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Sunday, 28 September 2014

I Love Pho 264, Richmond

I Love Pho 264 on Urbanspoon | Website 

I Love Pho 264 is one of the best known pho places in Melbourne, located in Richmond on Victoria St just past Church St and easily accessible by trams 12, 78, 79 and 109. It's a family owned business that prides itself using the freshest ingredients and making its pho 'one to beat'. I Love Pho is opened 7 days a week, from 9am - 1030pm.

The interior design of the restaurant is quite simple, the walls are mostly decorated with the menu and specials, as well as photos of the staff with customers. It's really brightly lit, and the place is always filled with customers, giving the whole place a warm and lively atmosphere for a relaxing dining experience. I did find it slightly confusing that the menu didn't have prices on it, just the items, and after looking at the signs on the walls, realised written in a small sign was that all pho dishes come in three sizes; small ($8.50), medium ($9.50) or large ($10.50).

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Urban Provedore, South Yarra

Urban Provedore on Urbanspoon | Website | Instagram

Urban Provedore is a relatively new cafe on Toorak Rd just before Chapel St, about a five minute walk from South Yarra station on the Sandringham/Frankston lines. It places emphasis on great quality products whether you eat in or take away, and great tasting and fresh dishes. I really like the message of Urban Provedore, "Just because you live a city life, shouldn't mean you miss out on the finest provincial produce available".

The cafe is very brightly lit, with large windows at the front allowing lots of natural light to also enter. The layout of the cafe gives it a very spacious, wide feel and the atmosphere is relaxed yet animated and lively, even though it's quite busy with people constantly coming in and out. There's a simple, minimalistic feel to the cafe - there aren't any decorations on the walls, but one side is filled with products that can be purchased. The service was really great; the staff were friendly and attentive, but not overbearing. We were waiting for one of our friends to arrive, and multiple staff came over to ask if we were ready to order.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

New Shanghai, Emporium

New Shanghai on Urbanspoon | Website | Instagram

New Shanghai is one of the new Chinese restaurants that has opened up in the Emporium, in the upstairs food court close to Rice Workshop and Bing Boy. I decided to visit after some of my friends had heard some pretty positive reviews about the place and the authenticity of its food, and was happy with my experience.

As it is quite a popular restaurant, you'll need to be prepared to wait about 20-30 minutes for a table. We went around 12:45pm on a Sunday, and were given a number which would be called out when a table was ready. We ended up waiting for about 25 minutes for a table; luckily they have lots of menus so you can start deciding what you want to get and order as soon as you sit down. I was surprised at how extensive the menu was, and the prices weren't too expensive given that it was in the Emporium.

New Shanghai has a typical setting of an Asian restaurant - very busy and quite noisy with all the customers. The decorations they had up on the walls were really cool - red shutters and simple lights that gave off a rustic feel like you would have at such dumpling houses in Asia. Service was pretty good, the staff walk around quite often so you don't have to wait too long to order, and the food came really quickly as well.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Two Lost Boys, Windsor

Two Lost Boys on Urbanspoon | Website | Instagram

Two Lost Boys is a cafe in Windsor just off Chapel Street, right opposite Windsor Station on the Sandringham line and also easily accessible by tram 78. I decided to visit this cafe after browsing for good cafes around the Toorak/South Yarra/Windsor area on Urbanspoon, and came across this one with quite good reviews. I was quite happy with my experience here, and would definitely like to come back again to try some of the other dishes.

The layout of the cafe gives it a wide, spacious feel, with a communal table to one side near the entrance and long benches facing the exterior of the cafe, that expand out into the main seating area. We went at around 11:45am on a Saturday and luckily didn't have to wait for a table. For most of the time we were there it wasn't packed with people but there were always a few tables of customers which together with the music playing softly in the background and the sounds of coffee being made, made for a great, lively but not too noisy atmosphere. The decorations at Two Lost Boys is quite simple and has a minimalistic feel to it. There's just a few lights hung on the walls, giving the whole cafe a brightness to it.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Eden Espresso Malvern

Eden Espresso on Urbanspoon | Website | Instagram

Eden Espresso is a small cafe on Glenferrie Rd in Malvern, in the shopping district just after High St and easily accessible by tram 16. I decided to visit this cafe as a friend wanted to try out brunch places in this area, and this was the one with the highest rating for brunch places in Malvern. Overall I was quite happy with my experience here.

The cafe itself isn't very big, but there's seating outside both in the front and back of the cafe. The way everything is placed however makes it look quite spacious, with the large tables and couches. There's a very cosy, home like feel to the cafe with the couches and lamp on one side, and soft music playing in the background. The decorations on the walls are quite simple but very cool - it is basically large coffee sacks that have been framed - I assume this reflects the different types of coffee used by the cafe. My friend and I went around 12:30pm on a Sunday and luckily didn't have to wait for a table.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Peko Peko, South Melbourne

Peko Peko on Urbanspoon

Peko Peko is a Taiwanese restaurant located in South Melbourne just off St Kilda Rd, easily accessible by any trams that go past the domain interchange. I had been here once before and remember particularly enjoying the wasabi prawns dish and the Bento Box sets they had. Peko Peko has undergone a change of menu recently, and I was lucky enough to be invited to try out the new menu. It was a really enjoyable experience for me and my friends, and I would definitely recommend going for a taste of some authentic Taiwanese food.

The interior design of Peko Peko is quite simple, with modern artwork hung up on the walls - I was told these were all drawn by the owner - and there were also more traditional Taiwanese style photos and an old telephone near the entrance. There's a range of booth seats and couches, as well as the normal wooden chairs. There was upbeat music playing in the background, and there was a constant stream of customers coming in and out of the restaurant the whole time we were there, making for a busy and lively atmosphere. The staff were friendly and all customers were greeted with a 'Hi, how are you' upon entering, though I'm not sure if this is always the case, or because the staff were extra alert since we were there.

The menu is very extensive, with a range of 'small eat' (entree size dishes), 'just eat' (medium size main course dishes) and 'big eat' (large size main course dishes). There is also a specials board, as well as a separate drinks menu and a range of desserts. We were given a total of ten dishes (mostly entree style small eats), as well as three types of drinks, including a limited edition Taipei Brew beer ($15), an Apple Plum Wine Soda ($10) and Green Tea Latte ($4) to go with our dessert. I'm personally not a huge fan of beer, but this one was quite light and not as bitter as normal beers, and it also came with sour plum on the side, which also helps to take away some of that bitter taste. The apple plum wine soda had a strong apple and alcoholic taste, though we couldn't really taste the plum at all - either it was very subtle, or it was overpowered by the apple. It was quite an enjoyable drink and would be good in summer as it's very refreshing.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

8bit., Footscray

8bit. on Urbanspoon | Website | Instagram

8bit. is a small burger joint in Footscray that has become quite popular in the last few months, and I finally got around to trying it a few weeks ago. The burger joint is located about a ten minute walk from Footscray station on the Werribee line, just off one of the main busy streets. The burgers were good, but I really don't think it was worth the one hour wait, which was one of the main downsides of my experience here.

The name 8bit. is derived from the computer processor, and most of you would probably know it as the sort of pixelated, simple graphics. I thought it was a creative name for a burger joint, and this was reflected in the table number stands we got which had 8 bit style characters on them, and the boxes that the burgers came in had pixelated pictures on them. The decorations/design of the whole place was quite simple, and brightly lit - there were basic lights hanging from the ceiling, the paper our burgers came on had a pixelated style burger on it, and some of the windows had pixelated looking smoothies, hot dogs and fries stickers on them. The atmosphere of the place was quite lively with the loud music, and sounds of the kitchen that took up a large section of the joint.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Shizuku Ramen, Abbotsford

Shizuku Ramen on Urbanspoon | Website 

Shizuku Ramen is a Japanese restaurant located in Abbotsford on Victoria St., easily accessible by tram 109 and a 5 minute walk from North Richmond station. I was actually contacted by the manager to come and try their new improved menu, so a big thanks to David for the invite, and giving us a pleasant dining experience at Shizuku Ramen.

The interior design of the restaurant is quite simple; the walls are all painted black, contrasting with all the cool wooden lights hanging from the ceiling, and it actually isn't too dark inside despite the dark walls. Each table comes with a bottle of water in a funky design, and a range of cutlery sits in a small glass to one side. Soft japanese music plays in the background, and there's a good, light atmosphere to the place.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

High Tea at The Conservatory, Crown

Conservatory on Urbanspoon | Website

A couple of weeks ago, I tried out the High Tea Buffet at The Conservatory in Crown. It was quite a pleasant experience apart from a few small downsides, but definitely worth going as it's quite affordable ($50 per person or $70 to include a glass of champagne). The High Tea buffet is offered on the weekends only; from 3-5pm on Saturdays, or 3.30-5.30pm on Sundays.

The interior design of The Conversatory is very classy and sophisticated, with tall ceilings and large windows that look over the Yarra River for a bright, open space. The use of mostly white furniture with black here and there gave the design a modern feel, together with the chanderlier-like lights dangling from the ceiling and the soft music playing in the background. What makes high tea at the Conversatory different from most high tea places is the fact it is a buffet style one. There's a good range of both savoury and sweet dishes, and we managed to try a bit of almost everything! The only downside with high tea here is that you don't actually get to choose the type of tea/coffee served. I thought this was a bit surprising as one of the features of a typical high tea is having the ability to choose a type of coffee or tea to have with your food.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Third Wave Cafe, Prahran

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by Third Wave to try out their new cafe in Prahran, and finally got around to doing so last week. The cafe is located in the heart of Prahran near Prahran Central, and is easily accessible by tram 72 or a five to ten minute walk from Prahran station. 

My initial impression of the cafe was how bright and spacious it looked, despite the fact it was structured in a more rectangular size rather than the usual square open space. The large windows along one side allowed for lots of natural light to stream through, and there was also lots of lighting in the interior. The decor of the cafe is modern, and gives a comfortable feeling with the different assortments of seats, plant designs on the wall and the soft sounds of Spanish music in the background. The service was great; we didn't have to wait very long for our food, and the staff were friendly and happy to give us suggestions. One particular thing that I thought was great about the service was that because we had ordered two main dishes, the staff member suggested that one be brought out before the other, so that one didn't get cold as we were eating the other, which I felt was a very thoughtful gesture.