Fancy Hanks – Melbourne (near Queen Vic Markets)

56 Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel:(03) 9348 9998
fancyhanks.com/

Fancy Hanks is basically meat, meat and did I mention meat.

I got the ‘Fast Feed’ ($22), which is brisket, a chicken wing and fries. Delicious, and very filling at that. The brisket was very well cooked, moist and tender with bbq smokey flavours. The chicken wing – you have a choice of BBQ or hot. I ordered hot, and it is pretty hot. Great though, tender fried chicken smothered in hot sauce. Then the fries, these didn’t disappoint. They were beer battered, so they had some extra crunch to them. Highly recommend the ‘Fast Feed’.

There are the complimentary choice of sauces as well which include habanero/carrot sauce – pretty hot and coffee-molasses which was probably my favourite.

The side of salad succotash was o.k., probably not something I would order again. The description was sweetcorn, field peas and peppers, but it tasted more like a lot of beans, and the dressing was a tad oily for my liking.

I did love their house ginger beer ($5.50) though, it is great. Not too sweet, not your typical traditional ginger beer, but refreshing and delicious with a bit of citrus/lime to it. Highly recommend giving it a go.

Fancy Hanks has a nice casual, relaxed atmosphere and vibe to it, no table service. Patrons order at the bar, and help themselves to sauces and cutlery. You then pick up your food when your electronic buzzer goes off.

Food: 7.5/10
Value for money: 7/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Overall Score: 29.5/40
$$

Fancy Hank's BBQ Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Il lido: Darwin

illido 6Il Lido
Wharf One F3, 19 Kitchener Drive, Darwin NT 0800
Tel: (08) 8941 0900

I have been to Il Lido a few times now.

It is a restaurant by the waterfront. It is quite relaxing, peaceful, has both inside and outside seating and you can see the water and lights of the convention centre from your dining table.

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There is both a bar Il Lido and restaurant Il Lido side by side.

The one dish I keep coming back for is the little piggy pizza! ($24) It has roast pork, apple sauce, bacon… and THE most important topping – pork crackling. The pork crackling is absolutely done to perfection. Love it every time. It’s light, crispy and crunchy. Mmm. The roast pork is succulent and not dry at all. The bacon is flavourful and the apple sauce is just the right amount of sweet to balance the dish.

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I have had it three times now. However last night, for some strange reason.. they forgot the pork crackling.. so we pointed it out to the waitress, and we immediately got a plate of crackling pieces to pour over the pizza. il lido 6

The other, now favourite of mine, is the butter chicken pizza ($24). This is to die for.  Creamy, beautiful blended spices which are not over powering, succulent chicken, yogurt and coriander. I had forgotten that the Hanuman owner, also owns half of Il Lido. So apparently the Hanuman provides Il Lido with butter chicken to use as a pizza topping. il lido 4Every mouthful is just heaven.

We were told by the waitress we were lucky that they had it in stock. Apparently it either sells out quickly or some nights of the week they simply don’t have it in stock. So my one tip is probably go on a Friday or Saturday and tell them that you want to order this when you make the reservation, so they keep it in stock for you. It is really not to be missed!

A glass of red or white makes this the perfect end to a hard week’s work.

Food: 9/10
Value for money: 7.5/10
Ambience: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Overall Score: 32.5/40

* May 2015 – Note: I went back here a couple of months after I posted this, and disappointingly Il Lido had changed their set up. No longer are pizzas available at main restaurant, they were only available at the bar area. Their pizzas I felt had much less care, the pork crackling was a bit soggy and the tandoori chicken was not as good as the first time, not as creamy and generous. So hopefully this was just a one off poor encounter…

Il Lido on Urbanspoon

Surry Hills: Devon Cafe

onPvDB140481568576 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 8777
http://www.devoncafe.com.au/

The Devon Cafe, really has some outstanding food.

For a weekday lunchtime it was pretty packed. Mainly full of uni-students and young professionals.

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We ordered:

  • Breakfast with the Sakuma’s – miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63 degree egg, radish petit salad & kewpi mayonnaise ($24.5)
  • Bruschetta – roasted eggplant, hummus, labne, za’atar, coriander, fried onion on Turkish bread ($11)

 

The breakfast with Sakuma has no faults. Beautifully cooked, melt in your mouth salmon, the eel croquette is perfect – creamy mash potato with a crunchy coating, and the smokey flavour really comes through. MpoOFW1404815501The yolk of the 63 degree egg just oozeys out and becomes a sauce that combines all the elements on the plate so well together along with the spices which resembles dukkha.

The Bruschetta is so full-flavoured. I loved the eggplant and hummus combination, the chickpeas are fried and have a crunchy, light, hollow texture. Along with the hazelnuts and fried onion, it make every mouthful moreish and worth going in for another bite.

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The brownie at the end was a very was a lovely guesture. Basically there was a trainee wait-staffer who meant well, but obviously kept getting a lot of things not-quite-right…on more than just a couple of occasions and overcharged us at the end. So with the refund for the overcharged amount, came a brownie in a small brown paper bag 🙂

tSGdFq1404815637Food: 8.5/10
Value for money: 7.5/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Overall Score: 31/40
$-$$

Devon Cafe on Urbanspoon

Marrickville: Henson Gastro Pub

bQvTO51404815096WWUnD11404815296Henson Gastro Pub
91 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 9569 5858
http://www.thehenson.com.au/

The Henson was a great find. It’s fun, open and family friendly. There is a very welcoming atmosphere when you enter into this place. There were plenty of people of all ages here. Retirees, mothers groups with babies and young children who could play in the back section with a cubby-house and toys, and also young professionals on their lunch break.

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I really loved the shelves of sauces, spices and cutlery. There were five different salts you could spoon into little plastic containers to put on your food or particularly on fries I think.

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We ordered:

  • Soft shell CRAB BURGER, old bay coleslaw, ice-berg, sriarcha & chips ($16)
  • Smoked corn, celeriac, silverbeet & habernero chowder hot sourdough ($13)
  • Rhubarb, quince & cider + oat crumble, buttermilk ice-cream ($10)

The soft shell crab burger. Delicious, big thumbs up. The soft shell crab was perfectly cooked, crispy, tender and succulent. Henson believe in and use free range, organic, hormone and chemical free meat & poultry & sustainable seafood. The coleslaw was refreshing and well balanced. The fries were well cooked and moreish. I really want to try the Karaage CHICKEN BURGER, pickled greens, charred onion, miso mayo & chips; and the PORK BELLY BURGER, pickles ice-berg, kimchi kewpie, jalapeno, mustard & chips next time around.

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On to the ‘chowder’. I thought it was a full-hearty and warming soup. I probably would have labelled it a soup more than a chowder.

misn2c1404815220It had good smokey and acidic flavours coming through. I thought it wasn’t that moreish a dish though. I still was left feeling I wish there was something extra that made me go back for another spoonful. The bread was fresh and warm and the butter was of high quality and quite delicious.

Last but not least, the dessert. I really loved the buttermilk ice-cream. It is not thick and creamy, it is more like a sorbet consistency, but I still really loved it against the crunchy oats and tangy/sour taste of the rhubarb and quince. Well done. jCQeSr1404815272

Food: 8/10
Value for money: 7.5/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Overall Score: 30.5/40
$$

The Henson on Urbanspoon

Burwood: Momiji

SsLswJ140481043396A Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW 2134
(02) 9744 2977

Momiji… what can I say.

This place unfortunately has potential, but doesn’t seem to have the finesse to execute it.

It is walking distance from the Burwood westfield shopping center.

a9EHFt1404809759I ordered the set ramen – which comes with a half egg, pork, some bamboo shoots, sea weed and beansprouts, and karaage chicken on the side. Now the broth is actually surprisingly good. Not the best I have had in Sydney, but no doubt quite competent, peppery and bags of hearty flavour to it. It then gets let down by the limp, soggy almost hospital mOPb7s1404809069food-like nature of the ramen. It is pretty bad and soft to the ‘nth’ degree. (I tried to give positive feedback to the owner, saying that the broth was great, but the noodles were a bit soft, and she seemed to not understand English and thought I meant ‘salty’ instead of ‘soft/soggy’ ramen. oh well – translation fail somewhere probably by me).

On the plus side the chicken was okay.

LCJaNV1404810303Next we ordered the tempura vegetable fritter on rice. The Vegetable fritter again had flavour and looked like it was cooked quite decently, then I am not sure what happened, whether they covered it in the mean-time whilst they were preparing the other main, but it had that steamed soggines to it… which again for a tempura advertised dish… is not great.

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The third dish we ordered was the soft shell crab. No complaints with this dish. Competent. Not the best soft shell crab I’ve had… but not bad. Crispy, the crab was fresh and the sauce on top was a sweet/tangy mayonnaise.  Tj51SL1404809003cvWOtX1404810389

 

Sorry Momiji, not the worst experience I’ve had, but not the best either…

Food: 6.5/10
Value for money: 7/10
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Overall Score: 26.5/40
$$

Momiji on Urbanspoon

Burwood: Sydney Dumpling King

Vc8d2c1404814920183E Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW 2134
(02) 9701 0055
sydneydumplingking.com.au/

I have been wanting to try this place for a while.

And yes, they do live up to their name. They have around 30 different varieties of dumplings to choose from. The most I have ever seen in any dumpling house.

I must say, sometimes I wasn’t entirely convinced about the cleanliness of the establishment, but I guess you can put it down to a down-and-dirty, no-frilled eating house.

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XHa8D71404814796The dumplings are everything you would expect. We choose:

  • prawn, egg, chives and woodear mushrooms ($15)
  • fish & corn (steamed)($12.5)
  • pork & eggplant ($10 plus fried $2.5 extra) ($12.5)

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Prawn, egg, chives and woodear mushrooms ($15). The wood ear mushroom adds a nice crunch and texture and the prawn pieces are fresh and succulent.

Next came the fish and corn. I was very surprised that the fish was still moist and tender and not at all overcooked. I was glad we got the steamed option. The fish is light, the sweetcorn has a juicy bite to it, and there is a hint of ginger through the filling. yTkCE61404814733yX84uh1404814695

Then thirdly, we ordered the pork and eggplant. I think the fried dumpling option did this one justice. The inside filling is moist and almost with an eggplant rich sauce to it. There is no crunch element to the inside filling, so I think it needed the crunch of the outside dumpling pastry to give it some texture and body. This is probably the saltiest out of the three dumplings. Very tasty.

Qcj5YD1404814821 xcvfWG1404814761 Food: 8/10
Value for money: 8.5/10
Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 7/10
Overall Score: 30/40
$

Sydney Dumpling King on Urbanspoon

Newtown: Campos Coffee

kRjcHZ1404814594193 Missenden Rd, Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9516 3361
http://www.camposcoffee.com/

I have no idea why I did not come here sooner. Two words – Coffee Heaven.

Absolutely recommend this place. The coffee is 10/10.

I have only had the coffee mind you, regular coffee and the Belgium white chocolate ice-cream affogato. The affogato blows my mind every time. When the expresso is merged with the ice-cream it tastes like fine coffee ice-cream which still has a bitterness to it from the expresso.

7ixwDv1404814515The affogato honestly quite addictive, and if I could, I would be tempting to have one every day. They have a hazelnut affogato on the menu, but I have not been able to walk past the Belgium white chocolate when deciding at the counter.
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TWGnfO1404814572Highly recommended!

Coffee: 10/10
Value for money: 7.5/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Overall Score: 32.5/40
$

Campos Coffee on Urbanspoon