I know there has been a bit of a focus on restaurants rather than in house goodies lately, but that's because, in D's absence, I appear to have lost my cooking mojo. So it was with delight that I met up with H (in town again!) for an afternoon of snacks and delicious food.
After several hours of pimms and sangria at Madame Brussels, guided by the Melbourne Veg Guide we went for a walk down Little Bourke, to Idea Fine Foods. We were won over immediately by the menu by the door, and ventured inside.
(Much later in the meal, four people sat at the table next to us, opened their menus, stood up, and left. Clearly not using the menu beside the door?)
I recalled many comments in praise of the Sichuan Eggplant, so this we agreed upon. To accompany this we selected a serve of roti. Noodles being my comfort food, we ordered the Singapore Noodles, and decided to start with the san choy bao.
The lettuce was crispy and there was the expected crunch when biting in, and these san choy bao were good but I felt like there was something missing flavour-wise, though I was unable to pinpoint what it was. Of course it hardly helps that water chestnuts are not my thing.
The eggplant was absolutely worth it. It was spicy but not overwhelmingly so, and the eggplant was my preferred texture, squishy and basically molten. We did have a few moments of bitter eggplant, which did detract from the overall deliciousness of the dish, but I will definitely order this one again. The accompanying roti was definitely the right choice, the perfect flakiness for mopping up the sauce.
The noodles had that dry curry powder flavour, which I love. These were a tiny bit on the oily side (but when aren't they?) and perfectly serviceable for my love of noodles.
The service at Idea Fine Foods was excellent, just the right amount of aloofness and water-pouring. Price was on the upper side but not unexpected (it is called 'fine foods' after all). I forgot to check out the gluten-free-ness of it.
Idea Fine Foods
146 Little Bourke St
UPDATE: Idea Fine Foods has closed.