Misty’s Diner, Prahran, Melbourne

On the other side of the world my blog counterpart EJ was feeling the chill. Whilst London is feeling toasty, in Melbourne you can barely feel your toes.

There isn’t a better panacea for the winter blues than comfort food. And you’ll find that in it’s most hyperbole form at the true blue American Misty’s Diner. It’s off Chapel Street in Prahran section. The generous opening hours means you can dine on all things dangerous, deep-fried and naughty for most of the day. It’s a funky 50’s decor style and this is one of the two they have here in Oz. The staff are as welcoming as any roadside diner in Texas and the menu is authentic to the ‘American diner’ experience. We were checking out Misty’s Diner as part of a event with a crowd of other bloggers. The grand platter of the menu had an even mix of hits and some misses, and despite a lot of food, we actually did still leave a touch hungry due to the sharing aspect.

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Banoi, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne

Banoi is a Vietnamese restaurant right in the heart of corporate CBD focusing on the lunch crowd. I went one Friday with a friend from work to try out their Friday special – Crispy pork. Being a big lover of Pork belly i was very excited and definitely not disappointed with the Pork being crispy and well cooked.   The accompanying salad was acceptable and went well with the Pork. My only slight criticism was that the ratio of pork to salad was a bit off for me with more Pork significantly improving the dish in my opinion.  Dishes were reasonably priced based on the food and service and i will definitely be back to try out the rest of the menu.

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7.5/10

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

Hochi Mama, Melbourne CBD

Hochi Mama is a hip Vietnamese fusion restaurant nestled in the backstreets of Melbourne’s CBD. We were invited to try out their menu and had a great time in doing so. It ticked all the boxes with food largely being really good with the cocktails, service and setting also being fantastic.  If like me you enjoy Asian food but prefer it with a hint of Western influence, Hochi Mama will be right up your street. A highly recommended option would be their signature Fried Chicken Bao.

We were ordering from their legendary $59 menu which includes two small menu items, two large ones and a side. We found this was the right amount of food and were absolutely stuffed after ours. However if you’re a three-sized group or more, it makes sense to order a few more. Do make sure to leave room for dessert. The sharing aspect is a great fit for Hochi Mama, enabling you to sample a little bit of everything to find your liking. Spoiler alert: you’ll be liking a lot. The meal operated as a pretty standard starters and main affair, rather than everything coming together. I quite enjoy this, it is a departure from some of the “sharing-food-at-random-intervals” that happens at a few other places.

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Chatime, Melbourne Central, Melbourne

I’m not sure if I really find that much difference between all the tea chains here in Melbourne. But if I had to pick one that I like the most, I’d probably be Chatime. The flavours feel a little less artificial and there’s a sense of freshness about the place. That might just be due to the new fit out of the store in Melbourne Central. Friendly service and not too much of a queue, though I have seen it mega packed on a hot day. I went for sugar-less lychee tea with lychee jelly. In the absence of overt sweetness there’s not exactly a lot that’s exciting here. The lychee syrup doesn’t seem too artificial and it’s a good counter for a savoury lunch. And it is refreshing. And has jelly.

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6.5/10

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

Thai Viet Bibigo, Melbourne CBD

Thai Viet Bibigo is a little confusing in that the cuisine it serves, is well, Japanese/ Korean. Maybe there’s an easy explanation but all you need to know is that it is a place worth checking for a cheap lunch. I had a tofu teriyaki stick ($3.50) and a crispy chicken hand roll ($2.30) on my last visit and I’ve previously made the trek from South Melbourne for a sushi lunch fix on occasion too. By the way, chicken in sushi is not a thing here in the UK. Funny that.

The Thai Viet Bibigo sushi has good filling but the rice on the last occasion was a touch dried out. The hot meals are the key recommendations if you can spare a few minutes wait. I normally can’t so lean towards some of the ready choices for something faster and instant. My last visit also saw a stick of the teriyaki tofu stick (non-spicy option here). A nice, practical teriyaki paste here but also felt a bit dry. The broccoli floret adoring the end is whimsical.

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7.5/10

Thai Viet Bibigo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cookie, Melbourne

I don’t often have leaving-the-country dinners, but when I do, I pick the biggest and most central spot I know of. And Cookie is perfect for both of those. The huge space in the centre of Swanston Street accommodates many. As well as the handy spot, there’s no booking required, we could easily find a space for ourselves in the beer hall on the night. At a cursory glance it looks like a mere bar venue, but take a bite and you’ll know there’s a solid Asian-fusion kitchen. The food ordering of the beer hall component is trample-over-people and madly-queue-order at the counter.

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Food came out at a lightning pace, with dishes magically arriving upon mere moments of reclaiming one’s seat. That, or the drinks were getting to me. Probably both. The prices are as enormous as the menu, but the quality is good and I was happy with my green curry with chicken and corn dumplings, yard beans and basil ($28.50). I had swiped some of Jo’s deep fried five-spice chicken ($23.50) and that was also tasty. I enjoyed the service at Cookie for our big group and it did the trick for one of my last gasps of the eating scene.

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7.5/10

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

Mamma’s Boy, Melbourne CBD

I can’t say I was too captivated by my quick pop in at Mamma’s Boy during a work lunch with friends. I had a few bites earlier in the day, and opted for something smaller in the poached egg, bacon and cheese jaffle ($6). I did enjoy the running yolk but the sandwich was terribly dry making it a difficult eat. The menu deviates from traditional lunch options to Mexican and thai chicken curries so it’s difficult to know what’s good.

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6/10

Mamma's Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Patricia Coffee Brewers, Melbourne

As one of Melbourne’s highest rated coffee places I was naturally excited to check our Patricia. It’s in a bit more of a corporate location in Little Bourke, but you’ll still find the bright, shiny hipster staff here to happily serve you a smashing brew. The vibe of the place is great, I like the touches like the standing-read newspapers, as well as the hobo crates as makeshift outdoor seating. The staff have a lot of personality and you can get some sparkling water whilst you wait. And the coffee – solid! Great extraction, pleasant aftertaste, could have gone for seconds or thirds. I also grabbed a marshmallow, chocolate and sea salt cookie and this was yum. $4.50 for the biscuit is a bit overpriced though. But coffee game alone makes it a top pick. Now in London I miss such coffee. Sigh.

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9/10 coffee

Patricia Coffee Brewers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Belle Miette, Melbourne

The macarons are always worthwhile, if not the better of the ones in town but wasn’t completely thrilled with the gelato/ sorbet options. They’re pre-packaged, which is totally fine by me, but they were served at a much too low temperature making them solid and hard to spoon and eat. The freezer should be a little bit calmer making for the Lychee sorbet velvety and smooth. Taste-wise was fine and I will come back for the macaron options – good enough to merit taking back to New Zealand (as we did last time)! And lots of flavours. But nah, too cold this time.

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7.5/10

La Belle Miette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Dessert Kitchen, Melbourne CBD

The Dessert Kitchen is an interesting place. The dishes originate from Hong Kong, where they have over thirty stores, as well as in Manila, New York and Sydney. The menu is miles pages long, and feature quirky twists on already quirky flavour combinations. The space is also nice, split over levels and with long hours for the target crowd. I went for the signature Purple in Love and sampled some of the Green Tea with red bean mochi sago. I can’t say I was head over heels here. Most of the dish is the ice and the grape syrup is exceedingly sweet. I enjoyed everything else around the ice, and the sago was good too. A tad on the pricey side compared to the no-frills affair of Dessert Story(s), it’s a nice enough spot at The Dessert Kitchen and I’d still be keen to try out the other items.

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The Purple in Love comes with an award of some description. And it sounds interesting enough with grape seaweed ball, mini rice ball, grapes and mochi ice-cream. The grape flavour is potent (somewhat artificial) and whilst initially pleasant, the sheer sweetness overwhelms as you work your way down the bowl. The garnishes of the jelly, mochi and balls helps keep it tasty but I would have rather had more of that than the ice. I didn’t finish it.

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Ryan went with the green tea sago with red bean mochi and fed back his enjoyment of this bowl. A little more expensive than the other Asian-styled dessert options but a hell of a lot cleaner and calmer in the ambience. So that’s a positive. The crowd does vary over the day, it was quite chill in the afternoon, but from memory that space (and noise levels) perks up towards the end of the evening. Including queues. Sweet times.

7/10

The Dessert Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato