Thursday 29th March
Charlie & Co, dined as guests.

This Thursday Lina & I journeyed out west, to Dosa Hut, a South Indian restaurant in Footscray West. There's more than a dozen Dosa Huts, mainly out west, one in the city, and even one in India!

Rated as the best Indian restaurant in Yarraville & the Maribyrnong area, we were excited. I do really like Indian food. Located on a strip we spotted at least 3 places offering dosa, though this one was definitely the most popular. Arriving for dinner at 7.30pm the line was almost out the door for takeaway.


Inside it was quite nice, normally Indian places are either no frills or white cloth fine dinning, though this was the happy brightly lit medium, that's still cheap and delicious.

The menu was extensive with a total offering of 161 dishes!! This is the biggest menu I have ever seen! There are around 90 dosas! This is pretty exciting as we don't often try things that are completely new, I don't know what most of the menu is. 

Seating is limited, so do book. Seated under a fairy light lit ceiling (that changed colours) it was lovely though the tables were a bit small, that or we ordered a bit much in one shot. I do like the design of the space, with the window on one side and mirror on the other. 

Mango lassi is the signature drink here, and I love it! There is literally a fridge full of it, perfect for cooling down with all the spices. There's also lemon lime bitters if you are that strange person (like Lina XD) who doesn't like mango...

No 1. Samosa

Starting with something familiar, a deep fried triangular/pyramid shaped pastry. This is probably one of the best ones I've had, as it wasn't spicy at all (I'm weak, sometimes I find toothpaste hot, that's my level). It tastes like a gourmet potato mash with chicken stuffing (but the good kind) with all those herbs, the rosemary was prominent. It was very different from samosas I've had at other Indian places. 

26. Sambar Idly

I have no idea what an idly is, so this was completely new. Google says it's "a type of savoury rice cake... made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice." So this would fall under entrees. 

A savory steamed rice cake, like nothing I've had before. It came with a tahini like dip and spicy dip, that's familiar something then Crossways use in their dishes too, a certain spice. Lina quite liked eating these on their own without the dip too.

Dosa Hut specializes in Dosa and Biryani, and so we ordered one of each to share, these are main dishes. But what is a dosa? It's something I've had once and would describe as a very thin and big savory crepe with fillings. A South Indian dish "made from rice flour and ground pulses, typically served with a spiced vegetable filling".

101. Chef Special Dosa

Combo of masala, paneer, chicken & lamb

With 90 to choose from it was a challenge! Though our waitress recommenced the chef's special to share as it had three different filling within one. It was the perfect dish, with the combo of veggies but also meat. Served on a huge shiny tray with three sauces/dips including the tahini, and spicy red one from before. I'm not sure how you're meant to dip it?

The filling had what was listed on the menu, but also potato and spring onion, with plenty of flavour with all the spices wrapped up in a light savory crepe, it was fun to eat and yummy. Lina really liked it, and this is actually her very first time trying dosa. It was a bit salty for me (just a little), but balanced with a sip of mango lassi. I would most definitely order this again. 

77. Chicken 65 Biryani

Biryani is also a specialty at Dosa Hut, and for Lina a day isn't complete without a rice dish (coming from HK), and so we also had a Biryani to share.

It came presented on a huge shiny tray (why is everything shiny?) and very popular, with both our neighbours ordering them. The serving is huge! I feel as though it's 1.5-2 serving, (the rice) though needs more chicken. Which was spicy and on the bone, it only gets hotter says the waitress, though the raita certainly helps (a yoghurt sauce). We couldn't finish, it was that big! It was pretty tasty though pales in comparison to the dosa, as its in its league. 

Service was very friendly, and the waitress explained to us what the dishes are, and how spicy they are. It was a bit cold as I was right in front of the air con, so you know it won't be too hot in summer here. Some of the cutlery in the ikea holder wasn't clean, but we quickly got some new forks (which were clean).

Take away was very popular, city popular. If you want a table it's best to book as it's popular and the restaurant not that big, though very nice, under the almost star-lit ceiling. 

Dosa Hut delivers through menulog, ubereats and deliveroo. You can check out their website here, check out the menu, make bookings, etc. 

P.S. We got here on the 220 Sunshine bus from Footscray station. It also departs from outside QV in the city.

Dosa Hut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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5 Tips on How to Bring the Hotel Home @ Thursday, February 22, 2018

By Carol from Road To Organized

To be honest my room looks like something out of Howl's Moving Castle, as I have so much craft supplies on every surface, flowers and things of inspiration and all. No I can't pop it into storage, because here out of sight and out of mind you'll never see it again. But I am working on popping everything into clear boxes and storing them where they stand.

We came across this article by Carol from Road To Organized, and it made me reflect on our last holiday, to Sage Hotel. There was no clutter, plenty of space to write, be it in the temperature controlled room full of light (we are vampires and live in front of a forest and never open the curtains at home, fear of dust and the truth, also burning) or downstairs in the communal space. Home is nothing like that, it's either screen time or bed. Nothing in between, not much room for anything but tripping and getting threads ripped out of you clothes, getting snagged on things (this is why we always wear aprons).

When we get our own place I'd love to have a separate study, craftroom and bedroom; and we'd actually use all these wonderful tips to create a hotel-like space with minimal clutter, though that's going to be quite a challenge, being the Queen of Clutter!

1. Clear-ish flat surfaces

Holiday accommodation only keeps the necessary on each surface. Those clutter free feels really impact on our relaxed state.

2. Keep only what you really love

The thing with the space we were staying in is, it had a whole collection of really cool ornaments, fresh flowers, original artworks and so on. And I loved pottering about looking at each piece. It made me think of the things that we have in our own décor. Do we really love each piece? Does it speak to us? What is it that gives it permission to stay in our home? What this does is, as we move through our space, we’re only surrounded by the things that we are really drawn to, and it makes us more comfortable in our space.

3. Softness and texture + light

Each soft surface had blankets and cushions so you could really cozy up in that space. The colours were somewhat neutral with splashes of colour and they were really inviting. White flowing curtains softened the space. It doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy stuff – use what you have. Think about how you use your own spaces. Do you like reading in your bedroom? Create a reading nook with blankets and cushions. Like sitting out looking at the view? What can you do to make the space more inviting for you?

4. Use the Good Stuff

From the unopened bath salts you have stashed in the back of the cupboard, to the crockery collection that you really love, start using the stuff that you keep for special occasions, on a more regular basis. Fill a basket with all those bath bombs and handmade soaps, and use them! Light those candles that are just for decoration.
Bring the Outside In

We spent most of our time in the sunroom overlooking the view, and I thought about our own patio that sits unused way too much. What can you do to make that a space you use more?

5. Add Flowers

So, I have a bit of a list now of what I want to do in our space, which mainly involves moving things around, and looking a little harder at each space and how it works for us. What can you do to your space that gives you those holiday feels?

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Summer Nights with Curry Camp (Camberwell) @ Thursday, February 08, 2018

Charlie & Co. dined as guests.
Thursday 1st Feb

There are many things we love about Camberwell, including having everything on main street (or close by), the gardens and local restaurants. It took us years to get here, though the pond had long been drained sadly - but we wouldn't have gotten there in time anyway. Tonight we were delighted to finally tick 'picnic at the park' off the list, with Curry Camp.

In our town Curry Camp is the place to go for Indian, and we're been here many times, you could almost say we're regulars, and that's something as we're always trying new places. But I find this is my favourite Indian restaurant, and even though we moved to Hawthorn, we still come back to Curry Camp, and bio guy would pick up takeaway on his way over for our sleepovers.

L-R: Butter Chicken, Pumpkin Masala, Malai Kofter
Naan, chicken tikka, samosa, rice, raita/chutney 

This is 'Deal One' ($32) from the takeaway menu with samosa x2, chicken tikka x2, one veg curry, one non-veg, rice, naan raita. We also ordered lassis ($12 for 3) and another main, and naan for one more. The deal serves two by the way.

Chicken Tikka & Samoas - Boneless chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices, 
cooked in a clay oven. Tender and full or flavour, a favorite starter. 

Samoas - For a vegetarian option (just one of a few) there's somosa's, spiced potatoes and peas stuffed in puff pastry. This one's a lot bigger than you think, and fun to eat. 

11. Butter Chicken (far left, warm orange, not in this picture)

Boneless chicken pieces cooked with spices and tomato based butter sauce

The butter chicken as perfect as always (this place is not only our local Indian place, they're a house favourite and I had 15+ neighbours). While I try to order new things, this is our default.

47. Malai Kofter - Cottage cheese, potato and spiced dumplings cooked in a creamy sauce
The malai kofter was similar to the samosa filling but with cottage cheese, in a lovely creamy sauce, though a hint sweeter than the butter chicken. 

49. Pumpkin Masala - Pumpkin cooked with aromatic spices
The pumpkin masla was a bit spicy for me though Andy thought it was just right. To cool down lassis (a yoghurty drink) were perfect, our favourite is the mango lassi.

Curry Camp is under new management as within the last week or so (at time if dinning experience), though nothing has changed, the menu has remained the same, the food just as good, service as welcoming, and shall continue to be our favourite Indian place. Don't be deceived by the lack of diners, most people are ordering takeaway (they're on everything: menulog, eatnow, deliveroo, foodora).

Located a block away (uphill, same side as the station) from Camberwell Station and on the 72 tram route the location is great, and you can park at the station or on a side street.

Open for Dinner Monday - Sunday, from 5pm.
796 Burke Road, Camberwell 

Curry Camp Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hello New Orleans! @ The Moldy Fig @ Monday, January 29, 2018

Charlie & Co. dined as guests.
Thursday 18th January

While Melbourne does food from all around the world, who would have guessed a 'a slice of New Orleans' could be found in Brunswick? We were delighted to attend a banquet dinner on a summer's evening. Especially as we're currently binge watching 'The Originals' set in the French Quarter and graveyard of New Orleans.

The Moldy Fig is quite close to the trams and can be easily spotted with a huge mural across the wall outside. Inside there's a beautiful blue jazzy mural duplicating the French Quarter of New Orleans. Live music is featured Thursday-Saturday nights, and on the day we went Michael Yule was playing.They also do swing dance classes/social here, more details at the end. 

Pomegranate and Passionfruit Hurricane 
The Moldy Fig's signature version of Pat O’Brien’s classic: white 
and dark rum with orange juice, passionfruit and pomegranate 

We started off with the signature c/mocktail, with rum for him and me without. A fruity blend that tastes like summer, not too sweet or tart but just right.

Introductions were made, we met chef & owner Dorelle and her daughter Vivian (also our very friendly waitress over the evening), who told us about the origins of 'The Moldy Fig'. The cuisine is a combination of cajun and creole in the New Orleans style. French origins with Jamaican and West Indies mixed in to create creole.

Dorelle's passion was discovered when gifted a New Orleans cookbook, followed by many trips to Southern Louisiana, and New Orleans, a collection of authentic family recipes passed on from locals 'The Moldy Fig' was created and almost a year old. 

The kitchen pass is a replica of a French Quarter house with their shutters and decorative mantels and the colours are chosen from list created by city heritage, to maintain the authenticity of the old city. The mural on the wall is of Bourbon St and features many lovely French-style apartment balconies and old fashioned bars. 

Take a walk down the hall, the walls are of a scene from Jackson Park. 
I love that, painting the hallways to make them interesting.

Po'Boys = New Orleans Style Burgers

Southern Fried Shrimp Po'Boy
Deep fried shrimp in crispy buttermilk and spiced batter 
with Louisana red cabbage slaw, tomatoes and remoulade

While I love all things deep fried and shrimp (yes that's the same thing as a prawn) this was lacking something. A white sauce? 1000 Thousand Islands? The slaw was different.

Beef Brisket Po'Boy

Slow cooked beef brisket with homemade spicy bbq sauce, 
lettuce, tomatoes and homemade chili onion jam

Juicy and tender beef brisket with that beautiful onion jam (that I always have a jar of in the fridge) this is the jam!! It was absolutely amazing. And Fernando said the hot sauce works well with the beef. Sitting in a super crusty bread roll, that reminds me of the Vietnamese ones, which also has a French influence. 

Fernando - Loved the brisket, the shrimp was honestly disappointing, I agree it needed some sort of sauce or something

Hot Sauces! Fernanado loves everything hot. The first one is the housemade one.

Cornbread (Original, Chili & Garlic)

I've never had cornbread before and these were scone shaped and sized, but tasted like a warm hug - as a cake though. Served very warm the butter melts into it magically. The garlic was my favourite. 

