Lunch @ Lounge/Gloria Swanston’s Kitchen

Service is almost non existent at this restaurant… when my mate D and I arrived, we were a bit lost because there was a worker at the bar who didn’t bother to greet or even look at us, so we just seated ourselves. Ordering is at the front counter and a staff member just comes out, places your plate on the table and leaves, that’s it. No communication. In addition, the parma I had was mediocre at best (I wouldn’t mind trying the “kickass burger”, which has received rave reviews). The only attractive aspect of Lounge/Gloria Swanston’s Kitchen that could possibly convince me to come back is the ridiculously chill environment of the restaurant. It definitely lives up to its name “Lounge” ahah. The venue is spacious, rustic and just a great place to socialise and have a beer with your mates. Other than that, it’s pretty average.

Chicken Parma ($10 on Mondays, original price is $20.50) – Parma with house-made slaw and crinkle cut fries.
Every component was very lacklustre and just down right uninspiring. Nothing excited my taste-buds… the parma was dry and it was very difficult to cut into with my knife. I’m pretty sure the fries are just the typical McCain frozen crinkle cuts or something of the like, and the slaw tasted like cabbage mixed with mayonnaise. No love and care were seen that day (lol). Even though I only paid $10, I expected the parma to be at least a tad better than this. I wouldn’t pay $10 again for this dish, let alone $20.50. Very disappointing meal.

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3.5/10

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 3.5/10
Price (based on food quality) – not worth it
Service – not sure how to judge… there wasn’t a service?
Atmosphere – chill, social, relaxed
Overall experience – 3.5/10

Interested?
Lounge/Gloria Swanston’s Kitchen (American)
243 Swanston St, Melbourne (CBD)
(03) 9663 2916
Open Monday to Friday 12PM-10PM, Saturday & Sunday 2PM-10PM
http://gloriaswanstons.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/gloriaswanstonskitchen
Gloria Swanston's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

 

From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

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Dinner @ Burger Culture

Burger Culture is a great local place to pop in when you’re around the area on a nice warm day. They have great tasting burgers and lovely tables and chairs that will make you feel like you’re at home. Though I’ll be honest, the staff were quite mundane and didn’t really open up to the customers.

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Chips w/ dipping sauces ($5) – thick cut chips ($4) sprinkled w/ crushed salt and rosemary served with culture mayo & chilli mayo dipping sauces ($0.50c each)
Chips were mediocre. The smaller sized chips had a great crunch, but the longer chips could’ve been cooked for longer in my opinion. The chips also needed a tad more salt and rosemary for the flavours to really come alive. The dipping sauces had a thicker consistency than the usual creamy sauces… which I didn’t mind that much. It just made it harder to really dip the chips in, so I would’ve preferred a more creamier texture. The flavours of the mayo dips were the standard mayo with a few added spices, nothing unique or memorable.

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6.5/10

A.T’s meal:
‘The Spartan’ Beef Culture Burger ($9.50) – lean beef, roasted capsicum, fetta cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, tzatziki, kalamata olives, & tomato relish in a wholemeal bun

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My meal:
‘New Yorker’ Beef Culture burger ($9) – 
lean beef, caramelised onions, swiss cheese, tomato lettuce, tomato relish & culture mayo in a wholemeal bun
The meat was cooked well and I liked how all the ingredients tasted together. Standard burger which tasted great, one thing I would say is that it would’ve been much better if the dip was creamier because I found that the burger was quite dry. I’m really impressed on how they assembled the burger as everything was stacked carefully on top of each other and it was cleaner and easier to eat.

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8/10

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 7.5/10
Price (based on food quality) – cheap
Service – 5/10
Atmosphere – casual, beachy/local diner
Overall experience – 7/10

Interested?
Burger Culture (American/Burgers)
3 Cole Street, Williamstown
(03) 9397 7156
Open Monday to Sunday
http://www.burgerculture.com.au/
http://www.facebook.com/burger.culture
Burger Culture on Urbanspoon

Have a happy new year everyone!
From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

Lunch @ Laurie Dee’s

A.T and I decided to stop by Laurie Dee’s for lunch after my induction for a volunteer job at Pacific Epping (a place very far away from my home and where I would never imagine visiting, let alone working… but so glad I do now!). One of the best discoveries to date! Such a casual and quiet environment, Laurie Dee’s is a mix between an American diner and a fast food chain. I think the travel distance in those early mornings have now become well worth it when I know burgers as good as these are waiting for me at the end of the day.
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Chilli Cheese Fries ($8.95) – shoestring fries w/ Laurie Dee’s special seasoning and topped w/ mild beef chilli, cheese sauce and salsa fresca.
Both A.T and I agreed that the fries were tasty but also pretty average as well (and overpriced in my view, they were more expensive than the burger!). We both hoped for something spicier… it is called ‘Chilli’ Cheese Fries for a reason. I did enjoy the flavours and freshness of the ingredients blended together and found the shoestring cut of fries much easier and more addictive to eat than a thicker cut, so great choice of fries on their part!

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7.5/10

The Laurie Dee Burger (single patty $7.95) – angus beef minced patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, Special D sauce, tomato, lettuce, pickles & tomato relish.
A.T (who ordered the same burger) – when asked to review the burger, A.T thought it was appropriate and relevant to quote Marshall from How I Met Your Mother and also said that it was the best burger he has tasted to date.
TwT (me) – I would arguably agree… but at the same time, I haven’t tried many burgers in my lifetime. This juicy, sloppy, wholesome burger was just oozing of fatty goodness (though the only downfall was the oil, which kept dripping down the burger… it was one messy feast). Salty and tenderly cooked meat minced on the day, an added sour flavour and crisp of the pickles, the freshness of the tomato and lettuce, tying together with Laurie Dee’s genius combination of tomato relish and their creamy special D sauce which was special indeed. This bad boy was wrong for me in every way but tasted oh so right. A complete upgraded version of a typical American fast food burger, The Laurie Dee is great value for your buck! Definitely coming back very soon… I am already craving.

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9/10

Frozen Vanilla Bean Custard (single cup $2.95) – what a terrible way to end such an amazing meal. Their frozen custard just tasted like… well frozen custard. I could not taste the vanilla bean at all, it was just awfully sweet and milky. Very very sickening, both of us could only finish half of our cups and that was pushing it (we tried so hard to get through it, we really did). The only thing I liked was the ice-creamy texture.

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5/10

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 8/10
Price (based on food quality) – very reasonable
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – casual, diner/fast food
Overall experience – 8/10

Interested?
Laurie Dee’s (American/Burgers)
Shop RE 03 Urban Diner, Pacific Epping Plaza, Epping
(03) 9408 0196
Open Monday 11AM – 5PM, Tuesday to Thursday 11AM – 9PM, Friday & Saturday 11AM – 10PM, Sunday 11AM – 8PM
Accepts Card
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurie-Dees/211821058881980
Laurie Dees on Urbanspoon

From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

Dinner @ Phat Brats

A.T and I decided to eat at Phat Brats because he has always wanted to go back after trying it once some time ago. Phat Brats has high ceilings and brick walls, emitting a casual and rustic feel. The worker was patient, friendly and very helpful with the menu. The food is quite average, but definitely worth a try if you’re around the area and in the mood for fast food that isn’t your typical Maccas or KFC.
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Chilli Fries (regular – $8.50) – fries with spicy beef, chilli sauce, sour cream, spring onion and additional cheese (+$1). 7.5/10
Chilli fries were quite tasty and great to snack on in between conversations. The fries were similar to schnitz chips; they were flat and wide, creating a nice crunchiness and the right amount of potato inside so it wasn’t sickening. The sauces, cheese and the beef mixed well especially with this particular cut of fries. 
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Chilli Dog ($9.90) – wagyu beef sausage, spicy beef, cheesy sauce, chilli sauce and spring onion in wholemeal bread.  6.5/10
The Chilli Dog was very boring, there wasn’t anything in the hot dog that stood out and made it memorable. Everything was rather average (though the meat was nicely cooked, quite soft and not dry at all!) and there wasn’t enough spice for that extra kick.
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The Phat Brat ($9.90) – bratwurst sausage, pulled pork, BBQ sauce and apple slaw in wholemeal bread. 7.5/10
The bread roll wasn’t stale but it wasn’t entirely soft and fresh either… just mediocre. The fillings they chose for The Phat Brat creates a great combination though! The sausage was meaty and tender, slaw added texture and moisture with the added BBQ sauce, matching well with the soft pulled pork. The slaw was the hero of the dish for me, without it, The Phat Brat would’ve been very plain. 
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T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 7/10
Price (based on food quality) – reasonable
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – rustic, casual
Overall experience – 7.5/10

Interested?
Phat Brats (American, Hot Dogs)
320 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9419 5526
Open Monday to Thursday, & Sunday 12PM – 12AM, Friday & Saturday 12PM – 3.30AM
http://phatbrats.com.au/
Phat Brats on Urbanspoon

Summer Night Market @ QVM Part 1

The night market runs from 5PM-10PM every Wednesday throughout summer starting from November 6th – February 26th at the Queen Victoria Market. Similar to the Luna 1878 (refer to a previous post), it is an amazing event which celebrates the beauty of food, fashion and music, bringing them to life!

