Nong Tang Noodle House, Melbourne Dumpling Find

I found Nong Tang Noodle House in Melbourne on Instagram, because obviously, I follow #dumplings! Don’t judge me. It’s my happy place.

I finally made it to Melbourne and took the crew there for dinner. It’s in a tiny alleyway filled with what looks like great food finds. I’d love to try the Sichuan place down the hall sometime too.

We ordered the spicy wontons to start (great chilli level and wrapper – not too hot), the XLB (very difficult not to break the dough and eat properly. Meat very soft & tasty), the pork & chive traditionally cooked pan fried dumplings (super juicy!) and the shanghai noodle (we couldn’t even finish the plate).

We had a feast and the total came to $13.60 each! We couldn’t even finish all the noodles. Unreal value. And it’s BYO.

Where’s your favorite place in Melbourne for dumplings? I still love Mr Jin Huang for XLB, Dumpling Table in South Yarra for pork and chive and Hutong for something a little fancier.

Damn it, now I feel like dumplings again. I’m trying to not eat so much at the moment and dumplings is the hardest to cut back on! I just love them so much!!!

Nong Tang Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Could This Be Melbourne’s Best Xiao Long Bao?

I loooove XLB. Xiao long bao are those freaking tasty soup dumplings. Delicious pockets of goodness.

Soooo my hotel in Melbourne CBD was evacuated for fire for four hours and I became really sick of standing around outside in the cold. I meandered off and found Mr Huang Jin. I think I have been here before, many years ago. I have vague recollections.

I ordered a green tea (I was freezing) and the steamed chilli pork xiao long bao.

Oh.my.life.

Amazing.

Great dumpling wrapper. Not too thick, not too thin. LOTS of soup – my favourite. I hate a dry XLB. Feels like you’ve been cheated. The chilli pork was a great combo. I’d love to try their two other flavours – a plain XLB & a laksa!

They use a different type of vinegar to what I’m used to. They’re usually served with a black vinegar but these came with a Taiwanese vinegar that was lighter and almost a little tangy. I added a tiny splash of soy and the fresh ginger always complements the flavours.

Most people don’t know how to eat XLB, there’s an etiquette you know?! So, you pick them up with your chopsticks & place them on your spoon. Then you bite off the top and blow to cool down the soup. Then you seal your mouth around the top and slurp up the soup! Next, you dip them in the vinegar sauce with fresh ginger and devour! Mmmm

Mr Huang Jin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

St Kilda Novotel – A Relaxing Melbourne break

I usually stay in the city or Richmond when I’m in Melbourne but this time I thought I would give St Kilda a turn. I spend a lot of time in the heart of cities and I was looking for something a little more relaxed, out of the center and the water was alluring.

St Kilda is the perfect spot for a Melbourne break with everything the city has to offer without being in the thick of it. There’s still trams, great bars, cafes and the like but you feel a bit more relaxed there even though it’s only 20 minutes (6km) by tram to almost anywhere you want to go in the city!

I did some research on hotels and decided St Kilda Novotel was my best choice. Why? Location, location, location! It’s right by the tram to take you to the city, across from the baths and St Kilda pier and all the bars, cafes and shops of St Kilda are within walking distance. Oh, and there’s parking – a massive plus to explore the nearby attractions and restaurants.

I knew the hotel itself would be great, I’m already a fan of the Accor Hotels group and stay with them often all over Australia. My room was huge with two big beds (obviously I ran and jumped on to test as soon as I arrived) which was perfect as my cousin was joining me for the weekend.

After watching the sunset across the pier and over the water from the windows in our room (fab views) we went out and explored what was nearby.

There’s a great little bar downstairs, the Esplanade Bar, I’d love to try more of the menu and their milkshakes sometime!

Highly recommend a relaxing break at St Kilda Novotel for a weekend away or a break from the city without being too far away!

Hot tip: there’s a cafe around the corner called Il Fornaio that does fantastic brunch!

 

* While this stay was complimentary, this review is true and authentic. Fab place for a break!

Hide And Seek Chippery – Splendid Seafood in Tullamarine

When I work from the Wiley Melbourne office, decent, healthy food choices are few and far between. We are based out by the airport in West Meadows and I usually just run out and grab something, there’s not much pleasure in it.

I was excited to hear that among the Red Rooster, Hungry Jacks and Maccas that a fish and chip shop had opened up a swift ten minutes walk away; Hide and Seek Chippery on Mickleham Road in Tullamarine. Still didn’t sound all that healthy but my assumption was about to be squished.

I didn’t have high expectations, nor did I imagine somewhere funky and fresh. I just love a nice surprise.

I ordered ahead so the char grilled squid with brown rice and fattoush salad would be ready for me. I arrived and was immediately impressed. The restaurant has been well fitted out and there’s even a grafittied giant octopus on the side of the wall! There’s fresh fish on display, a nice clean interior and of course, my meal was ready and waiting with a smile from the Chef.

The squid was perfectly charred and had been drizzled with a lime and chilli dressing that was delicious and tangy with the rice too. The salad was crisp and refreshing, I couldn’t eat the whole thing, they’re generous servings. I love a delicious, healthy meal and this will definitely be my go to from now on for all Melbourne office visits!

Hide & Seek Fish & Chippery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miss Katie’s Crab Shack – The Best Mess Possible In Fitzroy

My friend Lisa suggested we have Miss Katie’s Crab Shack for lunch on a hungover Sunday and I jumped at the idea. As a bonus it was just up the road on Smith Street in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

I arrived and immediately ordered a large glass of soda water. Next thing I know the waiter had talked us in to two for one Bloody Mary’s too and holy sh*t am I glad! They had pickles and a prawn on top, plenty of spice and enough kick to pep me right up!

We sat out the front to begin to enjoy the beautiful Melbourne weather but I soon discovered a hidden little fishing themed oasis out the back for us to move into.

I decided immediately on the southern style crab pot. Crab, corn on the cob, baby potatoes and spicy sausage boiled in butter, lemon and Old Bay – ummmm yessss!! Later on I did have a little FOMO when I found out the guy next to us had chilli crab as a special, otherwise def the best choice on the menu.

It came out fairly quickly (along with more bloody Mary’s) and we smashed them! Yay for bibs as it is certainly messy. Crab cracking is a slightly tedious way to enjoy a lunch however you do feel a sense of satisfaction when you suck a fleshy part of crab meat out from a leg. I felt like I deserved it after all that work. Everything was delicious and devoured with minimal talking – that’s when you know it’s good.

Best way to spend a hungover Sunday in Fitzroy. I highly recommend a table out the back with a great company, 2-4-1 Bloody Mary’s and a crab boil as a wonderful way to while away an afternoon.

Next time I want to try the fried green tomatoes. Oh, and here’s a hot tip, don’t wear white like I did!

Miss Katie's Crab Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Matteo’s Melbourne – Best Dining Experience of 2017

I thought it would only be right to publish my best dining experience of 2017 as my first blog of 2018! I dream about food all day and this experience in particular was exceptionally special, delicious, impressive and memorable.

Lisa and I visited Matteo’s after a long day and were quite looking forward to a lovely meal and some champagne. Little did we know, what we had in store for us at Matteo’s was much more than that!

Starting with a glass of ’06 Moet (always begin how you intend to finish), we deliberated over the menu. Annddd then we deliberated some more! We wanted to try everything on the menu and couldn’t work out how to get the best out of it. Eventually Matteo himself picked our menu items – we knew we were in good hands.

Our first dish arrived and set the bar damn high for everything to follow. Pork doughnuts. Yeah you read that right. I’m not even going to try explain these to you, you really need to try them yourself. Delicious.

Next? An oyster tasting platter, with oysters five ways. The ginger and black bean steamed oyster and the mirin and sake oyster shot were incredible – best I’ve ever had! That’s saying a lot – I eat oysters like they are going out of fashion.

Kingfish sashimi arrived next, with roasted sesame dressing & caviar – drool. Serious drool. And gorgeous to boot!

Lobster tom yum – dying with happiness. I couldn’t even dream this dish up! The lobster was succulent, the tom yum bursting with flavour.

Duck breast with wagyu – oh my life who would have thought the two complimented each other so well!

What truely made our visit what it was, was the fantastic (cheeky and fun) waiter and a sommelier who could read my taste buds like a book. I would spill out some notes, flavours and beverages I enjoy and he would pick a perfect wine to match. Seriously impressive. Magnificent and extensive wine list. I would have said previously that Lisa and I had similar tastes in wine but he showed us just how different they were by choosing wines for each of us and encouraging us to compare. We always preferred our own wine better. He even found not one or two white wines I enjoyed (I don’t usually drink white other than champagne) but three, delicious whites. One of them I can’t source on my own so I will be heading back to Matteo’s to devour some more.

Matteo’s really takes Asian Fusion to the next level. The interior is elegant, a beautiful setting for fine dining. Matteo is a charismatic, charming and caring man whose vibrancy and energy radiates throughout the restaurant.

Matteo’s Restaurant in Fitzroy, Melbourne – head there, thank me later!

Matteo's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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