At the recent Age Good Food awards, Tipo 00 received the accolade for Best New Restaurant and also was awarded one hat. Given our recent dining experience, I can confidently say that the awards were deserved. Named after the traditional flour used to make fresh pasta, Tipo 00 prides themselves on their housemade pasta, but to be honest I think they do a pretty good job with everything else on the menu too.

We went there for dinner, and not wanting to have to decide what to order from the menu, we decided to indulge in the Chef’s Table option. $55 for a selection of entrées, two pastas and a dessert sounded fabulous, and the waiter told us that he could easily accommodate my vegetarian requirements, so we were all in!

The meal started with a series of small plates to share. Our first dish of the night was a mushroom and truffle arancini. These were delicious bites of a crisp and crunchy shell, full flavoured risotto and delicious gooey cheese in the centre. Mushrooms are one of my favourite flavours so, for me, this was the perfect start to the meal.

Our next entrée was a complimentary serve of bread, but in true Tipo 00 style, they took it one step further than a usual restaurant.   The bread was a freshly baked focaccia, and served with it was some fresh ricotta drizzled in basil oil. The flavour of the basil, the creaminess of the ricotta and the soft bread, made this dish amazing.

Our third entrée was my favourite. We received some beautifully dressed heirloom tomatoes, croutons of sour dough and the shining star of the dish, a big hunk of burrata. For those of you who haven’t had burrata before, do yourself a favour and try it. It is AH-MAZING. I don’t think anything I could write about this cheese would convey how good it was. You’re just going to have to trust me when I say that you need this in your life.

We thought this was the end of our entrées, but suddenly there was another dish placed on our table. Our last small dish was braised globe artichoke hearts, served with almonds and parmesan. This dish was definitely not as good as the burrata, but it was still good. It was served piping hot, and the contrasting textures of the artichokes and the almonds made it an interesting dish.

As we waited for our mains to arrive (I might add that the service here is super quick, so we didn’t wait long at all!), we took the opportunity to watch the chefs work at the semi open kitchen. Working at a large marble benchtop, it was special to watch them at their craft, whether it be shelling prawns, shaving prosciutto off a leg of ham or kneading dough.

Our first pasta dishes arrived. I received a cauliflower tortellini in a burnt butter sauce. Tipo 00 weren’t lying when they said that they prided themselves on their pasta. I am lucky enough to have some pretty amazing homemade pasta on a regular basis courtesy of some pretty amazing Italians in my life, and this Tipo 00 pasta was right up there. It was soft and melted in my mouth. The cauliflower filling was also beautifully flavoured and the rich butter sauce complimented it perfectly.

The other half received his first non vegetarian course of the night. It was a squid ink tagliolini with squid and botarga, which is a cured fish roe. This dish looked so pretty, and was deemed to be very tasty too.

My second dish was a stinging nettles and saltbush risotto served with pink peppercorns. Vibrant green in colour, and garnished with little pink droplets, the texture of the risotto was perfectly creamy. As expected, it was also full of flavour, and whilst I was a little disappointed and not being able to experience the amazing pasta again, the risotto was still appreciated.

The other half received what he declared as his favourite dish so far. It was a potato gnocchi served with braised duck, porcini mushroom and pecorino cheese. The gnocchi was described as soft and fluffy, but the highlight was the sauce. Rich in flavour, with tender pieces of duck, he said it was possibly one of the best sauces he had tasted. Big call for an Italian.

We also received a salad to have with our mains. It was a rocket, radicchio and pear salad dressed with lots of delicious, sweet balsamic.  The bitterness of the radicchio contrasted the sweetness of the pear and made it work. I hadn’t tried this combination before, but I think I may make it myself.

And then it was time for dessert. Tipo 00 had possibly saved the best for last. We had been eyeing off the desserts on the other table and suffering from a little bit of food envy, but to our excitement, we received two mini dishes of the infamous tipomisu, the Tipo 00 take on tiramisu.

There were little cakes of rich chocolate and coffee, and dollops of creamy mascarpone. Then the waiter poured hot, thick salted caramel over the dish. Oh boy. It was special.  I’m not usually a big fan of chocolate desserts but somehow this hit the spot. I think it was the salted caramel sauce that really made this dish, I could have drunk that by the cup.

