Am I restaurant comatose?

Melbourne, you’re incredible. No truly you really are. Every nook and cranny has amazing food. But perhaps for a second, I had an epiphany that I really j-u-s-t   d-o-n-‘-t   c-a-r-e   a-n-y-m-o-r-e.  I’ve resolved myself to the fact that cute little Asian girls will be Instagramming deserts till I die. Somehow eating out inexplicably keeps getting better. But what really eats me up, no pun intended is, that there’s no classic restaurants in our generation. Melbourne’s hyper hipster eateries work on the ‘go hard or go home’ philosophy. If it doesn’t work, it’s gone. Blink and you’ll miss it as the next super hip fusion of Kim Chi meets New Orleans Po-boy restaurant comes in.  If it does work, it must be jam packed with a queue out the door from lunch time till midnight. Once they pay back the setup costs, they’re already onto the next location doing it all over again. As soon as the grouting as set on the hipster tiles it begins all over again. If you’re lucky, it will work in the north, so they cross the Yarra and do the same thing in the eastern suburbs. The problem is that it’s so short term and unsustainable. This generation won’t produce a Pellegrinis, Waiters’ Club or Spaghetti Tree. Regardless of how good it is, it’s gone as soon as there’s a profit and something new is trending on Twitter. Perhaps when we’re all old we’ll sip our apple puree and talk about how we queued up for Mamasitas. But our bored grand kids will have to take our demented word for it,...
a few amazing places to eat in Tokyo

a few amazing places to eat in Tokyo

Here are three ‘Tokyo’s best….’ experiences I’ve found. NONE of which you’ll find in the Lonely Planet. There are many far more fabulous bloggers than I who have amazing detail. So please visit the links for more info. Also check my Google Map of Yokohama and Tokyo for locations. Mutekiya in Ikebukuro was described as Tokyo’s best ramen. No arguments here. It was fabulous and cheap.  Considering the quality for about $12 Australian I felt like I was robbing the place. Frankly I didn’t like it as much as Yokohama’s best ramen (their pork was way more smokey and BBQey), but it was amazing. Even with typhoon heavy rain, there was still a 20 minute queue to get in this little place. It seats about 16-20 people also. So don’t expect to waltz straight in or enjoy a few quiet beers. There were a few repeat visitors in the queue too, always a reassuring sign. It’s about a 5-10 minute walk from the Ikebukuro subway on the JR line, so is it accessible?  Hell yeah. See the link above for full details. My advice, get there for about 11am and have a big bowl or ramen to keep you full all day. Maisen Tonkatsu is the opposite of the ramen rush. I’m told it is a chain store, but you’d never guess. It’s in the very posh Aoyama district area near Harajuku, so this ain’t no sloppy Burger King. It’s the kind of place posh mums take their daughters out to for a long, leisurely lunch. It’s down these tiny back streets full or markets and boutiquey stuff which is very entertaining...

Toast restaurant Quebec review

At the bottom of old Quebec city is a real treat. Toast is in its 11th year and loving life. The menu was ‘crowdsourced’ with all their customers’ favourite dishes of the past 10 years. While I’ve only been in Quebec 10 minutes, its clear as day they love to eat out. Thus toast is well on the money for repeat business. what was so good about it? Well in true Quebec style you can get a side of foie gras with any main. I like that ‘screw you hippie’ defiance to the caring foodie. Second they had a dish that was piglet done 3 or 4 different ways. Oh yes and did I say home made bacon? You bet your Toyota Prius I did hippie. Overall an ambiance, warmth and obscenely decadent tastiness that would make any Francophile melt. The perfect compliment to a freezing Quebec night. Plus if not the best, easily the most memorable meal I’ve had in...

Death to Melbourne’s Mexican food

Since Mamasitas opened on Bourke St and routinely has a queue all the way out the door, Mex food has changed in Melbourne. Gone are the days of Franchised (and terrible) Taco Bill blandoid grub, from a memu that hasn’t changed in decades. Now we have something far worse: boutique Mexican. Hor dourves sized tacos and dainty quesadillas posing as mains at ridiculously high prices. Go ahead order up hipster, you’re still going to walk out hungry. Only in Melbourne could a couple order 10 mains ‘designed to share’ in Melbourne and go home hungry. While culinary wise it’s up to snuff, restaurants like Touche Hombre and Sinoritas in Meyers place are to Mexican food what Coldplay is to Rock and raping Roll. Don’t even think about booking a table. Oh no sir, you must queue so we look cool to passers by on the street. Or at the very least book at 6pm for dinner on a Friday to let a constant melee of hipsters pass through. This brings me to my point. Food however good it is is not for pose value. Mexican food is at its best in large portions. Big lashings of mystery cheese, chili and guacamole. If you can see ‘white space’ on your plate, you’re doing it wrong. Three tacos means three sub sandwich sized big boys that you need to skip breakfast and lunch to make room for. This is food I like to share because it’s fun and very, very tasty. Oh yeah and the option of a normal margarita with block ice and good agave tequila.  This is what we’re...

Hebron Korean Restaurant Prahran

On the corner of High and Williams Roads, you could very easily overlook this newish restaurant. While Hebron may conjure up images of Palestinian or Isreali food, it’s a very fresh view on Korean cuisine.  While the menu cites biblical inspiration for the name, it also is very quirkily categorises Korean classics under a Hollywood movie names (I think the mains were called Forest Gump). One thing is for certain is that this isn’t your typical generic Korean restaurant. It’s fresh, quirky and a little bit funky. Despite all this, thankfully the food lives up to the livery. They have a baby squid dish (my memory’s on the fritz) that is superb.  There’s plenty of seafood and interesting salads. It does get quite a bit hot and spicy but nothing that’s overtly bum burningly hot for the sake of it (apparently my company and I went quite red). All the flavors work and everything has a contemporary touch to make it a bit unique. Heaps of Kim Chi and side dishes are there to spice up the journey as well, though I guess it wouldn’t be Korean without it! Without question, this is a very original, truly unique cafe cum restaurant casual dining experience. One that definitely is worth the wander down from Chapel St, or at least off the beaten Williams Road track. This place might be a bit too cutesy for the lads, but it’s bona fide A grade date material. And it goes without saying, there will never be another Hebron. I hope this place does really well. They deserve...

Half Moon Restaruant Brighton

Based on the advice of a Mr Tony Bourdain, I put aside my passionate hatred for this suburb and checked out Half Moon. Their 7 course degustation is without doubt the best meal I’ve had in years. Fish was a key feature, with a delightfully rich fish soup and an amazingly flavoursome fried snapper fillet. Oh and oysters from about 5 or so different places across Australia. Pork lovers would no doubt delight in the twice cooked pork belly and black pudding Even little things like the butter they give you with bread has Japanese wakame seaweed in it that somehow tastes a hair’s breath different to truffle oil. Worth noting too is that apparently this place is run by the former owner of the Botanical in South Yarra. There are subtle design ques to the Botanical in the layout at Half Moon. But this new restaurant is much bigger and has a less frenetic, noisy ambiance compared to the ‘Tan. While the mains looked to be fairly large proportioned and to the same standard, there’d be no reason to eat a la carte in this place. Degustations should always be this...