Donburi & BBQ

Donburi & BBQ is a small restaurant/stall situated in the ground floor food court of the Paramount building, near the corner or Exhibition and Bourke Street, Melbourne. The restaurant serves Korean and Japanese focussed food.

Donburi BBQ 2

Although it is technically a food court outlet, don’t let its appearance fool you. The food is of a reasonable quality, and is very competitively priced.

We did not try the ‘made to order’ dishes, but would expect that they would be of a similar quality to most ‘average’ Japanese and Korean take-away outlets.

What makes Donburi & BBQ stand out is its bain-marie self serve take away plate. Think of it as a ‘buffet on a plate’. It is extreme value at $8.90 for a self serve plate – that is, you can fill your plate once with whatever you like for $8.90, but no refilling.

Having personally tried many sub-par and ordinary food court meals over the years (both in Australia and abroad), it is reasonable to seem sceptical about this concept. However, the quality of the food should make it a memorable meal.

The buffet is broad enough so that you can choose a variety of (mainly Korean) snacks, rice, vegetables, fried chicken and meat dishes. The picture below outlines what is on offer, including classics like ‘Korean fried chicken’, bulgogi (marinated sizzling beef), spicy pork and kimchi fried rice.

Donburi BBQ 5

The plate that we put together is below. Please take a look and we will explain it in more detail.

Donburi BBQ 4

Donburi BBQ 3

We chose to have a base of fried chicken (spicy wings and honey soy fillet pieces) and then on top of that stack kimchi rice, fresh vegetables (without sauce), bulgogi, spicy pork and spring rolls.

The plate overall was fantastic, when you consider that this was ordered from a food court restaurant. The fried chicken was crispy and had a good texture on the inside – better than fast food and rivalling some of the top Korean fried chicken restaurants in Melbourne. The vegetables were also a pleasant surprise, fresh and full of flavour – we really enjoyed that they were not heavily sauced (which is usually a tactic to hide bad quality produce!). The bulgogi, spicy pork and spring rolls topped off the dish – they weren’t the best versions of those dishes that we have tasted, but were definitely passable.

Donburi & BBQ is unlikely to be the best dining experience that you ever have. However, that is no problem – there are plenty of other restaurants to serve that purpose. On the other hand, if you are looking for a decent quality lunch, at a reasonable cost, then Donburi & BBQ should be towards the top of your list!

Donburi & BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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A couple of friends were celebrating their birthdays so it was a good cue to catch up together for dinner. Our friend recommended Sezar and we later found out that she was a semi-regular patron of Sezar (at least 5 – 6 visits). Based on that alone I had good expectations!

Before discussing the food it is worth mentioning the booking process. We booked online via the Flybuys dining website and unfortunately the restaurant did not pick up our booking on their end. No drastic consequences as we were seated in any case – however this could have turned sour quite easily.

Sezar is located in a laneway called Melbourne Place in the heart of the CBD. Like many Melbourne cafes and bars, if you weren’t looking for it particularly, you probably wouldn’t find it! The restaurant’s theme is Armenian inspired food, which appears to be very close to Turkish food in style, with some slight twists.

There was a downstairs and upstairs section. We caught a brief glimpse of the kitchen and downstairs area, before being seated upstairs (downstairs and upstairs pics below in respective order).

Sezar 8

Sezar 7

The restaurant has an appealing banquet option, but we chose to go with ordering from the menu. First up for entrée was chicken wings and a grain salad. Both were well presented and quite tasty. The grain salad had a good mix of textures and flavours (eg, crunchy, sweet, etc).

Sezar 1

Sezar 5

For our main, we ordered the lamb shoulder and were advised that it was the restaurant’s signature dish. It ended up being enough to feed the three of us (including the side dishes of dressed cabbage, chips and sauces that come with the dish)! The lamb itself was a little dry and sauce was essential as we ploughed through it. Not a bad dish, but a slight let down (particularly compared with similar Greek and Turkish restaurants).

Sezar 2

Sezar 9

Officially we were too full for dessert, but unofficially were keen to try their take on ‘baklava’, which is toffee/caramel ice cream sandwiched between filo pastry and topped with a caramel sauce and pistachios. Apparently when we pointed to the menu and wanted to order ‘one’ it was interpreted by our waiter as literally a single piece. The usual dessert serving is for two pieces. Nevertheless, they were very accommodating and the dessert was fantastic!

Sezar 3

The atmosphere of the restaurant was great. It was almost entirely full, but still felt spacious enough and ambient enough for us to proceed with our birthday catch up!

Overall quality of the food was great (and good service throughout), and although the lamb was a slight let down, the choice of Sezar made it a great evening!

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

Kagu Ra Zaka

On a warm (Melbourne summer) Friday night I met a friend for dinner in South Yarra. We didn’t have a place in mind to eat, and I remembered eating at Kagu Ra Zaka a LONG time ago (more than 10 years!), and the food being quite good.

Perhaps it is a testament to the restaurant that my first meal there stuck out in my mind. The dinner we had was overall quite good. Nothing spectacular, but all dishes were tasty and used fresh ingredients. The restaurant itself had a distinct Japanese feel to it and was well laid out (which felt like ‘dining’ as opposed to being cramped and chaotic).

Kagu 7

The restaurant is well signed from the street as can be seen above.

Kagu 1

We started with the mixed sashimi platter as an entrée. It was a mix of tuna, kingfish and salmon, as well as some condiments such as wasabi, pickled ginger and seaweed. The quality of the fish was fantastic and the ‘fresh fish delivered daily’ signage in the restaurant certainly holds true.

The mains soon arrived, along with rice.

Kagu 4

The first main course that we ordered was seafood in creamy garlic sauce. There was so many ‘potential’ ways that this dish could have gone wrong. However, the seafood of prawns, squid, pipis and scallops was still a fresh taste below the creamy garlic sauce. The sauce itself was very moreish and not too heavy (think ‘not carbonara’).

Kagu 2

The second main dish was a beef fillet teppanyaki. The beef was tasty and good quality and when matched with sauce and veges on a sizzling plate it was good overall.

Kagu 5

The service was overall quite good. My friend had some queries about the sashimi and seafood dishes, and they were all answered well by the wait staff. In typical Japanese style, the service was very efficient, but still friendly.

Kagu 3

We ended the night with a quick look at the sushi prep area, where there is also ‘Japanese style’ seating.

Kagu 6

Overall its a good Japanese experience, with friendly staff and good quality food. Perhaps it is lacking that ‘wow factor’, but certainly no complaints. A good meal!

Kagu Ra Zaka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Australian Open 2016

This year we were fortunate enough to get tickets to the Australian Open. We had tickets at the Rod Laver Arena to watch Andy Murray v Bernard Tomic, and Shuai Zhang v Madison Keys.

Overall it was a great night. Please view the video link below and photos.

Melb CBD

A view back to Melbourne city from one of the festival spots on the Yarra River

Rod Laver Arena

Evening view of Rod Laver Arena

Rod Laver 2

View of Rod Laver Arena looking back to Melbourne CBD

Thanks for viewing!

City Grill Room

It is currently January in Melbourne and that means two things. Summertime (with longer days); and catch ups with friends for the new year.

I met up with a friend in recent days at the City Grill Room. It is a restaurant that has an affiliation with the Squires Loft franchise, and is one of the more established restaurants in the franchise.

Located in a laneway off Little Lonsdale Street, its typically ‘Melbourne’ in terms of location.

City Grill Room 7

Once we had made our way down the cobblestone laneway, we were in!

City Grill Room 8

The meal started with bread and water, which was a good start.

City Grill Room 1

It is not the first time for me to visit the City Grill Room. It has been quite consistent over the years. With this experience in mind, we ‘cut to the chase’ and ordered our mains, with the possibility of dessert if we had room.

City Grill Room 3

I ordered the rib eye on the bone with chips, and we shared salad. The rib-eye was cooked to a perfect medium rare (as requested) and the mixture of good quality meat and basting made it very enjoyable dish.

City Grill Room 5

The green peppercorn sauce that I ordered with the meal also went well. Even though the sauce needs to be ordered separately on the menu, the generous gravy boat full of sauce is worth it, and can really transform your meal.

City Grill Room 4

Overall it was good meal, with reasonable service and a good atmosphere. We attended on a weeknight, so it was a bit quieter than usual, but our waitress mentioned that they still are fully booked on weekends – a sign of a good steak, perhaps!

City Grill Room 6

City Grill Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bangkok Public Transport

We recently visited Bangkok. Being one of the world’s most bustling cities, we became very familiar with the public transport systems there. The MRT and BTS Skytrain are the two main systems, and it is a lot easier to get around by buying the pre-paid travel tickets.

Please see the video, which provides an outline of Bangkok’s public transport systems.

Bistro Guillaume

Our first post!

Having just returned from overseas (*hint* travel experiences will be uploaded in the future), I went to Bistro Guillaume with the family to catch up. We had a variety of dishes between us.

For those unfamiliar with Bistro Guillaume, it is a stalwart of the Crown Casino promenade dining strip and has been in its current location since 2009. Guillaume Brahimi is the brains-trust behind the restaurant – he has restaurants around Australia and has also been featured on a number of TV cooking shows (eg, Food Safari France). No doubt he is a busy man, but according to our waitress he does attend Bistro Guillaume and run the kitchen from time to time.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is casual with good décor, a high ceiling and both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

Now onto the food.

I had the crab salad for entrée. This was consisted of layers of avocado, crab meet, cucumber and watercress accompanied by cucumber and capsicum coulis. The crab itself was quite salty and the avocado had started to turn spotty, which may indicate that the dish is not made to order. It wasn’t the ideal start to my meal, but there were more courses to come.


One of my other family members had the octopus salad. I have tried this on a previous occasion and it was very nice.


Next up were the mains. The majority of the table opted for the steak frites. They didn’t disappoint. A prime cut of meat with well cooked fries and salad.


We chose to share a dessert, as the first two courses were quite filling. A reliable favourite of ours is the profiteroles. They are not traditional profiteroles, but rather are a mix of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between pastry, and topped with a chocolate ganache styled sauce. The dessert also includes some tableside theatrics, which can be seen below.


Overall, our trip to Bistro Guillaume was a mixed bag. There was some good, and some not so good. However, overall it is an enjoyable meal out with the family and a good atmosphere to catch up.

Bistro Guillaume Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato