Melba, Melbourne

Hi Everyone,

My last night in Melbourne this month was spent having dinner at Melba Restaurant located in the Langham Hotel. The restaurant was buffet styled, however the food on offer ranged from seafood, to pasta prepared to order, roast station, Indian station, made to order sashimi station to a wide selection of cheeses, salads and cold meats. This link will take you to a sample menu for what could be offered for dinner in the buffet at Melba.

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Their selection of cheese’s reminded me of the cheese platter I had at Quarter on Hay in Perth. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with a sample of a small selection of these for a starter while I eyed off the different buffet stations and planned my dinner.

Selection of cheeses.

Selection of cheeses.

I started at the Roast Station where I had a selection of pork, beef, chicken, lamb, vegetables and a selection of sauces to accompany. The meat was cooked well and the selection available led me to grab a small piece of everything I could so I could try as much of what they had as my stomach would take.

Roasted meats station.

Roasted meats station.

There was a sashimi section where you could select from a range of fresh raw fish to have sushi made for you on the spot. I tend to avoid raw fish and so was a little disappointed I could not try any of the tantalising sushi, which I had seen at other tables in the restaurant.

Seafood.

Seafood.

While I was sampling from the roast station others dining with me had headed off to the Indian station for tandoori chicken, saffron rice and naan cooked to order.

After finishing our first plateful we discovered the pasta station where you saw your pasta being cooked in front of you with ingredients of your choice. I wish I had filmed the guy as he casually created a delicious masterpiece for me all the while conversing with me.

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After we had our fill of pasta we intended to get another plate of food however we wandered past the desert station and didn’t manage to make it any further. The variety of deserts available for selection made for a very tough decision, especially when a chocolate fountain was included – I was in desert heaven!

Deserts galore!

Deserts galore!

Selection of deserts from Melba plus cupcakes from Little Cupcakes.

Selection of deserts from Melba plus cupcakes from Little Cupcakes.

For those who love their seafood then this restaurant is one to check out while you’re in Melbourne. There was also a selection of prawns, oysters, crabs, you name it included in the buffet. I’m not a big fan of shellfish and seafood in general so I passed on this selection however the presentation looked fantastic!

Last was the cocktails that we had over the night. While their wine menu had many interesting options I had a quick flick through the cocktail list and saw an Apple Crumbletini and was instantly sold. We also ordered their Strawberries and Cream cocktail and their Passionfruit Mojito. All three cocktails were delicious and a good way to end our time in Melbourne.

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Apple Crumbetini and Strawberries & Cream

Passionfruit Mojito.

Passionfruit Mojito.

Thoroughly enjoyed the meal and will have to return next time I am in Melbourne so that I can attempt to make it to every single station in the restaurant as well as getting the chance to try a few more of their cocktails which looked very tantalising on the menu. Service was also fantastic and the view over the Yarra River and Melbourne at the sun was setting made for a perfect and relaxing end to a quite hectic trip to Melbourne.

Until next time!

Melba Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Wino101: Like This, Try That (second instalment)

Hi everyone,

You may remember one of my earlier posts on this blog where I suggested alternatives for common white wines. In this post I will hopefully make red wine varietals a little more approachable.

Like Shiraz, Try Zinfandel

When I say Zinfandel, I am referring to the robust style seen in Australia and not the one that many Americans will think of. Zinfandel in Australia is a red wine which ranges in its body and intensity of flavours depending upon the climate it was grown in as well as the winery producing it. Below is the description for the 2010 vintage Zinfandel from Cape Mentelle in Margaret River, Western Australia which has been described to me as the Holy Grail of Western Australian Zinfandels.

APPEARANCE: Dark crimson.

NOSE: Ripe plums with chocolate, allspice, maraschino cherries, juniper berries and aged tobacco.

PALATE: Ripe mulberry, rhubarb and summer pudding with cinnamon, dark chocolate and fleshy plums. The wine is opulent and rich with savoury spicy tannins balanced by fresh and vibrant red fruits. The sweet fruit carries the entire palate contributing to length of flavour.

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Try Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a softer wine in comparison to a Cabernet Sauvignon, however it is a wine that can be overlooked if you are not aware of and looking for the finer, softer elements in a wine. Cabernet Francs are often listed as having, fine tannins, spicy aromas, peppery accents, violet nuances and an understated elegance plus lots of red and black berry (mainly blueberry, raspberry and sometimes plum) flavor.

 It is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth. Because Cabernet Sauvignon has so much more of everything – body, tannin, alcohol, colour – it is often supposed to be necessarily superior, but I have a very soft spot indeed for its more charming and more aromatic relative, Cabernet Franc – Jancis Robinson

Like Pinot Noir, Try Merlot or Cabernet Merlot

Merlot is a grape varietal which bring sweetness into a red wine rather than tannins and spiciness as Cabernet and Shiraz do. If you are finding your Merlot’s too sweet as I did when I first started drinking red wine then a Cabernet Merlot may be a better wine for you to drink as your branch out in your red wine drinking.

Like Rose, Try Pinot Noir

Rose’s tend to be light bodied, fruity (think strawberries, rasberries and cherries) and can range from sweet to dry with their finish. Pinot Noir’s tend to have more body than a Rose however they are still a lighter bodied red than your Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons. Pinot Noirs such as the Village Pinot Noir from Yering Station – review can be found in this blog – can also have similar fruity characteristics to a Rose.

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Hope this post helps and if there are any other varietals you like to drink that wasn’t included in either post please let me know as there will be more of these entries in the future!

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 13 – De Bortoli

Hi everyone,

This week’s Halliday Day post will be on the third winery I visited in the Yarra Valley while on holiday over there a few weeks ago. De Bortoli has vineyards across eastern Australia including the Yarra Valley (solid 5 star winery for James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion) and the Hunter Valley (4 star winery) , both of which I have visited, as well as in the King Valley (reviewed by James Halliday with the Yarra Valley winery) and Riverina (another 5 star solid winery), which I have not yet had the chance to visit.

While in the Yarra Valley earlier this year I had the chance to visit the cellar door at De Bortoli and sample some of their wines. My notes on the winery and what I sampled while I was there can be found in this blog post.

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Many people know the Name De Bortoli due to it’s infamous Nobel One desert wine, which is a delicious wine that needs to be tried at least once in everyone’s lives. I had the chance to sample this wine while attending the Wine Essentals Course run by the Wine Association of Western Australia last year and my notes on it can be found in this blog post.

De Bortoli is noted by Halliday to give good value for money wines with consistent quality levels across it’s lines from the cheaper lower quality wine label under it’s brand to it’s higher quality labels. The Yarra Valley Winery focuses on producing sustainable wines which reflect the characteristics of the region. Below is a short video on the Winery’s sustainability views and changes it has made.

De Bortolli has a variety of brands that it produces wine under. Including Windy Peak, La Boheme, Gulf Station, Sacred Hill to name a few common ones along with estate listed wines. I have across the ranges not yet found a wine of theirs which I am disappointed with.

Feel free to leave a common below on your favourite De Bortoli wines/labels that I need to try or any  wines of their that you have tried and remembered (for good or bad reasons).

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 2)

Hi everyone,

I managed to survive my second week of intensive classes and along the way I had a few drinks. Australia Day also fell on this past weekend, hence the belatedness of this blog post as I spent the weekend down south with family and out of internet range.

First off was a Champagne Bellini from Olivers on James street in Northbridge, which I had with a lovely meal before going to the theatre with BF to see The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Consisting of Champagne, Peach Schnapps and Nectar. This drink helped me settle into my second week of intensive classes before I begin heading out into classrooms and meeting the teachers and students over the next few weeks.

Champagne Bellini.

My Australia Day drinks consisted of a 2011 Permberton Chardonnay from Capel Vale, which we were having lunch at to celebrate a family birthday. It was a tough way to spend Australia Day, especially the deserts which I put photos up on my Facebook page.

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I had a quick tasting on the way out of Capel Vale Winery. I think this is the last wine of theirs that I had to try, Their Sassy NV Sparkling. This wine was nice with lots of apples on the palate and a dry finish. I think this wine would do well with some fruit and cheese platter on a summer’s afternoon.

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We also cracked open a bottle of Emri sparkling Moscato which was on clearance for $4 at work. Unfortunately it is clear why the wine was being run out, the sparkling element was missing and the wine that remained showed great promise (the sweet marmalade element of Nobel 1 were just present on the palate for me) if it had of been a sparkling but was left lacking as a still wine.

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There ended up being a late entry into this weeks wine recap. We ended up having lunch before returning to Perth and did so with a bottle of Fermoy’s 2010 Geographe Shiraz. This little gem sold for $90 a dozen and has since sold out which is an absolute shame as from the first sniff to the last sip this wine was luscious and fruity and required no airing time at all. A definite standout for the wines I had this week!

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Hope all my Australian readers are enjoying their long weekend for Australia Day and my other readers around the world have had a good weekend!

Until next time!

The Mailing Room, Canterbury (Melbourne)

Hi everyone,

Sorry to everyone for not getting this post up on Thursday but here’s the first instalment of Melbourne meals.

While in Melbourne we saw a tv show which featured Mailing Road and some of the stores along it. One of the places featured on the show was The Mailing Room a cafe that is located in the old post office on the street. The Mailing Room’s focus is on their coffee, which they bring in and roast on site.

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Their menu features fresh and seasonal breakfast along with coffee that impressed a seasoned coffee addict. The coffee (pictured below) was served at a temperature perfect for drinking it straight away, something that was definitely welcomed.

Mug of Coffee.

Mug of Coffee.

Hot Chocolate.

Hot Chocolate ($4.8).

I opted for a hot chocolate with Colombian inspiration. It was quite mild on the chocolate but there was something very unique about this hot chocolate. Possibly not enough chocolate in it for me personally but it was a drink I think I could get used to quite easily, especially with the breakfasts that come out of the kitchen!

Eggs Florentine.

Eggs Benedict ($16.5).

Chorizo Breakfast.

Chorizo Breakfast ($17).

Summer Brekky.

Summer Brekky ($16.5).

We each ordered a different breakfast dish off the menu and all of us were very impressed on the meals, both on quality, quantity and freshness of ingredients as well as their relative cost for a meal in comparison with Perth. Their 63 degree eggs which were a signature of theirs and were delicious. Very impressed with the service and we left this place stuffed and very satisfied!

If this place ever considers expansion, I do hope they make it to Perth!

Until next time!

The Maling Room on Urbanspoon

FeBREWary Beer Festival, Mindarie

Hi everyone,

I know this post is a little early but there is a month long beer festival being held in Mindarie at the Indi Brewery. Events include beer samples, live music, beer inspired meals, along with international and local beers that are being brought into the bar for tap and bottled ranges for this month long event. For those of you who live near to Mindarie there will be a Happy Hour running 5-6:30 every evening on weeknights across February. This event is definitely one for the beer lovers of Perth!

There will be 2 FeBREWary Festive Ales (new):

Indi Nekta 6.0%
Tasting Notes:
This Belgian Wheat Ale is pale orange in colour & is brewed using malted & unmalted wheat and malted barley. Unfiltered & served cloudy, yeast driven flavours are very pronounced with pineapple & mango esters being apparent. Fermented with a yeast strain acquired from a small Belgian Brewery that produces a fruity finish with traces of bubblegum

Indi Belgian Pale Ale 7.6%
Tasting Notes: This Belgian Style Pale Ale is deep amber in colour with a relatively full body for a beer of this alcoholic strength. Medium fruity esters are evident in aroma and flavour and low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast by-products may also be perceived. Hop bitterness is low to medium, with hop flavour and aroma also in this range. Brewed with a light coloured Belgian Candy Sugar this beer is highly attenuated with a perceptively deceiving high alcoholic character. Flavours of imported Belgian Biscuit Malts blend well with a complex fruitiness that finishes with pineapple, banana and bubblegum when the beer is allowed to warm

There will also be 2 new English style ales to try, hand pumped in the main bar. Along with the launch of the new Indi  Fe-BREW-ary Ale, called Indi Kolsch. And lastly a selection of international guest beers available by the bottle to purchase throughout the week and free tastings on Sundays.

For those who love their food, as well as those who love beer inspired food:Indi Brewery Head Chef, Gill Lewkowicz, has also put together a unique, beer inspired ‘Brew Bites’ Menu for the month including mouthwatering dishes infused with the good old amber ale.

There will also be mid week brewery tours running in Febuary, tours will cost $20 per person.

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 12 – Yering Station

Hi everyone,

There will be no Wino101 post this week, instead for you I have yesterday’s Halliday Day post.

Yering Station is rated solid 5 star winery by James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion. Yering Station was established in 1988, on land that had vines planted on it since 1838. Yering comes from the Aboriginal title of the land. The wine makers consist of Darren Rathbone of the Rathbone family which purchased Yering Station in 1996 and Willy Lunn (since 2008) who is well known for hist cool-climate wine making experience and knowledge.

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Champagne Devaux in 1996 signed a deal with the Rathbone, the same year they bought the Yering Station property which lead to the production of Yarrabank Sparkling. I had the chance to try the 2004 Late Disgorged Yarrabank Sparkling along with the 2008 Yarrabank Curvee, while both were exceptional cool-climate sparkling wines however the 2004 was clearly the superior wine of the two and one I wish I could have had room to bring back to Perth with me.

Cellar Door.

Cellar Door.

While I was at the cellar door at Yering Station I also tried a selection of their red wines including their Pinot Noir’s which the Yarra Valley wine region is well known for. Yering Station’s two Pinot Noir’s included one which was light and easy to drink like a Rose while the other was filled with dark berries, and a good weight on the palate to please any lover of red wine. My full review of their wines which I tried can be found in this blog post.

This winery is one not to miss to see quality wines showing common characteristics of the Yarra Valley region. I thoroughly enjoyed the cellar door and if I had more time in the area the Chateau on the property would have been a nice property to look at along with the restaurant on premise.

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 1)

Hi everyone,

Sorry this post is a day late, I was in need of some well deserved sleep over the weekend and forgot to upload this post. I’ve been hitting the books all week having been accepted into my graduate degree and had not had the chance to drink anything besides a celebratory bottle of bubbly with BF on Friday night. I grabbed a bottle of wine which I first sampled over at Chandon in the Yarra Valley last week to show to BF as I felt it was right up his alley as a sweeter styled traditional methode sparkling wine.

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Survival Wine.

This bottle of Chandon Curve Riche was a little disappointing in comparison to what I had while in Melbourne. The wine improved as I let it chill longer, perhaps my impatience got the better of the wine.

Chandon Curvee Riche

Chandon Curvee Riche

My main drinks over the past week and likely this week as well will be lots of cups of tea. I have been enjoying Aroma Cafe at ECU’s campus – the selection of breakfast sandwiches, muffins and snacks are so tantalising that I plan to try one of almost everything over he course of my graduate degree.

One of many cups of tea to be consumed over the course of this year.

One of many cups of tea to be consumed over the course of this year.

Lastly there will be changes occuring with the postings on this blog. I will be writing as much as I can and I endeavour to get out my Melbourne posts in the next few weeks but I have to put my studies first so there will be a decline for a little while in consumption of wine as well as posts.

Have a good week everyone!

Until next time!

Perth Twilight Hawkers Markets

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago I went to the Perth Twilight Hawkers Markets with a friend. We didn’t stay too long as it was quite loud and chaotic and our first selection of food did more than enough to fill us up so we ended up opting for some retail therapy to burn off the food.

There were about 15 stalls at the event ranging from a few Japanese restaurants, Mediterranean, Mexican, and Vietnamese to Bratwurst and Snags and Sons (which I had tried at the Gourmet Escape last year), Paella, Crepes, Macaroons and Ice-cream. There was also music being played with involvement from those browsing the stalls, the music made it quite hard for my friend and I to catch up and was one of the reasons we choose to move on from the Markets.

Beef, feta, and onion gozleme.

Beef, feta, and onion gozleme.

I opted for the meat version ($12) pictured above while my friend had the vegetarian version ($10) which came with feta and spinach. I have had these before in the past and thoroughly adore this dish. The dish was filling and quite rich however the lemon juice brought a nice touch of acidity, which balanced out the richness between the bread and meat.

After we had finished our meals we found ourselves satisfied, which was a little disappointing for myself as I had hoped to try some more dishes. We opted in the end for some retail therapy and a hot chocolate at the end before heading home. It was a very pleasant way to end the week and I do hope to make it back to the markets after university classes one friday to sample more of the dishes on offer.

I would love to return with a larger group so as the dishes can be shared around more giving me a chance to try more of the dishes which caught my eye on the night. Prices seemed very reasonable and you will leave the Markets thoroughly filled!

Until next time!

Little Creatures, Fremantle

Hi everyone,

I met up with a friend who was leaving for a trip around Australia for one last meal and her request was that there be cider there so I suggested Little Creatures in Fremantle. We had another friend join us for lunch as well and the three of us opted to order 3 ‘big shares’ off the menu as well as a side of their famous frites with aioli to share between the three of us.

Beef Nachos.

Beef Nachos.

My friend selected the Chilli Beef Nachos with guacamole and sour cream ($23) and on presentation they looked quite unappealing however the mince and bean combination in these nachos was delicious with a hint of zingyness. Possibly not a dish I would come back for as it was quite a messy and chaotic dish to eat.

Chicken Tenderloins.

Chicken Tenderloins.

My selection off the menu was the Chicken Tenderloins ($21) which consisted of free range chicken tenderloins, chermoula spiced, raita. This dish was delicious and I most definitely ate more than my fair share of it. The chicken was coated with spices that when the lemon wedge and raita were added to it led me to foodie heaven! I highly recommend this dish and hope they still have it on the menu next time I am there!

Potato Salad with Smoked Ocean Trout.

Potato Salad with Smoked Ocean Trout.

My other friend ordered the Potato Salad with Smoked Trout, Capers and Spring Onions ($15). This dish came out before the nachos and chicken tenderloins with the frites and made for a very potato filled start to the meal. This meal was light and fresh and while different to the potato salads I usually have, still not a bad one.

Frites with Aioli.

Frites with Aioli.

Lastly is a dish, which practically no one leaves without having when they go to Little Creatures in Fremantle. Their Frites with Aioli ($9.5) are delicious with their homemade feel and the Aioli dipping sauce a highlight of this place. We ended up running out of Aioli and the waitresses were only too happy to get us more at no charge. These frites make for a great accompaniment to any meal or drink ordered from Little Creatures.

Until next time!

Little Creatures Brewery on Urbanspoon