Monday, 5 September 2011

Australia Day 6,7 and 8 - Melbourne - Finishing the Journey

Sorry I took a long hiatus on finishing this, it's just that Sydney was pretty much a trip I had full control of so most of the places we went to were memorable to me but it wasn't the case in Melbourne as we were in the hands of relatives and only on one day did we venture out ourselves. But I wanted to wrap this up and give a few more reviews of my trip to Australia.

The Grand Tofu - 102 Kingsway, Glen Waverley
This was our first meal in Melbourne, brought here by our relatives I had no idea what to expect. I ordered the Singaporean fried noodles but I would liked to have tried the Kway Tiew and the Laksa as well. The noodles were slightly different to the UK version, it was more moist and had a different taste. Don't try the free tea though as it tastes like water. It's a good quick spot to fill you up and it's very busy. I heard there are two Grand Tofu's sorry I don't know which I went to.

Glen Waverley BBQ Restaurant - 31 Railway Parade, Glen Waverley
A bit small and run down and generally seems like a family run place. The food was decent but I'd expect most that dine here are local Cantonese that have grown to love the place. My dad wasn't too keen of the food though, I must say it wasn't as good as Golden Century in Sydney.

Mocha Jo's - 87 Kingsway, Glen Waverley
Went here for breakfast upon recommendation. We got there basically right when they opened because we were preparing to go on a long journey to the Great Ocean Road. I ordered the NY toasted bagel and a cup of flat white. To be honest I don't have a strong memory of the food here though I do remember it being ok in general. If I ever go back to Glen Waverley I would like to try a few more of their offerings.

Fish and Chips at Port Campbell
Sorry for not knowing the name of the place, I wasn't all too bothered. Pretty average fish and chips, don't try the chicken and chips though because it's processed chicken meat, not actual chicken - I can't believe I'm reviewing a local chippie. But anyway it was the chippie not the restaurant.

Hong Kong Dim Sum - 77 Kingsway, Glen Waverley
A simple place where you order from a small tick list and wait a few minutes for your food. They also sell frozen dim sum and cater for parties as well. I actually thought the dim sum was ok, nothing special and not that memorable but better than expected. It's actually quite hard to make memorable dim sum as most places offer the exact same thing, it's only the really good places that make you remember a single dish.

Yu-U - 137 Flinders Lane
I loved almost everything about this place. It's amazing how Yu-U is one of the most highly rated restaurants in Melbourne but has a front door covered in graffiti and true to their style it's very low key even on the internet and has minimal advertising. But I liked it even more that we had to press a buzzer on the backdoor, because the front door was broken, to get in. At once we were greeted by a Japanese lady who looked a little rushed but managed to find us a spot. We were led to a private room which was huge and cozy though maybe a little bit too out of the way for a group of three. I liked that everything was minimal but to the point, it's nice to see a small menu in comparison to the huge lists you normally see in Chinese restaurants. The place is definitely authentic and for a good price (at lunch only). I ordered the pork set, I loved how the dishes were served in an authentic Japanese style, everything was delicious though the portion sizes were a tad small. The highlight for me was definitely the miso soup. Most of the time when you get miso soup there's a cloud of "debris" that forms at the bottom but at Yu-U they obviously spent time to make the soup as it was a clear broth.

All in all it was a great experience and to be honest it wasn't that hard to find once you knew what you were looking for.

MoVida Aqui - 500 Bourke Street Level 1
The biggest disappointment of the whole trip I believe. Caught out by the 3 month waiting list for MoVida we decided to take a detour to its little brother MoVida Aqui, which I believe is also hatted. I was amazed to find a pretty quiet restaurant when MoVida has a 3 month waiting list, don't give me the "it's difficult to fill a large restaurant" crap because Golden Century did just that and it's 3 times the size of this place.

Not having very much knowledge of tapas, the only time I had tapas was at Tossa Del Mar near Barcelona on a school trip, we pretty much decided to go for the cheaper options whilst my dad wanted some seafood for the larger options. I ordered a Bomba, and I think something else though I don't remember what, for starters. We were also lured into the Iberico Ham (the mid priced one) and ordered prawns and scallops as well as the Buey (wagyu beef) from the Raciones section. We were warned that there wasn't much but we moved forward anyway.

The complimentary bread was nice, and you could refill (which we did). The Bomba was disappointing, with minimal chorizo it was merely a potato ball for AUD4.50, I was expecting an explosion of flavours not this. The Iberico Ham was much better though much more expensive. The prawns didn't give me a lasting impression whilst the scallops were the worst of the night, it was filled with sand! Crunch, crunch, crunch. The Buey however was the highlight of the meal, lovely tastes and textures, though a tad on the skimpy side. I didn't realise they had paella on the menu, or maybe it was because we totally ignored the section that they said would take 45 minutes, but if we had known we'd probably have ordered that to fill us up.

Sadly I was left severely disappointed, the food wasn't the worse I have had but at that price it was definitely not worth it. We left feeling hungry and actually had to go to another place for a quick fix! What a way to convince my conservative Asian family on eating European cuisine! I don't get how it gets so many great reviews, or did I just eat the wrong foods on the wrong day? But the table next to us also weren't too happy from what I gathered.

Pie Face
I can't remember where I had my after-dinner fix of pie but I don't expect the chains to taste much different. I ordered the Thai Chicken Curry and ate in. If you do eat in eat with a knife and fork because if you don't it could get very messy! The pie didn't taste amazing, like most other pies really, but I just love the branding and the idea of it.

General Tourist Attractions
Phillip Island Penguin Reserve - Hundreds of people flock to this place every night so be prepared to join the bustling crowds. It's really hit or miss depending on the tide, if it's high tide you'll see very little but if it's low tide you'll see these black dots scurrying back to their shelters. The best time to see the penguins is on the boardwalks rather than the coast. Worth a visit but be prepared to stay here for a while.

Great Ocean Road - The entire Great Ocean Road is a beautiful spectacle with its natural rock formations and beautiful skyline. It will definitely take you at least a day to get around the place but if you don't mind you can go back through colac rather than following the Great Ocean Road.

Federation Square - a bit disappointing really, interesting shapes and architecture but a little bland.

National Gallery of Victoria - A very interesting gallery even if you don't go to the exhibitions. The Mousehole waterwall entrance, the bookshop and the Leonard French ceiling were definitely the highlights for us.

Sidney Myer Music Bowl - A great place to have a picnic, though we didn't.

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