Pork

The Black Toro

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Coconut Kingfish Ceviche – young coconut, tomato, cucumber, chilli

This basically tasted like an amazing curry dish – fresh and creamy, with a bit of heat from the chilli.

★★★★☆

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Grilled Corn On The Cob – chipotle mayo, ground masa, lime

I love grilled corn and whenever I see it on a menu somewhere, I always order it and then compare it to the corn here at The Black Toro. It’s been years since I’ve had this and after my first bite I felt super ecstatic as the corn was still as incredible as I remembered it to be.

★★★★★

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Spicy Pulled Pork Tacos – soft corn tortilla, sriracha mayo, cabbage slaw

These were some tasty tacos and I really appreciated how they were served on a warm plate so that the tortillas would remain soft and warm for longer.

★★★★☆

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Salmon Tartare – avocado puree, radish, toasted black sesame, puffed rice chicharon

The salmon needed a bit more seasoning otherwise this was a light and enjoyable dish.

★★★☆☆

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Crispy Pork Hock – masterstock braised pork, guajilo chilli caramel, green apple salsa verde, butter lettuce

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 Sticky, sweet, and full of flavour. I made such a mess wrapping my pork up but it was totally worth it.

★★★★☆

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Dessert Tasting Plate

Can’t pick a dessert? Why not try everything!

★★★★☆

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Passionfruit Tart – berries, toasted meringue, mint

Beautifully presented with a lovely balance of sweetness and tartness. Meanwhile the combination of the smooth filling, the fresh fruit and the dehydrated fruit provided delightful texture variation.

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Deconstructed Peanut Butter Cheesecake – chocolate ice cream, peanut butter ice cream, honeycomb

Best eaten with a little bit of everything on your spoon, as the peanut butter was extremely rich on its own.

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Chocolate Brownie – salted caramel, popcorn, vanilla ice cream

These brownies were phenomenal – extremely smooth and highly decadent. They tasted amazing on their own, and the other additions were merely added bonuses.

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Arroz Con Leche – coconut rice pudding, saffron spiced pear, cinnamon, walnut

Creamy and satisfying.

Overall:

Always a great experience. The food, service and ambience is brilliant, and the grilled corn is still my absolute favourite in Melbourne!

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The Black Toro

79 Kingsway, Glen Waverley, VIC

(03) 9561 9696

http://theblacktoro.com.au/

The Black Toro 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

Ponshu Kiroro

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Edamameholic

(stir fried edamame with garlic and red chilli)

Spicy, salty, garlicky deliciousness covered each and every edamame bean! I found these to be very addictive.

★★★★☆

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Parfait Lunch Set

(marinated salmon sushi parfait, chunky miso soup, wasabi dressing)

Fresh, tasty, and well presented.

★★★★☆

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Spicy Miso Ramen

(spicy Hokkaido miso ramen with kurobuta pork, boiled egg, cabbage, onion, bean sprouts, spring onion and sesame)

The thin broth reminded me of kimchi soup. The pork was quite tasty and the pieces of cabbage came in really big chunks.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

A bright charming place that offers delicious Hokkaido fusion cuisine, as well as a lovely range of Japanese beverages. This hidden gem is well worth visiting for their interesting dishes and their friendly service.

Ponshu Kiroro

9 Katherine Place, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 8657 8553

http://www.kiroro.com.au/

Ponshu Kiroro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Victorian Cider and Pork Festival 2016

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Over the 2016 Australia Day Long Weekend, the Yarra Valley hosted the inaugural Cider and Pork Festival – the first ever to be held in Victoria. Set amongst the scenic vines at Rochford Wines,  the two day event celebrated the humble pig and the crushed apple.

The festival showcased more than 60 mouthwatering pork dishes from locally sourced produce  from leading Melbourne restaurants and food trucks that included Fancy Hanks, Blue Bonnet BBQ, The Rib Joint, Pulled Kitchen and Pig On The Spit. The festival also showcased some of the best cider from around Australia that included St Ronan’s Cider, Napoleone Cider & Brewery, Willie Smiths Organic Cider, Batlow Cider Co, Hills Cider, Custard & Co, Daylesford Cider Co, Flying Brick, Sidekick Cider, Granite Belt Cider and many more.

We arrived late in the afternoon and by this stage the lines for the food trucks/stalls were INSANELY long. Not only that, quite a few places had run out of food which was very frustrating, particularly if you had been waiting in line for a long time. Here is the result of my hour long wait:

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BBQ and Rice Noodle Salad

Spanish Meatballs, Chorizo and Pickled Octopus

Both of these were delicious and complimented the cider that I sampled nicely.  Now the mood at this festival was very laid back with everyone relaxing and having a good time eating and drinking. This was indeed a fun event, and hopefully the food shortage and long waiting time issues are resolved by the next Cider and Pork Festival.

*Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest of Tyrell Publicity & Promotions.

GJ’s Grill

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Lechon

Crispy roast pork served with delicious garlic rice, atchara (pickled papaya) and lechon sauce (a sweet and sour sauce made from liver).

★★★★☆

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Crispy Pata

This famous Filipino dish was cooked twice (simmered and then deep fried) which meant that the pork was wonderfully tender while the skin was INCREDIBLY crispy. I wasn’t a fan of the soy-vinegar sauce so I was happy eating the pork by itself.

★★★★☆

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Pork Skewer

Firm pork covered in a tasty marinade with a smoky chargrilled flavour.

★★★★☆

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Halo-Halo

This colourful dessert comprised of shaved ice, evaporated milk, jelly, corn, coconut and purple yam. Refreshing and not overly sweet.

★★★☆☆

Overall:

This was my first taste of Filipino food so I had no idea what to expect and had nothing to compare it to. What I found out about GJ’s Grill is that not only are the staff Filipino, but so were most of their customers during our visit. If that doesn’t say authentic, then I don’t what does! There isn’t a lot of seating here and when we got there at 7pm on a Monday night, we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table to become available. The staff were very warm and welcoming, and service was relatively quick. The menu is predominantly meat based so don’t expect to find any salads or vegetables here. Instead, expect to find generous servings of well cooked meat that will lead to you rolling happily out the door.

 

GJ’s Grill

Shop 2, 243 Franklin St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9328 8242

GJ's Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

En Izakaya

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Seared momen tofu and oven baked miso infused eggplant

A great combination of flavours and textures made this dish very delectable.

★★★★☆

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BBQ calamari with white miso and vinegar coated rocket, served on Yamagata soba noodles

The calamari was seriously amazing; it was smoky and tender, and some of the best I’ve had in a while. Unfortunately there were only a few pieces to enjoy as the majority of this dish was rocket.

★★★★☆

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Salmon and broad bean tempura fritters with a Tasmanian salmon cream dipping sauce

The batter was extremely crispy however the salmon was slightly dry.

★★★☆☆

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‘Son in law’ tsukune – pork, ginger and chilli meatball with a soft steamed egg and sweet soy

Underwhelming. I suppose I was expecting something bigger and something more unique tasting. This was just a average meatball with an egg on top.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

The dishes here were delectable and well presented. Our waitress recommended 4-5 dishes to share between two people which turned out to be just the right amount. Service was attentive and the decor sleek and modern. I must return one day to sample their $17 lunch set menu.

En Izakaya

277 Carlisle St, St Kilda East, VIC

(03) 9525 8886

http://enizakaya.com.au/#/home

En Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

45 Degrees

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Vietnamese Pork Pizza

(five-spice pork, spanish onion, roasted red capsicum, fresh herbs, pickled carrots, cucumber, sliced chilli, aioli)

Vietnamese-Italian fusion that actually worked!

★★★★☆

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Prawn Pizza

(garlic prawns, mixed olives, capers, green capsicum, feta, rocket, chipotle ketchup)

Great toppings. If only they weren’t spread out so far apart. I’d have one bite and it would be purely feta, then the next bite would be purely prawn, etc, etc.

★★★☆☆

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Peruvian Chicken Pizza

(Peruvian chicken, sliced green capsicum, roasted red capsicum, corn, jalapeños, black beans, coriander, guacamole, Bloody Mary aioli)

It was like eating a delicious taco, except in the form of a pizza.

★★★★☆

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Beef Cheek Pizza

(12 hour slow cook smoked beef cheek. mushroom, caramelized onion, candied pecans, fresh herbs, chimichurri aioli)

The centre was slightly soggy  however the ample beef cheek was incredibly tender and its combination with the other toppings made this a very enjoyable pizza.

★★★★☆

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Multigrain Garlic Bread

The bread was a bit tough, and a bit more butter would have been nice.

★★☆☆☆

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Popcorn Chicken

Although over fried, the chicken was still tender and well seasoned.

★★★☆☆

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Brioche Doughnuts

These doughnuts were AMAZING! They came out freshly fried so were crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. There are two varieties available: Nutella doughnuts and Hot Jam doughnuts. Both were delicious but it was the Nutella doughnuts that made me go wow! Best Nutella brioche doughnut I’ve ever had.

★★★★★

Overall:

Fantastic innovative pizzas, funky urban atmosphere, quick and friendly service, and of course amazing brioche doughnuts! There are still so many items I want to try from their menu (eg. the Korean fried chicken pizza) so I must visit again soon.

45 Degrees

33 Bridge Rd, Richmond, VIC

(03) 9429 5577

http://www.45pizza.com.au/

45 Degrees Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato