Monday, March 28, 2011

Hào Phong, 136 Hopkins St Footscray

Its 7.30ish on Monday night. So of course I’m in the study typing out a post. Not only is ‘Glee’ on, but it’s on Oprah; Glee and Oprah – TV gold, yeah-nah!

So as I said, I’m in the study and writing a post. Something about wine; like before – yeah-nah. Instead of wine I think, how about food. In just 94 days, me and the family will be heading north to sweaty Vietnam for a 22 day trek from south-to-north. To get everyone ‘tummy-ready’ we have decided to go nuts on Vietnamese food. So first stop Footscray!

With a recommendation we head to Hào Phong on Hopkins Street -136 to be precise. On our way there we see another Vietnamese restaurant that has a few people inside (no Vietnamese – what was I thinking) so we chanced our arm. Big mistake. Looking down the menu read of the best from the 70’s & 80’s – beef and black bean, sweet and sour pork, Mongolian beef. Just to be safe we thought we’d order some rice paper rolls. The reply, ‘sorry, they have not defrosted yet’. You can imagine the awkward silence. With our apologies we bidded our farewell and legged it to Hào Phong. It was only 5.45pm.

We arrive for the second time and manage to get a table for 4. Ten minutes later there is a line at the door – good timing. The menu’s come and it looks awesome – AWESOMELY AWESOME!!!! And if you’re wondering, there are no photos of food, just us eating it!

We order in 10minutes and it as follows:

• 1. Prawn and chicken rice paper rolls $7.00 for 4
• 10. Satay chicken on skewers, or chicken on a stick for my 2 year old son Henry - $4.50 for 2
• 99. BBQ pork with vegetables with plum sauce - $13.80
• 141. Scallops with ginger and shallots - $19.80
• 1. Prawn and chicken rice paper rolls $7.00 for 4 …. again
• Special - Shallow fried soft shelled crab - $18.80 for 4. That’s right, 4!!!!

Not a rice dish in sight I tell ya! All this and a bottle of Tsing Tao beer. The bill arrives and we are $88 lighter – plus tip.

There’s only 94 days to go but I can bet you we will be back a few times before we head off. And I would book. As I said, by 6pm there was a line. What a place!!

Hào Phong is my 1st ‘Hooters chicks with Birks’ rating

Where – 136 Hopkins Street Footscray 9689-8373

By the way, thanks Ronnie for the recommendation. Bisou Bisou!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Clonakilla Murummbateman Syrah 2006 and Ryan Giggs

Oh the joys of luxury!!

Just imagine if your wage represented $250,000 a week! Just think of all of the goodies you could get your hands on:

• A new pair of undies everyday
• A house far away from the northern suburb hoons
• Your own private carriage on the Dandenong line
• No more ‘home brands’ in the shopping trolley
• Lots of super wine!

Yes it is lovely to imagine all the things you could do with all that cash. Ryan Giggs would know. He’s been on that coin for a long, long time. And rightly so I say. Possibly one of the best players of his generation, and that generation has been going since 1991 when he made his senior debut with Manchester United. So that not only makes him one of the best in his generation but in also the two subsequent generations that have followed, and he just signed on for the 2011-12 season. Silky skills, super temperament, born leader; just a few qualities the hairy one has.

Now if Ryan Giggs was a wine he would undoubtedly be the Clonakilla Murrumbateman Syrah 2006. Simply a wine of its generation with very few peers. Gorgeously long on the nose and also in the palate with licorice, white pepper and subtle hints of tart red fruit. This is almost like the question of what came first – the chicken or the egg. Either way these two have, and will, outlast the completion.

Drink with steak tartare
Drink till 2020+
Quality cork 14%v/v $60 mailing list back in 2008

Friday, March 25, 2011

Henry's Drive Parsons Flat Padthaway Shiraz Cabernet 2006


It says 15%v/v on the back of the label. If this wine is below 16%v/v I'll go hee! The Henry's Drive Parsons Flat Padthaway Shiraz Cabernet 2006 . What do you say. Too much fruit. Too much alcohol. Too much. This is a wine that would have been really good in 1988.

Drink with well done steak
Drink now
Cork 15%v/v $?

Monday, March 21, 2011

McWilliams Mount Pleasent Hunter Valley Semillon 2010

It's humid again in Melbourne. I don't like humidity. I don't like Melbourne humidity. Three solutions:

1. leave
2. drink cider
3. drink Semillon

3 it is! Tonight anyway.

You see this summer has been really one long warm Autumn with plenty of humid days; an old school Melbourne summer day you might say. What I have done to try and quell this is to either have a cider or glass of semillon in my hand. Both are clean and crisp and way too easy to drink.

So here is the McWillimas Mount Pleasent Hunter Valley Semillon 2010. An almost water like clarity in the glass. Plenty of acid and citrus on the nose with the acid really obvious in as much that it is tickling my nasal hairs - too much info right? Lovely and clean on the palate with a combination of fresh and preserved lemon coming through and just a smidge of lanolin there as well. Such a good wine; three glasses in!

Drink with kingfish sashimi
Drink till 2017
Screwcap 11.5%v/v $16 Dan Murphy's Coburg

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Just got these beauties from the back yard before we get hit with more rain.

S.C. Pannell Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo 2007

"what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I'm bleary eyed this morning. It's not because I tied one on last night - that would be Friday nite. I'm bleary eyed this morning because I had a really restless nite sleeping. You see I had this dream where I was the 'Great Gatsby', Robert Redford version, and I was there in the Long Island mansion swanning around with a bevvy of beauties and a herd of hangers-on. My attention really got going in this dream when all of the sudden one of the said beauties was dancing ona table holding a bottle of S.C. Pannell Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo 2007; thats the funky shit!

So today as I sit at the kitchen counter, I am reading in peace yesterdays and todays The Age newspaper, and I read not one but two articles with reference to 'The Great Gatsby'. Am I still dreaming or am I actually writing this?

So, onto the wine then. It wasn't that long ago that I pulled one of these out of my cellar. A dark and dirty reddish purple in the glass with lovely and dependable aroma's of rose petals, cherries and a leather the longer it sits in the decanter. Lip smacking tannins give way to big and full fruit, but not ripe fruit; tart and crisp instead. It's a great example of a very good Nebbiolo being made in Australia.

Drink till 2022
Drink with braised goat
Screwcap 14.0%v/v $50 Dan Murphy's Hawthorn East

Friday, March 11, 2011

A very unfake beer - Yebisu The Hop

Being true to this beer I think the only way to do this beer justice is to post it in its native tongue. So here we go...


確かに非常に unfake ビール。そうねえ黒心可鍛鋳鉄とスズメの良い人は良いです。単に幸せ Peroni と朝日に実質をもたらす、BHS 今この小さな宝石出土しています。プレミアム恵比寿、ホップどこかから日本で。麦芽と豊かな、非常に多くの私の最初のビールのクラッシュ、キウイ ラガー 1987年 年頃このずんぐりしたことができます上部に座って、ずんぐりした小さな野郎がすべてです思い出させて体について-は の絶対に何もこのビール-短長、と多くの深さ-非常にバイエルンと言うでしょいます。陽気な良いもの ためる
5.1%v/v 4. 50 ドルから黒心可鍛鋳鉄とスズメ

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bindi obsession?

Yes. I. Love. Bindi wines. Just cannot help myself. And this was no let down either. The Bindi Chardonnay Pinot Noir Extended Lees Aged sparkling 2003. That's all I got really; simply superb!

Drink with butter fried marron
Drink till 2020
Diam cork under cage 12%v/v

Coombend Tasmanian Pinot Noir 2007

When the next morning greets you with a headache and many, many empty bottles with two children wanting breakfast at 6.30am the obvious line sneaks into the subliminal - I'm never ever going to drink again! You know you've heard it, don't deny it. Anywhoo, one of those empties was the Coombend Tasmanian Pinot Noir 2007 from the Freycinet coastline. The notes were scribbled on a post-it and quite illegible but this is what I got; very chalky red in the glass with plenty of feral and earthy aroma's wafting up the olfactory. Almost too pleasent sweet fruit of red licorice, raspberries and strawberries; the nose does not bely the palate.

This wine I think will benefit from having it on its own and not with another 14 bottles!!

Drink with roasted pork belly
Drink till 2014
Screwcap 13.5%v/v bought somewhere on Sydney Rd Brunswick

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Domaine Lucci Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2010 by Lucy Margaux Vineyards

Meet my new best friend. The Domaine Lucci Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2010 by Lucy Margaux Vineyards has in the past two weeks been emptied three times here in downtown Brunswick, which suggests that I either start buying in bulk or start bribing Blackheart and Sparrows, cos I have no doubt that there will be more clanking of this wine in my recycled bin in the coming weeks.

Quite striking to look at, the label to me is part Donnie Darko, part oh-so-Brunswick and part Winston Salem if you know what I mean. In the glass the wine looks the part with a chalky and dusty looking red thanks to a minimalistic approach in the wine making. You wouldn't pick this for a young wine with already forward notes of tart cranberry and raspberry all married together with racey acid and grippy finish, yet not overly grippy.

Whatever you do, do not 'not' buy this wine. It's a fair dinkum ripper!

Drink with assiette of lamb
drink till 2017
Diam cork with wax seal 13.8%v/v $32 Blackheart and Sparrows Fitzroy North and Brunswick