Restaurant Reviews

We’ve all got to eat so it might as well be good! I’ve been a restaurant critic for almost 20 years, and have been writing a weekly restaurant column in Melbourne’s Sunday Age since 2006.

My approach is to always take a restaurant on its own terms: there’s no point slamming a burger joint because it doesn’t have white tablecloths. I try to be constructive in my criticism and I’ve always got the diner in mind: there are many places you could choose to go. Why should it be here?

Ramblr

There’s often a sweet spot in the life of a restaurant, a time around nine months to a year after opening, when it hums so hard it sings. The kinks have been ironed out, tweaks made, the kitchen and waiting teams finessed, and the restaurant becomes the place all involved want it to be. That’s Ramblr right now.

Hanoi Mee

Say “Hanoi Mee”. Say it out loud, over and over again. Do you hear “annoy me”? Well, you’re supposed to. The name is a joke between Vietnamese chef Ennis Le and Aussie co-owner Malcolm Bond. Le wanted a moniker that signalled his country of origin, Bond wanted something that any random Port Melburnian could wrap their mouth around. They went back and forth until they annoyed each other into Hanoi Mee.

© Dani Valent 2017