Sunday, 22 May 2011

Urbanspoon mobile application

Wanderspot LLC, 2010, Urbanspoon mobile downloads, viewed 20 April 2011, <>

As one of leading restaurant review websites worldwide, popular Urbanspoon have created a mobile application as a portal to their popular website. A quick setting selection the user is able to narrow their view to their closest major city which will allow the application to narrow the results to your chosen region. Selecting the browse button from the front screen the user is able to select from various set selection criteria with the one feature we are interested in being types of food. From this particular browse list are the names of styles and cuisines along with an indication of how many eateries have been reviewed for that category. Each category, when selected, initially displays the most popular restaurants along with their dollar price bracket as indicated by green dollar signs, the type of cuisine (African, vegetarian, for instance for the listing of Lentil As Anything as viewed under the African listing) and the address of the restaurant. Scrolling down the screen shows a display of all the suburbs where the selected category restaurants are found and, again, the number of restaurants reviewed for the category in that suburb. Just as with the website, the Urbanspoon application gives basic information for each restaurant, these being a percentage rating as given by website and application users who have visited the restaurant, the telephone number and address, price indication, opening hours and types of food carried on the menu and features such as vegetarian, gluten-free, outdoor dining. Links to user reviews, critic reviews, photographs, and restaurant website are all present.

Users of the application are easily able to search for particular restaurants using the search feature, which make it a useful resource to use in conjunction with other resources such as guides and books where pricing may not be indicated or where a printed review may be outdated.  The application is available in formats for use with: iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.   J.S.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

When tapas goes east, Selector Life.Food.Wine Magazine

'When tapas goes east', 2010, Selector Life.Food.Wine, spring, 2010, p.134, Selector Magazine, Newcastle, NSW. T.N.

Selector is an Australian food and wine magazine. This article is a review of the best Japanese Izakaya in Melbourne. An Izakaya is a Japanese cross between a pub and a restaurant that serve many tapas and beverages. The three Izakaya it focuses on are Izakaya Maedaya Sake & Grill in Richmond, Ichi Ni Izakaya in St Kilda and the award winning Izakaya Den. Izakaya Maedaya is reviewed as being the most affordable of the three with most tapas costing between $7 and $10. Izakaya Maedaya also has a fantastic selection of over 55 sakes on offer. Ichi Ni Izakaya is reviewed as a favorite for groups and dishes range from $6.50 to $18. The biggest write up is saved for Izakaya Den, which goes into the history of it's inception, a description of the space and a review of some of the choicest of the menu selections. Having eaten at Izakaya Den I can attest to the deliciousness of the fare, although the menu prices do push the boundaries of our affordable eats focus, with dishes running in price from $12 up to $30. The article's photographs capture some of the ambiance of the Izakaya. To really appreciate an Izakaya, gather some friends and share a selection of dishes and beverages and a good time is guaranteed for all, "kanpai!" (cheers!). T.N.

Very Cheap Eats

AOF 2008, Very Cheap Eats, weblog, viewed 17th May 2011, <>.

This is a blog that came into existence in 2008 because the bloggers believed that The Age Cheap Eats Guide did not honestly represent it's $30 price guide any more. One of the writers had eaten at a past Cheap eats restaurants of the year, Rumi and paid $80 for a meal! So the Very Cheap Eats blog was formed with reviewers able to contribute reviews of any eateries for meals that cost round about $20 for at least two meals. People can contribute reviews from any where in the world, although the majority appear to be from Melbourne and some from other parts of Australia. There are 38 reviews of different eateries to be found on this blog archived by year, month, restaurant title and contributor. It is disappointing that there is no way to search eateries by countries cuisines. Initially there were 27 reviews in 2008 but since then review numbers have tailed off and it's seems the contributors enthusiasm is not as great as it once was with only 2 reviews for this year. There are reviewing guidelines and the reviews are all well written, informative with information on ambience, service, price, taste and most come illustrated with photographs. It is great to see a collective of blog food reviewers come together to create such a useful resource. T.N.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Urbanspoon website

