Orientai – Brighton

Today on the Dining Diairies…

I play “find the beef cheek”
Diners envy takes a strong hold and…
Good company and wine trumps average food….

ls.jpgDiners today we were at Orientai on Brighton rd in Hove.
Now diners I have been to Orientai many times however it’s probably been at least two years since my last visit.
Previously, I had never had a bad experience here. I’d always found the food to be good and the restaurant to be full.

Maybe it was for that reason that expectations were fairly high. I was out with a couple of girlfriends and we just wanted to have a fun night out gossiping and enjoying some good food.

The interior of the restaurant hasn’t changed too much from memory. It’s fairly clean with dim lighting giving it a minimalist modern feel. The shades were put up so we had views outside and it felt good to be in there.

We were greeted by friendly staff and soon found our table and the laughs started pretty much right away.

We ordered a couple of entree’s to share and some drinks while we pondered what we were going to have for our mains.

The staff were pretty helpful in explaining a few things on the menu that we were a little unsure about.
The server also told us that they were fairly busy and the kitchen was chaos. I looked around the dining room and it didn’t seem overly busy to me but maybe they were understaffed.

We chose the Chicken Spring Rolls – Vermicelli noodles & finely chopped vegetables, served with sweet & sour sauce and the Steamed Prawn & Chive Dumpling – Served with mild red curry sauce or spicy soy sauce which conveniently came in serves of three.

The spring rolls were out first.

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I don’t know that I’ve ever had a bad spring roll and this was no exception. The spring roll itself was thick and crispy and you could actually taste the chicken inside! I could also taste the vermicelli noodles which just balanced everything in your mouth nicely. Unfortunately after a few bites, it was all gone! The dipping sauce had a bit of a barbeque sauce taste to it. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be like that. It wasn’t unpleasant.
I should also add that salad was beautifully dressed. It had quite a zing to it!

The dumplings came shortly after and they were also quite a sensation.
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These were really delightful taste explosions in the mouth! They were pretty spicy inside but that sauce just added extra depth. I was surprised to read it was a curry sauce on the menu because it tasted a little “fruity” to me but I really enjoyed it and was really looking forward to our mains.

Unfortunately this would be the one time when I wasn’t too thrilled about the food here…

I was eyeing off a couple of items on the menu and one of them had a little symbol next to it, however the menu didn’t tell me what the symbol meant. I asked the server and she said it meant it was “popular”. Well surely you can’t go wrong with a popular dish right? So I went ahead and ordered the Black Bean Beef Cheeks – 5 hours slow braised beef cheeks served with green beans & capsicum

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I would have raved about this dish if I had actually got some beef cheeks on the plate. What I got was a hunk of fat and a couple of fork fulls of beef. What I did eat was really very nice, but it was about one quarter meat (being generous) and three quarters inedible fat.
I wanted to cry.
The vegetables were lovely. The sauce was a little salty however when I mixed it with the rice we ordered it was really very delicious.
I have to wonder what the kitchen thought of my dish coming back with a hunk of fat on the plate though. I know if that was MY restaurant, I’d be terribly embarrassed and looking to compensate the diner in some way.

One of my fellow diners ordered the Crispy Prawns – Wok tossed with capsicum, mushrooms &roasted cashew nuts. Mmmmm Sounds delicious right? I almost went for this myself just to get the cashew nuts!

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It looked…. ok… when it came out. There wasn’t a lot of  “wow” about it and although there wasn’t anything “wrong” with it, it wasn’t that great. It also looked a lot smaller than a lot of the other plates that were coming out of the kitchen.

The other dish that was ordered was the Thai Basil Noodle (hot) Yellow noodles with chicken, basil and seasonal vegetables

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Again this didn’t look super impressive when it came out. As the person who ordered this dish didn’t like coriander, I scored it. Yum.
She said however that it was not as “hot” as expected. When you put “hot” on a menu, you expect it to be hot right? She also couldn’t really taste the basil which is surprising as it’s on the menu. However she said it was all ok, just not something she would rave about.

I’d also like to mention that the staff were pretty lovely even though they said they were run off their feet and the restaurant seemed pretty  empty this particular night.

We did see some really lovely dishes coming out that looked a lot fuller than the ones we’d ordered and I had to wonder what they were.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been here many times and this was definitely not up to par with my past experiences. I really hope it was a once off or maybe it was just the dishes we’d ordered?
I’m sure I’ll dine here again but probably not in a hurry….

 

Have you been to Orientai?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below…

Till next we chow….

Taste of the Himalayas

Today on the Dining Diaries…

I have barramundi like I’ve never had it before,
One of my fellow diners invites our server to eat with us and
Authentic tastes amaze us. Where did these flavours come from???

FullSizeRender[10].jpgDiners today we were at Taste of the Himalayas and wow, did we get blown away!

I’ve driven past this sweet gem of a place so many times and just thought it wouldn’t be a place I’d like.

I was so wrong!

I was dining with a couple of girlfriends tonight and as usual, went to check out the restaurant’s website to get an idea of what the menu would be like.
I have to say I was quite impressed with the way the website was set out, giving a lot of information about what the food is and how it is cooked. They are obviously very passionate and I just love that! It made me more excited to taste the food.

We were greeted by a lovely waitress when we walked in. One of our party was still yet to come and when she did arrive, she greeted not only us with a hug and kiss, but also the waitress.
The lovely waitress just went with the flow and gave us some menu’s and explained a few things we might need to know about the food. She was so lovely my friend invited her to sit and have dinner with us but I don’t think her manager would have approved…


I love the classy and elegant design of this dining room. It has a distinct Nepalese theme but is not over the top or gaudy. What I assume was Nepalese music played softly in the background, giving us a beautiful calming feeling.

Looking through the menu I noticed that some of the items had explanations next to them. There were also little bits of information about the culture, such as the meaning of Namaste and beautiful pictures throughout.

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We ordered our rainbow drinks and took to the hard task of deciding what we were going to eat tonight.

Everything sounded so good.

We ended up starting with a tasting plate to sample a few different dishes…


The sharing plate contained a combination of Sekuwa, Samosa, Phulaura and Momo.
The menu says “Our traditional Nepalese dishes are served with a spiced tomato and sesame seed achar & a mint and yoghurt dip”
I could go and tell you about each individually but they were all divine!! Maybe I’m not used to eating this type of food but the combination of flavours were just amazing. I wish I knew what spices they had used! I tasted things I’d never tasted before.
My only complaint was that I could have done with a little more salt with the samosa but this is just a personal preference.
The mint and yoghurt dip was soooo refreshing! I was putting it on everything just so I could taste it.

Now we were all quite excited for the mains!

One of our party chose Daal Bhaat Massu – Typical Nepalese platter with a choice of chicken, lamb or goat. This platter is served with mustard green spinach, traditional black lentils, tomato achar pickle and rice

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 She had hers with chicken. There were no complaints about this dish. As you can see, it’s a fairly sizable portion and the flavours were just amazing.

Another chose from the sizzling section of the menu. Pole Ko Jhingey – King prawns marinated in a fresh selection of herbs and aromatic spices and delicately roasted in the clay oven

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It was sizzling and steaming as it came to the table!!! Those prawns were delightfully juicy and the onions added a beautiful sweetness to each mouthful. I would never have thought to put onions with prawns but it worked so well.

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She also got the Himalayan Guliyo Roti – Stuffed with coconut, sultanas and cream paste

Now this turned out to be a wonderful surprise!

I’ve never had roti like this before. It was like a delicious dessert.

The cream paste and coconut, along with the sultanas… mmm mmm mmmm!
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I went for a fish dish. Maccha Ko Takari – Barramundi slowly cooked in traditional Nepali spices with subtle hints of ginger, garlic, curry leaves and coriander, all blended to create a home-style Himalayan fish curry

I know I haven’t done this justice with my photo, but this plate was unbelievable.

That fish was just so tender yet so full of flavour. Like a big pillow of barramundi coming to rest in my mouth.
The sauces were gorgeous too and soaked into the rice I’d ordered as a side. If I could have changed anything, I would have added more coriander as I couldn’t really taste it even though it was meant to be in this dish.

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Taste of the Himalayas also have a takeaway menu so I ordered a couple of things to take home to hubby. I hope they don’t get eaten before he gets a chance to taste it…..
On Sunday they do a buffet. What a great way to get to sample all the lovely food they provide!!

The food was amazing, the staff were so lovely and even Chef Dharma came out to speak with us during the evening. I would have no hesitation in recommending this place.

Have you been to Taste of the Himalayas?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!!

Till next we chow…
Namaste

Mediterranean Ristorante

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We experience “outside” dining inside, thanks to the flies that insisted on joining us,
This place has oil and they ain’t afraid to use it!
Overall great food, great service and some enticing menu items beg us to revisit.

MediteranneancafeBrighton3-3-1024x768.jpgDiners today we were at Meditteranean Ristorante, a cute little place on the corner of  Broadway and Partridge Street in Glenelg.

Our day had been messed up again and we hadn’t had lunch. Although it was before 5pm, they said they were serving dinner which was a huge plus for us.

The staff greeted us as soon as they saw us and were friendly and inviting.
We chose to sit indoors as the sun was a little warm and there were flies everywhere!
Unfortunately, because the doors are open, there were flies all through the inside of the restaurant too and this would have been my biggest negative of the whole experience.
It’s just not comfortable when you have to keep swatting flies away before they land on your food.

