I’m always up for an izakaya meal. There’s really not much out there better than a parade of plates and nibbles, ordered over a long meal with great conversation, and maybe a drink or two. Nakano Darling is one of the new kids on the block, located in the shiny Darling Square dining precinct. The décor may not be classically Japanese, but the vibe it evokes is unmistakeable. It is undeniably cool with its collection of neon street signs, tatami seating with wooden crates for tables, and quirky Japanese ads projected onto the concrete walls. It stops just shy of trying too hard, and the result is very appealing indeed.
Mary’s in Sydney is like what Huxtaburger is to Melbourne; it’s a stark divider from the before, where burgers are limited to either fast food, or sandwiches slapped carelessly together on the counter of a fish and chip shop. Their arrival marked the beginning of a change in the burger scene in their respective cities. All of a sudden, the burger was elevated beyond a greasy hangover cure. In came the brioche buns, the good quality beef (with the cheese melted over the top, of course), and the hunt for the perfect combination of sauces that makes you want another burger the moment you’ve finished your first.
I have a bad and occasionally self-destructive habit of not being able to put things down once I start them, whether it be a new book, hobby, or TV series. Once I start something, I feel obligated to continue with it regardless of whether I still enjoy it, or feel crushingly guilty when I finally let myself stop. So even though I’ve left Melbourne for the time being, I just can’t bring myself to stop following the food scene, even though on some days it feels like way too much work to keep up with what’s happening on the culinary front in both Melbourne and Sydney.
As unbelievable as it may seem, I have finished the first year of medical school! It was simultaneously the longest and shortest year ever; whilst it felt like classes would never end, the assessments just came rushing up one after another. Almost before I even realised, I was stumbling out of my final exams, absolutely drained after the 7-hour ordeal, and ready for some sustenance and a drink. Refusing to walk any more than absolutely necessary (I still can’t believe that Sydney is such a shocker to get around – I miss Melbourne’s trams heartily), I decided to make camp at Since I Left You, aka SILY, a rather hipster sort of bar hidden away between 3 heritage-listed storehouses in…
Long days call for fried chicken. And seeing as I’m far past the age where I can have a meal of nothing but fried foods without mentally preparing myself for at least a week in advance, I decided to hit up Belly Bao for some modern Asian tapas – with a side of fried chicken, of course! Despite serving food that is best described as pan-Asian, Belly Bao (isn’t the name just adorable!!) is decked out in a very much funky tropical style. There is greenery galore, and a huge, colourful mural depicting summery fun-times.
Out of all the restaurants I’ve left behind in Melbourne, one of the ones I miss the most is Dexter. I’ve never come across anything quite like it before, and I’m basically obsessed with their amazing take on American BBQ. So it would come as no surprise that on a recent weekend trip to Melbourne, I made a beeline for the Takeaway Pizza, the sophomore creation by the clever folks behind Dexter. Takeaway Pizza has been a long time coming, a journey not helped by the bunch of morons who gutted the kitchen of $50000 of new equipment late last year. But finally, the pizza oven was reinstalled, the ice machine replaced, and the restaurant opened after months of foodie…