We also received a second dessert to share. It was a lemon myrtle panna cotta served with toasted almonds, dehydrated mandarin and mandarin coulis. Panna cotta is one of my favourite desserts and this one was good. The flavours were delicate and fresh, making it the perfect ending to the meal.

Our experience at Tipo 00 was a special one. This is definitely a restaurant worthy of its accolades. Just make sure you book. It was busy on the night we went, and given all the recent publicity, I can only imagine that it will get busier.

Tipo 00 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Mission Foods

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had an aversion to sandwiches for lunch. They were so boring, usually went soggy because mum put tomato in them, and the biggest problem was probably that we never got nice bread, it was always the super processed stuff from the supermarket. All through primary school and high school I was always the daggy kid that brought her lunch in a container. Even when I didn’t have access to a microwave, I was much happier eating cold rice and curry than a soggy, squashed sandwich.

Fast forward a decade or two (jeez it has been a long time since I was at school), and my lunch world has changed. I still love leftover rice and curry, but there are so many other options that are available now.

I was recently sent some Mission Red Quinoa, and Chia wraps. Both quinoa and chia seeds have recently become very popular superfoods, and whilst I am usually skeptical of supposed health food fads, these grains really are quite good for you! Both grains originated in Central and South America and are integral to the diet there. Chia and quinoa clearly worked for the Aztecs and Incas because they did some pretty amazing things, namely Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu.

The Mission wraps take all the goodness of these superfoods and present them in a convenient wrap form. To me, usually wraps mean an extremely processed form of food, but these Mission wraps are all natural and contain no artificial colours or flavours. They are also a great source of fibre, omega 3 fats, calcium and protein, but most importantly they are soft and taste great.

What I like best about the wraps was the resealable pack. Make sure you don’t open them at the top, there is actually a sticky panel down the side that you can peel open, and then restick if you don’t need the whole pack. Brilliant!

I decided to try a couple of things with the wraps that would make delicious brunch or lunch recipes.

Firstly I made a brunch burrito. I am lucky enough to regularly receive some super free range duck eggs, and these eggs are amazing. The yolks are golden and so rich, and when scrambled they are simply delicious. I made some of these scrambled eggs, added some grated tasty cheese and some baby spinach. Dressed with some chipotle aioli, this made a perfect brunch burrito. Soft wraps, creamy eggs and oozey cheese make me very happy.

I also decided to make a tempeh stirfry to fill the wraps with for lunch. I had some tempeh in the freezer, and having never cooked with tempeh before, I decided that this was a good way to try and use it.

Tempeh Stirfry in Red Quinoa Wraps


200g frozen tempeh (you can use the plain or flavoured varieties), thawed and chopped into small cubes
2 carrots, julienned
1 capsicum, cut into thin strips
1/2 large eggplant, cut into small pieces
¼ bunch spring onion, chopped
Small knob ginger, chopped finely or grated
1 tbs soya sauce
1 tbs tomato sauce
8 Mission Red Quinoa Wraps


1.    Heat some oil in a large skillet or wok and fry the tempeh until it is golden.

2.    Add the ginger and fry it off.

3.    Next add the carrots and capsicum and toss through for a few minutes.

4.    Add the eggplant, and sauces and mix through. If the mixture seems a bit dry and is sticking to the pan, add a little water.

5.    Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for a few minutes.

6.    In the meantime, heat the wraps in the microwave. The wraps can be heated in the packet, just make sure to take out the little silicon pouch!

7.    Place the wraps on a plate, and fill with the stir fry mixture. Be careful not to be too greedy and overfill, otherwise you will end up with a big mess while eating!

8.    Wrap and eat!

The Mission Wraps are available at Woolworths and selected independent supermarkets for a RRP of $4.79. More information and other recipe ideas are available on the Mission Foods website.

Disclaimer: I received these products courtesy of Nuffnang and Mission Foods, however I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.
The burger craze has well and truly taken Melbourne by storm. All over the internet there are lists being published with the best burgers in town, and almost always Tuckshop Takeaway features on these lists.  It was one Saturday, when we were super hungry after a parkrun, that we decided it was about time that we went to find out what all the hype was about.

Located on the corner of Hawthorn and Glen Eira Rds in Caulfield, Tuck Shop Takeaway is a tiny little corner shop, reminiscent of an old school canteen. It is decked out with all the typical features of a primary school, including a drinking fountain and a door apparently leading to the Principal’s office which I didn’t venture through, because that’s for the naughty kids.

The premises is tiny, and as the name suggests is much more suited for takeaways, but we decided to buck the trend and eat in. We were there at about 3pm, and yet it was still packed and there was a line for the take away orders. This place was clearly popular. Our orders took about 15 minutes to arrive, and we had to push our way onto a table. Like the stereotypical school canteen, the apparent cool kids had hogged about seven seats between four of them, which was clearly rude given how busy the place was. I don’t think they were too impressed at having two of their unused seats taken away from them, but tough.

The menu at the Tuckshop is... concise. It consists of two burgers, a handful of jaffles, chips and a few milkshakes. This didn’t phase me too much though, I’m all about quality over quantity. We ordered one of the burgers each and some chips to share. The other half also jumped on the Nutella craze and got a Nutella milkshake.

Obviously I got the veggie burger, very maturely named the Veggie Wedgie. This was a very unique veggie patty with beetroot, lentils and brown rice. I was quite impressed with this component of the burger. These were flavours I hadn’t experienced together before and they worked together well. The rice and lentils provided the right texture, and the beetroot added an element of sweetness without being too overpowering.  Unfortunately none of the other ingredients offered anything spectacular. There was lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, American cheese and special Tuckshop sauce (which as far as I could tell was just mayo and tomato sauce mixed together). The inclusion of the pickles was nice as these are rarely on veggie burgers, but nothing else really shone. The bun was pretty good, but again, nothing outstanding.

The other half got the other burger on the menu, the Minor burger. The patty here was a beef patty that was cooked pink in the middle. As a vegetarian this freaks me out a bit, but I’ve been told that this is how it tastes best.  All the other ingredients of the Minor was the same as the Veggie Wedgie. Unfortunately the other half wasn’t very impressed with his burger either. He went as far as to say it was just above a McDonalds burger in taste. Disappointing really.

The chips on the other hand were quite good. Boasting of being hand cut and triple cooked, they really were a step up on regular chips. They were cooked to a crisp but still soft inside.

Overall, our experience at Tuckshop Takeaway was a little underwhelming. Having read so many good things on the interwebs, perhaps I had set my expectations too high, but given the great burgers that are available these days, I don’t think I was out of my rights to do this. Would I go back? Probably not. After all, Grill’d does amazing burgers and chips, and you don’t usually have to fight for a spot at a table.

Tuck Shop Take Away Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
For about two years now, there have been some crazy people who have woken up at 4am on a weekend, so they could head down to Elwood and line up for croissants. Yes, croissants. Seriously. How good could these croissants be, and were they really worth more than my sleep? I finally decided that this was a question I needed answered and so, a couple of weeks ago, I too joined the crazies that woke up before dawn on a Friday and headed down to Lune Croissanterie. I arrived there at about 6am and joined a queue that had already formed.

The demand for Lune croissants is so high that they have developed a ticketing system which runs as follows: people can start lining up as early as they wish. At 6:30am, they open a little window and hand out tickets in order of the people lined up. The store doesn’t open until 7:30am on Fridays and 8am on Saturdays and Sundays, so everyone is free to disperse, but they need to be back before they name is called out. If they call out your name, and you aren’t there, then you forfeit your croissants. This is not something you want happening. The first thirty people are guaranteed a choice of everything on the menu, but after that, you get whatever is left.

I received my ticket at about 6:45, was handed a menu, given instructions to be back by 7:45, and with this I quickly retreated to the warmth of my car. I was ticket number 17. This wasn't bad, given that the next day on Saturday, there were people lined up at 5am only to receive ticket number 67. Demand is obviously ridiculously high at Lune. 

The menu at Lune is constantly rotating. There are a few staples like the plain croissants, pain au chocolat, kouign amann (pronounced Queen Aman), and the ham and gruyere croissant. There are also cruffins and twice baked croissants. Each person is allowed to buy a maximum of 6 items, so I wisely used my waiting time studying the menu and deciding which items I would be taking home.

I finally settled on my 6 pastries. They were:

2 Pain au Chocolats (one was for some friends at work)
1 Kouign Amann (the name sounded so interesting that I had to try it)
1 Ham and Gruyere (I broke all my rules and got one as a treat for the other half)
1 Tiramisu Cruffin (Tiramisu, enough said.)
1 Reece Croissant (This was the special of the day, peanut butter, dark pana chocolate, salted caramel, and all kinds of other deliciousness)

It was about 8:10am that my name was finally called and I was ready to get my hands on my delicious pastries. All my choices were still available (lots of things sell out very quickly), so the team at the counter packed my box quickly. While I stood there, I watched the very tight operation running and it was a sight to behold. There were pastries galore, ovens being emptied, racks being filled and then emptied just as quickly, and most importantly everyone had a smile on their faces. It was evident that the team behind Lune genuinely love what they do.

Unfortunately I had to head straight to work (I was already late!) so I didn’t get to eat any of my pastries till that night. This was a rookie error, but unfortunately I had no choice.  It did however mean that on my drive to work, my car filled with the delicious aroma of my freshly baked goodies.

Later that night, I unboxed all the deliciousness and I can proudly say that dinner that night was filled with butter and sugar. The verdicts are as follows:

Pain au Chocolat: This was delicious. My friends at work said it was amazing, and I have to agree. The layers were beautifully defined, and it was so light and airy. The chocolate was also amazing, so rich and decadent.

Kouign Amann: I didn’t know what to expect when trying this one and I was surprised at how good it was! There was a strong cinnamon aroma that engulfed me when I tasted it, and the pastry was so flaky. 

Ham and Gruyere: Obviously I didn’t try this one, but given the rave reviews this Lune staple gets on social media, coupled with the fact that the other half declared it his favourite croissant, I’m guessing this was a winner.

Tiramisu Cruffin: OMG. Where do I start? I had never had a cruffin  before, and I don’t think I can have another one because it is highly unlikely that it will be as good as this. A croissant in a muffin shape, this pastry was filled with an amazing coffee flavoured cream and then topped with a dollop of mascarpone. Soooo good, and definitely my favourite.

Reece Croissant: I’m not a big peanut butter fan, but this was good. Maybe it was the salted caramel that made it so good, but whatever it was, it worked.

Overall, all the pastries were of top quality. It was very evident that all the ingredients were of high standards, and this translated through to how good the end product was. Each pastry was light, fluffy, airy, and definitely worth every calorie being consumed!

Unfortunately Lune is no longer open in Elwood. But fret not, in a few weeks they will be open in Fitzroy, in a bigger premises, more capacity, and hopefully longer opening hours which will mean that we won’t need to queue at crazy hours any more. Whatever the case may be, I can’t wait for them to come back, because I want my croissant fix!

Lune Croissanterie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Asian fusion food is a trend that took Melbourne by storm a few years ago and it seems there are no signs of it slowing down. The originals like Cookie and Chin Chin have become stalwarts on the scene but there are a few new players, namely Magic Mountain. Magic Mountain is actually run by the same team that run Cookie, The Toff In Town, Revolver Upstairs and Boney.

A converted Irish pub which has been turned into a tri level venue that is as much a restaurant, as it is a bar with music, Magic Mountain places equal amounts of emphasis on food, drink and atmosphere making sure that you will have a good night on all accounts.

We went as a group of six people, three vegetarians and three omnivores, and were at a loss as to how the tackle the vast menu. Luckily the staff are amazing and they suggested a banquet option. We name our price per head, and they would decide on our dishes, with the guarantee that there would be enough food. We decided to take them up on the offer with a $40 per head request, but not before we ordered a few beers from their diverse beer list. Pirate Life Ale anyone? They did ask us if we had any preferences or objections to any foods, but other than the fact that half of us were vegetarian, we were happy to trust their judgement.

It wasn’t long before the food arrived, starting with the entrée dishes.

Our first vegetarian entrée was the curried rice and mozzarella balls with coriander and avocado sauce. These were an Asian take on an arancini ball but so much better. They still had the creamy rice and the gooey cheese centre, but they were packed full of Asian flavours with lemongrass dominating. Combined with the avocado sauce, this dish was amazing. I was worried that my dinner had peaked too early!

We also tried the lotus root, peanut and pickled turnip tapioca dumplings. These were also tasty but had an odd texture. The skin was made with tapioca which made it a bit too gelatinous, and I think I would have rather had normal dumplings. Nevertheless the filling was delicious, with the peanut flavour packing a punch.

We were served a salad as part of the entrée and this dish was also one of the favourites on the table. It was a tomato, zucchini and buffalo mozzarella salad with a chilli, basil and cashew crumble dressing. The tomatoes were sweet, the zucchini was sliced paper thin and the mozzarella was so creamy. The dressing brought everything together perfectly, and we were all eyeing off the plate to scrape every last bit off!

The omnivores also received a bowl of crunchy fried chicken ribs which they unanimously agreed was super.

Four entrees later, we were already more than half full, and we were unsure about whether we would be able to make it all the way through mains. Still, when you have a table of foodies, stomach size is never a barrier, and so we ploughed on!

The mains started streaming out, and we struggled to make room for everything on the table! There were two different red curries, a vegetarian one with tofu, baby corn, beans and kaffir lime, and then a duck curry with lychee and pineapple. Both were deemed to be excellent, rich in flavour and with the right amount of spice level.

There was also a noodle dish, which I felt was an interpretation of pad thai. Rice noodles were prepares with egg, tomato, thai basil, garlic chives and garnished with peanuts. Once again, this was another dish packed with flavour which was proving to be a common theme through the night.

A salad was served with main too. This time it was a cauliflower salad with thin slices of grilled pumpkin and almonds, dressed with Asian herbs and spices. Whilst not everyone around the table was excited by this dish, I really enjoyed it, and appreciated the freshness in contrast to the creamy red curry.

The omnivores also had a big bowl of sticky beef ribs which were tender beyond belief. They were able to pull the rib bone straight out of the meat cleanly without the need for a knife!

And to share we had a huge bowl of rice for the table. To say huge would be an understatement, I don’t think we even got through a third of the bowl, which was a shame because I hate wasting food.

Overall the meal was delicious and we all left pretty much rolling out the door because we were so full. Would I go back again? Definitely. Magic Mountain also serve breakfast, so perhaps I will have to put it on the list to see what treats they dish up during the earlier hours.

Click to add a blog post for Magic Mountain Saloon on Zomato
This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Frico Cheese.

There are a few things in life that I could not live without. My friends and family, a connection to the internet, my Garmin running watch, and cheese. Yes, the Garmin watch and the cheese seem to be in conflict, but this is only until you realise that I run so that I can eat cheese (amongst other things).

Recently the lovely people at Nuffnang contacted me, asking me if I was interested in trying some Frico Dutch cheese. I don’t even think I bothered to find out what else was involved with the deal, all I read was cheese, and I was there.

Now I am a bit of a cheese snob. My childhood was filled with Homebrand processed cheese slices, if I was lucky we got Kraft Singles, and up until I was about 15 I thought this is what cheese was. Then one day, we got a block of cheese that we had to cut slices off from, and my world changed. Head blown. I still remember that block, I don’t remember what brand it was, but I remember it was Edam cheese, and Dad told me that it was made in Holland, which was apparently where all the good cheese was made. I wish he introduced me to this cheese earlier, it would have made for a better childhood. But it has also given me great perspective in the difference between average cheese (because no cheese is bad, not even processed cheese) and amazing cheese.

Anyway, turns out I had really lucked out with this Frico Cheese because it is infact made in Holland! I knew this was going to be good! Made by experienced cheese makers since 1898, Frico cheeses are made using traditional methods and original recipes.  The Dutch specialise in semi-hard cheeses, which are exactly as their name suggests – not as hard and dry as parmesan, but not as soft and gooey as a brie. They are creamy without being messy, and perfect to put on a cheese board as they can be cut without too much ooze.

