Mukka Indian Restaurant, Fitzroy, Melbourne

It’s been about five months since I left the shores of Australia for a new life in Europe. I haven’t forgotten my final meal, which was a stellar performance. Mukka Indian Restaurant made for a perfect sendoff. This ended up being my favourite Indian meal of the ones I ended up having in Melbourne. Delicious flavours, delivered fuss-free and without an eye-watering price. Mukka won the Time Out Best Cheap Eat a few years back, but even more importantly they were long-held favourites for my Indian friends. These guys know their way around a curry and so do the folk at Mukka. Even the seating felt South Indian, we were a little toasty next to the kitchen. The heat levels in the food were more soothing. Mukka delivers top notch curries, fluffy naan and flavourful chicken tikkas. We ended up ordering an extra two times (!) as we couldn’t get enough – even my friend’s toddler (notoriously hard to please) was a decided fan. You can bet it’s on my list for when I’m back but make sure you pop them a visit if you’re there!

mukka-chicken

9/10

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Girls and Boys, Fitzroy, Melbourne

“Oh, it’s Vegan”. I spent a good mile strolling, before realising that the slight difference in texture and flavour was down to the difference in ingredients. Could have had me fooled. I popped in to try something sweet, with a lot of caution mind you. It’s from the same family as Vegie Bar, and I was not a fan of their desserts, which I thought (and still think) was basic. There’s a small but sufficient range of treats on offer and I went for one of the gelati (there’s three to pick from).

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Continue reading “Girls and Boys, Fitzroy, Melbourne”

Tasty Rooster Charcoal Chicken, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Performing a few miracles when I’m in desperate and urgent need of something fried at an hour that’s sometimes late, Tasty Rooster Charcoal Chicken is the local for something quick, cheap and meaty. It’s a no frills affair with an extensive menu offering including rotisserie chicken, fried chicken, souvlakis (!), burgers, sandwiches and other fried options. I’ve popped in for the fried chicken and at $7.90 for two pieces and a healthy serving of chips, it’s easy on the wallet too. Chips were cooked to order making for fresh from the fryer crunchiness but the last few visits had the chicken on the formerly warm side of things, which was a dampener on the fun.

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6.5/10

Tasty Rooster Charcoal Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya, Fitzroy

Try saying that name fast five times over. Funky interior stylings and hip staff make Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya a super cool spot for some not-so-traditional Japanese food stylings. Catalina and I popped in for a quick dinner before a film and we loved half the dishes we ordered and were a bit meh on the other half. It’s a huge menu so we had to seek advice from the staff on what to order from the countless options. It’s all sharing style. The tataki, lamb and (maybe) tofu were our favourites, with well-paced delivery and interesting and punchy flavour combos. The lamb I would come back for alone. The gyoza was more run of the mill and the eggplant dish didn’t have the right balance. It’s a large space at Ichi Ni Nana, and a loud one at that.  We were fine to find a walk in table. Service was a little inconsistent but the vibe of the place is good, and do book if you don’t want to miss out.

ichininana-tataki

The tataki ($18) was the first dish to arrive. It’s not a cheap dining experience at Ichi Ni Nana, but it is pretty. The slices of the scotch fillet were super tender and complemented with the ginger and soy dressing. Plenty of garnish to bulk up the visual size, but I was happy to pay for such fine beef.

ichininana-tofu

Then things took a tofu turn. The agedashi tofu ($14) is served with mountain vegetables, broth and fried leek. I liked the circle execution with the broth with a nice mix of sweet and savoury notes. The only thing about tofu served this way is you need a good helping to broth in eating it since it doesn’t quite permeate through the full mass of tofu goodness. A good filler.

ichininana-gyoza

Then the gyoza. I thought these were a bit more forgettable, as I forget which filling we had ordered. The grill marks wasn’t quite as vivid as I like on my dumplings, and the inside was fine. At about $8-$10 for four of these kids, it isn’t really worth it for a few bites.

ichininana-lamb

Cata and I adored this dish. The lamb saikyo yaki ($18) is two lamb cutlets that are charcoal grilled and coated in a sweet miso. This miso is to die for. It’s a lovely, exciting sweetness that is addictive and perfect on the lamb. The lamb was well prepared with in being medium rare and an enticing char, unlike the gyozas of yesterday.

ichininana-eggplantOur final dish had us a little puzzled. The eggplant dish features long cuts coated in a sweet, teriyaki-like sauce. The balance of the sauce wasn’t there with it tasting a bit too rich and much too overpowering on the eggplant. You do get a fun five on the plate and it made sure we ended our experience full. But we weren’t that motivated to finish it. So overall we liked the cool vibe of Ichi Ni Nana, some of the dishes were fantastic and some were more pedestrian. Right through it remains a pricey affair but is hip factor might make it enticing for your next booking.

