Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sotto e Sopra

Equitable Place, 353 Little Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph: 9602 2285

I'm constantly surprised by the gems that are hidden within Melbourne's many laneways. You would never be able to find half the places or know what's inside from the external facade. This is a good thing, and a bad thing. It means that your favourite place stays slightly exclusive so you can enjoy it, but it also means that if you're not in the know, then you will never find such gems. Luckily, with the Internet and food blogs, those hidden gems aren't too hard to find.

Sotto e Sopra is one of these gems. It's hidden along Howey Place off Little Collins Street. Even though I knew the address, it still took me a bit of time to find. Along the laneway, you need to look for a small sign which pointed you to go down a set of stairs, which at the end exposed a cavernous dining area and bar.

The restaurant serves simple Italian cuisine, so we start our meal with some Antipasto. The platter consisted of the usual suspects of salami, prosciutto, roasted vegetables, yoghurt dip, breadsticks and in this one, smoked salmon and artichoke hearts. My litmus test for how good an antipasto platter is is to taste the salami. If the salami taste off, to me it indicates that a restaurant doesn't have high food standards if they don't throw that out and use fresher salami. Sotto's salami was delicious, as was the rest of the platter, even the artichoke hearts.

The Fried Calamari ring was crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside. I liked the rocket salad and pesto sauce served with it. I found the calamari just a tad salty, but my friends really liked it and thought it was just right.

For mains, we shared three dishes between the three of us. We chose a Braised Beef Pappardelle, Prawn Spaghettini and Mushroom Risotto. The highlight was definitely the Pappardelle. The pasta was silky smooth and the beef was so deliciously soft and full of flavour. We, ok I, lapped up every last drop of that dish. The spaghettini was also very good, cooked al dente and served with prawns and lots of garlic. The mushroom risotto, I can thankfully report, was cooked well. Although there was lots of mushroom in the dish, it just didn't have that lush mushroom flavour. It wasn't bad, but wasn't as good as the other dishes.

To finish off our meal, we had the Cheese Platter. The platter contained three cheeses, a blue cheese, a ricotta type cheese and brie. I could not stand the smell of the blue cheese but the others loved it. We all loved the brie and were a bit unsure about the ricotta type cheese. It was quite bland and tasted like a mouthful of cream, which isn't bad but not really cheese like. The lavosh was crispy and tasty. Fruit and quince paste was served with the platter, but olives were a strange addition. A bonus treat I guess. Be warned that this cheese platter is huge and could easily serve 4 people.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was quite good. I like the way it's set up. Tables are situated a good distance apart and the noise levels are good. The underground location feels very cool and I really like it. On the night that we were there, an amateur comedy night was happening, which added to the fun. The service was quite good and friendly. The food is simple but done well and at good prices.

Overall Rating: 14/20, Good Italian food in a hidden location.

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.

My guests and I dined courtesy of Sotto e Sopra.

Sotto e Sopra on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 29, 2011

I Eat Therefore I Am 5th Blog Birthday Celebrations

Hip hip, hooray! Hip hip, hooray! Hip hip, hooray!

I Eat Therefore I Am is 5 years old today.

I can't believe that this food blog is 5 years old. If 1 human year equals 7 dog years, I'm going to declare that 1 human year equals 14 blog years. In the world of the fast ever changing Internet, to reach 5 years on this blog is quite an achievement I think. I never ever thought it would last this long. It was all just going to be a bit of fun that I would get bored of quite quickly.

Back in February of 2006, my friends encouraged me to write a blog as I was always telling them my opinions on everything. Initially I was writing about interesting technology articles but it slowly morphed into a lot of posts about food. The turning point was when Alan from Photo Finish, who I met through my other blog, suggested that we start a group blog, which became I Eat Therefore I Am on July 29th 2006. Slowly over time, the other contributors stopped posting, but I kept going. The rest, as they say, is history.

There have been highs and low through the time, and I must admit that I wanted to stop during a few periods in time as I was losing motivation. However, for whatever reasons, I kept going and currently really enjoy writing this blog. This blog has given me an outlet to voice a lot of my opinions, and fortunately, some people even read and enjoy it. Not everyone agrees with what I say, nor should you have to. I've had lots of heated discussions about a lot of issues, but that just adds to the fun. I have been on a lot of food adventures and this food blog has enabled me to go to even more things that I may not have had the chance to experience or have heard about. I've met so many wonderful people through this blog, both in the online world and in real life. We all enjoy talking about some aspect of food, which has acted as a catalyst to further solidify some relationships. I can now count numerous people who I met through the blog as good friends.

To celebrate this occasion, I'm posting a beautiful drool worthy photo of a delicious Chocolate Cake with Salted Peanut Caramel topping. I think this cake sums up this blog, simple and sweet.

To wrap up this celebratory post, I'm going to do a giveaway to you, my wonderful readers who have helped to make this blog with your readership and feedback throughout the years.


Here is the prize pack that I am offering

- A voucher to have a laugh at my geeky humour
- A coupon to drool at some delicious food porn photos
- A pass to attend an exclusive party full of fun filled food adventures
- An invitation to join in on some fiery food discussions
- An opportunity to occasionally win some random prizes
- A glimpse into my life and it's trivialities
- A ticket to doses of empathy, praise and thanks from me to you

How To Enter

Leave a comment in the comments section.

Conditions of Entry
- You must enjoy food
- Competition closes when you no longer find this blog enjoyable

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Moroccan Soup Bar

183 St Georges Rd
Fitzroy North, VIC 3068
Ph: 9482 4240

I thank this humble food blog for many things. It's been an excellent outlet for my food writing as I really enjoying writing and talking about food. I've also improved my photography skills as I constantly strive to take better photos for this blog. I've met so many wonderful people through this food blog, as well as trying out the exciting food suggestions that other food bloggers write about. I've also been able to experience all aspects of the food industry due to this blog. People can have whatever opinions they want about accepting food invites but I find that I tend to accept invites as it usually leads to something new and good. The Steer Boot Camp experience was one such thing. From that, I learned about how hard a commercial kitchen is and how passionate and hard working chefs are. I also had the pleasure to become good friends with a number of the chefs there. One of them, Bruno, I consider a good friend now. We really get along well and I met up with him and Sarah for a dinner at Moroccan Soup Bar. It was his suggestion to eat there and I'm so glad I got to try it as I normally would not go due to my dislike of vegetarian food.

Bruno told me that Moroccan Soup Bar was started by a migrant woman, who used the restaurant as a way of employing and giving opportunities to other migrants in need of a job. It's a great story and even better still, the story is backed up by wonderful flavoursome vegetarian food. While I was there that night, the small restaurant was packed the whole time and with a steady stream of people coming in for takeaway food. The aspect I loved was that in keeping with the whole ethos of the restaurant, everyone brought their own containers to pick up the food. Brilliant.

There's no menu at the restaurant and you ask the waiters what's available. We went for the banquet meal, which at a mere $18 per person was exceptional value. The banquet for the 4 of us consisted of some tasty dips to start, 5 different mains, desserts of pastries and tea or coffee.

The dips were some of the best I've had and I had to stop myself from over-eating them with the pita bread. Mains consisted of a variety of stewed vegetables, rice dishes and this super chickpea bake dish. The chickpea bake has toasted pita bread pieces, almonds ,chickpeas all topped with yoghurt, so simple but so addictively good.

The desserts of baklava were not as good as my favourite from El-Fayha, but was still surprisingly good, better than most places. The desserts were finished off with some tea or coffee, a perfect ending.

I love this restaurant, with it's vibrant coloured walls and equally vibrant vegetarian food. The price is excellent value and you will be so full at the end. My only gripe is that the restaurant is so busy that you only get to sit for a 2 hour session. But that is a small gripe for such a great place.

Overall Rating: 16/20, Great vegetarian food at excellent 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.

Moroccan Soup Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 25, 2011

Giant Steps, Innocent Bystander

336 Maroondah Hwy
Healesville, VIC 3777
Ph: 5962 6111

You would think that after a massive lunch at Rochford Winery, we would be too full to eat anything. Not Nelly, Ada and I. We pushed on and went to Giant Steps, Innocent Bystander for some more dessert and their famous Moscato.

I like the look of the place, set inside a shed with windows showing the alcohol being made in the adjoining shed. Rustic tables and an assortment of food produce and baked goods are spread throughout the space. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and baked goods all day round.

