Degree, Auckland, New Zealand

We headed to Degree on my suggestion that a decent steak was on offer.

When I was last at Degree in February¬†is it was a nice, balmy Auckland evening. Oh how times have changed in a couple of months… This evening it was FREEZING!

We chose a table inside and we all decided that stonegrill steaks were the order of the evening.

I went the “challenge” which is 400g of steak. I accompanied mine with onion rings and fried. Yummy!

Tuesday evening offers $7 basic deserts and I had a nice, but small, Tiramisu.

Main and deserts was accompanied by several pints of zesty Monteith’s Radler beer.

Find Degree on the web here.

Crowne Plaza, Norwest, Sydney, Australia

We were in Sydney to attend a training course at our office in West Pennant Hills and the Crowne Plaza in Baulkham Hills was the closest hotel. It is probably 30 to 45 minutes from the Sydney CBD on a good day.

The hotel was your typical Crowne Plaza, not a 5-star hotel, but it wasn’t bad either. I guess I’m saying that it was clean and functional. Though its showing its age if you look close enough.

The bed was nice but I found the pillows to be¬† far too soft and I didn’t have a decent sleep while I was here.

I had a couple of room service dinners during the week as I couldn’t be bothered venturing out to find somewhere else to eat. The Beef Burger and Club Sandwich were exceptionally good as hotel room service food goes, and the Creme Brulee and Tiramisu deserts were right up there also.

Thai Spice, Stanhope Village, Sydney, Australia

After room service for a couple of nights we’d decided to head out for a feed. We tried to get into the Outback Steakhouse, but the queue was long, and we were famished so we decided to try a local Thai restaurant instead.

We headed over the Stanhope Village to a small restaurant called Thai Spice.

Thai Spice is your usual, suburban eat in or takeaway restaurant. In fact, the menus on the tables were the takeaway menus! But I’d heard good things about the food, so was more than happy to give the menu the benefit of the doubt.

We ordered three mains BBQ Lamb, Chicken Jungle Curry and a duck dish accompanied by rice, all of which were very reasonably priced and all tasted great. I’m surprised we didn’t lick the plates we enjoyed it so much.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was BYO, and since we hadn’t planned ahead, soft drinks and water were all we’d be having to drink.

If I’m ever out that way again, I would probably eat here again.

The Mill, Melbourne, Australia

It amazing how dead the Melbourne CBD can be on a Sunday evening.

Started off with a couple of beers at the Westin in Collins Street where we’d decided that a decent steak was in order for dinner. Headed over to The Meat and Wine Co at Southbank. However, the queue at the door told us that tonight wasn’t going to happen.

We then tried the Curry Vault in Bank Place, but that was closed tighter than a goldfish’s bum. Squire’s Loft in Goldie Lane was similarly locked up, so we ventured down to Hardware Lane to see what was on offer (and to try to avoid the touts).

We chose the Mill Bar and Restaurant as the menu could be best described as modern Australian and the specials sounded OK. There was also a jazz band playing which added to the ambiance.

I deciced on an Angus Eye Fillet, medium rare, with spuds and beetroot and it was quite decent. The steak was done to almost perfection. I could pull it to pieces with my knife and fork it was that tender.

My friend had a Barramundi from the specials board but he wasn’t overjoyed with it.

We washed our meals down with a couple of Hoegaaeden’s.

I’m in two minds as to whether I would go back to this restaurant. I think it was probably overpriced for size of the meals. But YMMV.

Hairy Canary, Melbourne, Australia

I’d planned to head off to the Melbourne Comedy Festival this evening, but me being lazy I didn’t bother to try to book tickets until yesterday, at which time I found out that there are many, many people out there who aren’t lazy as I am, and that they’d already snapped up all the tickets to the shows I was interested in… Time to switch to “Plan B”.

Plan B was a couple of drinks and a quick dinner, but where? The shortlist was

  • Cookie
  • Hairy canary
  • Somewhere in Chinatown

We’d decided that we wouldn’t be able to get a table at Cookie, so decided to see if we could get into Hairy Canary on Little Collins Street.

The place was buzzing when we arrived and no tables were available, it was 6pm on a Friday afterall, so this was understandable. We staked our claim to the next table to be freed up, waited about 10 minutes while we had a look at the menu, and then we had our table.

The menu has a decidedly Spanish feel to it. If you like Tapas, you’ll find a good selection here, but we decided to try a couple of pizzas. Prawn, Chorizo & Chilli, and Ham & Roasted Garlic were the choices and enough for 2 to share. We think we made a good selection as we scoffed them down and felt satiated at the end.

I washed my pizza down with a Knappstein Reserve Lager, and my friend had a glass of, apparently, very nice white.

We were probably in and out in 45 minutes, but we weren’t rushed.

Nice relaxed place with a good food and drink menu.