The worst thing about being away from Melbourne during Covid – aside from not seeing my friends and family and y’know, the death and disease – was the fear that all the amazing restaurants I’ve yet to try will have shut down during my involuntary exile. And whilst many restaurants certainly bit the dust, Pentolina was not one of them, and now dining is (more or less) back, it seems just as popular as ever. Pentolina embodies everything I love about dining in Melbourne – its unexpected retro glamour tucked away next to a parking garage, the effortless old-world European comfort it exudes, and of course, the warm welcome and hospitality from each and every one of the staff.
I first came across Westwood Pizza via my favourite way for discovering new restaurants; that’s to say, completely accidentally. We were on our way out from a delicious dinner at Continental Deli when I spotted the tiny little shop across the road with a pizza oven tucked into the back. It certainly didn’t look like much, but one peek inside at the succinct menu scrawled onto the chalkboard changed my mind – honey, smoked eel, black garlic – the pizza toppings (not all on the same pizza of course!) read like the shopping list for a fancy deli, and doubled my resolve to visit.
I had been resisting the lure of Happy Ending Burgers for the best part of a year by now, but after a long day at work and a solid session at the gym, I decided it was finally time to treat myself. Located on the quaint main shopping strip in Concord, happy ending is more or less the eminent burger place in the surrounding swathe of suburbs. Backed by those of Mr Gee’s fame, happy endings is purported to do a mean burger, plus some top-notch fried chicken. But funnily enough, no desserts, despite its name.
I love vegan food – there, I said it. But I feel like this turnabout is less due to any personal development on my part, and more attributable to the fact that vegan food in Sydney is a little magical. Ramen, Pizza, Laksa – you name it, and they can do a vegan version that tastes miraculously similar to its animal-containing alternative, and probably taste better to boot. I will take a little credit however; it wasn’t so long ago that I was denouncing vegan food in favour of fried chicken.
I was craving some easy sushi, and seeing as Sushi Hotaru has been leaving me wanting more often than not these days, I decided to expand my horizons a little. Armed with an old recommendation for Sushi Wow in Newtown, I decided to get over my mental block for the name – seriously, what kind of name is Sushi Wow? – and actually try it based on its merits as a sushi train. When I first walked in, I was quite impressed (wowed?). But it’s not the interior that caught my attention; the place basically looks like your standard sushi train restaurant, albeit a clean and welcoming one. What I was impressed with was the sushi train itself, which tottered…
I treated myself to a fancy staycay a few weeks back, and whilst I was in the area, I decided to check out Chester White Cured Diner. Because what’s a holiday without a good meal? Chester White has always been on my to-eat list, but it was bumped up a few dozen places after my dinner at Buffalo Dining Club. Not only are they similarly-styled restaurants, they were also formerly owned by the same people. So if Buffalo was amazing, then surely Chester White can only do so wrong.