K & B’s FOOD:
Buffalo chicken wings by Wing Man – 6 pieces of chicken wings (mild) with hot fries and homemade blue cheese dip ($8 + $2 + 0.50c = $10.50)
K has tried buffalo wings before in America and said that this was the closest to the real thing. Rating: 9/10
B: the wings tasted good and wasn’t greasy. Would recommend and have it again, however, I would not get the chips again. B rates the wings 9/10
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Dutch Pancakes by Tram Stop Dutch Pancakes caravan – mini Dutch pancakes with sugar, butter and lemon ($7.50)
K: nothing special, especially at that price as it could be made at home. If it was $3-4, I would’ve been happier with the meal. Rating: 5.5/10
B: the pancakes were pretty good but fairly average, as you could get the same thing anywhere and for cheaper, therefore Rating: 7/10
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A & T’s FOOD:
Seafood Paella by the Spanish Gourmet Caterers
 ($12)
A: 2nd time having it and I still love it. Interesting flavour and texture, I just like how it’s all mushy and soft. Would’ve enjoyed it more if they served it more hot (temperature wise). Portions were not too bad for $12. Rating: 8/10
T
 thought A was being too nice with his review. She thought maybe ‘I’m just bored and there’s nothing new about it’ Rating: 6.5/10
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Sri Lankan Roti Beef by the Lankan Tucker ($12)
A: 1st time having this. Portions and price were adequate considering I had a meal before that. A very exotic and exciting dish especially with the hot sauce. Interesting combination and taste, however, it tasted a bit familiar to pho (Vietnamese noodles) but I didn’t mind it. It got dry after a while so next time I would try the sweet chilli sauce. Waiting for the food was avg 5-6.7mins.
(I also had a try of their roti and I get where A is coming from. I had a bite almost towards the end and by that time, the sauce had dried up and you could barely taste it. Though I still thoroughly enjoyed the dish; it was sweet and chewy… I think I might buy myself one when I go back next week!)

Dutch Pancakes by Tram Stop Dutch Pancakes caravan – mini Dutch pancakes with sugar and butter ($7)
A: 1st time having this. Pancakes were nice and soft but it tasted like any pancake to me except in bite-sized portions. Happy with the portion. Rating: 7/10

Both couples also had a Korean potato twist which was $6 each with your choice of salt. Sorry I wasn’t able to get a photo of it but it looks like this.
B found that hers tasted more like salt and vinegar even though she ordered chicken salt. Perhaps the lady gave her the wrong flavour but K&B still thought it was good, Rating: 7/10.
T also had hers with chicken salt and said ‘the best and always the best.’ Rating: 8.5/10

OUR (A.T & I) FOOD:
Kimchi Fries by Blazn Street Food – hand cut chips with kimchi, bean sprouts, spring onion, mayonnaise and spicy chicken ($8)
The staff were friendly, young and fresh. The cook was upbeat and kindly posed for the photo haha! However, the kimchi fries was such a disappointing and boring dish. The fries did not taste or look hand cut to be honest, I thought they were frozen and packaged. The fries had a unpleasant soggy texture, it would’ve been a much better fit with the rest of the dish if it was crunchy. I didn’t find it spicy at all… maybe because they weren’t very generous with the chicken. Kimchi, bean sprouts and mayo were ordinary and tasted pre-bought. Not worth the price. Rating: 3.5/10IMG_3037IMG_3038

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Soft Shell Crab Burger by Hammer & Tong 412 – soft shell crab slider with shredded cabbage, sriracha mayonnaise and coriander ($12)
The service was terribly slow despite the lack of people lining up to order. There were only about 1-2 people working whilst the other three were just standing around. We waited for around 15-20 minutes until our burger finally came and I think there were 3 people who had ordered before us. The burger itself was very tasty however overpriced. All of the ingredients tied together beautifully and danced on my tongue in a synchronised fashion. The stand out of the dish was definitely the mayo because it was perfectly matched with the soft shell crab. The texture was there and the flavours were there. Can I also emphasize how much A.T kept going on about how much he loved the burger. Whereas for me, it was simple, tasty however pretty standard ingredients, and nothing particularly special or unique. Rating: 8/10
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Kerala Dosa by Kerala Foods – Southern Indian Dosa; spicy organic beef wrapped in a crispy rice and lentil crepe served with dahl, coconut sambal and kasoundi ($12)
It would’ve been better if the sauces were served separately instead of poured on top of the crepe. It ruined the crispiness of the crepe and the centre became very soggy. The beef inside was nicely cooked and tender and went very well with the various sauces. The kasoundi was a mixture of sweet and spicy, packing in a great punch. The coconut sambal reminded me of tzatziki, I couldn’t taste much of the coconut but still complimented the crepe well. Dahl was pretty standard. Overall, the dish was warm, humble and comforting! Rating: 7.5/10
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Taiyaki by a Japanese food stand (sorry I forgot to check their name!) – taiyaki with red bean, custard or chocolate filling ($4 for 1 piece, 3 pieces for $10)
I’ve always wanted to try taiyaki because it looks amazing, especially when it is made fresh with the steam leaving the dough, floating and dancing into the air and the filling oozing out when you rip it apart (well that’s what I’ve always imagined). Unfortunately, this was far from my silly yet beautiful vision of the taiyaki. As you can tell, they had already cooked heaps and left them there for goodness knows how long, ready to be served immediately. Therefore, it was not steaming hot, fresh and crispy around the edges. There was hardly any filling inside and just underwhelming overall. The best filling out of the three would have to be Nutella, because its liquid texture helped give it a bit of moisture whereas the other two were very dry. Rating: 4/10
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A huge thank you to K, B, A & T for giving up their time to provide valuable insight into their thoughts and ratings!
Also, credits to my photographer A.T for putting up with my bossiness on the day and never missing an opportunity to capture the food!

Stay tuned for part two 🙂
From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T