Go Native Restaurant, Berwick

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/gonativeaus
Just around the corner from home in Berwick, a new restaurant emerged just a few months ago. I remember receiving a promotional flyer in my mailbox and thought to myself "I must go and check it out someday"... and that someday somehow just happened recently. I must say I was pleased, it was a decent restaurant and we needed more decent restaurants in the area. I wasn't completely wow-ed, there is still some room for improvement. 

Go Native offers native and traditional dishes from different regions around the world including street food from the Philippines, Cambodia and the native Americas.


I happened to go there on Taco Tuesdays, so Mexican was mostly on offer. Some limited items from the main menu were also still available to order for those who don't really fancy Mexican and accidentally happened to visit on a Tuesday, or those who came in a big group and would rather not have Mexican food. We had nachos to start with, the corn chips were a bit cold but the flavours of the guacamole were amazingly spicy. Yes, spicy. Love the chillies that were added to it. Love the strong flavour of spring onion. I can see how this may not be everyone's cup of tea - and for people who are used to milder flavours of nachos might find this a bit too much, but I loved the bold guacamole.


Also from the Taco Tuesdays menu, the pulled beef tortillas were a generous serve and full of colours and flavours. It was everything you expect from a typical Mexican meal. Unfortunately I cannot comment too much on whether I absolutely love it or not, as it was around this time that Pocahontas' dad (a North American man all dressed up in a traditional cultural outfit) came out and shocked my 7 month old baby with a native song which caused quite an outburst... so I had to hold her and concentrate less on food!


I wish I had more room at this point to eat more of this Navajo bread that came with the pork and beans stew (also from the Taco Tuesdays menu). The stew was deliciously savoury and was almost like comfort food. I love how everything was served with sour cream and guacamole, as I love love love avocado and love their guacamole. The bread was soft and fluffy on the inside, and crusty on the outside. It was like a supercharged roti. Yummy.


My favourite dish of the night is the Filipino Pork Adobo or slow braised pork belly. This was my first time trying the adobo, after it has been raved and talked about heaps by my Filipino friends. Now I understand what all the fuss was about! It was super soft and tender, melts in your mouth. The flavour is vinegarry, sweet, sour, salty all at the same time. Quite similar to my braised pork recipe actually.

I am looking forward to returning to Go Native and trying out more things from their usual menu, when it is not Taco Tuesdays or Wednesday Ribs. Oh, yes I want to try their American ribs too. But I mostly would love to try the Filipino Lechon (pork belly with crispy crackling) because that is another Filipino dish always talked about on Social Media amongst my food blogger peers. I would also love to try various items from their Grill menu and some desserts. To check out their menu, please click here.

Overall, it was a pleasant experience. My 3 year old son had a great time playing in their play area securely tucked in the corner of the restaurant. Our table was right next to the play area so I could keep an eye on him while I was eating my meal. My 7 month old behaved really well in the corner too, sitting quietly in her pram (until the Northern American man started dancing of course). The fact that I could manage a full meal, take photos for my blog, and keep kids happy (love the fact that they have the usual things on a common Kids Menu to keep my boy happy with familiar food I know he loves eg chicken nuggets and chips lol) means that the next time I struggle to find time cooking dinner, and need to get out of the house, even with the kids, I know I can come here. Also now a good option for when I am catching up with friends who also have kids. Family friendly restaurant with authentic native food - how much better can it get!

Go Native on Urbanspoon

Spicy Mexican Roast Chicken Recipe


I wanted to eat chicken today. I actually wanted to eat chicken really badly today! So I thawed an Extra Large whole chicken that I got from Coles last week On Special, and while it was thawing I was pondering all day what I would do with it. In other words, how would I cook this chicken to best satisfy my craving for chicken??? Do I cook a chicken curry? Do I steam it? Do I chop it up and make fried chicken (I probably would have if it wasn't so much effort, but it was too much effort when I had two kids around to keep me busy). So I decided to roast it.

Then came the next question. What do I do with it before I roast it?

I looked in my fridge, and I looked in my pantry. I looked in my spices cupboard. Put a bunch of things together... and voila! Dinner was prepped in under 5 minutes and into the oven to slow roast for 2.5 hours. Easy peasy!


The result? Pretty darn good if you ask me. Did it satisfy my craving for chicken? It sure did! The slow roasting process meant the chicken was deliciously moist and juicy. The spices and sauces I put together resulted in a slightly spicy and quite flavoursome chicken. All the flavours and juices were retained inside the casserole dish (use a dish big enough to fit the chicken and cover with casserole dish lid).

These were roughly the ingredients I used:
Taco seasoning powder
Nando's Hot Peri Peri Sauce
Thyme
Sweet Chilli Mix with Olive Oil (from the deli)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Extra olive oil for when rubbing all the ingredients in

Just rub all the ingredients generously around the chicken and stuff the sweet chilli mix into the chicken. Roast it in the oven at 130 degrees Celcius for approximately 2.5 hours in a covered casserole dish. Serve immediately and enjoy!

If you want the flavours to truly soak into the chicken, maybe wait half an hour before putting it into the oven to let all the marinade sit.


I'm a happy mumma! The family loves it too. Nothing beats a good homecooked roast chicken.

Ordering Food Delivery Online + $50 Menulog Voucher Giveaway!

As a busy mum with two very young kids, some nights I barely manage to put a decent meal together.  If we have had a busy day and I have either been out most of the day or had other chores to take care of, or had to do some work on the computer while the kids are napping, or even just needed to have a snooze myself in the afternoon just to stay sane, 5.30pm comes along and I realise the baby needs to be breastfed and bathed - and I still haven't put dinner on. How am I supposed to cook a meal whilst feeding a baby and getting her ready for bedtime? Meanwhile, the toddler is starting to get restless and wants his dinner. Husband is not yet home from work to lend me a hand. What do I do?

Thankfully, thanks to Menulog I have the option of ordering takeaway and have food delivery straight to my doorstep. I have downloaded the Menulog app on my phone, so on those nights while I am stuck feeding my 6 month old baby on the couch, I can browse through the many restaurants in the area and decide what to have for dinner and order my food online. It is so easy and convenient! To be honest, a lifesaver on those crazy hectic days.

If you are not familiar with Menulog, here is how it works:

Go to www.menulog.com.au to get started. If you already have an existing account and have ordered takeaway from the website before, a list of your previous orders would appear on the homepage so you can conveniently and quickly re-order your favorite meals with one click of a button. If you are new, you can start searching for restaurants in the area by entering your postcode.


After entering your postcode, you then have a list of all the restaurants in your area. You can search by a specific cuisine type, or even a dish if you are craving something specific, or by which restaurants that are currently offering a special discount or offer to make the most value out of your money.


If the restaurants are not open yet, you can pre-order your meal and set the delivery time in advance and when the restaurant opens they will send you an email and/or SMS to confirm that they have received your order and confirm what time the food will be delivered.


Once you have selected your restaurant, enjoy browsing through the entire menu by category of food and add your selections to your order by clicking the "+" button next to the price. It is so user friendly, so easy to navigate, the only difficulty is actually choosing what you want! Once you are ready to proceed, click "Place Your Order" and follow all the prompts in regards to payment methods. You can choose to pay online or to pay in cash when food is delivered. Once you have set up your account and all your details, your next orders will be even quicker as all your details would have been prefilled. Too easy!




This particular restaurant is personally one of my favorites on Menulog. They always deliver on time (sometimes even earlier than scheduled!) and the food always arrive hot and fresh, and so delicious.

The quality of food and speed of delivery is entirely dependant on the restaurant establishment and have nothing to do with Menulog - but Menulog definitely serves as a great medium for browsing and ordering conveniently online. 


If you haven't tried ordering food delivery online before, why not give it go? Thanks to the generous people at Menulog, I have a $50 Menulog voucher to giveaway to one very lucky winner. 

All you have to do:
  1. Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me why you would like to win this voucher (this is the only mandatory step for you to gain 2 points into the draw) but after you comment, you MUST use the Rafflecopter app below and checked "I commented" to secure your entry. Please don't forget to include your NAME when you comment on this post so I can match your comment to your entry!
  2. Once you have commented on this post and checked "I commented" on the Rafflecopter app - you can optionally submit more entries by following me on Facebook and Twitter and answering a simple poll. All done via the Rafflecopter app below:


Winner will be contacted and announced here after the 6th of October. Good luck!


Easy Brown Rice Salad


The past two days in Melbourne, we have had the joys of beautiful sunny and mid 20s weather. Spring is finally here! In fact, daylight savings starts again next weekend so we will have a lot more light in the evenings! Oh this is so wonderful.. we have survived yet another winter. I must be fully honest and say that I am not the biggest fan of summer at its worst... but these lovely mid 20s (deg Celcius) temperatures are amazing, so enjoyable and great for taking kids outdoors for their play.

So I thought I'd share a really cool recipe for these warmer days. A friend of mine made me this brown rice salad just last week and I just fell in love with it. Not only is it tasty and nutritiously healthy, it was a filling meal on its own. Very satisfying and fulfilling. Great for lunches this coming summer!

The great thing about this salad, is that you can pretty much do whatever you want to it and make up your own variation in terms of flavour. Just like what you would do with a pasta salad, brown rice is very versatile and I love the texture and flavour of it. In fact, I think I will permanently switch from white rice to brown rice now!


This recipe is just an example of what you can do as a brown rice salad. I love it so much. All the flavours work so well together and we just had it for lunch AND dinner today and I am still happy to eat more tomorrow. Hope you like it as much as I do!

Ingredients:
(Some items have no specified quantities, it is entirely up to your personal preference)
1 1/2 cups of brown rice
4 cups of water
Salt
Fresh chopped parsley
Semi dried tomatoes
1 can of chick peas
1/2 can of sweet corn kernels
Olive Oil
1 tbsp Honey Mustard dressing
A handful of almonds, crushed
Avocado
Tuna (optional)

Method:
To cook the rice using the absorption method, combine the rice, water and enough salt to season and cook in low heat in a covered saucepan for approx. 30-40 mins or until all the water is absorbed. Stir well occasionally. When cooked, leave rice to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Combine cooked rice, chopped parsley, semi dried tomatoes, chick peas, corn, olive oil, and honey mustard dressing in a bowl. Mix the ingredients well. Leave the salad to chill in the fridge until ready to be served.

Serve salad topped with avocado and crushed almonds. For a meat version, also serve topped with tuna or chicken or any other meat as desired. 

This recipe serves 4-6 people.



EightyOne Fine Food & Wine, Berwick

Charcuterie Platter for 2 inc Ham Hock Terrine, Fennel and Garlic Salami, Butifarra Negra, Grilled Sour Dough, Pickles, Jam, Cauliflower, Artichoke.
I actually blogged about EightyOne restaurant almost 2 years ago (click here to read that blog post) and wasn't sure if I would come back to the restaurant. I am so glad I did, because the food has improved tremendously and I walked away a really happy (and full) customer last night.

Interior and ambience wise, not much has changed. The restaurant itself was still that same intimate, quiet, beautiful place I remembered. The service was still prompt and friendly. The menu has changed, but the selection was still quite limited. There were still only three desserts to choose from, but personally I was very happy with the options they offer for entrees and mains - they were all "my kind of food" and I would quite happily eat any one of the dishes offered in the menu. That's just my opinion, I love meat and they offer a dish of each type of meat which I love. For someone who maybe has a preference for vegetarian dishes or pasta, they might struggle!

EightyOne also offers a Tapas menu, which is again rather limited. We did not order anything from the tapas menu though, so I won't say anymore!

I started by ordering the cocktail that was on special that night, the "Tipsy Teddy" which was basically a jar packed with Midori, Malibu, Vodka, Lemonade, Strawberry and Gummy Bears! It was a delicious treat and I went easy on it and sipped it slowly all throughout the 3 hours I was there in the restaurant.

Between the three of us ladies, we quite comfortably shared the Charcuterie Platter for 2. The platter offers a nice selection of terrine and sausages and accompanying jams and pickles, etc to go with the grilled sour dough. Some elements were better than others, but overall it was quite a nice start.

I couldn't go past ordering an Entree for myself on top of the platter (so I ate less of my share of the platter to make room for a separate entree. I knew I just had to order the Twice Cooked Crispy Ham Hock, and was so glad I did! The ham hock was basically slow cooked first so the meat is super tender and melts in your mouth, then fried to crispy perfection.

Twice Cooked Crispy Ham Hock with Sweet Pear & Tendrils, Smoked Parsnip Puree, Ham Veloute && Jamon Dust
The sauce that came with it, apparently the smoked parsnip puree, is to-die-for! It went so well with everything else. I was savouring every bite of my amazing entree. Yum yum yum.

Confit Pork Belly with Pear Gastrique, Pomegranate, Radicchio, Fennel & Pear Slaw
Pork again for my main? Why of course! Like I said, their menu may have limited choices... but I would happily eat ANY item on their menu. It was as if the chef had my kind of taste in food, hehe. Anyway, the pork belly was deliciously tender and was quite an appropriate portion. Not too big, not too small. Sometimes I feel ripped off going to these "fancy" restaurants that serve only a tiny little piece of meat. This pork belly was the perfect size. I loved the fennel and pear slaw that came with it, but wasn't a big fan of whatever it was that sat underneath the pork. It was... not my cup of tea. Overall, a great dish! Would've preferred a bit more crunch to the crackling.

Slow Braised Wagyu Brisket with Lentil and Root Vegetable Jus, Soft Polenta, Wild Mushroom Crumb & Asparagus
Parpadelle with Chorizo, Rocket, Tomato, Olive & Yarra Valley Fetta
My dinner companions, two wonderful friends I met through Mothers Group and have kept in close contact ever since, ordered the wagyu brisket and the pasta which was on special that night. Both were pretty happy with their mains, we all had a great time sharing stories and eating delicious food so cannot complain!

Deconstructed Candy Bar - Milk Chocolate Nougat, Peanut Mousse, Bitter Chocolate, Almond Nougatine, Salted Caramel.
Technically, I didn't NEED to have dessert but I thought what the heck - let's do this. How often do I get to do this anyway (not very often these days) so I ordered the deconstructed candy bar. Oh. My. Goodness. It was DIVINE! First scoop was of the peanut mousse and a bit of salted caramel. More more more! A bit of this mixed with a bit of that. Need more salted caramel sauce! It was just the perfect finish to the night. I was very happy. If there were little imperfections in the previous dishes, this dessert fixed them all. I forgot. All I remember then at the time of eating this dessert was how bad it was for my hips but how good it tasted. I will worry about my hips tomorrow haha.

Rhubarb Cheesecake with spiced ginger bread, sesame crunch, rhubarb pearls & filaments, champagne jelly.
My friend had the rhubarb cheesecake and judging from her body language she enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed mine! I thought it looked beautifully presented in a glass, very pretty.

We truly did have a great night out. EightyOne finally redeemed itself, the food was so much better this time around and I really want to go back and try some of the other items on the menu. The restaurant may have gotten some average reviews in the past, but I can see a trend of people appreciating it more in the recent months. Perhaps they still need to be able to offer a more extensive menu and more variety to please more diners, or perhaps they should stick to what they do best and offer what they are good at - in my case, I am more than happy with the selection.

EightyOne is also one of the restaurants featured in the Entertainment Book so we got $40 off our total bill which made quite a significant difference to what we ended up paying! Basically we paid $55 per person for our 3-course meal including drinks. That was not bad at all for a fantastic night out. Just sad now that we've been there and used the discount, next time we go we won't be able to get that discount until next financial year... aawwww.


Eighty One Fine Food and Wine on Urbanspoon