Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Clearing Out My Backlog - Part 2

Monga Izakaya, Glen Waverley

Grilled squid

Grilled Chicken and Chicken Skin Skewers

Chicken Karaage

Baked Scallops

Grilled Salmon Fish Head

Squid Ink Rice

I came here with Thanh and Kim one Friday evening for an overdue catchup. The restaurant was nestled in the hustle and bustle of the main strip of Glen Waverley, where there were packed out restaurants everywhere.

Overall, I wouldn't say that this was my favourite Izakaya in Melbourne. The squid was rubbery and too saucy. Chicken karaage was crumbed instead of battered. Salmon head was moist but way too burnt. Although, I must say that the highlight of the night was the squid ink rice. Absolutely delicious. 

Using Kim as an excuse as she was preggers at the time, we decided to go for a second dinner across the road at Papparich -- which was a wicked idea by the way. To be honest, I didn't care much about what we were eating that night as I was more there for the catchup and boy oh boy did we have a GREAT time or what. Had so much laughs that our stomachs were in stitches all night. Which reminds me, I need to call them up for another dinner soon.

Monga Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Ishiya Stone Grill, CBD

Potato salad

Mini Wagyu Skewers 
(as part of the Tues & Wed set meal)

Grilled Salmon Belly

Roast Duck Breast Stone Grill - $29.90

Aged Tenderloin Steak and Tiger Prawns Stone Grill - $38.90
(as part of the Tues & Wed set meal)

Ishiya Deluxe Stone Grill - $39.90

Teppanyaki Fried Rice - $6.90

Ishiya Stone Grill in the CBD is a place that I've been more than 5 times already as it is a place that my aunt/uncle like to take us to when they're in town. Besides that, I also decided to bring my good friends who were visiting from Perth one evening too. 

I enjoy my meal here every time. I think the steaks are of good quality and the experience of eating/cooking your food on a hot stone to your liking never gets old. Plus, they have all these dipping sauces on the side for you to try that each bite is just different and delicious. Besides getting the stone grill steaks, we also always order the grilled salmon belly which is absolutely DELICIOUS. Grilled till crisp and melts in your mouth. You have to get it when you're here.

Overall, Ishiya is actually more affordable than people think. For $30+ you can actually get a pretty decent steak dinner. Plus, a different kind of experience in a comfortable setting too. Besides that, they do a different kind of promotion every night of the week too -- great value for money. I do recommend you try if you haven't been. 

Ishiya Stone Grill on Urbanspoon

Napier Hotel, Fitzroy

Burger with Chips

Pork Belly with Crackling Special

Kangaroo Fillet with Chips

Braised Beef on Mash Special

Crispy Skin Barramundi

Sticky Date Pudding

I've been to Napier Hotel twice now. The first time we came here was my friend asked me to pick a gastropub to celebrate his birthday. It sounded good on Urbanspoon so we gave it a go.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal. It was decent and okay. No complaints. Was it the best gastropub? Probably not but boy are they popular (luckily they took bookings). That said, the standout dish at Napier Hotel was the kangaroo fillet. They were friggin tasty and delicious! From the way they marinated and seasoned the meat, to the way they cooked it till its tender. Everyone agreed that it was the dish of the day, quite unassumingly so, in fact.

My mate Calvin and I (who was there with me at the birthday dinner that night) liked it so much that we came back again a second time a few weeks later just to order the kangaroo fillet. In terms of setting, I still think Napier Hotel leans more towards the pub than a gastropub as table setting was very, very casual (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). It's not like people who go there (including us) mind anyway, but just giving you guys a heads up in case you do.

Napier Hotel on Urbanspoon

Sushi Hotaru

Salmon Sashimi with Red Onion

Beef Tataki with Red Onion

Aburi Salmon

Assorted Sashimi

Aburi Scallops and Salmon

Unagi Roll

Tempura Udon

Prawn and Egg Temaki

Prawn Cutlets

Aburi Scallops

I am very careful about where I bring my parents to dinner in Melbourne. Mainly because we don't eat out often (as parents prefer to cook at home, so do I) and they've travelled all the way from Malaysia for a visit. So when we do eat out, I try to make sure it's something they'd enjoy.

Heard about Sushi Hotaru from so many people. I am so sorry to say that my parents and I did NOT enjoy our meal here. Not even close. Everything we had that night was sub par. Sashimi wasn't fresh. Rice was so stiff. Tempura was hard instead of crispy. Everything was really cold and lacked flavour. Plus, I think that their pricing strategy to make everything $3 only limits the choices for premium ingredients (no sight of salmon belly, wagyu or soft shell crab that night) or reduces the portions to almost a measly quantity. I did not like the uniform pricing at all.

This place just did not do it for us at all. If you've had Sushi Train in Adelaide, you would know that the food at that sushi train restaurant there was WAY more superior than the one at Sushi Hotaru. Hands down. 

Once again, Melbourne lacks a good sushi train restaurant. And I know that many people feel my pain and think that this is the answer to their prayers but sadly, it wasn't the case for me. Back to square one. Food here didn't do it for us at all... NEXT!

Sushi Hotaru on Urbanspoon

Pacific House, Richmond

Crispy Skin Pork (or Siew Yoke)

Roast Duck

Pipis in XO Sauce with a side of Chinese Doughnuts (not pictured)

Golden Fried Chicken Ribs (or Chicken Ribs with Salted Duck Egg)

Claypot Sichuan Eggplant

Pi Pa Tofu

3 Egg Spinach

Steamed Eel in Black Bean Sauce

Almost everyone who knows me know that I friggin' LOVE Pacific House, Richmond. It was the very first restaurant I ate when I arrived in Melbourne 6 years go. In fact, my cousin took us straight here after he picked us up at the airport. Pacific House, Richmond is the No. 1 go to restaurant for a family dinner. I'm not exaggerating when I say I must have come here more than 30 times by now... And the funny thing is, it STILL doesn't get old. In fact, I was just here again last week and the week before.

What Pacific House, Richmond is famous for is their roast duck. Their damn roast duck that tastes so damn good every single time. The uber crisp skin, succulent meat with the incredibly tasty sauce at the bottom. It is always the first dish that hits the table. And the experience of taking the first bite of duck at every meal here just puts such a smile on our faces and reminds us once again why we come back. Uh-MAY-zing.

I also like how they always give a bowl of complimentary soup at the start of the meal (which you could order seconds, if you wish). It's always so rich in flavour and feels so warm going down the throat. They do really good soups. We've ordered so many dishes here as well over the years. Their other roast meat dishes isn't nice so I would just stick to the roast duck. I also highly recommend the steamed black bean eel. Besides that, they do the best golden fried chicken ribs. As for veg, the 3 egg spinach is good alternative to the standard oily fried veg.

People often ask me what my thoughts are on the other Pacific House branches. South Yarra is absolute crap to me and I would suggest people stay far away from it. The CBD branch is a different concept to this as their menu is of the HK Cafe (or "char chan teng") style so dishes are more individually portioned and also has things like cheese baked rice, doll noodles, toast etc. 

Anyway, Pacific House Richmond holds a very dear place in my heart and I always look forward to my visit here. Definitely one of my top favourites in Melbourne.

Pacific Seafood BBQ House on Urbanspoon

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