B’Stilla bringing back Moroccan

B’Stilla
30 Bray Street,
South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9826 2370

MFF_BStilla_Pastry

He once was behind the food at one of Melbourne’s most successful restaurants, so when Jason Jones, former chef and co-owner of Mamasita, decided to try something different, he opened B’Stilla in the back streets of South Yarra. Unveiled in April 2013, the venue delivers a modern take on predominantly Moroccan cuisine with a relaxed, bar-like vibe that is perfectly tailored to the trendy Chapel St types. Pronounced “bas-stee-ya”, the eatery is named after a traditional Moroccan pie usually served at the beginning of special meals.

The menu is designed to share, full of dishes inspired by traditional Moroccan favourites so incase you’re having trouble translating there’s a glossary on the reverse. Under “Small Plates” obviously is a list of smaller dishes to get your taste buds going. The spiced okra ($5.00) is the Middle-East’s answer to beer nuts. Cut into small pieces, deep fried and doused with spices they’re the perfect snack to accompany a pre-dinner drink. The merguez, a barbecued duck sausage ($6.00) is another smaller dish with a kick of spice that’ll help you settle into your meal.

A serve of tangier BBQ’d octopus with tahini remoulade and kale ($12.00) is a must-order when you visit. The barbeque imparts a subtle smokey flavour to the octopus that matches oh-so-well with the creamy remoulade. The accompanying kale chips also demonstrates Jones’ ability to adapt his menu to emerging food trends.

MFF_BStilla_OctopusOf course the restaurant’s namesake dish, B’Stilla, is on the menu. But instead of the traditional pigeon version common in Morocco, this one is made from a mixture of chicken and duck, mixed with almonds and lightly scented with cinnamon and saffron ($14.00). It comes served dusted with icing sugar for that customary sweet/savoury Moroccan flavour combo.

The lamb ribs are another winning starter, laiden with red dukkah, date and lime ($16.00) with meat tender enough to fall off the bone.

MFF_BStilla_Ribs

There’s plenty to choose from for vegetarians on the menu. The spinach rghaif with eggplant, zucchini, curd and za’atar ($15.00) is one such dish. Familiar flavours of spinach and cheese are wrapped in a light dough, served with a spicy sauce that’s sure to heat things up a bit.

MFF_BStilla_Pide

The “Larger Plates” menu is decidedly shorter than the “Small Plates” but touches on all the main proteins. The vegetarian tagine made of pumpkin, broadbeans, beetroot and chic peas ($28.00) is hearty enough to sate even meateaters, but for those in need of iron, the beef short ribs with carrot jam and herbs ($34.00) will fit the bill.

MFF_BStilla_Beef

You’ll need some sides with the short ribs, and the cauliflower with pine nut sauce, ras el hanout and herbs ($8.00) is a good choice. Otherwise the hairloom carrots with hazelnuts and smoked chilli ($10.00) is another winning dish.

MFF_BStilla_CarrotsDesserts are limited, but the set yoghurt with honeycomb, raspberry and lime ($12.00), akin to a panacotta, is a pretty dish with contrasting creamy and sharp flavours. The fez mess with prunes, meringue and walnuts ($12.00), meanwhile, is a little clumsier but tastes better than it looks.

MFF_BStilla_Dessert_PanacottaMFF_BStilla_Dessert01It was always going to be hard to follow up the success of Mamasita, but B’Stilla is forging it’s own path. It follows the same ideals of authenticity, casual atmosphere, and value for money, but does so in it’s own unique way.

B'Stilla on Urbanspoon

Posted in Reviews, South Yarra, Southern | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ribs & Burgers keeping everyone happy

Ribs & Burgers
1/862 Glenferrie Road

Hawthorn, VIC 3122
(03) 9818 8142

On first glance, Ribs & Burgers might seem like another fast food chain, but on closer inspection this place is much more. Bang on trend for the current American (food) invasion hitting Melbourne, Ribs & Burgers is serving up both in speedy, quality-driven fashion.

Originating in Sydney, Ribs and Burgers currently has 10 stores Australia-wide and operates like a well-oiled machine. But unlike your typical fast-food burger joint, the guys behind it have gone out of their way to create a sophisticated space with the laid-back atmosphere of a classic American diner. The Hawthorn venue, which opened late last year, follows the Ribs & Burgers winning formula: staff dressed in butchers aprons, plenty of blond timber, and a menu that delivers exactly what the name suggests.

Let’s start with the burgers: made from free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free meat, choose from a range of beef or chicken options such as the El Mexicano, Hotchicka-dee, or cajun chicken. Served on hand-rolled buns made from organic flour, the extra effort from well-sourced ingredients is evident.

MFF_Ribs&Burgers_02

Then there’s the ribs: your choice of beef, lamb or pork slow cooked for 8 hours, they come with a choice of chips or cabbage salad (red and white cabbage, chopped apple, roasted pine nuts, fresh mint and parsley in a vinaigrette dressing), otherwise upgrade to a butchers salad (baby cos, sliced carrots, cucumber, capsicum, Spanish onion, tomato and fresh herbs with vinaigrette dressing) for an extra $2. My choice? The cabbage salad hands down.

Can’t decide between a burger or the ribs? Why not try the ‘best of both’ option! A half rack of your choice with two mini burgers – one chicken and one beef – and a side of cabbage salad, it’s the perfect option for those of us bad at decision making.

MFF_Ribs&Burgers_01What burger joint would be complete without the sides? The chips are crisp and delicious and made even better by dipping in one of the four sauces available – chilli, chilli mayo, aïoli, or ranch (an extra $1.50). Otherwise try the onion rings, which are cut finely and deep fried until nothing even resembling a vegetable is left.

MFF_Ribs&Burgers_03MFF_Ribs&Burgers_04If you’re a fan of a fancy burger by the likes of places such as Grill’d, but your partner is craving the ribs from Meatmother, Ribs & Burgers delivers both in style. There’s also a decent grill section to keep things gluten free. Perfect for a well acquainted couple’s date night, or catching up casually with friends.

Ribs & Burgers on Urbanspoon

Posted in Hawthorn, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blood Orange Foodstore providing more than just great breakfast

Blood Orange
661 Burwood Rd
Hawthorn East, VIC 3123
(03) 9813 0060

MFF_BloogOrange_ExteriorAre you constantly trying to find ways to fit more into your weekend? If you want to be able to grab breakfast, do your fruit and vege shopping AND find something quick and easy for dinner tonight then Blood Orange in Hawthorn’s east is just the place for you.

The Blood Orange story began in Port Douglas in 2007 when chef and co-owner Rebecca Nelson opened a retail outlet out the front of her father’s wholesale fruit and vege business, Port Produce. Offering a range of grocery items including many unique and local artisan items, it was here Nelson began to develop her signature Blood Orange Preserves Range – a collection of hand crafted jams, chutneys and sauces. After selling the businesses in late 2013 the family relocated to Melbourne and reopened on Burwood rd, Hawthorn East.

MFF_BloogOrange_InteriorOwners Rebecca Nelson (Chef), Caroline Raffaele and Connie Dobbin have encompassed much of what made the Port Douglas set up great into their Hawthorn site, taking it to the next level by adding a cafe to showcase the produce on offer. Located in the fabulous corner site of a grand old Victorian Building, the store echoes back to the days of the friendly corner store and milk bars of the past, with plenty of blond timber and natural light to keep it modern. Katie Wain and Peter Gionfriddo were entrusted to execute the vision for Blood Orange, and through their clever use of joinery and fixtures have divided the space into clearly defined areas of the foodstore, fresh fruit and vege, and cafe.

The menu is perfectly tailored to the Melbourne crowd, with staples like homemade granola or smashed avocado and feta. There’s also a few unique additions to keep patrons coming back, like the chia porridge (a personal favourite) or the potato rosti with smoked salmon, avocado and hollandaise.

