Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hellenic Hotel

Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are my own

The night before I went to Hellenic Hotel, I drank too much, and stayed out far too late. There were plenty of regrets the next day. I was so terribly hungover, that I was almost worried I wouldn’t survive the drive out to Williamstown, despite drinking about four litres of water throughout the day and sleeping for half the afternoon too.

Fortunately, the night of Hellenic Hotel negated plenty of the night before - and no regrets were had!

Hellenic Hotel has comfortably nestled into it’s spot in Williamstown, recently celebrating it’s two year birthday - and as always - I’m surprised I haven’t been by sooner! The casual,  contemporary and delicious Greek eatery found an unexpected home in the former 106 year old Hobsons Bay Hotel, where they’ve retained a lot of the structure and facade on the outside, but step in and the space is totally transformed. Totally painted white, with graphic applications of bright blue - evoking imagery of beach side Greece (appropriately), tables clustered cosily but not so that you’re on top of the diners around you.

I want to eat everything on this menu, with small things to share, big things to share or individual souva’s if you’re in the mood for something all by yourself - there’s something for everyone.

But start with the grilled saganaki with peppered figs, because who doesn’t like hot cheese? I adore the sweet and savoury play on this dish, with the figs bubbling away on arrival, gorgeously caramelised and so delicious.

I had just mentioned to Brad on the drive over how long it had been since I had fish and chips, so when I saw the Fisherman’s basket with fish, calamari, prawns, mussels and chips...well that just ticked the box perfectly. One thing I do love that Hellenic Hotel gets so right, are their perfectly golden and crunchy chips. Potatoes are forever my downfall.

Another dish I’ve always said I love to eat, but would never make at home, is moussaka. So Mary’s moussaka (George’s mother own recipe) with braised beef and lamb with eggplant, potato and bechamel, was another must order for me. And boy did it hit the spot - it’s exactly what you would hope for, rich, creamy and heart warming.

I don’t often do a big call out for the sides, but the beans with almonds, garlic, and herb butter really hit the spot for me! Could’ve happily eaten just a couple of serves of this with some chips!

The pace of the night was great - service was on point, attentive and so friendly. I was also so impressed they recognised me on my second visit! The vibe and atmosphere the whole night was so welcoming, as the restaurant filled through the evening, a nice little buzz and hubbub of activity built. We did get left a little long on our own towards the end of the night, but could see how busy the guys were!

We had already eaten so much...but we of course had to try out dessert as well!

The guys were sweet enough to make a mini version of their Yo-Chi ice cream sundae, made with frozen yoghurt goodness from Yo-Chi of course. The flavour changes week to week, and when I heard it was peanut butter, with caramel and peanut butter cups...well what’s not to love?

We also, couldn’t resist the HH pavlova, which is exclusive to the Williamstown location and comes out loaded with seasonal fruit.

The pavlova is seriously huge, and perfect for sharing if you’re with a group...or just a fatty like me. It’s so good.

I just overall loved the atmosphere at Hellenic Hotel, it was much more unpretentious than I had thought it might be, and I found it so inviting, and exactly the type of place I would bring my family to for a relaxed shared meal...which is exactly what I did a month later for mum’s birthday (where we were all equally blown away by the perfectly golden crispy chips)!

28 Ferguson St
Williamstown 3016

Hellenic Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A little Melbourne recap

So. I’m so behind this whole year - my backlog of photos is atrocious. This is is me doing a quick sift through the hundreds of photos I’ve taken this year to share some of my favourite things

Gluten free acai Super Bowl at Shanklin cafe, with puppies at the table next door who are so hopeful we might give them something. And delicious scrambled eggs - Brad’s been backing off the baked eggs more recently and getting more into a chilli scramble and I feel like everyone’s been lifting their golden scramble game. It’s great!

Moscato granita and sumptuous charcuterie boards at Innocent Bystander. Perfect for when that summer weather starts sneaking back in! I adore the new space, it’s so spacious and chilled out. I imagine even when it’s full it’s not going to feel anywhere near as claustrophobic as it had a tendency to before!

We are just so terribly spoilt in Melbourne to have so many great gelaterias. I was chatting with someone from Sydney who said their only option was Messina, whilst we’ve got Pidapipo, Piccolina, Spring Street Grocer and a bit newer on to the scene Lavezzi Gelato. Oh my goodness guys, get your lips all over this stuff, the nutty flavours in particular are so strong and rich, and I’m so into it.

Considering my office moved from South Melbourne to Hardware Lane in March - it took me way too long to get into Miznon and discover just how good simple vegetables can be. Miznon’s whole roasted cauliflower is magic, and just the way I love it. A light coating of oil, falling apart tender and sweet. The golden bag of brisket isn’t bad either!

I really need to do a full post on this meal still! I was thinking we should save Vue de Monde for our 10 year anniversary, but was really keen to go, so Brad said we could go for our eight year dating anniversary, as in the year’s coming we would then be celebrating our wedding anniversary instead. The meal of course, was exceptional, and not like anything we’d had before but man, if I could just go up and order the chocolate souffle alone? Once a month at least - so rich, so chocolatey, with that dollop of espresso ice-cream to cut through the richness. It was perfection even on a 30 degree day.

In Capi’s gorgeous headquarters, joining Sophie Cookes on one of her 10 dinners to celebrate 10 years in the catering gig, has to be one of my favourite invitations this year. Each of the dinners she featured a different ingredient, and I was there on fish night. The crumbed King George whiting sandwich with anchovy mayo is forever etched in my mind as a perfect sandwich. Sophie is also just one of the most lovely hosts, who just exudes warmth, laughter and rich conversation, making for such a gorgeous evening.

I’ve recently been finding myself heading back to cafes I’ve visited before, rather than seeking out new places to go. Loved Northcote STN’s broadbean falafel with pomegranate tabbouleh, red cabbage spiced cauliflower, red cabbage, rainbow beets, almonds and a blood orange and coriander dressing. So much flavour. So much veggie. So much happy.

Bomba’s new rooftop is fabulous, bigger than ever, but also covered, so it’s good for all seasons - but what’s really exciting are their bikini sandwiches. In particular the Joselito 35 month Iberico jamon, with black truffle and mahon. Oh lord have mercy.

I’m loving the low key Italian resurgence Melbourne seems to be experiencing at the moment. I was fortunate enough to be invited to Pentolina, where my mum and I sat at the bar, with a direct view into the flambe action in the kitchen, and ate our body weight in homemade pasta. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the bolognese, my favourite of the night was the conchiglie salsiccia - pork and fennel sausage with crispy cauliflower and rosemary. All the flavours! Also reckon the prosciutto melone is going to be just the thing to start off many a summery night soon too.

I love it when friend’s make recommendations. It really doesn’t happen that often. Brothers Keeper is a cosy little cafe in Kooyong that’s never been on my radar, but once it was introduced to Brad and I by one of his friends, we’ve been back twice since (which hardly ever happens)! Delicious cauliflower tempura, with white quinoa, baby beetroot, pickled shallots, tomato, radish and generous smear of hummus around the bowl is one of the most delicious vegetable brunch dishes I’ve had recently.

500 Toronga Road
Hawthorn East VIC
Shanklin Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

316-334 Maroondah Hwy
Healesville 3777
Innocent Bystander Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

334 Lygon Street
Carlton 3053
Lavezzi Gelateria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

59 Hardware Lane
Melbourne 3000
Miznon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rialto Towers, 525 Collins St
Melbourne 3000

382 High St
Northcote 3070
Northcote STN Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

103 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne 3000
Northcote STN Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

2/377 Little Collins Street
Melbourne 3000
Northcote STN Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

481 Glenferrie Rd
Kooyong 3144
Brothers Keeper Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Gingerboy: Worker's Lunch

Forgot to prep work lunch and not quite in the mood for a couple of rolls of sushi?

It’s hard to go past Gingerboy’s recently launched Workers Lunch set for $27 with a main dish and a glass of wine.

Especially when the dishes on offer include slow cooked beef cheek or fried chicken as options. Yessir!

When I popped by with my colleague (god I love working in the city now!), we ordered the slow cooked beef cheek with peanut chilli caramel - a hefty serve with beef that’s just falling apart and delightfully sticky and sweet, and the green chicken curry which had a nice bit of heat.

Hot tip, there’s a bunch of sides available for $10, and you really can’t go wrong with getting the crispy fried sweet corn cakes. They’re slightly puffed, so light and so delicious. Perfect if you’re getting a curry to mop up all that extra sauce.

27-29 Crossley St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Gingerboy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Penny Drop

Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of the Penny Drop.

Hey guys.

It’s been a while. Again. I often ask Brad where I used to have the time to update the blog...3 times a week!

A lot has happened this year which hasn’t helped I suppose - getting married, going on honeymoon, starting a new job that I’m loving (but spending a lot more time with) and...looking at buying an apartment!

All this adult business all in one year.

One of the areas we’ve been looking for an apartment in recently is in Box Hill. We had spent some of the last couple of years looking at Hawthorn, near Brad’s work, and Southbank, near my work - but only recently considered Box Hill and when we thought about it, it made so much sense.

Close to the shops (all of the shops), close to a train line that both Brad and my work is on, only 30 minutes (without traffic) out of the CBD, and out east so we’re not too far from either of our parents. What’s not to love?

Especially with all the food offerings as well. From cheap and delicious Asian eats, to trendy cafes, like The Penny Black.

Brad and I had popped by the Penny Black when they first opened, but visited again recently and were so pleased that the food was still so delicious.

I love the Asian twist to the food that doesn’t feel superfluous, and that is still hearty, filling and delicious.

Brad’s ‘Rice Burger’ with forbidden black rice, five-spice pork belly, kohlrabi and apple slaw, fried egg and tsuyu sauce couldn’t really be eaten like a traditional burger (had to knife and fork it), but it was absolutely the delicious. Comforting and hearty flavours from the delish pork belly, nicely balanced out by the slaw. Also how good is a proper fried egg with some crusty edges and runny yolk?

My beetroot and sweet corn croquette was also lovely with spiced avocado, walnut cream, heirloom tomato, turmeric cauliflower and sweet potato crisp. It was very textural, I was surprised by the texture of the croquette which was lighter than I expected, and quite sweet from the vegetables which was nice.

The winning pick of the day though was my mum’s Mr. Ssam Benedict with fried soft shell crab, spring onion pancakes, beanshoot salad and poached eggs with kimchi hollandaise. Yum. All of the flavours together were so moreish, even the spring onion pancake with the beanshoots on their own were so tasty. Would definitely recommend for next time!

913 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill 3128

The Penny Drop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato