Gnocchi

Ciao Cielo

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Bacalhau ravioli with broad beans, capers and dill

A pretty yet unmemorable dish.

★★★☆☆

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Fried calamari, dried oregano, rocket, garlic aioli

Light crispy batter, fantastic use of oregano.

★★★★☆

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Truffled potato dauphine, truffle pecorino

Golden balls of fluffy potato that practically melt in your mouth! I couldn’t eat very many though as they were quite rich.

★★★★☆

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Pan fried potato gnocchi, roasted pumpkin, walnuts, dolce blue, spinach

★★★☆☆

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Rockling fillet, peas, goats curd, roasted fennel

★★★☆☆

Overall:

The food was good but I was expecting amazing after reading all the positive reviews about this place. The decor was sleek however all the tables were positioned quite close to one another due to the venue being so small. Service was fine except there was one particular waiter who kept on wanting to clear our plates even though we hadn’t finished.

Ciao Cielo

171 Bay St, Port Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9645 1568

http://www.ciaocielo.com.au/

Ciao Cielo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Alimentari

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Toasted muesli, baked granny smith, lemon thyme yoghurt

The steaming hot apple was nicely unexpected however the muesli to yoghurt ratio could have been improved (more yoghurt, less muesli).

★★★☆☆

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Fried eggs, harissa baked beans, braised greens, whipped feta, flat bread, olives, hash browns

Fantastic combination of flavours with the whipped feta being the highlight.

★★★★☆

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Hash brown, baby spinach, poached eggs, bacon, hollandaise

A reasonable dish that could have been bigger in terms of portion size.

★★★☆☆

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Spanikopita, ricotta, mixed greens, dill, feta, poached egg, with hash browns on the side

With flakey delicate pastry and a tasty ricotta filling, there was a lovely homemade quality about the spanikopita.

★★★★☆

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Pan fried ricotta gnocchi, broccolini, garden peas, lemon, fresh ricotta, chilli

Fresh and zesty with delicious light clouds of gnocchi.

★★★★☆

Overall:

Pleasant staff, warm atmosphere and quality food with a beautiful deli at the front. Whatever you decide to order, make sure you get a side of their fantastic hash browns!

Alimentari

251 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC

(03) 9416 2001

http://www.alimentari.com.au

Alimentari Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rae’s Restaurant, Balgownie Estate

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If you are thinking about taking a break this winter to visit Victoria’s pre-eminent wine region (only an hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD), I strongly recommend dropping by Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa. This outstanding resort received the prestigious hotel industry award for “Best Regional Accommodation of the Year” at last month’s 2015 Tourism Accommodation Australia (VIC) Accommodation Awards for Excellence, and the on-site restaurant offers a marvellous dining experience. Executive Chef Graham Taute and his team at Rae’s Restaurant (the on-site dining venue) have a real passion for using fresh local ingredients, and incorporate the best of local produce into their menu. I recently had the wonderful opportunity of sampling their new winter menu for 2015.

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Seafood Chowder

(prawn, scallop, salmon, white fish, herb oil)

Creamy hearty comfort food with a substantial amount of seafood in it. Utterly delicious and perfect for winter.

= ★★★★

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Hand Rolled Potato Gnocchi

(smoked ocean trout, fennel, minted pea puree, Balgownie Estate chardonnay cream)

The gnocchi was soft and fluffy, while the sauce was smooth and flavourful.

= ★★★★

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Vine Smoked Chargrilled Boneless Rib-eye

(with chips, green beans, Bordelaise sauce)

A solid steak with very tasty Bordelaise sauce.

= ★★★

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Beer Battered Fish of the day

(with smoked paprika dusted chips, baby leaves, celeriac remoulade)

Light and crispy batter, moist steaming fish, crunchy golden chips. Simple and satisfying.

= ★★★★

Overall:

With a delicious new menu, roaring open fire and spectacular views of the surrounding Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley, Rae’s Restaurant is certainly worth a visit this winter.

rae's restaurant

Rae’s Restaurant

1309 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen

9730 0774

http://www.balgownieestate.com.au/restaurant/rae-s-restaurant.htm

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*Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of Balgownie Estate and Tyrrell PR. 

Sault

 

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House made sourdough

= ★★

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Sher wagyu beef sourdough parcels, enoki mushrooms, soy, chives

= ★★★★

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Hopkins River eye fillet, onion, red capsicum, eggplant, thyme volcanic salt, red wine jus

= ★★★

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Roasted free-range corn-fed duck breast, chestnut purée, duck liver parfait, grilled mushroom, Pedro Ximenez jus

= ★★★

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Musquée de Provence pumpkin, pine nuts, sage, blue cheese and buttermilk kuzu gnocchi

I could not believe that this was under the ‘something more substantial’ category of the menu. Where was the rest of the dish? What’s worse was that the five bites of pumpkin and five tiny morsels of soft watery gnocchi drowning in cheese also turned out to be extremely disappointing taste wise.

= ★

Overall:

Beautiful setting, good service (although our drinks were forgotten and had to be chased up), unsatisfactory food. Perhaps we went on an off night but even so I doubt I will return.
Sault

Sault

2349 Ballan-Daylesford Rd, Daylesford

5348 6555

http://www.sault.com.au/

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Mazzitelli

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Pan fried gnocchi with ricotta, napoli and mozzarella

The gnocchi itself was on the dense side however the sauce was light and full of flavour.

★★★☆☆

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Risotto with roast duck, porcini mushrooms and red wine

Delicious flavours, well cooked rice, super crispy duck, fabulous comfort food.

★★★★☆

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Layered eggplant lasagne with 24 month Grana Padano

I am a fan of eggplant and no doubt found this dish to be very tasty. If only there was a bit more eggplant and a bit less sauce.

★★★☆☆

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Cheese Board – Mauri Gorgonzola, Tallegio and Grana Padano served with house made fig and walnut toast

★★☆☆☆

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Buttermilk Panna Cotta with strawberry, basil and housemade biscotti

Light and creamy, slightly tart and yogurt-like from the buttermilk.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

Fantastic service, warm intimate atmosphere, enjoyable Italian fare. Note that the pasta and risotto dishes here constantly change which means something new and exciting to try at every visit.

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Mazzitelli

144 Bridge Rd, Richmond, VIC

(03) 9427 1887

http://www.mazzitelli.com.au/

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Tipo 00

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House made focaccia with ricotta and basil oil

★★★☆☆

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Gnocchi di patate

(braised duck, porcini mushroom and pecorino pepato)

Perfectly textured gnocchi that was light, smooth and springy, while the duck and mushroom sauce was simply delicious .

★★★★☆

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Verdura

(green beans, snow peas, witlof, goats cheese and almonds)

★★★☆☆

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Riso carnaroli

(moreton bay bug risotto)

Well cooked risotto, strong distinguishable taste of moreton bay bug.

★★★★☆

Overall:

Named after the finely ground flour used to make pizza and pasta, Tipo 00 is a place that offers simple yet quality Italian fare. No wonder it was one of Melbourne’s best new restaurants of 2014 according to the Good Food guide. I highly recommend getting the chef’s menu which allows you to sample a delicious range of starters, pasta and dessert.

Tipo 00

361 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9942 3946

http://www.tipo00.com.au/

Tipo 00 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smolt

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Spring Bay mussels, white wine, garlic, parsley, dill, shallots, saffron aioli

★★☆☆☆

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Tasmanian oysters

★★★☆☆

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Tassal salmon ceviche, crisp radish, pickled fennel and celery, goats curd cream

★★☆☆☆

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Grilled Tassal salmon, freekah, faro and du puy lentil braise, chimichurri, chorizo and herb salad

★★☆☆☆

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House made linguini, Spring Bay mussels, spanner crab, yellow tomato, pernod, bottarga

★★☆☆☆

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 Chargrilled baby chicken, sweet corn puree, quinoa, roasted summer onion, tomato and walnut salsa

★★☆☆☆

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Pan fried house made herb and parmesan gnocchi, pancetta lardons, baby carrots, pear, walnuts, cavalo nero, pecorino

★★★☆☆

Overall:

Good food, casual atmosphere, friendly staff.

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Smolt

2 Salamanca Sq, Hobart, TAS

(03) 6224 2554

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Smolt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato