Akaiito

My amazing wife recently celebrated her birthday, and since she loves Japanese cuisine, I took her out for dinner at newly opened Akaiito.

Akaiito, meaning red thread of fate in Japanese, can be found behind a big black door on Flinders lane.

One of the beautiful features of the restaurant interior is a red thread installation which leads you into further inside to the dining area.

Inside, the lighting strikes the perfect balance of being moody, but in a way that allows you to actually see your dining companions, as well as what you order.

There is an open kitchen in the middle of the dining area, and the chefs look very impressive cooking and grilling away.

The waiter who served us was friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the menu.

The menu moves from raw dishes, to sushi, maki, robata, tempura and mains. There were so many delicious sounding things to choose from.

My wife loves Yuzu, so we made sure to order the Otoro Tartare: diced fatty tuna belly, yuzu compressed apple, avocado, radish and squid ink cracker ($26)

The waiter explained that the crackers were to scoop up the tuna belly. This dish was so good! The crunch of the cracker with the fattiness of the tuna and the zesty pop of the compressed apple – divine.

We ordered another dish from the Raw section of the menu thar sounded too good not to:
Wagyu Tartare Tacos: Takeda farm tri-tip, smoked egg yolk, sturgeon caviar, shiitake, anchovy aoli and crispy nori. ($27)

Basically we got to make our own lux mini wagyu tacos using cut sheets of nori seaweed. Lots of umami – the shiitake mushrooms, smoked egg yolk and tartare were rich, but the crispy nori and the caviar brought balance. Again, amazing.

We decided that we had to try some ‘crazy maki’ and ordered the Kingfish roll($20) as it is my wife’s favourite fish. The roll contained green tobiko, cucumber, leek and truffle.

The waiter explained that the green leaf was called a shiso leaf, and that it had an unexpected but complimentary flavour. It tasted sharply sweet, kind of like mint, but more grassy. It was deliciously different when eaten with the maki.

Onto the robata: we ordered the Tsukune ($8 each) a charcoal grilled chicken meatball skewer which gets dipped into a creamy egg yolk. This dish is a must order – the meatball was perfectly cooked and tasted even more amazing with the yolk. A simple but epic snack!

We felt that we needed some vegetables, so the charred baby cos lettuce with miso yuzu and topped with pinenuts ($12) was ordered. It was yummy but sort of unpleasantly messy to eat.

Lastly: the Tako – W.A octopus, sweet paprika, pickled button onions and smoked heirloom tomato ($24) The tako was good, but our least favourite dish – it didn’t have the same punch as the others.

But then: a surprise! The restaurant gave us a complimentary birthday dessert. So thoughtful! The chocolate mousse cake was rich and creamy. I had a peak at the rest of their dessert menu, and it looked spectacular ( there is even souffle!) so keep it in mind when ordering your main courses.

We had such a lovely night, filled with exciting flavours. I highly recommend visiting Akaiito, and supporting this fantastic newly opened gem.

Rating: 4.5

FYI: Keep in mind that when it comes time to settle the bill, they have set up the machine to ask for a tip first. This annoys and confuses me, as it is not custom to do this in Australia, and I hate having the pressure/fear of offending with too low a tip. You might feel differently, but I thought I should pre warn you just in case.

Akaiito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

NeNe Chicken, Melbourne Central

NeNe Chicken is a South Korean fried chicken restaurant which has been popping up all over Melbourne ( a new one just opened up in Pacific Epping).

NeNe means Yes! Yes! in Korean and for lovers of fried chicken, I can say, Yes! This is a good place to try!

The only fried chicken I enjoy is Korean-style fried chicken, as I find that other styles can be greasy and too oily. I have tried a few different outlets around town, and I would say that NeNe is in my top 5. I like NeNe because of the convenience factor – there are heaps around town and it is set up as a take-away outlet, so you can enjoy it at home.

We visited the Melbourne Central branch, at around 12:00pm, and unfortunately experienced a 40 min wait. However, the friendly staff apologised, kept me updated on waiting times and explained that they had new staff training on that day.

We were really impressed by the crispy boneless chicken ( $33.95 for aprox. 650 grams of flavoured). It became extra succulent when the sauce ( we chose garlic out of many options including bulgogi, swicy and snowing cheese! ) is poured over. The chicken comes with crunchy radishes and coleslaw salad for some extra texture!

The fusion tacos were good value ( 3 hard or soft shell tacos for $10.90) and were very generously filled with several pieces of chicken per taco, fresh crunchy lettuce, shredded cheese and sauce. The taco shells were heated correctly, and the whole thing tasted really fresh and delicious.

We also tried a Tornado potato ($4.95) which we found a bit oily and not quite as crispy as we wanted it to be.

The chicken was really addictive, and I swear I could have eaten it like popcorn.

Overall, we really enjoyed NeNe chicken, and think it is a great option when you are craving fried chicken, and want to eat it at home in your Pjs (…which may be how we enjoyed our lunch on that cold rainy day!)

Rating 3.5

Nene Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: We were invited by NeNe to try their menu and all opinions are our own.

Calia @ Chadstone

A lovely morning shopping at Chadstone had left us ravenous, and Calia was on my list to try in the centre.

Calia is a Japanese café and store, with a focus on aesthetics. I loved browsing through the store, which had many high quality, luxurious, local and imported goods.

Unfortunately our first impression of the dining experience at CALIA was not very good, as we had to wait a while to be seated, despite it not being busy, and catching the eye of many servers standing around the restaurant. When we were at the point of walking out, someone finally came up, without a smile or apology and directed us to our table. It was really strange for such a beautiful place! The interiors at Calia are seriously gorgeous…

After receiving our menus, we settled on:

Matcha soba salad ($15.70) –made with soba noodles, flecks of chopped vegetables, a light dressing and no trace of matcha flavour. A very average dish, especially for the price.

Aburi salmon ($18.90) – thin slices of bruleed salmon on a giant mound of rice. The flavours got a bit repetitive after a while too.

Umami fries – Thin crispy fries topped with umami seasoning. These were the highlight of the meal, however, they were cold when they arrived.

Staff were polite but cold while we were there. Overall service was quite slow.

Our visit to Calia was a let down. We really felt like there was a lot of style, but no substance.

Rating 3

Calia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Qipo Skewer Bar

Qipo Skewer bar is hidden up some stairs and down a laneway off little Lonsdale street. It is decorated in an arcade/steampunk style, and has a large bar, a sauce station, skewer fridges and a seating area. It has a cosy student atmosphere.

Qipo specialises in skewer style malatang hot pot. You select your broth flavour, and then pick a selection of skewers from the fridges while it heats up. The soup base is $19.80 and skewers start at 80 cents.

We chose a half/half broth, medium spicy and mushroom.

The medium spicy was SUPER spicy, and we have a high spice tolerance, so it really was especially spicy. We ended up kind of abandoning it and focusing on the mushroom broth instead. The mushroom broth was beautiful. It was not overly salty, and had a herbal umami flavour to it. I loved the mushrooms in it too, especially the enoki.

The skewer fridge had a good selection of different things to try, and it was fun choosing.

However, we thought that the meat skewers really needed more on them. The giant skewers had one small thin piece of marinated meat on them, sometimes wrapped around a piece of chopped vegetable.

You would need to grab a lot of 80 cent skewers to get enough meat for 2 people. Why not just put more meat on the skewer and charge a bit more?

That being said, the meat was flavourful and the veggies were fresh. They also had special plates of ingredients to add in: such as dumplings and noodles.

We tried the chilli beef, chicken, bok choy, Chinese doughnut, fungi, taro, wombok, corn, fried tofu, plain tofu and cucumber. Our favourites were the chicken, fried tofu, chinese doughnut ( loved this!) and fungi.

Skewers are a great idea for hot pot, as it is easy to manage what is cooking away in the broth, and easy to get it out of the pot to eat. They also look really cool sticking out of the hot pot, but beware, they do add up in price!

