Friday, June 17, 2016

Yak Italian Kitchen

Yak Italian Kitchen & Bar
150 Flinders Lane
Melbourne 3000

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Express Restaurant lunches are a great way to try a new restaurant (or visit an old favourite) on a budget. For $40 you get the choice of 2 courses, a glass of wine and coffee.

I generally like to try a new restaurant and so I met a friend at Yak Italian, on the corner of Russell Street and Flinders Lane. I have been past this corner many times but never really noticed this restaurant.  

To begin we were served warm bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and olives.  How gorgeous is the crockery! The speckled gold plates and bowls are beautiful.

My friend and I ordered the same items so unfortunately I don't have a variety of meals to show.  In the battle between what I want to eat versus what would be good for the blog post, the want won this time.

Handmade potato gnocchi served with a rich meat ragu

For entree I had the Gnocchi of the dayIt was divine.  The gnocchi were light and fluffy and very moreish.  The sauce was ok and to be honest not what I imagine when I read the words rich meat ragu but the gnocchi was really the star of the dish.

The other entree option was a Caprese salad.

Pan seared fish fillet served with a seasonal vegetables salad

For main, I ordered the Fish of the day.  The pan seared barramundi came with a selection of seasonal vegetables and fennel foam.  It was beautifully presented and the fish was cooked perfectly.  The vegetables were interesting, the fennel strands were quite crisp and the fennel foam was very tasty and perfectly complemented the dish.  

The serves weren't large but they were perfect for lunch.

I enjoyed a class of Little Vespa Pinot Grigio from the King Valley with my meal.

The alternative main option was Veal Ossobuco Milanese served with chargrilled buckwheat polenta.  I did like the sound of this however it was a really hot day so I decided to go with the lighter fish option.  I did not apply this logic to the entree because gnocchi!

Good coffee finished our meal.

For those with a sweet tooth the dessert offerings were Italian style doughnuts filled with pistachio ice cream, baked orange and cinnamon or Tart of the day.

Yak presents tasty, interesting food.  I'm glad I finally 'discovered' it.      

  Yak Italian Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, February 29, 2016

Crittenden Estate

Crittenden Estate
25 Harrisons Road
Dromana 3936

Before I start talking about lunch at Crittenden Estate I want to mention that today is Leap 'baby' Piecey Num Num's 4th birthday. I didn't plan to launch my blog on the 29th, it just sort of happened and as the day only comes around once every 4 years I think it is worth mentioning. The last 4 years haven't exactly panned out as I had planned. The frequency of my posts has been a bit erratic over the years as I have allowed 'life' to get in the way of blogging but I have big plans for the blog this year and regular posts are at the top of the list. Now back to lunch :)

On our way home from our week in Mt Martha we dropped into Crittenden Estate for an early lunch. On the weekends in summer they serve casual food truck style food on the terrace in front of the Stillwater restaurant.  This suited our plans perfectly for a casual lunch and the food was delicious.

Normally at a winery I am all about the wine but as I was driving home and it was just before noon I decided to have tea. Tea and coffee are served with a petit four and on this occasion it was a divine little macaron. The flavour was intriguing - I didn't write it down (blogger fail) but I remember it was a combination of chocolate and sichuan pepper.  

We shared a number of dishes for lunch.  All the food arrived picnic style in baskets and boxes. My favourite was the pork slider but the mushroom and truffle arancini were also delicious and very moreish. The truffle flavour was gorgeous.

Pulled pork sliders with dill pickles, slaw & BBQ sauce (2) / $14

Mushroom & truffle arancini with aioli (5) / $12

Bowl of chips / $10

Prawn gyoza with soy & mirin sauce (5) / $12

The kid's fish and chips were a big hit with everyone, not just the kids!  We also ordered the kid's pasta bolognese ($13) but Miss 4 was too hungry to wait so no pictures.  She polished it off so that's always a good sign! (The penne bolognese was served in a bowl!)

Kid's fish & chips / $13

The grounds are gorgeous and huge with lots of space for kids to run around.  My niece and nephew had a lot of fun exploring and visiting the various animal sculptures dotting the landscape.


As we left we visited the cellar door.  It's a lovely space overlooking the lake so I will definitely be coming back to sample some wine.

Stillwater at Crittenden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dee's Kitchen

Dee's Kitchen
19 Pier Street
Dromana 3936

Dee's Kitchen is a cool cafe/deli in the seaside down of Dromana, on the Mornington Peninsula.

I have been there a couple of times and each time the food was fresh, interesting and delicious.  The cuisine has a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern focus. Their menu is seasonal and nearly everything is made on the premises, bread being the exception.

On my first visit to Dee's I had the delicious shakshouka.  My perfectly poached eggs were nestled in a pool of spicy salsa with spinach and chèvre. A very satisfying dish. Loved the smokiness of the chorizo and the house baked pita was perfect.

Shakshouka - baked Middle Eastern salsa with spinach & chèvre, topped with 2 poached eggs, house baked pita and chorizo / $18.50 

They do good coffee. 

My second visit was with my brother and sister in law and we were all impressed with our selections.

Broccoli fritters, beetroot & sesame dip, shaved pecorino, pickled pear & roquette salad 
with a poached egg / $19.50

I had the Broccoli fritters which came with a beetroot dip, roquette salad and poached eggs.  This was really tasty.  The fritters were full of flavour and appeared to be baked which I liked. The beetroot was delicious and the salad fresh. A beautiful dish that felt light and healthy.

My sister in law enjoyed the smashed rosemary potato and pumpkin with poached eggs, crispy pancetta and pepperonato. I must say I had a little bit of food envy as I had been considering ordering this dish.  Hard to go past smashed potato and pumpkin for a comfort food fix!

Delicately Smashed Rosemary Potato & Pumpkin with poached eggs, crispy pancetta & pepperonata / $17

My brother had the daily special which was Lamb, walnut & pomegranate meatballs with grain salad and in house made pita. This was really good. Great flavours that went well together. A healthy and satisfying meal.

Lamb, walnut & pomegranate meatballs with grain salad and house pita / $17

And even though we were having 'brunch' food there was wine involved.  Because holidays.

Dee's Kitchen is definitely worth a visit if you are in Dromana. They also have a range of products that you can take home, from prepared meals to cakes and deli items.  I must say it is hard to leave empty handed!

Dee's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, February 11, 2016


1385 Mornington Flinders Road
Main Ridge 3928

My birthday falls in early January and if things work out the way I like I spend it on the Mornington Peninsula.  This year I was lucky to have all my family join me for a week in Mt Martha and on my actual birthday we had a big family lunch at the beautiful T'Gallant winery in Main Ridge.

As we numbered 18 we had the $40 set menu in the Spuntino Bar.  The staff were very helpful in accommodating dietary requirements - one of my nieces is coeliac and the other follows a vegan diet. When I booked I chose to be inside and this worked well as it was a very windy day.

Our lunch began with wine tasting at the Cellar Door.  The wines we tasted were beautiful and again the staff were great, advising my vegan niece which wines she could taste. I had no idea that some wines use eggs in their production!  From the cellar door we moved into lunch.

 Our set menu began with an antipasto platter.

Antipasto - bread/dip/cheese/olives
I loved the cheese but I am not sure what type it was. The waitress wasn't sure either and despite her attempts to find out it remains a mystery. 

T'Gallant is known as the home of Pinot Gris and as that is one of my favourites I was pretty happy. This 'Imogen' Pinot Gris is their original Pinot Gris from 20 years ago and it was lovely. I can see why it lasted the distance!  Some of our group enjoyed the 'Romeo' (see first photo) which is a really interesting blend of Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Shiraz with a touch of Rutherglen Muscat!

Our main course was pizza, salad and roasted potatoes. The menu describes the pizza as "Roman style fragrant 'pizza rustica' on a board from our wood-fired oven".

Margherita -tomato/mozzarella/basil and Funghi - mushroom/gorgonzola/parsley
Kitchen garden salad and Italian style roasted potatoes/garlic/aromatic herbs

Salsiccia - salami/tomato pesto/pecorino and Vegetarian with fresh rocket leaves

All the pizzas were delicious but the vegetarian pizza with the fresh rocket was my favourite. There was no danger of going home hungry.  We could (and did) order more pizza and salad.

A chocolate brownie and coffees finished off our meal. The brownies were fudgy and decadent, just as brownies should be.

Classic chocolate ganache brownie

To close I thought I'd share this photo taken by my niece.  I love the way the beautiful vineyard and outside diners are framed by the window.


T'Gallant Spuntino Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato