Josie Bones and Messina

Had you asked me a couple of years ago if I could see myself going to a “nose to tail” restaurant, I would have said no. It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I was a vegetarian. But this past Friday I found myself at Josie Bones on Smith St in Collingwood. Naturally I’d had a peek at the menu beforehand and although some things seemed way too much for me I was still intrigued. Josie Bones 1

The very large skinned rabbit behind the bar is rather intimidating and mesmerising all at once.   We wondered whether it was a photo or painted. It’s still a mystery. While waiting for the last of our group to arrive we ordered drinks, from the over 30 page beverage menu- it even had a contents page. Josie Bones: St Rohan's cider

I went for the apple cider that was on tap. I liked the bone on my glass. Josie Bones 2Because we were also impatient and hungry we ordered some fries with chipotle aioli. Super salty and delicious. Josie Bones: friesOnce we were all there we perused the dinner menu. It isn’t huge but the options sound tasty and interesting. Josie Bones: smoked potato and aged chedder croquet

The smoked potato and aged chedder croquets came out first. Incredible. I could quite happily have eaten these all night. Josie Bones: rolled pigs headThis is a rolled pigs head- not my favourite thing. We also had a confit of chicken with a cabbage and cauliflower gratin, a beetroot carpacio with haloumi, grilled zucchini and squash, and beef cheeks cooked in mulled wine. I didn’t get photos of all of these…Josie BonesBut this is how it all looked when we were nearly done. The plates were close to clean not long after this.

We were pleasantly full and declined the dessert menu before it was suggested we check out Messina Gelato, which had opened up the road only a week or so earlier. As a follower of theirs on instagram I almost bolted out the door.

Initially I thought it was a nightclub thanks to the line of people and general loiterers out the front. We quickly joined the end of the line and were given a menu to peruse while we waited- brilliance in my opinion so that no one was holding up the flow when they got to the front, well unless you were torn between flavours and required testers. In addition to the menu there is also a specials board. My head was going to explode there were so many flavours that I would happily devour and yet I had to narrow it down. The choice became somewhat more simple when I clapped eyes on one of the specials… Peanut pretzel brownie: peanut gelato studded with pretzel bits and chunks of brownies. Oh man. Messina gelato

There it is being scooped… I nearly changed my mind upon seeing the one up front though, which was called “So wrong that it’s right”. Messina Gelato: peanut pretzel brownieI stuck with my choice and was very pleased that I did. There was a hint of caramel through it too that gave a snickers bar in gelato vibe that blew me away. The brownie chunks were huge and I saved them for the end making sure to keep a generous coating of peanut gelato around them. I’m salivating now just thinking about it!

If you happen to find yourself on Smith St both of these places are worth a visit.

 

 

Miss Chu

Most nights of the week I am a bit of a shut in. I get home from work, the BF and I cook dinner and proceed to sloth it on the couch for the rest of the evening. I tend to start getting ready for bed around 9pm. I love sleep.

I broke out of my routine this week and visited a friend on the south side for some dinner and gossip.

Not really knowing where to go I let her take the lead and she crushed it. A two minute walk from her house to Toorak Rd and we were inside Miss Chu.IMG_4826I looked up and loved the fact that the light shades were bowls. I’m sure we had some of them in our house when I was a kid. IMG_4825

Time to order. The menu isn’t huge but it was still a difficult task to decide. As you would imagine the drinks menu proclaimed ME THIRSTY! Tick what you want an wait for your waitress. IMG_4827

IMG_4828The lighting was a wee bit dim, so my friend’s coconut-lychee-cucumber slushie doesn’t look as good as it tasted. You can even get these babies with a slosh of vodka for a couple of extra bucks. IMG_4829First up we had rice paper rolls. Egg, avocado and caramelised onion. Delicious. I easily could have eaten both.  IMG_4830

Lemongrass beef with noodles, chilli and coriander (cilantro). I ended up eating the lion’s share of this bowl. Punchy, fresh perfection.

After this one another round of rice paper rolls arrived for my companion and my green pawpaw and tiger prawn salad hit the table. I dug in so quickly there was no time for a photo… IMG_4831

Everything we ordered was fresh, flavoursome and light enough that you could clean the plate and not feel uncomfortably full. My kind of meal.

Next time I will definitely be ordering a coconut slushie.

Oh, and if you live in the area… they deliver.

 

Chin Chin

I’ve heard a lot about Chin Chin and had a card in my wallet for some time but had never actually been. It’s one of the (seemingly) many places in Melbourne that has a “no reservations” policy. Not only is there a no reservations policy but if you’re whole party is not present, you will not be seated. So, despite the place being nearly empty I had to wander down to the bar while I was waiting for my dinner companion to arrive.

IMG_1947Back upstairs we were seated at the barIMG_1950And rather than focusing on the menu I was immediately mesmerised by the chefs. We did manage to tear our eyes away from the delicious and fresh looking food long enough to order. It was a tough decision, my dear friend is not a fan of seafood so we avoided the mouth watering salt and pepper calamari (next time my pretty, next time…)IMG_1951First up, the pulled pork pancake wraps. IMG_1952We got two each, I could have eaten all four!IMG_1953Chicken and sweet corn dumplings were up next, not my favourite. IMG_1954The wagu beef and hand rolled noodles however nearly knocked my socks off! Partly because at one point I got a punch in the face of chilli and also because they were super delicious.

We chatted, ate and marvelled at how good the food was. All the while still staring intermitently over the bar and into the open kitchen.

Then it was time to order dessert. Since August last year, when I decided to ditch refined sugar, desserts have not regularly appeared on my menus. However, all of the desserts on the menu sounded so good it was hard to refuse them all… IMG_1955Especially when one of them was banana stuffed roti with sweetened condensed milk sauce. OH. MY. GOD. This was quite possibly the most impressive dessert I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. It was banana-y and cinnamon-y and sweet and just so damn good I may have continued to mop up the sauce with my finger when the little pillows of roti were gone…

Everything we ordered (with the exception of the dumplings) was delicious, and didn’t leave you feeling like to had eaten too much, which I always appreciate if I have eaten a little too much. IMG_1957

Matsumoto

Could it be that another cuisine is muscling in and attempting to knock my beloved Mexican off its number one perch?

If anything was going to be able to achieve such a feat it would be Japanese. And that brings me to… IMG_1723Matsumoto. There are a couple of Japanese places near our place but Matsumoto is by far the favourite. There are many delicious things on the menu, there are a few things I find it difficult to go past though.

IMG_1724Mixed stir fried vegetables. I don’t know how they do these or what sauce they’re flicked around in, but I do know that no stir fried vegetables have never tasted like this coming out of my kitchen.

IMG_1725Gyoza. I think I could eat these everyday of the week. Pork and cabbage, sorry vegetarians, these are a meat only situation.

IMG_1726Marinated fried chicken and salad. This was a new addition to our order, a very welcome one I will say.

IMG_1727The food never disappoints. It’s tasty, light and quick to your table. How can you go wrong?

Matsumoto Japanese Restaurant 
9380 9288
48 Lygon St, Brunswick East

The Mill on Morrison

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IMG_1757After a slightly rude welcome from the host, which was thoroughly made up for by our incredible waitress, we settled ourselves on some couches and got down to the serious business of menu examination. Decisions… Decisions…

IMG_1752Sometimes I find tapas entirely overwhelming, I want pretty much everything on the menu and as a result find decision making difficult.

IMG_1751Bread baked in a pot. A ball of butter. Mixed olives- green stuffed with cheese, crumbed and fried; warm wild, kalamata, straight up green. All were amazing, the stuffed ones so much so that we ordered extra. And then it just kept on coming…

IMG_1750Oysters. Potatoes bravas. Wine.

IMG_1748Roasted cauliflower and broccoli. Asparagus and buffalo mozzarella. Feta stuffed arancini.

IMG_1747Mushroom action shot.

IMG_1746Spanner crab and prawn soft shell taco. I didn’t share.

IMG_1744Everything disappeared nearly as quickly as it arrived. But naturally there was room for dessert. There is always room for dessert (I took the night off form being sugar free).IMG_1736Sundaes. Frosted macadamia. Peanut brittle, toffee and banana. Oh jees. I’m not sure I can adequately describe how drool-worthy these things were. Part of me wanted to jump back onto the sugar truck with both feet and eat these every single day.

IMG_1735Sundaes demolished.

Everything we ordered was smashing, and I was hard pressed to choose a favourite. But it may well have been the stuffed olives, I am going to have to attempt those sometime very soon… weekend pre dinner treats perhaps?

The Mill on Morrison
(03) 6234 3490
11 Morrison St, Hobart

The Banff

I should start by clarifying I am not talking about the popular Canadian skiing destination. As much as I would love to wax lyrical about the place the fact that I have never actually visited it makes that a little difficult.

What I am talking about is The Banff, a little St Kilda restaurant with a relaxed vibe and tasty food. The staff aren’t always the friendliest but it can be overlooked due to the speed at which your food arrives. And if you head there on a Tuesday (as I did with a couple of friends) you’ll get all the In House pizzas for $6 a pop.

IMG_1613This was my pizza, the mushroom ragu, it was not quite as ragu-ish as I remembered but still delicious. I could quite easily have eaten two.

IMG_1612There’s mine again along with the Italian sausage and olive that one of my companions enjoyed. I had a little taste, it was pretty darn good.

IMG_1616The bolognese pizza is up the back there, it, and like the two before it was also very tasty. Oh yes, and to create a little balance with all of our carbs and cheese, we got some salads too.

IMG_1614Pumpkin, goats cheese and red onion; pear and parmesan; apple, walnut and blue cheese. They were all demolished.

A perfectly relaxed Tuesday dinner.

The Banff
145 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
9525 3899