Tag Archives: chicken

Colonel Tan’s

229 Chapel Street, Prahran, 3181



Revolver, Revs, Revolting… whatever you call it, Revolver Upstairs is as Melbourne as dim sims and hook turns.  I’ve lost more hours than I can count, or certainly remember, in its dark and sticky environs dancing away to Boogs and Spacey Space on a Sunday morning, surrounded by people for who sleep is but a distant memory and the only meal they’ve eaten in the last two days is the inside of their mouth.  It’s certainly not an image that conjures up the thought – yeah, that’s were I’d like to pop into for some delicious Thai food sometime, but if you don’t, you’re missing out.


Colonel Tan’s was created by Karen Batson of Cookie and The Toff in Town.  It’s named after Revolver co-owner and Thai pop star Tan Punturaumporn, with the Colonel ranking being a reference to the five spice chicken specialty and it’s Southern American cousin.

The stairs leading up to Colonel Tan’s are a decent workout, and I’ve seen plenty of people struggle to navigate them, but that’s mainly on the way down after 15 hours dancing inside.  The inside of the venue is lowly lit with a myriad of aging lampshades and chandeliers, and is littered with 80’s video game machines and old couches with an appetite for mobile phones and wallets.   The kitsch floral vinyl tablecloth clad tables are set out at the far end of the room near the utilitarian bar.  The walls (and ceiling) are an absolute joy at Revolver Upstairs.  They are full of artworks from brilliant artists and are always evolving.  Banksy and Shepard Fairey feature prominently among them, with works from prior to their global fame.  The more attention you pay the more fascinating art work you will find.


The food menu is quite extensive, but if you don’t like spicy food then you may be restricted a little.  The drinks menu is also very extensive and it’s nice to be able to order these from your table rather than fight your way to the front of the bar with sweaty patrons queued five deep as is the case on a weekend.  Fruit infused water is also provided.  We ordered a couple of baskets of the requisite Colonel’s five spice chicken, and betel leaf salad with snapper, peanuts, ginger, chilli and lime to start with.  The chicken kicks arse.  Or it would do if it’s legs weren’t amputated and deep-fried in a beautifully spiced and crispy coating.  It’s a definite winner when compared to that of the more famous Colonel.  Make sure you get at least one basket of this when you visit.  The betel leaf salad is a DIY dish where you wrap the snapper filling into a betel leaf.  It’s a cracking dish but be warned, it has some serious chilli kick.  You’ll be heading for a serviette or two after knocking back these two finger food dishes, the salad can be particularly sticky.


For mains we ordered Penang lamb curry, stir fried tumeric chicken, Pad Thai eggnet and stir fried red curry pork to share between the five of us.  The lamb and the pork were particularly good, with nice juicy pork belly chunks in the red curry and plenty of chilli kick in the lamb.  We were all close to letting out the belt a notch at the end of it, and the best bit, since Thursday is locals night, it’s half price for anybody with a 3181 post code or a Revolver membership.  Eight dishes of food ended up costing us less than $15 each.


There are two dinner sittings per evening, one at 6pm and one at 8pm, and it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.  If you turn up on a Sunday you’re in for a whole different sort of evening.  Bookings are recommended for Thursdays.

Do yourself a favour – forget about the boozy nights and days where you ended up in Revolver and promised yourself you’d never return… and return.  Return for the food.

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Note: Most of the photos are not mine – it’s so dark in there the iPhone doesn’t really cut the mustard.


Buddha’s Belly

75A Chapel St, Windsor


http://www.buddhasbelly.com.au/ (broken)

I must have walked past this place a thousand times before I finally sat down there recently.  It was a Sunday night, the DJ was playing some satisfactory tunage out of the window DJ booth, and all the tables on the street were swiveled so that it became one long bench.  The bench was frequented by people from all over the globe and by the end of the night, which was pretty late, everybody knew each other, was best mates with the resident dog, and weren’t at all surprised that the fox stole one girl was wearing was drinking beer and smoking, while another guy was trying to nibble his own ear he was gurning so much.

It was on this night that I spotted that they did cheap meals deals every weekday.  Some deals were better than others.  The “All day” $10 parma seems great at first glance but the 12pm-5pm fine print somewhat negates the “All day” adjective.  Anyway, taking advantage of a somewhat summery evening, which have been very rare this summer so far, I invited a recently expatriated English friend to sample the delights of Melbourne pub cuisine.  Thursday’s at Buddha’s Belly is Parma-Rama night.  As the chalkboard outside explains – there are 7 different types of parma on offer for $12 with chips and salad.  Which is slightly different from the 6 different types offered on the menu, but who’s quibbling.

