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Gastronomical ramblings

Food adventure @ Fukuryu Ramen

Fukuryu Ramen is one of Melbourne’s recently-landed ramen restaurants (opened earlier this year) that appears to be hitting it off big time with Melburnians. In the mood for something warm during one particularly cool evening, I found myself at the ramen restaurant with K one Autumn night. 

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The space is quite spacious and inviting. 

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We placed our orders at the counter, grabbed some water (self serve, with options of both still and sparkling) and shotgunned a table. We then waited to collect our order with this nifty buzzer gadget. 

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Launch Party @ La Condesa Taqueria & Cantina

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Melbourne’s love affair with Mexican cuisine continues, with the recent promotion of La Condesa Cantina to a permanent location in the bustling Fitzroy area. I received an invitation to attend their launch event that took place a few weeks ago, and I would like to thank La Condesa Cantina and Little Big Marketing & PR for the opportunity to attend.

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Tromba Paloma - tequila Tromba Blanco, grapefruit, agave, lime and salt. 

The evening kicked off with… you guessed it, tequila! Thankfully not in shot form though! Instead, we were served a cocktail. The kick of tequila was surprisingly minimal in the presence of the citrusy sweetness and didn’t leave me wanting lemons (which is what normally happens when my taste buds come into contact with tequila!).

We were treated to a selection of Mexican treats: nachos and guacamole, tacos and quesadillas. Being at canapé-style event, the portions were of course the cute, miniature size! 

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Double chocolate #cupcakes with #chocolate ganache, chopped mars bars and chewy caramel Tim Tams and a drizzle of dark chocolate. Too much?
#deathbychocolate #food #instafood #gastronomicalramblings #baking #cooking #dessert #sweet

Food adventure @ duNord

Despite spending a good portion of the past three years eating my way through Melbourne, my first experience with Nordic cuisine only just took place a few weeks ago, with an invite to a bloggers dinner at duNord. I would like to thank duNord and Lynda Buckley Communications for the opportunity to attend. 

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The interior. 

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Rose Hip & Apricot Collins - vodka, rose hip, apricot liquor, citrus and sugar, topped with ginger ale. 

I had heard many marvellous things about duNord’s drink concoctions and our welcome cocktail lived up to said tasty standard. I had braced myself for that hit of vodka, but it never came, instead blending into the tasty backdrop of zingy, citrusy sweetness provided by the other components. Welcoming indeed. 

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Salt & Vinegar Branches. 

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Food adventure @ Haymarket Place

Located just across the road from our building at uni, Haymarket Place is frequently visited whenever cravings for a coffee paired with a scrumptious baked goodie of some sort hit. It was during one such coffee run that we spotted a delicious-sounding truffle and mushroom risotto dish on their menu, prompting us to return the very next day for a lunch visit. 

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Interior: charmingly hip. 

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The baked goods. Impossible to say no to on most days. 

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Launch Party @ Artusi

Southgate has welcomed several new kids on the block this year, with Artusi being the latest newcomer to hit the Southbank complex. I was fortunate enough to experience the Modern Italian restaurant twice with an entree sitting during a Southgate Moveable Feast session and an invitation to attend their launch. I would like to thank Artusi, Southgate and Fuller PR for the opportunity to attend.

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Guests were treated to some entertaining moments and great bites showcasing Artusi’s menu and their culinary talents. 

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Nothing says (or rather, sings) Italiano quite like an opera singer! 

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*Photo credit belongs to the talented and lovely Peach-water. (Check out her recap of the Artusi launch here)

MKR battle, between series 2 contestant Lee Chan and series 4 contestant Melina Bagnato. 

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Head chef Leandro Panza hard at work. 

And now for the food… 

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Prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks. 

I’m not usually a big fan of prosciutto, but the cured flavour in this instance was very well done and paired nicely with the crunch of the breadstick. 

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Eggplant croquettes. 

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Broccoli filled potato parcels.

We had already been served this dish previously at our Southgate Moveable Feast session, and this was every bit as tasty as that first encounter

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Pumpkin, mustard fruit & amaretti cappelloni. 

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Wood roasted Berkshire pork belly, with pomelo, endive slaw, chilli & colatura di Alci. 

Just like the potato parcels, we had tried the pork belly before and take 2 lived up to the heights of take 1. 

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Bocconcini with beetroot. 

Soft and silky light bocconcini, yes! Beetroot, no thanks - just my dislike of beetroot speaking. 

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Tuna tartare, wrapped in lettuce. 

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Blue cheese fans (unfortunately not I), feast your eyes on this baby! A HUGE wheel of gorgonzola cheese with two layers of truffle. 