We shared a bottle of the Moscato, which is a brilliant bright pink colour and served in a cute scientific flask. To go with the Moscato, we had Chocolate Croissant, Lemon Tart, Polish Donut and a Canele. The croissant was really crispy and had a perfect chocolate centre. The Lemon Tart was also liked by Nelly and Ada but I'm never a big fan of lemon desserts. I was expecting the Polish Donut to be amazing, but while the dough part was brilliant, the very sour filling ruined it for me. The highlight of the day was without doubt the Canele. It was absolutely sensational and I would drive all the way to Giant Steps just for that. The crust was crispy and caramelised while the centre soft and creamy still.

Giant Steps, Innocent Bystander is a great stop on your trips through the Yarra Valley. You can stop for a short drink and some pastries or stay for a substantial lunch or dinner. You can then walk away with lots of great produce and wines.

Giant Steps / Innocent Bystander Winery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rochford Winery Restaurant

Cnr of Maroondah Hwy and Hill Rd
Coldstream, VIC 3770
Ph: 5962 2119

I first heard about and visited Rochford Winery Restaurant when my work mates and I did the amazing Hot Air Ballooning from there. The breakfast we had was very tasty and I swore that I would go back to try their lunches. When by pure chance my friend Nelly organised a lunch there for Ada, I was more than happy to come along and try out the food.

The winery restaurant is one of the bigger places in the area and has both an indoor and outdoor area. The outdoor area is for coffee and simpler food while indoors is the full blown menu. The room, like most winery restaurants, takes advantage of the amazing views of the vineyards and mountains outside by having floor to ceiling glass walls. Sunshine streams in and it is indeed a lovely afternoon to eat at a winery restaurant.

We decided to do the full three course meal as the options looked so tantalising. We started off with entrees, which we of course shared. The three entrees chosen were the Chorizo Croquettes, Pork Terrine and Liver Pate. All three entrees were excellent. The croquettes were crunchy and spicy, the terrine rich and soft and the liver smooth and creamy. The accompanying small touches of vegetables, herbs and sauces really added to the dishes and weren't there just for appearance sakes.

For mains, we shared three huge plates of Confit Duck, Roast Beef and Rib Stew. All three meals were very substantial, with a primary meat and lots of accompanying vegetables and a very strong sauce. The duck was cooked well and I liked sauce. The beef was tender but I found the sauce a bit too strong and sweet. Lastly, the ribs was beautifully soft but the sauce was so so thick and sweet that you can't eat more than a small amount.

We were super full already after the mains but when the desserts came, as usual there was space in the spare "dessert stomach". The desserts all looked very simple and elegant. While the Chocolate Meringue sounded the best on paper, I didn't really like it too much. A soft meringue was served on a bed of chocolate and a light chocolate cream. The flavours didn't work well together for me. In contrast, the Roasted Fig with Mascarpone and Biscuit was spot on and extremely addictive. It was sweet, creamy, crunchy and blended so well. The Raspberry Pannacotta with Plum Cake was also very good. A creamy pannacotta was topped with raspberry jelly, fresh raspberries and raspberry sorbet. That alone was good and didn't really need the plum cake which, although good, didn't pair well with the pannacotta. But I'm not complaining about an extra little treat in the plum cake.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was very relaxed and happy. People were all having weekend lunches and enjoying themselves. As I said earlier, the wonderful sunshine streaming through the glass walls and the perfect views only help to enhance the meal. The service was good and friendly enough. The food is similar to most winery restaurants and caters to the masses, but done better than normal. The prices are very fair and I would come here for more meals.

Overall Rating: 15/20, Good food and excellent views.

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.

Rochford Winery Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giveaway - Cupcake Central Masterclass + Goodies Bag

Level 2, Dining Hall, Melbourne Central
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: 9077 4542

Cupcakes. I love them. All those wonderful base flavours, the decadent and delicious frostings, and they're so beautiful. Cupcakes are so versatile and can be eaten at a kids party or at a wedding. I love that you can decorate them in so many ways and combine any flavours you think will work.

I was fortunate enough to meet Sheryl from Cupcake Central and hear her story about how she started her job. After being made redundant from her IT job, she decided to pursue her dreams of opening a cupcake shop, starting firstly by selling at farmer's markets, to finally opening her shop. I looked at her blog and could clearly seen the progression in her skills, from quite wonky misshapen cupcakes at the start to the beauties that you now see.