It was also happy hour from 4-7pm so with that in mind, we rocked up and got the last free table out on the street at about 6:55pm.  I was pleased to notice that the stench of raw sewage that permeated the outdoor tables on my last visit forcing us inside was no longer present.  The other diners were an eclectic mix of people who look like they travel to work on a skateboard, and those that don’t work at all.  The waiter was pretty snappy to attend to us, although I was a little disappointed we didn’t get the heavily tattooed waitress dressed as a glitter ball.  But our waiter was friendly enough and would refer to me as “champ” or “boss” or some such pseudonym designed to make me feel slightly superior – and it sort of worked.  We ordered two cocktails each to take advantage of the 2 for 1 deal as the minutes counted down towards 7pm.  I ordered a Tequila Tickler and the slightly more masculine sounding Tequila Tornado.  What can I say… I like tequila and I like a bargain.

Given my English friend hadn’t tried a traditional parma before I suggested she go with the Buddha’s Bird which is in the traditional style.  I went for the Mon Amour in which the twist is avocado and brie cheese.  Now there was once a time where I wouldn’t have gone near this as avocado is chicks food, along with rice crackers and celery, but I thought the manliness of the chicken parma counteracted it slightly.  Also my cocktail had passionfruit in it and sometimes you’re so far down a path it’s dangerous to look back.

Other options were the Quattro Formaggio, The Stallion (Bolognese),  El Toro (Hot Chorizo) and Eggplant (pfft!)

Now the service here is pretty laid back, in fact so laid back, I hoped they had a defibrillator on standby.  Our first cocktail took around 20 minutes to arrive which seemed like an age but when I saw the bar girl raise those two cocktail shakers above her head and shake…. well time lost all meaning for a few moments.  When my Tequila Tornado arrived it looked very spiffy.  Jose Cuervo, Cointreau, passionfruit and guava over ice, topped of with a slice of lime and a sprig of coriander.  It was very tasty although passionfruit pips are the natural enemy of the drinking straw.  My friend’s Lychee Martini looked, well it looks like an eyeball staring up at you from a pool of bloody water but it was served in a nice glass and it was quite alcoholic so.. you know.

To add a bit of rivalry to the night they run a cocktail photograph competition.  Drawn fortnightly, the best cocktail photo posted on Facebook wins a $50 bar tab.  So my friend grabs her fancy new Nexus 5 phone camera… and I grab a napkin and a pen and start drawing.  I think I have a winner but I’ll let you know in a fortnight.

The parmas arrived not too long after the first cocktails.  They looked like parmas, smelled like parmas, and tasted like parmas.  They were a decent size and nicely crumbed.   The cheese wasn’t burnt and there was ample sauce.  That’s the basics of a decent parma covered.  For $12, I was very satisfied.  Not the very best parma I’ve had, but a long way from the worst.  I think the avocado and brie definitely add to it, although maybe the “Mon Amour” moniker is a stretch.  It was served with a sparse lettuce leaf salad which was fine, and chips.  Now the chips… I’m pretty particular about my chips and these didn’t really squeeze my sauce bottle.  They were crinkle cut, which for me is a bad start, and they were borderline soggy.  Don’t get my wrong, I still ate them all and half of my friends – but they weren’t the mouthfuls of crispy yet fluffy goodness that I desired.  They were also served with a garlic mayo rather than tomato sauce.  Did I miss the news?  Have the Belgians invaded?

After a brief time bending moment as the bar girl shook our cocktails, our next round was delivered.  Given my previous cocktail was the one with the manlier name and it turned out to be pretty girly I was a bit worried, but as it turns out the Tequila Tickler was at worst only equally as girly.  The tumbler rather than cocktail glass helped.  Maybe I could have got away with ordering Nice Melons after all.  The Tickler was a refreshing combo of Jose Curveo, lime, mint, apple juice and cranberry juice.  It was a pretty pink colour but the lack of floral flourish on top led me to believe it would be okay to drink it in mixed company.  My friend also enjoyed her La Dolce Vita consisting of vanilla vodka, apricot, Cointreau, lime and sparkling wine.

Once our second round was downed we headed inside to pay the bill.  Four cocktails and two chicken parmas for under $60.  We came for a Thursday night bargain and that’s what we got.

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