Monday, 25 April 2016

The Mill @ Echuca

Last week found me driving around the State of Victoria for two friends weddings.  That's right two weddings in the space of 5 days.

One of the weddings was on the Murray River in the twin towns of Echuca Moama on the NSW/Victoria border.  The historic town of Echuca is situated on the Murray River and the Campaspe River and the Old Port of Echuca takes you back to the early days. 

There are quite a few good dining options in Echuca and I found myself at The Mill for Happy Hour between 4-6pm on a Wednesday night.  This bar is in the old flour mill.  High ceilings, rustic old brick warehouse meets industrial concrete.

As I am dining solo I was lucky enough to have the Chef prepare me the Chefs Share plates for one (usually for two people).  Grabbed myself a lovely glass of white to enjoy while I waited. 

Sitting near a window and enjoying the warmth of the later afternoon sun streaming through and looking at these gorgeous prints of Audrey Hepburn.

The Mill is a very laid back, casual comfy cool place to hangout!

The feasting begins!

The first dish to arrive is a small plate of creamy hommus topped with a crunchy dukkah. The pita bread wedges are light and fluffy with crispy edges.

Next up was a wedge of Greek Kefalograviera cheese topped with barberries, pine nuts and mint. This was salty and squeaky and delicious.

The third dish was a lovely piece of delicate poached salmon shakshuka. Glazed in a mild Middle Eastern style tomato sauce and a dollop of smoked vanilla labne.  This dish was delicious.  the smoked vanilla in the labne was gorgeous!

Next up was a crispy Vietnamese springroll filled with a very tasty chicken and prawn filling with a Vietnamese dressing.  Sadly I forgot to take a photo of this!  I really enjoy a good springroll and these were up there!

By the next plate, and another glass of wine down, I am struggling but solider through. The next dish a Thai BBQ satay skewer. The chicken is charred but tender and the peanut sauce hugs it like some love. It’s delicious.

I end the meal with a lovely little 3 grain salad, topped with yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. I only take taste a couple of tablespoons. Although lovely I am at my limit.

If you are ever in the area, I can highly recommend a visit to The Mill. The Chef has designed a versatile and unique menu in this town and it packs global flavours.

Of course, Happy Hour is one of the best deals around!

The Mill
2-8 Nish St

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

Friday, 22 April 2016

Eat Grk

What better way to enjoy some Greek than at Eat Grk after watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 at Beverly Hills.
Situated next to the Beverly Hills hotel, Eat Grk offers a space that has a casual chill out vibe and serves up some pretty tasty Greek street eats.
Order at the counter, find yourself a table (or lounge) and or order will be brought out not long after.
For starters we shared the haloumi fries.  Thick chip style slices of halmoui that are deep fried to a crunchy exterior with the salty squeaky halmoui that we all love on the inside.

We shared a Yia Yia special wrap meal.  This comes with the wrap, fries and a drink for $13.50.

The Yia Yia special has a traditional sheftalia sausage drizzled with lemon juice, topped with parsley, tomato, cucumber, red inion, tzatziki.
the flavours and texture of this sausage were perfect!  A little 'spicy' but not heat spicy and the mince still on the chunkier side, this gyros was a great addition to the regular pork or lamb gyros.
You can opt to 'upgrade' for $2 to make your fries feta fries.  A liberal sprinkling of salty feta nubs and a generous sprinkling of Greek oregano makes these crispy fries a little special.

For an easy vibe, take away prices with table service and a cool chill out restaurant, Eat Grk is a great addition to the Beverly Hills food scene. 

Eat Grk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Ramen O-San

Set in the depths of Dixon Food Court in Chinatown, amid an array of Asian stalls offering huge selections of delights, Ramen O-san is pumping out some very tasty ramen!


If you prefer a lighter dashi soy style broth or a thick creamy tonkatsu broth to a daring pungent black garlic broths, regardless of whether you are a beginner to this soup or a long time Ramen Head, you will find a steaming bowl of ramen that will appeal to your taste buds on the ramen spectrum. I must admit my mind was boggling over the broths you could choose from.

Tagging along as my dinner date tonight is a fresh newbie to all things ramen. He is eager to try this noodle soup and chooses a lighter option to ease his taste buds into what I hope will become an obsession! Roofood on the other hand opts for the Delux Tonkotsu ramen (or the original ramen). The staff are super friendly and will help with you deciding which broth to choose from if you are unsure!


When large steaming bowls arrive and I instantly take a sniff. Whispery tendrils of steam waft up and I take a moment for myself. Delicious!

The boy eyes off his bowl of Dashi Soy ramen which comes with a clear broth topped with slices of pork, shallots and bamboo shoots. The Dashi Soy broth is piping hot (beware of a burnt tongue) and the noodles are toothy, chewy textured noodles.

The Delux Tonkotsu is topped with slices of char siu, pork belly, a boiled egg, a piece of chicken kaarage (which is not very crispy from sitting in the broth), bamboo shoots, shallots, nori sheets and black fungus. The creamy tonkotsu broth is not nearly as hot as the dashi soy but it is thick and comforting and so flavoursome. The fatty slices of char siu melt in the mouth and the large pieces of pork belly are rich and tender and so very tasty. The noodles have some chewy bite to them and hold the thicker broth well.

This bowl is for a healthy appetite and it is a definite winner!
With a plethora of ramen places across Sydney nowadays Ramen O- san firmly have taken their place amongst the top ramen joints for good reason.

Looking forward to visiting again soon!

* Thanks Washokuo Lovers for the invitation to dine at Ramen O-san.


Ramen O-san Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Sydney Cellar Door 2016 - a weekend of wine tastings

2016's Sydney Cellar Door in Hyde Park South on the weekend of 26-28 February was lots of fun!  After last year, I arranged to visit on the Friday night again as it is always a great night out after work.

Collecting our stemless plastic festival glass and drink tokens (get there right on 5pm for a short wait in the line up otherwise the line is horrendous later on!) we started in Mudgee and worked our way through NSW.
A sheet of 8 tokens will set you back $20. One token gives you a 30ml sample of wine from your winery choice.
Regions represented this year are Mudgee, Orange, Hunter Valley, Bathurst, Canberra, Gundagai, Hilltops, New England and Northern Slopes Riverina and Southern Highlands. I didn’t realise that NSW had such an wide range of wine regions but I am very interested in learning more (and enjoying) the cool climate wines from NSW.
Of course I’m straight over to visit Ross Hill Wines from Orange for their delectable Shiraz. This has to be my favourite shiraz, each year slightly different but always robust and spicy. It never disappoints!
Over the course of the evening we managed to sample quite a few wines. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication with event staff and the wineries service was cut at 8.30pm (which nobody was aware of) and many of us were left with an abundance of leftover tokens. We were lucky to be in a position to return on Saturday, but I know many who weren’t. This slight overview was quickly rectified by Saturday morning and everyone was made aware of the laws and the times.  Cheers!
Saturday was hot, sunny and perfect for an afternoon of more wine. First up though, when there is wine there has to be good food and Porteno was calling my name. We hadn't eaten dinner last night (another reason perhaps why we enjoyed so many samples!).
Check out the slabs of pork belly on the BBQ.
The BBQ pork belly sandwich with jalapeno aioli and leeks certainly hit the spot!

The boy enjoyed his Ribs & Burgers ‘Butchers Cheese Burger’.
I was enjoying a variety of wines over the weekend.  Whites, reds and even a glorious Rose from Heifer Station Vineyard in Orange.
There is lots of produce tasting to.  Everything from vinegars and oils, jams, chutneys, sauces  and cheeses from around the regions.  Baxter & Bird bird had a great eggplant chutney.
A food highlight for me was Oysters Unplugged.  Sourced from Ralston Bros. Oysters on the Clyde River, the oysters are meaty, briny and succulent. 
So with a glass of bubbles in hand I indulged in two of these Jumbo and they were huge as big as your palm.
 Gotta have cheese with wine right?
A new feature this year is Castello’s cheese bar. Bring your wine along and they will match a cheese to your wine (or in our case whatever you wanted to try). We tasted test their Creamy White, Creamy Blue and their two new cheeses in the range, the White with Truffle and the Mellow Black. After tasting, choose your favourite and they cut you a decent wedge with some lavosh on a plate you can pull up a hale bale or stool under an umbrella and enjoy a mini cheese platter.
Along with sipping and samples there are plenty of competitions to enter and lists to join. Hungerford
Hill always have a great competition.
Once again, this was a lovely weekend to enjoy NSW Wineries.  A great way to sample the varieties without the travel! Saying that, my travel list has just gotten longer now that I want to do so wine travel...along with the food travel!!!