Getting in on the Soft Serve ice cream popularity is Tsujiri on Swanston Street in the Melbourne CBD. Tsujiri is a tea brand originating from Japan that excels in all things Matcha/Green Tea. With locations in UK, Canada and Asia, it has now opened in Australia. Tsujiri’s menu offers a wide range of Matcha and Houjicha flavoured drinks, as well as snacks such as cream puffs, swiss rolls and glutinous rice balls.
Tsujiri’s signature sundae you can order mixed (Matcha and Vanilla), Matcha or just Vanilla and it comes with the glutinous rice ball and sweet potato ball on top, Sakura flavoured wafer, red beans and roasted rice. Tsujiri certainly doesn’t skimp on the flavour of the green tea as it’s stronger than you would have at Rice Workshop or Nene’s Chicken. I also loved the subtle floral notes of the wafer, and the roasted rice for a lovely crunchy texture. The only thing I didn’t like was the price where it’s leaning towards $10 and especially for the price.
While Tsujiri excels in green tea, its pricing is on the higher end and I question whether it’s worth it even if it’s good.
146 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
While looking for Italian restaurants in the east side of Melbourne, I came across Il Birrificio. Located on Toorak Road in Camberwell, its far away from the hustle and bustle around Camberwell Station as this little gem is actually quite close to Burwood. What Ill Birrificio does well is its Wood Fire pizzas but their pastas, starters and desserts aren’t neglected either.
Their Salsiccia & Scamorza pizza was very tasty. I loved the cheesy topping with the meat and the fresh tomato base on a thin, crisp crust.
Il Birrificio has a few specials, on the night we dined they had the Fettuccine Gamberi which has this zingy lemon taste to it, with the fresh thyme flavour coming through.
While an Antipasti board isn’t what I would typically order, the cold meats with the rosemary and sea salt focaccia made for a pretty good starter.
I am not certain if they always have the Grapefruit beer on offer, but I do recommend trying it if you have not had something like this before. I loved the grapefruit flavour, and while the combination might be a bit odd on first looks it’s actually one of my favourite fruity beers.
The Biramisu is another winner from Il Birrificio. The beer flavour comes through well, and it’s not too rich or sweet. A great twist on the classic tiramisu.
This hidden gem has fantastic Italian dishes on offer in a very chilled environment.
1385 Toorak Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Eastland Shopping Centre’s new Town Square is a lovely space for restaurants and the Sunday market as well. Eastland managed to persuade popular burger joint Huxtaburger to open up a new eatery east of Melbourne. Now with five outlets around Melbourne, Huxtaburger offers American style burgers, snacks and drinks.
The Clair Burger has one huge piece of southern style fried chicken, plus jalapeno mayo and coleslaw with a sweet bun. It’s quite a tasty burger, I loved the spicy kick from the mayo and I love the flavour from the coleslaw with the crunchy and moist chicken. Though for the price, it is on the small side of things.
The Chipotle seasoned chips are an interesting take on the standard fries. It’s not for the spice-averse though because it is has quite a kick to it. I’d say it has a bit too much seasoning, even for me who loves spicy things.
Huxtaburger does burgers and fries well but it doesn’t offer value for money.
Huxtaburger – Eastland
R03 Town Square, Eastland
171-175 Maroondah Highway
Ringwood VIC 3134
Kim Sing opened its doors earlier this year under new management after Madam Kwan closed down. Their menu has been tweaked and a number of menu items have been removed from the menu, but Kim Sing still has a mixture of Malaysian/Chinese style dishes on offer and they advertise itself as Kim Sing, Truly Malaysian Delights. So expectations are high with that statement.
More often than not, I always try a new Malaysian restaurant’s Curry Laksa to see if they can trump Laksa King and Chef Lagenda. Kim Sing’s Laksa is a letdown, and substantially poorer quality than its predecessor. It has this watery, curry powder flavoured taste to it. A Curry Laksa it ain’t.
Their Char Kway Teow is served in a bowl, for some odd reason and with Madam Kwan’s logo still placed on all its crockery. It has that ‘wok’ flavour, so thank goodness for that but there are several oddities with this dish. It uses Char Siew (BBQ Pork) as its protein instead of Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausage). The prawns are tiny, and they don’t add in the deep fried Pork Lard but usually I can live without that. We also ordered it spicy, but no heat to it whatsoever. The substitution of Lap Cheong with Char Siew completely changes the taste of the Char Kway Teow. Very strange.
The Salt & Pepper Chicken Ribs with rice was actually quite nice. No chilli, which I think it needs to give it a bit of kick and depth of flavour but the chicken is crispy and still moist but they aren’t very generous with their fried capsicum and onion which I think is needed to give the chicken and rice much needed flavour. Decent but you can probably find better elsewhere in Box Hill.
Kim Sing unfortunately does not live up to its Truly Malaysian Delights statement. It serves quite frankly, mediocre dishes that are so disparate from traditional Malaysian dishes.
Shop 3, 1 Main Street
Box Hill VIC 3128
Shortstop is a popular donuts and coffee spot in the Melbourne CBD. Located on Sutherland Street and walking distance from Melbourne Central Station, the donuts there tend to be sold out before closing time so I’d recommend getting in there early or pre-ordering! At Shortstop, they usually have around 10 different donut flavours to choose from and their flavours do also change from time to time. Whilst the flavours may change, they usually have at least one of each type of donut (Raised, Cruller, Filled and Cake). The first time I visited Shortstop I had to try all the different types. Obviously.
I ordered the Thai Milk Tea (Raised), Maple Walnut & Brown Butter (Raised), Tiramisu (Filled), Cookies & Cream (Filled), Triple Matcha (Cake) and Australian Honey & Sea Salt (Cruller) which sadly, is not pictured above.
The Cake donuts are as you would think by the label given. They are cake shaped donuts. Freshly made, this Triple Matcha Cake donut is fluffy, with a bold matcha flavour to it with just a slight bitterness coming through. The white chocolate and matcha glaze is heavily on the sweet side but that’s par for the course for white chocolate and donuts in general. Love the matcha flavour but not the glaze so much.
Eaten the Shortstop donuts fresh is amazing and I highly recommend you don’t keep the donuts for too long after as the texture, taste does change a bit. The Maple Walnut & Brown Butter Raise donut is incredible. Like the best damn donut I’ve ever tried. Crunchy and toasty maple walnuts with the just sweet enough brown butter glaze on top of this so fluffy raised donut it’s the perfect combination.
The Thai Milk Tea donut is interesting and in a good way. I love fusing Asian flavours with traditionally Western food so this one works for me. The Thai Milk Tea flavour does come through but it’s a bit more subtle than I would have liked but again the donut is top notch. Fluffy and not dry.
The Tiramisu filled donut has a lovely coffee cream filling inside. The coffee flavour is surprisingly intense and might be a bit too strong for my liking with the fluffy donut. However, for those that love their coffee creams strong, this one is for you.
Usually you can’t go wrong with a Cookie & Cream flavour or filling, and this is no different. The Cookies & Cream filling is tasty, the flavour comes through perfectly and the cream is so light and delicious paired with the fluffy donut.
The Cruller’s are interesting. The texture of these donuts is quite airy which is nice, but the honey glaze is incredibly sweet. Too sweet to have the entire donut all to oneself to be honest. The sea salt seasoning does try and put the sweetness back in balance a bit but I wouldn’t order this particular flavour again.
Interesting flavours and more importantly tasty donuts. Donuts done right.
12 Sutherland Street
Melbourne VIC 3000