Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Brunei Food Guide

My friend from Australia is visiting for 3 days in Brunei and I was wondering – where would be the places I would be proud to take him to eat? We Bruneians are a very hospitable bunch and we love visitors! I sat down and thought of the places I could take him and narrowed it down to these restaurants. This post is meant as a guideline for visitors who want to explore the dining scene in Brunei and also for locals who want ideas on where to eat. Note: Not being included in this list does not mean the restaurants are not worthy. There are still plenty of good restaurants that won’t be listed in this list – in such a short time – and limited stomach space – I would narrow it down to a few of my favourites! So here goes ~~~ The best restaurants to eat the best food in Brunei!

Edit: Recently readers have requested for me to label whether restaurants are halal or not. For this guide – I will highlight if the restaurant serves pork (non halal). The other restaurants which do not have the label would be pork free. I’ve also added address and telephone numbers for some of the restaurants.

Chop Jing Chew
Located in Central Gadong. This restaurant has a very long history and is our nations pride. Delicious bread and buns made fresh daily and lot’s of variety of dishes to savour. Their Roti Kuning and Roti Cucur are must tries but my personal favourite is still their Roti Kacang Kahwin! A must try food in Brunei! Recently, they introduced the Roti Cheese, which is a new item you must try. Savoury favourites include their Roti Cucur (French Toast using their yellow bread) as well as their signature Zhi Ma Kway Teow ( Rice Noodles tossed in dark sweet sauce and topped with fried fish fillets)

 

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Address:

Simpang 5, No. 10, Jalan Gadong, BSB, BS 8670, Brunei Darussalam.

2424132 / 2448660
 
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2008/03/restaurant-review-jinchiew-kopitiam.html



Pondok Sari Wangi (Gadong and Sengkurong Branch – *Updated Citi Square new branch!)
Indonesian cuisine at its best! The restaurant that sparked the Ayam Penyet craze in Brunei, copied by many but none managed to wrestle the title of best Ayam Penyet from this restaurant. The restaurant has managed to modernize some Indonesian classics while adding some Chinese influence to their menu.  Good dishes one mustn’t miss are their Ayam Penyet, Ayam Rendang, Iga Penyet (beef ribs), Tauhu Telur, Gado Gado,

Simply delicious Beef Satay (using Wagyu beef), Gulai Lamb Shank and many many more! I am especially a big fan of their Sambel Hijau (only available at Sengkurong branch). The restaurant you must visit in Brunei! **Update: Recently they opened a branch in Citi Square which serves bebek penyet (DUCK PENYET) and Gulai Iga (angus beef ribs in rich spicy gravy) - oh my Indonesian food!



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Address:

Pondok Sari Wangi Restaurant Gadong
Unit 12 & 13 1st Fl Blk A Abd Razak Complex Jln Gadong
673-244-5043

Pondok Sari Wangi Restaurant Sengkurong
Unit 12 & 13 Bgn HYA Jln Tutong Kpg Sengkurong A
673-266-1893

Pondok Sari Wangi Restaurant Serusop
17 Gr Fl Spg 72 Delima Kpg Delima Satu Jln Muara
673-233-1151
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2011/11/pondok-sari-wangi-has-been-serving.html



Pasar malam Gadong
No trip to Brunei is complete without a tour around the night markets in Gadong. One can bring $5 and have a very very filling meal in these night markets. Grilled chicken, fish and satays are widely available here. Don’t miss Hati Buyah, a marinated and stir fried sliced beef lungs, Ayam Tongkeng (chicken butts!!), pulut panggang (glutious rice stuffed with beef or prawns, wrapped with banana leaves and grilled), Kuih Melaya (Malay style pancake with peanuts, condensed milk and raisins) and lots of good thirst quenching drinks like Samboi (sour plum) and coconut juice. Your trip in Brunei is not complete without a visit to our popular night markets! Oh My Food!

 



 















 

 

Address: Behind Rizqun Hotel at the Mall Gadong – ask the locals for walking directions. They are very friendly!

 

Tarindak di Seni
Situated in Kota Batu, Tarindak has great view of the Water Village as well as a showcase for Handicrafts for tourists to have a look. They also boast a great selection of local food and desserts in their affordable buffet, including the iconic Ambuyat, which is a must try for tourists. I personally like their spacious comfortable setting and good service.

Address:
1st Floor Brunei Arts and Handicarft Training Centre, Jalan Kota Batu,Bandar Seri Begawan
673-224-0422
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2009/07/tarindak-restaurant-kota-batu.html



Aminah Arif Restaurant

A great place to showcase traditional Bruneian cuisine such as Ambuyat, Belutak, Pais, Daging Lalap and much much more~~ give them the traditional Bruneian cuisine experience! Just order the Ambuyat normal or special sets.

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Address: Unit 2 & 3 Blk B Ground Floor, Bangunan Hj Abd Rahman, Simpang 88, Kg Kiulap Bandar Seri Begawan.  Phone: 2653036

http://www.thanislim.com/2013/12/brunei-restaurant-review-aminah-arif.html

 

Excapade Sushi
One of Brunei’s main attraction is Excapade Sushi. People from Miri and KK actually put Excapade as their must go place for Japanese food when they visit Brunei. It’s very affordable yet good quality sushi. If you had tried budget sushi places in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia – you will be surprised that Excapade is pretty good value for money. They have many branches throughout Brunei but I always prefer the Gadong branch.

Excapade Sushi Belait

2 Gr Fl Blk B Bgn Pg Hj Hashim Pg Mohd Jadid Jln Jaya Negara Kuala Belait

673-333-3993

Excapade Sushi Bunut

A2 Spg 638 Gr Fl Bgn Lim Seng Kok

673-265-4312

Excapade Sushi Gadong

Unit 4 & 5 1st Fl Abd Razak Complex Blk E Gadong

673-244-3012

Excaped Sushi Kiulap

Unit 5 Gr Fl Blk A Q=lap Complex Kpg Kiulap

673-223-4012

Excapade Sushi Regent Square

Unit 1 & 2 Gr Fl Regent Square Kpg Kiulap

673-223-4011

Excapade Sushi Seria

No 80 Jln Bunga Melor

673-322-1155

Excapade Sushi Serusop

5 Gr Fl Blk A Bgn Desa Delima Jln Muara Kpg Pancha Delima

673-233-5512

Excapade Sushi Times Square

G1 Gr Fl Times Square Shopping Centre Berakas

673-234-2912



Kimchi Korean Restaurant
Located at Regent Square in Kiulap and it’s right next to a the most popular boutique Deseo, Kimchi has great range of Korean cuisine, BBQ and desserts. This is my go to place for my Korean Food cravings.

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Address:

19 Gr Fl Blk B Regent Square Kpg Kiulap
673-222-2233
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2012/11/kimchi-restaurant-annyeong-haseyo.html



Sapphira Cake House
This cake house specializing in traditional Malay cakes is one of the best places for tea. There are  a wide variety of really good traditional cakes to choose from and I must mention I am a fan of their Nasi Lemak Ayam (Braised chicken with coconut rice served with a spicy chili jam). Sapphira has a branch in Kiulap but recently opened up a new branch in Bandar so be sure to check them out!

 


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Address:

Sapphira Kiulap, Spg 88 3 Gr Floor Seri Anigma, Kiulap (next to Yappy Kopitiam)
673-223-2021

Sapphira Bandar, Same row as Coffee Bean (Opposite HSBC Bandar)




Noralizah & Iskandar's House of Curry (same row as KFC)
This place simply has the best murtabak. Good crispy fragrant texture, served with delicious condiments like sardines and corn beef, this place is my favourite place for Murtabak. It’s so good, friends from Singapore actually felt this is better than their native Roti Canai! Their Roti Kosong is simply good enough to eat on it’s own but even better with the condiments and curry! My personal favourite condiment is the sardine! A special mention goes to their Roti Pisang (Banana Murtabak) and be wowed!



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Address:

No. 15, Ground Floor, Kompleks Awang Hj Ibrahim, Kg. Lambak B, Jalan Berakas (same row as KFC and WYWY Lambak)

Contact Number: +6738675781
http://www.thanislim.com/2013/11/brunei-restaurant-review-noralizah.html



Frangipani Restaurant
Located in Sengkurong, Frangipani restaurant has great ambience for good coffee and French style pastries and cakes but I am more impressed with their Asian selections. One simply must try their Nasi Goreng Belutak (fried rice using local Bruneian style sausage), Lamb Mandi (a huge portion of Lamb Briyani) and their special banana fritters, served with Ice cream.



Address:

Unit No. 7 , Ground Floor, Lot 56401
Sengkurong Complex, Jalan Tutong

673 267 1100
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2012/07/comfort-food-at-frangipani-restaurant.html



Lao Di Fang – Nostalgic Restaurant
Situated at Central Gadong, Lao Di Fang recently opened a nostalgic themed style restaurant. Tourists would enjoy the old school Chinese style décor while enjoying the good grilled satays(only available at night). A good place for photography while enjoying a good snack.



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Address:

Simpang 21, Block A, Unit 7, Gadong Central, Kampong Menglait

242 7217
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2011/11/lao-di-fangnostalgia-restaurant.html



Creative Fine Dining  - Spaghettini at the Empire hotel
One of the proper fine dining restaurants in Brunei. Spaghettini offers great fusion and molecular gastronomy style dining experiences. It’s actually quite good value for fine dining prices and if you have the Empire Select Card – you can get more discounts! I personally enjoy eating here because of the romantic atmosphere, great service and I know how much effort goes into the making of the dishes here. Not something your average home chef can make at home.

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A dessert or main course? Can you tell? Delicious oxtail disguised as a dessert!

Address:

The Empire Hotel and Country Club

Jerudong BG3122,

673 241 8888
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2011/07/creative-modern-cuisine-at-spaghettini.html

 

Glamourous Seafood Buffet at Pantai Restaurant at The Empire Hotel

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Pantai seafood restaurant has recently went through a restaurant makeover and I must say I am very impressed with their new look! They also feature fresh seafood including Crabs and fresh oysters, Japanese style grilled satay, sliced ribs from the carvery, fried rice or udon noodles stations, great appetizers and their signature desserts like kueh batik!

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Address:

The Empire Hotel and Country Club

Jerudong BG3122,

673 241 8888

For review of their buffet spread: click the link below.

http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2013/05/brunei-restaurant-review-empire-hotels.html

 

MrBaker’s Bakeshop

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MrBaker’s Bakeshop is my go to place for premium healthy breads. They have one of the best croissants in Brunei and their bagel sandwiches are pretty good! They recently opened a branch in Jerudong International School.

Address:

Main branch: Unit 106, Ground Floor, Bangunan Bersurat, Jalan Batu Bersurat, Gadong (7:30 am till 9:30pm) Tel: 2426020

Mr Baker’s Cafeteria: Unit 47, Ground Floor, Block C, Gadong Central (7:00 am till 9:00 pm) Tel: 2427554

JPMC bakery: Main lobby area, next to the gym (7:00 am till 9:30pm)

All outlets are closed on Fridays from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.

http://www.thanislim.com/2014/02/brunei-restaurant-review-mr-bakers.html

 

Deals Restaurant (Radisson Hotel)

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Deals Restaurant has recently won me over for their good quality fine dining. The setting is romantic and the service very good. It is my go to place for a romantic dinner!

 

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Be sure to check out their New Zealand Oysters whenever they’re on promotion and I’m a big fan of their Blue Cheese Ice Cream! Unique and delicious!

Address:

Radisson Hotel, Jalan Tasek 2203, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8211, Brunei
+673 224 4272

 

Ximply Chriz Café

This café recently opened and is raved for their exquisite desserts that are attracting quite a crowd! A family run business where both mother and daughter are passionate about great desserts and good coffee. They’re located at Regent Square Kiulap opposite Kimchi restaurant’s block!

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There’s a good reason they named this dessert Heavenly Chocolate!

Address:

Gr Fl Blk A Regent Square Kpg Kiulap (opposite Kimchi Kiulap and same row as Excapade Regent Square)

 

Paddington House of Pancakes

Paddington House of Pancakes is highly recommended for their beautiful yet cosy ambience – suitable for a simple date for two, a group of friends or even families. Their savoury and sweet choices make it a must try place to visit! Did I mention they have great coffees as well!?

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To get to Paddington House of Pancakes – turn in from the Airport roundabout into Jalan Berakas – take the First U-Turn and you will see the Happy Star Building~~

If you’re coming from Berakas – The Happy Star Building should be on your left – just before Sekolah Menengah Berakas.

Call them to make pre-orders and reservations at 2331668

http://www.thanislim.com/2013/07/brunei-restaurant-review-paddington.html

 

High Frequency Lifestyle Cafe

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High Frequency Café not only offers a cosy hipster ambience for you to enjoy your coffee – but they actually make really good coffee! One of my favourite places to enjoy a cuppa while serving a good range of delicious brunch and dinner items.

 

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Feel like taking someone special out for brunch or dinner? Or just want to pop by for a chat with friends over a cup of coffee? High Frequency is always a good choice!

Address:

1st Floor, Unit 5, Blk B Sempurna Complex, Baru Bersurat, Brunei

(Opposite Fun Bee Park – up the hill of Batu Bersurat – in the newer blocks)

http://www.thanislim.com/2014/02/brunei-restaurant-review-high-frequency.html

 

MyTown Eating House

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Mytown Eating house is a locally created heritage style restaurant that features great food created specially for the Bruneian taste but with affordable local prices! One of my favourite dishes is their chicken skin fried kway teow ~~ *swoons* They also offer freshly baked buns and tarts daily so be sure to pop over for a quick snack or meal!

 

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They really know how to win you over with nostalgic biscuits such as these on your drink ~~ mmmm

Address:

Ground Floor, The Crown Princess Complex, KM2.5, Jalan Tutong, BA1779, Brunei

+6732241880

http://www.thanislim.com/2014/06/brunei-restaurant-review-mytown-eating.html

 

Thiam Hock (non-halal)
Famous for their Curry Fish Head, they are also the go to place for good Chinese cuisine. Be sure to check out their signature tofu, German Pork Trotter and Thai style soft shell crabs (my favourite soft shell crab dish in Brunei!) Delicious! Located in Gadong just behind the Mall.

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Address:

No.5, Yong Siong Bldg,

Lot 9452, Gadong

244-1679

http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2013/04/brunei-restaurant-review-thiam-hock.html

 

Bahn Nucha at the Mall Gadong
There are many good Thai restaurants in Brunei and I personally like Bahn Nucha at the mall. One simply must try their Claypot Tanghoon Salad, which fully utilizes the coriander root to give a strong flavour.

Address: 2nd Floor, Mall Gadong
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.459711661416.238393.581271416&type=3



Nur Wanita Thai Restaurant
Located in Kiarung. Nur Wanita feels like a classy Thai restaurant (Northern Thai and Chiang Mai style) and serves both traditional and modern creative Thai style cuisine. I personally loved their Crispy Deep Fried Kang Kong and their Spicy Green Curry Spaghetti. Good service and ambience – a must try if you love Thai Food!

 

Address:

Unit 10 Block B, Kiarong Complex, Brunei Darussalam, BE1318

6732426789
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2013/04/brunei-restaurant-review-nur-wanita.html

 

Ocean Quarry Kolomee (now at Sukanya Restaurant) (non-halal)
I had been eating this delicious kolomee since I was a young boy and this kolomee has become increasingly mobile lately, always moving and changing places. At the moment, Uncle Lai, the creator sells his kolomee at Sukanya Restaurant along Jalan Madewa

The famous Ah Lai Ocean Quarry Kolomee that I grew up eating.

 

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I must say they have quite a selection of good quality Kuching style dishes such as this gorgeous Tomato Kway Teow!

Address:

Restaurant Sukanya

Spg 618, Madewa Bunut Area

http://www.thanislim.com/2014/04/brunei-restaurant-review-sukanya.html


Hing Nam Fong restaurant (non-halal)
Located near the workshop areas of Menglait. Hing Nam Fong has good kueh chap (pork spare parts soup), kolomee and one must try their Fried Indomie with Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage) and sunny side up egg

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Delicious Indomie Goreng with Ba Teng (Spiced Pork Cubes) and eggs. Must try! 

Address:

Menglait Area at the stretch of workshops.
http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2008/04/brunei-restaurant-review-hing-nam-hong.html



Lim Ah Siaw Restaurant (non-halal)
Regarded as the most HARAM restaurant in Brunei – this restaurant is located within the Pork Market behind terrace hotel. It has popular pork dishes such as Kueh Chap Soup (pork spare parts), pork leg Kolomee and I’m a big fan of their Nai Su Chicken (crispy milk powder chicken)

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Address: The pork market – turn in on the road between Terrace Hotel and Radisson Hotel In Bandar. 

http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2011/11/lim-ah-siaw-restaurant.html

 

Renyi Filipino Restaurant (non-halal)

Filipino food has been hailed for it’s richness and comfort food. A visit to Renyi restaurant to sample their Filipino cuisine is a must! You won’t be disappointed! Just make sure you go during lunch time!

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Address is in Menglait Gadong – read the post for driving directions.

http://cookiemonzters.blogspot.com/2013/03/brunei-restaurant-review-renyi-filipino.html

 

Dane’s Café (Non Halal Café)

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Dane’s Café is one of it’s kind in Brunei for being the first Non-Halal café and also serving arguably the best kolomee in Brunei. The café serves authentic Kuching kolomee but I am very fond of their Kolomee Special, which adds two slice of bacon and a sunny side up egg! Simply heavenly! I loved the superhero themed tables and the cosy dim settings! They also serve good coffee and other bacon goodness sandwiches and all day brunches ~ #neverenuffBACON!

Address: Unit 102, Bangunan Batu Bersurat

(basically the buildings next to the Batu Bersurat Basketball Court, used to be TAFU restaurant)

 

Delicious Laksa from Soon Lai (non halal)

Soon Lai restaurant has a pretty good curry laksa noodles and it’s considered one of the places I am proud to bring my friends for food.

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The address is in Menglait, Gadong – read the post for more detailed explanation

http://www.thanislim.com/2013/06/brunei-restaurant-review-best-laksa.html 

 

Coconut Grove Restaurant - Best fried mee and fried bee hoon in Brunei (non halal)

In my opinion, one of the best place in Brunei to have great fried mee and bee hoon. Check out their signature fried bee hoon with sunny side up egg. You will not be disappointed.

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Address:

Location and driving directions in the blog link below.

http://www.thanislim.com/2013/09/brunei-restaurant-review-coconut-grove.html



Honourable mentions: Gold Leaf also serves quite good roasted and barbecued pork (suckling pig only on Sunday). Ideal Restaurant is another local franchise you should try - for their delicious honey chicken!

Disclaimer: There are probably some gems that I missed which should be in this list – especially restaurants in KB and Seria. It would be great help to suggest restaurants that should be in this list.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Melbourne Food Guide: The Best Restaurants in Melbourne

Melbourne is indeed a city for foodies – having the reputation for one of the best coffees of the world, excellent fresh produce, a melting pot of cultures from across the globe and of all the Masterchef series – I dare say Australia ones are simply the best. The food culture has grown so much in Australia and Melbourne has thrived on that. It is therefore my pleasure to dine in some of the top restaurants in Melbourne, and to introduce them to my readers. I must thank Royal Brunei Airlines for choosing me as their Royal Brunei Blogger Outreach Program to write about the food scene of Melbourne. If you’re travelling to Melbourne, these are my choices for best restaurants in Melbourne. In this post – I will write about restaurants from both medium price range and high end price range.

