One bite of the soft shell crab and avocado roll was all it took to launch me into Vietnamese food nirvana - and I wasn’t even in Vietnam. The crunch, flavour and texture of the roll emanated from Dandelion Restaurant located in Melbourne’s suburbs.
Aside from excellent food, Dandelion restaurant seems to have found an answer to food bloggers ruining the restaurant atmosphere with cameras. The food has already been well photographed by Rob Banks and images are available via pinterest or through very well organised downloadable media packages.
As good as Dandelion was, the other food sensation was the A1 Lebanese Bakery on Sydney Road in Brunswick – at a fraction of the price.
A1 serves up Lebanese style 'pizzas' with toppings of zaatar, halloumi cheese with tomato, and finely minced raw lamb (there were others) in unpretentious but exotic surrounds. The baklava was another highlight. Anthony Bourdain raved about the A1 bakery on his show No Reservations a while back but the prices can’t have been affected.The ‘pizzas’ ranged from $1.50 to $4.50 and one was all I needed for lunch.
A couple of other points of interest – A French bakery on Sydney Road, Choukette, which we visited for morning coffee only took cash as payment for their very tasty croissants etc. It turns out there are well over 500 eateries in Melbourne accepting only cash. Wellington is often compared with Melbourne but this is certainly one difference.
This craft beer and wine bar in Moonee Ponds allows patrons to bring their own food or to order in restaurant food from nearby and then eat it with a beer or wine from the premises. The Valley Cellar Door offer nibbles, including cheese and cold meat platters, but encourage people to bring whatever takes their fancy - they’ve even installed a BBQ out back. It would be great to see this catch on in Wellington.