Taste of Melbourne 2016 @ Friday, December 02, 2016

Saturday 12th November

Note - This glass being plastic will shrink in the dishwasher!

Arriving at 6pm lines flowed quickly, though there was a lot of hovering about the door, for those who didn't pre-fill the entry card. It was nice to see two lines, invites and general admission. But only the later line were given menu cards and wine glasses?

Gif cameras/videos are all the rage now, though I prefer polaroid-ish prints.

We headed straight for the workshop marquees to buy tickets, scoring the last two spots for the session we wanted, same at the other place. At the Good Food & Wine Show entry includes the workshops. Not here, $40 entry gets you nothing but entry, and a wine glass for sampling, and other than drinks there aren't any samples. Nothing to take home and no Maggie Beer.

Electrolux Chefs' Secret Workshop with Shaune Quade of Lume - On arrival we were offered cider (it burns!!), sorry I don't really drink, that's why jas was invited. :P When offered a drink we always accept, because it's the normal thing to do. It appears that Australia really likes to drink, anytime any day is ok with my housemates.

Some delicious beetroot based and sashimi on a cracker entree/snacks. The experience was pretty awesome for $12, two drinks (see above, also champagne after), some snacks and the actual workshop. There's time to sit down and eat it too.

Making the nest, and sponge cake base. The thinnest sponge cake I've ever seen. That was premade for us. For the nest there were a couple elements, to which we divided and conquered. With mr menulog (another jas, a very common name) we whipped the lavender cream. I'm not trusted with much in the kitchen. :P

Making the actual nest involved pipping chocolate into a bowl of icy water then plunging your hands into it and forming the shape. It was amazing and we've never done anything like it before!

Chef Shaun Quade is known for his whimsical and visually-stunning dishes at Lume on Coventry Street in South Melbourne and with him we created a 'Birds Nest', a dessert that was awesome to make! 

What is it? A chocolate nest on top of a thing chocolate sponge, inside: lavender cream (perfect scooping skills by the chef), nitro gas-ed frozen berries, orange peel, and some green stuff. 

With someone else to clean up the mess, this was why I loved cooking at school.

Mamasita - Elote callejero $7

Chargrilled corn cob, chipotle mayo, queso & lime

Delicious as always! Risen in price by a dollar. 
We really need to learn how to make this at home.

Supernormal? - Love the simple yet cheap and effective deco. 

Cumulus's Lychee & Raspberry Meringue $8 (incorrectly listed as $6 online)*

Lychee, raspberry, poached meringue & rose. Delicious, with all my favourite flavours it was a combo of textures and temperatures. 

*There a were a few different prices on the menu and at the place. e.g. The Meyer Lemon Tree dish from Lume was $20 online but $45 on the day! And you couldn't pre-order...

Mallie Mustard was onsite selling one hot dog, and one only. The $100 truffle one. Last time we encountered them they had $10 hot dogs too, but here when everyone is selling bites you can't sell a meal.

Huge cup, small samples. Efficient? Nope. It burns!!

Meadowsweet Ice Cream with lavender & chocolate ice magic
Very teay, so tea ice cream, but other than that, average.

Greenvale Pork Hangis $14
“Happy as a pig in s##t” with edible flowers. Jas gave no comments.

OM NOM's ICON DISH: Rosemary and Chocolate Cigars $10

Valhrona caramelia chocolate and rosemary

Chocolate roll full of rosemary chocolate mousse. It was awesome! Smooth silky goodness!

We were also the 'Granny Smith Panna Cotta' but it was sold out after our workshop.

Hello Summer Snow, my favourite apple juice! We shall have the pink lady apply juice at the wedding! An apply juice bar would be awesome, but he said no. :(

How awesome is this packaging? We have a thing for science glassware.

$8 a scoop, what has the world come to? The event life is quite expensive and makes you think that $12 desserts are the norm. But are they really? Or does marketing tell us that? 

It won't stop you from transforming into a bogan, but it'll help with the hangover!
Hence I don't understand the 'stay classy' tagline?

The Atmosphere

Deliveroo was onsite offering carnitures and calligraphy!

 Within the marquee you could order food delivered to your table from selected stalls.