Wanderspot, LLC 2006, Urbanspoon, viewed 20 April 2011, <>

Urbanspoon is an American based website with global impact and with local restaurant reviews. The website automatically begins on the Victorian section displaying the latest most popular reviewed restaurants and cafes, a best of fine and casual dining and cheap eats. Also listed are the top reviewed suburbs. Of great use for those wishing to find multicultural foods is a section entitled Top Food Types listing seventy-five categories. Each category has an indication by a number figure of how many restaurants have been reviewed in the category. Clicking upon a category will display that categories page with title, Google map and a list of the best restaurants for that category. Within the list of all restaurants visitors to the site are able to sort the list by name (default), price and popularity. The percentage rating is derived from restaurant visitors using the Urbanspoon website, or mobile application, to click on a 'I like it' or 'Didn't like it' button.  Each restaurant and eatery has an individual listing giving eatery name, phone number, address and website. Included with each listing are a Google map showing location and, where applicable, links to critic reviews from newspapers and magazines, links to food blogger reviews and Urbanspoon user reviews posted to the page. An indication is given for the average cost of main meals. A desire to find food places in a particular suburb in Melbourne is easy using the All Suburbs area from the main page and selecting either a region or a particular suburb within each region. Urbanspoon is one of the largest restaurant review websites in the world with indepth coverage for Victoria, and Melbourne. J.S.

Spatula, Spoon and Saturday blog

Kat 2008, Spatula, spoon and Saturday, weblog, viewed 28 April 2011, <>

Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

 Spatula, spoon and Saturday is one woman's personal Melbourne-based food diary giving full reviews of each eatery, and at times including recipes, of weekend meals with family and friends. The reviews are clear, well written and insightful from the author's personal eating experience for each eatery visited. High quality photographs adorn each review depicting the food and venue under review. The photographs alone tell a story but can almost overpower the review due to their size and quantity. The reviewer's blog has been included in the popular urbanspoon website and its associated smartphone application. Each review gives details of the eatery, food consumed, price, overall ambience and feel as well as service recieved. The blog is well indexed with seperate indexes for recipes, reviews by eatery category (cafe, restaurant, Melbourne CBD lunches, etc) and most importantly for this project, by cuisine. As a place to gather ideas and inspiration for multicultural eatries to try, on a budget, Spatula, spoon and Saturday would be a great place to start, and to keep coming back to read new reviews and blog entries. J.S.

Lygon St.: stories and recipes of Melbourne's melting pot

Harden, M 2008, Lygon Street: stories from Melbourne's melting pot, Murdoch Books Australia, Millers Point, NSW.

Background reading for foodies giving an insight into a true Melbourne melting pot of the famous Lygon Street in Carlton, Lygon Street is a well-researched, insightful and in-depth historical study of the multicultural history of the street and the businesses and eateries contained there. Lygon Street is both an interesting read from a cultural point of view and a culinary delight with recipes often passed from generation to generation or by an establishment was best known for. The reader is shown a diverse array of businesses as well as individual personal stories interviews from those who grew up in the area. As a reference tool, used more for background reading and insight into the influence of our migrant heritage Lygon Street makes for fascinating reading and leaves the reader with a desire to walk the length of the street, sampling the plethora of foods available. Although no actual reviews are given, prices nor current standing of the businesses this book is a delight for foodies wishing to know the history of the multicultural background in relation to food as is found along famous Lygon Street.  At 359-pages this is quite a sizable book complete with bibliography for further reading and an index at the back referencing all businesses and individuals mentioned through its pages as well as all recipes shown in bolt text. The content lists chapter headings with food related titles as the book flows from the street's earliest history through to current day. Filled with historic photographs, portraits and lush colour pages of food. Found in a library's cookery section (641.5099451 HARD) Lygon Street is more a biography than a cooking book, a biography of a street best known for its multicultural background and with it the eateries contained there to. J.S.

Top 5 the best of Melbourne

Atkinson, F (ed.) 2008, Top 5 the best of Melbourne, Fairfax Books, Pyrmont, NSW.

Top 5 the best of Melbourne from the The Age's A2 Top Five column contains, not surprisingly, the top five recommendations in over seventy-five categories ranging from healing foods, breads, hot chocolates, doughnuts, creperies, kid-friendly cafes through to butchers, greengrocers, bookish bites and bookshop cafes. More importantly other top five lists included cover Middle Eastern suger hits, tastes of Africa, Korean specialists, sushi bars, Thai dishes, tapas stops and native Australian bush foods, giving a selection of the multicultural cuisines available in and around Melbourne. The contents pages lists all categories and each category is spread over two pages. Each category contains the reviewer's name, a colour photograph best illustrating the cuisine and a brief review of the top five for that category. Each listing contains the name of the eatery, address and phone number. The reviews are brief and may only refer to one individual dish as ordered by the reviewer. As each category has been compiled by a different reviewer, the feel and style of the reviews vary from category to category but still give an overview of the cuisine and venue being reviewed. It is recommened to use this guide in combination with another source, such as the urbanspoon website or phone applications, to gain greater details such as pricing, variety of menu and service as these are lacking from Top 5 as although the reviews certainly identify quality multicultural cuisines available in Melbourne their overall suitability for being budget friendly is not indicated. The Age's weekend A2 Top 5 column is seen as an authoritive and independent source for food related reviews with contributors to the column including Matt Preston of MasterChef fame, although none of the entries contained in Top 5 the best of Melbourne are by this celebrated reviewer. J.S.

The Serve column, M: Melbourne inside out magazine

Valent, D 2011, 'The Serve: Armadale', M: Melbourne inside out, 1 May, 2011, p. 16, John Fairfax, Newcastle, NSW. 

Each week Dani Valent surveys suburbs around Melbourne for the best food each one has to offer.  In this issue's column, Valent reviews the Coin Laundry, a newly opened cafe in Armadale.  The column has a definite Sunday magazine feel to it: relaxed, affable but also informative.  Aside from the main review, Valent also gives the reader alternative places to visit while in each suburb (perhaps, in case the venue that is the subject of the main review turns out to be packed).  As different locales are chosen each week, this column may not always have specifically 'affordable' venues reviewed (The Serve's column for the following week for example, took the reader to Melbourne's notoriously affluent Bayside suburbs -- not the prime hunting grounds for foodies on a budget).  Nevertheless, this column 'serves' as adequate Sunday reading, if you're looking for inspiration for your next food adventure.  W.V.

Foodspotting mobile App for iOS and Android

Foodspotting 2011, Foodspotting: a visual guide to good food and where to find it, New York, viewed 16 May 2010, <>.

While I freely confess to being a tech geek, I have to admit that I only joined the smartphone set late last year when I bought my first iPhone.  It was a momentous occasion, and soon after I decided to explore what I could do with it.  I had a couple of late shifts at the library at the time and often I would venture down the eateries near Lygon St. for dinner.  I often told my friends how good and cheap the food was around that area, being so close to the university, but I've never had the chance to show them.  Until now:  introducing Foodspotting for mobile devices.  Foodspotting is a location-based service for iOS and Android devices which allows users to upload and share interesting food photos along with their reviews and recommendations with other users of the app.  Depending on where you are, Foodspotting can also generate a list of recommended eateries based on these user reviews which can also be narrowed down based on what's close, recent uploads and most recommended places.  For the tech-savvy gourmet and the foodie-on-the-go, this app definitely an app to pick up. W.V.

Foodspotting Lite for Android
Foodspotting for iOS

'Broth of fresh air' featured article, M: Melbourne inside out magazine

Unreich, R 2011, ''Broth of fresh air', M: Melbourne inside out, 1 May, 2011, p. 10, John Fairfax, Newcastle, NSW.

In this featured article, Rachelle Unreich takes us on a veritable tour of Melbourne's multicultural food scene through a seasonal favourite: soup.  With the cold weather well and truly setting in and Melburnians bracing for record lows, an aromatic, hearty bowl of broth can be a panacea for the winter-weary soul.  Unreich's list includes familiar favourites such as Pelligrini's and the Station Hotel, but also other welcome additions for the more adventurous. This list may not be comprehensive; certainly, there are other (deserving) restaurants, but it does provide soup enthusiasts of every persuasion a starting point to start their adventure. W.V.

Got a secret soup place you want to recommend?  Comment below!