Monday, June 27, 2011


After a visit to the Slow Food farmer's market at the Abbotsford Convent...and, after our breakfast at the Convent Bakery, we still decided to go to have coffee which in reality turned out to be breakfast version 2.  There is something wrong with this behaviour. It's the same behaviour that drives me to eat tacos AND a burger. I'm out of control.

I ended up having the bircher muesli with poached fruits and honey yoghurt and we ordered some banana bread to share. I personally expected the banana be...more like bread and less like cake.

In general, APTE is a nice space. I love the courtyard setting and outdoor seating area. But perhaps of what we ordered, everything was incredibly, incredibly sweet. It was like a sugar hit that a 5 year old needs at 9pm. Thats how much we (or  namely, I) needed that sugar hit.

On that note, it's probably worth trying, but I'm not itching to go back.

Apte, 538 Heidelberg Road, Alphington
Apte on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Well, I finally did it. I have finally had Korean. That's right boys and girls - I finally went and ate at a Korean restaurant.Are you impressed?

After much deliberation my friend Denise and I opted to head to Box Hill rather than venturing into the city - more out of laziness than anything. I had signalled that wherever we go, it better be good, or I will, unfortunately, have to blame someone for putting me off Korean. I know, I'm a real nice guy. HA

I was initially reluctant to eat at a Korean BBQ place simply because...I hate cooking my own food when I'm out. Seriously...why is this a novelty? It's's effort...anyway...I digress.

Fortunately, SU:T was pretty good. The service was friendly, but was a bit intermittent, simply because they were busy (this is me being diplomatic). But they were trying and that is sometimes good enough for me.

A bowl or whatever it's called, is promptly brought to the table full of hot charcoals - and you could definitely feel the heat. Luckily we were seated in a corner of the restaurant that was fairly isolated from the main section so the smell of smoke etc...was not so bad. The adjustable extraction was also a great way to control the smoke. The waiter asked if we would like them to BBQ it for us...of course I said yes.

We just didn't flip the meat......yeh. Amateurs. So here is a lesson boys and girls...flip your meat - it burns if you don't. Anyway, it was kind of embarrassing because they changed the grill pretty much before we even had one serve of food....But in general, they changed the grill about 3-4times throughout the night. So, you don't have to worry about cooking on burnt grills.

We also ordered king prawns and mushrooms. The prawns were massive, and the mushrooms were well, mushrooms.

We ordered a dish of "chicken thigh and bulgogi" thinking it was meat we could use to put on the charcoals, but it came in a separate grill (stone grill from what we were told). Again, neither of us knew what to do...and wondered if the meat would actually cook. It did if you're wondering. The waitress must've picked up on the fact that we didn't know what to do so she came by every 10mins or so to check.

And of course, Korean friend chicken.WHAT do I need to say about Korean fried chicken? Just look at it. Seriously, just look at it. Of course it was AWESOME.

Overall, SU:T was a pretty good experience. I don't have much to compare with, but I didn't leave disappointed. The food was good, and some dishes great (the pork belly and korean fried chicken were amazing), and service was friendly enough and for a suburban restaurant, I'd definitely go back.

SU:T and Wine, 970 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill

SUT and Wine on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My urban garden...late June update.

It has been almost a month or two since my last post about my urban garden so I thought it was time to do a quick "before and after (or more accurately, now) shot. It's always exciting to see the difference, but I wish things would hurry up!

Things have indeed progressed slowly with the exception of my peas which have well and truly reached the 1.5m mark for their variety. The melting mammoths have started to show flower buds and the sugar snaps have developed their first pods.

The garlic is going well, but much much slower than what I would have expected and the weed control is painstakingly difficult. It seems like everytime I clear the garden a whole cycle of weeds regerminates competing with whatever I'm trying to grow.

You can't see in the photos, but I also sowed some mache in the garden but compared to the weeds, mache takes forever to germinate in this cold weater. I also found a dead RAT the size of a baby cat (yes, I know the term is kitten, but baby cat sounds more appropriate in this case), that lets just the time I noticed the rat was well and truly .."returned to the earth". Yes, feral...pardon the pun.

The romanesco (pictured) is also growing very slowly - but luckily survived March / April when cabbage moths were most active. Those dome things are brilliant, but I wish I had put my cabbages in a bit earlier so that they would be more established by now.

When I first planted the peas, I didn't really know how they would grow, but in retrospect I should've put more in if they only produce a small handful of peas per plant. Shame, but they took quite a while to establish but once they did they grew pretty quickly. Luckily I've staggered them in my two garden beds, so I will have some successive harvests (hopefully).

Some other stuff...
On the right, my rainbow carrots which are about 15cm high. I lost some during one of the "weeding" exercises. I don't know if carrots grow well in this weather, but we'll see what happens as it seems a lot of the farmers at the markets have well and truly established their crops.

And of course, my broadbeans, some big and some small varieties. I have no idea what is what anymore, I sort of just sowed them at the time and forgot to label.I finally staked them after they were collapsing because well, I thought they didn't need to be staked! To the right is my other patch, with the peas starting to also take off. It took an incredibly long time for them to really start to accelerate in growth (also some mache, which you can't see, some wom bok and garlic).

My garden.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Southern Ocean Lodge - Food

Kangaroo Island has a strong epicurean scene with local artisan producers of dairy, honey and shellfish. The philosophy of the Southern Ocean Lodge is to source local, seasonal, and in some cases, organic produce. The dining philosophy is that everything is included, a rotating menu to allow guests to sample some of the produce Kangaroo Island, and South Australia has to offer. This of course, extends right through to their wines and beers.

There is just too much to detail and frankly, my memory isn't that amazing.


What better way to start each morning than with a refreshing smoothie.

WHY do they just leave this to self service. I have no self control.
The biggest coffee I've had. It's practically a bowl of coffee.
Wild pine mushrooms with a poached egg on ciabatta.


Some lunches were better than others, but generally good quality produce. Simple and indeed light, but often the courses allowed for quite a bit of food.The organic lemon curd was pretty damn good.



Our final dinner was one of the best, with a consomme of local abalone, duck, salad and chocolate delice. Perfect progression of food.

The food at Southern Ocean Lodge, is in general excellent. Breakfast could have been more sophisticated in the execution (ie, fried eggs in rings? seriously? poached eggs done in glad wrap - not served with the glad wrap, but you can tell...seriously?). Lunch and dinner was where the lodge excelled. Dinner of course, was up there with some of the better restaurants in Melbourne. I love the concept of having dinner "whenever you feel...", but often that'd be about 7.30 for us!

Prior to dinner each night, we also had canapes and drinks. It was more a time for us to relax, continue reading the book that I tried so hard to read during the day but was constantly distracted by the amazing views. what more could you ask for? Alcohol, wood fire, grand spaces and canapes and a good book. Overall, we didn't leave disappointed with the food. It wasn't flawless, but it was by far better than what I had expected in such a remote location.

Oh, on our last day as we were about to depart Kangaroo Island, we decided to visit Andemal (the Marron farm). Look, they do need a bit of assistance in the menu...but the marron was good, despite the "auxillary" items in the dish. We'll just leave it at that!

Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, South Australia