Sunday, October 31, 2010

Remezzo - Part 2

568 North Road
Ormond 3204, VIC
Website: Remezzo

I've talked about how few and far apart restaurant gems in the outer suburbs are, such as Shyun, well, you can add Remezzo to that list. I've visited Remezzo previously and it was fantastic. I can happily report that it is still fantastic and great for a casual meal.

Remezzo's is your typical cafe style restaurant with wooden floors, simple wooden tables and simple no fuss service. The waitress seated us to a table near the counter and gave us water while we looked over the menu. I like it how cafes offer you tap water as a default and you can order other types of water later if you want. That's how I like it, rather than being upsold sparkling water which I hate.

Remezzo's serve tapas style meals, so you order from a variety of simple items. Just be warned that the servings a huge and one and a half to two tapas per person is more than filling. So obviously it was no surprise that two people could not finish five tapas and a dessert. We were silly to not heed our waitress warning and thought that two starving guys could finish all that food. How wrong we were.

The Meatballs in Tomato Sauce is rich and hearty and full of flavour. Lamb cutlets are grilled with seasoning and herbs, just simple and delicious. Prosciutto fritters are actually a bit salty for my liking, but eaten in small amounts with other things, worked well.

The Chorizo Sausages are spicy and nice, and way too much. The bowl was just so large that we couldn't finish it. My favourite dish, just like last time, were the Goats Cheese Balls. The melting goats cheese inside the crispy shell of the fried ball is sensational. The meal was finished off with a very large Apple Crumble with Ice Cream. The crumble was beautifully fragrant and had a great crumble on top, loved it.

The ambiance at Remezzo is extremely loud. Don't come here wanting a nice quiet dinner. The room is always packed and full of diners chatting away happily. The tables are packed quite closely so be prepared to hear bits and pieces of your neighbour's conversations. I don't mind this and really like the vibe in the restaurant. It's definitely a great place to come for a casual meal with friends.

Overall Rating: 15/20, Nice good food at great prices.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Remezzo on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 29, 2010

Photography Friday #14 - A Different Perspective

Following from my previous Photography Friday #13 - Weddings, today I bring you "A Different Perspective". Buildings are naturally great photography subjects as they have a variety of different features that capture the eye, but I tried to capture them from a slightly different angle to give some extra interest.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Giveaway: Lost Season 6 DVD

This post is Sponsored by Nuffnang.

Recently, I’ve been travelling overseas for work and hence have had to take quite a few planes. Due to the weak financial times, companies have had to save money so hence I took many connecting flights. All up, I counted that I visited the airport 11 times in the space of two weeks. That got me thinking about what type of people I was travelling with. With all my time at the airport, I looked around a lot and saw all types of people. My mind started to wander and I started to create a back story for them, in the style of the TV show Lost.

I’m been a massive fan of Lost since the start. It was part science fiction, part drama, which I absolutely love. Lost set a new direction for TV, and showed that people would watch a serial format type show where a story arced across a whole season, rather than have single stand alone episodes. The story was instantly addictive, with a group of ordinary people all involved in a plane crash onto a deserted island. They had to try and make the best of their situation while trying to get off the island. What they never counted on was all the strange happenings that occur on the island, with supernatural powers involved.

Like everyone else, I was confused as anything as to who were the good guys, who were the bad, what were these supernatural beings, the hatch, the DHARMA initiative, the "Others", the rescuers and so on. However, I couldn’t help but be drawn in and waited for each new twist, both in story and in character reveals. The show used the innovative format of "flashbacks", "flashforwards" and even "flashsideways" to give exposition on their characters. We learnt more and more about each character, such as Jack having a drinking problem and issues with his father, Kate and Sawyer having criminal pasts, Hurley was in a mental asylum, Locke used to be a quadriplegic, Sayid was a torturer and Sun was a rich heiress. Sometimes in my own real world interactions with people, I find out later that they weren’t exactly as I thought they were too. I have to say that the people I’ve met in real life don’t have as extravagant stories as the characters in Lost, but nonetheless, they sometimes turn out different to initial impressions.

Flashbacking to my airport waiting, there I sat making up elaborate back stories for the people I was to travel with, wondering what would happen if our plane were to crash and we had to survive with each other. Who would I trust? Who would I be wary of? Who would I get along with? All these questions kept me amused while waiting for my plane, also reminding me that when I got back to Australia, I had to catch up with the last two season of Lost. And if by chance you were stranded on a desert island and missed the previous seasons of Lost, you can now re-live every epic moment of Lost on DVD.

Imagine my utter delight when I returned home and was offered a chance to receive a copy of Lost Season 6, the final season of the Lost series, to review. The final Season 6 of Lost is available to buy now on DVD and Blu-ray at all good DVD retailers. Finally, I can get answers to questions that I’ve had for years, such as:

* How does Jack keep his skin so soft and smooth when there’s no L’Oreal Men Expert products for him to use?
* How does Kate keep her hair so shiny without any shampoo?
* Why is Hurley still so “generous” in body weight when he’s stuck on an island with minimal food and has to walk around everywhere?
* Why doesn’t Sawyer fix the buttons on his shirts so he doesn’t have to walk around with his chest exposed and his shirts flapping about in the wind?
* What t-shirt brand does Locke wear as they’re clearly the strongest t-shirts in the world and never develop any holes after daily usage?
* How did Sun manage to learn English so fast and develop an American accent?
* Why did Claire’s perfect Australian accent sound so out of place on the show?
* Why was Charlie so tall as Hobbits were shorter I thought?

I await eagerly to watch Season 6 of Lost and to find out all the answers. If you are like me and want to get answers to all the questions you have about Lost, you can enter the competition and win the complete and final Season 6 of Lost on DVD. You might have different questions and want to know the fate of the Oceanic Flight 815 survivors and everyone else that have joined their journey. You may want to know the aftermath of the monumental explosion that shifts reality for everyone associated with the mystical island. Whatever your questions, you can experience the concluding answers to one of TV’s most innovative and compelling series in high definition Blu-ray or DVD with crystal clear pictures and theatre-quality surround sound.

Below is a short trailer with what you can expect to see if you win the DVDs.

To Enter The Competition
Answer the following:

Describe a personal experience that reminded you of Lost.

1. Leave a comment on this post answering the question. Please leave a contact email with your comment or send me an email with your comment to ieatblog[at]yahoo[dot]com.

2. The best answer as judged by TV4ME will receive a copy of Lost Season 6 on DVD. For more information about the Lost DVDs or any other TV show DVDs, go visit TV4ME.

3. Competition closes on Friday 5th November 8PM EDT. Competition is open to Australian residents only. I will contact the winner by email.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are Freebies The Root Of All Evil (In Food Blogging)?

Like a hot new restaurant that's just opened, there's a buzz around the Melbourne food blogosphere right now. But the current hot new thing isn't a restaurant, it's a discussion about the "ethics" of accepting free products/meals or attending free events from PR companies and if that is ruining the food blog "scene".

I've been a very interested reader of all the opinions that have been floating around. I too had been questioning all the same issues, more than three months ago when I talked to a fellow food blogger about my concerns. I then spoke to yet another food blogger about it via some very extended email exchanges. None of us could form a firm stance on all the issues, as there are a multitude of factors. What the three of us did agree on was that it was up to each individual to form their own opinions, generally through experience.

It's been three months since and I have had quite a few experiences and have decided to write it all down. This post will present some arguments that have been asserted in the blogosphere, and my views on them. This post obviously contains my opinions on the topic, but is also discussive as I am still trying to work my way through some of the topics. No issue is ever black and white. It's always a shade of grey, with each person acting in the manner in which they deem suitable for themselves.

Let me first declare that I do take free products/meals and attend free events, happily. I've never tried to hide this and all my friends and work mates know about it, and encourage me to accept them. I do not tell them in an egotistical way, but when I mention that I ate at such and such place, I alert them if I dined there for free, as I think it's one of the contributing factors to my overall view of a restaurant. I can already hear a lot of you thinking "sell-out", but to be honest, it doesn't bother me. I'll address that later.

