Moo Chi In Fusion has recently opened its doors on Johnston St in Fitzroy. Just minutes down from the bustle of Smith Street, this Asian Fusion restaurant impresses and entices you to stray away from the main streets of Fitzroy. Once you walk into the venue, you’re greeted with this spectacular artwork and friendly staff to boot.
The menu at Moo Chi has an interesting mix of entrees, salads, mains and desserts with some making a slight twist on the traditional dishes you might find elsewhere.
One of the popular items on their entrees menu is their Angry Bird, marinated ribs with their own spice mix served with some onions and herbs. The flavour in their chicken ribs is stunning. Perfect amount of spiciness, and even though I do enjoy a bit of spiciness if you can deal with pepper this is fine! I could probably have a few drinks and just this on its own for a meal.
Moo Chi’s Mini Moo Bun can be ordered in a few different choices. Starting with your choice of brioche or lettuce wrap (which I must try next time) and then your choice of filling of either pulled pork, fried tofu, soft shell crab or roast chicken. Being a fan of pulled pork that was a no brainer.
Deliciously tender pork with pickled vegetables and herbs that reminded me of a great coleslaw of sorts it goes great together and I’d definitely order that again.
Their mains selection leans towards the more Malaysian, Asian style of cuisine but I saw on the menu there was Seafood Spaghetti which I’m curious to try. The Chap Choy Curry is one of your vegetarian options and I love the creaminess of it. With a hint of spices, with vegetables cooked al dente that adds great texture to the dish.
The Kapitan Chicken Curry is a dry coconut curry (without sauce) with a hint of lemon grass. The chicken was cooked well and flavour-wise it wasn’t too creamy and the spices weren’t overpowering.
Their Singaporean Pork Spare Ribs is dressed with a sweet and sour sauce. The sauce at Moo Chi isn’t the same kind of sweet and sour sauce you may find in Chinese restaurants, and it has a more subtle sweetness and sourness to it. The pork pulls away easily and it’s not too fatty. I loved the how well the pork was cooked but I felt there was something missing from the sauce.
At Moo Chi, they have a few more Asian leaning desserts like Honeydew and Rockmelon Sago but also some Western style desserts like their Crème brûlée. Smooth custard with a crunchy top and served with a biscuit to enjoy it with. Not too sweet and has a nice vanilla taste to it.
I loved the Angry Bird and Mini Moo Buns and Moo Chi’s mains were flavourful and cooked with care. A real find in Fitzroy and I definitely recommend giving it a try.
Moo Chi In Fusion
72 Johnston St
Fitzroy VIC 3065
Mon – Closed
Tues to Thurs – 5:00 – 10:30 PM
Fri to Sun – Lunch 12:00 – 3:00 PM and Dinner 5:00 – 10:30 PM
*Opening hours current as at 7 December 2015
Initially I wanted to try Shizuku Ramen on Victoria Street, Richmond which is just next door. However, my poor eyesight lead me to Two Hands Bar which interestingly also serves Japanese cuisine. Their menu is a mixture of Western and Asian, also offering a breakfast menu for locals and workers in the area, burgers and also even Korean but in addition as the name suggests it’s a bar as well.
Their lunch menu comes with complimentary soft drink or seaweed soup. One of their menu items is their Teriyaki Chicken with rice. The chicken is tender and marinated nicely, and comes with potato salad and interestingly dressed shredded carrots. The seaweed soup has a lovely seaweed flavour that isn’t too bold, but I found it just a tad oily.
Another lunch item is their Deep Fried Chicken (Karage), the chicken is tender and crispy but requires the combination of mayo to accompany it to bring it all together. Otherwise, it’s particularly dry on its own with rice. As with the Teriyaki Chicken, it comes with the potato salad and carrots. Overall, it’s a decent deal with a drink.
Two Hands Bar doesn’t set the bar high with its food, however,it is quite decent. I haven’t yet tried their burgers, but will definitely try them sometime in the future just to see how they taste like.
Two Hands Bar
311A Victoria Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067
Ending my Toronto series with Ki Modern Japanese and Bar located on Brookfield Place Bay Street, in the Toronto CBD. Ki meshes the Western culture with Japanese cuisine in which you end up with dishes such as burgers but with a slight twist or sushi with spicy tomato salsa or mango.
For those looking for a more traditional Japanese meal, at Ki they do offer a variety of freshly made nigiri, sashimi and maki sushi rolls. As a modern Japanese restaurant, they also serve slightly different sushi rolls, some with bacon or sweet potato which make for interesting combinations and especially on your palette.
Overall, the food quality here is fantastic. The sushi, tempura sushi and even the burgers are all delicious. However, I found the dishes leaning more towards Western style to have very minimal Japanese influences as such it would appear like eating it in any other upmarket cafe or the like.
Ki do Japanese well, although it comes at a price because the dishes here aren’t exactly cheap.
181 Bay St
Toronto ON M5J2S1
Shophouse Kitchen in QV, Melbourne is one of the many new Hong Kong restaurants that have been popping up around Melbourne in recent times. What makes Hong Kong cuisine stand apart from either Taiwanese or Chinese dishes is their fusion of Western and Eastern such as eating a pork cutlet with rice or spaghetti but Hong Kong cuisine of course still retains the Chinese influence and has many Chinese dishes without Western influences.
