PFR Archives Mediterranean


Prego Restaurant - Gnocchi

Prego Restaurant – 19 Nov 2016

One of my work colleagues had recommended I visit Prego which has been on my list for a long time so I finally made it here. Booking is essential, since we walked in on a Saturday evening, the restaurant filled up very quickly. Prego Restaurant is located on the Cambridge Street side with floor to ceiling glass windows creating an inviting, classy, yet unpretentious atmosphere as soon as you walk in. The wait staff who attended to us throughout the night were really friendly which is refreshing, particularly at a fine dining establishment.

Before the meal began, a complimentary plate of falafel was served. The menu here is Italian but has a very strong Mediterranean influence as can be seen with this dish and others that followed. The falafel are full of flavour and not too intense with a crunchy crumbed outer enjoyed with the refreshing Mediterranean salad.

For entree I had the gnocchi but have never seen it served in a seafood broth. Still very plump and juicy potato parcels, they took on the form of a dumpling enjoyed with the delicious flavoursome seafood broth. I really enjoyed the tender mussels and super tender calamari. A really interesting and impressive dish. I also had a small taste of the other entrees, a tasty juicy Moreton Bay bug with tender eggplant, and a perfectly cooked tender juicy chicken liver. I’m not a fan of liver but it depends on the form. Foie gras is amazing and I also like chicken liver pate. Chicken livers done in this form are not to my liking, but I enjoyed the taste I had and glad I didn’t have a plate of this as the liver is rich.

For mains, I chose one of the specials: a duo of slow roasted lamb and wood fired spatchcock. The lamb simply cut like butter, such was it’s tenderness. Lacking a touch of seasoning, the lamb oozed flavour and was thoroughly enjoyed. The spatchcock was also tender and particularly enjoyed with the Mediterranean influenced yoghurt mixture and the accompanying cous cous salad with pomegranates and eggplant. These were tasty and refreshing elements to liven the palate and create a go-between to the meats of the dish. I also had small tastes of the other mains ordered – a juicy tender delicious duck, and juicy delicious prawns and snapper. To add some more veggies to the meal, we also ordered a side of spinach which was suitably sautéed in lots of garlic and butter for bags of flavour. Really tasty.

There’s always room for dessert though I was pretty full at this point. I was really keen to try Prego’s version of kunafe after first discovering this amazing creation at Chee Tayeb. The version here is a little different, tasty but I preferred Chee Tayeb’s version. A hot mini pan of sizzling haloumi cheese covered with the shredded filo is presented before the waiter pours some of the spiced sugar syrup over and around the sizzling cheese. Gooey melted cheese with a touch of sweetness and crunch of pistachios is an excellent way to finish off the meal. Really tasty but way too full. I also had small tastes of the other desserts ordered, a delicious sorbet and a spoonful of a very strong coffee flavoured and slightly heavy tiramisu. A lovely place to celebrate any occasion with quality crafted meals with a different flavour profile to what one typically expects of an Italian restaurant, though this difference makes it unique and one to enjoy.


Gazi Restaurant - Loukoumades

Melbourne: Gazi Restaurant – 11 Nov 2016

One of my ex-work colleagues told me about this place so upon landing, my first point of call is a visit to George Calombaris’s Gazi Restaurant. Seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen, it was interesting watching the kitchen in operation. There are hooks underneath the bench to hang your jacket or bags which is perfect as it’s a bit cold outside but the heat of the kitchen warms everyone up. The atmosphere is buzzing, plenty of people crammed in but with sufficient space to enjoy conversation and waitstaff rush around to cater for the hungry hords. Despite that, there is no compromise on the excellent service provided throughout the night. There’s plenty of choice from the menu which makes it hard to decide. I asked the waitstaff for some recommendations and chose a number of dishes, though, with the rotisserie in front of me, I rather fancied some dish that incorporated some of those delicious meats. I heard there is the option for takeaway but I’m here in Melbourne for the weekend.

I started with the miso eggplant dip which presents super smooth eggplant dip evoking a strong but well controlled eggplant flavour that is just delightful. Dipping the warm soft puffy Pita into the dip is a delicious and an enjoyable experience.

Next I went with the saganaki cheese – I love cheese so was interested to see what this dish would serve up. Melted cheese on a sizzling hot plate with a golden brown crust and a cumquat citrus sauce. The citrus seems unusual at first, a sweet sensation but it balances against the richness of the cheese, particularly the slight touch of acidity. Yum!!!

I had to grab a mini souvlaki, or souvalkia and opted for the duck version. There’s lots of succulent juicy duck with an Asian inspired fusion. The duck is delicious, though a tad oversalted. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the dish, the soft Pita and the ingredients it held. I think the Hoison is overshadowed by the mayo to an extent.

Finally, I had to squeeze in dessert and chose loukoumades, Greek doughnuts. Oh wow! What a finish to the meal. Crunchy on the outside, soft and spongy on the inside. Drizzled with honey for sweetness with a touch of nutella to add a chocolate hint, these are to be savoured. I also like the strong Greek coffee flavoured ice cream. Wouldn’t mind more of that. Really full, glad to have some variety and really enjoyed the flavours and experience of this venue. So typically Melbourne, nothing that Perth offers comes close.


