My love for Miznon needs no introduction. Ever since my very first visit, I have been absolutely smitten with this powerhouse of Israeli street food – a love that’s only grown with (many) subsequent visits. I just can’t get enough of their pillowy pitas, packed full of scrumptious ingredients, and their amazing take on fresh produce – whole head of roasted cauliflower anyone? And let’s not even let me near the self-serve station of tahini, pickles, and pita. So it goes without saying that I was absolutely delighted when Miznon released a brand-new dinner menu, taking their ingredients out of the pita pockets (though you can still get one if you want to!), and plating them up to share.
I’ve always thought it was a shame that Australia isn’t on board with the Michelin Star system. As great as our hat system works, it just doesn’t quite have the punch and prestige of saying that a restaurant has three Michelin Stars. In addition, it also makes it hard to compare our restaurants to those overseas, and I’m often left wondering how our hatted restaurants truly compare on the global scale. With that said though, Melbourne has picked up its share of Michelin-starred restaurants in the last couple of years; first Tim Ho Wan, and now the same fellas have decided to bring Hawker Chan across the ocean as well.
As a Melbournian, I treat waiting in line for good food like going to the dentist – a necessary evil to be endured for the greater good. But even I have my limits, and when I turned up at Hawker Chan to find the line 90 minutes long, it became a complete no-go, just like getting 8 fillings done at once. Feeling rather tired and definitely not in the mood for traipsing around the city, trying to find the next greatest thing, I instead opted to head to Bebu for a quiet and comforting Korean meal.
It may seem unbelievable, but despite living in Melbourne for all of my adult life, I’ve never had a souvlaki from Stalactites. Sure, I’ve eaten there enough times, but ordering a souva for a sit-down meal has always seemed silly to me, so I usually end up getting one of the platters instead. Plus, I got a little bit mad at them the last time I went and they took the change from my payment without asking, so I haven’t been back since. But when the Stalactites crew opened up Hella Good – a dedicated souvlaki shop – it seemed like time to bury the hatchet, and finally give the famous wrap a try.
Rarely has a restaurant impressed me on the first visit the way Tipo00 did. Their meticulously hand-crafted pasta dishes were melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious, and each subsequent visit has been similarly astounding, and well worth the ridiculous wait times. So when the geniuses behind Tipo opened Osteria Ilaria a couple years later, all of Melbourne were waiting with bated breath to see if it lived up to its reputation. As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. Following Tipo’s example, Osteria Ilaria soon snapped up another Best New Restaurant of the Year Award, with accolades coming out of its ears, and queues extending down the street. But unlike Tipo, Osteria Ilaria is not a quaint little pasta bar. Hot on the tail…
It’s been another long year, and frankly, 2017 is one year that I’m pretty happy to be leaving behind. Not that it’s been a bad year – not by a long stretch – but after the ordeals of studying to get into medicine, finishing my Masters, and organising the move up to Sydney, I’ve had enough of waiting and planning, and I’m ready to start doing. As is the tradition by now, the end of 2017 is capped off by an extravagant meal to celebrate Chris’ birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, and just generally making it through the year unscathed. And this year I was desperate to get to Kisume, the three-storey powerhouse of Japanese cuisine by the Lucas Group (c’mon,…