The Frico range includes a wide variety of cheeses, all of which are made from fresh milk from Frisian cows. Frisian cows produce beautiful, creamy milk, which obviously results in beautiful, creamy cheese! I was lucky enough to be able to sample four different kinds of cheeses.

Three of the cheese came from the traditional Dutch Frico range:

Mild Gouda: As the name suggests, the Gouda is a mild cheese that is wonderfully creamy. It melts well so it great to cook with.

Maasdam: The Maasdam was definitely my favourite cheese. It is a holey cheese, with an almost sweet flavour. I feel it would be a great cheese in a fondue.

Mild Edam: Edam is the fancy cheese of my childhood and this Edam lived up to my expectations. It is mild in flavour, and would work great in a sandwich.

The fourth cheese was from the Frico Selections range:

Cumin Spiced Cheese: This was a Gouda style cheese that was infused with whole cumin seeds to give a wonderful spicy aroma to each mouthful. It is probably an acquired taste though, especially if you not a fan of cumin, but we loved it.

I also decided to try and make a vegetarian version of a croque monsieur with the Gouda cheese. Given that it was so creamy, it seemed like the perfect cheese to melt, and I wasn’t wrong.

Vegetarian Croque Monsieur


2 medium zucchini, cut into long planks
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tsp Italian herbs

Bechamel Sauce:
1 tbs unsalted butter, plus extra for spreading on the bread
1 tbs plain flour
1 cup milk
1 tbs Dijon mustard
½ tsp nutmeg

4 thick slices of white bread
2 cups of grated Frico Gouda cheese



1.    Toss the zucchini with the olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs.

2.    Lay on a tray and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until it is charred.

Bechamel Sauce:

1.    Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.

2.    Whisk in the flour, and allow to cook over a low heat for about a minute.

3.    Whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the mixture has thickened to a saucy consistency. This may take a few minutes, but be patient.

4.    Set the mixture aside.

Sandwich Assembly:

1.    Butter one side of each slice of bread.

2.    Place the butter sides of the bread down on a fry pan or skillet.

3.    Top the unbuttered side of the bread with a generous handful of grated cheese.

4.    Layer on slices of the grilled zucchini.

5.    Add another layer of the grated cheese.

6.    Place the remaining slice of bread with the buttered side on the outside to complete the sandwich.

7.    Toast the sandwich on the pan on the stove for a few minutes on each side, until it is golden.

8.    Place the sandwich on a baking tray lined with foil.

9.    Spread the béchamel sauce over the top of the sandwich and then top with the remaining cheese.

10.    Grill until the cheese has melted and is toasty.

Just look at the melty cheese! How can you resist?! This was a great way to use the Frico cheese and I think I will definitely be trying a few other things too. I can also see the Gouda working in a lasagna instead of the traditional mozzarella, and I wouldn't mind seeing how the Maasdam works in a simple cheese and tomato toastie.

Frico cheeses are available in Australia at Woolworths supermarkets in the deli section. I think I might have to go and try some of their other varieties too!

Disclaimer: I received these products courtesy of Nuffnang and Frico Cheese, however I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.
One of my closest friends lives in Singapore, and with a public holiday and a long weekend that they have just had, she decided to make a quick visit down to Melbourne! A catch up was on the cards, and when I asked her what food she felt like, she said she missed western vegetarian food. I went through my wishlist of restaurants to visit and I decided that Transformer sounded like the perfect fit for our catch up.

Transformer is a quintessentially Melbourne venue. Located in a dim Fitzroy side street, Transformer is the latest venture from the team behind Veggie Bar. It is the slightly more hipster and definitely more fine dining cousin, and based on the fact that bookings need to be made in advance, it is a very welcome addition to the family.

Our booking was for 6:15pm on a Friday night, and in a sign that a great night of food was ahead of us, the restaurant was full. The restaurant has a mixture of low tables, window seats and high bar tables. I had been forewarned of this on Zomato, so I made sure I had requested a low table. There is a semi open kitchen, which is always heartening for me as a diner. I feel like if I can see my food being prepared, the kitchen will feel more accountable!

The menu is designed with a clear focus on sharing. The dishes are split into three categories – small plates, garden plates, and mid plates. Natually there is also a section for dessert, but everyone knows that we have a separate stomach for desserts. The recommendation from the waitress was that we should order two or three plates per person, but everything looked so delicious that we ended up ordering seven plates between the two of us! I’d like to think it was all in the purpose of research for the blog! The dishes arrive at the table as they are prepared, so there is a steady stream of food being brought to you.

Our first dish, and possibly the best dish of the night, was the sweet corn fritters served with lime aioli. The fritters were moulded into rectangular prisms, which was a presentation style I hadn’t seen before, but it certainly made it easy to eat! The highlight was the aioli though. It was creamy and tangy and just plain delicious! We ended up keeping the remnants of the aioli bowl on the table when we sent the plate back, just so we could pair it with our other dishes!

The corn fritters were demolished promptly and our next dish arrived. This dish was one that I had chosen. It was a spelt and seed steamed bun with crispy tofu, pickled cucumber and an Asian chilli mayo. These normally come as one piece per serve, so we ordered two serves! I am a big fan of steamed buns, and these were no exception. The spelt and seed combination did add a slightly different flavour and texture to the bun than what I’m normally used to, but the filling was perfect. There was crunch from the tofu, freshness from the cucumber and the mayo provided a wonderful flavour that tied everything together. It was a shame there was only one bun for each of us, I could have easily downed four or five of these!

Dish number three was one that V had chosen, and I must say, she had chosen well. It was a fried brussels sprout dish with green apple, and a creamy sauce. I don’t know why people have such an aversion to brussels sprouts. I feel as though they have been given a bad reputation without much reason. Personally I am a big fan, so I was excited about this dish. The sprouts were fried beautifully, V thought they were a little charred, but I prefer to think of them as caramelised. They had a sweet, smoky flavour, and the freshness of the apple cut through it well.

Dish number four appeared at our table almost at the same time as the brussels sprouts (or perhaps our eating pace had slowed down because we were slowly getting full!). We had chosen a sweet potato dish which was roasted with a Japanese spice, togarashi. I had never had togarashi before, and I must say its flavour was fairly subtle. This was paired with a coconut yogurt and lime. Sweet potato is another vegetable that I love, so I was always going to like this dish. It was however the dish that was the most simple and easy to replicate at home, so I’m not sure if I would order it again. The focus was on the produce thought which was nice.

The next dish was a recommendation I had received so I was determined to order it. It was a ricotta and rye gnocchi served with sprouted lentils, pumpkin mousse and blueberry compote. Unfortunately this was probably my least favourite dish, although I still enjoyed it, just not as much as the others. The gnocchi was a little bit stodgy, but perhaps I had just gotten a bad batch. As quirky as it sounds, the pumpkin mousse and blueberry compote actually made a great sauce when mixed together. It is amazing how such a random combination, which I would never think of pairing, worked so well.

By this stage we were really full, but we had one more dish to go! If only we had not eaten with our eyes when order and thought about what our stomachs were capable of! Still, never one to accept defeat at the hands of food, I persevered to be rewarded with another great dish. Our final dish was an artichoke dish which was served with parsnips three ways. There were parsnip chips which sliced thinly and fried to a crisp, roast parsnip and parsnip puree. The artichokes were tender and flavoursome and together they married perfectly.

With the sixth dish, I was well and truly full and ready to declare the meal ended but V had other ideas with her mind firmly fixed on dessert. And who was I to say no? After all, it would be unfair to my dessert stomach to not give it anything to eat. I let her chose the dessert and she decided on a very interesting dish. It was a lemongrass crème served with mandarin fresh and dehydrated forms and topped with a layer of tempered white chocolate. The dessert was served in a beaker (yes the ones you find in a science lab!) and the seal of the white chocolate had to be cracked with a spoon! It was quite a theatrical dessert!

We both absolutely loved this dish. The freshness and lightness of the lemongrass and mandarin was exactly what we needed after the heavy meal and we demolished this dessert.

All through the night V couldn’t help but comment about how ‘Melbourne’ Transformer was and this was what she missed about being home. And it was true. The exposed brick walls, the converted warehouse feel, the quirky menu pairings, the mismatched crockery, this is exactly what dining in Melbourne is all about, and Transformer did it so well.

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