6101 Tapas & Meze - Pork Belly

6101 Tapas & Meze – 3 Jun 2015

6101 Tapas & Meze offers up a variety of Turkish inspired tapas dishes with larger dishes also available. The service is excellent and the husband and wife team make you feel welcome. I really enjoyed the cigars which offered a lovely gooey cheese filling encased by the filo like pastry. The beef croquettes were too chunky and lacked seasoning and flavour. The beef chorizo carried less intensity than the Spanish counterpart but was delicious with the Turkish bread. The garlic prawns were tasty with a lovely sumac salad, but the pork belly was absolutely amazing! Crunchy crackling, cut like butter pork flesh, so tasty and oozing flavour! After a heavy meal, the lemon myrtle panna cotta was a delicious light dessert with the citrus flavour to round things off. Great value, generous servings, excellent service.


Arc Of Iris - Deep Fried Camembert

Arc of Iris – 28 Feb 2015

The menu at Arc of Iris takes on a slightly Asian slant. I started with the deep fried camembert which was excellent. A golden brown crispy crumb encasing soft gooey camembert, aided by a sharp salad and the sweetness from the fruit coulis. The twice cooked duck was superb. Lovely sweet Asian sauce with a much too generous serve of super tender duck made for a very filling dish. While the Asian salad and steamed rice helped take the edge of the duck, it’s sheer quantity caused the dish to become a little monotonous. Fantastic dish though. Lastly, the dark chocolate fondant was slightly overdone with no oozing chocolate and was a little dry. However, the lovely flavour of the vanilla ice cream saved the day and provided the perfect partner. For the price, excellent value, excellent food, lovely service in a lovely restaurant. You must book ahead as it’s pretty busy.


Q International Cuisine - Mix Grill

Q International Cuisine – 20 Jun 2014

Q International Cuisine offers something for everyone but has a menu mainly geared towards Middle Eastern, French, Mediterranean and Australian cuisines. I focused on dishes from a Middle Eastern background and started off with a refreshing, moist and tasty baba ganuj enjoyed with pita bread. I particularly enjoyed the addition of the pomegranate seeds adding a touch of sweetness and acidity to cut through the creamy flavour of the eggplant. The hummus had a strong chick pea flavour and also a hit of garlic, but it was carefully controlled to give the garlic flavour without the garlic breath. The fried kibbeh are a very meaty and filling dish. The kibbeh are slightly crunchy on the outside and contain a lightly spiced mince filling which is tasty but not intense in spice. The mixed grill presents a meat heavy dish offering a variety of skewered kebabs. I particularly liked the chicken flavoured Shish taouk and the herby flavours of the Kofta kebab. Once again, lightly spiced, subtle flavours that let the flavours of the meat shine through. The rice, salad, humuus and mayonnaise are additional elements to take the edge of the meatiness. I was stuffed and disappointed I couldn’t squeeze in a dessert. Tasty spice laden flavours without the intensity. Excellent meal in lovely surrounds with friendly staff.


Urbana - Buckwheat Waffles

USA, Washington DC – Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar

A wine bar at night a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch by day. The smart interior is backed by excellent service and array of dishes on the menu to choose from. I opted for buckwheat waffles as something different. I’ve never eaten buckwheat but I didn’t find it all that heavy compared to wholemeal and the waffle was tasty. The compote provided just that hint of sweetness but was more tart in flavour due to the rhubarb. Along with warmed maple syrup drizzled over the top, it’s a great start to the day.


Zaytinya - Falafel

USA, Washington – Zaytinya

Zatinya is a Greek / middle eastern based restaurant with a huge seating area, comfortable and smart surrounds, along with excellent service to boot. An al a carte menu is available or as I chose, a 4 course option for $25 with choices for each course. I really liked the puffed up pita bread which I enjoyed with the bowl of olive oil and pomegranate molasses. I also enjoyed the pita bread with a delicious baba ghannouge which was smooth and light and not at all garlicky. The crisply battered and fried falafel with tahini was excellent. This was topped by the adana kebab, like no other I’ve eaten before, so full of flavour and complemented with the other elements on the plate. To finish, the rather unassuming Greek yoghurt and apricot dessert was anything but. It really surprised with a panna cotta likeness, the smooth creamy vanilla flavour going superbly with the different elements of apricot and the sorbet. Excellent cuisine, perfectly executed and married with elements on the plate to further enhance the flavour. Superb!


Cantina 663 - Fried Veal Tongue

Cantina 663 – 16 Feb 2013

I was really happy to go to this place and was pleasantly surprised – on the upside. I don’t think any dish blew me away, but I really liked the solid consistency, the unique flavours, textual combinations, deliciousness. Ok, this place is a winner and with so much delicious food, how can one not be happy? The service was excellent and the night well paced. A very popular restaurant as there wasn’t a spare seat in the house. Plenty of late night bookings too. I’m glad to experience something different, something unique, flavours I haven’t experienced before. Top job Cantina 663.


Deevine Cafe

While I can’t fault the generosity of the serving of paella with plenty of chicken and a lesser assortment of seafood, the dish was let down by the lack of intensity of flavour that is typical of a paella. If they up the flavour stakes, the dish will be delicious, albeit, a bit different from a typical paella which is dominated by seafood.