Wednesday, June 15, 2011

RESTAURANTS: St Ali / Flora / Naked For Satan / Le Petit Gateau / Koko Black / Wonton House / Der Raum / Siglo [Melbourne]

Don't blink. This was one day. When I go, I go hard.

For such a long day, it's important to get an early start. So at the crack of dawn (around 9/930) we woke up and got ready to head to South Melbourne for one of the best regarded cafes/coffee practitioners around: St Ali.

It's hit. Far too hip. Like every single inch of air has been designed for you to glance it and go "huh, that's cool!"

Thankfully, the coffee is exceptional. In addition to making a great version of your normal coffees they do the oh so fancy cold press and syphon methods. It was my first experience with both and I was blown away, particularly with the syphon coffee which produced an outstanding cup.

The food was a great backup for the coffee, with the dutch oven a bowl full of delicious goodness like beans, feta, poached egg and sourdough.

It was all really great, but I still think it's stupid to line up for a cafe in the morning, when I usually need a coffee and dose of relaxation before I die. And I get the idea that this place PACKS.OUT.

Still, brilliant coffee.

RATING: Will return to [?]

St Ali on Urbanspoon

We left breakfast a bit late so had to head to lunch to meet a friend without any break. The idea was the check out the popular North East China Family, but it proved too popular, so Flora Indian Restaurant was the new location.

There was one thing I was here for: paper dosa. Those HUGE pastry/pancake sorta thingys that come with some curry and other goods. And they had it.

It was all solid, but not spectacular. Decent flavours in the curry but a bit bland. Still, a good, cheap option and paper dosas (!!!!!).

RATING: Okay, may go back [?]

Flora Indian Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Infused vodkas, 80c bar snacks, good booze list. I don't need more than that to get me going.

And going we did. To Fitzroy (clumsy turn of phrase).

Something weird happened. At the start I really liked it because I like all of those things I mentioned. But then I noticed what cheap pintxos does to people. It attracts families (what?), parents with their babies, people killing time. It feels wrong that a place trying so hard to please people is... attracting the wrong clientele?

I don't know. Part of the place says I should be doing serious eating and drinking. But the other half tells me that this is a halfway house for people with nothing better to do (or eat).

But they need to be praised/attended for bringing a great booze list and cheap bar snacks which finally show overpriced tapas places how it should be done.

RATING: Will return to [?]

Naked For Satan on Urbanspoon

After a couple of infused vodkas and savoury pintxos I was craving some sweetness. Where else but Le Petit Gateaux, a place with some very solid sweets. And probably a guy buying too many of said sweets.

The coffee and chocolate tart is ridiculously smooth and balanced. The napolitana is a bit dull, but that's only because it's compared with some of the other great options. Well worth checking out.

Le Petit Gateau on Urbanspoon

I was also obliged to go to Koko Black and get some sweet, sweet candy for my family, who are fairly addicted to the excellent chocolates coming out of this store.

Good selection of flavours and superbly smooth chocolate. Winning combination. I ate a box and felt sick.

Koko Black on Urbanspoon

Dinner time (already?) and we were hoping to check out Crazy Wings, but that was full. So we walked for a bit and stumbled into Wonton House because... well... I guess because wontons are nice.

But this place was average.

Congee was nice but a little plain. Dumplings were okay but overfilled. The mapo tofu appeared to have sweet chilli sauce in it and was the main misstep of the night. Fried wontons were okay. Xiao long bao were good.

It hit the spot, but nothing else.

RATING: Will probably not return to [?]

Wonton House on Urbanspoon

Off to Richmond where I was pretty excited to finally be heading to what has been lauded as one of the best cocktail bars in the country. Would it live up to the hype?


Best cocktails I have had anywhere in the world, without question. Tremendous flavours, amazing bartending skill, electric-blanket-warm service, unrivalled presentation skills.

Der Raum had it all. We stayed for around 3 hours and drank every cocktail on their list (as well as a couple others) and I kept wanting more.

I can't even begin to describe how great the cocktails were. One that looked and smelled like a dark beer but tasted incredible? Yes. One served in a wine bottle and wine glass that had the characteristics of red wine? Definitely.

Every single thing was excellent. I will come here every single time I come to Melbourne.

Der Raum on Urbanspoon

But the night wasn't over.

We decided to head the Melbourne's late-night institution, Siglo, for some late-night, roof-top cognac and cigars.

I dislike Siglo because it's always busy and it can get expensive, but I love Siglo because you can get some brilliant stuff on their booze list and it has a pretty good vibe.

I just want the whole place to myself.

Siglo on Urbanspoon

It was a long day.


Anonymous said...

Tee hee ... such a string of non-reviews looks something like a naked grab for Urbanspoon hits! :)

Jobe said...

Haha. Not at all. It's just a braindump of my thoughts of those places. Definitely non-reviews.

As for the Urbanspoonage, let's just say it's so handy to put a link that contains the details of the place than having to enter it yourself. I'm a lazy man at heart, not one after hits.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Ha - with you on the Urbanspoon link :)
Have been dying to go to Der Raum and now Naked for Satan, it seems. 80c pinxtos?! Yes please!

Jobe said...

Yep 80c during happy hour (times on the website, so many hours of happiness), $2 normally, which is still good value.

And Der Raum was amazing. Next time I got back to Melbourne I reckon I'll be basing my whole visit around that place (and probably go there nighly).

Matthew Bax said...

A very belated "Thank you for the lovely review"

Matt Bax