This dish is not one of those distinctly Chinese dishes, instead this dish is called a Baked Chicken Chop on Rice. This dish is basically Fried Rice topped with a cheese and tomato sauce bake with a Crumbed Chicken Chop. You can also order this with a creamy sauce, akin to that of a Alfredo sauce or creamy garlic sauce. You can instantly tell this is Hong Kong style food, and the fusion here actually works well. The Fried Rice flavour is quite muted, which allows the flavour from the tomato sauce and cheese to come through. The generous serving of chicken is crisp and moist which is the centrepiece of the dish. Overall, I liked it but I didn’t love it.
Here we have the Grilled Chicken Chop Rice Set served with blanched bok choy, a fried egg and white rice dressed with soy sauce. I found the grilled chicken here to be overcooked, and over charred which is unfortunate. The lack of sauce also is a disappointment as with dry meat, almost dry veggies and egg lacking in any sauce as well, it makes for a poor dish as a whole with nothing to gel everything together.
The Fried Chicken Chop Fried Rice dish is as the name suggests, Crispy fried chicken with veggies and served with Fried Rice. Again the Fried Rice lacks flavour and here would be a downside to the dish as there is nothing that really defines the fried rice here with steamed white rice. On the plus side, the crispy chicken was moist and yet extra crispy with plenty of seasoning.
On the dessert side of things, I was intrigued by the Signature Durian Tofu Pudding but was sorely disappointed by the end result. You can instantly tell from the first mouthful that the durian here is just flavouring and not real/pureed durian to provide the flavour. The durian extract or flavouring here was used sparingly and it’s almost just a pudding with a hint of durian.
Although the impression you may have here is that the dishes aren’t fantastic, I would say it’s only the Western/fusion style dishes that come up a bit short as they are not either exceptional Western dishes nor are they tasty Chinese dishes. On the other hand, the more Chinese styled dishes such as their BBQ Pork and Fried Wonton (Dry La Mian Noodles) or their Asian Roast on Rice are tasty without question and would actually come back for.
Shop 29, 210 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 03000
Inside QV Square
Crown’s Kitchen Workshop is one of my favourite buffet restaurants in Melbourne for its affordable pricing and all-round good food. What makes it a winner for me is its range of offerings and their dessert selections.
What makes Kitchen Workshop attractive is its offerings of 300g of fresh iced prawns or half a dozen fresh oysters. You get a coupon/ticket when you enter and you redeem it at the seafood bar.
Their prawns might I add are pretty darn good, along with the nice seafood sauce you can grab, these prawns are fresh and nicely cooked. You could probably make a meal out of just these but of course you don’t come to Kitchen Workshop for just their seafood.
They have a mix of the usual Western and Asian dishes from pastas, to beef stews, Asian stir frys, and a selection of cooked meats. They also usually have one or two soups, the last time I went there I tried their Potato & Leek soup, and also their Tom Yum Soup. While the Leek soup was nice and creamy, their Tom Yum soup wasn’t as good as I hoped but seemed really popular anyway. The Roast Counter I find their meats to be a tad dry but with sauce it’s usually decent enough.
Kitchen Workshop also has a Teppanyaki station where you can pick an assortment of vegetables and a protein, I think people usually go with pork and watch the chef cook you up something nice from your selection using their Teppanyaki grill. It’s usually extremely popular so get in quick when you see minimal people hovering around.
For those looking for a lighter meal, they have a salad bar with your selection of cold dishes and cheeses/meats. I’m not usually a fan of cold meals so I have no real comments on these but they do look desirable.
Okay, time to talk about their desserts. It’s slightly odd how all the desserts are right at the entrance but I’m digressing. There are the usual treats, e.g tarts, cakes, custards and the like. Either fruit or chocolate, or both! They also have a chocolate fountain where you can dip strawberries or marshmallows.
I believe they also have some warm desserts, and pavlovas to boot but I can’t be certain because I usually go straight towards the one dessert.
The real star of the show, for me, is their self-serve soft-serve ice-cream machine. Phew, that was a bundle to say. However, my golly is it good. There are only two flavours, vanilla and chocolate (the chocolate being the more authentic tasting one) but you can also pick a variety of toppings, e.g syrups, sprinkles, m&ms, candies, you name it. I like it au naturale, and I could sit there all day eating just that. Probably not the healthiest thing to do, or even the cheapest option since McDonald’s do 30c Cones. Who needs cones anyway! However, it definitely is the greatest way to end a meal. Delicious.
Overall, Kitchen Workshop is pretty good value for money. It has a good range of foods and desserts plus service is usually very good (removing plates and providing drinks). I just checked their prices, it appears it may have gone up? $33.50 for dinner Fri-Sat/weekend lunch. I’m not too sure but still I’d recommend this over Conservatory any day. Unless you prefer more seafood, then go for broke at Conservatory, but be warned they have no soft-serve ice-cream there.
Ground Floor, Clarendon Street Entrance
8 Whiteman St
Crown Entertainment Complex
Melbourne VIC 3006
Mon to Fri: 11:30am – 2:30pm
Sat: Midday – 2:30pm
Sun: Midday – 2:30pm
Mon to Thur: 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Fri: 5:00pm – 9:30pm
Sat: 5:00pm – 10:30pm
Sun: 5:00pm – 9:30pm