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
Website: ippudo.com.au

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

Clubhouse Malvern

Over the weekend we came across Clubhouse Malvern on Zomato for brunch. It was rated pretty highly so we were excited to see what it was all about.

We found parking near the cafe fairly quickly and entered a really modern, white, spacious cafe with concrete benches, polished floors, and wooden tables and chairs spaced out quite generously so it didn’t feel like you were too close to other people. There was also a courtyard at the back which you can hang out however on this occasion there seemed to be a function happening so we decided to sit inside.

I started off with a latte and Davin ordered a lemongrass and ginger tea. We’ve both been sick with a cold lately so the tea was soothing. The latte was so silky smooth and the perfect strength

For food I ordered the Mojo Benny which had Cuban pulled pork, cheddar cornbread waffle, guacamole, chipotle hollandaise, 2 poached eggs and mushrooms as an optional extra. The dish sounded like an exciting, tasty dish. However unfortunately it was far from it. The whole dish was so… bland. The pulled pork tasted really plain, the waffles was really doughy and I didn’t taste the cheddar at all. The chipotle hollandaise was also too light and didn’t add any flavour. It was a disappointing dish to say the least.

Davin ordered the salmon sashimi flora bowl which had salmon sashimi, avocado, pickled ginger, pickled red cabbage, edamame, pineapple kimchi, shichimi, wasabi peas, soy, carrot, sriracha mayo, black sesame and brown rice. The dish would have been nice if it wasn’t for the sauce being so salty! When you generally have these bowls the dressing is usually light, like a light soy sauce or sesame oil, however this was full blown salty soy sauce drenching the rice, and too much of it, making it quite unpleasant. The highlight was the pineapple kimchi, that was delicious!

Overall the dishes didn’t blow us away and were pretty average as it had some flaws. We have to say however that their service was great so kudos to them for that. Oh and the coffee was top notch!

Clubhouse Malvern
Approx $25 AUD per person
Address: 1290 Malvern Rd, Malvern VIC 3144
Phone: +61 3 9822 8268
Website: clubhousemalvern.com.au

Clubhouse Malvern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

That Greek Tavern

I have been feeling under the weather lately, and been coughing like crazy! I’m still amazed by how much mucus my body can produce. If there’s one advice I can give you guys, it’s don’t exercise when you’re not feeling well! Early last week, I met up with a friend to play table tennis. I got an amazing cardio workout that night, but boy have I paid for it since. My friend is a pretty ‘careful with his money’ type of guy, so he’s always looking for bang for buck places to eat. Surprisingly his track record with food recommendations hasn’t been too bad! Thankfully on this particular night I was introduced by him to That Greek Tavern, and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal.

It’s hard to miss this place, they’ve got a giant guy striking a dance pose painted on the side of their restaurant. I’ve driven past this place plenty of times, and had always said that I wanted to give them a go. It was really comfortable inside, the restaurant looked bright and clean. The tablecloths give it an upmarket feel, but the paper on top tells me they don’t want to be washing tablecloths all day. The paper was all clipped onto the table neatly (Chinese yum cha places could learn a thing or two from these guys).

We opted for the $35 set menu special which consisted of Saganaki and continental sausage for entree, and Greek salad, lamb gyros, chicken gyros for mains. The dips were magnificent, it was really fresh and tasted what it claimed to be. The feta cheese dip is a must try for any cheese loving fan. The continental sausage pieces were some of the best sausages I’ve ever had! They were tasty, but ‘light’ in a way. It’s hard to describe, but I didn’t get that stuffed/overwhelming feeling. This was my favourite dish of the night. The Saganaki was spot on, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It wasn’t too salty as well… the entrees as a whole were ultra impressive!

I’m personally a huge chicken gyros fan, and would always pick it over lamb. The chicken gyros here was some of the best I’ve ever had! It was so moist, juicy and tender. Seasoned perfectly, it was another standout dish! When I moved onto the lamb, it was a strong reminder why I had always preferred the chicken. The lamb was inconsistent, some bits were not bad, and some bits were tough and very chewy. The flavour was good though, I guess it’s the nature of the meat, lamb is just so unforgiving sometimes! However in saying so, I’ve had some killer lamb gyros before, it’s just few and far between.

The set menu was very filling indeed. It was deceiving because when I saw the meat come out, I just looked at my friend confidently and said “I’ve got this.” When the dust settled, I was the one who got smashed! For $35, you will not leave this place hungry, I can guarantee you that. I highly recommend this restaurant to fulfil your Greek food cravings. I’ve already told my partner in crime about this place, and she’s keen to eat here too….I guess we might see you guys around?

That Greek Ravern
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: 1438 Malvern Rd, Glen Iris VIC 3146
Phone: +61 3 9822 3233

That Greek Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


We would like to extend a warm thank you to Tipico for inviting us to dine at their restaurant. Tipico is a modern Italian eatery located in Windsor. It’s really nice to see these new style Italian restaurants popping up around Melbourne, as Helen and I have always loved the twist they put on certain Italian dishes. Does Tipico hit the mark? Unfortunately not. Even though we’ve been blogging for a while, it does not get any easier to give criticism to any restaurant. The reason for this is because we classify ourselves as food lovers, and not food critics. I think I’ve set the tone for what is to follow, so please read on for my thoughts on Tipico.

It was not a good start for us for the night. There was a mix up between them and their marketing company, so we arrived without a booking. They finally managed to find some seats for us, so we sat down awkwardly. The feeling was kinda like rocking up to a party which you’re not invited to. Anyway, put all that aside, the place was buzzing and the vibe was cool so we were excited. There were exposed concrete walls, and a huge bar area, a great formula for a place to hang out for some drinks. We were seated along the window and my back was facing the bar area. I will mention that it was a bit weird to have people towering over me behind my back as I was eating though.

So onto the food… we started with the chicken liver pate with polenta bread, and the kingfish with orange dressing. I tried the pate by itself, it had good flavour but was a tad runny. The polenta bread on the other hand was not very pleasant at all. It crumbled like a shortbread and was a horrible match for the pate. It made it hard to taste the pate when my mouth was full of crumbs! Regular bread would have been a way better choice for this dish.

The kingfish with orange dressing may as well have been renamed to ‘kingfish with orange zest’ because that was all I could taste. The zest was really strong and fully overpowered the kingfish, which was such a shame because the kingfish looked to be good quality. This dish could be benefited with a touch of sourness in the dressing to make it appetizing. It should also be noted that for $22, the portion size for this kingfish dish ranks as the smallest out of all the ones I’ve ever had.

For mains I got the Tagliolini spanner crab pasta and Helen got a Prosciutto pizza. My pasta sauce tasted clean with good seafood flavours, however it was lacking the punch I was looking for in a pasta sauce and tasted a little watered down. I was searching everywhere in the pasta for some spanner crab, and it must be either really mixed in, not much of it or a combination because I struggled to find any. Please see pic – if any of you can spot the crab, let me know! It would have been nice to get some bits of crab to provide a contrast in texture. Helen’s pizza was pretty good. It was cooked well, had a great base, and the Prosciutto they used was beautiful! It only there was more of it, we barely got 6 pieces of it, there was still so much real estate to be used. We’re not looking for it to be packed like an American pizza, but for $25, a bit more Prosciutto would be appreciated. The buffalo mozzarella didn’t have any texture and just disintegrated in my mouth, it was also lacking the milky taste found in good buffalo mozzarella.

I won’t go too in depth with the pannacotta dessert, as it was just dense and just tasted like sweet almond flakes.

So in summary, was the meal awful? Honestly it wasn’t. The food was just very ordinary, and failed to shine or make an impact. I can’t help but think that for the price, the portions could be better, and I couldn’t help but notice they were skimping on the ingredients a bit. Consumers don’t mind spending a bit more money when they eat out, but with prices such as $34 for the pasta and $25 for the pizza, let’s see the spanner crab and let’s put a few more pieces of prosciutto on the pizza! These are the differences between a reasonably priced as opposed to overpriced. As it stands, we don’t foresee us returning to Tipico, but we do hope that Tipico takes some of my opinions on board and improve further. We wish nothing but the best for Tipico.

Approx $50 AUD per person
Address: 242 High St, Windsor VIC 3181
Phone: +61 3 9089 0768
Website: tipico.melbourne

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