Pinchy’s @ HWKR

Pinchy’s is a fairly new addition to the growing family of food stalls at HWKR. There was one menu item in particular which caught our eyes – the ‘Maine to Melbourne’ lobster roll! Besides the fact that I have trust issues with anyone who’s able to turn down a lobster roll, the word ‘Maine’ means a lot to us. Firstly, as we had discovered from our US trip, Maine lobsters has some of the sweetest and tastiest meat, I prefer it over our local crayfish. Secondly, our cat Sky may be a Maine Coon! There’s a bit of confusion here because he was only listed as a domestic tabby, but everyone that has seen him is certain that he’s a Maine Coon. We’ve compared him to heaps of Maine Coon youtube videos and the resemblance is uncanny. Well anyway, that’s enough cat talk for the day, it’s time for some food talk!

The lobster roll was served on a distressed chopping board – very hipster indeed. It’s accompanied by some cucumber, chips and ornamental lettuce. I’m a self confessed chip addict, and naturally went for the chips first. I usually have to finish all the chips before I move onto other foods. In this particular instance, I was not able to do this because the chips were SALTY! Someone had got a bit overly excited with the salt in the kitchen… I was forced to hit each chip on the side of the bowl to get the excess salt off. I learnt this move off a friend who was health conscious yet loved KFC. She would knock the salt off the chips and dab the chicken with tissue to remove the oil. It’s was the weirdest sight ever! I was not proud of my chip move, but I considered it a necessity for this particular instance.

The lobster in the lobster roll was undoubtedly fresh and had the sweetness which I was looking for. I really enjoyed the lobster itself, but felt as though the whole lobster roll itself could have been better. I had no objections with the bread itself. Apart from the size of the roll being undersized, it was the flavouring of the lobster which was a let down. From my first couple of bites, I could only taste butter and not much else. I was used to the mayonnaise lightly coating the lobster pieces, rounded off by the chives in the background. As it turns out, all the mayonnaise was piled on near the base of the roll! I ended up with a mouthful of mayonnaise and it was a little overwhelming. It’s an interesting strategy, and I had never had a lobster roll where the mayonnaise was dissected like this before. Frugal is probably the best word to describe the quantity. For $22, I felt as though the roll could have been bigger, as it was by far the smallest lobster roll I’ve had.

We also ordered some crab tacos. When I think of tacos, I was expecting something bigger. These tacos were puny and I was able to put the whole taco in my mouth with real estate to spare!  Bear in mind, these tacos costs $14 so that’s $7 a pop. There was nothing special about the flavour, if anything it tasted a bit bland. The avocado mousse and tomato salsa was insufficient in giving the tacos the flavour hit which it so desperately needed.

All in all, I found that the prices did not justify the quantity or the taste of the food. Could this be a case of lobster roll snobbiness? Maybe, maybe not. I can only judge and compare with the lobster rolls I’ve had in the past, and this one misses the mark. For anyone who hasn’t tried Maine lobsters, I would still encourage you to try Pinchy’s out because the lobster itself is of high quality. As a whole, it’s hard to pass on my recommendation.

P.S. We were invited by HWKR and given a $50 allowance to spend at any of their food stalls. I have tried my best to be unbiased towards the price/quantity of the food at Pinchy’s. All my opinions are based on the assumption that if we were to pay for the food out of our own pockets.

Pinchy’s @ HWKR
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: 137 A’Beckett Street,  Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9018 7135

Pinchy's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


We’ve fallen in love with Prahran lately, probably because its market is one of the few that stays open until 5 PM which is perfect for us!

One weekend we decided to head to Hobba for brunch before we did our usual weekend shopping given it was on the way for us. We managed to find a parking spot right outside and entered the cafe. The cafe itself is quite a large space and reminds me of a warehouse turned restaurant with the brick walls, high ceilings with wooden beams and hanging plants. It was also PACKED! But surprisingly we were seated straight away.

We started off with some fresh juices. I ordered the Healthy Hawksburnian which had cucumber, apple, beetroot, carrot and ginger. Davin ordered the Detox Refresher with apple, cucumber and lemon. They were both super refreshing and quench thirsting.

