Saturday, 29 September 2012

NSHRY - Nosh the Umami

NSHRY, pronounced "Noshery" at the beach at Albert Park on Beaconsfield Parade lives up to the literal translation of the word "Nosh" - to eat food enthusiastically or greedily: "you can nosh to your heart's content"; "noshing my favourite food".

One of their specialities, the Umami Burger, is now one of my favourite foods.

When it was a warm and sunny day last week, my only requirement for the afternoon was to get to the beach, enjoy some food, beer and conversation and take advantage of the first truly warm day in Melbourne since I moved here five months ago. As I had walked past NSHRY about fifty times en route to get coffee in St Kilda, this place stood out, along with Sandbar, as ideal locations to diddle the afternoon away in the sun.

The restaurant has a contained outdoor area that is ideal for pleasant days. We arrived very close to noon with the intention of securing an outdoor table without a booking and managed to procure the last one. After a bottle of water and menus were delivered, we immediately ordered cider and beer, kicked back and enjoyed the day. After walking to the restaurant from Southbank via Bay Street, I had developed quite a thirst.

I have read about the Umami Burger elsewhere and have only heard good things about it so I placed the order whilst I sucked back my second bottle of Beez Neez. Service remained consistent and attentive as we systematically polished off bottles of alcohol and they were quickly replaced along with freshly chilled glasses.

The Umami Burger was amazing. I know in the past I have raved about the various offerings at Andrew's Hamburgers, which is not far away from NSHRY as the crow flies and also what is served at Huxtaburger, but this wagyu burger was amazing. Not only the rich tastes of flesh that was prepared a perfect medium rare, but the bun, sweet and sumptuous like Jennifer Hawkin's bum left me mesmerised. The chips and slaw that accompanied this act of perfection which was presented wonderfully encouraged me to break one of my cardinal rules and take a photo. I sent a tweet about it on the day and the photograph can be found here

Despite spending three hours outside at NSHRY, the server remained cheerful and very helpful. We never went dry or wanting and we were always made to feel as if it would be no problem if we hung out indefinitely. On another warm sunny day, I look forward to returning to NSHRY and given that we should experience at least a full season of sunny and warm days in the not too distant future, they will have to stock up on cases of Beez Neez to placate this hungry, thirsty and satisfied diner.

NSHRY, Albert Park
Link to review
129A Beaconsfield Pde, Albert Park VIC 3206
(03) 9682 1077
My Rating: 14/20
Service: 3.5/5
Ambiance: 3.5/5
Quality: 3.5/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Comment: Umami Burger for the win

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

When I made this post originally, 85% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also liked NSHRY.

Nshry on Urbanspoon

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Hairy Canary - Birds and Beer

In the previous post on Bar Americano, I stated that I visited The Hairy Canary on a boozy afternoon. In fact my partner in crime, the epicurean emo, accompanied me to the this songbird for lunch after abandoning attempts to find somewhere "cool" and "relaxing" on this particular Saturday afternoon in Southbank.

I have frequented The Hairy Canary at least ten times over the years. When I lived in Sydney (and even Brisbane for a while) I would escape the dull dining and beverage scenes in each of those cities and find refuge in Melbourne. One of the first ports of call at around lunch was always The Hairy Canary because of its proximity to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne however now it is a convenient stroll across the dirty Yarra River from Southbank.

This is a more "social" venue which is refreshing. You are allowed to take whatever seat that you want and classically speaking you can eat, drink and chatter all you want and you are not molested by pushy staff that like to push the main meals or move you along. On that note, I have not found many places like that in Melbourne, which I continually use a benchmark for service, since the horrible dining scene in Sydney usually involved pushing mains and bodies in and out of a revolving door. Some of us in Melbourne wonder why the seemingly "good" eateries are closing in Sydney however considering service is usually so poor, with Justin North's Etch and Becasse the exceptions on the list that I am providing, I am not surprised the liquidators are circling. Check out this link for the latest round of Sydney restaurant closures as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald as of July 2012 if you can be bothered.

This is the first time I noticed that the Hairy Canary has a special and aptly it includes any of their pizzas for $10. They have a pizza oven that is conveniently rendered into their front kitchen wall and I have always found the crusts to be done properly so I was excited to order one and a bottle of Cricketer's Arm beer.

I am usually bemused when I see a large group of people coming into an establishment and placing a coffee order but since this was a relaxing afternoon I decided to observe and evaluate so I could properly judge service as the aforementioned server was the only employee on the floor. Bemusement usually leads to consternation in moments like this since I realise that when large groups of women order coffee's that everything else is forgotten by the staff and the resulting slurps and hisses are just not coming from the coffee machine but the red faced customers as they wait. In this case we ordered a couple of bottles of beer. I do not even think they needed a tool to be opened but they remained chilling in the refrigerator whilst the single server, reminiscent of when Slim Pickens attempted to fly the bomber in Dr Strangelove; however we know how that mission ended up in the end.

What I appreciated about Bar Americano is a sign is (sometimes) posted that reads "Please do not ask for a latte after 2:00 PM as refusal often offends" and this philosophy needs to be adopted by all eateries after lunch service and beyond as not to impact diners who just require a beer to be opened. Given the profit margins on a Heineken are at least 125% after noticing what a case cost on my recent trip to Costco Docklands, management should be pushing service to open the bottle and get them out as soon as possible instead of standing around and burning coffee produced by the B-52 bomber.

Despite the wrong priorities afforded by service, The Hairy Canary is a relaxed place to meet up, have some tapas, a pizza, a few drinks and start your afternoon. I have also frequented this place later in the evening on a Friday and it is equally relaxed and it should be included in your itinerary as a fuel stop if you intend to power through everything that Melbourne has to offer one day.

The Hairy Canary
Link to review
212 Little Collins Street  Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 2471
no web site
My Rating: 12/20
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 3/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Comment: Pizza specials on Saturday, full bar

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

When I updated this blog post on 24/09/12, 78% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also liked The Hairy Canary.

Hairy Canary on Urbanspoon