Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - CBD

Krimper Café

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Tucked away in a small lane in the centre of Melbourne city is this little gem. This café is hidden behind two big wooden doors, which when opened, reveals a warm and cosy café.

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The interior of the café is filled with history – from the exposed wooden walls, to the use of an old lift car to create a dining booth, to the scattering of old machinery parts in various parts of the café. The kitchen is an open kitchen where customers can see the chefs busy at work.

This café is named after Schulim Krimper, a famous furniture maker, which we presume the owners of this café have great admiration for. However, we did not notice any furniture inside the café that were designed by Krimper.

Upon walking into the café for lunch, we were greeted by friendly staff who quickly sat us down and gave us our menus.

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The coffee ($3.80 for white or $3.50 for black) served here was from Proud Mary, and the house blend had a nutty flavour that was brewed to perfection.

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The dish that every table ordered was the Beef Parmentier ($21), which was slow cooked beef, on a bed of mashed potato with red wine jus. When the dish came to our table, we understood why. The presentation of this dish was very nice, with everything stacked up in a neat and orderly manner. The inclusion of salt on the side of the plate was a nice gesture. The meat was soft and tasty, with infused flavours of onions and carrots, which literally just melted in our mouths. The mash was delicious – light, soft and fluffy. This is a must try dish for anyone who visits this café.

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We also ordered Mr Shank ($22), which was braised lamb shanks with paprika, cumin, coriander and chilli served with romesco sauce, squash, zucchini, currants, feta, spinach and salsa verde. The diverse mix of ingredients resulted in a very colourful presentation. The vegetables were well seasoned, but unfortunately, the lamb was overcooked which made it hard to swallow. However, the flavours of this dish were a delight to our palates – with a combination of different elements of sweet, spicy and nutty flavours all intermingled together.

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Overall, we had a very enjoyable time at this café, and we will definitely be back next time to try the other items on the menu.
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Krimper Café

Website: http://www.krimper.com.au

Address: 20 Guildford Lane, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9043 8844

Opening hours: 7am to 5pm, Mon to Fri; 8am to 4pm, Sat and Sun.

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Field House Restaurant & Bar, Novotel Central

As part of the NSW Food and Wine Festival which ran from February 7 to March 1 this year, Field House Restaurant & Bar offered a three course dinner with matching wines for $69. Jono and I decided to try this out.

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Arriving at Novotel Hotel at around 8:30pm, I was surprised by the appearance of the restaurant. It was in an open space, with white plastic tables and black chairs, and it looked more like a canteen than a restaurant inside a hotel. There was only one other diner at that time, and the staff were shocked that we were intending to dine there. When I told them that we had a booking, which I made a few days beforehand, they were not able to locate it.

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We sat down at our tables and were given the menus. I noticed that not all tables had both salt and pepper bottles on them – some tables had a bottle of each, while other tables only had one bottle of either.

The special menu the NSW Food and Wine Festival allowed us to choose a dish from a choice of three in each course. Each dish came with a specific matching wine.

When the meals were served, no one explained the food nor the wine to us. The food and the glasses of wine were just popped onto the table, with little to no explanation. The service from the staff was simply non-existent.

Now onto the food.

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Confit Bryon Bay pork belly, apple & ginger salad, chilli caramel
(2006 Blickling Estate Cabernet Sauvignon)

Jono ordered this choice for his entrée. He was disappointed with the skin of the pork belly, as it was neither crispy nor soft, but it was rather chewy. He described the meat as tough and chewy as well.   However, Jono mentioned the saving grace of this dish was the caramelised sauce which provided a good balance to the salad.

I had a taste of the pork belly and it was definitely undercooked.

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Nelson Bay king fish ceviche, jalapeno chilli, avocado and heirloom tomato
(2013 Audrey Wilkinson Semillon)

I ordered this dish, and noticed that the fish slices were too thick. I had a bite of the fish and it was not seasoned. Eating the fish with the jalapeno was a big mistake – the jalapeno was too hot and spicy, and it completely overpowered the delicate flavour of the king fish. Maybe the chef should have removed all the white parts from the jalapeno so the chilli taste would have been milder and then the flavour of the fish would have come through in this dish.

The wine matched was too light for the spicy flavour of the jalapeno.

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Pan roasted Coffs Harbour jewfish, smoked baby beets, pancetta & saffron butter
(2009 Poole’s Rock Chardonnay)

Jono ordered the fish. To him, this dish was very enjoyable, with the fish being well seasoned and all the other ingredients in this dish working well with each other.

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New England lamb rump, primavera potatoes, garden peas & mint puree
(2011 Audrey Wilkinson The Lake Shiraz)

I ordered the lamb for my main. The smokiness of the crust on the lamb, when removed, revealed succulent and juicy meat, and this was well matched with the sides and the heavy, fruity and tarry wine. This was a very nice dish.

Jono also tried part of my dish, and noticed that the sauce for the dish had a very heavy garlic flavour, which ironically, was more prominent than the chopped garlic on top of the potatoes. He also enjoyed how the strong, garlicky and spicy sauce matched the smoky flavour of the meat, yet providing a contrast to the soft texture of the meat.

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NSW cheese collection, sourdough bread and dried fruits
(2003 De Bortoli Botrytis Semillon)

Jono ordered the cheese plate for dessert. This was quite big serving for one, with a good variety of bread and a standard selection of cheese. The dessert wine was a bit too sweet for the cheese.

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Flourless baked Batlow apple tart, cinnamon ice cream and biscotti
(2010 Krinklewood Lucia Botrytis Semillon)

As the waitress was preparing the wine, I noticed that she poured the same wine as Jono into my glass as well. So I asked her whether both the wine for this dish was the same and she answered in the affirmative.

I did not want to make a scene, but the menu clearly stated that the matching wine for my dish was the Krinklewood Lucia, not the De Bortoli. It was very disappointing that the staff did not even know the menu.

The dish itself was also disappointing, the apple tart was too sour, while the biscotti was a bit stale. The honey flavour from the De Bortoli dessert flavour actually made the apple tart more sour.

Overall, given the level of service from the staff, and the inconsistencies in the food being presented, I would not come back to this restaurant any time soon. I expected more from a Novotel branded establishment.
Field House Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Field House Restaurant and Bar

Website: http://www.novotelsydneycentral.com.au/restaurant

Address: Novotel Sydney Central, 169-179 Thomas Street, Sydney

Phone: (02) 9281 6888

Opening hours: 6:30am to 10:00pm, Mon to Sun

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards

By Greg