Monday, March 12, 2007

Melbourne Munchings Part 1

I didn't realise Melbourne is such a melting pot of races and cultures. I met Indonesians, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Greeks and other nationalities when I was there.

As such, Melbourne has lots of restaurants serving up different cuisines.

Cantini Cecconi - 73 Flinders Lane, Melbourne City

We came here for dinner as it was recommended in the visitor's guide on Melbourne that DH bought.

It was an open concept kitchen in the middle of the restaurant, and it served some very unique and delicious dishes.

DH and I shared a fantastic starter of lasagne of porcini mushroom, chicken livers and black truffles. It was velvety and delicious, and the black truffles were still very fragrant. Pity about the chicken livers, if they had used foie gras, the dish would have been elevated to my hall of fame! Although of course, the cost would probably have tripled. It is easily my favourite dish of the meal, and possibly this trip.

Then I had a great swordfish on potato mash - crispy skin and exterior, tender and flakey meat on top of fluffy and light mash.

DH's beef was not wagyu, but it was very tender and delicious. It was really very good, tasty and richly succulent.

We then shared a tiramisu, which was divine. Smooth, and creamy. It was so good, that we couldn't resist taking a big bite each, before taking this photo.

We couldn't finish our wine, and brought it back to the hotel to drink with the cheese that I had bought earlier that day. I bought a brie, a crumbly goat's cheese and a blue cheese. Lovely. Especially with the wine!

Piazza Vittoria

I went to Victoria Market with Baby on one of the days that DH was busy. It was a lovely market, with fresh produce and deli meats, dips, nuts on one end, and trinkets and handicraft and other things on the other end. I didn't venture into the handicraft section. I just bought organic veg to cook Baby's porridge,some lovely fruits like mango, strawberries and blueberries and some nuts and nougat.

Then Baby and I adjourned to Piazza Vittoria (Victoria Plaza) just across the road for some Italian. I ordered the cannelloni (a rolled pasta filled with spinach and ricotta) smothered in cheese and tomato and then baked). It doesn't look like much in this picture but it was delicious.

Mini Restaurant (side street off 137 Flinders Lane)

We stumbled upon this place whilst searching for a restaurant featured on the in flight magazine on the way to Melbourne. And boy was it good!

It was a basement type restaurant, as many restaurants in Melbourne are.

And, it served modern Greek cuisine. This was my favourite restaurant.

We shared some starters:

panfried cheese with lemon and some yoghurt dip. It was hot and cheesy and delicious. The lemon and yoghurt added a little sour tang, so that it wasn't too overwhelming.

The tuna carpaccio came with some tart dressing, with sugar crystals on it, so it was a harmonious paring of very interesting tastes and textures. Fresh fish, sourness, sweetness, and the crunch of the crystals. DH liked this one a lot.

The prawn was, to me, quite asian. It was rolled in bee hoon and fried, like some of our dimsum things that you get at Chinese restaurants. The green dip was made with coriander, cumin and some other spices that may have been exotic to Australians, but were comfortingly familiar to this Singaporean.

The grilled quail was tasty, a bit like bbq chicken wings, I've tried this in Hong Kong many times, but DH has never eaten quail so he was keen to try.

My main of pistachio encrusted lamb rack was fantastic. I decided on this upon stepping into the restaurant and seeing many diners tucking into this delicious looking dish. And it tasted even better than it looked. The lamb was very tender and tasty and the pistachio bits on top were crunchy and yummy. The veg with yoghurt dressing was light and delicious. The mash at the bottom was couscous I think, a little grainy, creamy and tasty, and everything went very well together.

DH's main of spatchcock (a little speckled chicken, so I am told), was okay, tender and tasty and was served an a bed of tasty spinach. It however paled in comparison to my yummy lamb.

All the photos above were taken with my trusty Nokia camera!

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