Mid Range Pricing Restaurants

Coda Restaurant

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Adam d’Sylva’s Bistro showcases a fusion menu, combining South East Asian influences especially from Thailand and Vietnam with Australian cuisine. It’s located at the famous Flinders lane, and you will like their modern minimalistic ambiance.

 

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I absolutely loved their appetizers! The spanner crab, wrapped with lime betel leaf and fried in tempura batter is absolutely delicious. The soft shell crab Vietnamese roll is another interesting appetizer.

 

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I’m a fan of their steak tartare with quail egg and melba toast, as well as their blackened quail. Great flavours in smaller bites.

 

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When I see roasted duck curry on the menu, I had to try it – especially when it comes highly recommended by the waiter. I love the perfectly roasted duck which goes very well with the yellow curry, not too hot and slightly saltier but it’s very good with steamed rice.

 

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For me, my favourite dish at Coda is this beautiful dessert, A dark chocolate crunchy ganache with a good mandarin and licorice finish.

Coda Restaurant

141 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000

 

Pei Modern

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Pei Modern is a bistro version of Mark Best who hails from Sydney. It offers a more affordable bistro dining. Located at Collins Place, Pei Modern’s offers modern Australian cuisine that will intrigue your foodie tastebuds.

 

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The Snapper Tartare, chopped up raw snapper in a marinade is refreshingly delicious and served with rice crackers. Great textural contrast between minced snapper and crispy crunchy crackers. Very good appetizer!

 

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Sensational fried sunny side up duck egg, with jerusalem artichokes and truffle sauce! Bravo!

 

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The Bass Grouper fillet with kale and caviar is swoon worthy too ~~ *slurps*

 

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If you enjoy pasta, go for this hearty Casarecce pasta, served with chicken dumplings and Regianno sauce. Rich, creamy goodness on a plate.

 

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Finish your meal with this unique light tasting dessert: Sorrel Sorbet, with hibiscus and honeycomb ~ this is especially good ending to a lunch, so you don’t walk out feeling sleepy from the heavy food!

Pei Modern Restaurant

45 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

 

Gazi Restaurant

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One of my favourite Masterchef Australia judge, George Calombaris, recently decided to turn his high range dining Press Club, and turned it into a more casual, warm Greek restaurant, Gazi, which has drawn quite a good loyal crowd eager to try modern Greek food.

 

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They have a good range of Greek wines to match with their food – such as these yummy appetizers, Grilled Cheese with Cumquat Saganaki, currants, mustard seeds to the left and  Moschari spanakopita – a yummy braised beef cheeks fili pastry appetizer to the right.

 

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Grilled Pumpkin, stuffed with goat’s cheese curds, chestnuts and salad leaves. I wished there was more cheese for the caramelized grilled pumpkin.

 

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The souvlakakia – mini souvlakis are very popular here – I tried a few and highly recommend the soft shell crab and the duck ones. Delicious! They even put chips (french fries) in some of them!

 

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We really liked the Flinders Island Arni Kleftiko which is a slow braised lamb shoulder, pearl cous cous with an interesting chewy texture, feta, kalamata olives. Very tender lamb and a good comfort food!

 

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George’s famous pavlova that was actually featured on masterchef! It has a meringue shell – when you crack open – will reveal the ice cream inside!

 

Video of the magic happening ~~~

 

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*crack* Say hello to your surprise! A playful beautiful dessert worthy to be instavideod!

Gazi Restaurant

2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne CBD

 

Jang Gun Korean Restaurant

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While many would recommend Gami for good Korean Fried Chicken, Jang Gun is a very underrated Korean Restaurant you should check out. The best part is that it opens from 5pm till late hours, so it’s a good after hours place to have a few sojus with spicy Korean cuisine. Yuk Hae, the Korean style beef tartare or raw beef with an egg on top is a must try! Good dish to order and share.

 

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The Koreans really know how to fry their chicken and the fried chicken here is very crispy yet moist on the inside. Seriously good fried chicken – super good for supper!

Jang Gun Restaurant

Healeys Lane, Melbourne CBD

 

Chin Chin Restaurant

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Chin Chin restaurant was on top of Urbanspoon for quite a while and it’s quite a long wait to get a table at Chin Chin. I remembered waiting at least 90 minutes for a table, and we actually went to a nearby coffee shop just to wait for our table. Chin Chin is a mid range dinner place featuring South East Asian fusion dishes. I would go for the ‘feed me’ option to try a range of Chin Chin specialties.

 

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Fusion style appetizers: Kingfish sashimi and corn coriander fritters

 

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The barbecued goat with raita (yoghurt) – was a spicy and sweet flavour packed tender goat that goes so well with the yoghurt to finish. Super thumbs up and my favourite dish of the night!

 

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Yummer fusion style fish and green mango salad!

 

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You just gotta love a creamy wholesome green curry chicken with salted duck eggs! Delicious!

 

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There were quite a few other dishes which were good as well – and we also have three desserts – heres the banana roti with condensed milk, with coconut sago, puffed rice, corn ice cream and praline. Super yummy and really showcases a marriage of strong South East Asian flavours and techniques!

Chin Chin Restaurant

125 Flinders Ln, Melbourne CBD

 

Mamasita

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Mamasita is a famous cosy Mexican restaurant located on the first floor of Collins street. Simple straightforward décor but the friendly service works a charm in this establishment.

 

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Yowzers! Harbanero hot sauce in the house!

 

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I really love the powerful punch from the dips and condiments. Simply beautiful!

 

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You can order many mini bite sized tacos *smacks lips*

 

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Or these yummy looking tortillas! The tortillas and tacos are pretty good here – but I say – the most iconic dish in Mamasita is not their tacos or tortillas – it’s actually their corn – would you believe it? I couldn’t believe it either!

 

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Elote – simply the best grilled corn I’ve ever tasted in my life! Many restaurants have served Elote to me – and I even tried making them myself – but nothing comes close to Mamasita’s version. If you haven’t tried this at Mamasita – it would be a #foodcrime !

 

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They do have other great main courses on the menu such as this gorgeous sliced roast ~~ so do check out the rest of the menu!

Mamasita Restaurant

Level 1, 11 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

 

Madaeya Izakaya Bar

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Madaeya is an Izakaya Bar, famous for the Japanese art of grilling and sake. Chef Toshi Maeda is a sake expert who specializes in pairing Japanese food with sake but even if you don’t drink alcohol – the grilled items are simply irresistible! You will need to make reservations and take a tram to Richmond.

 

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oh yes ~~ the art of Sumiyaki ~~ charcoal grilled skewers! There’s quite a lot to choose – and you’ll be spoiled for choice.

 

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*drools* How can you resist ?

 

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It’s sometimes cheaper to order a set of the basics ~~

 

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Or just go for your favourites like chicken skin or unagi (eel) – ooooh yes!

 

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There’s also sashimi or other Japanese food if you want – but I’m sticking to the quality grilled skewers!

Maedaya Sake and Grill
400 Bridge Road
Richmond

 

D.O.C. Pizza and Mozarella Bar

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If you love pizzas, you simply must check out D.O.C Pizza and Mozarella Bar, a busy pizza place at Carlton. Enter and you can feel the energy from the open kitchen and the warm friendly waiting staff. They serve quite a range of European beers and wines to match with the pizza,  but for me, beer goes best with pizzas!

 

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They have gorgeous prosciutto, freshly shaved as well as a range of different mozarella cheeses for you to enjoy. For pizzas, you can go for the classic mozarella with tomatoes pizza or vegetarian non meat options to cater to your dietary needs.

 

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I highly recommend their prosciutto and pesto with mozarella pizza, but for halal or vegetarian options, their truffle mushrooms with cheese is spectacular too!

 

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Their Goat’s Cheese Tiramisu is so so good too! So good – I wished I didn’t have to share it! #foodieproblems. For great pizzas, D.O.C Pizza and Mozarella Bar is a must try when you visit Melbourne!

D.O.C Pizza and Mozarella Bar

295 Drummond St | Carlton

 

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High End Pricing Restaurants

Cutler & Co

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Owned by Andrew McConnell, Cutler & Co is a lovely fine dining establishment at Fitzroy. When I asked the waitress for their specialties, she replied that the menus are constantly changing and focuses on the freshest produce and ingredients available. They were fully booked but I managed to get myself a seat at the bar, which is a blessing in disguise because I get to watch the chefs in action the whole night! A foodie’s dream! PS: Did I mention the chef’s pretty good looking here? I posted a video of him preparing a salad and the girls were really impressed.

 

Watch the video of the handsome chef in action. I’ll let you be the judge – is he going to be too much of a distraction for you? Hee hee

 

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The Spanner Crab served with deep fried curry leaves and spices brings out the lovely flavours of this Australian seafood.

 

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I really enjoyed ordering three different types of oysters, which all had different mineral content and texture, well explained by the lovely waitress.

 

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I must say the flounder, with smoked mussels, on a leek and brown butter sauce is so so good! Good crispy skin and perfectly cooked flesh, and the smoked mussels make this my favourite dish of the night!

 

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I had a yummy New Zealand Venison served with quince and burnt onions. Quite an interesting combination which goes well with the gamey flavours but I would say it’s over-shadowed by the flounder dish.