To celebrate Cupcake Central opening their second store at Melbourne Central, I am happy to announce a giveaway to their cupcake masterclass where you can learn to make beautiful cupcakes of your own. You can learn to make flavours available from Cupcake Central like Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Jam Donut, Red Velvet, Oreo, Black Velvet, Raspberry and White Chocolate and the list goes on. All the flavours are great but my absolute favourite is red velvet, the best I've tasted in Melbourne. It definitely due to the fact that quality ingredients are used and cupcakes are made that day and sold that day only. That's the Cupcake Central guarantee to you.


Competition Closed

Thank you for your great entries. Lots of mouth watering signature cupcakes and it was a tough decision. I was swayed towards peanut and jelly cupcakes but in the end, one cupcake intrigued me the most and I definitely want to try it should it ever be made.

So the winner is.....Cindy, with the Kulfi Cupcake. It sounds so interesting and I do have a soft spot for green mangoes so am excited to try the dried version on a cupcake.

Congratulations Cindy and thank you all for entering the competition. If you missed out on the prize, you can still attend the Cupcake Central classes as they will run regular ones from month to month. Check out their website for details.

One cupcake masterclass at the Cupcake Central Melbourne Central store.

When: Tuesday 19th July from 6:30pm
Where: Cupcake Central Melbourne Central store
What: You will learn to make cupcakes, get to eat them and feast on food and champagne in between.

You will also take home a goodies bag which will contain the following:
- Cupcake mix that includes cupcake papers, sprinkles etc.
- Box of 10 babycakes in assorted flavours
- An apron
- Box of 6 of your decorated cupcakes
- Cupcake storage box
- Vouchers

The group on the night will be divided into teams, with the team producing the best cupcakes receiving some extra special prizes.

How To Enter

Leave a comment answering the question:

Invent your signature cupcake. Give it a name and describe the flavours and look in as much detail as possible.

Make sure there is a way for me to contact you, either via Twitter, a blog or an email. If you don't want to publish your email in the comments, please email me at ieatblog[at]yahoo[dot]com and let me know which comment was yours.

Conditions of Entry
- Australian readers only. If you do not live in Melbourne, you may transfer your prize to another person who can attend the class in Melbourne on the specified date.
- Competition closes Sunday July 17th 8pm AEST.
- The winner will be selected by myself and announced on the same night at 9pm. The winner will be contacted by email.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Holiday Experience of Your Life - Peregrine Adventures

This post is Sponsored by Nuffnang

When I was younger, I used to want to obtain objects with my spare money. But the older I get, the more I want to go on holidays and take a break from the normality of my life. I want to experience new cultures, see different sights, tastes new and fascinating things, visit areas that few people have been able to see and add store all those experiences and sensations into my memory bank so that I can replay them again and again and whenever I want to feel inspired.

My favourite holiday that I've had so far is my solo trip around Europe, in particular the city of lights, Paris. Some may say that Paris is over-rated, and that it smells and is dirty and crowded, but for me, Paris is definitely the city of beauty, culture, romance, gastronomy, style and of course, the lights.

I totally fell in love with the city, exploring beautiful buildings like the Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Louvre, to sitting in wonderful gardens like Jardin du Luxembourg, Tuileries Garden, exploring fascinating districts like Montmarte, Quartier Latin and Montparnasse. In between exploring, I would dine on simple French food at small cafes serving excellent baguettes, terrines and cakes, to fine French classical dining at three Michelin star restaurants like Pierre Gagnaire. The city lives up to it names of the City of Light as the night time vista is one that will take your breath away. The city completely transform into a totally different beast and is filled with such magnificent lights that you think you're dreaming. The biggest and brightest shining beacon is none other than The Eiffel Tower. As the name suggests, it towers over all the other buildings and is lit up for all to enjoy.

The memories that I have from my holidays are still so vivid and I constantly reminisce and also talk to friends about it. I can't wait to go on more adventures and enjoy more of the World's beauty.

You too can build your own memories, and in this month of July, you can do that for 10% cheaper. If you book a holiday with Peregrine Adventures in the month of July, you will receive 10% off the price. Peregrine have a wealth of experience, having been operating for more than 30 years. Their well seasoned travel experts are passionate about their work and will ensure you have a great time. Small groups means that you will get more attention and looked after. With a huge range of adventures available, I'm sure you will find something that is uniquely yours and ensures you experience new and exciting things. Get on your bike (or canoe, horse drawn cart, seaplane or steam train) and go onto the Peregrine website to book your holiday now. Material items will come and go, but memories last a lifetime.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Nuevo 37 - Truffle Dinner

2 Convention Centre Pl
South Wharf, VIC 3006
Ph: 9027 2000

Truffles. You mention the word and you'll get two reactions. One is that someone will turn up their nose and go "uuuugghhh". Two, you'll get someone exclaim "I love it, it's amazing". Truffles are the fruiting body of an underground mushroom. It's got an extremely unique smell and taste that lead it to be described as the "diamond of the kitchen". Along with caviar, truffles are one of the most expensive food items in the world. Part of the revered status that truffles holds is due to the price. It's a very special item that you don't get to eat often. Traditionally, truffles come from Europe, but in recent time, Australia is starting to produce truffles as well. Areas in Western Australia, Canberra and Tasmania produce truffle during Winter. On this particular night, Agnes, Penny, Adrian, Michele and myself were invited to a truffle event at Nuevo 37. John Baily from Tamar Valley Truffles had flown in from Tasmania to tell us more about his "grown" truffles. Executive Chef Philippe Perrey of Nuevo 37 cooked up some dishes for us to try using these wonderful truffles.

John's farm is located in Tasmania, with 3500 oaks trees on 20 acres. During the months from June to August, John and his team harvest these black beauties from under the trees. You may have seen images of pigs being used to find truffles, but nowadays dogs are used instead. While the pigs will damage the truffles as they actually love to eat it, a dog can be trained to find the truffles but not enjoy eating the precious cargo. A dog will sniff out a truffle, alert the trainer who will get down on his knees to slightly uncover the truffle and smell it. If it is ready, then it will be harvested. If not, the truffle will be covered back up with dirt and left for another week or so. After harvesting, truffles from Tamar Valley will be exported all over the world, including to France as French chefs appreciate the greater flavour of Winter truffles than Summer truffles grown locally.

During our night, we got to touch, smell and taste truffles. Truffles are actually quite hard and have those beautiful patterns throughout it. The smell is so pungent but I adore it. Some people may find it quite an unpleasant flavour. I find that while the truffles by itself is extremely pungent, once added to food, it works so well. Phillipe said that he would never ever cook a fresh truffle, instead just shave it over the dish at the end to give maximum flavour.

Our venue for the night was the very beautiful Nuevo 37 restaurant, which is part of the Hilton Hotel restaurant located on South Wharf. The South Wharf area is quite unknown still but worth checking out as there are more shops and restaurants opening soon. The restaurant is decorated beautifully with a large open kitchen. The food has a slight Spanish accent but it is also quite varied to appeal to all guests.

For our truffle dinner, we tried the degustation truffle menu offered in the next few months. The first dish was made in front of us by Phillipe. It consisted of rocket and goats cheese wrapped in pancetta. Shaved truffles finish off the dish. Surprising, I didn't really taste the truffle on this dish, as nice as it was.

Pancetta cannelloni, rocket, caramelised black truffle, Meredith Dairy Goat Cheese

Second dish was a Moreton Bay bug served with a truffled Jerusalem artichoke soup. The soup is creamy and delicious while the bug was very good too. The truffles worked well in the soup and also enhanced the bug.

Moreton Bay bug, root vegetables, truffled Jerusalem artichoke sauce

The dish of the night, without doubt was the simple but truly fantastic Tagliatelle. The truffles just seems to encompass the pasta and coat your mouth to give a perfect dish. The truffles kept echoing in your mouth and you keep wanting more. As Philippe told us, dishes with fat help to carry the truffle flavour really well. He also points out that for himself personally, when he uses truffles, he likes to keep it quite simple to let the truffles shine. This dish definitely proved his point.

Tagliatelle, creamy truffle sauce

An unctuous Wagyu cheek soaked in Tempranillo was served with truffles on top. The truffle flavour wasn't super strong in this dish but definitely could be tasted and improved the dish.

Braised Wagyu beef cheek, Tempranillo, truffle,forked chick peas, black cabbage

Lastly, an excellent creamy Tahitian Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is served with shaved truffles. Who would have thought truffles work in a dessert, let alone ice cream. But it was so good, with a slight crunch and savoury note to the ice cream.

