Archive | June, 2012

Firechief

21 Jun

After a what felt like a very long departure from pre-baby (i.e my ‘normal’)life, the new mama finally ventured out into the world, celebrating her first night off with the girls (J, Z and L)at local eatery Firechief – the freshly baked ‘bun’ stayed home with dad.

Fried Calamari

Having perused the extensive pizza menu – pizzas are served in three styles: authentic naples style, modern artisan ‘hand styles’ and the Australian family pizza (think flavours like the Aussie and Meatlovers) – we were all pretty excited to give this new pizzeria a go.  There is also a good list of non-pizza things to choose from including a few pastas which unfortunately we didn’t get to sample, given the pasta-phobe amongst us.

To start we chose the calamari which comes fried in a light batter and served with a  tzatziki style dip.  Simple and fresh, it was the perfect appetizer ahead of the main event – the pizzas (oh and a side of tomato salad for good measure – light and fresh to balance the carb fest we were about to begin)

Naples Style Margherita

Artisan Funghi

We opted for a Naples style Margherita, artisan hand style Funghi and Calabrese.  The Margherita was my personal favourite – the balance of the sweet and slightly tart tomatoes in the napoli sauce base and the creaminess of the buffalo mozzarella was a wonderful combination topped with fresh basil.

Artisan Calabrese

The Funghi and Calabrese were tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary.  The artisan hand style pizzas had a thicker base, which we found to be a bit too doughy – not great if you want to take your time and pick at the pizza because you then end up with one big gooey, chewy mess.  The Naples style was much better.

Leatherwood Honey Pannacotta

Although feeling absolutely stuffed after our carb loaded feast, we all suddenly found new stomachs for dessert.  We ordered three to share (if you ask my DDO counterpart Pannacotta doesn’t count as a dessert…read on and you’ll find why I’m right).

Orange Torta

Deconstructed Tiramisu

We chose the Leatherwood honey pannacotta, Orange Torta and the dessert special which looked like a deconstructed tiramisu.  The pannacotta was light in flavour – in fact it tasted a little like leather, so wouldn’t recommend it.  The Orange Torta was lovely, served with some cream – it was fresh and not too sweet, and the right sort of slightly moist (sorry J I can’t think of another word to describe it) and crumbly texture.  The deconstructed tiramisu was surprisingly good – served in a glass, it reminded me of trifle, except this one was a mix of chocolatey, coffee and alcoholic goodness.

All in all, a great night was had.  Whilst the pizza didn’t exactly blow my socks off, Firechief is certainly a good dining option for where it is, and next time I will try the pasta! (Plus its BYO AND big enough to fit a large pram!!!)

Firechief

169 Camberwell Rd
Hawthorn East VIC 3123

(03) 9831 1700

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McConnell Marathons

1 Jun

Sorry for the absence!! It seems DDO have been too busy eating or breast feeding to properly document our culinary adventures of late!  But rest assured… we are still eating… rather excessively in fact!  So whilst the other part of DDO is busying herself tending to the little chub – little babe is gaining the weight of a block of butter every couple of weeks! – I thought I’d give y’all a little look into what I’ve been stuffing my face with in her absence from society!

I’m going to start with an oldy but a goody!  It’d been a successful week on the fitness front and i’d just completed my second workout session at the gym.  Feeling pretty excited by my commitment to working on my fitness I thought i’d treat myself to CUMULUS INC… Something about cold weather and craving carbs!  I needed some of that Fried Bread that Cumulus does so damn well!  I called my favourite mid week dining companion Z to help celebrate my new found lease on life.

Filling the Void: Fried Sour Dough!

I don’t know how Z felt about this bread.  Especially given how much I harp on and on about this stuff, but I enjoyed it!!  This was Z’s first time at Cumulus so I let her do most of the decision making (bar the bread and cauliflower salad).  We decided to get 2 starters, 2 mains and a salad.

Smoked mussels, escabeche $9

First to arrive were the smoked Mussels, with the escabeche giving it a nice vinegar-y kick!  Soon after came the soft shell crab which came with lettuce for wrapping up, and kewpie mayo!

Fried soft shell crab, kimchi, lettuce & kewpie $18

I’ve always been partial to soft shell crab!  Only because you generally, you can’t really f*** it up!  Having said that, credit to Cumulus for getting their batter/crab piece size ratio perfect!  SO many textures and flavours topped with smooth sweet Kewpie!  Winner!

