Thursday, July 22, 2010

Matsu Hashi, Clifton Hill

Well as promised, we had dinner at Matsu Hashi on Friday night and I have something to write about!

Sushi has been a hard one for me to conquer. I wasn't a fan of thick sashimi slices, and the smell of the nori sheets made me feel quite ill. But it always looked so pretty and tasty and I am a bona fide lover of all seafood*, how could I not like sushi? So, I would continue to try it every now and then until I found something I liked.

What I ended up discovering was that I don't like old sushi, hand rolls that are prepared in the morning, or the night before and are left sitting in a fridge all day. Japanese fast food. I like my sushi made on the spot, with the freshest fish, which in essence is what sushi is supposed to be all about. I don't like overly thick sashmi slices, for me, the thinner the better and when you order this in a place where its made on the spot, you can request thinner slices if you prefer.

Well Matsu Hashi did not disappoint and I'm overjoyed with the fact that it's BYO wine and walkable distance from home. The interior is cosy and not too dark, still keeping simplistic Japanese styling as opposed to some crazy Japanese shop that sells Hello Kitty everything.

We ordered a bottle of Pirie South Pinor Noir 2009 (Tasmania). Not a bad drop, we managed to drink the whole bottle either way. The wine list was quite small but very reasonably priced.

Pirie South Pinot Noir 2009
The menu is extensive, large sushi bar, hotpot options, soups and teppanyaki. With so much to choose from, we wanted a little bit of everything! So what do we do in that situation? Of course we ordered a Banquet! P and I are suckers for banquets even though most of the time we almost need to be rolled out of the restaurant. But we decided on the Sappora Set. At $35 per person for 6 courses, what a bargain!

We started off with Miso Soup. It was light and flavoursome, and made from scratch. No sachet miso soup here. Topped with fresh sliced mushrooms, not dried and then re-hydrated mushrooms, it was the perfect addition to a perfect soup.

Next came the sushi and Californian rolls. We had king fish and salmon sushi and obviously some Californian rolls. On the side, wasabi, pickled ginger and Japanese mayo. The king fish sushi was my absolute favourite. The fish was fresh and the rice held together really well, I could bite half off and still have the remaining half balancing nicely in my chopsticks, all in one piece. The salmon was also very fresh and not cut too thick, just how I like it. P isn't usually a fan of Californian rolls, but he said that he actually really enjoyed these ones, and so did I!

Sushi and Californian Rolls

Miso Soup

After finishing that course I was starting to feel a little full from all the rice, but they left enough time in between for us to get our appetites back. I also think this is just Japanese food, it's filling immediately after you eat it but the feeling wears off pretty quickly, and we are ready for the next course!

The Gyoza Dumplings were large and juicy, probably some of the best I have had, you could taste the real pork with that really nice hint of the cabbage. I really could have eaten a plate full of these if I wasn't in anticipation of the rest of the meal! The Yakitori Skewers were your typical teriyaki chicken, reminiscent of my days at my old job where my friend G would order two Yakitori skewers and one Japanese pancake with extra mayo for lunch almost every day, how I loved to steal his food when he wasn't looking!

Next we had Tempura. Prawns, zucchini, pumpkin and carrot. As always, Tempura carrot is just my absolute favourite! The carrot is soft and sweet and the batter really light and crispy. We also enjoyed eating the fanned soba noodle garnish flecked with crunchy bits of tempura batter.

Gyoza and Yakitori

Eye fillet Teppanyaki, served with stir fried vegies on a sizzling iron plate. The steak was incredible, thick slices, cooked medium rare as asked by our friendly trainee waiter. This really was superb.

Eye Fillet Teppenyaki

P was not a fan of the Green Tea Ice Cream with Red Bean Paste, I enjoyed it that much that I forgot to take a photo and realised once it was half gone...

Since Friday night I have been back already! Really a fan of this place. Would recommend a visit to any lover of Japanese food!

*With the exception of jellyfish. How can anyone like something that can only be described as slimy crunch?

Matsu Hashi on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sorry, its been awhile!

I know its been quite a while since my last post, but due to the cold winter weather I have been doing a fair bit of hybernating at home.

I am planning to head out for dinner tonight though so I hope to be able to write something new soon!

But a few little updates...

Shulz Organic Milk (Timboon, Vic) - Purchased at Collingwood Farmers Market last Saturday. By far the BEST milk I have ever had, since it was finished, no milk has tasted the same.

Lancashite (ooops I mean Lancashire) Pork Sausages - Purchased at Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers Market. I was so disapointed, they tasted that terrible that I actually threw them out. Enough said.

Things to look forward to...

Dinner tonight, think we might be checking out Matsu Hashi on Queens Parade in Clifton Hill, Japanese Restaurant within walking distance to my home, really hope it does not disapoint!

Tasmanian Road Trip 2010 has been booked and paid for! Leaving at the start of September, I am hoping to return with armfuls of things to write about. On my last trip I could have written four posts on the oysters alone!

Til next time!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Farmers Market - Melbourne Showgrounds

Last weekend, my partner and I headed to the Farmers Market at the showgrounds. I had only just recently heard of it and since it's open every Saturday, I was hopeful that it would be fantastic.

It looks like its reasonably new to the Farmers Market scene. There were probably no more than 30 stalls however they did have a good variety of items for sale and I still managed to spend a good $150.

Items I purchased;
  • Lancashire Pork Sausages
  • Pink Lady Apples
  • Goats Cheese & Wild Rocket Gnocchi
  • Beef Sausages, Scotch Fillet & Beef Mince
  • Red Box Honey
  • Ricci's Dipping Sauce
  • Boosey Creek Chilli & Garlic Marinated Fetta
  • Buffalo Mozzarella
  • Sourdough Vienna and Sourdough Fruit Loaf
  • Variety of Vegies - Potatoes, Onions, Leek, Carrots and Broccoli
I did manage to buy several other items but cannot remember them off the top of my head. But out of the items I did remember here's a few notes about some of them.

Pink Lady Apples - crisp, fresh, sweet and straight off the tree. I cant remember the name of the orchid, but they were the only orchid there.

Goats Cheese & Wild Rocket Gnocchi (Take Me Home Pasta - Coburg/Morwell, Vic) -Although I slightly overcooked it (I was distracted by a certain meowing cat wanting to be fed), with a basic sauce, its so tasty!

Ricci's Dipping Sauce (Healesville, Vic) - First of all, what a salesman, had me before I even tried the stuff! But its a great product, an asian inspired sauce of chilli, ginger, fish sauce, lime, coriander, lemongrass and other ingredients. I have already used it twice in one week. I cooked some chicken in it for a salad and prepared a noodle dish with it. It's versatile so your not restricted to using it purely as a dipping sauce, and I have been told that it's sensational with dim sims. Ricci's also make a range of flavoured pita chips.

Sourdough Fruit Loaf (Red Beard Bakery - Trentham, Vic) - Organic sourdough with organic dried sultanas, sun muscats, currants and apricots, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pimento, cloves, biodynamic stone ground & organic wheat flours. The dried fruits are marinated in the dough before cooking, It's a spicy dense fruit loaf with lots of flavour. It freezes well (I'm the only one at home that will eat it) and if you slice it yourself you can make nice thick slices, with a decent amount of butter, its addictive and perfect for cold winter mornings!

All in all, the market is small but being open every Saturday is a bonus,  I would consider heading there each week to even just grab my fruit and veg.

I am planning on cooking the Pork Sausages tonight, so depending on how they turn out you might hear more about them soon!