Blood OrangeMFF_BloogOrange_ChiaPorridge

The talented team in the kitchen are not only serving up some excellent meals for breakfast and lunch, but also a range of take home meals, salads, dips, pies, cakes and of course the Blood Orange Preserves that are currently only available to buy in store (though they are looking to expand into other venues this year). The range is bottled by hand, contains no preservatives or additives, and include flavours such as Mango Chilli Chutney, Pineapple Coconut Jam, Raspberry Coconut Sauce, Blood Orange Marmalade, Spiced Fig Jam and Tomato Pineapple & Chilli Sauce.

If you are too busy to cook yourself, the range of ready made meals includes family favourites such as meatballs, lasagne, curries, pies and Syrian chicken that are perfect if you just don’t have the time to cook yourself. Otherwise grab one of their fresh salads or wraps to eat on the go.

MFF_BloogOrange_Interior2MFF_BloogOrange_Interior3While it’s said that a jack of all trades is a master of none, it’s clear Blood Orange is an exception to the rule. Cafe, greengrocer, deli, providore, foodstore, et al; these guys do a damn good job at it all.

Blood Orange on Urbanspoon

Posted in Hawthorn | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heartattack and Vine brings modern Italian to Lygon St

Heartattack & Vine
329 Lygon St
Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9005 8624

MFF_HeartattackAndVine_Entrance

Lygon St has long since been a destination for traditional Italian cuisine. Walking down the busy strip, you may forgive yourself for thinking you are in Italy as men dressed in waiters uniforms beckon you into their restaurants. So when a modern eatery calling itself “Heartattack and Vine” opens opposite perhaps the most well-known of all the restaurants along Lygon St, Brunettis, it makes a statement.

Heartattack and Vine – named after a Tom Waits song about wayward souls – opened late last year by Emily Bitto and Nathen Doyle (A Minor Place and Wide Open Road). While it may not be the traditional Italian food your Nonna makes, Heartattack and Vine still knows what it’s customers want, drawing on old-world Italian hospitality to create something modern. “We just want to replicate that really relaxed, simple, welcoming hospitality… although I can put on a very good accent.” says Doyle.

Breakfast is Euro-style with Noisette pastries and Wide Open Road coffee. Lunch is equally pared-back, with a choice of rolls filled with either porchetta, prawns or a vegetarian option, with the option of a side or coleslaw and condiments. Those going gluten-free needn’t avoid the place either, as they readily offer these sans roll.

MFF_HeartattackAndVine_PorkRoll

MFF_HeartattackAndVine_Vegetarian

MFF_HeartattackAndVine_GlutenFree

Dinner is a cicchetti menu of small tapas-style dishes including items such as low-cooked meatballs and baccala on crostini, available for show at the front at the restaurant under heat lamps. Enjoy a few small bites and a glass or two of wine before heading on. The succinct wine menu of 5 whites and 5 reds is a mix of Italian and Australian wines, with an impressive range of vermouth and sherry.

With a thoroughly modern atmosphere, Heartattack and Vine offers Lygon St something Italian but in a uniquely Melbourne way.

Heartattack and Vine on Urbanspoon

Posted in Calton, Northern, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Peach Melba Cake

MFF_AustraliaDay_PeachMelba

Our final post for Australia Day is a recipe for Peach Melba cake. Peach Melba is a classic dish of poached peaches served with raspberry sauce and ice cream, first invented in 1892 in honour of the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba. This cake is an interpretation of that dish, with a peach upside down cake served with a raspberry sauce. It’s a simple dish that’s easy to prepare and sure to be a hit at your Australia Day BBQ.

PEACH MELBA CAKE

1kg can peach slices in juice, drained well
185g butter, softened, chopped
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk
300g fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
double cream, to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 23cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Arrange the peach slices in two circles at the bottom of the cake tin, overlapping the peaches slightly.
  3. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Sift in the flour and add the milk, stirring together until just combined. Pour the cake batter over the peaches and gently smooth the surface.
  5. Place the cake in a moderate oven and cook for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in the tin before turning it out onto a cake stand.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan add the raspberries, icing sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, breaking up the raspberries with the back of a wooden spoon, until you have a thick syrup. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool completely before refrigerating until needed.
  7. Serve the cake with cream and the raspberry sauce.

Serves 12

Posted in Dessert/Sweet, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments