Attack of the Parentals
Each time my folks visit Melbourne, our food journey evolves. Last year, I went a bit crazy planning restaurant visits… judiciously selecting places like Movida, Station Hotel, Claypots, DOC Carlton, Loam, Yu-u and Lake House. I live in Melbourne and am justly proud of its food scene… I wanted them to experience the new flavours I’d discovered during my nascent years of blogging.
In retrospect, last year’s visit was slightly overkill with food planning on my part. I soon learnt that they preferred food that’s more sincere / straightforward rather fancied up (ps: Loam fits into that category). I also learnt that they’re not that into brunching out, so we made brunches at home lots. Which brings us to this visit… Fatboowill reach its three year bloggiversary tomorrow, and the pace has slowed down a bit. Yes.. the Parentals have Attacked Melbourne again. But this time, we ate out less and cooked at home more. In this post, I’ll run though our food discoveries, both new and old. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did writing it.
New Places (for them)
We’ll first start off with places that I’ve been to (and approved of) which I thought they’d enjoy…
Wayside Inn, South Melbourne
900g Dry aged Rib eye (Castricum Bros, Gippsland Victoria grass fed Black Angus) 80
250g 400+ day grain fed MS7 Rostbif (Sher Wagyu, Ballan Victoria Wagyu X Holstein) 36
Our first evening together was spent feasting on steaks. Rather than revisit good ol’ Station Hotel in Footscray, I decided that their sister restaurant (just down the road from home) was worth a try. They went for their favourite cut again – the rib eye (but this time dry aged), while I continued with my Wagyu familiarisation project.
Quality was just about as good as the original in Footscray, although my folks seemed to prefer their food experience at Station better. Wayside Inn seems to specialise on rotisserie meats, and I also noticed the steaks don’t come served with chips (you have to get them as a side dish).
You can read up about my initial visit to Wayside Inn (in Dec 2011) here.
Top Paddock, Richmond
Since I knew dad and mom aren’t that big on brunching, I chose just one brunch spot to represent the whole trip. Very well picked if I may add… they loved it!
Purple potato & buffalo ash brie omelette with padron peppers on toasted sourdough 16.00
Local pine mushrooms with chilli scrambled eggs & Boatshed feta on toast 16.00
Fakegf came along for this brunch session, and we squabbled over these two delightful sounding dishes. I ended up getting the purple potatoes while she went down the pine mushroom pathway. Delicious!
Gin and lime cured ocean trout fillet with pickled baby beetroots, potato galette, poached eggs, leaves and Boatshed goats curd 18.50
Baked beans with a poached egg on sourdough 14.00
Dad got the ocean trout while mum went simple with baked beans. They were very impressed, probably partly because the food’s so prettily presented here.
Drunken ginger bread with seasonal berries & chocolate mascarpone 14.00
There was enough space to share a sweet dish, which Fakegf very neatly divided into 4. It was almost too beautiful to eat.
You can read about my first visit to Top Paddock (in March 2013) here.
New Places (for all)
I’ll now quickly whiz through the new eateries that even I had not been to, which we explored together this visit. Individual blog posts for these new places will be written in good time.
The day they landed, we lunched at this Japanese grocery in Prahran, I’m definitely coming back here (repeatedly) for its sashimi. Read about it here.
Rumi, Brunswick East
After their memorable trip to Japan, dad wanted to try the handmade soba at this quaint hole-in-the-wall eatery in the city to see if it stands true. The verdict can be found here.
D.O.C. Albert Park
And this lunch at D.O.C.happened on their final day in Melbourne. By then we’d been overeating so much that a simple pizza margherita (with Italian buffalo mozzarella) was very welcome.
We’ll now cover places that they’ve been to and enjoyed enough to warrant a revisit. Singaporeans are very loyal to the restaurants that they love.
Old Kingdom, Fitzroy
1) Crispy Peking Duck
2) Stir-fry Beanshoots w Shredded Duck Meat
3) Salted Vegetable and Duck Soup
Peking duck is one of mum’s favouritest foods, so we dined here yet again. One duck costs $55 and it’s served as three courses (wraps / beanshoot stir-fry / soup). We ordered a serve of oil-fried kailan (Chinese broccoli) to pretend to be ‘healthy’.
For those who’re interested, you can read about a previous visit (one of many) to Old Kingdom here.
7&7 Korean Restaurant, Carnegie
Dolsot Bi Bim Bap $15.50 Samgyetang – Ginseng Chicken Soup $25.00 7&7 Lunch Box $13.50
Whilst enroute to Chaddy (yes… Singaporeans also love their Megamalls), we lunched here. The samgyetang was as good as ever, and mum really enjoyed her bento-like lunch box. I’m also happy to announce that the complimentary smorgasbord of kimchi has remained great.
It’s funny how the lunchbox and bibimbap came with Japanese miso soup, but I considered it to be a bonus rather than an oddity. Japanese and Korean flavours pair well anyway. On a side note, you can skip the bibimbaps at this joint, I did not enjoy it.
Read about one of my previous visits (in Sept 2011) to 7&7 here.
Claypots Evening Star, South Melbourne
Fantastic beers, wonderful food… this casual seafood bar has been voted by my folks as their all time favourite restaurant in Melbourne. To celebrate that fact, we ate here twice within a week! By visit two, the staff began to recognise us.
Marinated Field Mushroom 5 | Sourdough Bread 4 Grilled King Prawn w. Coriander Sambal 9ea
We continued to sample more and more of the menu, but the grilled King Prawn still remained as our top dish here. Unless you’re allergic to prawns (or are vegetarian), you must order this dish if you visit.
Crayfish tail w. sumac butter 25 | Clams (SA) in Spanish Fini & Garlic 12
The only dish that shocked us a little was the crayfish tail… priced at $25 per tail… *yeowch*!
Razor Clams w Garlic & Black Pepper 15 Natural Oysters (Pacific, S.A.) 1ea
For some reason, the St Kilda branch has fallen off to the sidelines now. I found parking a lot easier in South Melbourne and the tapas-like menu of small dishes at Evening Star more enjoyable to experience. So we chose to return here for a second visit.
Dad really enjoyed the razor clams, which came firm-fleshed with a nice garlicky sauce.
Swooning Hodja – The Muslim Priest loved his wife’s eggplant dish, however once he realise how much good olive oil was consumed, he collapsed in shock 12 Fish Taco w. Trevaley Ceviche 5
While the fish tacos did not excite me, the swooning hodja eggplant dish was another good surprise find. Warm… aromatic, very Mediterranean, tasty, with a lovely oil for dipping breads in.
Claypots Classic Spaghettini Marinara Bianca (for two) 35
Grilled King Prawn w. Coriander Sambal 9ea
Our final hurrah consisted of an encore of grilled King Prawns, and then a magnificent platter of spaghettini Marinara. This was one of our shiokest (Singlish: mostest amazingest) meals for this trip.
By this point in their trip, we’d been eating so much that dad jokingly suggested I should change my blog’s name into “Sum Cham Bak” (Hokkien: three-layer pork, ie. pork belly). Lol!
This is probably one of the most blogged and reblogged restaurant in my food blog. It isn’t fanciful food… it’s delicious straight food done nicely. Read about my previous visit hereif you must.
The last section will cover foods that we cooked at home. At the end of the day, there’s nothing like homecooked food, really…
Chillie Chicken | Ginger Soy Chicken Fried Giam Chye | Rhubarb Clafoutis
And mum really pulled out all the stops this time… if we weren’t eating out, we were eating like kings at home. But there’s one annoying thing about my home, the indoor lighting at night sucks balls for food photography. Singaporean food already looks brown & ugly (but yummy!), and in my bad indoor lighting it looked even worse.
Meanwhile, I decided to let my folks try rhubarb, a vegetable they’d never tasted before. They liked the rhubarb clafoutis so much that I got asked to make it twice!
All that home cooking by mum and dad meant that I ate splendidly during my work lunches for those weeks. Every time I spooned the leftovers into the tupperwares after dinner, they kept cooing “so poor thiiiiiing… have to eat leftovers for lunch…!!”.
Dad pounced on the opportunity to eat the cheap and fresh oysters here ($11.99 per dozen at South Melbourne Market). On that note, I’m glad he’s stopped buying oysters from Coles.
We’d normally eat oysters with a squeeze of lemon, a bleb of tomato sauce and a dash of tabasco. Tasty tasty! But this time round, we experimented using different condiments to go with the oysters. I found myself enjoying it with wasabi and a squeeze of lemon.
Salmon, hamachi, toro sashimi | Baked Kingfish heads
We also went back to Tsukiji and bought home exceptionally fresh fish. That evening’s Japanese dinner was lovely. We’ve gone on such a seafoody slant this trip round…
And of course there’s the customary steamboat (hotpot) session that’s so good for cold nights. That oval ‘pot’ we used is actually an enamel oven dish, but it served as a hot pot just as nicely.
Mee Hoon Soup | Cold Yabbies
The leftover stock from the steamboat was turned into delicious mee hoon (thin rice vermicelli) soup the next day, this is one dish that I can’t seem to cook by myself. Very comforting.
On a side note, dad also bought cold (cooked) yabbies one day. I made valiant attempts to eat it, but they looked so cold and clammy (with the feathery parts underneath wiggling slightly as I unfurled the tail) that I freaked out and could not eat it. I tend to struggle with eating crustaceans served cold.
Cavolo Nero, Jerusalem Artichoke, Asparagus, Beetroot, Purple Congo Potato, Swiss Brown Mushroom Rare Breed Free Range Pork
On their final night, I cooked them a meal using seasonal vegetables from South Melbourne Market and rare breed free range pork from Jonai Farms in Eganstown. I wanted them to try produce that they’d not tasted before, in particular cavolo nero, Jerusalem artichokes and heritage pork.
I previously loathed frying steaks in my kitchen because the clouds of smoke would shroud the entire apartment in oily mist… coating the walls and floors. But this time round, I found a solution: I fried the pork outdoors using the portable stove (thank you, Fakegf, for the griddle pan!), so the meat smoke went to the neighbours’ instead… heh heh! The one silly thing that happened whilst I did this new thing was… I ran headfirst into my balcony glass doors (it was closed to keep the smoke outside). At the time of writing, I still have the buahluku (Malay: lump on the head) on my forehead.
Either way, my folks enjoyed this final meal very much. The pork was wonderful… I think I’ve never tasted pork as flavoursome as Jonai Farm’s. As for the veggies, I sautéed the cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage) with mushrooms, purple potatoes and truffle oil. And I oven baked the root vegetables with herbs from the balcony garden (dad fried the asparagus). Surprisingly, they loved the deep green vegetabley-ness of the Tuscan cabbage, and I am very happy that they’re now a fan of Jerusalem artichokes and roast beetroot.
Thus ends another food-riddled visit with the parentals… it has nearly reached 2000 words! Thanks for your patience, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it… ciao! =D