Let's get started or you'll probably fall asleep after reading more than three paragraphs and not seeing a photo. Scientific research has shown that to be true. Try not to get distracted and continue reading this post before clicking all the links. In the mean time, YAKAWOW.

So now that you are alert again and hopefully have a smile on your face after seeing the picture, let's start.

ISSUE: Accepting freebies is unethical.
MY VIEW: I do not see anything unethical about accepting freebies. No one is breaking any legal laws, or even offending anyone. If the freebies are not disclosed, you may question the moral ethics of the blogger, but in most cases I know, bloggers do disclose the freebies. However, should a blogger not disclose a freebie, does that necessarily make it unethical?

The answer is maybe, I think. Everyday, we are saturated with marketing in all forms. The approach that is taken with marketing is evolving with technology and maybe that is where the problem lies with some people. Whereas you clearly know an ad on TV is a form of paid advertising, it is now unclear where other forms of advertising start and finish. Celebrities endorse products and may drop product names during interviews. Products are placed within movies, music clips, TV show and web videos, and people are getting confused as to which part is paid advertising. Maybe this is what is causing some of the disgruntlement towards bloggers accepting free products. Legally, to not disclose a freebie is not a crime. Bloggers are not in the same situation as a doctor or policeman who not only have a legal obligation to serve the community, but are also morally obliged just due to the position that have chosen to accept. Morally, if a blogger does not disclose a freebie, I do think it is slightly unethical, but again, where do we draw the line? Do we expect celebrities to say disclaimers before talking about anything as they might be secretly endorsing a paid sponsorship? These are all a lot of questions that I do not have answers for. But one thing that I am certain about is if a freebie is disclosed, I see no problem whatsoever.

ISSUE: A freebie will bias a bloggers opinion and review.
MY VIEW: I think this is definitely the case. A freebie will always carry with it implied pressure by the PR company that is spruiking the product. There is the thought of "if I don't write something nice, I won't get any more freebies". But the pressure does not necessarily translate to a blogger writing a misleading review. It is merely another issue to assess and each blogger will make up their own mind on how to deal with the situation. It iss no worse pressure than if a blogger knew the chef or if their friend worked at a certain restaurant. It all provides pressure to write a more favourable review. But that does not equate to writing a false review. It's merely another hurdle to deal with.

I can say for myself that initially I did feel the pressure and that my first few reviews did gloss over a few negatives. But, those events were still extremely fun and I did like them. That is true for most freebies/events that I get. They are highly enjoyable and hence the reviews are favourable. There may be elements that aren't as good and I am now writing about those now. Events that are fairly bad may not get a mention, not necessarily because they might be viewed negatively by the PR company, but generally most bloggers do not blog their paid bad experiences. Why waste time and effort writing up bad reviews unless it was truly awful and you felt a strong desire to inform everyone.

ISSUE: Bloggers who take freebies are "sell-outs".
MY VIEW: Firstly, I am unsure who myself, and other bloggers, are selling out to? If selling out is in reference to receiving money for providing a service, I think that I sold out many years ago when I first started working. I happily take money from my employer to do what they ask of me, with actions that I sometimes do not agree with. I am not talking about harming people, but for example, the company is based in a strategic overseas location to reduce tax. I do not agree with this but I am not exactly doing anything about it. I would guess that most other people do not agree with everything that they have been paid to do previously, so does that make everyone a "sell-out"?

To me, we are all merely prostitutes who sell our services for monetary gain. Why should it only refer to bloggers who take freebies, especially when it is clearly disclosed that they are freebies. And what makes me laugh the hardest are bloggers who "pick and choose which freebies to take" or "don't blog every freebie". If you're a prostitute, it doesn't matter which clients you choose, you are still a prostitute. I do not understand how picking which freebies to take makes any difference to if I took every freebie (which I do not, if that makes you respect me any more)? Surely, some freebies will still turn out different to expected, so does so called blogger then write those or not? If they do not, is it any different to if I took every freebie and did not write some? Is not writing up an awful freebie just as bad a sin, as it is deceiving the audience by omission, because if you had paid good money for such an awful product, you would definitely want to alert others?

