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Ela Carte Restaurant Reviews

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Some 'gems' of Good Food Month | Ela Carte

Ela Carte ELA CARTE: Let’s get one thing straight – vegetarians just aren’t going to enjoy this deal at a charming Collingwood pub. Plus, the 'Bar Hop' deal.

Bargain Bun Ta with Ela Carte

It’s funny – there are three places I love in this one little strip, and each for a particular dish.

Ela visits Bar Nacional

Bar Nacional. ELA CARTE: Ela Carte goes to Bar Nacional, 727 Collins Street, Docklands. www.barnacional.com.au

Ela Carte visits Kirk’s wine bar

If there’s anything Ian Curley can do well, it’s European fare and feel, and he hasn’t missed the mark at Kirk’s. ELA CARTE: If there’s anything Ian Curley can do well, it’s European fare and feel, and he hasn’t missed the mark at Kirk’s.

Ela visits Mi Peru d’Carmen

Mi Peru d’Carmen ELA CARTE: Review of Mi Peru d’Carmen, 242-246 Como Parade, West Parkdale.

Ela gets toastie at the Jaffle Bar

Jaffle Bar Ela snaffles a jaffle, the latest foodie trend.

Ms Carte meets Mister Jennings

Mister Jennings ELA CARTE: The Estelle remains one of my favourite eateries in Melbourne, so when I heard head chef and part-owner Ryan Flaherty had branched out on his own – it wasn’t going to take long to hunt him down.

Ela Carte visits Valley Cellar Door

Valley Cellar Door ELA CARTE: I love a good local – usually the lower key the better.

Review: Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu's tempura soft-shelled crab. REVIEW: It’s funny when you’re travelling overseas and having all those fabulous experiences, there are still things you miss from home.

Ela's Glasgow food highlights

photo-4LEAD ELA CARTE: Ela's Glasgow food highlights.

Ela enjoys Big Huey’s Diner

nachosLEAD ELA CARTE: Let’s be honest, I’m using it as an excuse, but it’s the fourth of July and I think it warrants taking advantage of the explosion of American eateries that have hit Melbourne.

Ela Carte tastes Kong BBQ

eggplantLEAD ELA CARTE: Needless to say expectations were high when the man behind Chin Chin and Baby announced he’d be opening a Korean/Japanese fusion BBQ restaurant in Richmond.

Catering for Chile v Australia

cakes-1LEAD ELA CARTE: Getting up on Saturday morning to watch the big match? Why not hedge your bets, barrack for Australia, but eat for Chile – or from Chile anyway.

Ela enjoys the Food and Wine festival

Quail ELA CARTE: It’s that time of year again, and yet another week that I have stuffed myself silly with roast dinners purely to pump up the opportunities available to you as part of the 2014 Roast Collection presented by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

Ela tiptoes to Tippler & Co

Tippler and Co REVIEW: This is one of those places that I keep recommending people try, have thoroughly enjoyed myself and then didn’t think to mention on the program. But I should.

Miss Katies Crab Shack

seafood REVIEW: When you pull up to The Public Bar in North Melbourne and find a grungy looking pub, don’t keep driving you are at the right place.

'A little taste of Italy'

seafood-pasta375 ELA CARTE: No matter how confident you are that you think you know how long it would take to get from Melbourne to Italy, you are probably wrong.

Ela's Woodland House review

bombe-alaska375 One of Melbourne’s most well-known fine dining addresses on Williams Road in Prahan, where what once was “Jacques Reymond”, is now “Woodland House”.

Ela Carte's Victoria for visitors

spanner-crab375 I’m always happy to help out with a suggestion for an occasion or event, but the tables were turned recently when family announced they’d be visiting from overseas for a fortnight.

Ela discovers Food Republik

Chilli-wontonslead I'm not for one minute going to tell you I can tell you the best place to eat in Box Hill.

Ela tastes Indian at Babu Ji

Babu Ji Modern Indian – is there already such a thing? If not, this must be it.

Ela thrilled with Stokehouse pop-up

tart-375 It’s hard to believe it theory, but I can tell you, it’s just as stupefying in person.

Ela cruises to Nieuw Amsterdam

Nieuw Amsterdam ELA CARTE: I knew from the start I was going to like this place. The warm welcome helped, as did the classy but not over-the-top decor. It's a pretty funky joint and the food is seriously good value, with no dishes over $20.

Bank Street Woodfired Pizza

Amelia Pizza. Ela Carte reviews Bank Street Woodfired Pizza & Garden in Avenal.

Ela's flirtatious fling at Fatto

Fatto bike VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL: For the romantics among you this is a great place to dine with a view; for the rest of you, it's a good feed, full stop.

Ela Carte takes a trip to the bay

Slider ELA CARTE: It’s been a courthouse and lock up, a nursery and a tile shop, but now that lovely historic building on the corner of Graham and Bay Streets in Port Melbourne is a stylish but relaxed Latin eatery.

Ela's meat and greet at Little Berties

Little Berties restaurant, Richmond Now this is summer eating for me - meat and salads, and quality stuff at that. This is an eatery with a difference

My Kitchen Rules launch

Ela Carte at the season five My Kitchen Rules launch dinner. ELA CARTE: So what food do they serve at the exclusive My Kitchen Rules season five launch dinner?

Ela's best of the best 2013

Prawn. Ela's best of the best list for 2013.

Ela visits Claypot Curry House

Beef curry. So often it’s the unplanned adventures that are the best. As I drove down to a wedding on the Bass Coast last weekend, I saw a sign for the Claypot Curry House for the umpteenth time, and I can’t tell you what it was that made me take note this time.

Ela's bang for buck at Bomba

Lamb Ribs Above all, it feels accessible, the sort of place you’d want to wander off the street to check out. And there are two particular features it is absolutely worth checking out – a very affordable work day lunch deal, and a seriously cute rooftop.

Ela tastes the 'most liveable city'

Pork dumpling. For the third year in a row, Melbourne is named the most liveable city in the world and Chef Shane Delia has represented this most liveable city on a plate.

Ela's guide to good food month

Maha Surely Melbourne has enough food festivals? Surely not! Here’s another one, and this one a whole month of activities, events and special deals to help you make the most of Melbourne’s gastronomic treasure trove.

Ela Carte goes 'O.My'

Chicken. Finally got a chance to check out a listener suggestion - the O.My restaurant in Beaconsfield.

Ela gets jiggy at Jinda Thai

Larb In the heart of little Vietnam, there’s another piece of south east Asia that’s worth visiting – even it’s a little off the main drag.

Ela's champion lunch at the Clayton Bowls Club

Champion The menu during the week is a’la carte, but you do have the option of a set course type arrangement, choose from the sections titled “smaller”, “bigger” and “sweeter” and you can pair two courses for $35, or grab three for $45. It is phenomenal value.

Ela visits Grain Store

Fresh Tasmanian ocean trout is slow cooked, and rests on mashed parsnip. REVIEW: Grain Store is housed just shy of King Street on Flinders Lane, it’s pretty non-descript from the outside, but indoors is another story.

Ela visits Dee's Kitchen on the pier

Spiced carrot & chickpea pastili. REVIEW: The flavour is Middle Eastern, a huge breakfast menu, a bit more limited for lunch – but that’s the value of an all-day breakfast – and dinners available Thursday to Sunday.

Ela tastes 'hellenic dirty food'

Beef brisket souva. ELA CARTE: That George Calombaris is nothing if not adaptable. This corner restaurant has changed yet again, the oh-so-fancy Press Club is no longer, and in its place is a far more laidback eatery promising “Hellenic Dirty Food”.

Ela visits a slice of Italy

Osso bucco pizza. REVIEW: This is the sort of joint we all wish for around the corner, but for now, your wish only comes true if you’re in the northern suburbs – specifically Thomastown.

Ela enjoys a little taste of Croatia

Pierogi dish. REVIEW: A little taste of Croatia in the heart of Chinatown. A lotta taste of Croatia, really. I loved 'Brutale' from the start.

Ela tucks into Marko's schnitzels

Marko If you head to Urbanspoon and ask to just list the eateries in Moorabbin, one sticks out at the top of the list with a 98% rating. Could be an anomaly, of course, but on closer inspection things look pretty legi.

Ela tastes the Union Road strip

Beetroot cured salmon. REVIEW: What a fabulous little strip Union Road is. From retro bakeries, to ultra modern cafes, boutiques and natural therapies – it was buzzing on this Sunday afternoon.

