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...

Brilliant cheap eats in Melbourne

As a recent trip to Ezard proved, fine dining is actually pretty easy. Dress all your staff in black, have them breathe hot air down your neck about the Argentinian fine grain, hand groomed, organic alfalfa garnishing your plate and charge several hundred dollars for the privilege. Serving good, consistent cheap food you’d kill your mother for is a shade more difficult. Thankfully Melbourne has some dead set winners. Here are some favs for lunch. Rose Garden BBQ – Elizabeth St Melbourne. Past all the motorbike shops and just before the Vic Market, you’ll find the ducks hanging in the window and the hordes of mostly people Asian (a good sign let’s face it) queuing outside to get in. Double happiness must have something to do with their $8 spicy chicken ribs. Sublime doesn’t describe this plate of crunchy fried wings and rice drenched in spicy duck and pork dripping. And it’s quick too. Just get yourself there before the 12.30 rush. Giraffe cafe – Lt Lonsdale St. This super cute cafe run by suitably super cute staff serves amazingly good coffee. With a minimal kitchen, they always seem to pull out some great specials and great quality food from nowhere. Their chilli con carne tortilla for $8 or so simply blows my mind. At night they do a great trade with deserts such as tiramisu too. Central Club Hotel. Quite possibly the only $10 pot and parma left in Melbourne it’s the epitome of cheap but blissfully cheerful. Opposite the Vic Markets, the publicans have looked after us for years now and they really know something about running...

Sotano tapas bar review

For a special occaision, I decided to succumb to The Age’s Epicure to guide my gastronomic destiny. Nothing like going blind and putting all your money on black. Frankly it didn’t work out too well. Sotano is at the Hilton, that is the new Hilton, which is in the new part of Melbourne – the Docklands/Southbank. It is utterly impossible to navigate to. Coming from South Yarra we were at least 20 minutes late because The Hilton is hindered by copious construction sites and obfuscated by really stupid entrances. By the time you find the car park you will be too hungry for tapas. Bollocks. Well as far as tapas goes, it’s nothing remarkable. I do agree with Epicure that the charcuterie and cheese boards are kind of cool. Movidas though has real personality in the tapas dishes that Sotano just doesn’t have. Strangely you must have to ask for some phone book wine list. Because on the menu there’s only wine by the glass despite two massive elevated walk in wine fridges over the bar. Those are well worth a guided tour from the somellier. Highly recommended. All in all after 9pm, the service really, really sucks. The beautiful staff with their very thuper thexy hair styles look busy you’d have more luck getting a drink in a nunnery. By this time, the ‘classic Hilton burger’ is really starting to look like an option over waiting for another round of Sangria and tiny tapas. If you’re a bright, shiny objects person, this place is new, immersive and very now. Moreover if you think the Docklands is just fantastic...

Are Australians wine snobs?

In a recent press Johannesburg press conference, Jeremy Clarkson was asked what he thought about South African wine. His comment, ‘well it’s better than Australian wine’. Given that the poms love to go Aussie bashing, it was to be expected. But it got me thinking, has the average Aussie tried a South African wine? Australia is a definitive ‘new world’ wine country. So we should be free of the snobbery of the Champagne or Alsace region of France where appellations are mandated and chateaus centuries old. You’d think we’d be open minded about wine. Sadly not. I put it to the average ‘long in the leg, thick in the head Aussie’ that you are the world’s most unmitigated wine snob. You buy all your wine from the one shop (Dan Murphys). For those of you who came in late or are not Aussies, Dan Murphys is a booze supermarket, like a Wal Mart dedicated to everything alcoholic. Good to save a few bucks, but just like Wal Mart, you save a bundle on somethings and get totally ripped off. Worse than that, you’re not getting any story behind the wine, you hardly ever meet the makers and you’re served by some spotty git that only knows what’s good because the manager always knicks it. Their ‘cellar’ is an industrial warehouse the size of Belgium and that’s about it. There’s no guy with a beard that could tell you everything from the etymology of the name of the terroir of the soil. Secondly, all your information comes from at best two sources, Jeremy Oliver (no not the celebrity chef) and...

Is kosher food organic?

In short, I’m afraid not. This has been bugging me for ages, and as soon as I can be bothered, I’ll put in some references. Perhaps it intrigues me because supermarket food is so mega bland and I’m always looking at kosher product as premium product. Hey kosher chickens from the Balaclava Safeway are mega fat and damned tasty – real tasty. Organic food in much the same light. Both massively expensive, and to some extent, both are approved by the ministry of good intentions and nothing more. As with everything, kosher is way bigger in America. In Melbourne, unless you’re in Caufield, you will struggle to find anything more than bagels, matzoh or pickled gefilte fish. Meh, what can you do. But our question is, is kosher food actually organic? No. Because religious doctrine written thousands of years ago could predict cheeseburgers being really unhealthy, but not petroleum based pesticides being used in agriculture on a colossal scale. And when the chemicals came, did they revise their doctrine? No chance. The only thing with vegetables in kosher I could find was that they must be free of bugs. So in theory you could get tomatoes form Chernobyl and they’d be kosher. No wucken furries. Well what about the meat? From my skimpy research (and I welcome any feedback/corrections on the subject. I’m by no means authoritative on the subject). Again you could feed cows McCrap burgers and it could still be potentially kosher. There’s absolutely nothing I could find to say you couldn’t feed animals feed based on chemicals. Only how the beast is killed, the blood is...

Half decent sausage shepherds pie recipe

This is one tasty pie. It’s relatively easy to make and it’s getting written down because I tried it and it actually worked out pretty well. Feeds a small army. Ingredients: 8-10 sausages 10-12 waxy potatoes diced 3-4 good quality tomatos 1 brown onion 3 cloves garlic sea salt olive oil various spices (I used a garam masala mix and Masterfoods Portuguese chicken seasoning, sumac and cayenne) milk semolina (optional) pre heat the oven as hot as it will go lay your sausages out in a big oven baking dish so they cover as much of the surface as possible dice your potatoes into 1cm squares so they boil quick. chuck them in a cold water pot with plenty of salt. Crank the gas until they’re well boiled. We’re gonna mash these puppies hard. dice up your tomato. Leave it raw and scatter over the sausages and set aside cut up your onion nice and fine and coarsely chop your garlic. now grab a wok or a pan and warm up your olive oil for about 2 mins chuck the spices in the oil and let it mix well. Follow it up with the garlic and let that sit for a minute or two to infuse finally throw in the onion and let it all brown nicely and soften up. 2-4 minutes should do it nicely. This is the most important bit now throw the onion and spice mix over the sausages and toms. cover in salt once your potatoes have boiled, mash them and cover it over the sausages like a pie. Pour over milk to soften the...