He says - They were like scones, the garlic one was actually really good, it was an interesting combination with the fluffy bready texture to have garlic on it. Chili was not as successful, I didn't get the same fusion feel when chili is used well.

Gator Bites Aussie Style
Crocodile meatballs served with a refreshing mango salsa

Full of flavour with all the spices, it tastes a like chicken. There was definitely chili in there! Which the mango salsa was perfect for, till I realized there was more chili in there! XD

He says -  I love chilli and chilli all the things please! There is something else going on in the background I can't put my finger on, but it was enjoyable and the chilli was used well here to compliment the meat.

Turkey Meatballs
Wrapped in pancetta with cranberry infused red cabbage

Fernando absolutely loved these! So incredibly more-ish! The pancetta wrap was beautiful  giving it this salty exterior. The cabbage is also really nice with the cranberry infusion, I devoured that without even realizing.

Gumbo (The Official Dish of Louisiana) with chicken and andouille sausage

Mild heat. Reminds me of a Vietnamese dish that I can't quite name. The first one is to show you what's in it, a close up, though the second is the serving size. I love the presentation, as that's how I did it when I studied home economics!

He says - This is where I discovered the "Crystal" hot sauce. It's just like mum's cooking, a delicious combination of vegetables in a brothy sauce that gets absorbed by the rice and comes alive with the cayenne pepper hot sauce. Probably my favourite thing on the menu narrowly edging out the Po Boy, though I'm super biased as I love this dish. Went back for a second helping. I love the chunky vegetables in the sauce, they were the first time vegetables didn't seem so bad as a kid

Strawberry Salad with Bloody Mary Dressing

To contrast all our mains, meats and dishes we had a refreshing salad. I love fruit in salad! The strawberries were very sweet, and the bloody mary dressing bought out the flavours even more. I could taste a bit of lime. Strawberries, cucumber, purple onion & lettuce.

Jambalaya - A Spanish paella influenced dish with chicken and prawn

This does remind me of paella with a tomatoy rice base, it was hearty and filling. Seasoned & spiced it had plenty of flavour though no chilli - unlike Fernando I don't do chilli.

Deep fried in crispy Louisiana style batter. Mixed vegetable or chicken, served with remoulade and a chili. Well I can't say I've ever deep fried cauliflower before :P A crispy batter, we just had a bit as we really have tried a bit of everything!

Ribs of the Day - Slow cooked dry rub ribs with a bourbon glaze 
served with our famous Louisiana Red Cabbage Slaw

Fernando says  - The Bourbon glaze gave the ribs a delicious flavour boost, mixing well with the dried spices with the juicy meat.

Mississippi Mud Chocolate Cake. Served in a Cup with Cream. I love the presentation of this dessert! With cream and sprinkles on top too, though I simply can't resist pie, our national dessert.

Pumpkin Pie with Ice/Cream

With a crispy pie shell, and pumpkin filling full of spices. It was perfect!! As good as grandma makes them. After a banquet you might want to share one of these. 

Sticky Date Pudding with Rum 

Fernando - The surprise twist, the pudding has banana in it! I couldn't help but be reminded of banana muffins with the delicious and sweet sauce that makes all sticky date puddings come alive. The rum and the banana make this a very different experience to what you normally expect, it packed more punch and had more fire with the rum, and seemed more fluffy and light making it not as dangerous as a thick heavy pudding on the back of a large meal.

The Courtyard 

Overall everything had plenty of flavour and was delicious, he loved the gumbo and po'boy most, while the po'boy, Jambalaya and pie were my favourites. The turkey pancetta meatballs are perfect for sharing.

I love that this place caters for everyone, though if you're vegetarian you're really missing out :P There's lots of GF/DF/veg and vegan options.

It was very very hot that night, and the fans weren't cutting it. They really need air con. Though fortunately the really hot days aren't all year round.

Definitely give 'The Moldy Fig' a go, best to go in groups so you can order and try more!

Notes - There's live music Thu-Sat Night. And on every second Sunday starting at 1.30pm there's swing dancing is hosted by Swing Patrol  with beginners classes and followed by social dancing till 5pm.

The Moldy Fig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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