For drinks we ordered the Iced Lychee and the Iced Pitaya: both were fruity, sweet and refreshing, though we did chug them down to cool off after the spicy broth.

Qipo is a good option for a fun casual dinner with friends, especially on a cold winters night.

Rating: 3 stars.

Disclaimer: Goodfoodgoodkarma was invited to dine at Qipo Skewer Bar. All opinions are our own.

Qipo Skewer Bar 七婆串串香 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ishiya Stone Grill

Great service makes such a difference when dining out. Someone greeting you at the door, taking you through the menu, making suggestions and checking on you during your meal elevates your meal, from just a plate of food to a memorable experience.

We had such a fantastic experience at Ishiya Stone Grill the other night. We were invited to dine at the restaurant, but I have to make clear, that this does not ever mean any special treatment other than a complimentary meal for review. The wait staff treat you like they would any other diner, which is what I will always prefer.

So yes, we were greeted at the door, the menu was thoughtfully explained and personal suggestions were made by the friendly waiter.

He also asked about dietary requirements, or if we were allergic to anything. Then throughout the night, he remembered and modified dishes or made suggestions to suit. It was such a thoughtful touch, and was really helpful.

He even offered to let us try some yuzu shoyu, which I had a sip of, as we don’t normally drink alcohol. It was delicious – lightly sweet, completely citrusy and I recommend ordering it!

After browsing the amazing drinks menu, we ordered the mocktails, the waiter suggested as his favourites.

We received our drinks shortly after settling in.

Lychee Sour – this has to be one of the best mocktails I’ve ever tried. It was sweet, but in not in a sickly or artificial way. The natural lychee flavour really shone through, balanced with the citrus. Another please!

Mocktail with butterfly pea flower ( didn’t take down the exact name) – this was also excellent, not too sweet and nice and fruity. Also, a very pretty purple because of the butterfly pea flower’s interaction with the cirtrus in the drink.

We received an extra mini appetiser while we waited for our main dishes, which was a Japanese style potato salad. I won’t eat potato salad unless it is Japanese potato salad, and it is one of my favourite indulgences. This was yum. Creamy kewpie stirred through potato which has been mashed so that there is still texture, and studded with herbs/ micro veggies. LOVE.

Ishiya Stone Grill specialises in fabulous cuts of meat which you get to grill yourself on an volcanic stone to your liking. This is seriously so much fun.

There are different ways to order at Ishya –you can get a group dinner set, or go a la carte, and order entrees and something to grill! ( plus, you can’t forget dessert. You’ll see why)

On recommendation from the waiter, we made a cheeky extra order of the yake hotate ( scallops with creamy mushroom miso sauce).

These were cooked perfectly, and there was so much umami flavour! We can see why the waiter loved this dish, and we think it is a must try.

We decided to go for the $89 Set 1, which is great for sharing between 2 people.

OMG THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD. We could not finish it, but the waiter was impressed with our effort! :p This is a great value set and every dish was delicious.

Let me take you through each dish….

Edamame

My favourite snack, and the perfect start to a meal, especially when topped with flaky sea salt.

Truffle cured salmon tataki

This dish was seriously amazing. The truffle flavour was beautiful, and the fish melted in your mouth. Plus, it was presented beautifully. A must order!

Tori Tatsuta age: the best Japanese fried chicken I’ve tried in quite a while. Often this dish can be quite oily, and the chicken not very good quality. However, this chicken was juicy and soft, and the crumb coating was nicely crispy. Dipping it into the aioli took it to an even tastier level of indulgence.

Takoyaki

Fluffy on the inside, and crispy on the outside: this was delicious.The fish roe topping added a nice pop and contrast to the fluffy batter.

Now onto the grilling:

You get your own volcanic stone with sauces for dipping the meat into. The waiter demonstrated for us first, which was helpful. You pick up the meat with the metal tongs provided, and place around 2-3 pieces at a time onto your stone. Then you use your fork and knife to flip it and cook it your liking. It does not need to be on the stone for long, and the smell of the meat sizzling away gives you a clue on when to flip.

As part of the set we got:

90gm scotch beef

90gm tenderloin beef

90gm beef ribs

The set also asks you to choose two extra meats for grilling, and we decided on lamb fillet and scotch fillet.

Our favourites were the tenderloin and the beef ribs. The tenderloin was soft and juicy, and the ribs were thin, but full of flavour.

The dipping sauces were lovely too. Some were sweet and some were sour, so you could try lots of different flavour combinations.

Not pictured but also part of the set is fried rice, so you can have some rice with your freshly grilled meat!

This set usually comes with softserve, but we saw the dessert platter on the menu, and I HAD TO ORDER IT FOR YOU (and me) So the lovely waiter incorporated the soft serve into the platter.

From top left to right:

Yuzu sorbet – I love how distinctive yuzu is – it is my favourite citrus fruit right now. It tastes sweet like lemon but without the intense sourness. This sorbet was refreshing and flavourful.

melon softserve – I ate all of this. The melon flavour was addictive, and it was very sweet but light on the palate.

European biscuits and nutty caramel popcorn – we kind of skipped this, as we have tried similar before. Needed to leave space for the….

Charcoal chocolate softserve – this reminded me of my childhood. Super sweet and very deeply chocolatey. It was icy rather than creamy. I ate all of this too. I love softserve.

Vanilla Yuzu mille crepe cake – Yay – yuzu again! Thin crepes layered together with yuzu jam and vanilla cream. It didn’t have that yuzu punch like the sorbet, but it was still delicious, light and dangerously easy to eat.

Frozen profiteroles – these were fun pops of cream and chocolate. Reminded me of ice magic on vanilla icecream.

Matcha Brulee mousse cake – I enjoyed tapping to break the brulee. There was a rich matcha flavour, but the mousse was perhaps a bit too frozen. After it had time to defrost a bit, it tasted even better.

Japanese teardrop cake with brown sugar syrup – a trendy dessert. Clear jelly with a sweet syrup. It was lots of fun to wobble, and then to eat.

Red bean mochi – I love the fact that mochi are never too sweet, and I really liked the texture of the bean filling. Perfect with a cup of green tea.

I really can’t wait to go back again. I left with a bounce in my step, even though I was so mega full of food!

I want to try their lunch sets, and of course, I will need to go back to have some more of that melon softserve.

I highly recommend Ishiya Stone Grill and give it 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I was invited by the restaurant to dine, and received a complimentary meal. All opinions, words and photography are my own.

Ishiya Stone Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miss Kasumi

Miss Kasumi is a beautiful contemporary Japanese restaurant in Kew. We were excited to be invited by the restaurant to try their menu as guests, as it has some rare dishes that you don’t usually see on a typical Japanese menu.

I really loved the way it was set up inside. It had a really romantic vibe. There were cherry blossoms framing different areas, and wonderful light features such as the clouds above the sushi bar.

The staff were really welcoming and very knowledgable about the menu.

They have a great looking drinks menu, and the mocktails sounded too good not to order.

This mocktail was delicious: a mango and peach yoghurt fizz. It was fruity and refreshing.

This mocktail sounded so interesting, we just had to try it. A warm orange and elderflower drink. It tasted sweet and floral.

Now, onto the food…

Umami fries ($6) (similar to the ones at Calia, except we liked these better) These were tuffle scented and sprinkled with nori. Crunchy, addictive and a great appetiser!

We also ordered some Jidori Kaarage ($14) (Japanese fried chicken) which was succulent on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

Smoky pork belly ($6) – an indulgent crumbed piece of pork belly, served with applewood smoke, so when you lift the lid, smoke drifts out, filling the air with applewood aroma. This was a very theatrical dish, and it tasted delicious. The pork belly was richly flavoured, with layers of crunchy crumb and spiced pork fat.

I thought the branding on the chopsticks was a nice touch, it shows that thought is put into every aspect of the restaurant.

