Posts in Melbourne

Gold Leaf, Docklands

It always boggles my mind that in Australia, yum cha – which literally translates to “drink tea” – has not very much to do with tea. Instead, it’s used synonymously with dim sum – the little plates that come around in endless trolleys and steamer baskets.

But differences aside, there is always one constant: you never only order just one dish.
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I’m Late for a Very Important Date! High Tea at The Waiting Room, Melbourne

Alice in Wonderland has captured the imagination of generations of children and adults, and since Tim Burton’s remake in 2010, just about every high tea establishment has had a Mad Hatter’s theme at one point or another.

But some are better than others, and when it’s part of Good Food Month, I’m willing to bet that the Ultimate High Tea at The Waiting Room is going to be something special.
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400 Gradi Cinchetti, Brunswick East

Pizza. It’s as varied in Italy as noodles are in Asia. But the more pizza I eat around Australia, the more it seems that the most common type of pizza served in Australia was of the wood fired, wafer thin crust variety.

So it was uber cool for me to get an education about true Naples style pizza from the owner of 400 Gradi and pizza champion, Johnny Di Francesco.
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Golden Fields, St Kilda

Kingfish, Avocado, Fresh Wasabi, Konbu, $8 (half portion)

“You’ll remember me when the west wind moves/ upon the fields of barley
You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky/ when we walk in fields of gold”
Sumner, G., Bogdanovic, D. (1993) Fields of Gold [Recorded by Sting]. On Ten Summoner’s Tales [CD]. EMI Music Publishing

If you are into your food, you can’t go to St. Kilda without stopping by Golden Fields. This trendy eatery has been popping up on many an Instagram feed, accompanied by cries of, “Lobster roll! LOBSTER ROLL!”

What? Did you just name a tasty crustacean? Why, of course I would like to eat it!

Needless to say, when a restaurant is making such waves, there is bound to be more than one interesting thing on the menu. We are informed by the lovely waitress that the menu is designed to share – my favourite kind of menu! – and that some dishes even come in half portions.

First on the table was a half portion of Kingfish, Avocado, Fresh Wasabi and Konbu, $8. Fresh slices of kingfish was paired with delicate greens and creamy avocado puree, and while thoroughly enjoyable and balanced in its simplicity, didn’t hit any particular high notes for me.

Grilled Octopus, Kimchi Bean Sprouts, $12

Next on the table was the Grilled Octopus with Kimchi Bean Sprouts, $12. Being a huge fan of both kimchi and octopus, this dish of tender octopus tentacles, shaved cucumber and tangy, crunchy bean sprouts was a dish I could see eating as a main for a light lunch. I loved how the bean sprouts were just lightly pickled and had a much subtle flavour than cabbage kimchi – the traditional kimchi recipe calls for a period of fermentation for the cabbage, bringing forth a much stronger sour flavour that can be an acquired taste.

Rolled Pork Belly, White Kimchi, Yuxiang Sauce, $15

My aunt had actually visited Golden Fields ahead of me, and the Rolled Pork Belly with White Kimchi and Yuxiang Sauce, $15 came highly recommended. White kimchi is basically cabbage kimchi that has been picked without the kochukaru, or red pepper flakes, which contribute to its red appearance. It still retains all of its sour fermented glory, minus the spice. Yuxiang sauce (鱼香) is literally translated to “fragrant fish” sauce, and doesn’t actually contain fish! Instead, this salty, sour and peppery sauce with Sichuan origins is commonly used to flavour eggplant and pork. You know the eggplant dish in Chinese restaurants labelled as “fish flavoured eggplant”? Well this would be the sauce that they’re talking about.

The sauce, combined with the tangy kimchi and delicate slices of pork belly creates a mouthful that I truly enjoyed. I love how the different flavours – salty, spicy, sour – balance each other out, and yet maintain a certain sense of identity.

