Bistecca was originally going to be my birthday dinner this year, but then, y’know, Covid happened. Thankfully once the worst of the first wave was over, not only did Bistecca reopen quick-smart, they also started accepting bookings for groups of any size. This was extremely good news, because apparently smaller parties used to have to show up at 4pm to scribble your name on a piece of butcher’s paper on the door, and hope you get a call sometime later that night.
Malaysian food is the name of the game today, and apparently Temasek is where people have been going since 1992 for the good stuff. Temasek is non-descript in the best way possible. It’s an unceremonious hole-in-the-wall type restaurant where you can be sure that the food is good, because people certainly don’t keep coming back for the location or décor. And indeed, although the interior looks like every Chinese restaurant from the 90s, the giveaway is in the front window, which is plastered full of awards and press cuttings from over the decades.
One of the things I was most disappointed to have missed out on during my Japan trip was the authentic izakaya experience. I was so keen to chase up that perfect bowl of ramen – this was 2012 and good ramen absolutely did not exist in Melbourne – that I didn’t spare much time for anything else. And whilst I certainly don’t regret eating a bowl of noodles (sometimes two) a day, I do wish I had made time for even just one late-night izakaya trip. At least I have my 2022 honeymoon to Japan to look forward to; that is, if we’re let off this Covid Coaster by then!
Can I get a hell yeah for all-you-can-eat mussels and fries? Because that’s exactly what we’re doing at Loluk Bistro today. I’m not usually huge on French cuisine, as I find it often not well-made enough to justify the high price tag. But at $29pp for all the mussels and fries my terrified stomach can handle, I was in. The premise is pretty straight-forward – make your booking online for a Thursday night, then rock up, pick the type of sauce you want your shellfish cooked in, and they’ll just keep offering you more until you cry uncle. Sounds pretty good hey?
I love fusion cuisine. When done right, it is such a great opportunity for innovation and excitement, and often offers up new flavour combinations that I never could have thought of, yet leaves me wondering why more people haven’t jumped on board already. Unfortunately, fusion is often done… not right, and you end up with some weird and not-very-wonderful things, such as tuna carpaccio topped with parmesan. However, when it comes to Bar Pesta, I’ve heard nothing but good things about its Asian-fusion pasta dishes, so it seemed like a pretty good bet for a low-key date night.
I had naively shown up at Strathfield at 5:45pm on a Saturday night, absolutely starving, with the intention of having some Korean BBQ. As it turns out, this is actually a rather popular pastime for the locals, and not feeling like waiting upwards of 2 hours at the restaurant I had originally intended to eat at, I decided to have a wander around and see what else was available. And although most places in the area were plagued with a dismally long queue, I was lucky enough to nab the last remaining table at Jo Ja Ryong. The menu at Jo Ja Ryong looked suspiciously familiar when I first laid eyes on it. As it turns out, they are affiliated…