Kokoro Ramen (CBD)

So we’ve been on a bit of a hiatus of late…but we’ve been still out and about gorging ourselves around Melbourne quite decadently. The good news is that I’ve got a huge backlog of food blogging to catch up on – the bad news is that my laziness (and new job – yay) will probably mean the posts will take a while. Another bad news of note is that I managed to drown my blogging camera in water so I’ve had to shamefully rely on my phone to take food porn.

We’ve recently become a little obsessed with Japanese cuisine and Joe suggested we spent Easter slurping ramen. Who am I to argue with good advice? With some luck we found a urbanspoon adored ramen institution open on Easter Sunday and began our Kokoro Ramen slurpfest.



As soon as we stepped into the warmth of Kokoro Ramen, my nostrils were filled with delicious herby broth scents.

KR4 KR3We started off with some Takowasa – raw Octopus in wasabi ($5.50). These juicy little suckers were so fun to chew with an added extra nostril-flaring kick at the end. Whilst the Takowasa was delightfully chewy, chewing the cold, raw octopus became a bit of a chore towards the end of the small serving.


I couldn’t go past the Tokyo Shoyu Ramen – an indulgent salty soy,chicken and seafood broth with a succulent piece of pork belly. I was expecting the Tokyo Ramen to be quite salty, but it was perfectly fine for my palette. That being said, I’m pretty sure I am head cheerleader of the salt fan club so it might be best to request ‘less salty’ which is an option Kokoro Ramen offers for the less salt-centric customer. The egg was the perfect level of boiled.. The noodles were soft but without compromising the chewiness that makes ramen such a joy to eat. The tokyo shoyu ramen is a sure winner.



However, throughout my meal I suffered the dreaded food envy as I watched Joe eat a beautifully creamy pork bone broth Tonkotsu. After managing to convince Joe to peel away from his ramen and allow me a quick taste, I’m pretty sure that he won in terms of ramen selection. I would probably return for the tonkotsu alone.

Kokoro Ramen is super quick, efficient and a order-at-the-counter and take a number sort of place. I like the no-fuss approach to service and the speed at which the ramen was plonked down onto our table. The fit out is cosy and the walls are decked out with cool posters which you can also purchase.

Kokoro Ramen on Urbanspoon

Prix Fixe [CBD]


Prix Fixe is Philippa Sibley’s joint venture with restaurateur Jason M Jones. The concept is simple; ticketed dining where you book a table for a night and devour what the kitchen brings out. It is available as a 4 course dinner experience ($79) or a 3-course lunch ($49). Prix Fixe had blown a lot of air recently through social media channels with claims that they “created a magical dining room” and a  ”A Midsummer Night’s Dream” inspired menu, and naturally the hint of a Shakespearean dining adventure ensured we had booked tickets to the opening night well in advance.

As we came across the discrete New-York fashioned door, the anticipation for what would happen next was incredible. Entering, we could see Sibley and her cohort of chefs rushing around just across the open-view kitchen. We were quickly directed to a table in the far corner of the dining area by the attentive and professional team.


Whilst the exterior of Prix Fixe looked polished with the gold plaque, the interior was reminiscent of a 70s soap opera dining room set. Large curtains hung from the industrial ceiling which served as partitions between the diners and the back of house, dim orange lights hung over each table and a large creamy-brown booth seat stretched underneath a gold paneled wall. The room buzzed with loud conversation – to the point of having to lean over the table and ask my dining partner several times to repeat themselves and compete with the adjacent table to maintain conversation.

We ended up not opting for the matched wines, opting to order a couple of cocktails to begin with instead. The cocktails were beautiful to look upon, with delicate touches of herbs livening up what were otherwise the expected basic flavour profiles.


The first dish to tantalise our taste-buds was a delicate and beautiful Avgolemono – asparagus soup with egg sorbet & herbs.  The egg sorbet’s creaminess complemented the subtle cooling tones of the asparagus perfectly with the hints of herbs adding playful touches of added delight. This was a lovely send-off for the journey ahead and definitely a highlight dish for the evening.

Somewhere before Act I took the stage, a freshly-baked crescent of bread was placed on our table (quite literally ‘on the table’ with no plate) which we gladly took to with generous lashings of butter as soon as it cooled enough to eat. Who doesn’t love fresh bread, right?


Act I – “Bacchanalia!” was a triumph of form: a seemingly disparate selection of varied flavours and textures that flowed together with subtlety and surprise. The light, crisp pea felafel was a standout, as was the silky taramasalata studded with roe. Hints of anise, smoke and saffron came together to make Act I an enlightening and highly enjoyable dish. It was, however, the high water mark for the evening.


Act II – “Titania” emerged in the form of a chicken ballotine; a technically impressive dish of chicken rolled around lively hints of lemon and thyme. The questionable analogy Joe drew for this dish was that it was kind like listening to progressive metal – yes, it’s a difficult dish to pull off, requiring a wealth of expertise and technical ability but it’s a victim of style over substance which didn’t rise to the heights of flavour we saw in the previous act. The pomme puree that came with it? A delightful little boat of fluffy goodness with intriguing depth.

Ok, so here’s the deciding factor in why our Prix Fixe experience was a letdown. I will preface this by saying that we didn’t complain to staff on the night, probably because after sitting there for three hours we really just wanted to be on our way home.

Rach has a nut allergy. As a regular food adventurer, it’s really tough to balance the desire to not be annoying with the desire to not die a horrible death from asphyxiation while vomiting on a crowded dining room floor. On any given day, we’re more than happy to not ask for special treatment if it’s not something a restaurant is comfortable doing, but knowing ahead of time what to look out for is kind of imperative.

This is why we emailed Prix Fixe about a week in advance to ask if we should be wary of any menu items. We got a prompt and confident response back that there shouldn’t be anything to worry about but that we should mention it on the night. It’s also why we called up hours beforehand just to check again. It’s also why we politely mentioned it to one of the servers as they brought the first course out.

With all of those things considered, is it not fair to be incredibly disappointed when dessert was plonked in front of us consisting of baklava made with big chunks of almonds? It’s not like the almond was a peripheral ingredient. It was clearly visible from a distance but still seemed to have been missed by Prix Fixe every time we enquired about it beforehand. People can die from this sort of thing. Had we have faithfully listened to all of the assurances given to us beforehand; our evening would have ended up in the emergency room. It’s hard to understand how this can happen in the dining room of people who clearly have so much experience, ability and emotion invested in it.

We honestly hate writing negative reviews, which is why we tried to keep this one as balanced and as fair as possible. That being said, Prix Fixe has engaged in a highly-visible campaign for attention in the lead up to opening night and we well and truly bought into it. Maybe we just didn’t “get it” but we expected more considering what was promised.

Prix Fixe on Urbanspoon

The B.East (East Brunswick)

I’d been whinging about getting a burger fix for about 2 weeks before finally revisiting the B.East. The first visit wasn’t blogged because we were too hungover/too ill to remember to take decent photos (pro-tip – The B.Easts burgers are a bonafide hangover slayer!).  Noticing that they had a few spare tables out front on an early Thursday eve, we quickly nabbed one and began studying the menu.

outfrontThe B.East is easy to fall in love with – they have an eclectic drink selection which includes ginger beer and alcoholic iced tea, they offer live music and the vibe is just right.

chillicheesefriesFirst to arrive were the quintessential order of chilli cheese fries. Carby, cheesy and slightly spicy – these crunchy hunks of potato were hard to resist when slathered with cheesy goodness. Note to self: do not visit the B.East when on a diet as these little suckers are irresistible and we were piling them into our mouths long after declaring fullness.



At $9 a serve, they are on the expensive side of chips – but by god they are worth it.  The serving size is  very generous and would be perfect to ‘share’ with a friend over a cold beer….


I’m of the firm belief that a burger should be sloppy, greasy and leave one feeling like a gluttonous pig. The Filthy featuring Mustard fried beef, vintage cheddar, B.EAST chilli paste, pickled red onion, tomato, cos and horseradish aioli ticked all of the boxes. The Filthy, which J kept referring to as the Filthy Beast for some reason was the right balance of sloppiness to the soft, bouncy bun. The beef pattie was juicy-thick and contained a lovely tang, presumably from the hints of mustard dispersed inside.


Across the way, J had ordered the Smoked Beer Chicken Po Boy which arrived in the form of an impressive colossal of a roll stuffed to the brim with smoked and pulled beer can chicken, lemon and thyme stuffing and chicken crack. 


I managed to wrap my mouth around this monster of a roll and steal a few bites. Whilst tasty, we both agreed that it was dry. Like really dry. Also it was meant to arrive with cranberry sauce which was either a) non-detectable or b) non-existent.  Fortunately, B.East offers mustard and tomato sauce so this could be somewhat remedied. The stuffing was crumbly, buttery and added a lemony zest to the pulled chicken. The smokey chicken didn’t have the beer flavour I was so looking forward to, but even so, it was still delicious. Another qualm was just the density and dryness of the bread.

pulledchicken2The B.East is a great place to hang out on a balmy summer evening, however, I’ll be sticking to their delicious burgers and chilli cheese fries.

The B.East on Urbanspoon

Old Kingdom (Collingwood)

Do you like devouring the succulent flesh of Peking Duck? How about crispy skin, roasted to deep orange perfection? Have you ever said to yourself, “You know what, Marjorie? I’m fuckin’ going to just eat, like, five ducks tonight and I don’t care who knows it.”

Read on, dear friend.


Old Kingdom has a mean reputation for doing great Peking Duck. At $55 per bird and with four hungry mouths to feed, it seemed like a pretty rad way to spend an evening.


Let me set the scene. A quiet, unassuming man strides over to you, hold a sizzling duck aloft as if he’s about to go all Lion King on us.

Setting it down on the table, his practiced hands go to work on the bird. Deft knifework ensues. Slivers of perfectly-roasted flesh form are laid out in concentric patters on the plate. Wing and leg-joints are separated with a satisfying crack and within moments the man is gone again, leaving you to the task at hand – it’s time to get down.


Here’s the skinny: take one crepe. Arrange your cucumber and spring onion. Eye off your friends so they don’t take the piece of duck you want. Chopstick-ninja that piece onto your plate. “Accidentally” spoon over a little too much sauce. Wrap up into a cheeky little package and place it into your mouth.

Look, some pleasures don’t need to be complicated. The combination of crepe and duck and assorted accompaniments has been done for a million years for a reason – it’s just so damn good. The softness of the crepe is the perfect cushion as you crack through that crisp skin into the juicy, succulent meat beneath.


Next up is a deeply flavoursome stir fry of duck meat with bean shoots. Who doesn’t love bean shoots? Again, it’s a simple set of highly-savoury flavours that works really well as a follow-up dish to the first onslaught.



Rounding out the three-course duck experience is a cleansing soup made from the last of the duck meat and bones, tofu and some greens. It’s a nice way to wash out the salt of the first two dishes while still capturing something unique and hearty.


We figured that maybe a little something something from the main menu should probably sneak its way into our bellies as well, so we threw in a plate of sticky fried pork ribs.

These were a nice little decadent treat, with zingy chunks of pineapple breaking through the rich sauce to bring a really interesting element to a dish that could easily have been a greasy nightmare. Actually, I’m really craving some more of these right now.

Old Kingdom does great duck and deserves it’s formidable reputation in the inner city. It’s a brilliant excuse to get a few friends together, pour some wine and enjoy great Peking Duck at a really affordable price. What more do you need?
Old Kingdom on Urbanspoon

Red Spice Road QV (CBD)

Red Spice Road was one of those places we were really looking forward to dining in. Our expectations were incredibly high by the time we arrived at the doors of the McKillop st’s younger sibling located in QV as our stomachs groaned in hunger and anticipation.


After scanning the menu quickly, the realisation that I wanted to gorge myself on every single one of the menu items struck me. Luckily, RSR offers banquets so we selected the incredibly well priced $69 banquet.

Betel Leaf with Smoked Chicken
Betel Leaf with Smoked Chicken

First to grace our palates was the wonderful Betel Leaf with Smoked Chicken Betel Leaf served with  Avocado, Shallot and Lemongrass.

In the background sticky duck and cashew relish rests upon a crisp square of watermelon. The sticky, chewy duck morsels melted into the crunch of the watermelon upon each bite. A potently sweet dish but not at all unwelcome.

Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken  Ribs

Soon arrived another appetiser of fried chicken ribs, served with coriander and generous sprinklings of sliced chilli. Dipped into the sweet sauce, these bad boys might be the best friend chicken I’ve ever eaten. Yep.

Kingfish Salad

The kingfish salad was fresh and brimming with flavour – served with green tomatoes, sawtooth and chinese celery. The dressing was face-meltingly spicy and the kingfish pieces burst with zinginess from the lime. Whilst this dish was pretty good, it didn’t manage to capture the same fondness I have for the kingfish at Chin Chin.

Crispy Fried Chicken

redspiceroad6A delightfully unique experience came in the form of Crispy Fried Chicken with sour chilli sauce and roasted banana chilli topped with a lemongrass Relish. This was one spicy dish – and I loved it.  Soon I was gorging on Beef Cheeks with mushrooms, crunchy bean shoot salad all swimming in a delectable spicy broth. These were melt-in-your-mouth awesome.

redspiceroad7And then the most raved about dish of RSR arrived -  Chef John McLeay’s signature dish, the pork belly served with crunchy apple slaw, chilli caramel and black vinegar. The pork belly was succulent, sweet and the crisp outer layer delivered a delightful crunch to each bite. Whilst everyone raved about this dish, I can’t personally say I fell in love. This might be due to my love of savoury dishes rather than the tooth-achingly sweet. J however probably would have proposed right there and then to the pork belly if I hadn’t been present.

Red Spice Road was an incredible dining experience. The staff are friendly and have enthusiasm for the food that the kitchen churns out. The banquet was astoundingly great value and we left not wanting to ever eat again (not that that’d ever happen!).

Red Spice Road QV on Urbanspoon

Syracuse (CBD)

As we entered through the large doors of Syracuse via a small hidden Melbourne laneway, we could hear the gentle strumming of a guitar.  Inside, the interior is a beautiful rendition of a 19th century fine dining room, with ornate archways and chandeliers hanging from their high soaring ceilings. Despite visiting on a Saturday evening, only a handful of tables were occupied by 8pm. We were opting for a lighter meal (to be fair on both my waistline and hip pocket) so we decided upon a few intriguing sharing plates and a couple of wines to converse over.

In my natural habitat, eating and drinking wine.
In my natural habitat, eating and drinking wine.

The first plate we ordered was the Hervey Bay scallop sashimi with yuzu, urchin cream, chicken skin. These delicious little morsels tantalised the tongue with creamy notes and crispy bundles of chicken skin. Unfortunately they were devoured before a decent photo could be snapped.

Flinders Island wallaby sausage
Flinders Island wallaby sausage

Next arrived the Wallaby sausage, ordered mainly because wallaby is rarely offered in restaurants.  Surrounding the morsels of wallaby was watermelon pickled beetroot and lardo. The beetroots sweetness complemented the dense, peppery sausage quite well.  

Smoked duck breast
Smoked duck breast

As you may have noticed, we hardly ever can go past the offering of duck – and our visit to Syracuse was no exception. The smokey rolled pieces of duck breast were served expertly with strawberries, fennel and vanilla, foie gras. The strawberries and vanilla evolved the dish into something quite uniquely border-lining between savoury and sweet – in perfect balance and harmony. The breast was not fatty at all, which is one major qualm I have with most duck dishes, and smoked to near perfection. It would be worth revisiting for just this dish alone.

Syracuse only had one waiter on when we visited which was fine seeing as the restaurant hadn’t filled out. The service was attentive but perhaps a little less hand-holding may have been nice. Syracuse’s’ atmosphere is romantic and we were lucky enough to have our ears entertained by the guitarist incessantly strumming for the duration of our meal.  The ‘share’ plates could have been slightly larger (what happened to the rest of the wallaby sausage?). Whilst we probably won’t be rushing back any time soon, we did have a nice experience at Syracuse overall and their wine list is extensive and impressive.
Syracuse on Urbanspoon

Delicious Hummus (in 5 minutes)


For christmas my parents graciously gifted me The Bellini Kitchen Master, which is very similar to the kitchen cult icon the Thermomix. It has been getting a serious work out and so far I’ve conjured up;

  • Dulce De Leche
  • Peanut Butter Cups/Slice
  • Beetroot and Feta Dip
  • Ham and Cheese Rolls
  • Smoothies (this has become a daily ritual)
  • Various lemongrass/chilli rubs

and hummus!

