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Before coming to Italy 1 on Bourke Road, Camberwell, I checked out the reviews for it on Urbanspoon and it was very mixed. Having that in mind, my overall experience with Italy 1 is good, it definitely is on the upper scale of your dining experience ($$$) but I found the food here to be mostly fantastic bar a few.

As an entree we ordered the Mussels  it is cooked with a tomato sugo and seasoned with garlic and tomatoes (mainly). The staff mentioned the mussels here are of a higher quality and so that’s why the mussels are tinier than in most places. The mussels were indeed lovely and fresh and I really couldn’t get enough of the slightly salty, spicy tomato sauce that is flavoured with mussels. 

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Italy 1’s Baked Scallops were a bit of a downer, the scallops were tiny comparatively to the shell it comes in with the cheesy crust on top being mostly too crusty to gel well with the soft scallop. The scallop was very tasty I must admit but for the price, I don’t believe it’s worth it.

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Onto the mains, the Roast Duck with greens was fantastic. The duck was perfectly cooked, and melts in your mouth with all the juices. The sauce that accompanies it, is interesting. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the ingredients sued but it went well with the duck and salad.

IMG_0437The “Rotolo” (hand rolled egg pasta) filled with Spinach and Ricotta, baked and served with burnt sage butter was absolutely divine. You certainly can’t have too much of this because it’s so damn rich with cheese, but the flavours of the ricotta and spinach are bursting out, and the cheesiness of it mixes so well. The baked pasta is crispy and almost pastry like, like a quiche but slightly delicate inside. Yummy

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The Duck Ragu with Sage and Pancetta Risotto wasn’t too great to be honest. Overly salty, either from the cheese or duck and slightly under seasoned. It lacked any real distinct flavours but the duck was very tender which is a plus along with the risotto itself cooked al dente.

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The Linguine Marinara with mussels, clams, prawns, scallops, fish and seasoned with chilli, parsley and garlic was another winner at Italy 1. The linguine was cooked perfectly (there wasn’t enough!) but I guess the centre pieces of the dish are the seafood so that’s understandable. Seafood overall were fresh and tasty and seasoned well. Really lovely.

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For dessert we ordered Tiramisu. Very light but creamy  and chocolatey, and with just enough liqueur to keep it moist. Distinct and defined layers. I do prefer Tiramisu to be slightly chilled and although it was served room temperature, it was delicious.

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I believe the desserts change slightly on their specials board, but when we dined there the gelato selection was Raspberry, Goat’s Milk and Cassata with crunchy caramel shards. For a sweet treat, the Raspberry gelato was bursting full of raspberry flavour (and slightly sour). I’m finding it that I actually prefer cream based ice cream as opposed to water based simply because the water based varieties are simply much too sweet but on this occasion it wasn’t too bad (it was the sweetest of the three)

The Cassata flavour I believe is based on the cassata cake dessert which is a sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur, ricotta cheese, cream and candied peel. This was definitely an interesting flavour, and mixed with it were I believe some candied fruit pieces. I’ve never tried this before but would definitely order it again. Tasty

The goat’s milk on first taste was slightly odd because I’ve never tried an ice cream that was just milk but after my initial shock I really enjoyed it. It was milky (of course) and creamy and not too sweet. Probably the best of the three actually.

Impressions

As mentioned in my opening paragraph, some of the dishes weren’t as good as others but overall I found it to be a very satisfying experience and the staff here are lovely too. Great food, nice ambience on a Saturday night. Price might be an issue for some but it’s good for a night out once in a while.

Italy 1 at Camberwell on Urbanspoon

Italy 1 
823 Burke Rd
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Burger Bar Crescent on Crescent St, Montreal is one of those trendy burger joints that appeals to the younger generation with its offerings of alcoholic beverages and cute burgers that can almost be considered to be sliders. Being unfamiliar with the area, I used my trusty Urbanspoon with led me to this popular place with a pretty high rating.

The restaurant is two floors with the ground floor being the more “bar” scene and the second floor having seating catered for larger groups and sit down meals.

Burger Bar Crescent’s menu is diverse, it actually took me a while to pick what to eat because they all sounded good on paper.

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We ordered the Firestorm aka supposed to be the token spicy burger, with beef, peppers, jalapeños, cheese and spicy sauce with coleslaw. Their burgers are high but more petite in girth. The beef is succulent and juicy, cooked to perfection. The spicy sauce was a tad disappointing, it was creamy but lacked the edge. It definitely required further spicy seasoning which meant TABASCO to the rescue. Other than that, I’d think it’s a pretty decent burger overall.

The coleslaw was interesting, I can’t quite put my finger on what ingredients they made the dressing with. It was sweet, not particularly creamy, but with the dressing slathered all over the cabbage and carrots. Kinda odd but maybe it’s because I’ve never had coleslaw like this before.

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Being the adventurous one (when it comes to food only), I ordered the Bison Burger, that comes with a Bison patty, sautéed leeks, wild mushrooms, brie and truffle mayo. My two main attractions to the dish was the Bison patty, having had Bison sausages back in Melbourne which were delicious, I had to seek it out. Secondly. truffle mayo, I’ve only had truffle butter previously and that has wet my appetite for some more truffle seasoned food. I really did love this seemingly packed burger. The patty was juicy and had a nice grilled texture/smokiness to it. The hard cheese retained it’s shape but was velvety and stringy. Loved it.

As the burgers come with either coleslaw or fries, you can also upgrade to sweet potato fries, caesar salad, onion rings or poutine. Wanting something a bit different, I ordered the sweet potato fries, that were seasoned with the right amount of salt (not too much) and were crispy as they should be. Like most sweet potato fries, you’d find the innards are still soft and floppy but the crispy outside makes it retain its shape very well.

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They also have hotdogs on the menu that are an absolute stunner. Juicy sausage, with buttery onions, BACON, and cheese. One of the best hotdogs I’ve ever tasted, everything just worked in perfect harmony with each other. Just needing a bit of tomato sauce (a requirement for all hotdogs)

Unfortunately, I’m unsure if it’s still on the menu but if it is, I definitely recommend it. The fries ordered with it were on the slightly darker, near overcooked side of things but very crunchy I must say.

Impressions

One thing I haven’t touched on is their service, staff are friendly but my golly it took at least 30 mins for the food to arrive on a not so busy night. There were only two other tables filled around us with a large group nearby, with a another group on the bottom floor. No way near a quarter filled actually.

My only real qualm with the place, but other than that I loved the food here. They do burgers well even if it leans on the pricier end of things.

Burger Bar Crescent on Urbanspoon

Burger Bar Crescent (Menu)

1465 Rue Crescent
Montreal QC H3G2B2

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Lu Yang Dumpling House is a popular Chinese restaurant in Box Hill, and one of the many Chinese restaurants around. It always seems to be full around lunchtime. Wanting to see for ourselves whether the place lives up to its popularity we gave it a try.

Their menu has a large selection of dumplings, pork, chicken, beef, seafood, vegetarian as well as Chinese stir-fried noodles and rice dishes. As the name of the restaurant seems to suggest, they specialise in dumplings so we ordered a mix of steamed dumplings consisting of seafood, pork, and beef, vegetarian dumplings.

I found the skin of the dumplings to be the right thickness but it seemed to be steamed for too long, making the skins to be too soft and when you bite into it, it all falls apart. The dumpling flavours all were unfortunately nothing out of the ordinary. I really couldn’t say any of the ones I tried had great flavours. Even the most commonly made dumpling, pork dumplings lacked ginger and chives. Overall I found the dumplings on the bland side of things.

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We also wanted to try the pan fried dumplings, these were the pork specialty as mentioned above it was a bit bland and the overall balance of flavours was not quite there. You had to either eat them with the dipping sauce (Predominantly Chinkiang vinegar) or the chilli oil/seeds to give it a bit of a kick. Another negative was the dumplings were swimming in oil. Taking a bite into them you’ll find oil squirting out of them. Not a particularly pleasant experience and the old Bob’s Kitchen in Glen Waverley (now RaRamen Glen Waverley) makes one of the better dumplings around town.

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A pleasant surprise was their Szechuan Noodles, again slightly too oily, but that’s okay because overall the seasoning, sauce all had a good balance. Not overly seasoned with salt, and the fresh vegetables stir fried in with the noodles made it a tasty dish indeed.

Impressions

Lu Yang Dumpling House is a bit hit and miss, and I’m uncertain why it seems to be so popular. I’d also like to mention the service is a bit slow, I believe we waited around 20 or so minutes before the first order arrived with no apology from the waitresses that served us. I guess I can’t expect much from Chinese restaurants. I’d give the dumplings a miss, you can definitely find better dumplings (with overall better skin to filling ratio) elsewhere.

Lu Yang Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

Lu Yang Dumpling House

617 Station Street

Box Hill VIC 3128

 

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Jinda Thai just off Victoria Street, and close to North Richmond Station is a fantastic Thai restaurant that has the stamp of approval from my Thai friends. The place has a mix of olden day style but still appears refreshingly modern, directly targeting the youthful demographic.

I was pre-warned that the food portions here are a tad smaller than your other Thai eateries. You can definitely see the difference with Ying Thai only a couple minutes walk away but the food here is definitely tasty and you’ll be wanting to come back here again.

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Jinda Thai’s Pad Thai amazingly tasty. The noodles stir fried well, and has all the ingredients to make a great Pad Thai, plus they add chopped peanuts that give it a warm roasted nutty aroma and flavour. Stir fried with prawns, and chicken it still makes for a very satisfying meal and the chilli hit (not too hot) is a perfect combination. The seemingly very fresh bean sprouts is my arch nemesis as I prefer cooked and not blanched bean sprouts but it actually adds to the dish with it’s crunchy and crispy texture.

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The Rice with stir fried Seafood and Basil is another tasty dish. The basil flavour isn’t too overpowering but it’s gentle fragrance seeps through the entire dish. Aromatic and with basil you really can’t go wrong here.

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My golly Jinda Thai’s Pad Kee Mao is hot. Extreme! Stir fried rice noodles with a few basil leaves and chicken is although the spiciest meal I’ve ever had, still very tasty and leaves you wanting more (and more water). Love the flavour of the Pad Kee Mao, the balance of fish sauce, soy sauce, chili and basil work extremely well together. Ying Thai’s Pad Kee Mao is larger in quantity but also tasty, but here I find the balance of flavours more appetizing but nothing too different to comment more on.

Impressions

Serving size is smaller here and at similar prices to other Thai restaurants and that’s the only con I find. The food is ridiculously tasty and for me, if the food is great, sometimes smaller portions is just a small compromise. Jinda Thai is most definitely worth a visit.

Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Jinda Thai
1-7 Ferguson St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

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