Ciao Cielo


Bacalhau ravioli with broad beans, capers and dill

A pretty yet unmemorable dish.



Fried calamari, dried oregano, rocket, garlic aioli

Light crispy batter, fantastic use of oregano.



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.



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



Rockling fillet, peas, goats curd, roasted fennel



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

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



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).



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.



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

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



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.



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

Fresh and zesty with delicious light clouds of gnocchi.



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!


251 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC

(03) 9416 2001

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

Rae’s Restaurant, Balgownie Estate


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.


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.

= ★★★★


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.

= ★★★★


Vine Smoked Chargrilled Boneless Rib-eye

(with chips, green beans, Bordelaise sauce)

A solid steak with very tasty Bordelaise sauce.

= ★★★


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.

= ★★★★


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

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




House made sourdough

= ★★


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

= ★★★★


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

= ★★★


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

= ★★★


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.

= ★


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.


2349 Ballan-Daylesford Rd, Daylesford

5348 6555

Sault on Urbanspoon



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.



Risotto with roast duck, porcini mushrooms and red wine

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



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.



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



Buttermilk Panna Cotta with strawberry, basil and housemade biscotti

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



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.



144 Bridge Rd, Richmond, VIC

(03) 9427 1887

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Tipo 00


House made focaccia with ricotta and basil oil



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 .




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



Riso carnaroli

(moreton bay bug risotto)

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



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

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



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



Tasmanian oysters



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



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



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



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



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



Good food, casual atmosphere, friendly staff.



2 Salamanca Sq, Hobart, TAS

(03) 6224 2554


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

The Panama Dining Room and Bar

Level 3/231 Smith St,  Fitzroy 9417 7663



Salmon rillettes served with herb salad and toast

= Not bad


Spiced wagyu beef and prosciutto meatballs

Full of flavour, great balance of meat and breadcrumb, lovely rich sauce

= Good


Fried cauliflower with ras el hanout (spice mix from North Africa), golden raisins, fromage frais and argan oil

Deep frying pretty much anything will make it taste better

= Good


Slow cooked Western Plains pork scotch fillet with Jerusalem artichokes, grilled pine mushrooms, parsley puree and buttermilk

Tantalisingly tender pork with a wonderful combination of ingredients

= Good


Steamed broccoli with Mt Zero black lentils and pecorino (left), Green salad with buttermilk, tarragon and shallot dressing (right)

= Not bad


Yellowtail kingfish fillet with confit fennel, grilled saffron calamari, fennel puree and saltfish croquette

The Yellowtail kingfish fillet was extremely salty, while the calamari and croquette were unmemorable

= Not bad


Chestnut gnocchi, pumpkin and parmesan puree, morel mushrooms, spinach and salted ricotta

Delicately light gnocchi that had a mild chestnut flavour, complementing the other ingredients of this dish fantastically. If only the portion size was bigger!

= Good



If you manage to survive the arduous journey up two very steep flights of stairs, you will encounter an unobtrusive grey fire exit door with a small blue ‘Panama Dining Room and Bar’ sign above it. Enter these doors and you will find a funky bar, a pool table, lots of casual seating and a formal dining area. We went on a busy Saturday night and the bustling atmosphere made it very difficult to talk (I found myself yelling throughout the whole night and left with a sore throat). Service was friendly however the food took a little while to come out. I think I would prefer coming here for drinks as opposed to dining here in the future.


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Sauced Pasta Bar

148 Chapel Street, Windsor 1300 728 233



Mafaldine Amatriciana


 Fried ravioli & Oven roasted desiree potato gnocchi with The 4 P’s sauce


Mafaldine Amatriciana – perfectly cooked pasta with a somewhat flat sauce that comprised of cold smoked pancetta, napoli, spring onion and chilli = Not bad

Fried ravioli – sweet potato, sautéed leek and ricotta ravioli served with napoli sauce. The ravioli itself was crispy, thick and tough to bite through, while the filling was so bland that I had to check the menu a few times to remind myself what I was actually eating = Bad

Gnocchi with The 4 P’s sauce – the pumpkin puree, pine nuts, persian fetta and basil pesto combination was terrific and the gnocchi was deliciously soft and light = Good


Building your own pasta dish is a great concept. Pick a sauce, pick a pasta, and if you want to, add on a side. The atmosphere was lively as the kitchen was situated right at the front of the place and was in full view of everyone. Service was a little bit slow but since the pasta was cooked so well, I am willing to forgive them for that. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the disposable dishes that they use here, but at least they are recyclable.

Sauced Pasta Bar on Urbanspoon

Captain Melville

34 Franklin St, Melbourne 9663 6855



Haloumi stuffed zucchini flower




Pulled Pork Bun


Fried Chicken


Quinoa Salad


Haloumi stuffed zucchini flower – chickpea batter, eggplant puree, pomegranate & za’atar = Not bad

Gnocchi – ricotta and basil gnocchi, yellow tomato sauce, smoked tomatoes, roast red onion and olives = Not bad

Pulled Pork Bun – western plains pulled pork, BBQ sauce, crunchy coleslaw, pickles and onion rings = Good

Fried Chicken – crispy fried chicken (which was well fried but lacked any taste) served with sriracha mayonnaise = Not bad

Quinoa Salad – golden beets, grilled asparagus, shanklish cheese and honey yoghurt = Not bad



Unexceptional food, average service, relaxed atmosphere.


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