The restaurant itself has a really comfortable feel with wood and maroon tones throughout. Some of the furniture looked a little worn but it just added to the comfort feel of the place.


We were given some menus and it was one of those menu’s where the more you read, the more you change your mind on what you’re going to order. There were so many things I could have had on there and in the end, went for a boring option (But one I enjoy) I really want to go back and try some of the other yummy things I saw.

Hubby decided to get an entree and salad. He chose and entree from the specials board.
Char-grilled haloumi pieces topped with fresh prosciutto, rocket, pistachios. Served with warm pita bread. Being an haloumi and prosciutto fan, he just couldn’t go past this dish!

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This was the first dish that came out and look how pretty that looks on the plate! You almost don’t want to eat it for fear of messing it up!

He said it had a wonderful sweetness to it and loved the pistachio’s that were mixed throughout. What you see on the plate there alongside the balsamic glaze is honey! At least that’s what it tasted like and hubby said the flavour combinations of all the elements together were just divine.  This was definitely his favourite.

He also had the Mediterranean Salad – House Special Chicken; Char-grilled marinated chicken served with mixed lettuce, tomato, cucumber, roasted capsicum, olives and feta with a white balsamic dressing, topped with tzatziki and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

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We both thought there was a good amount of chicken on there when the dish came out. The chicken was tender and seasoned well. The salad was dressed really well too and the tzatziki put a Mediterranean flair on the whole thing! His only complaint was that it was a salad and would have liked more lettuce leaves as a filler to make it look a little more substantial.

Boring me went for an old favourite, Fettuccine Ragu – Slow cooked tender braised chunks of beef with onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a rich red wine and tomato sauce.

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They brought out the Parmesan cheese so I was able to sprinkle that on myself. This was a real comforting dish. The pasta was cooked al-dente and the sauce was thick and rich. The beef was braised nice and was tender and flavourful.
My only complaint was that the sauce had a lot of oil in it which had pooled around the bottom of my plate. By the end of the meal I could taste it. It wasn’t overly unpleasant but I just kept thinking about my arteries clogging up.

Throughout our meal different servers came to check that everything was good and asked if we needed anything. They were attentive without being overbearing.
I should also add that the menu had fantastic wine choices too!

I’m really glad we finally got to visit this place as it’s been on our radar for quite some time and I’m eager to go back… maybe on a day where there aren’t too many flies around!
If you do visit, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Jetty Rd, Glenelg and the beach so you’ll have plenty to do once your meal is done!

Have you been to Mediterranean Ristorante?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

East Taste Cafe

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A lovely waiter just makes our night!
We discover that it’s ok to use Pressed Metal on your walls and
Food so delicious you’ll definitely want to come back for more

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Diners today we had the pleasure of dining at East Taste Cafe which was first established in 2003 on Gouger st, the heart of Adelaide’s China Town.

My kids had actually taken me here a few years ago and we had a really great dining experience but a few years down the the track, when I wanted to revisit, I had no idea which place it was as there are so many great Asian restaurants on Gouger street.

Tonight I was catching up with a friend and she told me of a great place she had recently visited on Gouger street and wouldn’t you know it, it was the same place my kids had taken me too!!
I really couldn’t wait to see what the food was going to be like!


It was relatively empty when we walked in but it was still very early but most of the tables had “reserved” signs on them. In fact, by the time we were leaving every table was full and there was a lot of good eating being had!

You may have noticed the pressed metal on the walls. I’m not sure what I thought of that but I think it suited the place. The dining room was definitely very clean and that normally gives me confidence in the food that’s going to come out of the kitchen.

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Our waiter was just so adorable he could have sold us anything!

He was happy to engage in a bit of non intrusive small talk and we just thought he was so cute we had a photo with him.
I ended up cutting us out of this picture and I hope he doesn’t mind that I posted it but isn’t he cute? Such a lovely man and definitely an asset to this place.

We decided to order a few different things from the menu and share.

We started with a serve each of the  Shallot Cake. All I can say is “wow”! They were seemingly so simple, yet so full of flavour.

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The outer pastry was crunchy and light while the inside was gooey and full of the gorgeous shallot taste. I’m so glad we opted for a serve each! Just looking at that picture is making me wish I was eating them again.
Not too sure about the carrot and cabbage on the side. I just think it’s better to have nothing than to have something that can only work as a “filler”. There was no dressing on it, just a bit of colour on the side. That’s a very minor criticism though!
This was really a great way to start our meal.

We chose three items to share,
Coriander Chicken, Sizzling Black Pepper Beef and Vegetarian Fried Rice.

I must confess, I had to stop  myself from gobbling it all up myself instead of sharing.
Every dish was just so full of flavour and made you want to eat more and more.

First the chicken…
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I know some people don’t like Coriander. I don’t get it, but I know it.
This was very heavy on the coriander which just lifted this dish. The chicken was tender and everything else on this plate just married so nicely together.

My favourite of the night though was definitely the sizzling beef.

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Our waiter brought it to our table and did the final preparations before placing it down, sizzling heavily, on our table. It smelt so divine!!! And honestly, I don’t know how they get their beef to be so tender! It was just a pleasure to eat.
It was definitely a different flavour combination to the chicken, yet was equally, if not more flavoursome in its own way. I could have had double this serve on my own but had to show restraint! The mushrooms were definitely a stand out.

Finally the fried rice was again, just perfect fried rice.

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Again I tried to think of what they could have done to improve it and really, there was nothing! It was not too full of ingredients and there was a slight smokiness to it all.
I could have had a full serve of this to myself too!!

We were really in raptures over everything and as mentioned, by the time we left, the place was full and buzzing! I’m glad we’d got there early, enabling us to have a bit of a chat with our waiter. The fact that he was passionate about the food they produce was evident.
I really can’t wait to go back again!

 

Have you been to East West Cafe?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

 

Fedoras Restaurant

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We saw carpet, didn’t run, and experienced one of the best meals we’ve had in a while
We dine in an elegant and spacious dining room and
I’ve learned that a good Pork Belly is the true way to a man’s heart.

fedoraDiners today we were at Fedora’s Restaurant, just a short drive west out of the city’s CBD

From the moment I called to make the booking to the moment we walked out the door, they gave exceptional service.

I called late Saturday morning to make the booking and wasn’t sure we were going to get in. The person who answered had to speak to a manager and said he’d call me back. I really didn’t expect a call but true to his word, five minutes later he called back and we were in!

There were four of us dining tonight. The carpark was full but they have an attendant stationed there to let people know where else they can park and quickly stop anyone who mistakenly think they can park in the permit only areas on the streets nearby and not get a fine.

fed1We walked into a warm and spacious dining area. The smells hit us right away and I was so eager to see what the food would be like. I must admit being a little apprehensive when I saw carpet but there wasn’t a salad bar so I had no cause to be afraid!

I took the photo later in the evening but when we arrived, the place was full!! Yet the ambiance was such that we were able to have a conversation and be heard.

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I have to point out that salt on the table. You may remember when we were at “The Republic”  they had a similar salt bowl but no accompanying spoon. I like this idea much better…

I thought there was a good variety on the menu and was keen to try something a little different.

I noticed that with many menu items, you could choose “add ons” and create exactly the meal you want to have. I love that idea and have noticed more and more places are doing this.

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We decided to share a couple of entree’s to start.

Hahndorf Chorizo and a Japanese Entree Plate.

This was the first thing I sampled and oh wow!

The flavour hits you right away!

The chimi churi had such a kick!

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The other entree was the Japanese Entree Plate

Yakitori chicken skewers, vegetarian gyoza, salmon & nori rolls
I can’t emphasise it enough, everything on this plate was divine. From the nori rolls which were warm and gooey on the inside yet crispy and firm on the outer, to the gyoza and the tender and amazingly seasoned chicken. Everything was just to die for.

Now I had a raging hunger and my expectations for the main were very high!

The meals all came out at the same time which is always a plus.

I chose from the “Clean Eats” section of the menu. Vegan Paella but added Prawns which made it not so Vegan anymore.
(saffron rice, sofrito, roast garlic, artichoke, zucchini, roast capsicum & pistachio)

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I can still remember how delicious the prawns were. That was the first thing I tasted. I don’t know what they were cooked in, I tasted something unfamiliar but it was just divine! In fact this whole dish was really just perfect. The rice was crispy in places  and the flavour was amazing throughout. Sometimes you get diner’s envy, sometimes you’re the cause of diner’s envy!

One of our party chose the Chicken Kiev

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I don’t normally have a lot of chicken but this looked really good when it came out! As we know, chicken breast can easily come out dry but she said this was really moist and was cooked perfectly with beautiful flavours throughout… which seems to be the theme of tonight!

The two boys ordered the Pork Belly but with different “add ons”

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Hubby got extra pork and arancini balls with his serve.
They both said that the skin was crispy, (although one serve was definitely crispier than the other) that there was a beautiful flavour throughout and the meat was exceptionally tender and moist.
I had a taste of some of that salad and just LOVED it! It had fennel, coriander and orange. I think that may be my new favourite salad combination!

We were celebrating tonight and honestly couldn’t have asked for anything better.
I was a little surprised that we weren’t asked if we wanted more drinks at any time during the night but that wasn’t really a huge thing for me and if we wanted it, we could have flagged someone down.

The wait staff were all so polite and invested in us having a good time. I cannot recommend this place highly enough and if you do make the trip here, I’d love to know what you think!

Have you been to Fedoras?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…