Thursday, March 25, 2010


10-12 Jacka Bvd
St Kilda VIC 3182
Ph: (03) 9593 8233

It was Esther's birthday and she had organised a dinner at Beachcomber at the St Kilda Sea Baths. It didn't start well when they informed us that we could only order from an extremely limited menu due to the large number of people. Despite our claims that we didn't care if meals came out at different times, they still refused to let us order off the normal menu. Worse still, a special they had that consisted of two courses for a special was again denied to us due to the group size. I really don't understand this. Can someone in the industry please explain this second part to me. If we had gone as two groups, we could have got the special, but we can't because we went as one group. What is the difference?

What the restaurant has going for it is the wonderful location. The views are spectacular, and as the day grew into night with the sun setting, it is a stunning restaurant to dine in. However, due to numerous service and customer issues, I don't think any of us will be going back. More on that later.

Ross gave us an impression of Matt Preston while we waited for everyone to arrive. Jessie was running so late that we had to start without her. She eventually arrived when everyone finished eating, prompting her to vow to buy a GPS.

The food itself was the usual ecletic mix from these new age cafes that try to be all things to all people. Therefore you get things such as Soft Shell Crab, Sanganaki and Oysters Kilpatrick for entrees. I had the Oysters Kilpatrick and they tasted good. The entrees for everyone was probably the highlight.

The mains were again all over the shop, with Lobster Mornay, Fish and Chips, Duck Risotto and Seafood Marinara. I had the lobster and it was overpowered by the mornay. The mornay was extremely heavy and really flour-y.

Desserts were definitely forgettable. In fact, they were regrettable. The Tiramisu was awful, with heavy stodgy cream covering a generic sponge cake. My Chocolate Fondant was so dry, with no oozing chocolate in the centre at all.

Look how cute the little kids were. I love these two photos. On the left, Hien with Chi and Phi. And on the right, the triplets of Mark, Nathan and Lachlan, with a cameo from Rick with the bunny ears.

As I mentioned earlier, the strength of this place is it's fantastic view. It is indeed relaxing to stare out at the beach. However, it falls flat on all other factors that matter for a restaurant. The food ranged from ok to passable to terrible. The prices are way too high for the quality of food.

Despite their information that we could not order the full menu, they must have somehow forgot and we took advantage and ordered off the full menu. Their timing of the dishes was ridiculous. Entrees were served for some while others received their mains. Then some other entrees didn't come out till much later, when everyone had received their mains.

The service was also shocking. Despite the number of staff hanging around the bar talking, it was impossible to get any service. We had to request water at least half a dozen time throughout the night. They mixed up our orders as well.

The ambience in the actual restaurant is actually quite good, with the lighting giving a nice glow to the place and the floor to ceiling glass windows a treat.

I would not be going back despite the great views. I think for the money they charge, better food and service can be had in Melbourne.

Overall Rating: 11/20, Great views but disappointing food and service.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Beachcomber at St Kilda Sea Baths on Urbanspoon


804 Glenferrie Rd
Hawthorn VIC 3122
Ph: (03) 9819 4858

It was Nelly's birthday, and since she had already done like one hundred different birthday dinners with various friends (she's so popular haha), we decided to go and do a simple dinner. Samurai came up as a suggestion, as a few people had been and had confirmed that it was good.

Samurai is your small takeaway/dining restaurant in the 'burbs. It sure has a good following, with a no reservation policy meaning there are literally people queueing up to get in. I can see why after having dined there.

So while Nelly got there nice and early to bag a table, the rest of us slowly trickled in. Most of us were quite good and I was actually one of the last to get there, being only 10 minutes late. I had an excuse as I brought in a massive tub of Magnolia Bakery's Chocolate Cupcakes for Nelly. Elliot however, had no excuse, going to Sakura in Glen Waverley instead of Samurai. Apparently, he even got there early and waited twenty minutes to find no one had arrived. We ordered for him while he drove from Glen Waverley.

The menu has quite a few options, with the best value being the dinner set, which at $15 gets you food and drinks/dessert. Go for the drink, as it's basically a massive cup of green tea ice cream, which is deesert but a lot more of it. Here's a tip, ask for it in a takeaway cup as you definitely won't finish it during dinner. You then get a choice of soup, an entree and a mains. What fantastic value is that.

The food itself is really good. I chose the miso soup, gyoza, teriayki chicken, green tea thickshake for my meal. We all had some sushi and sashimi to share. The soups all had nice clean flavours. The entrees, such as gyoza, potato croquettes, tempura prawns, tofu and chicken skewers were all good. The mains varied from ok to excellent. The Seafood Udon was delicious, with the Beef and Chicken Teriayki passable. However, the Curry Chicken was sensational. I must get that all to myself next time. We all sucked on our ridiculously thick drinks and got brain freezes.

After the meal, Nelly was generous enough to share her cupcakes with everyone. We must have looked so silly, standing around in the street eating cupcakes and talking for an hour.

The service in the restaurant was good for such a busy place. Requests for more napkins, cups, chopsticks and tea were quickly met. The atmosphere in the small restaurant is buzzing. The noise level is quite loud but not so that you can't hear. It's not the place that you would linger around for a long time as others are waiting for a table, but it's fantastic for a short-ish meal.

Food, as I mentioned, is good and for the price, excellent value for money.

Overall Rating: 14/20, Good Japanese food giving excellent value for money.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Samurai on Urbanspoon

Mount Dandenong - Part 2

So one day while we were bored, Dennis and I just decided to do an impromptu trip to Mount Dandenong. We have both been there numerous times, but it's always a great relaxing day trip.

Obviously, most visitors go to visit SkyHigh Mount Dandenong, where there are some brilliant views of Melbourne to be had. I've gone to the top of the mountain a few times, and you can read about one occasion here.

This trip, we wanted to visit the various shops in the towns around Mount Dandenong. The first stop was in Olinda, where we firstly had lunch at Pie In The Sky. They have won numerous medals for their prizes. But with these advertisements, take it with a grain of salt. There is usually little context as to how important these awards are. Dennis and I had a chuckle when we saw their last winning meat pie was back in 2001.

Anyway, we both got a pie with chips. I got the Classic Meat Pie. The pie pastry was really good, flaky and buttery. The filling was nice, but nothing too special. The chips were ordinary and nothing to write home about.

We walked around the town and looked at the various shops, selling antiques, homewares, toys, food and all sorts of other things.

Having partially burnt off the pie (as we deluded ourselves), it was off to Sassafras to enjoy some more food. While we put our name down on the Miss Marple's Tearoom waiting list for a table, we wandered around the town. I liked the Tea Leaves shop, which apparently has the largest range of teas in Victoria. It was quite a small and cramped shop and I was conscious not to bump over any tea pots while squeezing past people. I bought some green teas to enjoy later at home.

Finally, after about 45 minutes, it was our turn to dine at the ever busy Miss Marples tearoom. There is a queue there year round, at all times of the day. We both wanted to eat the fingers and scones and desserts, but wwas still quite full so settled on scones and tea. The scones are definitely good, being the perfect combination of a soft fluffy (sponge cake like) scone with rich luscious cream and a wonderfully tart home made raspberry jam.

Don't you love how old fashioned charming the restaurant looks like.

Finally, within a few metres from Miss Marples, you can wonder for a walk through some cool and calming rainforests. Perfect.

And that, wraps up a comfortable relaxing day at one of Melbourne's natural attractions, Mount Dandenong.

Pie in the Sky on Urbanspoon

Miss Marple's Tearoom on Urbanspoon