Cutler & Co

55–57 Gertrude St., Fitzroy 3065

 

Melba Restaurant at Langham Hotel

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If there was only one buffet you could eat in Melbourne, I suggest going over to Melba restaurant in Langham (South Bank) for their seafood buffet! It’s got quite a luxurious spread of seafood and meats, as well as desserts, specializing in Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Western cuisines in their buffet spread.

 

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Fresh oysters, crabs, mussels and prawns at the seafood bar ~ mmmm ~~~

 

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As part of the yummy seafood – they have a Japanese chef to prepare sushi and sashimi for you! Just order what you want and the chef will slice and make them for you ~~

 

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I asked for her to put some diced salmon sashimi on my oysters, as well as a good mix of sashimi, with a soft shell crab sushi wrap ~~ mmmmmm ~~ ITADAKIMASU!!

 

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More sashimi and soft shell crab please ~~~ *drools*

 

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They have Peking duck and other Chinese style roasts and various dim sum in their buffet lineup too ~~

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One thing I love about their buffet is custom made naan, that is made fresh to order by the chef ~~ it’s a joy to watch him make the naan and put it on the tandoor oven! Enjoy it with a whole range of Indian curry dishes ~ such as the butter chicken ~ mmm

http://www.thanislim.com/2014/08/melbourne-food-guide-best-buffet-in.html

Click on the link for my more detailed blogpost on the Melba Restaurant Buffet!

Melba Restaurant

1 Southgate Avenue | The Langham, Southbank, Melbourne

(61) (3) 8696 8888

 

Ezard Restaurant

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Located at the basement of the Adelphi Hotel, Ezard restaurant, they have a very simple – white and elegant ambience to make use of the long narrow space available in the restaurant. Ezard has been around for some time, quietly winning awards after awards despite the current competitive Melbourne market. Just a few months ago, they scooped best restaurant award from Victorian Savour Australia! Expect Chinese Thai influences in Ezard’s modern Australian dishes!

 

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I went for their degustation menu and was wowed by one of the most delicious oyster I’ve ever tasted. The oysters are served with a mirin infused with ginger and wasabi, in which you will get a punch of sweet spicy flavours from the wasabi-ginger combo, cucumber sorbet and yuzu jelly! An amazing start to your meal. #bestOysterEver

 

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Ezard’s tuna sashimi on the left and spanner crab dumpling on the right, with a good coconut tom kha soup – *smacks lips*

 

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Black Fig and pickled beetroot salad with interesting contrasting textures and flavours on the left, and a spicy steamed mulloway fish fillet. Strong bold flavours!

 

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Their signature chinese style roasted duck breast served with massaman curry is a good combination and I will definitely try to copy this when I go back to Brunei. A good amount of fatty duck skin with ketupat like texture rice and the rock melon add’s a refreshing texture and pleasing finish to this dish!

 

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The chestnut and yuzu semifreddo was pretty interesting and the textural contrast with the caramel popcorn and bitterness of the chocolate moss, with the sweet sour yuzu gives this a refreshing and light finish.

Ezard Restaurant

187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

 

The Point Restaurant

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The Point restaurant is a modern classy restaurant famous for steaks with a long history in Melbourne, and boasting one of the best lakeside views, with their window walls, allowing you to enjoy the scenic lake view. The service is excellent and the waiting staff really know their stuff, giving you good explanations for the dishes. A great place for lunch in my opinion – bask in the lovely view and great classy ambience.

 

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A very delicious appetizer – foei gras with chicken jus and poached pear – an exquisite start to my lunch! Melt in your mouth goodness! #omg #foodorgasm

 

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If you’re a steak lover – be sure to try out their steak tasting platter, consisting of 100gs of three different porterhouse steaks with different marbling scores and types – ranging from Wagyu to Rangers Valley to Black Angus! The waiter was there to give me an educational understanding of the three different types of steaks. My favourite is the Wagyu but having this is an educational meal for those who want to taste the difference in quality of steaks! An educational must try experience for foodies!

 

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While waiting for dessert, I checked out their special temperature controlled fridge, which displays gorgeous cuts of meat – ready to be sizzling on hot pans, and served to your table ~~ *drools*

 

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Black truffle from Manjimup, Western Australia is currently the latest foodie trend in Melbourne, as many restaurants I went to were promoting them.

 

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It can’t get more luxurious than this! Shaved black truffle on top of a white chocolate souffle, #OMG #truffle #gourmet Needless to say I enjoyed and savored every bite ~~

The Point Restaurant

Aquatic Drv, Albert Part, Melbourne

 

Rockpool

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As a foodie, I’ve collected a few cookbooks of Neil Perry and I’m excited to dine in his restaurant at Rockpool, which features open kitchen steak house, where you can watch chefs grill high quality steaks! Besides steaks, they also got quite a lot of classic dishes from the menu.