7/10

Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shop Ramen, Fitzroy

Ramen – but not quite as you know it. Taking a much more contemporary take and targeting a hip, young crowd Shop Ramen adds a little something different to the Japantown that Smith Street already is. I’ve had takeout from the store when it was too busy to sit in, and sat in for a ramen lunch. This was the $16 BBQ chicken option with a white organic miso, buttered corn, egg, burnt cabbage, spring onion, watercress and a decent-sized fillet of the chicken. Good little mix and the buttery corn and charred cabbage/ chicken keep the broth flavourful. It’s not quite the usual tonkotsu, pork chasu, bamboo/ seaweed outputs but makes for a most satisfactory diversion.

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7.5/10

Shop Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar, Fitzroy

I was a fan of Shimbashi’s original store in the city, so felt excited when they took the former Huxtable space on Smith Street. The store’s been open for a little while now, and I checked out their offerings with a friend. We shared a large serve of their chicken soba ($21) and two sides in the agedashi tofu and nasu dengaku (deep fried eggplant with miso). The menu is identical to their city one (from what I saw) and the quality is there as well. Again, the handcrafted soba is enjoyable to eat and the light broth is pleasant. There was a bit of a salty aftertaste but that may have been from the sides. Great noodles, great sides and a super handy location.

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Agedashi tofu was the first of our sides to arrive. The tofu wasn’t quite as crispy as in other places but the broth had a lovely aroma and the right punchy salty notes that make this dish so good.

shimbashi-soba

We then came to our massive portion of the soba. $4 extra upsizes this, so not exactly sure how big the normal serve looks. Two dumplings and small helpings of spring onion, seaweed, tofu and chicken top the dish. The soba buckwheat noodles are great to eat and had a bite to it. The broth was nice and light for the most part.

shimbashi-eggplant

Our second side was the nasu gengaku which was the deep fried eggplant with a sweet miso sauce. Shimbashi is on the slightly pricer side of things across all the menu, the eggplant although in small size was suitably tasty. I like the sweet miso which goes oh-so-well with the eggplant. The three dishes finished off our two appetites and we enjoyed the service and the vibe of the venue as well.

7.5/10

Shimbashi Soba & Saka Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Re: Addict Food & Coffee, Fitzroy

My favourite brunch spot will probably end up Addict Food & Coffee here in Fitzroy. I don’t mind the portion sizes, great service, and always enjoy the surprising and impressive menu options. I’m also a little biased due to proximity from my house and I’m lazy like that. My last visit to Addict Food & Coffee before my UK adventure saw Ryan in tow, and we ordered the black dutch croquette and the potato hash with mushroom, onion and egg. The plates aren’t the biggest here, but that kind of works for these two dishes, which feature heavier, fried items. The plating on the former is beautiful and that’s common across all the table orders. Coffee brews are also up there with the high quality of the inner east neighbourhood’s best.

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And for my favourite last brunch I went for the bubble waffle with matcha meringue, lychee (I think?) ice cream and tropical fruits with cocoa gel. Just glorious.

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9/10

Addict Food & Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Peko Peko, Fitzroy

I had only popped into Peko Peko for a quick lunch but was quietly impressed with this little gem. The flavours are simple, but very effective and done so well. I ordered one of the karage chicken lunch specials (around about the ten dollar mark) and from this taster, I’d be more than keen to check out the fully fledged menu. Chicken was crispy, tender and flavourful and the mayo, salad and rice were great accompainments. We’re really spoiled for great Japanese here in Smith Street, and I’m just a little sad that I didn’t discover the wonders of Peko Peko earlier!

pekopeko

8/10

Peko Peko Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hanabi Sushi, Fitzroy

On my final discoveries of all places Japanese on Smith Street, I headed into Hanabi Sushi to check out their offerings. They’re open 11am to 7pm and I popped in twice for lunch to check out their hot offerings and their hand rolls. There’s usually a bit of a queue but the service is fast, as is any ordered meals. Quite cheap, the teriyaki chicken don is $8.40 and the sushi rolls are around the $2.50 mark. The teriyaki sauce on the chicken is a good seasoning and there’s a lot. Most of the chicken was nice but a occasional chewy bit wasn’t quite as good. I rated the hand rolls, good ratio of meat to rice.

hanabi

hanabi-sushiroll

6.5/10

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

Radhey Kitchen and Chai Bar, Fitzroy

Echoing some of the other feedback, whilst the food at Radhey Kitchen and Chai Bar is good, it can taste a bit dry. I went with two options for $10.80 with a side of rice for $2.50. My two choices were the vegetable green curry and the baked potato. A topping of a tomato-based sauce was offered on the potato dish, which might have helped as it tasted a bit bland by itself. It’s healthy and more guilt free, but some creamier or richer components would have helped to elevate the dish.

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I did enjoy the curry and although the flavours weren’t quite proper thai green curry, it was worthwhile. The basmati also was on the dry side, so that curry sauce certainly came in handy. Service at the Radhey Kitchen and Chai bar was fair, and there’s a lot of charm about the place with hare krishna posters and the like. Fresh and fast soul food is their motto and it delivered to that mostly.

6.5/10

Radhey Kitchen and Chai Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato