Aunty Franklee (Hawthorn)

We recently dined at Aunty Franklee in Hawthorn, a place we’ve had on our list for some time given we’ve heard great things about it. And boy did they not disappoint! Specialising in Malaysian cuisine, the first thing I noticed when I entered the restaurant was how lovely the decor was. Bright lighting, white polished floors with outdoor furniture and a colourful corner for kids to hang out and play made it feel like you were dining at a cute outdoorsy place even though it was indoors. Loved it!

As usual, we ordered with our eyes and not with our stomachs! Everything on the menu sounded amazing. We finally settled with sharing the chicken skewers, grilled “bakars” short beef ribs, char kuey teow, and the old fashioned bak kut teh (soup). We could not fault any of the dishes!

The short beef ribs were braised in lovely herbs and spices, and finished on the chargrill. They were so juicy and tender, falling apart when you touched it. The dish was served with this delicious pickled purple cabbage and peanut sauce, and was not short on flavour at all.

The char kuey teow dish was what surprised me. We’ve had plenty of char kuey teow in the past but this was probably the best I’ve had in awhile. For those that may not know, char kuey teow is a popular stir fried Malaysian noodle dish. This one wowed us with its wok fried silky flat rice noodles with prawns, fish cake, chinese sausage, egg, chives and bean sprouts. It had lovely smoky flavours and was one of those dishes where we just gobbled up very quickly because it was so good!

Now the old fashioned bak kut teh (soup) was on another level of its own. It was SO delicious! It was a pork bone broth with 23 different herbs braised for 6 hours, and was full of flavours which included cloves, cinnamon, liquorice, pepper, garlic, and other chinese herbs. It was a lovely rich tasting broth which had dried squid, pork, tofu and mushrooms. As soon as I took the first sip of the soup, I felt like I was transported to someone’s house, eating their family’s homemade soup in which the recipe may have been passed down from generation to generation. I was no longer in a restaurant. You know the soup is amazing when it makes you feel this way.

To finish we had their papaya ice cream which was homemade with papaya, coconut and condensed milk. We’ve never had papaya ice cream before but it was really nice! The tropical flavours of the papaya made it really refreshing!

The service was also excellent. The staff were really friendly, and the food came out super quick for us. Adding to the fact that every single dish that came out was delicious, this is a place we will certainly think of when we’re in the mood for some great Malaysian cuisine.

Aunty Franklee (Hawthorn)
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: 64 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122
Phone: +61 3 9818 6719

Aunty Franklee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Foodstore Cafe

We were recently invited to The Foodstore Cafe, located on a large corner block in Hawthorn. As many of you know, we frequent Hawthorn quite a bit when it comes to food! The cafe itself is large, bright and spacious with wooden tones and white tiles along the walls and tables.

We were provided with an extensive menu and additional specials menu to peruse. We started off with a couple of lattes which were served at the right temperature. The coffee itself was great and had a decent strength to it. I do hate it when I am served coffees that are too weak and milky but this one was perfect.

I decided to order the Baked Shakshuka w/ Eggs which had aromatic spiced five beans with tomato, feta, capsicum, mixed veg stew, tahini yoghurt, crispy lemon kale with two poached eggs served with multigrain toast. The portion was very generous and it was delicious. It was also very filling! With all the ingredients in baked eggs, sometimes it can be on the salty side however this dish was flavoured perfectly.

Davin ordered the Salmon Benedict which had smoked salmon, crispy kale, avocado smash, fried capers and two poached eggs on multigrain toast topped with smoked paprika hollandaise. This dish was presented beautifully – I liked the bits of crispy kale sprinkled all over plate like a garnish. Taste wise it was also a very nice dish and the flavours complemented each other well.

We also ordered the Green Machine juice which included green apple, kale, celery, spinach, banana and coconut water. It was delicious and we finished the drink fairly quickly!

Overall the food was great and the service was also excellent. The staff were also very friendly and efficient.

The Foodstore Cafe
Approx $25 AUD per person
Address: 464 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122
Phone: +61 3 9819 3835

The Foodstore Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


There’s been quite a lot of hype over Ippudo recently given they are fairly new to the Melbourne scene. Specialising in ramen, their first shop opened in 1985 in Japan and it has grown and expanded internationally since then. We finally got around to checking it out one cold night and were not surprised when we arrived and saw a decent line of a queue snaking around outside of its entrance. We were however surprised at how efficient they were and how quickly the line moved! We were seated in no time!

The restaurant itself was bright, quite large and spacious which was probably why the line was able to move so quickly. We were seated and provided with some large menus to peruse. We decided to order some starters which included the lightly pickled cucumber with special chilli sauce, crunchy garlic and Sichuan pepper. They weren’t kidding when they said lightly pickled because I couldn’t really taste the pickle in it at all. I guess it made it a more refreshing dish, I did like the crunchy garlic bits though.

We also ordered some fresh sashimi, their signature pork bun, seared salmon sushi roll and the wagyu tataki gohan which had marinated wagyu slices on rice with Japanese mayonnaise and fried garlic chips. This was a great dish! It was so flavoured and the wagyu slices were perfection. Their other starter dishes were also really nice and we couldn’t really fault them.

But of course we were here to try their famous ramen! We had already scouted it out when we walked in and knew it was quite a generous bowl. Given our eyes are larger than our stomachs and we had ordered so many starters, we decided to settle on sharing just one bowl. We ordered their signature Akamaru Shinaji ramen which had their original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, served with thin noodles, pork belly, black fungus and spring onions.

The verdict? It was actually pretty good! Of course we couldn’t compare it to all the great ramens we’ve had in Japan. However the broth was nicely flavoured, the noodles were firm and the ingredients were fresh. Would we go back again? Probably if we felt like a decent bowl of ramen with the extra dishes they offer. Their varied starter dishes were a highlight for us. Their service was also fantastic. They were very attentive, quick and efficient. Because there are so many ramen restaurants in Melbourne now, it is becoming more challenging for the good ones to stand out. However with Ippudo it also has its history and huge branding behind it which has helped build its reputation here fairly quickly. We certainly had a pretty good experience, both with the food and the service!

Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: QV Shopping Centre, 18/300 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9654 9057

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