CIRCA, THE PRINCE $12. Kingfish Sashimi - Prawn remoulade, apple + padron pepper

Deliciously fresh and a highlight of the evening said jas.

Mamasita's Taco de Pescado $8
Grilled fish, chipotle mayo, red onion salsa, cabbage & lime

We do love fish tacos, it was good like most fish tacos. Nothing really stood out.

 Lurpak Cookery School Workshop $6

With Lurpak for $6 you could do a workshop to do a fish or steak dish. We made steak with beurre noisette hollandaise. It was awful as I used a small handful of salt. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to savory food and need adult supervision.

For dessert we were provided with a cupcake with a hole in it, and frosting. Pipped it, made it neat then drizzled caramel sauce, and topped it off with popcorn. Chocolate base. How was it? Dry, the cake was dry. 

Instead of taking home a tub of butter we were instead offered spice blends! Which would required you to buy the butter as an ingredient. We're excited about using the rosemary blend with lamb!

We left when the show closed at 10pm. The night is young and so we went to the beach. I was there yesterday but with the bags and wearing a suit couldn't go out on the pier or sandbar. We went all the way out into the pier came across some guys fishing flatheads and something else, 6 in 2hrs, 3 in an hour, 1 every 20mins. At the end of the pier was a surprize, fairy penguins! In groups of 2-4 and some alone. Just chilling, hanging out with fellow penguins or walking around. They were on the rocky sides of a sandy path behind the restaurant. We definitely got our $2 worth of parking :P. $5-something an hour, we paid $2 for 20mins. 

How was the event compared to last year? It was about the same, though the butterfly house was replaced with a virtual reality experience. Expect to spend $60 on food, it's card only, but you need to buy tokens. 

We won tickets for entry, but would never go if we had to purchase entry tickets because they don't include anything but entry itself. They're around $30 we believe. You'll find plenty of competitions for free tickets about a month before the event.

It was odd how there were no coconut water stalls, as one year there was three!

Did you go to the Taste of Melbourne this year?

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Melbourne's Cheapest Sushi - Tokui Sushi @ Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Favourite Eats Series

That white sign is annoying! It wasn't here the last time I took this picture, it used to be a phone store but is now a coffee shop, also the karaoke bar used to be an asian takeaway place. Many things have changed since we discovered Tokui Sushi back in the modelling years (it was a looong time ago). But one thing that hasn't changed is the price here at Tokui Sushi.

Known for their always $2 sushi, Tokui is the cheapest sushi joint in the city or anywhere. Ok so the place next to my apartment does $2 sushi too, but it's not popular. And with popularity comes high turnover rates meaning more freshly made sushi. 

While it's limited to handrolls that are $2, there are packs and sashimi too. The variety is much smaller than the new Sushi Hub, but it works out to be much much cheaper when you consider how much sushi we eat (weekly visits). Rolls are mainly traditional ones, and the salmon isn't chewy!

The down side? They close at 6pm. So if we're having sushi dinner we buy it earlier and store it in the fridge. My favourite time to visit is just before the after work rush, when stock is full and ready to go.

Sashimi packs! The yellow rolls are tamago/egg rolls, dessert sushi. Not pictured is plain inari, $1.80 each. If you drop by before the chef leaves at 3pm you could order a custom pack. Prices the assorted (row 1 & 2) are $6, and row 3 just sashimi is $8. While cheap it's always fresh too.

They also sell drinks, though sushi is what we're here for. My favourites are the Califorinian roll, the salmon and tamago. The fried ones I'm not too big a fan of, but that's a personal preference, as when I think sushi I consider it a healthier fast food option.

The Tamago Roll - Dessert Sushi!

Service here is always fast and friendly, Tokui is located very close to 7 Eleven near Melbourne Central on La Trobe. To get there from Melbourne Cetral Station you can go through the shopping center, towards Forever New, and turn left when you get to the street. It's the second place. 

Or from Flinders, take the tram to Bourke St (really Little Bourke really, with where it stops) and walk a block or two towards Melbourne Central. It's on the same block, left of the 7 Eleven opposite McDonalds.

Where's your favourite sushi place? 

Tokui Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Saturday 26th November

As it gets darker the blue lanterns light up radiating a white glow, replacing the usual purply pink ones that turn red after dark. It's a nice change, though aren't as amazing as the red ones as night, ah vibrant, that's the word I'm after. But if we blast the saturation it'll looks good.

If you're with citibank you get access to the 'Citi VIP' area, once again the only area under cover pretty much. There's clean tables, a bar and two restaurants they deliver to your table. They're always the less popular places though. That picture of the grey skies, that's what the weather was really like on day 2.  

Thanks for the drink Citibank! Though it was mainly ice and an inch of foam on top...

We decided to skip hanging out in the area in favour of eating in the next line. That's the reality of it, lines and more lines. Divide and conquer. Group shots are completely planned. Shots with lots of different vendors, also planned.

There were hourly dragon dances, all very loud.

From BaoStop we tried both the fries and bao. The pecking duck fries at $15 was pretty much peking duck and sauce on top of fries. There is no ratio. While it was nice there wasn't enough sauce or duck. Better off buying peking ducks and fries on its own.

Trifecta of Bao $20

Peking Duck Gua Bao - Small piece of duck that was mostly chewy... a dud. But duck serving are rarely ever generous. But in theory this would have been amazing. Also the size was absolutely nothing like in the picture (see above).  

Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao - Jas says meh, it was average.

Fried Chicken Gua Bao - A slightly hot sauce with coleslaw under the chicken it felt a bit like a taco. It was good but fairly average too. 

The bun parts themselves were slightly sweet rather than savory, fluffy white dough. The idea was great, but on execution they were average good. 

Jas thought these sauce dispensors were hilarious! 

Roound 2 of Baos, this time from the more popular Wonderbao. $20

Fried Chicken Gua Bao - w hot sauce and kim chi cabbage it was quite nice and simple.

Panko Crumbed Eggplant Gua Bao - Melting like butter, I liked it while jas said it wasn't cooked as well as he'd liked.

Roast Pork Belly Gua Bao - With a sweet smokey bbq sauce and cucumber this was the bests of the six jas ate, a must for all pork lovers.

Menu log offered their own seating area, thin rugs on the ground and some bean bags, with delivery fro two places. Located up in the hill it was for the view.

Mr. Miyagi was one of the most popular stalls with the longest lines, no one had lines like them. Sporting Japanese fusion food these tacos were quite exciting, as no one offers anything like them. We had...

Mr. M’s Salmon: Grilled salmon, sushi rice, kim chi, Japanese mayo and chili oil in a nori taco shell. I'd expected this to be amazing, but it wasn't. It was average, once again concept over taste. I would have preferred something more like sashimi with the sauces and rice. Maybe different sashimis.

Tempura soft shell crab: Tempura soft shell crab, sushi rice, curried mayo, avocado guacamole, pickled jalapenos in a nori taco shell. - Fairing better than the salmon this seemed to be the best seller. Crispy crab and avocado, two things Melbourne loves. The curried mayo was on the sweet side and need more spice though. A try once thing.

Gelato Messina - Matcha Do About Nothing $10

Milk chocolate and matcha gelato with white choc x pistachio crunch in a green tea waffle cone. This was the highlight of the night noodle markets! It was like a premium magnum (think back to the magnum bar) married a connetto/Drumstick. All the textures and complimenting flavours, it was delicious!

Only On Sundaes $12 - Salted coconut sorbet with black sticky rice and lychee tapioca, caramelized puff pastry with lemon grass and white choc ganche.

Hmm... I'm not sure if that's what we had, because it didn't taste like that. Instead it was a lychee rose cream with tapioca/sago and coconut ice cream-y sorbet, atop a red bean rice base that was hard and horrible like yesterday's rice. So basically the top was great, but not the base.

I do love that Messina always offers something you can't get in-stores. The rest you can, though with the food festivals, they give you an opportunity to try a bit of everything. A series of expensive snacks, so better than others.

A card-less festival! Moving towards the taste event, which launched/was on during the same weekend, they both embraced card only. It makes everything easier, but what about those who don't use card? Grandma says she's not going, as she's skeptical and says they'll have her card info and empty out her account. But then again these food festivals are for young/older professionals with plenty of disposable income.

We were surprized not to see a bubble tea stall actually, there were only bars.

Did you go to the night noodle markets this year? What were your picks?

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