Happy Palace / Melbourne
Happy Palace was an old and typical Chinese restaurant that was dying a slow death. That was until Jerome Borazio – the guy that brought us 1000£Bend, Workers Club, etc. got his hands on this place, or shall we say ‘palace’ it was brought back to life with refuelled happiness.
They nailed the brand refreshment – keeping the authentic Chinese decor minus the tackier embellishments. Replaced with installations of trendy and exciting artworks such as bicycle seats, glowing scorpions and jellyfish.
Dining tables made from mah-jong tablets and chopsticks, jade dragons, Chinese lanterns, fire crackers and Buddha’s. This place captured the essence of Chinese in the 80’s perfectly.
The glowing scorpion was so… cute? Well, entertaining at least.
These bicycle seats looked super cool but after riding my bike all day I was looking for a more comfortable seat.
The bar style was adapted with upbeat music, a DJ, fully stocked bar and cool bartenders.
It was a shame they don’t do table service anymore. But luckily they have a great bar-snack menu with an excellent range of dishes at good prices too.
San Choi Bao lettuce cups, or as they like to call it San Choy Pow! A fresh and healthy option if you don’t put too much soy sauce on it.
We got a couple of dumpling dishes, chicken+prawn and pork+vegetable. Delicious boiled dumplings, cheap and highly addictive. Like the ones we get in Chinatown.
Deep fried chicken ribs with dark soy sauce. This was my favourite dish, every piece was crunchy and flavoursome.
Pulled pork burger with Chinese 5 spice dressing and asian slaw served with prawn crackers. An awesome Chinese adaption to the classic pulled pork burger and chips.
I was pretty happy with this palace and i’ll definitely be back soon! Definitely a place to check out, especially if you’re hip and Chinese Like I am.
View ForkSake in a larger map
87 Bourke Street
Young Bloods Diner / Fitzroy
The Young Bloods Diner luckily doesn’t have much to do with the gang. Not a sight of red, nor an angsty face around. Nestled comfortably in the Rose Street Artist Markets, it’s safely tucked away from the Crips and the KKK.
Just friendly staff, happy customers, vibrant colours and fine artwork. A comfortable unpretentious ambience with a young vibe.
The interior is modern and sophisticated with great design is in every corner with interior by March Studio, branding by Lemonade and the whole operation by none other than the guys that brought us The Rose Street Artists Market itself.
The clever guys also created a stunning rooftop bar above the sleek diner with shelves full of tempting liquor, rays of sunshine, fresh air and a magnificent view over the market and Fitzroy.
The menu has a list of unique appetising dishes and a house-blend coffee is on offer; made with local dairy milk by Saint David’s Dairy in Fitzroy. (Amazing milk.)
I ordered the short rib gratin with greens and a fried egg.
Delicious layers of potato and slow cooked ribs, soft and flavoursome on the bed of greens which was a nice healthy touch.
Michael got the roasted cauliflower with confit ocean trout and hazelnut. Divine, full of flavour and goodness.
View ForkSake in a larger map
The food was delicious. I’ll definitely be back to try the coddled eggs and down a cheeky beer in the rooftop. It’s almost summer after all!
Young Bloods Diner
60 Rose Street
The Wise / Prahran
The Wise, hot new restaurant and tapas bar located just off Chapel Street in Prahran. Nick and I were privileged to get invited to the launch party to taste some sample dishes and enjoy a few drinks.
Erase and rewind was what we immediately felt when walking through the door. Cosy small venue, with a warm ambiance where you can easily tune out of what is going on around you, and tune in to what is happening inside.
I love the different variations of wood, the old books, and the vintage wallpaper interior.
We got to the party early which was fortunate as we got to quickly snatch the most comfortable seat in the house. Here I met fellow food blogger Ashley from I’m so hungree.
As the night progressed, The drinks started flowing, and I caught up with a few other bloggers including Alan from Almost Always Ravenous, Sarah from Style Melbourne, James from Ravishing Retail and Lexi from Retail Therapie. We were also pleasured to meet Kane from My Kitchen Rules, Kylie and Alice from Masterchef, Ben the winner of Big Brother, and a whole lot of other great people.
Drinks and celebrities aside, I came here to blog about the food. Off to a great start, as the first dish they served was a little out of the ordinary.
It was anchovy wrapped over an olive, roasted red pepper and baby gherkin. A daring yet quirky dish to start the party. I felt like I needed breath freshener after eating this, but luckily everyone was eating the same thing, so that wasn’t necessary.
Trio of dips, usually served with sourdough. Spanish tomato sauce with peppers and onions. Greek feta spread with green peppers and oregano. Venezuelan guacamole with avocado, tabasco, garlic and lemon. All very tasty and flavoursome.
It’s always hard to remember all the food you eat at a launch, especially when it’s not listed on the menu. I think this is some cheese and meat selected from the antipasto platter that is available. It tasted great and transitioned the tastebuds nicely before moving onto the heavier dishes.
Chorizo, grilled spanish sausage served with white wine sauce. A simple, but necessary dish when serving spanish tapas. They had a subtle but friendly kick to them, which got me a tad more excited than I should have been.
Croquettes, house made and filled with prosciutto and mussels in a béchamel sauce. I try to stay away from too much deep fried food, but these were so good I couldn’t resist.
At this point it gets a little bit blurry as the wines kept flowing and the food was going quick. Don’t judge me. With my guess this looks like either the omelette or the cheese. I’ll let you decide.
And this one is also the omelette or cheese, or something else… anyway it doesn’t matter as they were both delicious and i’m a great food blogger.
I do remember this though, the Ali-Oli Calimari - Marinated and grilled calamari served with aoli. The calamari aroma was quite pungent, in a good way (if you like calamari). The saltiness balanced out by the delicious creamy aioli.
Nick got a tad distracted at the bar while I was getting fed. He missed out on this great Greek Moussaka - sautéed eggplant layered with potatoes, ground beef, topped with béchamel sauce was divine. One of my favourites of the night.
Marinated rockling fillets lightly fried with aioli. Not too fishy, crunchy outside, soft inside. It’s not too healthy because it’s fried, but it’s not too unhealthy because it’s fish. A pleasing dish for all me thinks.
Handmade lamb meatballs pan fried served in almond sauce. Fragrant, delicious, I think I ate it all in one gulp. Oops.
Potatoes Bravas - Sautéed garlic potatoes served in a traditional brava sauce. These were very tasty and super addictive. Cut into the cutest bite size pieces.
Aragonese style pan fried chicken pieces with tomato, onion and rosemary in a white wine sauce. Tender, soft and flavoursome. It doesn’t have that usual ‘crunch’ you get with BBQ’ed chicken nibbles, but the softness allows the great flavour to shine through.
The Wise is a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They have the menu and environment to satisfy any occasion. All the food was tasty and goes great with alcohol - which of course they have a great wine list, cocktails and need I mention, Sangria Sundays.
Disclaimer: The images and descriptions of the dishes might be a little inaccurate at some points, but the experience was not. I had a great time and the vibe throughout the whole night was great. Huge thanks to Jess and Greg the owners of The Wise, and SilverLeafPR.
View ForkSake in a larger map
The Wise Tapas Bar and Restaurant
173 High Street
Radio Mexico / St Kilda
After hearing all the raiving reviews, magazine features and the “When are we going to Radio Mexico!?” from my dear colleague - I finally decided it was time to visit this highly spoken about gem.
This restaurant adds to Melbournes Mexican wave of restaurants that have opened up recently, also adapting the “no bookings” policy. We were lucky enough to get a seat without waiting. (Apparently quite a rare occurrence.) A queue started forming as soon as we sat down.
Excellent ambiance inside, family friendly with a touch of hipster.
I have a love/hate relationship with tequila, but this espresso margarita exceeded my expectation. Rich - but very tasty. Go for a Tequila Sunrise or a standard Margarita if you want something more refreshing.
No matter what your drink choice - you can’t go wrong, as they have a great bar with an amazing bartender. Be careful not to get addicted as it could get quite pricy at $18 a cocktail.
One of my favorite things about Mexican culture is sculls, sculls, and sculls. Radio Mexico has plenty of Mexican memorabilia which sets the vibe right and ready.
Be warned, taco madness ahead! Radio Mexico have an amazing taco menu with a lot of different unique taco’s. Priced at $6.50 a pop, sitting up there yet fairly reasonable considering the quality.
Baja - Beer battered fish, pico de gallo and slaw. Amazing fish taco’s. Very fresh and light with excellent crunch thanks to the cabbage and fish batter.
Camaron - Chipotle prawn and slaw. I love prawns. Great tasting taco, but it came with only two measly prawns! Give me more prawns god dammit.
Barbacoa - Slow cooked organic saltbrush lamb, red cabbage and salsa. Now this is better (filling wise) a generous serve of flavoursome lamb.
Carne Asada - BBQ Hanger steak with home made crema, lettuce and salsa. Delicious taco with friendly flavours.
Al Pastor - Otway freerange pork carnitas with pickled jalepeño and charred pineapple. Delicious slow cooked pork with zingy flavours coming through from the jalepeño’s and pineapple.
Albondigas - Spicy beef, pork and rice meatballs with salsa and homemade crema served with green rice. Our ‘shared’ dish. Delicious meatballs and fragrant rice. I only had a small portion. This was good, but the taco’s win this round.
Great vibes all round, a very cool place. I will definitely be back to try more taco’s!
View ForkSake in a larger map
11 Carlisle Street
Where?House / Melbourne
Where?house you ask? Melbourne Music Week launched their festival hub at a top secret pop-up location this year. I was lucky enough to get a +1 VIP ticket to an opening event hosted by SONOS.
Located at the Argus building on the corner of La Trobe and Elizabeth Street. This abandoned gothic building creates the perfect setting for drunk party animals, eargasmic music and great food or in this case Melbourne Music Week.
There were still workers on site fixing things when we arrived, which made me unsure about the legitimacy and saftey of the event. The excitement built as we entered the building, rustic, spacious, grungy, abandoned and crazy.
All our worries and concerns evapourated as we were lured into the exciting environment thanks to great music, shifty lights, the smell of delicious food and the thirst for booze.
When the invite mentioned “Free Food” I was expecting a sausage sizzle. To my surprise we were presented with the most delicious, funky and hip vendors. I devoured all the food there was on offer. I Love Pho 246, Phat Bratz, Huxtaburger, Touche Hombre, and Fancy Hanks. (Note: Food may be smaller portion sizes in images, so don’t fret.)
My first time trying a Huxtaburger (guilty), and it was Huxta-de-licious as expected. Tasted even better because it was free. Delicious Wagyu beef with a pungent meaty flavour and a generous dollop of sauce. I hate when a burger isn’t saucy enough! Couldn’t flaw the burger really, soft bun, tasty fillings. Will definitely be back to try some more.
Was very excited to see my favorite sausage shop here. Top notch dogs for top notch people, like us!
Delicious as always, meaty sausage was balanced by the delicate pulled pork and refreshing appleslaw. Phat Brats have an amazing menu, taking your hot dog experience to a whole new level.
Tacos from Touche Hombre, a very cool Mexican restaurant / Tequila bar in the city. Delicious taco’s fresh and heathy tasting. I have tried a few tacos, but will need to head back as I consumed too much tequila to remember what I ordered. Touche Hombre has a really cool vibe so check it out.
BBQ Ribs from Fancy Hanks, a brand new restaurant/venue specialising in BBQ cuisine, if you can call it that. These delicious ribs were totally flavoursome and manly. Fancy Hanks are planning on opening up a store near/in the convent, not sure when but it will be worth the wait.
Vietnamese prawn cracker taco’s by I Love Pho 246. Pretty much a Vietnamese salad on a prawn cracker, my favorite kind of salad. Refreshing, healthy and crisp. The juicy dressing added a hit of flavour, leaving my mouth watering for more. They had pretty good spring rolls, rice paper rolls and deep fried calamari too. I will definitely be heading out to Richmond to find this place and devour all they have.
All of the food is amazingly delicious, but who am I kidding, people are here to get drunk and dance to music. It’s a shame the event is now over and nothing is left, however i’m sure Melbourne Music Week will be doing something equally as exciting next year. You can still try all the amazing food, you will just have to venture around to find them all.
Boat Builders Yard / South Wharf
This eatery screams rustic with a comforting, warm and inviting environment. Located just around the corner from me, in the South Wharf promenade, I can easily see this place turning into my ‘local’ for summer.
This place has an exuberant balance of romanticism, quality and trendiness while remaining on earth. The inviting nature of this place makes it suitable to meet up with friends, go on a casual date with a few beers or dine alone.
Outdoor area open and refreshing, great for smokers and/or drunk people - but hey, everywhere is good for drunk people. A large area to stretch your legs, or invite your friends.
I think advertising on bicycles is the new thing, I mean who doesn’t love bicycles?
A great variety of seating options. Cute rustic waterside seating. I sat here with my partner on a warm evening with a cold beer, absolute bliss. Careful not to have too many beers, you could fall into the Yarra and die.
Food pick up station. I love the anticipation of waiting for my ‘waiting disk’ to beep to notify my food is ready. It has some sort of futuristic feel along with a sense of accomplishment, even though there is nothing for me to accomplish, I just sat on my ass.
The inside café, decked out with the remains of the old boatbuilders yard it use to be. Simple interior with little details which adds a sense of uniqueness and approachability.
The inside of the café is nice and cosy, with a log fireplace and friendly staff. If you are lucky enough to get a seat by the fire on a cold day, I would recommend you stay forever. If you’re stuck in the rain, The Boatbuilders Yard kindly offers you their umbrellas to borrow.
Cabinet food looked great too. Unsure what those white packages are, perhaps some sort of spring roll or something. Anyway, it looked delicious.
The bar is super cool, decent size but I guess it has to be for such a large venue. Great thing they have eftpos/pay pass too.
Bacon and egg roll, as advertised on the bicycle. Cabinet food but I think the staff made it fresh. Cheap but hearty and mighty delicious.
Poached eggs on toast with thick cut bacon and a hash brown. The bacon and the hash brown are pure quality and full of flavour.
I was a fatty and got the Boatbuilders Breakfast, Eggs, Tomato, Cheese Kransky, Thick Cut Bacon, Hash Brown, Mushroom. Delicious, and being such a manly dish, I think it increased my testosterone/manly level.
Unfortunately they don’t do all day breakfast; however they have a delightful lunch menu.
Chicken ciabatta roll available from the cabinet. Something lighter so you don’t feel too gluggy when you enjoy it with a nice cold beer.
Beef Bourguignon Pot Pie, Peas, Potato & Parsnip Puree. Parsnip puree delectable. Everything cooked beautifully. Fresh vegetables make for a less guilty dish, although it still would be brilliant without.
Battered Flathead Fillets, Chips, Coleslaw, Tartare Sauce. This was the guilty dish, however sometimes when you’re by water you crave these things. Deep fried deliciousness. There is also a lump of coleslaw hiding at the back there to refresh that dirty palate.
Braised Rabbit - Pancetta, Shallots, Winter Veg. Absolutely delectable, tender meat falling off the bone, full of flavour and warmth.
They also have a mini-bar outside too with delicious organic sausages. You can choose either prime beef, lamb merguez, duck and pistachio or vietnamese pork roll.
I got the duck and pistachio sausage, delicate rich flavour. The mustard and tomato sauce was ‘self service’ hence why it looks so shit. The sauce also did not compliment the sausage that well, perhaps a relish would have been nice. For $9 you can’t really complain though. It was the perfect afternoon snack.
View ForkSake in a larger map
The Boatbuilders Yard is a great place to relax and catch up with friends, suitable for a lot of occasions breakfast/coffee/lunch/bar however, everything is self service. You have to order at the bar, water is available from the ‘water station’, you pick your food up from the ‘food pick up station.’ and you have to eat the food yourself. It’s a good trade off for excellent food and a great vibe.
The Boatbuilders Yard
03 9686 5088
23 South Wharf Promenade
South Wharf, VIC 3006
Burgers & Beers / Christchurch
Burgers & Beers is a nifty little diner which does great burgers and great beer, inclusive.
A very cosy/casual ambiance with 60’s style diner furniture.
They also have a outside area at the back, with a similar vibe. Too bad it was freezing cold!
Food is served in a brown paper bag and serviette, no plates or cutlery.
Seductive dark branding, crisp black and white illustrations with a violent red accent. Very cool.
Chips and gravy is amazing. Back in the day we would come to Burgers & Beers after a late night out, just so these chips could absorb up all the alcohol. Highly recommended hangover prevention.
Ok my bad, I forgot to take a photo before I started eating. I was hungry! This is the stag burger (venison) with beetroot, mayo and relish - delicious! Perhaps the best burger joint in Christchurch. (Dare I say it, but I can’t think of any others.)
Burgers & Beers, perfect place for something low-key, fingers crossed they aren’t too busy!
Burgers & Beers
The Monday Room / Christchurch
The Monday Room is one of my favorite Christchurch places. Located in the beautiful Strategy building on Moorehouse Ave.
This little gem might be hidden away, but the fluttering birds have a welcoming persona.
The Monday Room is perfect place for a coffee, breakfast, lunch, snacks or cocktails/alcohol with Christchurch’s trendiest folk.
Every corner has some sort of artistic elegance. The ambiance is very relaxed and sophisticated.
These blue cheese polenta fries, succulent, golden and crispy.
Crispy Calamari, so delicious.
Perhaps not the most exciting dish, but it’s still delicious. Burger with kumara fries.
Citrus and cured salmon, delicately balanced. Beautifully presented, herbaceous fennel complimented the dish.
Ostrich served with parsnip puree, wasabi mash, grilled pear and port wine jus. Absolutely divine. Made my trip to Christchurch worth while haha.
The Monday Room is a beautiful restaurant that adds a lot of character and hope for the re-build of Christchurch CBD. All dishes are presented beautifully, and so is the atmosphere.
The Monday Room
Christchurch, New Zealand
Trunk / Melbourne
Trunk is gorgeous. ‘Gorgeous’ includes an elegant chanel-like logo, a unique vintage identity, edgy furnishings, cute décor and cute staff. It’s no wonder I had to go on a photo frenzy and take heaps of pictures.
The outside is as cute as it is inside, the clean brick walls, the warm outdoor heaters, the luscious plants and nature, all have a very sophisticated but homely edge. This hidden gem is perfect for Friday after work wine downs, and sloshy/sexy Saturdays. A vibrant atmosphere any day of the week in this fabulous area.
The venue includes a lot of different/unique areas catering any occasion. We were after a quick lunch so unfortunately, we couldn’t see the whole place. We headed strait to the casual Diner.
The diner has that classic, industrial make-shift feel, using wood and steel inside a container, but keeping it a bit more sophisticated and polished. I also love the fact that it is exposing natural air and light in a beautiful open environment.
The outdoor seating is very arty, very green, very open, and very awesome. They have quite a few seating options available, all with a brilliant vibe to suit almost any occasion. I love the bee illustrations/art on the wall.
I thought the “honey-garden” was just some awesome art branding, but then this cute little creature came and said hello, I named him Beyoncé. Turns out they really do have rooftop honey gardens. Which is friggin awesome.