One thing I’ve been loving about being a BIKM owner is the fact that I can now pretty much put together really awesome meals from scratch, whilst controlling the nutritional content of my meals. I was blessed with a fairly fast metabolism but I also love eating wholesome, healthy food. The BIKM enables me to prepare fast and from raw ingredients and here is the first of many recipes I’ll be sharing :) .


  • 1 – 1.5 cans of chickpeas.
  • 60g of lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove (or more if you’re trying to ward off vampires)
  • 2 peeled strips of lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini (hulled)
  • Honey (I used stevia to sweeten this hummus)
  • A splash of extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

1. Place the garlic clove and lemon zest in  bowl and process of speed 7 for about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and repeat.

2. Add chickpeas and tahini and blend on speed 5 for 2 minutes

3. Scrap down the sides of the bowl

4. Add olive oil and blend on speed 4 for 3 minutes.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I topped mine with a bit of paprika.

And then you have delicious hummus for a fraction of the in-store cost and ready in a mere 5 minutes.

P.S – I promise to write up the rest of the recipes for the BIKM soon!


Curious Goose (Brunswick)

Brunswick’s Sydney Road is on the fast track to becoming the new Fitzroy. A hive of cafes, bars and boutique eateries blossoming in the fair weather of hipster chic while Brunswick Street slowly slides into the douchebaggery of neo-Chapel Street. Ok, that’s the most Melbourne I’ve ever crammed into an opening paragraph – let’s talk about Curious Goose.


Is there a more welcoming sight that seeing two for one cocktails on a warm evening? As we wandered in and sat down in this humble cafe, I think we both felt that good things were to come.

Pork and Pineapple Taco
Pork and Pineapple Taco

The grilled pork belly tacos lasted all of about three minutes before being completely devoured. With welcome additions of lemon and lime, pineapple and a generous whack of guacamole, I’m not surprised they didn’t last long.

Jalapeño Poppers
Jalapeño Poppers


The jalapeno poppers were exactly what you’d hope them to be: a satisfying crunch of corn chip on the outside and the warm soft cheese within, all cupped in the spicy embrace of the jalapeno itself. It’s the kind of food you know will be too hot to eat but you gratefully accept the scorched mouth for just another taste.

Pulled Beef Taco
Pulled Beef Taco

Don’t forget to load up on the pulled beef tacos. A simple, honest proposition of tender meat wrapped in a soft blanket along with the usual accompaniments joining the party like your favourite old friends. We couldn’t help but load these with reckless dashings of the hot sauces you see dotted around the Goose’s tables with ample variety.

You’re not going to want to visit Curious Goose for five star dining. You’ll go to Curious Goose for its well-priced and tasty fare, totally decent cocktails, the beer selection and because it’s the kind of place that makes you feel like one of the cool kids – even if just for a moment.

Curious Goose on Urbanspoon

Alice (Essendon)

“Curiouser and curiouser!”

Alice, when peering through the looking glass, is an intimate cafe in Essendon that exudes cuteness. It is a relative newcomer on the cafe scene but has been heralded as a coffee mecca among the burnt, uninspired coffee being pumped out of nearing cafes (I’m glaring at you, Puckle st…)


The staff are some of the loveliest, friendliest (and perhaps quirkiest) staff I’ve come across in recent times. I dined with my lovely ma, after finding ourselves ravenous before our spa treatments nearby. I’d like to say that this is a regularly done thing, however, I was actually celebrating the end of my final exams and finally graduating – so this was a bit of a unique day.

I ordered my standard skinny flat wite and ma ordered a soy chai latte worthy of a Mad Hatter tea party.


Baked Eggs
Baked Eggs

Ma ordered the baked eggs with bacon, onion, beans, tomato, spinach and aged cheddar. This was served with thickly sliced sourdough toast. There is definitely a rustic homeliness to be found in a ceramic dish of oozy eggs surrounded by a sea of melted cheese.

Poached Eggs
Poached Eggs

The poached eggs contained a chorizo bean medley which was garnished with an avocado and tomato mix. This too was served with some crusty sourdough which was the perfect medium for scooping up the bleeding yolks and spicy bursts of chorizo.

Poached Eggs
Poached Eggs

The poached egg breakfast contains all of my favourite things (read: chorizo) and manages to be satisfying without being unbearably filling. That being said, Alice offers a tantalising array of pastries and cakes beside the cash register – so it might be worth saving yourself for some sweeter decadence.  The meals were quick to arrive and the prices were very reasonable – about $11.50 for each breakfast dish.

It is well worth falling down the rabbit hole to chase Alice and a decent coffee hit.

Alice on Urbanspoon

Hammer and Tong (Fitzroy)

Hammer and Tong may well be Melbourne’s hottest brunch spot at present – with queues of eager patrons always spilling out the door into the narrow Fitzroy street. So it was, the morning of my birthday, I pleaded to be taken to Hammer and Tong – mostly because their soft shell crab burger causes incredible salivation whenever someone mentions it to me but also , as you know, I’m a sucker for brunch.

Hammer and Tong
Hammer and Tong

The inside of Hammer and Tong is modern, sleek but not without charm due to the pastry laden counter and the smells and hisses of coffees being brewed . However, as there were no tables available we were asked if we wanted to dine outside instead – which suited me perfectly.

Hammer and Tong - Menu
Hammer and Tong – Menu

Alas! A refreshing brunch and lunch menu that is quite concise and offers dishes you will not find anywhere else. After the last uninspired brunch menu’s I’ve come across, Hammer and Tong’s offerings made me want to return to try everything. I should point out that despite already visiting Hammer and Tong twice with the intention of trialing each dish, we both ended up ordering the exact same thing – even my coffee order of a skinny flat white remained.

Flat White
Flat White

Hammer and Tong churns out decent, not spectacular,coffee which is acceptable to my scrupulous coffee tastes. Being a relatively new establishment, I do feel that their coffee will improve and as I sat outside, sipping on a pretty good brew, I witnessed a constant rotating door of comers and goers ordering takeaway coffees.

Zucchini and Corn Fritters with manchego cheese, chilli tomato relish, spinach ,avocado and a poached egg
Perfectly poached eggs
Perfectly poached eggs

I wish I could go past corn fritters but I can’t seem to do it. In the last 6 months I think I’ve turned into a full blown fritter adorer. The fritters were crispy, crunchy which gave way to a chewy center. Topped with generous amounts of manchego cheese ,encircled by freshly cut large avocado pieces and a poached egg weeping delicious yolk – the entire dish was a flavour experience. The chilli jam was substantially sweeter than it was spicy – but then I’m always chastising the lack of spice in any item that advertises it has chilli. Here, though, the chilli jam offered an unexpected sweetness to round off the dish.

French Toast with peanut butter, raspberry yoghurt ice cream and banana caramel
French Toast with peanut butter, raspberry yoghurt ice cream and banana caramel

Mr Sweet-tooth couldn’t go past the French toast – both visits. Unfortunately due to my allergies I couldn’t sample what looked like an ooozing mess of deliciousness. The french toast was actually better during our second visit – the bread was slightly more airy, and reminiscent of homemade brioche.

Cherry Donut

As we approached the counter to pay the bill, I caught a glimpse of my future – donuts. I quizzed the guy serving my (very acceptable) bill to me as to what type of donuts they had on offer. “Cherry, salted caramel..and sometimes we have all different types of flavours” he answered far too enthusiastically. This is a guy who is passionate about his pastries (and probably very trustworthy based on this fact). These donuts are actually the greatest donuts ever so do yourself a favour (and your waist a disfavour) and pick up one of these bad boys as you leave – even if you’re filled to the brim. Because I can’t resist a pun and I have a terrible urge to tell dad jokes, my closing remark is that Hammer and Tong really hit the nail on the head in offering inspiring brunch dishes.

I will be be back for you, soft shell crab burger….
Hammer and Tong on Urbanspoon