I love food in Melbourne. So much variety, and a different vibe from Sydney - intimate but chilled-out at the same time.
I was reading the onboard magazine on the flight to Melbourne and there was an article about street food in Melbourne. One of the eateries mentioned was Cruzao Arepa Bar in Brunwick. I've never had Venezuelan food before so I persuaded Mr Curious to go there for lunch.
The restaurant was casual with fun artworks on the wall. The middle and the bottom paintings were my favourites.
Cruzao's signature dish is the arepa, a pita-like pocket made with corn, grilled and stuffed with ingredients of your choice. Mr Curious ordered the pabellon (shredded beef, black beans, plantain and feta, left) and I had the llanera (pork leg, tomato and haloumi, both $9.50).
The arepa was soft and moist with a distinct corn flavour (similar to corn chips). The pork leg was in pull-apart territory, and the tomato slices and haloumi worked really well together. I can imagine this being served in street stores as a snack or lunch on the run. Mr Curious highly enjoyed his arepa also.
We also ordered the lequeños (cheese bread sticks with hogao, $11)
They were so good. Straight out of the oven (or frying pan? I'm not sure) it was doughy, cheesy and surprisingly light. The hagao was similar to a salsa but it was more like a paste. There was a small jar of chilli on the table to add a kick to the dish.
We were still a bit peckish after we finished the above so we ordered the empanaditas (filled corn pastries with guasacaca, with beef or cheese fillings, $11)
Don't they look golden and delicious? Well yes they were :-D
Mr Curious had a Brazilian beer and I had a virgin mojito to wash down the food.
I am so glad I found this little gem. I wish there is a similar joint in Sydney!
We went to The Press Club that night. No photo because it was a romantic dinner. My favourite was the eel kroketes (croquettes) that was part of the salmon main (photo here). On the flip side, I was a bit disappointed with the bread. I have a high expectation of bread from a Greek restraurant and it was only alright.
The restaurant ticks all the boxes - slick decor, efficient service and high quality food, but on a whole the dishes were a bit too rich for my liking. Mr Curious was a big fan though.
We were planning to go to Madame Sousou for breakfast (thanks for the recommendation Ling) the next morning but we slept in (bliss!) and with a full schedule ahead, we opted to stay in the CBD. Running in Lulu recommended Il Solito Posto for dinner but it was closed on Sunday, so we went there for breakfast instead.
I was still a bit full from the night before so I ordered the burcher muesli ($12)
I liked the grated apple on top - I'm going to try that next time I made bircher muesli at home. The dish was so fresh and a great way to start the day. There was a nut of some sort in the muesli which I wasn't a big fan of but it was easy to pick them out.
Mr Curious had the Italian scrambled eggs with prosciutto, roma tomato, basil and parmesan ($14) plus a side of bacon.
I was too full to sample his dish. He gave it the two thumbs up.
For lunch we went to our old favourite Ezard. They have a 3-course express lunch with a glass of wine for $55pp which was very good value.
I love the bread with their homemade olive oil and 3 dips (photo here). I can't decide if I like the sweet then spicy rock sugar/chilli combo more or the delicious bonito salt with seaweed.
The highlight of the meal was the pork belly with caramel sauce - rich but yet so refined.
I had the caramelised apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla mousse and apple cider sorbet for dessert.
It was nice but not as "wow" as Ezard's other desserts.
Mr Curious forced down the honeycrunch icecream, toasted gingerbread and sugar swirl :-D
It was the first time I went to Ezard for lunch. With sunlight streaming in from the windows and less people it was a more relaxed experience which I enjoyed.
We were let down by the service though. We ordred the oyster shooters but they were never delivered (by the time we received our first course it was a bit pointless to ask for the appetiser) and the bill we received initially was incorrect (they didn't include the desserts). I didn't leave a tip. I didn't give them a reason and I wonder if I should've written something on the bill.
I will still go back to Ezard for its food, I'm hoping the below-par service was a once-off.
Overall it was another wonderful culinary journey. I can't wait to be back again. MoVida is on my hit list and I want to go to Madame Sousou next time!