I have wanted to try Lau’s Family Kitchen for a while now. I know one of the owners, we met through a friend and every time he comes to Hong Kong we try and catch up. You might recognise the last name, Lau, Gilbert Lau, Gilbert owned Flower drum and sold the restaurant to his employees a few years ago. He opened Lau’s Family Kitchen with his sons.
I was in Melbourne for work with clients and they were DYING to eat Chinese food and suggested this place. I was rather surprised that he knew, apparently he has been coming here to eat for a very long time as his son used to study in Melbourne.
Lau’s Family Kitchen is a very casual Chinese restaurant and can be found on Acland Street in St Kilda. My dear friend M doesn’t usually work during the day, but he made a special effort to see me which I thought was very sweet! We left all the ordering to him and he did not disappoint.
We started with the saltbush lamb spring rolls, now you all know my love for lamb.. NOT. This was good, the lamb was subtle and wasn’t gamey. It was actually quite tasty!
The lemon duck was beautiful cooked. The duck was tender and the batter was not too thick.
The crispy chicken I enjoyed, crispy skin and tender meat.
My fellow diners were perusing the menu and noticed salt and pepper squid. They insisted in ordering this which they did and absolutely loved it!
The wagyu beef with choy sum was a good way to end the meal. The beef was incredibly tender that it just melted in your mouth. It was absolutely delicious.
The fruit platter which I didn’t take a photo off was beautifully presented and everything was fresh and wonderful. Thank you M for looking after us! We truly enjoyed the food and no doubt next time I am in Melbourne will visit Lau’s Family Kitchen again!
Deliciously full, we caught a taxi back to the city and had meetings. Believe me, it was hard not to fall asleep on a full stomach!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
Lau’s Family Kitchen
4 Acland Street
St Kilda, Victoria, 3182
Ph: +61 3 8598 9880
I love going to Melbourne for a short trip, whether it is for work or a long weekend getaway. I was in Melbourne for work during my Sydney trip and I have heard so much about Little Hunter that I had to go and check it out myself. Gavin Baker (ex sous chef at Fat Duck, London) and Pete Evans (chef and host / judge on My Kitchen Rules) head this lovely establishment which is located in the basement of 195 Little Collins Street.
I had perused the menu before coming and knew exactly what I wanted. We started with the in-house baked herd bread which was served with chicken skin butter – yes you heard me right, chicken skin butter! It was incredibly delicious, the bread was warm and soft and slathered with the butter was just AMAZING! I wanted to lick the little bowl on my own!
My dining companions and I couldn’t go past the pork crackling topped with paprika and white cheddar which was served with apple sauce ($6). My goodness – these were so addictive that I couldn’t stop eating them. The pork crackle were light, airy and crispy and I absolutely loved the paprika and white cheddar.
The cured kingfish with seasoned roe, roasted peppers and bay oil ($14) was a hit. ‘The Mother’ absolutely loved it – he said it was extremely light and the flavours were wonderful.
My aunt couldn’t go past the fish, Chatham Island Blue Cod which was served with sea grasses, leeks, and brown butter ($39). The fish was pan fried which was deliciously crispy and the fish itself was wonderful.
The rest of us, the three of us, couldn’t go past the wood-roasted pork served with kale, cider vinegar and fresh sausage ($38). Oh my, more crackles! The pork meat was tender, and I loved the cider vinegar, it really gave it a nice kick. I couldn’t help but steal some of ‘The Mother’s’ crackle as well!
We ordered a couple of sides, fresh vegetables, olive oil, butter, and lemon peel ($9).
I absolutely loved the roasted yams with gremolata ($7) – it was incredibly tender and absolutely delicious.
The little hunter fries with fry sauce ($6) was also a hit!
We were stuffed but couldn’t help but order dessert. Thought we would share the licorice ice cream, milk crumbs, bee pollen and candied citrus ($12). I have never had licorice ice cream and oh my, this was fantastic! It was different but in a good way and not too sweet. The milk crumbs and candied citrus was a wonderful complement.
Service was excellent and food came relatively quickly. We all thoroughly enjoyed our food and would definitely be back for more. I love Melbourne and its fantastic restaurants.
GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10
195 Little Hunter Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9654 0090
The Hardware Societe was also on my list of places to go whilst in Melbourne. I had one morning off before an afternoon of gruelling meetings, so suggested that we come here for brunch. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait at all, it was a weekday, and the place was relatively busy but we managed to get a table straight away. Located on Hardware Street, this place is super cosy and cute and the staffs were uber friendly.
I have heard that the baked eggs are fantastic, but I couldn’t go past the breakfast board which consisted of jamon, salmon, chicken liver pate with gerkin, and two perfectly poached eggs!
OH MY GOODNESS – it was one of the nicest breakfast I have ever had, better than a breakfast buffet – it had everything that I wanted. The jamon, delicious – you don’t get anything like that in Hong Kong, the chicken liver pate was smooth and creamy.
The poached eggs – cooked to perfection. I absolutely loved this breakfast and would happily come back to have another. I don’t think I could ever get sick of this meal.
‘The Mother’ loves sardines, so opt for sardines on toast which sat on a thick slice of bread. He absolutely loved this, so much that he didn’t even offer me any. He did say that it was ‘delicious’.
I can see why this place is popular, everything on the menu sounded wonderful and I could see this as my ‘local’ – even if I didn’t live nearby! Service was excellent, Dragon loved all the wait staff and they were uber friendly, making her feel comfortable.
If you haven’t been, definitely worth the visit – you won’t regret it, but the place does get busy so come early or expect to wait for 20 – 30 mins or so. Thank goodness we came on a weekday. No waiting, and was seated immediately!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
The Hardware Societe
118-120 Hardware Street
Ph: +61 3 9078 5992
A trip to Melbourne for work meant that I get to eat at some of the restaurants I have wanted to try and Huxtable has been on the list for a while now. Located at Fitzroy, the restaurant is quite tiny, and reservations are highly recommended. Daniel Wilson is the owner and chef behind this great restaurant, and I have to say, I had high expectations and it did not disappoint.
I had made reservations at 7pm and the place was already busy at the time. I had perused the menu a week before so knew exactly what I wanted but let ‘The Mother’ have a quick look before ordering. He couldn’t go past the olives, green and brown and they were delicious and fresh.
‘The Mother’ couldn’t resist ordering the chilli smoked mussels, pickled shallots, aioli (g) ($9.50). They were deliciously smokey and plump and the aioli gave it a nice touch.
The jalapeno and cheddar croquette ($3.50) was excellent – the combination of the jalapeno and cheese was a match in heaven! Who would have thought? It was amazing!
The tempura eggplant and prawn fritter ($5.50) was lightly battered, I love the eggplant and the prawn was moreish.
For something more substantial, ‘The Mother’ opt for sashimi of ocean trout, finger lime & sesame ponzu, seaweed ($23). Beautifully presented, I love the redness of the ocean trout! It was fresh and absolutely delicious and I love the ponzu sauce.
I couldn’t go past the korean bbq pork ribs, spicy slaw, chilli gherkin ($24) – OMG! The ribs were amazingly good – tender, succulent and lots of flavour! It was a little spicy and the spicy slaw and chili gherkin a wonderful complement. Probably the highlight dish that evening.
For dessert, we ordered the warm banana bread, caramelised white chocolate, espresso ice cream ($12). Loved the espresso ice cream and the banana bread was soft and fluffy.
We really enjoyed our meal at Huxtable and would definitely come back to try their other dishes. However in saying that, it would be difficult to resist ordering the kimchi ribs! Service was very friendly and they really looked after us and Dragon which was nice. Loved the ambiance, the fit out and especially the food!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
131 Smith Street
Ph: +61 3 9419 5101
Gertrude Street is becoming quite trendy with cafes and shops popping up. I don’t know Melbourne very well but I do remember coming to Gertrude Street many years ago and it has definitely changed!
I was looking for somewhere to eat before shopping whilst ‘The Mother’ and Brother in law was at the cricket and thought I would give this place ago. The menu is quite vast, different types of egg dishes, baked eggs, porridge, toast, crumpets and many more.
I couldn’t decide, everything sounded wonderful, house made crumpets with leatherwood sounded tempting, so did the baked eggs but it was the smoked pulled pork, shredded lettuce and mint open sandwich with roast pineapple sorbet ($16.50) that won my heart.
