Prawn

Brae

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Asparagus, sea butter, olive plant

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Raw pea & lemon aspen tart, Brook trout & nut butter crisp

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Prawn, nasturtium, finger lime

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Iced Oyster, Beef tendon & mountain pepper

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Chilled broth of broad bean, green almond, strawberry, fig leaf & yoghurt whey

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Sourdough (made from hand milled wheat and baked on site) & freshly churned butter (made from locally sourced jersey cows)

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Calamari, black lip abalone, broccoli & blue mackerel

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Artichokes & salt grass lamb washed with mussel juice & citrus

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Potato & jerusalem artichoke crisps served with a single poached yolk

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Bass groper, cured back fat, walnut & butter braised turnip

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Aged Pekin duck wood roasted on the bone, quandong, dried liver

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Milk, honey & mandarin

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Parsnip & apple

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Rhubarb, pistachio, blood & preserved blackberry

Overall:

I visited Brae late last year so this post is a bit overdue.

Impressively ranked at number 87 in the world’s 100 best restaurants list of 2015, Brae is undeniably a place where you will find quality food and innovation. Located 130km southwest of Melbourne in the small town of Birregurra, our visit to Brae was indeed a fun little road trip. As soon as we arrived we noticed some construction happening right next to the parking lot. We later found out that this was to become six on-site accommodation suites which will open from February 2016.

As we stepped into the simple weatherboard farmhouse, we were warmly greeted and guided to our seats. Service throughout our meal was exceptional (as to be expected), with the staff being friendly, courteous and efficient. The origins of each dish was diligently explained and all my random questions about the food and the restaurant were happily answered. The atmosphere in the dining area was bright and comfortable, and we were also able to get a glimpse into the kitchen from our table which was nice.

A great deal of care and attention to detail was seen with the presentation of each dish, and although I throughly enjoyed sampling everything on their degustation menu, I did have my favourites and my not-so-favourites. My not-so-favourite was easily the asparagus. Sure it was fresh and crisp, but a single stalk of asparagus does not get me salivating. Luckily the asparagus was served first because it all went uphill from there. The absolute stand out dishes for me were the prawns and the iced oyster. The prawn heads and the prawn parcels bursted with amazing flavours, while the iced oyster turned out to be sweet and creamy, similar to a deliciously smooth ice cream with a gentle hint of oyster.

Our visit to Brae was a lovely experience and it is a great place to head to for memorable world class food.

Brae

Brae

4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, VIC

(03) 5236 2226

http://braerestaurant.com/

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

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

Ora Cafe

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Spiced Tiffin Egg with Bombay hash, kasundi and cashew crumb

This distinctive dish comprised of fresh ingredients and delicate Indian flavours.

★★★★☆

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Prawn Toast with sesame, avocado whip, lime, and egg

The toast was a bit too thick for my liking, while the vegetables reminded me of those you find in bánh mì (Vietnamese pork rolls).

★★★☆☆

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Mork Hot Chocolate

Hard to go wrong with Mork.

★★★★☆

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Chai Latte

Very milky, lacked flavour.

★☆☆☆☆

Overall:

Cosy atmosphere, friendly staff, small unique menu.

Ora Cafe

156 Pakington St, Kew, VIC

(03) 9855 2002

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Satoru’s Japanese Restaurant

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Sushi Set

(salmon, tuna, prawn, calamari, scallop nigiri and sushi roll)

★★★☆☆

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Bento Plate

(prawn and salmon dumplings, chicken spring roll, calamari tempura, teriyaki chicken and sushi roll)

★★★☆☆

Overall:

We visited for lunch on a Saturday and had a lovely cheerful man (I’m assuming he’s the owner) both prepare and serve our food. The seafood was fresh and the bento plate unique (this was the first time I’d ever heard of prawn and salmon dumplings). I can see why this place is the most popular Japanese restaurant in the area.

Satoru’s Japanese Restaurant

Shop 1, 108 Old Pacific Hwy, Oxenford, QLD

5665 9295

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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. 

Thaiger

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“Pou-Nim” Black Burger

(crispy softshell crab, granny smith Asian slaw, sweet and tangy dressing)

★★☆☆☆

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Tom Yum Goong Burger

(grilled spicy prawns, fresh herbs, coriander, lettuce, Tom Yum mayo)

A tasty burger that was a bit stingy with the prawns.

★★★☆☆

Taro String

Best eaten while hot (as they are no longer crispy once they have cooled down)

★★★☆☆

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Lemongrass Pork Chop Burger

 (grilled 24 hour lemongrass marinated pork chop, cucumber, mint, mixed leaves, caramelised onion, “Nam Jim Jeaw” dressing)

Tasty tender pork chop that was very well marinated.

★★★☆☆

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Prawn Croquette Burger

(prawn croquette, Asian slaw, sriracha mayo)

★★★☆☆

Crispy Sweet Corn Fritters

Extremely chewy with an unusual texture.

★★☆☆☆

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Chick-Chick Bang-Bang Burger

(crispy chicken thigh fillet, Thai sweet chilli mayo, tomato, lettuce, sliced boiled egg)

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

Delicious Thai inspired flavours and ingredients can be found at this unique little burger joint. There are 14 different burgers to choose from as well as 7 house salads and a number of sides which include taro string, grilled pork skewers, fish cake and corn fritters. Deciding what to order was quite tough as everything on the menu sounded amazing. Each burger turned out to be surprisingly filling considering their moderate size. The brioche buns were perfect (buttery, crispy, not too sweet) however the black burger bun was a bit dry. Service was a little slow and there are only 3 small tables available so if you come during peak lunch time, be prepared to get a takeaway. In any case I wouldn’t mind coming back here to try the rest of their burgers.

Thaiger

Thaiger

Shop 16 The Walk Arcade, 8 Causeway Lane, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9663 8558

http://www.thaiger.com.au/

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

Sushi Hotaru (revisted)

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Salmon cream cheese roll

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Seared salmon and scallops

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Lobster salad gunkan

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 Seared scallop nigiri

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Spicy seared salmon nigiri

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 Prawn box sushi

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Chicken karaage

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Spicy tuna nigiri

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Salmon avocado roll

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Takoyaki

Overall:

Love this place. In fact not much has changed since my first visit over a year ago. The service is still super quick (I ordered pretty much everything from the electronic touch screens) and the food is still fresh and delicious. The menu is updated 3 to 4 times a year and everything is freshly hand made right in front of your eyes. This time around I especially enjoyed the spicy seared salmon nigiri, chicken karaage and the seared salmon and scallops (I could really go for more of this right now!) This is definitely the place to go to if you are after quick, tasty, reasonable priced sushi train food. Note that this place can get quite busy and that they will not seat you until your entire party has arrived.

Check out the first part of this clip to get more of an idea of what to expect at Sushi Hotaru.

Sushi Hotaru

Shop 118, 200 Bourke St (1st floor of MidCity Arcade), Melbourne

(03) 9663 7538

Sushi Hotaru on Urbanspoon

*Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of SD Marketing Global.