For meals I zeroed in on the French Toast dish. Now I don’t normally order French Toast when we go out because this dish is generally served as a sweet breakfast and I always favour the savoury dishes. But on this occasion I noticed that this French Toast dish was served with cheese, bacon, asparagus, green romesco, pickled jalapenos, cheese foam and cured egg yolk. Yes please!

The dish was presented beautifully and tasted just as good as it looked! The bacon was cooked perfectly and not too overly salty, the cheese French toast was fluffy and flavoured, and the cheese foam and green romesco combined with the crunchy asparagus made each bite heaven.

Davin ordered the Mushroom dish which consisted of potato galette, mushrooms, pistou and capsicum caviar. We loved the contrast of all the mushroom flavours and textures, but we especially liked the dehydrated enoki mushrooms which added a more robust flavour to the whole dish. The capsicum caviar was also quite interesting but worked!

Overall we had a great experience at Hobba and will certainly think about this place when we drop by Prahran again which no doubt will be in the very near future. We have yet to try their coffee so we’ll have to do that next time!

Approx $25 AUD per person
Address: 428 Malvern Rd, Prahran VIC 3181
Phone: +61 3 9510 8336

Hobba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Piano

The Piano is a contemporary Thai restaurant situated on Bridge Road, Richmond. We found these guys based purely on the fact that we were craving for fish! For some reason, one weekend we found ourselves starving at 5:30PM. We knew there were a lot of Vietnamese/Thai restaurants in Richmond who were capable of serving up a mean dish of fish. Which one were we going to? We had no idea. So we literally drove to Richmond, parked the car and started looking for restaurants. We found The Piano because they had a steamed barramundi on their menu, perfect for a Melbourne winter night!

We arrived at the Piano all smiles, but the waitress managed to wipe that off in about 5 mins. NO BARRAMUNDI! I looked at the time and it was only 6:30PM! It’s always been puzzling to me how restaurants can not have something right near their opening times. She offered to replace the barramundi with salmon, what choice did I have? We agreed on the salmon. Helen and I decided to drown our barramundi sorrows with some cocktails, which just happened to be $10 each because we it was happy hour.

We decided to get a dry martini and espresso martini. The waitress informed me that it was going to be an extra 10min wait because they needed to turn on their coffee machine. In my head I was thinking ‘yeah whatever, I’ve lost my barramundi already’. What proceeded was quite possibly the two worst cocktails we’ve ever had! The dry martini had a weird sourness to it, and the espresso martini was way too sweet. This happy hour was turning to be not very happy at all. Just as we were mumbling to ourselves how crap the cocktails were, the waitress came back out and told us that it was going to be a 30min extra wait on the confit duck, because they needed time to slow cook it! At this point I was about to flip the damn table and walk out! Fortunately for them, the waitress was extremely nice and apologetic, otherwise I would have put a $20 note on the table and walked out. I couldn’t remember a time where we hit this many roadblocks before any food even hit the table.

As it turns out, there was light at the end of the tunnel. The food here was absolutely impeccable. The Penang chicken curry was one of the best curries I’ve ever had. It had great flavours with a smooth creamy texture, and went beautifully with the coconut rice. I soon forgot about the barramundi because the salmon was cooked wonderfully. Salmon is unforgiving in the sense that it gets tough as soon as it’s a bit overcooked. The ginger broth was delicate yet flavourful, the mushroom, baby corn and spring onion all doing their part to compliment it. We couldn’t stop sipping on the broth, it was deeeeeelicious! The stir fry beef was an angry order because of the confit duck, I didn’t even realise I ordered it until it was placed on our table. Whilst it wasn’t as good as the other two dishes, it was still nice and I couldn’t fault it.

Well there you have it peeps, after a horrid start, The Piano finished on a positive note. The experience as a whole was mediocre, but the food was legit here. I feel as though there’s room for improvement with their stock management and also their drink mixing. It wasn’t worth getting a cocktail here for even $10, as they’re simply horrible. I’d be happy to come back purely for their food, but even then it feels like I’m dodging bullets in order to get the dishes I want. I’m conflicted, so I’ll leave the decision up to you guys for this one!

The Piano
Approx $35 AUD per person
Address: 18-20 Bridge Rd, Richmond VIC 3121
Phone: +61 3 9428 9385

The Piano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Khao by HWKR

I’m generally the one that least craves for Asian food when we go out. It might have to do with the fact that I’ve grown up eating rice my whole life and so when we do head out to eat, I always feel like Western cuisines. I guess it doesn’t explain why Davin still has his cravings every now and then though!