Tuna tartare with crushed green pea salad $32

I think by this stage i’m already getting pretty full, and rather boozy.  Some thing about exercise and making you get drunk really quickly…? The Tuna Tartare came at a good time though, as it’s cold, and light.  I forgot almost instantly about my almost full stomach …

Roast Aylesbury duck breast, toasted grains, lentils & quince $36 (back) & Cauliflower Salad

The duck was delicious and completely unnecessary.  And while  I’ve always been a firm believer of not winning friends with salad, for this Cauliflower salad, I always make an exception!  There’s a bit of greenery, a good smack of paprika… those mouthfuls where you get the pop of pomegranate and pine nut crunch!  It’s a pretty good mouth party!

I left feeling it was all a pretty great way to celebrate my new found fondness for working on my fitness and discovering the genius invention that is ‘skins’.   Sadly, I have since fallen off the fitness train.  But I am still wearing my skins, and eating out!

Our next adventure was also an Andrew Mc Connell establishment.   This time we decided to take new DDO mum out on the town while getting a rest from baby duty, with Little L, Z and I meeting her at the newly renovated The Builders Arms Hotel.

Bread & butter

It didn’t take long for us to settle in, order some wine and get our orders in!  It’d been a while since we all got to hang out and try somewhere different, so amidst me losing my shit over the bread being served  (…yeh don’t get too excited!  It LOOKS like fried bread… but it paled in comparison to that of Cumulus… think it was just a regular sour dough!) and trying to participate in the verbal diarrhea happening at the table, we almost let the waiter open a Magnum bottle of  Valpolicella!

We’d ordered the 2010 Ca’Rugate Rio Albo Valpolicella, which the waitress somehow assumed we meant ‘bring us the biggest bottle of it you have!’.  Love a night out with my girls, but I personally don’t want to imagine the state of us (we’re kind of small, driving and 75% of us asian…) after having 1.5 Litres of wine!

Anyway, crisis averted, normal sized wine served, back to the talking at each other and food on its way!

Pig ear scratchings $6

We decided to get an appetizer and an entree to share.  Between the Pig Ear Scratchings and the Roast Chicken Hearts on the menu, I was right in assuming no one would be into eating hearts…which was annoying because I was sooo intrigued by the tiny little things!!  No matter.  The Pig Ear scratchings were given the go ahead and were tasty, salty and crispy!  We also ordered the Corned duck, raw brussels sprouts and prune ($16) which I have no idea how, but I decided not to take a photo of it.  Come to think of it, I can’t even remember what it tasted like… I guess that’s enough said…?!! (The other DDO – it was amazing! raw brussel sprouts were delicately sliced and surprisingly tasty and the duck was pretty amazing)

Fish pie, smoked trout, prawns, hapuka, sorrel $32

For main’s, both N and I decided to get the Fish Pie (it’s seems N has grown soft since her recent birth giving, and has now relaxed on her ‘everyone order something different’ rule).  It was a very generous serving, with really big, fresh chunks of trout and hapuka in a béchamel type sauce inside.

Z and Little L went for the Dry Aged, grass fed Rib Eye, Cape Grim 800g ($69) to share (that big chunk of meat in the back of the photo) which by all accounts looked cooked to order (Rare!  Of Course!!) and juicy.  We also ordered the obligatory side of fries and baby cos.  Z couldn’t finish her steak, but feedback was positive from both of them.  We all sit back rubbing our rather over stuffed bellies as they clear our well demolished dishes… until the suggestion of dessert seems to magically revive us instantly.

Poached meringue, frozen curd, sour quince jelly $14 (front) & suet pudding

We share the poached meringue and the suet (i.e. animal fat – really) pudding special which the waitress convinces us is the BEST thing on the menu.  Thankfully for her, we aren’t instantly turned off at the sound of animal lard baked into a small cake… because that’s all I remember of the little syrup covered cake to the back.  And she was right!  While the meal wasn’t bad, I think the only redeeming factor of this whole meal (from start; with the lack luster bread, and almost catastrophic mis-serving of the magnum to finish) was in fact this dessert.  You probably won’t see me rush back to the Builders Arms in a hurry….but if I had to, it would be for that pudding.  Animal fat – baked and served with cream!

Cumulus Inc- 45 Flinders Lane  Melbourne VIC 3000 | (03)9650 1445
The Builders Arms Hotel- 211 Gertrude Street  Fitzroy VIC 3065 | (03)9419 0818