Tag Archives : pub

Melbourne Food Review: Izakaya Chuji, CBD (Again) + Good News 14

I bring awesome news. I have been neglecting this blog for a very tiring but joyous reason. I would like to announce a successful personal go-live (so to speak), the birth of our little daughter who has her very own hash tag #minikatspat on Twitter. She was born on 8 December 2010 at 5.55pm and my life has been turned upside down since.

The second piece of good news is that now that she is 2 months old, she finally lets me on the computer so hopefully this blog (and its sister blog) will be back to its active status once more.

Anyway, back to Izakaya Chuji, which is one of my favourite Japanese haunts and I have previously reviewed it. So I might just jump in and go through what Josh and I had on one of our Friday night date nights BB (before baby).

We managed to score the best seats in the house, in my opinion, at the sushi/sashimi counter. Arrays of tempting raw seafood and listening to the kitchen buzzing and staff shouting orders in Japanese just made the food taste that much more authentic.

We decided on ordering a few smaller, shared dishes that night. Our koroke (Japenese-style croquette) was a perfect blend of crunchy coating and creamy potato filling. Accompanied by crunchy cabbage slices and tonkatsu sauce, it passed with flying colours. (more…)

Melbourne Food Review: The Grand Hotel, Richmond 1

We went to grab a quick dinner the Grand Hotel’s Lounge Bar before heading out to a party in the area. The Grand Hotel also has a dining room but we thought we might save that for a more special occasion.

The Grand Hotel: Lounge Bar

I have been to the Grand before and the food was always fantastic. It is definitely one of my favourite Melburnian gatro-pub.The menu wasn’t overly large but everything was done really well. I was actually looking forward to sampling their Nicoise Salad but sadly on the night, it wasn’t on the menu. The place was quite packed on the night and we grabbed the last table available (it was Saturday night, 7-ish) but the tables did start to become free a bit after. There were a few people just having drinks but many of them were there for the food. I recommend a reservation if you want to go there on Friday or Saturday night.

veal meatballs with semolina gnocchi

(Veal meatballs with semolina gnocchi – $18.50)

Josh was a bit more decisive and went for the Veal Meatballs with Semolina Gnocchi ($18.50) The gnocchi was awesome. It was creamy and went perfectly with the meatballs and the sauce. Definitely a must-try. When I went there last year, it was served with something else which was equally yummy. But the gnocchi was definitely the highlight.

Braised Lamb Shank with Mash

(Braised Lamb Shank with Mash $24.00)

I couldn’t decide what I wanted (I was so set on having the Nicoise Salad) so when the counter person recommended the Braised Lamb Shank with Mash ($24.00), I went for it. The mash was beautifully silky and buttery and complimented the melt-in-the-mouth lamb shank really well. But definitely the gnocchi! Yum! (more…)

Alice Springs Food Review: The Firkin and Hound 1

This is the second last post on all, well, most, food we consumed when we went for a road trip to the Red Centre. Yay! Almost done. I have been eating some totally fantastic food in Melbourne and want to get on writing about them!


(I’m into taking pictures of table setting right now, bear with me)

<Start Non-food Babble>

So we were now in Alice Springs at the very centre of Australia. I liked Alice Springs for its touristy-ness. I booked ahead for a two-bedroom cabin at a caravan park near the Gap as I was hoping for a place as nice as the one we had in Adelaide. No such luck. We got there at about 8pm, only to be told that they only had us booked down for one (tomorrow’s) night instead of two! I was so annoyed so I asked that they cancelled the booking for the day after that.

As it was peak season in Alice Springs, I had to ring around before I ended up with accommodation at the Swagman’s Rest. I was a bit hesitant at first because the rate we were quoted was much lower than any other place I have tried ringing (but they were all fully booked) especially for self-contained units (i.e. with fully equipped kitchen). But it didn’t seem like we had a choice. But once we got there, everything really exceeded our expectations. The room was clean (though Mum disliked their choice of air freshener) and the kitchen was well equipped.

<End Non-food Babble>

So that night, after accommodation drama was over, we decided to hit the town for some dinner. Last time I was in Alice Springs (being my single, out-going party girl self), I desperately wanted to hit the Bojangles Saloon and see what was there as I didn’t have the chance last time.

inside the dining room of the Firkin and Hound

(Inside the dining room)

But noooo. I had my mother and husband who completely vetoed the plan! Somehow we ended up a ‘traditional English pub’, the Firkin and Hound in Alice Springs CBD. It was a typical pub with the dining room at the back. I guess I have been living in Melbourne/Singapore for too long. I was completely thrown off guard when we walked in through the pub and discovered that people were still allowed to smoke there! The smoke kept wafting to our dining table and we had to move. Ewwww.

garlic and cheese pita bread

(garlic pita bread – $5.00)

The menu was actually your regular English pub menu. Mum wanted some garlic bread but they only had pita bread available which you could either have with garlic, cheese and something else.

garlic pita bread

When it was served, I thought they had brought us cheese instead because it was rather cheesy. I then later noted a tiny hint of garlic. They seemed a bit hesitant with their garlic here, I guess. It was rather good though. The bread was fresh and warm. The cheesy topping was quite good, despite being not-so-garlicky.

cream of broccoli soup

(soup of the day: cream of broccoli – $6.00)

It was a cold winter night and I wanted some soup. I asked the waiter (‘serving wench’) whether if it was possible to finish a soup and a main. She hesitated and said ‘for most people, probably not.’ My husband, being a helpful soul, replied ‘Her appetite isn’t exactly normal!’ Err.. thanks, mate.

warm baguette

So I ordered soup of the day, which was Cream of Broccoli. Despite being $5, it was huge! I was expecting a dinner roll with the soup (because the waiter came and asked whether I wanted a roll or pita bread with the soup) but I got a whole baguette! The soup was just slightly salty and rich but it was absolutely perfect with the hot crusty bread roll, baked to perfection.


(rack of lamb, served with mash, steamed veggies and rosemary gravy – $18.90)

For main, Mum decided on the 400 g.  scotch fillet. Josh went for the rack of lamb. And I, who has a personally rule that when in a typical pub, order a meat dish because the vego or carb options are generally not their forte, went for mixed grill. After the soup though, we were beginning to feel a bit of tripidation due to the meal sizing here.


(steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower with mashed potatoes)

Let’s just say I’m rarely wrong about food, the mains were friggin’ HUGE. If I were the waiter, I would have said ‘there is NO WAY you could finish the soup AND a main’ in no uncertain terms! Haha. But who am I to blame? I did really want the soup. Josh’s rack of lamb was quite nice and I rather liked the gravy, which was very rosemary-ish.

scotch fillet steak

(400 g. scotch fillet – $27.00)

Mum had learned her lesson this time and asked for the steak to be cooked rare and according to my fail-safe rule of steak ordering, a perfectly medium rare steak was delivered.


(medium rare!)

Mum rather thought while the steak was all right, the scotch fillet that we bought at the supermarket and cooked ourselves was better. I didn’t like the way they piled the chips on, plonked the steak on top and covered it with gravy, resulting in some very soggy chips.


Her steak also came with salad, which was very pretty and tasty. So did my mixed grill.


My mixed grill. What can I say about my mixed-grill? Once I got over the shock at home big it was (it consisted of a fried egg, four middle rashers of bacon, one big lamb chop, one big piece of steak and a rather large sausage), I began to notice how horridly cooked everything was. It seemed like everything was cooked on some filthy public barbecue that hadn’t been cleaned in a century.


(mixed grill – $17.90)

I did ask for my steak to be cooked rare as well. I got a touch piece of hide, basically. It was so well done it was like chewing on an old boot. I guess my rule just failed here! The lamb chop was pretty much the same. It wasn’t really edible. Honestly, it seemed like someone had ordered a plate of mixed grill, sent it back and they regrilled everything and served it back to me. That was pretty bad.

Ah well.

Despite the amount of food served, they wouldn’t allow leftovers to be packed away (Mum’s steak would have been nice in a steak sandwich the next day). If you’re after a really big and cheap meal in Alice Springs, here it is. Just don’t order the mixed grill!

The Firkin and Hound, 21 Hartley St., Alice Springs NT

Melbourne Food Review: Mrs. Parma’s, City 3

wiener schnitzel parma with bolognaise sauce

(Jacqui’s pick – wiener schnitzel with Bolognaise topping – $24.00)

Who doesn’t love a nice parma? The eternal Australia pub scene favourite. Yes, folks, in Australia, it’s called a parma. It’s not parmagiana. No no no. That would be complicating things. It’s a parma and it’s served with beer.

veal with pumpkin topping

(Josh’s pick – wiener schnitzel parma with roasted pumpkin topping – $24.00)

A parma is basically a piece of meat (veal, chicken, etc.) that has been flattened and crumbed. It is then fried (any hardcore parma fan will tell you that it must not be deep-fried), topped with napoli sauce and cheese and then baked until the cheese is golden.

eggplant parma with guacamole, salsa, and jalapeno

(Mat’s pick – eggplant parma with sour cream, salsa, guacamole and jalapeño – $18.00)

What’s special about Mrs. Parma’s is that they serve a lot of beer from local microbreweries and you can choose your own parma topping. You can also choose between chicken parma ($22.00), wiener schnitzel* parma ($24.00), 0r eggplant parma ($18.00).


(perfectly fried chips with a sprinkling of chicken salt)

I decided that I wasn’t up eat big pieces of meat (I’m usually not, really) so I ordered eggplant parma with amatriciana sauce (bacon, chilli and olive in tomato sauce) which went down perfectly together. For some reason, I don’t seem to have a picture of my own meal! But the eggplant parma turned out to be the best (I tasted everyone’s so I know). The eggplants were so well crumbed and unlike most eggplant parmagiana, it was not at all oily. It was silky and delicious. I strongly recommend the eggplant over the chicken or the wiener schnitzel.

eggplant parma with mushroom topping

(Nat’s pick – eggplant parma with mushroom topping – $18.00)

Josh went for a wiener schnitzel* (I’m not calling it veal, see below) with roasted pumpkin topping. He was a bit disappointed with it mainly because he is quite sure that it was beef, rather than veal but otherwise it really was a good piece of parma – well-crumbed with tasty sauce. What I really hate is soggy, oily parma and Mrs. Parma’s definitely pass with flying colours in that department.

side salad

(side salad)

The chips and salad were served on the side to share (you can ask for a top up). We were given two bowls of chips and two bowls of salad between eight of us and that was plenty. The chips were very nice and it had chicken salt on it. Not icky chicken salt but nice one. I really can’t stand some brands of chicken salt, they can be disgusting. The salad was perfectly dressed and not soggy. It had cos lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion. Simple but well made. I ate most of the salad because I liked it a fair bit. I washed my meal down with, um, one of the beers on tap. One’s memory gets hazy when beers are involved!

the bar

Yummy. Will return for good eggplant parma. We did try to order dessert but we simply couldn’t get the waitstaff attention so we decided to hit the Cellar Bar for some cake and coffee instead. No pictures from there unfortunately because I ran out of battery. Actually now I remember that’s why I don’t have a picture of my parma.

Mrs. Parma’s, 25 Little Bourke St., Melbourne

* One assumes that wiener schnitzel refers to veal – as that is basically what a wiener schnitzel is meant to be. The menu refers to it as wiener schnitzel whereas the website calls it veal. I wonder why there’s discrepancy between the actual menu and what’s on the website. Two thoughts came to mind: 1) it is veal but they don’t really want to call it veal because of the perceived cruelty associated with veal or 2) it isn’t veal at all. Josh insists that it didn’t taste like veal at all. It was more like beef. I’m pretty sure in Australia (not Austria) the term wiener schnitzel can be used to whatever meat they want and as such it’s fine to make a wiener schnitzel from a piece of beef.

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