Saturday, October 28, 2017

Coffee and blogging

RNIS was invited by General Assembly and Allpress to this session. But it took us a while to write this due to Melbourne Marathon and other commitments that took us away from this blog!

This session took place in Allpress's coffee studio where participants tried their lovely coffees. Participants were also given a tour of their roasting warehouse where we saw the temperatures of their quality roasters go to 200C.

Allpress pride themselves on the quality of their coffee and they live and breathe it each day. Their guys are mostly from New Zealand. Here most of their coffee beans are from Brazil and are green before they are roasted. When they are roasted they smell chocolatey. Roasted the wrong way and they will smell bitter and burnt.

A good barista knows what they are doing and many of them take the time and knowledge to learn how to roast their own beans and make their own brews. Some of them like Axil goes on to do the world coffee championships. Axil came in second place.

A good site takes time to open and the cost and time to do the research. Most of the good sites in Melbourne are in the inner city area. In this area most people love a good brew in the morning. The barista gets up around 4am to make it to work and open by 7am. Most of the places shut by 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

Many thanks to General Assembly and Allpress for the invite and be sure to think about what the barista is going through before ranting online as online rants do hurt the business. The business and barista have worked very hard to please you and their aim is to please the people so that people will come again.

West Beach Bathers Pavillion

West Beach Bathers Pavillion is in St Kilda and it is primarily a bar, but they do serve cafe food. They are 150 mts away from the tram stop on Beaconsfield Parade and they have weekly dinner and drinks specials.

Here the service can sometimes be friendly and other times they are a bit slow. I have been there before for my tea after a long run. I love to pat the dogs that are in the courtyard on a sunny Sunday as they help relax me.


Sofi Spritz

Grange Roads beer

AIX wines

La land wines

And they do have a function room.

Patrons can sit outdoors and enjoy the beach or they can go inside. The service here is relaxed but sometimes they can forget your order. Here they have a bar which operates during the summer. And they have a huge wine list.

I loved their spring rolls and their arancini as it was cooked well and very addictive. This would be the perfect summer mix with a Sofi Spritz. With a Sofi Spritz patrons can enjoy good tunes in the courtyard during the summer.

I would imagine that the bellinis work really well with the Mango Daiquiri that I had the other day. Or they would work well with a pink rose or an Aperol Spritz.

The Gage Road beers would work well with a burger or their $10 dinner specials. But if you are not in the mood for food then it would work just fine with a packet of nuts which are on their counter.

The gin would be quite fine on its own as they are strong in taste and alcohol levels. Or it would work well with the chicken skewers on offer.

Pity though that there was no wine Icecream but oh well.
West Beach Bathers Pavilion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The 126 restaurant tips and how we are incorporating it here.

Earlier this year we were given a 126 restaurant tips guide by AGFA but we have been too busy with the Melbourne Marathon to really promote good practice.

On Social Media
We have Instagram, twitter and Facebook. Many restaurants these days try to promote their wares on social media which gives them a competitive edge. Most restaurants have Instagram and many well-known ones invite their bloggers out to share and like their dishes.

Some restaurants respond to negative criticism and ask for help which is the right thing to do for their business. The good business manages their customer reviews well on Zomato and Facebook and they follow their customers.
Email sales are a must for any good business.

Ambiance matters
For a restaurant to do well ambiance matters. People don't want to go to a dirty restaurant.

Costs and the Good food and wine show
Paying the correct wage is a must. If restaurants don't pay the correct wage then the staff are not happy and will want to work elsewhere.
The cost of the food reflects on the quality of it.
Buying good wine for most upmarket places is a must.

Business plan
Each restaurant should have a good business plan and one that is five years long. It needs to be really detailed down to the wire.

Other events and promotions
Successful businesses nowadays have a stall at the many local markets such as the farmer's markets. This is a good way to promote dishes to new customers. This is a great way to get new customers in the door.

Most cafes and restaurants are featured on Groupon, LivingSocial and the Entertainment book and you can buy one off us here. You can read about what we are doing to help the Salvos here.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Igg restaurant and bar

RNIS was invited here by Healthyintstudents site, who bought them a Groupon to use.

Igg Buffet Restaurant and bar is in Docklands where it is quiet these days except for a few noisy pubs with functions going on.

Here there were not many tables occupied on a Friday evening when they say that you have to book ahead. With booking ahead, I would have thought that there would be more tables occupied. Perhaps it is latest nasty reviews on Zomato that turned people away?

Needless to say the manager was rather nice and friendly. But at 7pm they were cleaning the restaurant with punters still eating there. They should wait until all the punters have left. But they do gift vouchers, so if you want to get someone that Christmas present you can.


More canapes



Seaweed salad


Mini egg tart


More cakes

The Groupon that Healthyinternationalstudents bought for us is $58 and it includes the all you can eat buffet and your choice of shiraz or soft drink. The deal said your choice of wine and so I thought "great I'll have a white wine please!".

The salads were pretty good. They were fresh and I enjoyed the pasta salad very much. Same as the olives which were divine.

And seeing as they are a seafood place, the big mussels were a little bit undercooked. It was hard to get all the meat out of the shell as it would not budge. The oysters were good but some sauces to go with the oysters would be right. Oh and also the right wine (not shiraz) would work best with seafood and that is white wine.

The sushi was freshly made and the chef does it and there is a little sushi train that is right next to the salads. I enjoyed the squid nigiri very much. The wagyu was a bit chewy.

The hot foods were really bad. They were lukewarm. But I did enjoy the deep fried bun,

I loved that little piece of cheese and apricots. It was yum.

Then the desserts were the highlight of the evening. I enjoyed the strawberry mousse, mini egg tart and the mini cakes. They were not too sweet for me.

Do buy the Groupon if you love your seafood and I would love to come back to try the crab and the other seafood things. And try another wine.

Igg International Buffet & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Carosello is a little Italian place in Moonee Ponds right outside the train station. Here they can be quite busy but I went on a night where there were no trains about (replacement buses due to works). Hence I didn't have to put up with all the noise and the boom gates.

Here they are a family friendly pizza place. The last time I heard of it was on Eat and be Merry blog. Here they said that the food is quite good. But Penguineats didn't like it. I have to disagree with them.

The service here was friendly and the waiter was attentive. The food here sure looks good.

The bathrooms are at the back. They are clean and welcoming.

There is outdoor seating.

I got the Brescola pizza ($25) which is quite thin. Being a late night dinner this was a perfect serve. Here the pizza was so thin that it was soggy.

But I loved the fig sauce as it took away some of the saltiness of the brescola.

I would come for a drink and pizza as this is such a nice place to go to.

Carosello Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jack Daniel's inspired dinner at TGI Friday

Sponsored by Healthyinternational student site who asked us to help promote their book. They are raising money for the Salvation Army who need the funds for the homeless.

Everyday more and more people turn to the streets for many reasons, one being financial.

TGI Friday's have a 50% off the main discount. That is if you buy the book off us. And if you buy there might also be a $20 iTunes gift card for you thrown in for good measure.

There are two TGI Friday's in the city but I went to the one in Southbank. This one is much more open and inviting in terms of atmosphere. Here you can watch the NRL or footy on their live screens and enjoy the many specials by the bar.

TGI Friday's are known for their Jack Daniel's dishes and other Amercian foods. Think buffalo wings or the Jack Daniel's sampler plate. But they have a great range of artisanal burgers. I wanted to try the Jack Daniel's beef brisket burger. It comes with a side of chips and the classic Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce which is sweet. It's a pity that TGI Friday's don't sell the actual product and if they do good for them.

To offset all that sweetness I went for a Jack Daniel's inspired drink and that is bourbon and coke which was very strong in taste. The bartender knew what he was doing.

Do buy the Entertainment book here and you'll support their charity which is the Salvation Army.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Bay City Burrito in Hawthorn

Both times were invites. One was from Entertainment book and the Burrito and Blankets event was by Bay City themselves.

Bay City Burrito was just in St Kilda but now there are two branches. There is one in St Kilda and the other one is in Hawthorn.

Here they pride themselves on good Mexican food and there are chips for all to try. I really liked their homemade chips which is on the pass behind the counter.

The bathrooms are outside but they are hard to find as they are in some alleyway. In the end if I need to go to the bathroom, I use Rococo's which is just across the road.

The customer service team is very friendly and the guy was always smiling. Here the guy was so helpful on Sunday to my friend who thought that his meal should be free.

But we've always liked the burritos as they are big for the price paid which is $17/$18. Here they have a lot of filling and I enjoyed my fish one on Sunday. The pineapple gave it that sweetness. And the Mexican beer enhanced the flavour of Mexico and reminded me of going to the beach. It had that southern California feel to it.

The vegetarian one that I had for the Blankets and Burritos event for the homeless was yum. I enjoyed the guacamole and the free chips too.

Do buy the Entertainment book and support the homeless in their mission to a better life. I have and its only $70 per year for thousands of offers. You can do that here.
Bay City Burrito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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