Ela's salvation at Saint Crispin

Crispin It might be new, but this place is already heaving, so you’ll need to book in advance and while you can indeed book – but you’ll choose between a 6pm or 8.15pm sitting unless you sit at a bench at the window or bar like we did.

Ela trials the Trailer Park

Po-boy A gathering of food trucks complete with actual chairs and tables and a fully stocked bar. Fairly central on St Kilda Road, parking isn’t exactly a breeze, but once you find one – there are plenty of eating options on offer.

Ela gets sassy at Sarti

Sarti Check out their great value lunch degustation at $40 per head, or night owls can enjoy their Friday night Jazz from 10pm – have a late dinner or just pop in for a cocktail.

Mitchell Harris meets Ela Carte

sliders REVIEW: It was pretty quiet for a Saturday afternoon lunch, apparently Friday evenings are pumping at the moment. Winemaker John Harris is on hand for advice on choosing a drop, the menu consists of fairly simple snacks, but plenty of them.

Ela feasts at Pope Joan

Pope Joan This is the ultimate neighbourhood restaurant. Completely lacking in pretense, and instead oozing friendly charm and (dare I say) ‘Nanna chic’. Staff are super efficient but not overbearing...

Ela gets spoiled by Meatmother

Pulled Pork Blink and you’ll miss it – the exterior of Meatmother is seriously simple. Big window, little sign. Guess it matches the food inside – seriously simple, seriously good barbecue.

Ela heads to old Napoli

Bar Napoli in Frankston ELA CARTE: Poor old Frankston, so often the butt of our jokes. So it was great to have an excuse to visit this part of the Peninsula - and a new restaurant from Paul Mathis isn’t a bad excuse.

Roast collection 2013

Yorkshire Hotel roast ELA CARTE: This week Ela reviews the roast collection 2013, thanks to a Melbourne food and wine festival promotion held annually in June.

Ela gets a taste of 'the real' Mexico

Tacos from Mexican eatery La Tortilleria in kensington. (Photo: Ela Carte) ELA CARTE: Fear not. This isn’t another super cool Mexican eatery. This is a little taste of the real Mexico, on the eye and the palate. It’s fun, it’s vibrant, and it’s great, simple, authentic fare.

Ela heads to Fu Manchu in Preston

Mee Goreng dish at Fu Manchu in Preston. ELA CARTE: I love it when someone opens a decent eatery away from the main drag. It takes guts, and it’s generally so very appreciated by local punters. Marty Chu has done just that with Fu Manchu, transforming an old community hall into an oh-so-funky Vietnamese cafe.

Ela in B'Stilla, South Yarra

Cauliflower dish at B'Stilla. Oh, this joint became the talk of the town so very quickly. It helps that the chef and owner is the same Jason Jones who co-founded Mamasita. It probably helps that it isn’t another bloody Mexican place.

Ela in Kew for Lil' Boy Blue

Prawn Tacos Lil Boy Blue is probably a bit like the poem – compact, fun, and cute. It has the added charm of seriously cool décor – it’s all about the detail, from the hanging ferns to the picture frame shelves, & elegant crockery.

Ela finds Polish paradise in Kluska

Polish Set in a renovated house on a busy Dandenong thoroughfare, this truly aims to be authentic home-cooked fare – so the surrounds are apt. Floral tablecloths, images of the motherland, and Polish tunes are a good start...

Ela dines at Salix at Willow Creek

lamb Salix at Willow Creek is just that little more out of the way out in Merricks North. The winery and the restaurant are separately owned but you’d never know it. The property features a pretty original homestead but the restaurant is all new.

Ela starts anew at Shakahari Too

papaya The original Shakahari in Carlton is something of an institution, well known for being a cut above the typical lentil patty veggie café. Like their newer little sister in South Melbourne, Shakahari Too, these guys aim for an elegant, flavoursome menu.

Ela paves The way to San Jose

Ragu Another one of those “wish I had one in my ‘hood” type of place. The Way to San Jose is an Italian eatery that wouldn’t be out of place in the trendy inner suburbs, but if firmly planted in a south eastern shopping strip.

Ela Carte 'Milks the Cow'

Cheese - Ela Carte ELA CARTE: A licensed fromagerie, Milk the Cow does what it says on the tin –sells cheese, and booze. They have plenty of it, something like 70 varieties, and they’d tell you they have the best of the best.

Ela meets the Ginger Baker

Fritters But my favourite is probably the most picturesque, a stunning ramshackle café spilling onto the Ovens River right at the end of town. With jam jar lights, and chunky timber tables, Ginger Baker is in a class of its own.

Ela Carte picks Piqueos

Piqueos Piqueos draws on cuisine from some of my favourite places in the world - Argentina and Peru. It’s been opened by a couple of young local blokes who’ve done their time working for others in some of the best restaurants in Melbourne.

Ela Carte gets serious about Malaysian fare

ELA CARTE: For starters, these guys are serious about their roti, it’s prepared fresh in the front window, and if you can’t get a seat straight away, it’s not a bad distraction while you wait.

Ela Carte gets Grill'd with the Coat of Arms burger

Coat of Arms Burger 3AW Foodie Ela Carte celebrated Australia Day a few days early with a Grill'd Coat of Arms Burger, a tasty concoction featuring kangaroo and emu, the two animals on Australia's coat of arms.

Ela Carte strips down Naked in the Sky

Naked for Satan Sausage Rolls REVIEW: If you didn’t get to Naked for Satan last time round, give this one a go – it’s one of those places you want to take a visitor, showing off the best of Melbourne’s cuisine and scenes.

Ela Carte's great summer eateries

Boatbuilders Yard, South Wharf. (Photo: Rebecca Hallas) As the weather warms up and we bask in the outdoors, Ela Carte picks the best spots to eat and bask in the summer sun in and around Melbourne.

Ela heads to Orto Kitchen & Garden

Donuts RESTAURANT REVIEW: Orto literally translates as kitchen garden, the expansive deck is filled with herbs and vegies in planters (and gumboots) amongst the outdoor furniture.

Ela goes to 'Hell of the North'

Hell of the North (Ella Carte) FOOD REVIEW: It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about a meal. Hell of the North was pure heaven. Tucked away in a side street leading from busy Smith Street, Hell lives in a beautiful bluestone terrace with an unmistakably yellow door.

'The Last Piece' comes home first

The Last Piece (Ela Carte) FOOD REVIEW: At the bottom of the remaining grandstand at Waverley Park is a great, modern cafe that has well and truly adopted its sporty neighbours and their hoardes of fans.

Ela Carte's Spring Graze

Middle Park Hotel FOOD REVIEW: These promotions from the Melbourne Food and Wine people are always the perfect chance to head to a venue you’ve been meaning to check out. This week Ela headed to the Middle Park Hotel, The Deanery and The Living Room.

Ela muscles her way in Big Boy BBQ

Big Boy BBQ REVIEW: You may read “BBQ”, but don’t be thinking burnt bangers on a sizzling hot grill. This is authentic US style barbecue - all low and slow. Specifically, Big Boy BBQ employs the Kansas City style of cooking.

Ela fly's to the Moon Under Water

Pigeon (Ela Carte) FOOD REVIEW: This one’s been eagerly awaited. Melbourne’s restaurant darling Andrew McConnell has taken a true inner suburb pub, a much-loved boozer, and gastro-fied the hell out of it.

Ela Carte eats and loves

Eat and Love SUBCONTINENTAL FLAVOUR: The Olympic challenge this week was to find a country that has never won an Olympic gold and give them some love. I went one better. I found two: Bangladesh and Nepal.

Ela Carte's British fare

Pork Pie UK IN MELBOURNE:: As Ross and John prepare to head to Ol’ Blighty for some big sporting event, the theme of the day must be all things Grand Britannia.

Ela gets engrossed with the Roast

Huxtable THREE REVIEWS: "It’s that time of year again, and once again I have been unashamedly squeezing as many roast dinners as I can into one single week so I can then come and tell you guys about it." Ela reviews Matteo's, Post Office Hotel & Huxtable.

Ela says Konnichiwa to Akachochin

Koni Akachochin is another of those Japanese “Izakayas”, supposedly a more casual eatery designed for small bites. At the helm is chef Kengo Hiromatsu, so while the feel is relaxed the food seems too good to described as casual.

Down at the Corner with Ela

The Corner Store - Ela Carte REVIEW: The Corner Store- It’s big, with options for dining indoors and out, intimate tables and spaces for groups. It was pretty loud given this was a Tuesday afternoon, but it’s not unbearable, and certainly promising that at least it was busy.

Ela tips her sombrero to Senoritas

Mexican REVIEW: The Nuevo-Mexican wave started of course with Mamasita, but there have since been additions like Touche Hombre; Fonda and Chingon Cantina in Richmond. Senoritas has one clear advantage, both owner and head chef are Mexican born and bred.

Ela says Casa Ciuccio is the go

Ciuccio ela carte food REVIEW: If you've enjoyed spending evening grazing at Bar Lourinha, have I got a bar for you! The crew from the popular Little Collins bar have opened up a little further north, & it’s another venue perfect for a night of Spanish share plates & fine wine.

Ela's got soul...and marmalade

Duck one MARMALADE AND SOUL: "For me, this was the kind of place where the everyday lunch menu was so enticing that I was annoyed when they then presented me with a blackboard full of appealing specials." Complete review here.

Ela Carte in burger heaven

nshry THREE REVIEWS: "So this week the aim was to go and check out some of the new generation of burgers trying to steal the limelight from established stars like Andrew’s in Albert Park, Danny’s Burgers, and even the likes of Rockpool."

Firechief Ela reports for duty

Ela Carte Pizza REVIEW: This week Ela headed to Melbourne's East to the newly opened pizzeria in Melbourne's east she says is "A vibrant eatery that is funky, modern, tasty AND family friendly – it really is a winning combination."

Ela's pilgrimage to the temple

Ela's buns REVIEW: This week Ela Carte headed to Neil Perry’s Spice Temple at Crown Casino. Ela ruminated through the Yum Cha offerings that she says are a "more refined version of the Cantonese tradition that many Melburnians enjoy." Read her review here.

Ela's function at the junction

Junction Hotel Newport REVIEW: "It’s an impressive renovation, some tables with comfy, funky chairs – a few higher ones with stools. Great artwork on the walls, fresh flowers and greenery. And the menu itself seems well suited to the neighbourhood."

Ela out at OS Kitchen & WIne Bar

OS Kitchen REVIEW: This week Ela headed to Hampton where shes dined in the elegant and welcoming OS Kitchen and Wine Bar. Ela says the bar delivers authentic Italian cuisine with style and simplicity. Read here full review here.

Ela leads the way to Wayside Inn

Ela REVIEW: Sean Donovan’s decision to open a sister pub in South Melbourne pleased me no end. Once again taking over a hotel that hasn’t necessarily benefited from stifling popularity, Donovan has given the Wayside Inn a new lease of life

Ela's eastern excursion

general YARRA VALLEY & DANDENONG RANGES: This week, 3AW foodie Ela Carte ventures to the Rochford Winery and explores the General Food Store in Emerald. Reviews and photos here

Ela's tale of Argentine cuisine

San Telmo I really did put off a visit to San Telmo, purely because I know and love Argentinian food, and have eaten myself silly at many a parrilla in Buenos Aires. I’m also a proud Melburnian, so if this place was no good – I’d rather not know about it!

Ela says that's amore!

Italian Food REVIEW: Every shopping strip should have an Italian eatery with this much charm. Open just a year and a half – Pure Italian has that lived in feel that gives the impression it’s the old lady who’s lived down the road for as long as anyone can remember.

Ela Goes swimming at Middle Fish

Pork Belly REVIEW: Not your average Thai restaurant and it’s not your typical locale for a bright, airy, funky café – but then that’s the beauty of Middle Fish...Only trading for breakfast and lunch now, it will hopefully get permission for evening service and a liquor licence...

Ela's 'lazy lunch' at Albert Street

Albert REVIEW: Housed in a grand old bank, this new restaurant is slick and it is stylish, from the outside and within. But the great thing about it is that despite this almost imposing first impression, the service is fabulously friendly, and the food elegantly simple.

Ela finds gold on the silk road

Pastry REVIEW: Silk Road has only been open a year, and it’s very much a family business. As you might expect, it’s a modest eatery – clean, but certainly not fancy...but at the end of the day it’s the food that will bring you back.

Ela feasts at The Long Table

Long table REVIEW: "The Long Table this year earned itself an Age Good Food Guide chef’s hat, and it’s easy to see why. Set on split levels, the feel is spacious and classy – tables are spread out and the décor is almost rustic in its warmth and simplicity."