ISSUE: That freebie is totally unrelated to this food blog.
MY VIEW: This view has me totally perplexed. Someone must have forgot to tell me that my blog has been labelled a food blog and that I cannot write about anything else. So hence I cannot accept other types of freebies as they don't "fit with my blog". I have many diverse interests and just because I choose to mainly write about food on this blog does not exclude me from writing about other things. If I label my own blog a personal blog, can I then write about food, tv shows, novels, philosophy, psychology, technology, music and photography, as those are all interests of mine as well, and then accept any type of freebies I want?

Whether a product "fits" with a food blog is up to the discretion of the food blogger anyway. I'm sure a trip to Bali at a five star resort will miraculously "fit" with everyone's blog, whereas a block of chocolate may not. I am happy to be sent offers on all freebies, as ultimately the decision is still up to me. I appreciate every offer, big or small, as I know that they are not an entitlement to me and will not be available all the time. I do pass up some offers as I really have no interest in the offer or believe it will be more work than it is worth. Let us not try to hide from the fact that we live in a commercialised world, and whether we like it or not, the reward to effort question crosses everyone's mind when they make a decision that involves some monetary gain.

ISSUE: Bloggers are being taken advantage of by PR companies and also losing credibility with their readers.
MY VIEW: I think that bloggers who view other freebie taking bloggers as ignorant, are the ones who are truly ignorant. I can only speak for myself, but with every freebie that I accept, I make an assessment of how much work is expected of me. I consider myself to be a fairly smart person who has two university degrees and was without a single dollar when my family immigrated here from Vietnam. I know the value of every dollar and what effort is needed to acquire them. It is just a business transaction where I assess whether my effort is equal to the payback, as we all do with every situation in life. I am no one's fool, and for another person to think that I would waste my valuable time and effort for a block of chocolate only makes me disgusted and pitiful for them. Both emotions are linked to the same thought, that another human being believes they are so much more clever and better than everyone else to think so lowly of me.

The same emotions are again what I would use for bloggers who think blog readers are so easily deceived. The perception that a reader, upon seeing a clearly stated sponsored post, would then buy a product or visit a restaurant without doing further research or understanding the implications of that post, is again a very naiive or egotistical thought. I choose to believe that people are much smarter than that and will be able to make up their minds weighing up all variables. Should a reader really buy a bad product after reading a sponsored post, and feel so strongly about it, I am sure they will let people know. With social media so prominent, that one reader can tell their friends via Twitter, Facebook, email or face to face, who could then pass it on to yet more people. They can even post a comment on the blog from which they read about the product. If that happens more and more, readers will know not to trust that blogger.

The good thing about the web is that with so many contributors, it is in a way self regulating. The community will decide what is acceptable and what is not. If a blogger starts to write more and more sponsored posts such that they lose readers, they will not be offered any more sponsored posts, and will need to change their way. There is no need for other bloggers to assume what readers will or will not accept, as the readers will ultimately vote with their clicks and it will naturally happen.

In this whole discussions, many of the comments on this topic are by blog writers themselves. Not many comments are actually from readers. My ad-hoc non-scientific study of ten of my work mates and friends showed that none of them cared about advertising on blogs. They are all so used to advertising everywhere that they just ignore it if they do not like that ad. Regarding freebies and sponsored posts, again, all were of the opinion that as long as it was disclosed, it was not a problem. Maybe my friends are smarter than the average bears but they all said they would seek multiple information sources if it was really important.

ISSUE: It is all same same.
MY VIEW: Food blogging can be a bit repetitive, but there are only so many products and restaurants in Melbourne. This topic was brought up previously already, and again it is not without merit. If a group of food bloggers are invited to an event, obviously there is a lot of repetition in the descriptions of the items and also of the photos. But, this is where the key is for me, each blogger still is an individual who has a different opinion and a different style of writing. Each post will still be completely different and individual. If you get bored after reading two posts about that event, then stop there. Do not read anymore. It really is no different to if all the food bloggers had gone to that event separately, you would still get similar posts.

To claim that due to these free events, there is no original content being generated is incorrect I believe. All the content by each blogger is still uniquely theirs. What is true is that going to the events may mean that the food blogger does not go elsewhere. But that is up to the food blogger as to where they wish to spend their time. There is no obligation to go eat at a particular place just for the reader. A blog is there to catalog a food bloggers experiences.

I can say that an advantage of the events is that food bloggers meet each other, often resulting in catch ups at other restaurants, events and cook ups. It results in different content that is often interesting and not something a food blogger may normally participate in.

ISSUE: I don't like reading food blogs anymore.
MY VIEW: You are free to do as you wish, but to stop reading food blogs would be a shame. I have found that accepting freebies has not muted my independence or creativity at all. In fact it has been the total opposite. I have attended so many great events and have had access to food industry professionals that I would never have had. I have been able to conduct in-depth interviews with chefs and learnt about their passion, attended learning events and discover facts about food I never even thought of, seen behind the scenes of restaurants/events to appreciate the hard work behind seamless food, and discover new product and places that I would not necessarily have chosen myself. In fact, I know buy many of the products in which I have sampled, and go back to restaurants in which I visited for free the first time.

As with anything in life, you need to use your own judgment and seek multiple sources to ensure you get a full picture of anything. After all, a food blog is just one person's (or a few at most) opinion. Even if a food blogger paid for something with their own money, it is still only one opinion, and their opinion on it may still be different to yours.

So, if you've managed to make you way through all my grammatically incorrect sentences, thank you for reading my views. Obviously I am neither a well versed lawyer or arts literature graduate who is able to use words to their full effect, so please do not bother wasting your time and picking up on single words and trying to use that to prove that I am incorrect. I do not claim to have definitive answers, merely stating some views. The overall message of the sentences are what I intended to project. I value your views and am happy to discuss any topic. Just remember that it is only my opinion about a small food discussion and there is no need to get nasty. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and to express it. That is what I love about this country, so feel free to drop a comment and express your thoughts.

Lastly, just remember that we are only talking about food here, so just take it all with a grain of salt and continue happily eating. I know that I have been quite philosophical and talked about life quite a few times. I feel it is justified despite my own words of how this topic is only about food. The topic is only about food, but other food bloggers have felt the need to implicitly suggest that those who take freebies are greedy, ignorant and without integrity. That, to me, is not acceptable and where I strongly take offence. I am happy to agree that taking freebie will obviously add another factor that may bias my views, but to equate that to a lack of integrity only shows how high a pedestal the accusers believe they are on.

To answer the initial title question of "Are Freebies The Root Of All Evil (In Food Blogging)", my answer is no. It merely adds another level of complexity to an already very tasty soup. So I encourage everyone to go out and eat, write what you want and continue enjoying Melbourne's very rich food scene. I will, even if it is free.

This post has been sponsored by Thanh Do from I Eat Therefore I Am. Thanh has blogged for free, and freely as a semi-intelligent human being who happens to write a semi-informed food blog in Melbourne.

Here are some more views on this discussion from other food bloggers in chronological order:
Confessions of a Food Nazi
Confessions of a Food Nazi
Last Appetite
The New Epicurean
Melbourne Gastronome
Syrup and Tang

Friday, October 22, 2010

Photography Friday #13 - Weddings

Following from my previous Photography Friday #12 - The Smaller Things, today I bring you "Weddings". Weddings are always beautiful to look at, with people all dressed up and the bride and groom looking their best. I wanted to capture some slightly different elements of the wedding but I wasn't too successful. The official photographer's photos were amazing and I must learn from those. I must try and capture images from different angles and using different depth of fields.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gold Leaf Yum Cha Springvale

46-58 Buckingham Avenue
Springvale 3171, VIC
Ph: (03) 9540 3933

Gold Leaf yum chas are now everywhere. But once upon a time, the only Gold Leaf restaurant was in Springvale. It was a fresh alternative to the Mary Hoa (now King Whale) yum cha that started off really great but quickly declined to terrible. Gold Leaf was equally cheap but had a larger variety of dim sums that were of a higher quality. They've recently gone through a renovation so that the interior is much nicer, but I'm happy to report that the food is still good and at good prices.

The dim sums are pretty standard fare, without any real "special" items. I use special in quotation marks because to me, items like the Steamed Eels are quite standard in my books. I adore steamed eels with the firm meat and slightly gelatinous quality to it. The Paper Wrapped Prawns have a good crunch and sweet prawns, while the Taro Dumplings have a crispy skin that hides a gravy covered meaty interior inside a layer of taro. I just can't imagine making all these dumplings at home. Firstly I wouldn't know where to start as it's such a specialised cooking skill and you wouldn't be able to create half as many varieties. Yum cha is definitely one of those things to eat out for, and there are so many options in Melbourne that we're spoilt for choice.

The Sugar Cane Prawn were a tad soggy, but again had good flavour with or without the sweet plum sauce. My favourite dumplings, and usually everyone's favourite as well, is the good old Prawn Dumpling, or "har gow". Translucent thin skins glisten, showcasing a peek at the internal fillings. I once watched a Japanese cartoon about cooking and the old man in the show used to only eat the prawn dumpling skin. He claimed that the skin was where all the flavours of the filling had leeched into and hence was the best part. I don't know if I agree with that, but a perfect translucent thin skin is definitely a great carriage for the filling. The har gow skin totally contrasts to the slightly slimey skin that is on a Chicken Feet. If you are going to claim yum cha street cred, you have to eat chicken feet. I love it, with the various spices melding with the skin on the feet and those unctuous tendons around the feet.

Some Prawn Rolls in a sweet soy sauce help complete the meal. The rolls are silky smooth when you dress them with the oil/soy sauce and slide down the throat without any trouble. I always like to finish my meal with dessert. This usually means one of three options for me, mango pudding, donuts balls covered in sugar (only some restaurants have this) or Silky Tofu with a ginger syrup. A nice way to cleanse the palate at the end of the meal, along with the quintessential part of yum cha, drinking Chinese tea. Jasmine or Oolong are my preferred choices.

And that wraps up the usual family yum cha sessions. Yum cha are definitely things that you should go with a few people so you can sample a range of dim sums while drinking tea and chatting. The Springvale Gold Leaf is a good place to consume your dim sums, and afterwards you can go downstairs and buy a million strange food items to sample later. I suggest the Durian Puffs from the corner bakery next to the IGA supermarket, utterly delicious.

For more reviews of other Gold Leafs, check out the following blogs.
Gold Leaf Burwood
Gold Leaf Docklands
Gold Leaf Springvale
Gold Leaf Sunshine

Gold Leaf on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 18, 2010

Restaurant Reviews Index Updated

I've finally getting round to updating the index tabs on my blog. The first one I've decided to do is the restaurant reviews. So now, you can browse through all my eloquent reviews to find sumptuous restaurants to attend for special occasions or just casual meals.

Check it out and let me know if there are any problems.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Photography Friday #12 - The Smaller Things

Following from my previous Photography Friday #11 - Swiss Bliss 2, today I bring you "The Smaller Things". I really want to get a proper macro lens to do even better macro shots, but these were the best I can do with the lenses I have.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kimchi Grandma

125 Koornang Road
Carnagie 3163, VIC
Ph: (03) 9569 2399

Kimchi Grandma in Box Hill used to be quite a regular restaurant that I visited. It was probably my first introduction to Korean food and I thought it was really good. When our office moved location, I found that there was a Kimchi Grandma in Carnegie as well. I went there for lunches with my work mates quite often. It was quite good and was one of our favoured lunch options. However, Kimchi Grandmas started to slowly drop in standards, with the Box Hill one closing, and the Carnegie one not being very good at lunch time. The lunch crowd there started to dwindle and the food tasted quite foul the last few times I went at lunch. The prices were also much higher than other options.

So I wasn't exactly jumping for joy when Kevin decided to organise a dinner there for Jacky's birthday. There's the birthday boy on the left, with Cello next to him. Krystal and Ling are also happily waiting for their food.

We got a variety of dishes to share between us. Entrees of takoyaki, agedashi tofu, seafood pancake and gyozas were ordered. I'm not sure how Korean takoyaki, agedashi tofu and gyozas are? Someone with more knowledge can let me know. To my surprise, all items were ok, nothing special but not terrible.

Mains of the usual Beef Bulgogi, Spicy Chicken, Fried Chicken and Jap Chae were eaten. Again, to my utter relief and surprise, the food was much fresher than the stuff they serve at lunch and was quite good. Nothing really stood out to me and tasted quite run of the mill.

Although I thought the food was only ok, the place was packed out on a Saturday night, and it's quite a large restaurant. The wooden floors and open floor space means that it can get quite loud, but I like that type of vibe. People looked to be enjoying themselves, so that's always a good sign. The service was efficient enough and friendly.

The overall feel of the restaurant, was that things were adequate but not really standing out. There wasn't any food item at all that stuck out to me. I'm glad that the dinner items are fresher and tastier than lunch, but I don't think I would be rushing to go back. The food is just not good enough for me, especially when there are so many other options that are in the same price range and way more delicious. My favourite cheap suburban Korean restaurant is most definitely Kimchi Hut in Glen Waverley. I would definitely recommend you go there instead of Kimchi Grandma.

Overall Rating: 11/20, The food is ok, but definitely many other better options for Korean food.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Kimchi Grandma on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 11, 2010

Replete Providore

302 Barkers Rd
Hawthorn 3122, VIC
Website: Replete Providore

I heard about Replete Providore from my work mate who raved about their Ricotta Hotcakes with Lemon Curd and fresh strawberries. I absolutely adore hotcakes so I had to go and give it a try. So one Saturday morning, Ling and I went there to sample the famous hotcakes that won The Age best breakfast dish a few years back.

While waiting to order, we looked around the store a bit. There were various food items that were on sale, some of them quite tempting like biscuits and slices. Replete are also a providore, but I'm not sure what that entails? I Googled providore and the dictionary definition is a purveyor, which means a person who sells food. In essence, doesn't every restaurant sell food, so are they all providores? It seems to be that providores sell speciality food products, which I guess Replete do, but not that many really.

To the meal itself, Ling got the Ricotta Hotcakes with Lemon Curd and fresh strawberries. It was indeed delicious, but I found it a bit sweet, especially the strawberry sauce. I was expecting the lemon curd to cut through that sweetness but it too was quite sweet. To be honest, I actually prefer Bill Granger's Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter. I've never tried the ones Bill serves at his restaurant, but the ones I make at home are amazingly. I improve, yes you heard right, improve Bill's hotcakes by serving it with caramelised bananas, walnuts and maple syrup. So imagine this ultra indulgent dish, fluffly ricotta hotcakes, topped with caramelised split bananas, roasted walnuts, a drizzle of maple syrup, and the super addictive honeycomb butter, mmmmmm.

For my meal, I ordered the Lamb Tagine. This was really good, and a huge serving. I could hardly finish half of it, with the soft lamb sitting above beans and vegetables. Two people would easily share that with some nice crispy bread. A beautifully presented coffee finished the meal for Ling while I had a nice refreshing juice.

Overall, it was a nice brunch and I would go back to try more items. I never quite understand brunches and don't do them often as I think the prices are very inflated usually. In the case of Replete, the prices aren't cheap, in the $15 range, but the food is good enough to justify that I think.

Replete Providore on Urbanspoon