Tag Archives: prahran

Basque Tapas and Wine

159 Chapel St, Windsor

Spanish

http://www.basque.com.au/

Basque Tapas has been serving up Spanish food since 2003 but I haven’t eaten there before other than for a quick lunchtime burger with their $10 deal. On Friday night I popped in for a late dinner. The restaurant was reasonably quiet for 9:30pm so we took a seat in the street side outdoor alcove. The menus were delivered quickly although it took quite some time for our orders to be taken.

The menu is mainly tapas but there were also a few full meals and paella to share. There were also set menus available. The tapas seemed pricey to make a meal of, so we decided to share a wild rabbit and chicken paella, and start with the black pudding pan seared with apple and sage on bread, and patatas bravas picante, which are crispy potatoes served with aioli and spicy tomato sauce.

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We also ordered a bottle of the house merlot from a wine menu that seemed over-priced. On the way home I noticed the house wine was selling at $8 a bottle at the store a few shops down so the $35 they were charging seemed a bit rich, even with restaurant mark up.

Points for authenticity go to the waitress taking our order. Her Spanish accent was strong enough to make her a little difficult to understand. The staff in general were friendly and helpful.

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The potatoes were nice enough and a good sized helping. Perhaps it was a stretch to describe them as crispy on the menu though. The black pudding was excellent and I’d definitely have that again (excuse it being half eaten the photo). The paella was very good although the rabbit on the bone made eating a little difficult. It was a good helping and we were too full at the end of it to consider the desserts menu. I’m sure the staff appreciated this as we were the last people in the restaurant.

Everything about Basque was satisfactory without being standout. Still, it’s probably your best option for authentic Spanish in Prahran/Windsor if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s also your only option.

Basque Tapas & Wine on Urbanspoon

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Colonel Tan’s

229 Chapel Street, Prahran, 3181

Thai

www.revolverupstairs.com.au/colonel-tans/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Colonel Tan's on Urbanspoon

 

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

Kin

Shop 1, 233 Chapel St, Prahran

Vietnamese

Kin has taken over the old Chapelino Cafe site but the shop has had a full make over.  Recycled wood is used extensively, from thick wooden bench tops to the Kin sign hanging over the bar.  Lighting is provided by the now ubiquitous naked Edison bulbs – surely this fad must end eventually.  It does however provide a homely feel, also helped by the naked red brick, and wooden panel walls.

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My friend and I ordered a bowl of phở each, one chicken and one beef,  the bò lá lốp and the chargrilled herb and chilli squid.

The phở was delicious and came with all the various accompaniments you’d expect.  The bò lá lốp is marinated beef wrapped a betel leaves and then grilled.  The bite sized morsels were succulent and tender.  The squid was served as flat and pre-sliced.  It didn’t have a particularly big chilli hit but was tasty all same and it was cooked well. 

photo 2I forgot to take photos of the dishes – but here’s the aftermath.

 All the meals were reasonably priced and the staff were friendly and helpful.  I’ll definitely be going back to try our more of their menu.  They are also open for breakfasts.

Kin Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Laksa Bar

247 Chapel St, Prahran Asian Street Food Laksa bar is the sister of the Lt Lonsdale restaurant in the CBD.  I was pleased to see it had taken over the old Straits of Malacca restaurant.  I hadn’t tried it yet but, not to wish ill of the owners, I was waiting for it to fail – it just looked very unappealing and they’d made no effort with decor.  It was really pretty fugly.  With so many good Asian restaurants in the area there was no reason to go there.  Unfortunately Laksa Bar hasn’t really improved the situation.  In fact, you can still see portions of the Straights of Malacca signage on the wall as,  as far as I can tell, all they’ve done is pasted a few brewery sponsored posters on the wall, replaced the counter, and changed a few of the lights.  It’s a large restaurant so they really should have made more of an effort.  Hopefully the food is good enough to allow us to ignore the slapdash decorating. posters  It started out… well pretty average to be honest.  We ordered some soft shell crab and some of “Miss Ling’s” chicken and prawn dumplings.  The crab was okay in that it was crab shaped I guess, but the overriding taste was the oil in the batter.  I was sort of hoping crab and spices would be in the top two flavours and the chilli mayo that came with it seemed like it was store bought.  The pan-fried dumplings were actually pretty good, as was the house special black bean sauce.  Maybe it’s house special because it’s the only one actually made in house. dumplings crab We also ordered some of the ‘signature’ crispy chicken with hot and spicy sauce.  The menu asks for 20 minutes to prep time as it’s “slightly trickier to prepare”.  I’m not sure what’s tricky about deep frying chicken but we ordered at the same time as our entrees and it came out just before our mains.  The chicken was the highlight of the night.  The hot and spicy sauce wasn’t really either particularly, but it was tasty… and sticky.  Maybe that’s what attracted all the little fruit flies. chicken For mains I ordered the house laksa with fish while my friend ordered the nasi lemak with beef rendang.  My overriding impression of the laksa was yellow.  Everything was yellow.   From the sauce to the deep fried emping chips on top, it was very yellow.  The laksa contained both thick and thin noodles and the fish component was deep fried… making it quite yellow.  It was disappointing that the fish was battered and deep fried, it would have been a better dish with fish pieces cooked in the laksa.   The tofu was also fried and spongy.  The over all taste was okay but nothing special. yellowness The beef rendang… well lets not sugar coat it, it tasted pretty awful.  I really like a beef rendang done well but we barely touched this.  It was grim.  The dish was saved a little by having the nasi lemak to eat instead but really that should be a side. rendang So, pretty awful decor and some pretty average to awful food.  How long with this one last? Laksa Bar Prahran on Urbanspoon

Ruby Tuesdays

217 Chapel St , Prahran

Pub Food/Tapas/European

I’ve wandered past here many times but never gone in before.  This time the drinks specials including $5 beers all day every day sold me on trying it for dinner.  As it turns out this is a bit of a false pretense.  After seeing patrons outside imbibing large glasses of Budvar, I was under the impression that this would be the beer in question, not the 300ml pot of dark lager of unknown origin that was presented.  $5 a pot is not a bargain by any stretch.

Ruby Tuesdays has a street facing bar to sit at, as well as street furniture, and couches and tables inside.  The decor is fairly random to say the least.  Ochre coloured paint on the walls out the front, animal print panels on the roof, a blue upholstered bar, and dark tiles and mirrors on the other wall.

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I grabbed a couple of the hand drawn and colourful menus from the bar.  Somebody obviously likes their arts and crafts.  One side listed a number of tapas style meals such as pan-fried haloumi, chili mussels, and carpaccio.  The other side listed meals in four sections; pasta and risotto; mains; char-grilled beef; and salads.  I went for the North Indian Chicken Curry and my friend went for the Penne Salmon and Avocado.

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After we ordered, a table out on the street became available so we grabbed it.  The couch style seating at the table inside was not really conducive to eating at.  When the food arrived it was nicely presented.  The helping of penne was large and it tasted good, although it had a slightly odd smokey taste to it.  The curry however, was not a particularly large helping.  On the menu it said it was served with rice, yoghurt and pappadams.  When it arrived there was a small serve of rice and two unidentified globules, one orange and one grey.  Possibly the orange one had some yoghurt in it but the grey one definitely wasn’t pappadams.  That said, they were both quite tasty and accompanied the curry well.  The curry was mild but very flavourful, and the chicken fell off the bone, however there wasn’t enough rice to go with it and I was still hungry at the end of it.

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The meal and general experience was pretty good – however there was nothing special about it would have me running back here soon.

One tip, the bar/restaurant doesn’t have a toilet but instead uses the common toilet in the basement of the arcade next door.  If you have to use it, be prepared to be reminded of a New York subway toilet in the mid-80s.  And girls, it’s unisex so there are urinals in there that may be being used by guys.  And it’s probably best not to go down there alone with the owner.  He was acquitted of raping a patron in 2010 but you can’t be too careful.

Ruby Tuesdays on Urbanspoon

Massive Wieners

226 Chapel St, Prahran

Hot Dog Stand

http://massivewieners.com/

This is a review that I’ve been looking forward to… but still with some trepidation.  Massive Wieners specialise in foot long hot dogs but that’s not why I’m there tonight.  They also do something called the Super Colossal Wiener which is a 25″ monster.  And even better it’s free!  Of course there is a catch.  You have to eat it in under 5 minutes to get it for free, otherwise it’s a slightly more than free $15.  Now I have a bit of a reputation for being a bit of a hoover when it comes to food, and I also have a bit of a reputation as a bit of a skinflint.  So these two things together make this a very appealing challenge for me.

There is also the chance at immortality, with your lovely mug and time appearing amongst the Polaroids of champions on the Wall of Fame, or a chance at eternal mockery, with your sad mug sitting among the many who failed the challenge on the Wall of Shame.  I was determined at least not to be amongst those in the DNF section below the bar.  The time to beat was 2 minutes and 16 seconds.  That’s about a foot of hot dog per minute!  And apparently the guy went off and finished another food eating challenge straight after.  Legend.

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When the hot dog arrives it certainly looks intimidating and I almost feel like pulling out a measuring tape to make sure it’s only 25″, but who would lie about the size of their wiener?  I’ve gone for just the tomato sauce postulating that the mustard might slow me down.  First things first I have to pose with my massive wiener for a photo which will later don either the Fame or Shame wall.

I lined it up, the staff started the clock, and I was away… and I was pretty happy with my progress until about the 3.5 minute mark.  That’s where things started to go wrong.  See how I got on by viewing this:

Spoiler alert!

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Me – 0   Massive Wieners – 1.  How somebody did this in 2:16 I totally fail to comprehend!

You may have won the battle Wiener but you haven’t won the war!

Massive Wieners on Urbanspoon

Gurkhas Brasserie

190-192 Chapel St, Prahran

Nepalese

http://www.gurkhasbrasserie.com.au/

Gurkhas in Chapel St has been around since 1995 and was one of the first Nepalese restaurants in Melbourne.  It has now expanded to six outlets.  On this Monday night I decided to visit with three friends for their $20 all you can eat sampler menu.  I love a bit of all you can eat as I usually get my moneys worth.

My friend and I arrived first and we were immediately seated and supplied with some papadums while I waited for my two other perennially late friends.  The decor is red brick with Nepalese flourishes, and paper lampshades featuring the Budda’s eye design providing a low warm light.  There was also some plinky plonky music playing.

Once my other friends arrived we worked our way through another bowl of papadums and ordered the sampler menu and a mango mohi each.  A mohi is a flavoured yoghurt drink much like an Indian lassi and is delicious.  I’ve spent some time in Nepal and one thing I discovered there that most people, for breakfast, lunch and dinner eat a meal called dal bhut which is basically rice and lentils with a few spices.  It’s about as interesting and spicy as my left testicle.  I find Nepalese restaurants in the West tend to add a lot more spice and have more of an Indian flavour so I was interested to see the range of foods on offer tonight.

After a bit of a wait we were served with a bowl of piping hot vegetable noodle soup.  It was too hot to eat initially but was nice once it cooled enough to eat.  I probably should have spent a bit longer eating it as it took quite some time for the next dish to arrive.  It was a single plate for the table that contained a selection of entrées including BBQ mushrooms, curry puffs, and dumplings with enough for one of each for each of us.  They were all tasty, specially the mushrooms.  It was just a bite  though and it was an agonising wait until the mains were delivered.  At this point I was really wondering just how long it’d take me to get ‘all I can eat’.

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Once the mains were delivered they came in a rush.  Like waiting for a bus.  Four dishes and rice and then a further two.  The first four included a goat curry, a stir-fry noodle dish, a veg curry and fried fish in a curry sauce, the further two dishes were a chicken masala and sautéed okra.  Authentically, none of the dishes were very spicy, in fact, even the additional chilli my friend requested wasn’t spicy.  The winning dish was the goat curry.  The meat just fell apart in your mouth and it was delicious.  Even the dinner conversation about 3rd degree burns didn’t put me off it.  The okra had a slightly odd taste but not what I would call unpleasant.

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Probably the most unusual part of the meal was when the background music inexplicably changed from plinky plonky to banging psy-trance.  We couldn’t work out if the CD had changed or it was coming in from the bar next door.  By the end of the six main dishes we’d all had our fill and when the waitress asked if we’d like any more we declined.  The final dish served was a rice pudding.  Now I’m no fan of rice pudding so I only sampled mine but my friends that were fans enjoyed it.

After a slow start to proceedings the food that was delivered lived up to expectations and was great value.

Gurkhas on Urbanspoon

Oishi Kitchen

286 Chapel St, Prahran

Japanese/Korean

I happened to be wandering past this place while on my lunch break and thought I’d give it a go.  They were advertising lunch specials on bentos and dons.  Inside there was quite an industrial aesthetic.  Tables were separated by steel and reinforced glass partitions and warehouse style lampshades hung over the tables.  Bare plywood sheets adorned one wall above some bench seating, above which was a long back-lit shelf which contained a number of Asian beverages and drinking vessels.  The weathered timber wall which hid the kitchen was painted in various pastel colours adding some pizzaz to the decor.

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The place was reasonably busy and the clientele was mostly Asian which I consider a good sign for any place selling Asian food.  The menu was quite extensive and I’d like to come back here for a full meal but I chose the sukiyaki beef don.  Sukiyaki is a hot pot dish made with meat, fresh vegetables and noodles simmered in a sweet soy based soup.  Once the ingredients are fully cooked, you dip them into a raw beaten egg and eat.  Don is short for donburi, a type of Japanese dish where a selection of toppings are laid over a bowl of rice.  Sukiyaki don is a combo where a whole sukiyaki dish is piled over the rice, to make the ultimate one person hot pot / rice bowl meal.

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The meal arrived with a bowl of miso, which always flummoxes me a little as I’m never sure whether you’re supposed to use the spoon or drink from the bowl so I do a little of both.  The meal was a hearty serving and had a side of salad.  Showing my chopstick prowess I initially tried to eat it with the wrong ends of the chopsticks but once I cleared that minor hurdle I enjoyed the dish.  The beef and egg are a surprising good combo and for $9.50, it’s a meal that’ll definitely see you through to dinner time without seeking out an afternoon snack.  I’ll definitely be back to sample more of the Japanese/Korean menu.

Oishi Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saigon Rose

206 Chapel St, Prahran

Vietnamese

http://saigonroseprahran.com.au/

Saigon Rose is a long-standing member of the Chapel St Asian restaurant fraternity and seems to stay reasonably busy.  A couple of friends and I managed to get a table on Monday night once the reserved sign was whisked away.  The restaurant is sparsely decorated with only the beer selection adorning the walls and a single large black and white photo depicting scenes from Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City as it is now).  It seems it’s not the sort of restaurant you come for the ambiance.

We started with some drinks, and a friend and I decided to try the Vietnamese beer Huda.  Apparently it wasn’t the first time the waitress had heard the “Two large Hudas” joke before.  Either way, we moved onto Asahi after that as Huda wasn’t really a winner.  For entrée we ordered pork and prawn rice paper rolls, banana chicken, and salmon and asparagus spring rolls.  The surprise winner was the banana chicken.  Pockets of chicken breast stuffed with banana, deep-fried, and served with a plum sauce.  The salmon and asparagus spring rolls with a fish sauce were a close and delicious second.  The rice paper rolls were fairly bland and seemed to be missing the prawn but were almost saved by a nice hoisin sauce.

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For mains we ordered roast duck with plum sauce, king prawns wrapped in scallops, and from the specials board, a pumpkin pot of king prawns in a mild yellow curry sauce.  The duck arrived first.  I’m not sure it was the first time the waitress had seen somebody dive under the table when it was presented and she said “Duck”.  It looked beautifully crispy and smelled great although other than the sauce there were no other accompaniments.  Next to arrive was the pumpkin pot.  It was presented in a hollowed out 1/2 pumpkin and was overflowing with prawn curry and vegetables.  The prawns and scallops were last to arrive.  I had wondered how they were going to wrap a scallop around a prawn.  As it turns out they didn’t, the prawn was wrapped around the scallop.  They were served on a bed of steamed broccoli and lettuce and doused in an oyster sauce.

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All of the mains were delicious.  The prawn curry had just a nice amount of kick to it and it was a substantial meal that left me feeling very full at the end of it.  I couldn’t fault the duck, and if I did it’d just be like water off a ducks back anyway.  The prawn and scallops were plump and juicy and full of flavour.  While the restaurant may not have a lot of atmosphere, the staff were very professional, and the food is what keeps people coming back.

Saigon Rose on Urbanspoon