 

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One of the popular dishes is their Four Raw Tastes, four types of sashimi on a plate, ranging from light to bold flavours from left to right. Starting with Hiramasa Kingfish with tea smoked oysters, and blanched cos lettuce, Ocean Trout with preserved lemon and harissa, Yellowfin Tuna with sliced ginger, coriander and jalepenos, and lastly a scampi ceviche. A very refreshing delicious start to your meal.

 

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The wood fire grilled Freemantle octopus is lightly charred with a smoky taste, great texture and seasoned properly. Yummers!

 

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Simply gorgeous grilled King Prawns with Goats Cheese stuffed Tortellini, served on a fragrant Burnt Butter, Raisins and Pine Nuts.  This dish might be familiar if you’ve dined at Din’s Bistro in Brunei before – it’s so good – it’s copied but the version at Rockpool is very delicious! I love how there’s a crisp texture to the prawns, yet juicy and goes very well with the rich buttery sauce.

 

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Of course – how can you come to Rockpool, which is famous for their steaks, and not try it? They have quite a big range of steaks but I highly recommend the Wagyu beef with a marble score rating of 9, meaning it has more marbling, which means gorgeous juicy steaks! Or you could try their dry aged Angus Beef, tender goodness! Be sure to go medium rare for your steaks – a good quality steak should never be well done or medium well! #foodcrime

 

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Passionfruit Pavlova at Rockpool is beautiful to look at and I was shocked by it’s size! How can I finish it alone?! Definitely one to share with your date – the pavlova has a good crisp and the insides felt like soft clouds melting in your mouth ~~ with a rich chantily cream and passionfruit curd to finish. Ooo so so good!

Rockpool Bar and Grill
8 Whiteman Street, Crown Complex
Southbank

 

Flower Drum

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Flower Drum is a high end Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, which has earned lots of awards for it’s excellence in terms of food and service. It is one of the three hatted restaurants in Melbourne, and people often treat VIP guests or people they want to impress in Flower Drum. The price is on the higher end of the scale but the service here is top notch and bound to impress your guests.

 

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I begin my meal with two of their signatures – pearl meat, which is essentially sliced quality abalone stir fried to perfection and served with asparagus spears on shell to look like pearl meat. On the right is a wholesome shredded duck meat with bamboo shoots in consommé.

 

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You might have tasted fish noodles or Yee mian before but Flower Drum uses barramundi fish to make these premium quality fish noodles, which has better texture and none of the fishy smell.

 

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I have to say their lamb springroll is amazing – it’s a Saltgrass lamb brisket, cooked in a stew, wrapped in springrolls with water chestnut, ginger and red dates, deep fried and then served with gravy from the lamb stew. Brilliant!

 

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Their Peking duck is one of the best I’ve tasted and they will wrap it in front of you, plus make a cute duck design with your peking duck wraps. Lips smacking good!

 

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These vegetarian stuffed eggplants are dipped in batter and fried till crispy and seasoned with five spiced salt and served on a bed of deep fried enoki mushrooms.

 

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Dinner usually ends with these yummy pastry like almond cookies. Pretty good too!

Flower Drum Restaurant

17 Market Ln, Melbourne CBD

 

Vue De Monde

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I must admit – out of all the restaurants I’ve dined in Melbourne, the one that impressed me the most was Vue De Monde. So I saved the best for the last. You need to actually book 3 months in advanced at least to get a seat – and I highly recommend their $250 degustation menu! Simply stunning by famous Shannon Bennett and head chef Cory Campbell! Located at the 55th floor where you can have a beautiful night view of Melbourne CBD, the ambiance is very posh, and romantic – a good place to propose after an amazing meal!

 

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This is a popular dish that actually appeared on Masterchef Australia, the special duck yolk, pear and truffle dish. Gorgeous slow cooked duck yolks – with sliced pears, herbs and truffles – the yolks go so well with the sliced pears which help balanced its richness!

 

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This is the delicious Marron, a shellfish from Western Australia, cooked in brown butter and you pick it up with your hands – and dip it with the pine mushroom dip ~ SO GOOD!

 

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One of the best desserts I’ve had ~ the Tonka Bean Souffle with chocolate ganache and a smoked chocolate ice cream ~~ simply EPIC!

 

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All I can say is – if you are thinking of visiting Melbourne, be sure to make your reservations at least 3 to 4 months in advanced!

In fact, Vue De Monde is so good – I simply had to write a separate post for them ~~ to read more about Vue De Monde, do check out this link
http://www.thanislim.com/2014/08/melbourne-food-guide-vue-de-monde.html

Vue De Monde Restaurant

525 Collins Street | Rialto Building 55th. Floor, Melbourne CBD

 

This concludes my Melbourne Food Guide for the best restaurants! Do check out my other food guides on Melbourne!

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http://www.thanislim.com/2014/08/melbourne-food-guide-best-breakfast.html

Click on the link for the best breakfast and brunch places in Melbourne!

 

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http://www.thanislim.com/2014/08/melbourne-food-guide-best-high-teas-and.html

Click on the link for the best afternoon tea and high tea places in Melbourne!

 

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