Curry Vault, Melbourne, Australia

It had been a little while since I’d been to the Curry Vault in Bank Place but having seen an episode of the Travel Channel show Food Paradise International (episode Hot & Spicy Paradise 2) that featured the Curry Vault’s Lamb Vindaloo I decided that I had to visit again.

The publicity must have worked as at dinner time on this Monday public holiday there were a fair few people already enjoying their meals when we arrived.

I mentioned the TV show when I ordered our beers and soon the owner was at our table talking with us about the show and the lamb vindaloo that was the topic of the show.

While I like spicy food, it can’t be over the top stupidly spicy. Luckily the lamb vindaloo can be ordered in a number of intensities. There was no way I was going to try what they had cooked on the show, so we went for a mild version.

Along with the vindaloo we ordered onion bhaji for starters and a chilli chicken for a 2nd main. We also got a couple of servings of rice and garlic naan.

The onion bhaji, and complimentary poppadoms, were dispatched is record time and then out came the mains. The smells of the spices were sublime and it was with trepidation that I tasted the vindaloo expecting my tongue to recoil in horror. I was pleasantly surprised by the mild spiciness and overall great taste.

The chilli chicken was mild as well which made for a great meal that you could actually taste rather than just assaulting your taste buds.

One starter, two mains, two naans and rice were just the perfect size for the 2 of us.

Curry Vault would have to be one of the better Indian Restaurants in Melbourne. If you are in the CBD then you should have a meal.

EzyMart, Queen St, Melbourne, Australia

Today I had the misfortune of walking into an EzyMart store in Melbourne.

So… an EzyMart opened close by a month or so ago…

Tonight I was watching the footy so decided to drop into the new store for some snacks… and that was when I became disgusted.

Walking in there was a single attendant who was more interested in his phone than a customer, but that wasn’t the problem.

Over the PA was playing what can be described as “Gangster Music”… you know “F*** this”, “F*** you”, “F**ing hoes”.. yep, that sort of rubbish. Totally inappropriate for a store if you want a return customer!

There was a family at the door as I was inside who obviously heard the music and decided to walk away.

When I spoke the the attendant he we taken aback that I was complaining about the “F” words that were blaring out.. he even admitted that this was his personal playlist! And he saw no problems with it!

Even more astonishing was the look on this idiots face when he asked “so you’re not buying these items?”… ah… no… I’ll buy my stuff from somewhere that respects their customers!

I’m relatively sure EzyMart is a franchise, but regardless they are responsible for their franchises, do everyone a favour and boycott these idiots so they disappear from the face of the earth!

If EzyMart ISN’T a franchise then there should be a couple of terminations, if not a store closure, by mid morning Monday… if this store IS a franchise I’m guessing they’ll be looking for another franchiser for a store that noone wants to go into!

UPDATE as of 30 September: You can tell the caliber and moral compass of an organisation by how they respond to a complaint.

It’s been just over a week since I unfortunately walked into an EzyMart store on Queen Street in Melbourne and was assaulted by disgusting music blaring over the PA. I raised a complaint both over the phone and via their online complaint form leaving my contact details on both complaints.

I expected a call at some stage during the week, at minimum to get further information, or maybe even an apology. But after 7 days there’s been nothing but silence – zilch, nada, zip.

I think the lack of a response, and the fact that their staff thought it was appropriate to play that type of music in the first that, speaks volumes about this company and their attitude to their customers.

They don’t deserve a cent of your or my money… I can assure them they won’t be getting mine, nor that of the people who I’ve relayed this sorry story to.

Ramen Restuarant, Ground Floor, 323 La Trobe St, Melbourne, Australia

Gotta be honest… don’t even bother!

Foodwise, if you’ve been to Japan you WILL be disappointed by the ramen served here!

Secondly – recently the rules around credit charge surcharges were changed in Australia. A lot of businesses were using credit card surcharges to add to their profits, rather than treating the costs as a pass through cost.

What this means is that the old “$1 surcharge under $15” sales is now illegal in Australia as the $1 flat charge does not reflect the cost of doing business.

Unfortunately, this restaurant refuses to adhere to those rules and feels that it can charge a flat fee for some credit charge transactions.

When I advised the counter staff what they were doing was wrong the owner came out and was quite confrontational and irrational. They obviously have no idea of their legal responsibilities.

I’ve reported them to the ACCC for illegal credit card surcharges and hopefully they’re out of business soon – for both reasons! 1) not good food, and 2) not living upto the credit card surcharges rules.

In short, don’t bother!

Garden State Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

I don’t normally walk along Flinders Lane but have now been here two weeks in a row after Supernormal last week.

A couple of us decided to head out for a beer after work and a friend chose the Garden State Hotel on Flinders Lane.

Given the proximity to Collins Street the place was heaving when I arrived just before 6pm on a Thursday night.

The venue is a sprawling place over 4 levels with a couple of bars to grab drinks from.

We managed to nab a table down the back towards the Rose Garden under the trees, it was a very nice location and there was a standard choice of beers and a bar menu.

We decided to eat here but we should have known the meal wouldn’t be overly good when we ordered our steaks medium-rare only to be told we’d get them how the chef decided to cook them! Seriously, WTF? For $22 we got an overcooked minute steak that was quite underwhelming. The only saving grace were the Roasted Potatoes.

The way the place has been built, with bare concrete walls and glass roof made the place an echo chamber so it was impossible to have a conversation over the noise of everyone else and the blaring music.

So after we finished our food we decided that we’d move onto somewhere where you could actually talk to the person next to you.

By all means, go to the Garden State Hotel for drink, but I’d be skipping the food!

The Elysian Whisky Bar, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

Are you a Whisky fan? Do you like tasting gems that you’ll probably never see again. If you answered yes to both of these then you should jump on the number 11 tram and head down to Brunswick Street Fitzroy.

Elysian was started by a couple of folk who used to work at Whisky and Alement in the city and rather than stock the same whiskies that everyone else does, the Elysian team strive to stock the bar with unique and limited edition bottles.

While we perused the extensive menu we started with a decent local pale ale by Hawkers Beer.

But it wasn’t too long until we started our tour of whiskies of the world.

First stop was a Japanese blended malt – Ichiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve. A splendid drop to start the evening with. See https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/ichiros-malt-mizunara-wood-reserve-whisky/.

We then moved Scotland for a 17 year old single malt from Gordon & MacPhail. The Ledaig 1999 Connoisseurs Choice was had subtle flavours followed by a very smoky aftertaste. See https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/tobermory/ledaig-1999-bottled-2015-connoisseurs-choice-gordon-and-macphail-whisky/.

We back tracked to India once I saw an Amrut on the list. We ordered an Amrut single cask 888 a very dark whisky with a very fruity smell and taste – almost reminded me of a sticky. I particularly liked this drop. See https://www.thewhiskycompany.com.au/product/amrut-cask-888-virgin-oak-matured-indian-single-cask-whisky/.

Lastly we headed over to the US for a Noah’s Mill small batch bourbon. It’s a blend of whiskeys from 4 to 20 years old. It was a contrast to what we’d been drinking and took me back to my uni days. A decent nip to finish of the evening. See https://www.masterofmalt.com/Whiskies/noahs-mill-whisky/.

There’s a small kitchen that serves a small number of dishes to accompany your drinks. We shared the cured meat selection which would have been the size of a entree.

If you love unique whiskies then you should make your way to Elysian.