Malamay

Secretly located to the left of the Realm reception with no clear signs from the outside, I’m surprised that anyone finds this place. Malamay was one of those restaurants where I had heard many good things and I had been meaning to go for a long time but it wasn’t until my friend organised for his birthday dinner there (part I) did I finally get to go.

There are only different choices of set menus/degustations to probably make it easier on the kitchen and allow them to focus their talents on a small range of plates rather than a large number of options with mediocre food. We chose the six course degustation ($88 per person) because it had a nice variety and it also included dessert but with so many dietary requirements between us, we turned out to be ‘that difficult table’. image

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Dim mood lighting, great for romantic dates but terrible for food blogging. I had to hold the awkward orb light towards each dish without dropping it in the food so please excuse the photos.

First course~

Pan seared shrimp cake with shredded seafood and cucumber jelly – I like shrimp cake because I’ve grown up with it, so for me this wasn’t anything special but I did enjoy the refreshing cucumber jelly. I also found the texture of the seafood salad underneath to resemble overcooked pasta and unappetizing. As the first dish of the night, it did make me nervous about the rest of the meal. image

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Tofu ricotta with chillied mushroom relish – the vegetarian/non prawn/non seafood eating option.

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Second course~

Three chilli relish prawns with hand-made noodles – A nice kick of spice. It was fabulous that they had a perfect balance of heat from the chili while the dish was served cold. It left a lovely tingling burning sensation on my lips.

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Mirin & soy soba noodles  – the vegetarian/non prawn/non seafood eating option.

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Third course~

White fish with burnt green chilli and black bean radish crumbs – The fish was juicy and tender but the broth was weird like it was pickled mustard or something, I was not a fan!

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Vegetarian, no prawns and no seafood of any kind – even I started to get confused! They brought out a gluten free option (surprisingly none on the table) so I don’t know exactly who this was for.

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Slow cooked eggplant with chillied sticky rice – An a-mazing tender eggplant with an even better broth. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was tasting but I knew I wanted more but it wasn’t my dish. image

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Fourth course~

Winter garden enoki mushroom salad  – the vegetarian/non prawn/non seafood eating option.

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Pork and prawn tortellini with cumin, paprika and chilli oil – Before you eat, take the time to enjoy the fragrance of the spices and the oil. These mouth watering dumplings left you wanting more. I wonder if I could replicate these at home… Hmmmmm

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Fifth course~

Sous- vide wagyu beef cheek with aged shaoshing wine and goji berries – no seafood optimage

Crispy tofu with aged shaoshing wine and goji berries – vegetarian option

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Cape Grim beef fillet with minced green lip abalone congee – I love congee but this was out of this world! The rice was blended to an only just recognisable texture, it was salty and served nice and hot. Perfectly seasoned congee topped with soft tender beef and a delicate slice of abalone.

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Sixth course~

Chocolate charcoal with yoghurt cream, pistachio and mandarin crumb – A bold choice to serve everyone dark chocolate and citrus together because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but the mandarin isn’t the strongest component of the dish, there is a decent amount of heat and strong taste of rich cocoa. A marvellous contrast between the chilli bite in the chocolate and the cooling effect of the yoghurt.

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Overall I enjoyed my meal, I felt that some dishes were a miss for my palette and I left feeling content but not in the slightest bit full and I probably could have eaten the degustation twice over.

I couldn’t help but wonder, did my Asian background find comfort in the familiar tastes and textures which might not appeal to everyone? With so many positive reviews I think not. Maybe go in with an open mind and palette and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

With attentive staff, romantic atmosphere and exciting food, I will be returning very soon.

Venue: Malamay

Address: 1 Burbury Cl, Barton, Canberra

Phone: (02) 6162 1220

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Cookie

With a bustling city like Melbourne where there is so much fashion to look at and so many restaurant shop fronts to peer into, I never think to look up, so when I went on the hunt for Cookie located on Swanston street, I was surprised to find such a busy restaurant on the first floor of a building that I had walked past a hundred times before.

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As I walked in I had to double check the sign on the door. The decor didn’t resemble an Asian restaurant at all.

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The service staff was friendly and attentive and if you beat the lunch rush, the food comes out very fast.

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Small dish~

Peppered pork sticks wrapped in betel leaves with pork and peanut relish ($12.50). It’s really hard to describe the taste but the pork was really  crispy and juicy and it was the nicest dish during lunch.

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Medium dishes~

Salmon, prawn and pomelo salad with ginger and lemongrass ($24.50). With such a large menu and not knowing where to begin, we took ordering advice from the waiter and he suggested a refreshing salad with the hot weather. I’m not the biggest fan of big chunks of salmon but I found the pomelo flesh (that looked waaaay too similar to wobbly raw fish) more off putting. I also didn’t think that the salad components went well together and the only thing that made it ‘Asian’ was the shallot, coriander, lemongrass and ginger that was just thrown on top. 

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Pad thai rice noodles with egg, bean curd and sprouts ($17.50). I don’t know if it was just our dish and the chef just made a bad batch but this was crazily salty even when I squeezed a lot of lime on top. It wasn’t too bad the first serve but when I went back for seconds after eating something else, it was definitely evident that there was too much salt.

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Cute receipt holder.

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Even on a Friday and with so many neighbouring restaurants, Cookie was packed by 1pm with everyone around me enjoying a casual drink with their lunch. So I couldn’t figure it out, did I just happen to order the wrong things or did everyone around me like different food? With so many places in Melbourne to eat, I’m not sure if I’d come back to find out.

Venue: Cookie

AddressCBD 252 Swanston St, Melbourne

Phone(03) 9663 7660

 

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Rockpool Bar and Grill – Melbourne

Knowing that we were going to Melbourne, we organised dinner quick smart and booked a table at the Rockpool weeks ahead. They confirmed numbers with my friend three times and because we were a table of 10+, it was going to be a $50 pp cancellation fee with less than 24hrs notice.

Heading into the restaurant, all I could smell was beef, I almost drifted in the air following my nose up to the counter. When we sat down we had perfect lighting but because everyone else was running late it was ever so dim when all the food arrived. image

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While waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive, we ordered fancy pants drinks and thoroughly browsed the menu.

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Each menu is printed daily on an A3 sheet featuring different cows.

Hot starter~

Lobster omelette with prawn sauce3 eggs, 50g of lobster, white wine, cream and a whole lot of other delicious things topped with a prawn bisque ($35.00). Decadence on a plate! Amazing flavours but it is a little on the heavy side.

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Mains~

Wagyu Bolognaise with Hand Cut Fettuccine ($25.00). Tim really enjoyed how pasta but luckily he also ordered the lobster omelette because the serving size was literally the size of a small ball of yarn.

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Beef from the wood fired grill David Blackmore full blood Wagyu (all Wagyu from 9+ marble score animals). Rump 240g 23 days ($95.00). I know they have a long list of options for sides but I was slightly taken by surprise that $95.00 only gets you a steak and a wedge of lemon on the plate. I’ve been plenty disappointed with a lot of $50.00 steaks and this was just a beautiful piece of meat that was well seasoned, lovingly prepared and quickly eaten.

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Cape Grim dry aged 36 month old grass fed Rib Eye on the bone 350g 56 days ($60.00). Another friend got the rib eye and said he enjoyed our rump better.

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Condiment service ~

mustards, barbeque sauce, harissa

 

Sides~

Mac and Cheese ($12.00) – Big tubes of rich cheesy pasta, everything you want in a mac and cheese. My favourite side by far!

Boiled Mixed Greens with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Lemon ($9.00) – Health conscious people, there’s one on every table and this is what they ordered. Nothing particularly special but I guess it was nice to have something green after the omelette and mac and cheese.

Baby Nicola Potatoes Sautéed in Wagyu Fat with Garlic and Rosemary ($12.00) not pictured – had a very strong garlic and rosemary taste.

Mushy Peas with a Slow Cooked Egg ($12.00) – Tim ordered this based on a server’s recommendation who said this was out of this world. Despite not liking peas, I had a few bites anyway. I didn’t spit them out and they tasted ok but it wasn’t the dish that converted me to liking peas. Tim said it was underwhelming also.

I was hoping the staff didn’t notice that they wanted us out by 8:30pm (we had a 6:30 booking) and it was approaching 9pm. I thought we had a real chance of sneaking in a dessert but alas, it was like they read my devious thoughts and in an instant 5 servers took all our plates away and it was like we never had a meal. 

Just a heads up with groups of 10+ people they have a ‘recommended service charge’ of 10% on the bill which you can pay ‘at your discretion’.

Venue: Rockpool bar and grill

AddressCrown Complex, Southbank VIC 3006

Phone(03) 8648 1900

Opening hoursLunch Sunday to Friday, Dinner 7 Days

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