They have a signature burger on the menu so we got it. The Burger has, fresh ground wagyu, brioche, red onion, baby cos, and house made pickle. All for only $10, you can add extra’s as well for around $1.50, I added some delicious sautéed mushrooms, divine. Great value for money too.
The plating up was a bit different, you kind of had to assemble the burger yourself, but only lazy bitches would care, I thought it was very quirky and unique-loved it. The pattie was delicious and cooked perfectly, and although the burgers are quite ‘petite’ they were actually quite filling. Love this place and will definitely be back for more! You should totally get drunk at Trunk like a punk, because this place has a whole lot of funk. I should be a rapper.
03 9663 7994
275 Exhibition St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
1000£BEND / Melbourne
1000£BEND is a freaking awesome cafe/bar/gallery/cinema hiding in a secret laneway - Little Lonsdale Street. (Not that secret.) The venue is basically a big rustic warehouse overtaken by creatives and transformed into a spunkadelic restaurant-bar-cafe-gallery-cinema-venue-whatever, situated next to some quirky street art and hipsters. This place also has free Wi-Fi so there’s no reason to ever leave.
There is a variety of dishes on the chalkboard- some bar food including burgers and chips, or some more ‘cafe’ style food like burritos etc. All of which looks to be very decent, reasonably priced too - under $14ish.
All the décor and furnishings are recycled/vintage which gives this place a trendy and rustic ambiance. It’s also very open, comfortable, cosmopolitan, and very “Melbourne.”
The cherry blossom décor had some black undies on the ceiling-what. This place had a lot of art work around too, not surprising seeing as it’s also a gallery/cinema. If you look around the room, you will be inspired no matter what corner you are looking at.
Saganaki Burger was delicious, so was the Roo Burger Nick got. The Saganaki Burger was a tad salty, perhaps some more tomato relish was needed to balance. Other than that it was delicious, and 1000£BEND is an awesome venue. I will definitely be back to try the burritos, they looked amazeballs.
1000 Pound Bend
361 Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Speakeasy / South Yarra
Speakeasy Kitchen Bar is one of my favourite spots on Chapel Street, it’s about 10 months old, serves great coffee, great food and it has a vibrant ambience. I’m in love with the shop fit out, natural light and the modern earthy feel. The lustrous new fittings and décor is accompanied by young, friendly and trendy staff, which eliminates the pretentious cockiness that this place could have easily acquired. My friend Josh seems to think that the staff need to smile more, but I actually the melancholic persona and cool edge they have. P.S Josh is a bitch!
It has three/four areas with their own unique vibe. The main entrance hall and front outdoor courtyard has a fresh-hip-cafe/cocktail-bar-vibe, where you can sit with a book and coffee for hours. When you head deeper inside, you end up in a sophisticated little restaurant area, and outside through the glass doors is an open clean-grunge restaurant/bar with graffiti art, perfect for after work drinks. Also upstairs, which I haven’t been to yet. The owners/whoever-was-in-charge somehow tied all of these different environments in very well.
Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, English muffin, spinach and hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise was perfect, and the salmon and spinach were very flavoursome. The egg was slightly over-cooked, so it lacked that oozing yolky goodness. Plated up nicely and the hero was definitely the hollandaise sauce.
Fiery breakfast, scrambled eggs cooked with harissa and coriander with merguez sausage on toast. I don’t normally eat scrambled eggs, but I had no regrets with this dish. The herbs and spices in the scrambled eggs were seasoned well, the merguez sausage was delicious, moist and tender. The toast was a little bit burnt, but I was in a good mood so didn’t really notice.
Prawn fattoush salad. Fresh and vibrant lunch with 3 large pan-fried, flavoursome prawns, with fresh crispy salad ingredients. (I forgot what was in it.) It was delicious.
Speakeasy Kitchen Bar
03 9824 0770
359 Chapel St