Thursday in January 2018

Our annual-ish birthday dinner at The Grand, Richmond. 
The menu has changed slightly but the great service and deco remain the same.

This is our third time here, and we're seated in the perfect spot, the corner under the window, covered by winter drapes (pretty sure they never open the windows here). The combo of cozy warm colors and that wallpaper gives it a feel that no other restaurant has.

Carpaccio di Manzo
Beef carpaccio with Parmigiano, aged balsamic and rocket

Calamari alla griglia
Char-grilled baby calamari with anchovy, parsley and caper dressing

Gnocchi burro e salvi
Gnocchi with brown butter and sage

Pesce del giomo
Market fish (baramundi from cape cod), crushed charlotte potatoes, 
arsparagus, zuchiini flowers and ruby grapefruit

Saltimbocca di vitello con bietola e pinoli
Veal saltimbocca wirg prosciutto and sage, charred bitter leaves, mustard fruits and pine nuts

Granita di fragole
Fennel strawberries, strawberry granita with soured cream, goats curd and almond crumb

Lebanese Banquets @ Mama Manoush @ Saturday, January 26, 2019

A Wednesday

Heading up north, tram, bus, bus due to the trams being replaced by buses we got lost... I got lost. Directions has never been my strong point, lucky for me it was next to the tram stop and around the corner from the bus. 

The venue was familiar, though something else was here. I recall going to a party featuring pisco sours here, and it was Mexican back then I think.

These days it's a restaurant with a bar feel, Mama Manoush serves Lebanese across the restaurant and indoor garden/garden room.

It might have been Wednesday but it was a party with a couple birthdays and quite loud, borderline bar loud. But the food was good and lighting, I loved the fairy lights. Full house.

Everything looks good and we aren't too familiar with Lebanese food, so we went for the banquet. Which I think we did last time at the Turkish place too. And we're doing a 6 course thing tomorrow too. I swear we don't always eat like this.

Mama's Banquet $50pp
Sample a wide variety of authentic dishes. 


Trio of Dips - Hummus, baba ghannouki (egg plant) and labne 
(cream cheese) served with traditional pickles and hot bread

To start off we had some dips along with pita and something very crispy that wasn't oily and reminded me of nachos XD The pita I assume is the hot bread. We were offered a second basket of pita/chips but declined. This is just the first part of the starters. All the dips were great, I love the presentation, the best presented dips I've seen (and I'm an events planner who's seen many grazing tables). The hummus in particular was smokey, and egg plant I could eat all day. They all paired well with the olives and other pickled things, especially the very bright radish, coloured naturally with beetroot. 

5 Mezza/Fingerfoods (1 piece each) - You could pick from anything under the fingerfood menu, a mixture of beef and vegetarian options.

Warak areesh - Vine leaves filled with a mixture of rice, lemon zest and Elizabeth's special herbs & spices. These really good, I always like these.

Kibkabet - Meat and burghul shells stuffed with minced beef, pine nuts, onion and spices, served with laban. A bit dry, though still full of flavour, goess well with the cream cheese dip.

Cigar Stick. Cheese - Rolled pastry filled with herb halloumi and mozzaarellla, cheese and spices. Cheesy spring rolls, what could be more perfect?

Sambousik - homemade pastry stuffed with minced beef, pie nuts, onions and spices
Also a bit dry, these are smaller than usual so we were offered two each. Needs a yoghurt dip or something.

Makanek - mini seasoned lamb and beef sausages topped with fresh lemon juice (as oppose to the concentrate in the bottle? :P) and grapes. Softer than expected though these small sausages have plenty of flavour, and I'd love to see a sausage sizzle on the menu

I love these menus that allow you to try a bit of everything, as we almost never travel in groups

Mains 3

2 Grilled Skewers each
Lahem Meshwi - Marinated in olive oil and traditional lebanese herbs & spices
Shish Tawook  - Tender grilled chicken breast, seasoned and marinated

Riz al jaj (this is the rice dish) - A rice pillaff with minced beef, topped with chicken breast and sprinkles of almonds and pine nuts served with laban and salad 

Fatousah Salad (or Tabouli) - Tomato, cucumber, radish, spring onion, mint, capsicum, olive oil and sumac + crispy pita bread

For our main we had skewers, a rice dish and salad. The perfect trio. Well marinated and grilled to perfection were the skewers, juicy and tender. The chicken had a bit more flavour, and we really need bigger wedges of lemon. The salad was fresh and rice fine, I'd like to add a squeeze of lemon though, and maybe a yoghurt sauce. Though everything was pretty good as is. We couldn't finish it all! 


Lebanse coffee/tea

Mouhalabieh - Lebanese custard like pudding with pistachio nuts + rosewater syrup

The dessert is the same one we had at Zikrayat, which reminds me of a mix of rosewater and glue... so not really my thing but jas liked it. Needs more syrup though, but you can ask :) "Rice pudding with no actual rice bits like other rice puddings. Rosewater. Very familiar. Paste like consistency (that red top paste with the plastic brush) but perfect." - He said.

For 11pm the coffee art was a lovely surprise! He had tea. We don't get how you can have coffee with dessert and rock up to work at 9am tomorrow. XD

Service was a bit slow and we felt neglected at times, but friendly. I think we drank about 3 bottles of water!

O.O They do 'Kanafeh' (a baked cheese dessert, look up the Bearded Bakers) for $15 - we have to return for that! We'll be back, and highly recommend the banquet. It's a great place/party with good food and drinks. If you're going for a date, it might be a bit noisy though, not for intimate gatherings. Or maybe on quieter nights (call and ask).

Great place, excellent food, though a little loud (that or we're old XD). 

Mama Manoush Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oakleigh Eats - Lunching @ Nikos @ Friday, January 25, 2019

Wednesday 3rd January 2018

Across the road, still on the main street, a walking only area, like a strip, was Nikos Quality Cakes, not just a cake shop, they do lunch too. 

Something that irks me though is the eat in charge for cakes and desserts, that applies to even cookies! Say I buy 5 cookies to go with coffee, is the eat in fee cookies + $5, or just $1 per transaction? For some cakes it was $2 more!! And there's no parks nearby...

Anyway that's the cafe area, to the right is more a lunchy area. $15 seems to be standard for lunch, and everything comes with a "side" salad. It was very busy, though Gin says it's always like this here, not just for school holidays. 

Moussaka $15.50
Layers of eggplant and potato w/ beef bolognese, feta and bechamel sauce

Craving lasagna Gin ordered that, and offered me a taste. It looked smaller than most places, but was very filling, especially with that HUGE salad.

Chicken & Mushroom Filo $14.50
Creamy chicken and mushroom filled pastry served with sweet chili

Unlike her dish, mine was HUGE! And jas and I agreed that this was two servings. I loved the sweet chili sauce, and salad was very good with a balance of flavours. We certainly needed that salad with the huge filo! I had expected something a third of the size. 

The sizes are what I'd describe as Greek - you'll never leave hungry.

Service was minimal as it was very busy. 

Unlike most places you can smoke outside here, so the second half of lunch tasted like cancer. We had a table by the window, and outside, the table next to us was smoking. Unlikely to dine here again based on atmosphere (smoking). But I'm happy to get takeaway to eat on the train. 

Main street is a block away from the station by the way. 

Where's your favorite place to eat in Oakleigh?

Nikos Cakes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Oakleigh Doughnut Co @ Thursday, January 24, 2019

Wednesday 3rd January

Wednesday started with lunch, well pre-lunch in Oakleigh.

The have a takeaway window as well as dine in options.

How do you like your water? Still or sparkling?

Don't they all look lovely?

The Galakdough - a custardy treat that wasn't sweet enough for me. The filo on top was perfect! We're going for something more sweet next time. But it was nice, there was something familiar about the custard, that I can't quite name. Cardamom perhaps? 

They were all $4.50 each and cake like, big, reasonable under $5. There's a few (3) tables inside, more outside under cover and a takeaway window.

The birthday cake and rose/pistachio also looked tempting. We'll be back next time we're in town.

Have you been here? What's your favourite donut?

The Oakleigh Doughnut Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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