Friday, January 28, 2011

Melbourne wrap #3

This is the last of the Melbourne posts, starting from last year. After one particular day of city tripping, through Flinders Street on the way back to our serviced apartment, we see people clutching cones of fresh cooked potato chips and eagerly join the queue at Lord of the Fries.

It’s not just chips – there’s the huge range of sauces, onion rings, burgers and even “nuggets” – not bad for a vegetarian/vegan outlet. For a very late lunch we order a few boxes of deep fried goodies drenched in sauces to take home for a proper pig-out, six-pack in hand – all class.

Fries with Swiss and Belgian sauces from Lord of the Fries,
Flinders Street, Melbourne CBD
The box of chips gets soggy quickly, steaming away as we rushed home – I wonder if the cones keep them crisp more effectively? It’s not helped by the puddles of two different sauces on top: the special of a Swiss mustard in bright chutney yellow and the creamy Belgian ‘euro’ mayo.

Thickly cut and well browned, I struggle to find a single crispy chip in the box, but the thick, creamy and herbs/spice-dotted mayonnaise makes up for it, mostly.

Onion rings with Aussie sauce
The box full on onion rings is also doused in a sauce; this the Aussie, a tomato sauce with vinegar. I’m not sure what’s so Australian about that, but it’s a refreshing change from good old ‘dead horse’.

Perhaps caused by the golden crumb on the rings of onion, this pack actually maintained some crispness and was my favourite of the lot.

Nuggets with Vietnamese sauce
I momentarily forgot that Lord of the Fries is vegetarian when I ordered the nuggets; enticed by one of my childhood favourites and current ‘guilty pleasure’ foods. Rather free in form, these golden battered blobs are drowning in the Vietnamese sauce that is a sweet chilli mayonnaise.

Nugget inner
Biting into the nugget, I think anyone could easily mistake it for chicken. The texture was spot-on (although I suppose chicken nuggets come in varying textures anyway, with rather unknown contents), but there was definitely a lack of flavour that probably comes from chicken fat (and feathers, bones and beaks if some people are to be believed). Improved with the sauce, we polish off this box too, crumbs and all.

Post Lord of the Fries meal
Re-energised, lined stomachs and a bit thirsty from the salty fare, a few drinks were in order. We managed to get to Lonsdale Street where the bar hopping started; the first two bars were great though – the subsequent ones less and less memorable and ending quite unmemorably at Crown Casino.

Seamstress, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD
I found Seamstress (or more accurately, its basement, Sweatshop) a few years ago after stumbling out of a Chinatown laneway. With three levels (basement bar, first level restaurant, top level cocktail bar), there’s something for most; although the kitchen was closed at our late hour. While both bars were relatively quiet, we sat up at the bar at Seamstress for a cocktail.

The Tri-fecta
I couldn’t resist the menu of ‘Short drinks in fancy glasses’, and beautiful, fancy glasses they were. Based on vodka, lime, sugar and delectable elderflower cordial, it was a refreshing tipple, especially with the cucumber and mint additions.

In fact, the cucumber flavour came through more strongly than the elderflower, as did the lime. It was a very pretty yet properly warming drink.

Bartender's tipple

Written up on a board next to the bar, the ‘bartender’s tipple’ was a special that included pisco, pineapple juice and lemon, and was a stronger drink, equally warming if not more so. Pisco is not one of my poisons of choice, with its strong rum-like, in my opinion.

Nihonshu, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

A literal hop and skip away, we pass a dimly lit shopfront with a long bar running down its length and step back to see Nihonshu looking back invitingly. I see two seats inside at the high-seated bar and pull up to the substantial menu of sake and shochu.

Shelves stocked with sake

The shelves behind the bar are almost groaning under the weight of a huge selection of bottles and tins of beers, with Japanese snacks to match. We see others further up the bar choosing their own sake cups of different patterns for their immediate use.

Winter special and potato chips

We ordered a winter special of umeshu (plum wine) with black tea and sugar, which arrives piping hot in a large earthenware teacup. It’s strong in all three facets, with the alcohol in the plum wine almost amplified by the heat, toned down somewhat by the bitterness of the tea.

We also share chips and soy crisps in more gorgeous crockery from an actual menu of Japanese snack foods.

Nihonshu interior

Chilling at Nihonshu

It felt quite Japanese underground in the bar, so it was a little odd to step back out into the cold Melbourne CBD street and see Saturday night crowds out and about. The night continues at The Toff in Town (a lot of colourful characters, to say the least) and Match Bar (much more subdued and cruisey).

With the wisdom of not being quite so young and stupid anymore, the night ends with a degree of decorum and the morning after starts with a refreshing, hangover-free swim and spa session. I’m finally seeing some positives in maturity.

Lord of the Fries on Urbanspoon

Seamstress on Urbanspoon

Nihonshu Shochu & Sake Bar on Urbanspoon


chocolatesuze said...

oh melbourne how i love thee.. heh any chance you went to donut store next door to lord of the fries?? giant eclairs!

joey@FoodiePop said...

Must revisit LOTF when I return down there this year. Those 'chicken' nuggets do look good, and I agree with what constitutes chicken nuggets these days! You never know now! LOL

Tina said...

Hey suze - Do you mean the one sort of under the station? I think I remember seeing it, but steering well clear...! :)

Hi Joey - They were a little lacking in fatty flavour (as Maccas does so well), but passable :)


You can order the sauces at the sides so the chips don't get soggy!


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