Vanilla bean ice cream, truffle

I had a fantastic meal and learned so much about truffles from John and Philippe. Truffles are truly a wonderful food item that can really turn a dish from great to sensational. They are extremely costly but I still recommended heading down to Nuevo 37 to try out the truffle menu while it's still in season. I must warn you that it's very addictive and you'll be left wanting more of it the next day when you have your "truffle burp".

Thanks to Hilton Hotel and Tamar Valley Truffles for hosting me and the meal. Thanks to Red Agency for the invite.

Nuevo 37 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 07, 2011

FOG Restaurant

142 Greville St
Prahran, VIC 3181
Ph: 9521 3155

FOG Restaurant does South West American food. Think more New Mexico cuisine and not Brazilian food and you're on the mark. I was extremely excited to try out the food as I can't say I've tried South West American before. As it turns out, the food was sensational and very interesting in flavour.

FOG Restaurant is owned by Sam Frantzekos, an extremely funny and charismatic man. Sam has owned restaurants in America before turning his hand to restaurants in Melbourne. You may not have tried out FOG before, but I'm sure you have ventured through one of Sam's businesses. If like me, you were an 80s child living in Melbourne, I'm sure you would have visited Metro Night Club in your teenage years. And guess who owned Metro? Sam told some exciting stories of his life in the night club scene in America for three decade and his brush with famous people, even one Coco Lee who invited him to a cruise party. Coco Lee only ever released one English language album, of which both Sam and I own a copy. We must have bought one of three albums sold in Australian, with Adrian from Food Rehab owning the third copy.

FOG restaurant is decorated in a very slick modern feel. It's cool and dark, which is great for the bar and outdoor area at the back. For restaurants, as you have heard me say many times, I'd prefer it a tad brighter. The restaurant part is huge and easily seats over 100, filling out on weekends when the night scene kicks in. It has an ultra cool vibe and the clientele reflect that. Even hot superstars like Katy Perry and Usher eat at FOG when they're in Melbourne for their concerts.

With the food, we got to sample a variety of entrees and mains shared between the table. We started off with Yellowfin Tuna, served with jalapenos and a light sauce. I love the kick of the jalapenos with the tuna. An Anchovy Grilled Baguette was crunchy, salty and sweet. I love anchovies so hence enjoyed this dish, but obviously if you don't like anchovies, it would overpower you. Fried Chicken Ribs was served with a flavoured mayonnaise type sauce and was wickedly good. While the former entrees were good, the next two were sensational. The Tostadas were a grilled prawn atop a corn chip served with guacamole, chipolte crema and tomato. The flavours were so vibrant and the contrast in the textures was perfect. Finally, the Empanadas also excited my tastebuds. The pastry was crispy and short, the filling tasty, with a smokey burnt tomato sauce that just tied the whole dish together.

Mains were very meat heavy, which I love. Perfectly medium rare Scotch Fillet Steak was served with sauteed mushrooms, while the Lamb Cutlets were topped with onion rings and a slightly hot sauce. While these alone would normally be highlights, they were upstaged by the super amazing Roast Chicken with Smokey BBQ Sauce. I would never ever order chicken as a mains dish at any restaurant but golly gosh, this chicken I would order again and again. The meat was tender and juicy, but the sauce did it for me. I couldn't stop licking my fingers to clean the sauce off it. I was informed that the chicken is made by smoking it with wood by the chefs in-house.

For dessert, first up was a simple but well done Creme Brulee. A crisp sugar shell covered an extremely smooth vanilla custard. An excellent Chocolate Molten Cake was served with ice cream, a tuille and red wine poached pear. I really loved all the elements, and was surprised at how good the pear in poached red wine was.

Overall, the food really surprised me and was excellent. I liked everything and really loved some dishes. The flavours are good and little hints here and there turn a normal dish into something quite unique. I would highly recommend you go try out FOG and the food. And when you're done eating, you can just slide into the back bar/outdoor area and continue with drinks.

Overall Rating: 16/20, Delicious South West American food with a cool ambiance.

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.

My guest and I dined courtesy of FOG Restaurant. Thanks to Horizon PR for the invitation.

Fog on Urbanspoon