OH MY – what a LARGE serving! TWO thick toast, one with lettuce and onions, the other a generous serving of pulled pork and roasted pineapple sorbet. The pulled pork was tender and a although a bit of the sweet side was WONDERFUL and the sorbet, sweet and melted quite quickly. It was quite a rich dish but definitely hit the spot. It was exactly what I wanted.
I was hoping to return the next day with ‘The Mother’ and BiL, however, we got up too late and didn’t have time as we had to go back to Sydney. Service quick and friendly, the place was buzzing but didn’t have any trouble getting a table. Got a take away coffee, didn’t think I wanted one but I needed something to start the shopping journey!
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
238 Gertrude St
Ph: +61 3 9416 4747
We had originally wanted to go to Hutong for dinner in China Town but it was fully booked. Our fault for not organising it early enough! ‘The Mother’, Brother in Law and I were catching up with two of our friends in Melbourne, P and R. A lot of places we thought of was either closed or fully booked, so we took a stroll down China Town and P suggested this place.
Fish and bbq pork tofu hot pot. Usually one of my favourite dish in Chinese restaurant but this was average. The tofu was nice, but the fish I thought had too much batter.
After dinner, we went for dessert. Can’t for the life of me remember the name of the cafe, but we shared Bailey’s cheese cake and OH MY! It was absolutely divine! Absolutely loved it!
GA’s ratings: 6 / 10
181 Russell St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9662 9882
I have wanted to go to Movida for a while now. Last time we went to Melbourne we couldn’t get a reservation as they were fully booked. This time round, we were hoping to try our luck and luck was on our side! I didn’t expect to get a table easily – rocked up, asked for a table for four and got a table outside – perfect!
Movida Aqui is the sister restaurant of Movida, which was open in 2003. They now have four different restaurants, Movida, Movida Next Door, Movida Aqui and Movida Terraza.
The menu is broken up into small plates, grilled, cold meats, rich dishes and many more. Thought we would share a couple of things, as tapas should be!
We started with complimentary bread and olive oil.
The anchoa ($4.50 each) – hand filleted Cantabrian Artisan anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet. It was a little salty for me, but I know ‘The Mother’ really enjoyed it. He said ‘the sorbet took away the saltiness of the anchovy’.
Sardines in olive oil with toast ($9.50) was absolutely lovely. The sardines weren’t fishy or oily, and the thin crunchy toast really gave it a nice crunch.
One of my favourites – bomba ($4.50 each) – Catalan potato bomb filled with chorizo were amazing. Perfectly round potatoes with spicy chunks of chorizo with crispy exterior. We loved it so much, we ordered another serving, this time though ONE each, none of this HALF or sharing thing!
Pulpo ($23.50) – chargrilled octopus with avocado and spanner crab salad was excellent. The octopus was tender and succulent and the avocado puree was a wonderful complement.
We wanted to order the pork belly but unfortunately they ran out! *sigh*, so we ordered the next pork dish, Butifarra ($19.50) – house made Catalan pork and pepper sausage with chickpeas and house made morcilla. The sausages I thought were a little salty, it was tender and the right amount of fattiness. The chickpeas were a wonderful compliment.
Carillera de Buey ($22.50) – slowly braised beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez on cauliflower puree was to die for! Melt-in-your mouth tender, the beef cheeks were rich in flavour but it was nicely complemented by the smooth cauliflower puree. A winner dish!
We were quite full but there’s always room for dessert right? So we shared two desserts between the four of us. The flan ($14.50) – crème caramel served with pestinos. The crème caramel was super wobbly and the texture incredibly soft. Served with pestinos which are biscuits that contains fennel seeds and coated with sugar crystals were delightful!
Churros con chocolate ($12.50) – Spanish doughnuts with rich drinking chocolate was excellent. Probably the best churros I have had ever! The texture of the churros were light, fluffy and incredible, the chocolate was bittersweet and complemented the sweet sugary churros. One churros each was definitely not enough!
It was definitely a wonderful meal and exceeded expectation! We really wanted the pork belly, there will definitely be a next time! The winner for me would have to be the bomba, the octopus and the churros! Yum! I’m also keen to try Movida – next time!
It was an extremely busy evening, and service was still very friendly and warm. Our waitress was great and recommended a couple of our dishes which we all loved!
Will definitely be back!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
500 Bourke St Level 1
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9663 3038