Thursday, 29 January 2015

Snag Stand

Cnr Latrobe And Swanston St 
Melbourne, VIC

The following facade is surely familiar to anyone who’s spent any time at all in the city in the last few years. One of the forerunners of the fairly short-lived gourmet hot dog craze, Snag Stand has stood (see what I did there) the test of time with its collection of gourmet dogs.

Wagyu Beef Dog ($8.9)

Wanting to have dessert later in the night, Chris and I opted to share a Wagyu Beef Dog ($9.9). The moment I lifted the lid, I could smell the herbs in the gravy – a promising start. The toppings of mashed potato and fried onions wouldn’t be out of place in a roast lunch, and the sausage itself was meaty and satisfying, but also delightfully light and clean-tasting. It was all wrapped up in a toasted brioche bun, sating the hot dog craving without the self-loathing.

Chilli Cheese Fries ($7.9)

Chilli Cheese Fries ($7.9)

If you’ve read more than about 2 posts on this blog, you’ll know that I love potatoes, especially in the form of Chilli Cheese Fries ($7.9). The one at Snag Stand is rather decadent and rich, the beef sauce packing loads of flavour. The additions of smoky paprika and chilli aioli gave it a Spanish twist, bringing to mind the classic dish of patatas bravas.

And look at how swank the packaging is! Seriously impressive.

I’ve always thought the selection offered at Snag Stand was rather tantalising, but it’s taken me ridiculously long to actually try the dogs, despite the convenient location. I think it just comes down to the fact that hot dogs don’t excite me as much as some other trends. But now that I’ve tried the Wagyu Beef Dog, I can see myself stopping by every now and then to give one of the others a go.

Rating: 13/20 – hautedog.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

Snag Stand on Urbanspoon

Monday, 26 January 2015


320 St Georges Rd 
Fitzroy North, VIC 

Hainanese Chicken Rice ($11.9)

Fried Kueh Teow ($11.9)

Ice Kacang ($6.5)

Malaymas on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Oppa Kitchen

271 Swanston St 
Melbourne, VIC 

About an hour after I got home from dinner at Oppa Kitchen, mum casually mentioned that I have a dentist appointment tomorrow to get my wisdom teeth out. Um, what? There goes the blogging for a week or so.

In any case, I’m glad I managed to fit in a visit to the newest, shiniest addition to Swanston Street (and brunch with the girls) before my procedure (I’m going the route of local anaesthetic – eek!). As Swanston Street is so populous, it was impossible to miss the opening of Oppa Kitchen, which turned out to be a modern Korean restaurant with a scaled back menu, specialising in fried chicken, grilled meats, and bibimbap. The atmosphere is a fun one, and the warehouse-style outfitting, plus the neon lights reminded me a lot of Chin Chin.

Original Korean Fried Chicken ($5, small)

It’s hard to say no to Original Korean Fried Chicken ($5, small) when it comes in such a reasonable portion. The serve looks larger than it actually is, on account of the potato wedges bulking it up. The chicken itself was average, on the bland side though not tasteless, and the smaller pieces were a bit dry. I did however like the bonus pickles and cabbage salad on the side, and the crispy rice cakes.

Grilled Bulgogi Beef Steak ($11)

Grilled Bulgogi Beef Steak ($11)

The Grilled Bulgogi Beef Steak ($11) came with an enticing pink centre and a smoky aroma. Though satisfyingly beefy, the bulgogi marinade faded into the background, making for a tasty but unmemorable meal.

Grilled Spicy Pork Spare Ribs ($13)

The Grilled Spicy Pork Spare Ribs ($13) was the winner of the two. Aside from the smokiness, the pork ribs came with a mild spiciness, and just enough fat for flavour. However the meat suffered from inconsistency, with the bonier pieces a bit parched. 

Grilled Spicy Pork Spare Ribs ($13)

The salad in the meal buckets was a good one. The leaves were fresh, and instead of a squeeze of lemon, the orange dressing was a pleasant surprise.

When we went for dinner, Oppa was practically full, so it was lucky that there’s a slightly quieter upstairs section. I doubt most people come here because the food is fabulous – the dishes don’t even come with banchan! With that said however, the food is sufficient, the location is convenient, and it’s just cheap and easy all round.

Rating: 12/20 – oppa kitchen style (im so sorry)
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

Oppa Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Monday, 19 January 2015

Peko Peko

199 Smith St 
Collingwood, VIC

I went to Peko Peko for dinner the other day. No, not this Peko Peko, this Peko Peko. If you ask someone from Japan, ‘peko peko’ is the sound your stomach makes if you’re hungry. Given that, it’s no surprise that both restaurants have a Japanese influence to some degree, despite being completely unrelated.

But whereas Peko Peko in South Melbourne is mostly Taiwanese with a bit of Japan thrown in for fun, this Peko Peko in Collingwood is full-blown Japanese. The interior was endearingly oriental, including the unique little upstairs section that opens out to the main restaurant, but it just can’t shake the hint of grunge so characteristic of the Melbourne inner-north. It was a good bit of fun, watching the Japanese chefs rub shoulders with backpacking waitresses. 

Hiyayakko ($6)

Heaps of people I know complain about tofu because it’s bland without any seasoning, which I think is entirely unfair. I mean really, you can say that same about rice or pasta – it’s MEANT to be had with seasoning. Anyway, aside from being a fan of tofu with century egg, Hiyayakko ($6) is another favourite way of mine to have tofu. The flavour palette of this cold dish was spot on, the soy sauce and bonito flakes a lovely combination of umami, whilst the surprise addition of grated pickled ginger added a zesty heat. Unfortunately it was let down by the tofu, which instead of being fresh and silky, has started down the road to being clumpy and spongy. 

Makizushi ($10, 8pcs)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Makizushi ($10, 8pcs) was a generous serve of salmon and tuna hand rolls. Though nothing special, it was nice to be given a chance to down a large serve of sushi, with plenty of pickled ginger between bites to clear the palette. 

Currydon ($16)

The Currydon ($16) was listed under the ‘big food’ section, but I wasn’t prepared for just how substantial a bowl filled to the brim with curry and rice was. 

Currydon ($16)

When mixed through, the rice and sauce was rich and sticky, and the large pieces of chicken extremely tender. There was the addition of several unorthodox, but welcome vegetables such as capsicum and spinach. What I discovered very soon however, was that this was an extremely oily curry – within minutes, a small pool of oil had collected in the spoon that I had left in the rice. That certainly explained why this was even more filling than a standard curry.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Peko Peko felt different to all of the other Japanese restaurants I’ve been too. Either way, regardless of what that difference might be, a good solid meal can be found here; it may be a little more expensive than what you’re used to, but the portions are certainly generous, and the flavours are pretty close to the real thing. 

Oh, and look at this awesome piece of graffiti art I found down the road!

Rating: 13/20 – grumble grumble.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.

Peko Peko on Urbanspoon