New England Lobster Roll, Hot Buttered Bun, Cold Poached Crayfish, Watercress & Kewpie, $15

Ahh and so we meet. When we order a portion of the New England Lobster Roll, $15 the waitress politely asks us if we’d like to have our roll cut in half, because the portion is just that: one roll. We decline, and she thoughtfully brings us out a knife with our order in case we’d like to split it anyway. This roll is somewhat smaller than I expected: the whole bun is about the size of my palm. A rich buttered roll sandwiches chunks of cold, poached crayfish that is lightly dressed is Kewpie mayonnaise and adorned with delicate sprigs of watercress. Tasty? Sure. But worth the hype and the $15 price tag? Well let’s just say that I would have been much more satisfied ordering another portion of the pork rolls (above).

Grilled Beef Intercoastal, Korean Chilli, Fried Shallot, $16

Cuts of beef that require long cooking times have become my absolute favourite – when a muscle works hard, thicker muscle fibres and more flavour is created. And you know what I say, bring on the beefiness! For the flavour, you’re paying the price in tenderness, so these cuts require a longer cooking time in order to break down connective tissue (collagen) into gelatine, which then coats the strands and provide you with a juicy mouthful.

Golden Fields’ Grilled Beef Intercoastal with Korean Chilli and Fried Shallot, $16, has brilliantly upped the ante on this cut’s natural beefy flavour – the salty spiciness of the chilli and light crunch of the shallots combine with the mildly charred pieces of meat to transform into a flavour-packed diet-busting mouthful. Total beer food.

Marinated Eggplant, Silken Tofu, Coriander, Chilli Vinegar, $14

I have a love-hate relationship with eggplant. This vegetable can take on so many different textures and flavours depending on how you prepare it, that you never quite know what you’re going to get. It also has the easy ability to become hideously oily, which means that you can end up with a mouthful of oil with not much flavour if you’re not careful.

This Marinated Eggplant with Silken Tofu, Coriander and Chilli Vinegar, $14 was no slack in the flavour department, that’s for sure, but the silken tofu was actually what stole the spotlight for me. While the eggplant was pleasant, and provided a certain heft to the overall dish, the tofu provided a delicate pillow of lightness which, when combined with the acidity and spice of the chilli vinegar, completely lifted the dish to a whole other level.

Pan Roasted Flathead, Clams, Spinach, Seaweed Butter, $36

In order to sample a dish from every section of their menu, we ordered the Pan Roasted flathead, with clams, Spinach and Seaweed Butter, $36. While there was nothing to fault – the fish wasn’t overcooked, and the clams were fresh and juicy – the dish was a touch lacklustre for me, especially when compared to the other items that they had on offer. I love the umami flavour of seaweed, but the butter component seemed to have provided no richness to the dish, so everything fell just on the bland side of things. I think I would have much rather ordered a few more small plates.

Buttermilk Sorbet, Yuzu Curd, Tapioca, Soft Meringue, $13

Sometimes, having a good dessert can be vital to ensuring that all the hard work a restaurant has put in to making a good impression, isn’t ruined in the last run. And this Buttermilk Sorbet, Yuzu Curd, Tapioca and Soft Meringue, $13, really hit it out of the park for me. There seemed to be varying degrees of tanginess – from the sharp freeze-dried raspberries to the soft tartness of the buttermilk sorbet – juxtaposed with comforting textures – silky yuzu curd and chewy tapioca pearls – to create a fantastic note to end the meal with. Light and somewhat palette-cleansing, this dessert convinced my already-full stomach that maybe we could do with more food.

And we can always do with more food.

On other notes, the service was attentive and the decor was trendy, but nothing spectacular to remark about. I really liked how we had our plates changed between the waves of food that were brought out, and how the waitress provided helpful bits of information about the food when we were ordering. That being said, we went on a weekday lunch where it seemed like it was just us and three other groups, so I can’t accurately comment on what the service would be like during a rush.

Go to Golden Fields if you feel like grazing – it’s small tasty bites aren’t built for people looking for serious comfort food – it would be great for Friday gatherings after work.

We ate at:
Golden Fields
03 9525 4488
2/157 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda, VIC

Golden Fields on Urbanspoon

Real A Gastropub, Hawaii


Gastropubs are not entirely a new beast of eatery, but it definitely ticks all the boxes for being trendy. It’s usually got creative, pub-styled food, and a large selection of gourmet and/or flavoured beers to go with this interesting grub. One such place that was recommended to me by my new found friends during my stay was the Real A Gastropub in Honolulu.

Their food menu consists of nearly 30 interesting dishes – some beer inspired – ranging in price from $3-$12. Three of us girls ordered 7 dishes, but that was mostly because we had piggy eyes – there was wayy too much food to finish and we had to take some of it home.

Fire pickles, $3

These babies are HOT HOT HOT!!! When we first ordered them, the waitress made very sure that we didn’t mistakenly think that we were ordering fried pickles, which would have been a complete disaster. But no, I saw the words ‘ghost chilli’ and I was sold. Ghost chillies, also known as Bhut Jolokia, rate at about 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale and are fiery to say the least. Slices of cucumber are pickled with these peppers, which are sliced open to let the capsaicin mingle with the rest of the ingredients. The result is a pickle which I couldn’t eat more than a piece at a time, all the while enjoying the intense prolonging burn in my mouth. This is not for the faint hearted, and I chickened out from eating the actual ghost chillies included in the pickle, as much as I wanted to try.


Beer Braised Brisket Poutine, $8

Have I mentioned how cheap I think all these dishes are. At $8, we got a whopping serving of fries, meat, gravy and cheese, topped with a sunny side up egg. While I love a good poutine, this particular dish didn’t quite cut it for me, and was a touch on the dull side.

Or maybe my tastebuds were just numb from the Fire Pickles.


Garlic Candied Bacon, $4

Bacon? Yes. Garlic? Double yes. Candied? GIVE IT TO ME NOWWWWWW. Just looking at the it I knew that the road to hell and heart disease had to be most definitely paved with candied bacon. This was sticky and salty all at once, and I especially appreciated how the waitress noticed that the bacon was darker than usual, and got the kitchen to prepare another serving for the table. This is everything that it promised to be – addictive and rich at the same time, and I had to take some home for breakfast the next morning.

FYI, it was just as delicious cold and out of the fridge as it was fresh from the kitchen.

Pipikaula Poke, $7

Pipikaula is, to my understanding, a sort of moist Hawaiin beef jerky. Lightly spiced, it’s mostly served as one of the sides to a main meal. Poke is a kind salad, usually made with raw fish, and seasoned. So what happens when you put the two together? A refreshing, funky, tangy mix that is perfect for a warm balmy night in Hawaii. One of my favourites, this one is also fantastic out of the fridge the next morning.

Chicken and Waffles, $7

A Southern classic, chicken and waffles usually consist of deep fried crispy chicken and warm fluffy-on-the-inside waffles, both drenched in a hearty serving of maple syrup. An epitome of the sweet salty tightrope that the South tread so well. This particular version unfortunately fell a little flat for me, especially when faced with all the other delicious food that this place had to offer.


Duck Confit ‘Corn Dog’, $7

I had no idea what to expect when I ordered this. Corn dog, one of the iconic foods of fairs and carnivals, usually consists of an ingredient, like a hot dog frankfurt, coated in a cornmeal batter and deep fried. On a stick. So I imagined that maybe they would just take a whole confit of duck leg and just coat it in batter and deep fry it.


The result was wayy more mind boggling than that. One bite into these delicious mounds on sticks revealed tender shreds of moist duck, and to be honest I’ve got no idea how they shaped them onto the sticks and battered them, because this literally fell apart in my mouth. And that Guinness mustard on the side? Genius. A must order dish.

Buffalo Fried Devilled Eggs, $7

These little bites were a great take on buffalo wings. Little crumbed devilled eggs were fragrant with tangy buffalo-wing aromas, and were topped with blue cheese ranch dressing and bits of celery to give you the essence of buffalo wings in a bite. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Besides all the food, there were also plenty of different beers to try and to choose from. Unfortunately, I’m not a drinking sort of girl, but I highly recommend the Real A Gastropub from a food perspective. Especially fun with friends, try to go after 11pm to take advantage of their late-night menu, which we ordered from.

We ate at:
Real A Gastropub
+1 (808) 596-2526
1020 Auahi Street, Building 1
Honolulu, HI 96814

REAL a gastropub on Urbanspoon

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