The Salmon Carpaccio ($14) was thinly sliced salmon, with a soy dressing and topped with micro greens. The salmon was fantastic quality as it literally melted in your mouth, and the dressing was not overpowering. This was one of our favourite dishes of the night.

The wild mushroom pipe ($8.50) was also a highlight. Literally umami in a pastry pipe. Biting into the light flaky pastry uncovered a fragrant mix of wild mushrooms and truffle oil.

We also enjoyed the Angus tataki ($12) which had a delicious garlic vinegar dressing, and was another melt in mouth dish. I love all the micro greens in these dishes as they add texture and a light fresh zing.

Next, the amazing head chef, Lee, came over to our table to guide us through the beautiful sushi he had created for us, and ask us how the meal had gone so far.

Sushi and sashimi moriawase ($26)
How stunning is this? 😍
The fish was super fresh and the rice a perfect temperature and texture.

This is a must order when you visit!

Yummmm. I did not dip any of these into soy sauce, as there was so much flavour there already.

Lee also suggested that we try this delicacy that is rare to find on menus in Australia. He sources it specially, and even does not make a profit on it.

He passionately explained that he wants Miss Kasumi customers to experience unique flavours, innovative dishes and know that he sources only the best ingredients.

Patagonia Toothfish ($45) seriously was AMAZING. It was grilled simply and seasoned with sea salt, which was perfect. This generous serving of fish was so rich, fatty and indulgent. It was the nicest white fish that we had ever had. Basically, if butter was a fish, this would be it.

We feel really lucky to be invited to experience such a wonderful feast from such a fantastic restaurant. There was such attention to detail, invention and flair.

We think that Miss Kasumi is a great date night restaurant, and somewhere to go to have a special night out.

Rating 4.5/5

Miss Kasumi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Goodfoodgoodkarma was invited to dine as guests of Miss Kasumi. All our opinions are our own.

Gyoza Gyoza, Emporium

Gyoza Gyoza is located on Level 1 of the Emporium shopping centre in the Melbourne CBD. There are a few restaurants in the Gyoza Gyoza family around Melbourne, all with a slightly different menu or featured cuisine. I’ve been invited to review a few of them within the CBD, and this one has been my favourite so far.

The interior design of Gyoza Gyoza is stylish, dark with warm lighting and Japanese flair. When inside, you don’t sense that you are in a shopping centre as there is minimal noise, and different lighting. The restaurant is linked to the restaurant next door, Unabara which is also part of the Gyoza Gyoza family and which specialises in Lobster dishes and fabulous desserts.

The Gyoza Gyoza menu concept is all about Japanese tapas, all of which are priced at around $6.80 each. The idea is to grab a few drinks from their extensive drinks list, which has a Japanese focus but extends to your traditional spirits and liquors, and then order some tapas to share.

We wanted to try more dishes this time rather than drinks, but drinks that we have tried and enjoyed previously were on this menu, eg. the iced matcha/houjicha floats and the honey yuzu iced tea.

We started with one of my favourite Japanese street food snacks: okonomiyaki.

This is a savoury pancake filled with veggies and topped with mayo and a Japanese style BBQ sauce. I loved the way this okonomiyaki was served, sizzling away in its little skillet. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and I really appreciated that it wasn’t drowning in sauce (something that I have come across at other venues).

Of course we had to order some Gyoza from Gyoza Gyoza. They have a great selection of flavours to try, this is the steamed Chicken and Lemongrass Gyoza. The dumpling dough was silky, and fillings were fragrant. Very comforting dish, and I loved it.

How pretty is this salmon tartare? It had cucumber, tobiko, red onion, yuzu miso mayo and was wrapped up in crunchy pickled radish. What a genius combination – lots of texture and fresh flavour. Creamy, crunchy and an umami hit!

This tilapia sashimi with yuzu dressing was lightly flavoured, and had a slightly chewy texture. The dressing was refreshing and slightly sweet but still zingy.

The fried rice had veggies, tomato and egg in it – a simple comforting side dish.

Of course we had to order a serve of veggies for balance – this broccolli was perfectly crispy cooked and was delicious on its own as well as when dipped into the truffle mayo which accompanied it.