But on this cold night when we were warmly invited by HWKR to try out their new Winter menu, the menu items listed for Khao by HWKR looked appetising indeed for Asian fusion.

The first dish we ordered was the Balinese-style barramundi with jimbaran spiced butter sauce, pickled cucumber, sambal and jasmine rice. We were delighted to see that the fish wasn’t fried but baked, and served on a banana leaf – because everything tastes better when it’s served on a banana leaf!

Anyway we dug into this dish and it was SO good! The lovely spiced butter sauce was subtle but you could taste the heat from it. The fish was cooked to perfection and that sambal! It’s probably one of the best I’ve had. I kept scooping more of that hot sauce onto the fish and rice. The pickled cucumber was very lightly pickled and provided the right coolness you needed to a beautifully well rounded and spicy dish!

The second dish we ordered was the Filipino roasted lamb ribs which came with burnt coconut sauce, pickled cucumber, toasted coconut and jasmine rice. The meat from the ribs literally just fell off the bone. I remember picking up one of the ribs with my hand and before I could do anything the lamb had just fallen onto my plate. It was so tender and soft. The burnt coconut sauce complimented it so well. It wasn’t too overpowering and was more like it’s equal friend in providing the perfect combination of flavours.

In the end we didn’t even know which dish was better. They both provided a burst of spice and flavours that made it so easy to scoff up with the jasmine rice. We couldn’t fault the dishes at all and we will certainly be thinking about this place on another cold night when we feel like something warm and appetising.

Khao by HWKR
Approx $20 AUD per person
Address: 137 A’Beckett St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9018 7135

Khao By HWKR Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Red Panda

It’s been a family tradition of ours that the birthday person shouts a meal for the rest of the family. I had already agreed to host dinner at my place for mum’s birthday, but rules are rules, and mum took us to Red Panda on her actual birthday. Mum was pretty excited about taking us here, she said that they’ve got a few special dishes which other Chinese restaurants don’t have. I personally don’t get too excited about trying new Chinese restaurants, but her energy rubbed off on me, and therefore I was eager to try these guys out.

Red Panda is located in a fairly quiet area in Wheelers Hill. I must have driven past this restaurant a million times and have not noticed them. I remembered the Salvation Army on this strip of shops, but that was it. A quick search on Google maps and I knew exactly where I needed to be. Red Panda felt and looked like a typical Chinese restaurant, they had a little takeaway counter which led into the main dining room. I sat down and my bum cheeks sunk into the chair! I found this a bit hilarious… these chairs have probably had their fair share of bottoms through the years! There’s also the fact that they’ve got carpet, I’ve never been a fan of carpets in restaurants. Apart from these 2 niggly things, the restaurant looked really clean and there was adequate spacing between the tables.

Mum had quietly whispered to me that their vegetables were a bit old and tough last time. I asked her which ones she ordered and suggested to order a Chinese broccoli this time. I also thought it was best we told them about her previous experience and confirm that their Chinese broccoli was fresh this time. There’s nothing worse than eating old Chinese broccoli as it gets stringy and tough. After being deprived of vegetables from our Japan trip, I was looking forward to some quality veggies back home!

We started off with 2 pigeons as entree, I was shocked to find out they were $28 each! I can’t remember the last time I had pigeon, so I cannot comment whether or not that was a reasonable price, but it felt expensive. It felt like an eternity before the other five dishes arrived, it was probably our fault because we asked for all the dishes to arrive together. I do not know the exact names of each dish because it was all in Chinese, but I can certainly tell you which ones were the best! My favourite dishes of the night were the fish balls with vermicelli, deep fried chicken spare ribs and the egg yolk coated eggplant. The fish balls had a bouncy texture and came with an awesome tasting soup. The chicken spare ribs were deep fried beautifully, crunchy texture and had a sweetness to it too. I enjoyed the egg yolk coated eggplant because it was just special and I had never had a dish like this before.