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Talk about gourmet… 

Great food, great entertainment and great company = fantastic launch. Having had two very enjoyable experiences at Artusi, I’d be keen to revisit properly some time soon…  

Disclosure: the opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit. 

Artusi on Urbanspoon

Artusi

UR1 Upper Level Southgate Restaurant & Shopping Precinct

Southbank, Victoria, 3006. 

(03) 8199 1033

http://artusimelbourne.com.au/

Food adventure @ Otsumami

Otsumami has been on my to-visit list since 2012, but given its location in Northcote and how little I frequent that side of Melbourne, it’s taken me quite a while to get around to visiting. The opportunity came up recently whilst deciding on a meet up venue with Dr M, who happens to be working practically around the corner. Huzzah!

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Salmon Harumaki - salmon, cheese and nori spring rolls, served with wasabi mayo. 

The spring roll wrapper sported much crunch, but it was quite tough and chewy in texture and lacked that delicate crispiness you look for in wrappers.  The salmon itself was overcooked and the distribution of cheese was uneven. The bites with all elements, however, really highlighted how well the flavour combo worked. That hint of wasabi and sweet teriyaki sauce were particularly enjoyable. 

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Kani-age - soft shell crab marinated in soy, mirin, ginger & garlic, deep fried and served with chili mayo dipping sauce. 

No complaints from either of us with the soft shell crab. The batter was crispy and delicate (unlike those spring rolls!) and also well seasoned without being overly salty. The flavouring from the creamy sweet chilli mayo accompaniment really rounded out the dish.  

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Sweet potato gyoza (left) and tori niku gyoza (right). 

The combination of sweet potato in a gyoza was intriguing, so we decided to give our taste buds the chance to explore something different. Fortunately, it wasn’t all sweet thanks to the addition of chive, giving it a savoury sort of taste. The blend of sweet potato was silky smooth and just melted in the mouth. The wrappers for the chicken gyozas were quite wonton-like. The tender chicken filling was aromatically sweet, and further sweetened by its pairing with a tangy soy and chilli vinegarette sauce. 

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Hotate - scallops pan seared in soy, butter and balsamic, with bonito flakes. 

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The scallops were gorgeously cooked, translucent in its colouring. Its flavour profile was defined by the fishy bonito flakes, subtle wasabi presence and creamy potato mash. It was quite different to what I have encountered with other scallop dishes but oh so delicious. 

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I had been looking forward to Otsumami for quite some time, and the real deal did not disappoint. With only one negative in one of the dishes and big positives encountered with the rest, I would happily drive out of my way for a return visit at some point! 

Otsumami on Urbanspoon

Otsumami

257 High St,

Northcote, Victoria, 3070. 

(03) 9489 6132

http://www.otsumami.com.au/

Food adventure @ Cafe Trutrack

During one rather unproductive work day (this was looooong ago… oh how I wish for those days when I wasn’t running around like a headless chook) a few lab members and myself decided to walk the somewhat short distance of 15 minutes for lunch in the North Melbourne area. We were foiled by our attempts to visit two of North Melbourne’s most popular cafes and after a stroll back towards the uni, we came by Cafe Trutrack. With an enticing selection of sandwiches, we decided to lunch there. 

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The spacious interior. 

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Hot chocolate for JP. 

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Caesar salad - with cos lettuce, bacon, toasted ciabatta and caesar dressing. 

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Grilled Mediterranean veggie sandwich. 

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Smoked salmon with cream cheese sandwich. 

As with most smoked salmon dishes, the ingredients were wonderfully balanced. The tang of the capers, light smearing of the cream cheese and bite from the red onion contrastingly accentuated the smoky and natural flavours of the salmon. 

There are no gimmicks at Tru Track - the food is simple but it makes for a quick and tasty meal, not to mention inexpensive. 

Cafe Trutrack on Urbanspoon

Cafe Trutrack

52 Leveson St,

North Melbourne, Victoria, 3051. 

(03) 9328 8753

http://www.cafetrutrack.com.au/

Smoked salmon sandwich. 

Food adventure @ Cobb Lane

"I knew I loved you before I met you." These words from Savage Garden’s 1999 hit describe my love (or rather, immense like) for Cobb Lane even before stepping foot into the cafe. Having tried one of their AMAZING coffee custard donuts from Church of Secular Coffee at Rue and Co, Cobb Lane jumped right to the top of my to-visit list. 

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Thehouseofem and I found some time one Saturday afternoon to fit in a brunch session. Given the tight space and its popularity, it was understandably busy, busy, busy. We were fortunate enough to arrive just as a table was vacated.

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Soy latte. 

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