This tuna takaki was quite a small dish but also very rich in flavour – the miso mustard and the meatiness of the tuna really packed a punch. This was my actually my least favourite of the dishes.

You can’t do Japanese tapas without ordering yakitori! The chicken was tender, juicy and the light glaze added some caramelisation and sweetness. I woukdn’t have minded a little bit more char on the chicken, to make it even more tasty.

Gyoza Gyoza has a seriously epic made for the Insta dessert menu, which it shares with Unabara next door.

This amazing creation is matcha soft serve with popcorn, strawberries, cream, waffle cone shards and fairy floss! It was fun taking pictures of it – I took so many that it was difficult narrowing it down to one. 😛

It actually did not taste as sweet as it looks!

The matcha soft serve could have been smoother as it was a little icy, however the bitter/sweet matcha flavour was spot on.

The strawberries were fresh and the popcorn crunchy. I could have done without the cream though.

The fairy floss was fun to eat. Who doesn’t love a fluffy balloon of spun sugar?

I would go back and try some of the other desserts on their menu. They even have an afternoon tea set with a tower of delicious insta-worthy looking sweets.

We loved our visit to Gyoza Gyoza, the food was delicious, and the only fault that we could find is that while the food delivery was perfect, the actual service from the waiters wasn’t quite in sync, and was a bit slow. We visited during the Easter break, so they may have been short on staff though!

Thanks to Gyoza Gyoza for the invitation and for the delicious meal.

Gyoza Gyoza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ghislaine and One Step Straws

Ghislaine is an artisan milk tea shop, hidden away down Causeway lane in the Melbourne CBD.

It is seriously such a beautiful little shop, with red accents, flowers and a real Parisian feel to it.

The thing I enjoy most about Ghislaine, is that you can actually taste the tea in their drinks. Many bubble tea places are overly sweet and flavoured, and don’t get me wrong, I love me some crème brulee cheese matcha with brown sugar pearl, but it is refreshing to find a tea store with the point of difference. This flows through the fact that their menu only consists of around 10 drinks, and that many of their teas are served warm, rather than on ice like you would normally find in a bubble tea shop.

I went in on a Sunday afternoon, and was greeted by lovely friendly staff, who made great suggestions. I loved the sound of their ‘prairie’ tea – which is Mongolian salty milk tea. However, knowing that I was going to take some photos for a review and Instagram, I asked for their most Instagramable tea ( yes, I’m that person), and they suggested the Ghistrawberry, which is milk tea with sweet strawberry jam. So I ordered that, and because they are so wonderful – they made a complimentary prairie tea for me to try.

The strawberry milk tea WAS SO GOOD. Every second sip or so, you get a strawberry chunk mixed with milk tea, and it was such a great combination, reminiscent of scones with strawberry jam and cream. The tea was full flavoured, and not too sweet.

The prairie tea was an experience! It tasted like smoky, salty, sweet and buttered popcorn in tea. This is a traditional Mongolian recipe that I have wanted to try – it is a butter and salt topping with milk tea. It wasn’t my ‘ cup of tea’ (sorry, but I had to do it), but I can see it being lovely with some buttered toast on the side. I’m glad I tried it though!

Ghislaine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I went into Ghislaine specifically because I saw them on One Step Straw’s instagram.

One Step is a social enterprise created by students at Melbourne University which aims to take a step towards reducing plastic wastage, by replacing plastic straws with reusable stainless steel straws! You can see their straw in the photo above. I love it because it because it is perfectly made for bubble tea. It has the pointy sharp end, and is wide to allow for pearls/other toppings.

Another great thing I love about One Step Straws is that they donate 100% of their profits to charity.

They asked me a little while back if I would be a straw ambassador, and of course, I jumped at the chance to support such a great initiative. They have given me a code for 20% off their straws to share with you all.

Their straws come in a black velvet bag, and with a straw cleaning brush as well. I pop mine in the dishwasher, and then quickly use the brush to make sure it is completely clean. I always keep one in my bag, so whenever I order a smoothie or bubble tea, it is easily accessible.

The straws are great for smoothies as well.

I use the straw for my drinks at home too, like this iced mocha.

Check out their straws here, and use this code for 20% off : Gfgkins

Let me know if you get one, and about your bubble tea recommendations in Melbourne!

CHE Vietnamese desserts

There is nothing better than a steamy hot chocolate on a cold Melbourne day. Especially when the chocolate is really great quality.

I was walking down Lonsdale street just before Easter when I saw that CHE was making hot chocolates with egg foam, using Marou chocolate.

Marou chocolate is a beautiful single origin chocolate company based in Vietnam, and their chocolate is simply divine.

So yeah, I had to try CHE’s Egg Hot Chocolate!

Che specialise in Vietnamese desserts. They are very refreshing, full of texture and different flavours. I highly recommend checking their desserts out too.

You can take away or eat inside the bright cheerful space.

The hot chocolate was AWESOME. I’m so sad that it is only an Easter special!

The chocolate was rich, the milk steamed to a creamy consistency, and the egg foam made it so indulgent.

I’m going to go back and get another one soon, and try their egg coffee as well!

Of course I had to get a dessert, and so I picked out the caramel flan, topped with vietnamese coffee and crunchy sugar crystals. It was light, creamy, sweet and lightly caramelised.
I would have liked it even more if the caramel had a deeper darker flavour, but it was still delicious.

CHE is a great place to go when you want something sweet but different.

Rating: 4/5

CHE Desserts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A25 pizzeria

‘Pizza is sexy’ is A25 pizzeria’s slogan, and I think that is 100% true. Melted cheese and any type of bread/dough is heaven, and when you add in tomato and fresh toppings, you know you are in for a good time.

A25 has three branches in Melbourne. We visited the CBD location, which is on the cnr of Hardware lane and Lonsdale street.

The great thing about A25 is that there something on the menu for everyone. They have certified gluten free options, delicious sounding vegan pizzas and lots of great meals for vegetarians. Plus we found the friendly staff really went out of their way to find out more information about dishes, and suggest alternative options for us (I’m allergic to nuts).

When we visited, the restaurant was buzzing with the lunch time rush and the smell of melted cheese was in the air.

You can eat outside in iconic hardware lane, but as it was quite a hot day, we ate inside in the shaded restaurant, which has a modern italian vibe to it.

We cooled down with with their fabulous mocktail ($10) which was made with pineapple & strawberry nectar, blood orange juice, coconut, soda, lemon and mint. So pretty and so refreshing, it tasted like we were on the beach of a sunny mediterranean island.

Who doesn’t love a mini umbrella in their drink? 😍

Food time! We ordered a pizza and pasta to share…

The pasta was from their specials board : a pesto seafood pasta. The pesto was herby and intense, just the way pesto should be. Seafood and pesto really go well together, and it is suprising that we don’t see it on more menus around town! It was the perfect pasta dish for a hot Melbourne day.

When we were choosing which pasta to order, there was a squid ink seafood fettuccine on the menu with chilli, garlic and olive oil which sounded delicious too. We have to order that one next time we visit.

We ordered the Piennolo pizza ($24) because it was topped with imported buffalo mozzarella and I love the melty cheesy puddles that this type of cheese transforms into on pizza. The pizza was also topped with parmesan, basil and cherry tomatoes.

I think this is a must order. I love classic pizzas with quality simple toppings and that are not overloaded with every flavour under the sun. This way every part of the pizza can be tasted – the thin slighly chewy pizza base, with crispy edges, the fragrant basil, rich pops of cherry tomato and of course, that heavenly creamy buffallo cheese. Sublime.

This was a seriously delicious lunch, with wonderfully friendly service.
A great place for a family gathering,
or for a work lunch as pizzas/pastas are only $15 Monday to Friday.

We will be back A25, and thank you for the generous invitation to try your menu.

A25 Pizzeria - CBD Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: We were invited by A25 to dine as guests of the restaurant. Our words and opinions are our own.