So remember the Chinese broccoli I was so looking forward to? Well they were old and tough! You know when you’re so deprived of something, then you think you’re gonna get it, and it turns out to be absolute sh*t? Well that’s the emotions I went through! My mood meter was sitting between annoyed and angry. To give you an idea how bad they were, we couldn’t even chew through a lot of the stems because they were so stringy. To put it bluntly, they need to fire their green vegetables supplier because they shouldn’t be serving this quality to their customers. The other dish that was disappointing was the enoki mushroom and tofu dish. It tasted quite ‘fishy’… I questioned mum what it could be, and she suspects that the dried scallops they used were probably not fresh. I’ve never had this experience before, but I’ll take her word for it.

Overall, the dishes here were a bit hit and miss. I noticed they really excel in a lot of the fried dishes, but I would never come here for greens. It’s not a place I would personally come back to, but if mum wanted to come here again then I would join her. Sometimes it’s not just the quality of the food, but also who you eat it with.

Red Panda
Approx $35 AUD per person
Address: 4/192 Brandon Park Dr, Wheelers Hills VIC 3150
Phone: +61 3 9561 3256

Red Panda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tahina Bar, Fitzroy

Tahina Bar has made a great name for themselves in serving Israeli street food in Northcote. They recently opened their second restaurant in Fitzroy and kindly invited us to check it out.

Upon entering Tahina Bar in Fitzroy my first impression was that the restaurant looked really clean with white walls and chairs, hints of blue and wooden tables. From the entrance the space looked like a small eatery but then you walk through to the back and it opens up into a lovely outdoor space with a roof and string lights sweeping low from the ceiling that remind me of Austin, Texas.

When we perused the menu we were surprised to find out that it was in fact a vegetarian Israeli restaurant! Either we never noticed when we checked it out online or it wasn’t really something that was advertised. Anyway I was fine with that. We need a break from meat sometimes anyway. Davin had a 20 second panic attack as he’s so used to having meat with everything but then he moved on when he saw the interesting menu items.

To start off we ordered a couple of smoothies. I ordered the Green Goddess smoothie which had mixed berries, spinach, almond butter, medjool dates, raw vanilla protein and coconut milk. Davin got the Green Warrior which consisted of spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, bee pollen and coconut water. Both smoothies were thick and tasted so nice and HEALTHY! I felt like they were a meal in itself!

For food I ordered the red falafel pita pocket mixed with chilli and red peppers, hummus, israeli salad, pickled cabbage and tahini. Davin ordered the yarakoht pita pocket which had sautéed mushrooms, pumpkin, hummus, israeli salad, pickled cabbage and tahini. They were delicious!

The red falafel pita pocket was really nice and we got an extra plate of a mix of green and red falafels served on its own with hummus and tahini for our eating pleasure. The falafels were really flavoured and crispy on the outside. We also thoroughly enjoyed the yarakotht pita pocket. The flavour combination of the mushrooms, the super fresh israeli salad and the hummus and tahini made each bite so tasty! The bread of the pita pockets were also warm and fluffy.

We shared the white shakshuka platter which had free range eggs, wild mushrooms, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, chilli, fresh thyme, oregano and Meredith goats cheese. This dish was also certainly not lacking flavour. It smelt amazing because of the lovely spices and herbs and tasted just as good. It was an easy dish to eat and we happily used the fresh bread they served with hummus and lapped up as much as our tummies would allow of the dish.

We also ordered the cauliflower papiot which was a great dish. The cauliflower was slow roasted so it was really soft but lightly charred and served with hummus, lemon and tahini. A real easy dish to enjoy.

Finally for dessert we were served with the baklava. We generally find baklavas overly sweet but this one was actually nice and was filled with crunchy goodies. Unfortunately we started eating it before we realised we should have taken a good photo of it!

Overall we were quite impressed with the quality of the food. It felt like hearty home style cooking which we really liked. We met Roy, the chef and who owns Tahina with his partner Natalie, and he was so lovely and open for a chat. His passion for cooking great dishes with top quality produce and putting his love into these dishes for his customers is clear when he’s talking to us.

So do check Tahina Bar out and don’t let the fact that it is a vegetarian restaurant turn you away if you are a meat lover!

Tahina Bar, Fitzroy
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: 362 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Phone: +61 3 9417 4510

Tahina Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kung Fu Burger

Bruce Lee, the greatest martial artist to walk the face of the earth. It was not only his fighting abilities, but his approach and philosophy to martial arts which was so admirable. In case you haven’t realised, I’m a HUGE Bruce Lee fan! Judging by the layout of Kung Fu Burger, the owners obviously adore this martial arts legend too.

The interior’s yellow colour scheme is a tribute to Bruce Lee’s famous yellow jumpsuit. The huge martial arts/burger poster looks to be a custom design and sets the tone that these guys are serious about martial arts and burgers! It’s so cool to see these guys channel something they love into their business. There are so many burger joints these days with their hipster interiors, but I felt the love with Kung Fu Burgers. I could be bias, but this place feels more personal to me.

We started off with a chicken bites and chips special. The chips were nothing to rave about, but the chicken bites were out of this world! Soft, juicy and succulent. I couldn’t believe how good they were, it was such a tease because I had to share them with Helen. The chicken wings on the other hand were not so enjoyable. They were smothered with an overly sweet sauce which was sickeningly sweet and was an appetite killer.

After the roller coaster ride with the starters, we moved onto the burgers. Helen got the Minister Chicken and I got the Gangnam Style. These burgers were absolutely SOLID. The characteristics of the chicken bites carried onto the chicken in the Minister Chicken. The yuzu mayo sauce which went with it worked so well because the yuzu actually cut through the heaviness of the mayo. I’d never thought I’ll use the word ‘refreshing’ to describe a mayo sauce, but this was exactly how it tasted.

The patty in the Gangnam Style burger was cooked beautifully. It also had strong beef flavours, exactly how a great beef patty should be. On my first bite, the Korean mayo and Kim Chi registers on my tongue but the brain is lagging. After a couple of seconds, my eyebrows go up and then I spurt out “this works!”. There’s also Asian slaw and cheese with this burger, and all the ingredients work together to create a memorable burger experience. The cherry on top is the fact that this burger only costs $12! Move over $20+ burgers, we have a new sheriff in town.

They put a skewer through the burger to keep it together. Just pretend it’s not there because everything falls apart anyway. This may be the messiest burger I’ve ever eaten. My hands were all dirty, I had sauce leaking everywhere, it was chaotic! I would recommend wearing dark coloured clothing or pre-stained clothes before coming here. I wasn’t offended at all by the mess, I just had a laugh! Just be aware that no amount of tissues was going to help. A quick wash of my hands with soap and water, and they were good as gold. A basin in the outside dining area would be hugely beneficial I think.

Will we return? Most definitely! It’s a high calorie meal but a walk to the Jam Factory cinemas helps with the fullness. Both of the burgers we had were only $12, the value of these burgers is unrivaled. Combine this fact with their late trading hours and there really is no reason to not try these guys out!

Kung Fu Burger
Address: 355 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: +61 3 9043 3361

Kung Fu Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


If you’re looking for a feast of Middle Eastern spices, flavoursome dips and succulent meats then look no further than Tavlin.

Located in Caulfield South, the restaurant stands out brightly on a corner block and beckons you in. We have dined here on many occasions with family and friends and always look forward to the feast which awaits us inside.

We always start off with their delicious assortment of dips and salads which comes with freshly homemade laffa bread. I’ve always loved dips and these were delicious, even their hummus. Now I’m not the biggest fan of hummus so it has to be really good to win me over. And win me over it did!

The Moroccan beef cigars are also a highlight. Crispy delicate pastry on the outside, stuffed with spiced minced beef and onions and served on green tahini. Each bite was a burst of flavours. We also ordered the fried cauliflower and sauteed mushrooms which also did not lack in spices and flavour.

For mains we ordered a variety of grilled meats to share which included chicken, chicken liver, beef, lamb and salmon. All the meats were seasoned well but the chicken in particular was oh so soft and succulent! We got some chips, more bread and salads to enjoy with our meats.

We ended the night with a few desserts which included the Turkish delight ice cream, trio of sorbet and Turkish delight. My favourite was the Turkish delight ice cream because it tasted just like the real thing but it wasn’t too overly sweet.

The food never disappoints here and has always been consistent for us so if you’re in the mood for a hearty meal packed with flavours and lovely spices, check out Tavlin!

Address: 678 Glen Huntly Rd, Caulfield South VIC 3162
Phone: +61 3 9972 5666

Tavlin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato