Tom Phat

Tom Phat is located in Sydney Road, Brunswick, about two blocks away from where I live. I have been there before for breakfast and dinner before I started writing my blog.  Both times I enjoyed it, particularly when I went for breakfast. This time we are going there for dinner on Friday night.

We had no booking but we were there quite early so we were able to get a table.  Even for early on (just after 6pm) it was reasonably busy.  Neither of us were drinking so had a look at the menu for non alcoholic options.  My boyfriend chose a juice off the menu but we were told they stopped serving juice at 5pm, we found that quite odd.

We ordered a diet coke which did not arrive for over 15 minutes, so I informed the waitress that we were missing a diet coke.  Several minutes later our diet coke was plonked down on our table without apology, I found this a bit rude.  Then another 10 minutes later another diet coke arrived, obviously the first one was just running extremely late.  And yes we were charged for both!  Not a big deal but didn’t exactly enhance our experience.

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For entree, we ordered San Choi Bao with minced free-range chicken, lemongrass & lime and Vegetarian Spring Rolls served with herbs & lettuce.

Honestly, the San Choi Bao was not cooked to my liking. It is too dry and salty and they only gave us 3 small pieces of lettuce which is not enough to eat the meat. The lady sitting next next to us had to ask the waiter to give them more lettuce too, so it wasn’t just us. The spring rolls were not too bad but not great either.

My boyfriend originally wanted to order the jungle curry with rabbit.  After taking the order the waitress returned quickly and informed us that the dish was not available.  Given it was barely 6pm on a Friday we found it surprising that a part of the menu was no longer available.

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He has to to then decide quickly and ended up ordering Rendang Braised Beef & potato curry with green papaya relish.  He is usually a massive fan of rendang but felt this was missing something, perhaps was a bit too light on the spice side.  The beef was cooked well though.

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I ordered Massaman Curry of Goat w peanut, sweet potato, star anise & cassia. For me, the taste is too rich so I got full quickly and the sauce was too thick.  Again the meat was cooked well.

As I mentioned above, I’ve had breakfast in this place previously and liked it. They have rice for breakfast which is very unusual to find here in Melbourne. Asian or Chinese places usually have yum cha in the morning, so I was pretty happy when I found rice for breakfast.

Even though I did not enjoy my dinner much, I may still come back one day especially for breakfast and maybe for dinner to try the other dishes, but not in a great hurry.  Given we have been here before and enjoyed it, it is possible they just had an off night.

Tom Phat on Urbanspoon

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Jimmi Jamz

I was planning to catch up with some old friends on last weekend and we thought it would be good to go for lunch somewhere at Brunswick. My friend suggested we go to Jimmi Jamz. I checked the reviews on Urbanspoon and at that time it was only 33% (it has since improved to 48%) so I was not expecting anything special.

This is an Italian style restaurant and the menu consists mainly of pizzas and pastas. The restaurant is spacious, you will have option to sit inside or outside, we picked outside in the garden which was a good choice for a summer afternoon.

We ordered 3 pizzas and a pasta. The first pizza is moroccan lamb, minted yoghurt, lemon & mozzarella pizza. Two people ordered korean BBQ beef, capsicum, caramelised onion, Japanese mayo & mozzarella.

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I ordered linguine with prawns, peas and mint. The pasta was served in a bit unusual way. It wrapped in the paper and baked in the oven. The menu did not explain how the pasta cooked so I was kind of hoping the sauce will be cooked to my liking, because I could not imagine how they are going to cook it. It was nice actually and I really enjoyed it.

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I like this place for a casual hang out with friends. Good environment and friendly service. Place is spacious and kid friendly for anyone who likes taking kids to dine out. Prices are cheap and the portions of the food are good, what we had was perfect for a lunch size.  Definitely will come back.

Jimmi Jamz on Urbanspoon

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Merrywell

Merrywell is a new American style restaurant located at Crown. It divided into two sections (upstairs and downstairs), with downstairs being the cheaper, quicker diner style option and upstairs more expensive restaurant type.  We ate during the week before going to a movie so chose to go downstairs.

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There’s quite a bit to choose from on the menu, I ordered ‘Oz Burger’, which is beef burger with fried egg, pickled beets, pineapple, cheddar, mayo in a damper roll. We also ordered side dish called ‘loaded fries’ which is chips with cheese sauce, bacon and sour cream.

I always like my burger served with fried egg. The burger was delicious and juicy. The meat is tender and the beef was ccooked perfectly.

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My boyfriend ordered ‘The Merrywell’, which is beef burger with lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, tomato, special sauce, bacon, and french fries.  He enjoyed it too, although at $22 it is probably not quite worth the price tag.

If you enjoy a good burger, I do recommend this place as a good alternative to the standard food court meals at Crown. To be honest, I am not a big burger fan, I rarely choose burgers for dinner but my boyfriend took me here and I loved their burgers. Definitely will come back.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

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Renzo’s Bar

Docklands is fairly quiet these days and I’ve noticed a few of the restaurants in the area are no longer open. There are still quite a few places to eat here with different types of cuisine.

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I had a dinner last weekend with my boyfriend’s family at Renzo’s Bar. I chose this place based on good reviews on Urbanspoon and the menu I saw on the internet.

It was nice weather and we needed more space because we had a baby in a pram, so we took a table outside. We had Bruschetta and Garlic Foccacia to share as entree. Something light and can be shared among us which is 6 people. Bread was nice, it tasted fresh and was a good start to the meal.

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After quite a bit of consideration and conversation we decided on our mains.

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I ordered Linguine ai frutti di mare, which is flat long pasta with fresh mixed seafood, olive oil, white wine & garlic.  It was delicious. Very simple with olive oil and white wine so it not too filling.

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Next mains are from special menu, which was veal rolled and filled with pumpkin and pine nuts served with vegetables and Lasagna Bolognese. I had good feedback about these dishes from my fellow diners.

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Next main is Bistecca alla Toscana, which is grilled scotch fillet prime cut, served with roasted vegetable and a red wine sauce. Same with others, it cooked medium to well done to the liking and tasted delicious. The meat was tender and vegetables were tasty.

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Next dish is Cotoletta alla Valdostana, which is pan fried, crumbed veal, topped with fontina cheese served with a potato & pumpkin sformatino. It was delicious and the person who ordered this was very happy with the taste.

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Last main ordered is Pollo Ripieno, chicken breast filled with taleggio cheese and wrapped in prosciutto, served with sauteed spinach and mash potato. The sauce is a bit plain but overall the dish was tasty, the potatoes were especially nice.

The portions were just the right size to entice us to order dessert. As always when we all having dinner, we always order coffees. Coffees were good and one of the members of our table who a long back even did what he normally does and ordered a second coffee.

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They have plenty to choose from dessert menu.  It took us quite a while to decide because everything sounded so good.

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First one was Apple Tarte Tatin.  It is an upside down apple tart served with a butterscotch sauce and double cream. I had a bite and it was delicious and served warm.

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Next is Lemon Tart.

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I ordered Creme Brulee, my all time favourite.

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Other desserts are Bread and Butter Pudding and Tiramisu.

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This is the most spectacular dessert. Pannacotta with Midori and Mint. It looks so pretty that you do not want to touch and eat it.

We had a beautiful dinner. Food was great and waitresses were friendly. We were comfortable in terms of space and seats. Definitely will recommend anyone to try this restaurant.

Renzo's Bar Cafe Italiano on Urbanspoon

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Meetbowl

If you’ve read my profile here, you would known that I am Indonesian so obviously I love Indonesian food. There are lots of Indonesian restaurants in Melbourne but I only have been to a few of them.

This time I will write about a little Indonesian restaurant in South Melbourne called Meetbowl.  It is a place with simple furniture and no fancy decorations. You need to order and pay in the counter, grab your own cutlery and if you want water, this is provided in the fridge which you have to help yourself to. Service is good,  despite that you have to do everything yourself, the place has friendly and warm environment. They also have fried onion which is my favorite to add with any dish and few sort of sauces, like kecap manis, sambal and sweet & sour.

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They do not have many options on the menu and most of their food is kind of like street food from Bandung, West Java. From time to time, many Indonesians will come to this place because they miss their local food. I lived in Bandung for a few years and this food is familiar to me.

My favorite meal at Meetbowl is Batagor (deep fried siu mai, fried tofu and fried wonton served with peanut sauce). But this time I ordered Siomay Bandung which is very similar as it served with peanut sauce, but it has steamed siu mai instead fried, egg, potato and cabbage. Siu mai is very good and the peanut sauce is tasty.

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I also ordered Bakso Specials. Beef balls, egg beef balls, stuffed tofu, fried chicken ball and fried chicken wonton with your choice of noodles or vermicelli or even steamed rice in beef broth soup. This is really good especially when you have it in winter. This is where the fried onion can be added on the top to make it more tasty. Do not forget to add sambal as well if you like it spicy.

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This is a good place to have Indonesian food which not expensive and fast service. Despite the place is  not decorated, it is still a good place to hang around.

Pokoknya makanannya mantap deh buat yang kangen ama makanan bandung. Musti di coba. Enak dan murah.

In English means, the food is great especially for people who miss Bandung local food. A must to try. It is delicious and cheap.  I will definitely return!

Meetbowl on Urbanspoon

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Green Refectory

Yesterday we again decided to try another breakfast venue in the Brunswick area.  One cafe I haven’t tried but is always very busy is Green Refectory.  It is located on Sydney road, opposite the Barkly Square Shopping Centre. It looks small from outside but once you are inside they have lots of table everywhere, inside, in several rooms within the building and also in the backyard courtyard that seemed very popular on this sunny morning.

They do not have written menu so you have to come and see the menu on the big blackboard behind the register.  It is slightly inconvenient to stand there for more than a few seconds to decide what you want because there are lots of people ordering at the counter as well as people who are trying to pass to grab themselves a table, or depart after their meal.

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We ordered our lattes as per normal and the coffee was good.

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For breakfast I ordered Scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon and an extra sausage. Overall I enjoyed it, but the portion was too big and I did not end up finishing it.

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My boyfriend ordered the big breakfast. It came with an Egg on toast, bacon, spinach, grilled tomatoes, mushroom, baked beans, onion, avocado and sausage.  The name certainly described the dish well, it was absolutely huge.  He was also not able to finish it, in fact he probably ate just over half of it.  It was a good price at $15, but just too big.

This place is good for breakfast but it is not a place that I can go every week, being very busy it is not exactly a relaxing place to go to, something that I do look for in a great breakfast venue.  Just make sure if you do go, you’re hungry because as I mentioned the meals are huge.

Green Refectory on Urbanspoon

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Kao Thai

This restaurant has been open for a about month in my area. I always see it on the way to work or home but have not have time to come and visit.

On my way home from church this afternoon I was hungry so I decided to try this place.

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We ordered Penang Curry Beef and Red Curry chicken. Food was great, delicious and incredibly cheap. We ate from the lunch menu and everything was priced between $9-$10. The service was great too, staff were very friendly. I am happy I’ve discvered another decent Asian place in the area and I do like Thai a lot. I will definitely come back again!!

Kao Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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