melt in your mouth pork minus the grease! I wasn’t a fan of the rice cake however which was very chewy and sticky, and would have preferred regular rice.

★★★★☆

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Chicken

(grilled chicken fillet braised with house blended sweet soy sauce, served with shiitake mushroom rice and wafu salad)

Tender chicken that was full of flavour.

★★★☆☆

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Green Tea Latte

A tad grainy with too much foam for my liking.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

Opening a cafe has always been the dream for owner Jack Kwan. After venturing to Hong Kong to learn all the techniques associated with Hong Kong barbecuing, Jack decided to open up 12’s Cafe & Co, which fuses Chinese barbecue together with Modern Australian cuisine.

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Although the place appears small and unassuming at the front…

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the beer garden out the back was quite spacious and certainly impressive!

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They even have a ping pong table which also functions as a dining table that seats up to 16 people. 12’s Cafe & Co is a great addition to the Camberwell area however opening hours are somewhat limited with the place being closed on Sundays and between 3-5pm on all  the other days.

12’s Cafe & Co

207 Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn East, VIC

(03) 9042 3986

http://12s.com.au/index.html

12's Cafe & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of 12’s Cafe & Co.

Famous Hotpot

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When the weather gets cold, I get hotpot cravings. I absolutely love hotpot! It’s fun, it’s social (as everyone cooks their food in the same pot), and it’s something that even the pickiest of eaters can enjoy as the ingredients are so flexible. DSC01005

We decided to go with the mixed mushroom soup base. The other options available were clear soup and hot & spicy soup.

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Assortment of meats, noodles, seafood and sauces

This was the first of MANY orders. Throughout the night we had thinly sliced beef, drunken chicken, chicken liver, fish balls, lobster balls, hand-made beef balls, prawn, fish fillet, Chinese white cabbage, garland chrysanthemum, black fungus, green bean vermicelli, fried tofu, and udon noodles. In terms of sauces, each person was able to select two so we chose to sample the special sauce, sesame paste, satay sauce and the mince garlic with sesame oil.

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Nothing beats hotpot on a cold windy night.

Overall:

We initially had a bit of trouble finding this place as the name was written on the window and all of their windows had majorly fogged up. Famous Hotpot offered a decent variety of hotpot menu items, while the service was surprisingly great as the staff were really friendly and attentive.  I totally recommend the $29 pp all you can eat option. Just be prepared to waddle out the door once you finish.

Famous Hotpot

150 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9654 6668

Famous Hotpot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

ShanDong MaMa

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Chicken Fried Dumplings

(chicken mince, ginger, black fungus, shepherd’s purse herb, dry shrimps, sesame oil)

★★★☆☆

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DARYL noodles with prawn, potato, mushroom, pork, black fungus and egg

★★★☆☆

Shandong Mama

Noodles with prawns, pork, shredded cucumber and coriander in bean paste

★★☆☆☆

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Beef Fried Dumplings

(beef mince, onions, dry shrimps, black pepper sauce)

★★☆☆☆

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DILL-icious Pork Boiled Dumplings

(pork mince, fresh dill, spring onion, ginger, dried shrimps, sesame oil)

★★★☆☆

Overall:

A decent place for noodles and dumplings. The fried dumplings had incredibly crispy skins but were too salty for my liking, whereas the boiled dumplings had thick chewy skins but had tasty fillings. Not the first place I would go to if I had a dumpling craving, but also not the last.

 

ShanDong MaMa

Midcity Arcade, 208-210 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9650 3818

Shandong Mama Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tina’s Noodle Kitchen

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Rice Noodles with Chicken Stock Soup

(rice noodles, tomato, spam, quail egg, bean curd skin, bok choy, spring onion, tofu, mushrooms, bean sprouts, fungus, deep fried pork)

★★★★☆

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Rice Noodles with Pork Liver and Pickles

(rice noodles, black fungus, bean curd skin, bok choy, mushroom, spring onion, bean sprouts)

★★★★☆

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Japanese Matcha Frappe

★★★☆☆

Overall:

When Tina’s Noodle Kitchen first opened, what caught my attention was the retractable belt barrier positioned in front of the place to control the crowds. I’ve eaten here a few times since then and this is what I know:

  • This place only serves noodles but the noodles are consistently good and very filling.
  • The 150°C bowls mean that the noodles arrive burning hot and remain that way for a quite while, so take your time eating otherwise you will leave with a burnt tongue.
  • Orders need to be made at the counter before you sit down.
  • Service is variable.
  • If you look Asian or anything slightly Asian, expect to be spoken to in mandarin.

In any case, Tina’s Noodle Kitchen is a good place to head to the next time you are in the mood for a satisfying bowl of noodles.

Tina’s Noodle Kitchen

231 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9041 6382

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