Dining Review · Melbourne · Sweet Treats · Top pick

The Birthday Dinner

So yes, the reason why I’m called ‘April’ is because I was born in the month of April. And I’m quite thankful for that because if I wasn’t called April…

1) I would have never been associated with April O’Neil of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… haha if only my life is that exciting! 

2) I might have been called ‘Bonnie’ (1 of the names my parents were considering!)

3) It would be quite hard to remember my birthday – hey, just thinking for your benefit! 

Haha but jokes aside, I thank God for the life that He has given me, choosing my parents who gave me such a unique name (thanks Dad & Mum!), my brother (who was 1 of the last to wish me.. sigh, sibling love) and loved ones around me. I also thank God for opening up my eyes spiritually to the gospel message when I was 15 years old, making me realise that I’m a sinner who can only be saved by His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If I didn’t have God in my life, I wouldn’t know where my sins will lead me to, and I wouldn’t have this relationship with a Faithful Heavenly Father who cares for me, guides me along as I study His word, and hears my prayers – praise God for His goodness 🙂

So this year, I had a blessed celebration and it started off with a birthday dinner with Ms CC, Ms NO & Ms JQ at B’Stilla!

B'Stilla, pronounced as 'bas-stee-ya'
B’Stilla, pronounced as ‘bas-stee-ya’

I’ve heard a lot about B’Stilla, especially about it being named the top restaurant in The Age Good Food Under $30 awards. As we were making our way to this restaurant, under Ms JQ’s navigation, Ms NO and I started to doubt her direction skills…‘Why are we moving away from the shops along South Yarra?… Why are we in this residential area?… Are you sure the restaurant is here?… Oh whoops, there it is!’

To which, Ms JQ gave a smirk and said, ‘See?? How can you not trust me?!’

Okay, we trust you, Ms JQ 😉 It just seems a little odd to find this breakthrough winning restaurant in a quiet residential area, away from the foodie strip on South Yarra!

Ms CC joined us shortly after and at first, we wanted to order 2 small plates and 3 large plates to share. However, the waitress looked at us and said, ‘Oh I think that would be too much for you ladies!’ That made us feel a little sheepish (oh dear did we seem like 4 piggy ladies?) so we took out 1 large plate, but little did we know….

1st small plate to arrive:

Tangier bbq octopus, tahini, eggplant - $12
Tangier bbq octopus, tahini, eggplant – $12

To be honest, this dish didn’t set a good first impression. We found the octopus abit over-charred and the burnt taste overpowered the other flavourings in the dish. Overall, it was also quite salty.

But then our 2nd small dish came…

B'Stilla (duck & chicken pie, almond, cinnamon & saffron) - $14
B’Stilla (duck & chicken pie, almond, cinnamon & saffron) – $14

We thought we just had to order the very dish that gave this restaurant its name. And boy were we glad we did!

B'stilla dissected
What’s in a pie?

The pastry was beautiful, the meat inside was moist and flavoursome, the almonds added that subtle crunch, and rolling it in the cinnamon sugar just gives it such a unique touch. It’s such a strange dish – pie or dessert? – but the vying flavours of savoury and sweet work really well together. It was a pity that the pastry was such a small serving – the 4 of us were seriously contemplating whether to get another 1!

So with the B’Stilla restoring our impressions of well, B’Stilla (hurhur), we eagerly anticipated our large plates…

Seafood tagine (spinach, mussels, fish, prawns) - $38
Seafood tagine (spinach, mussels, fish, prawns) – $38

This dish got us raving as well. The mussels were plump and juicy, the fish was tender and I love how the spinach only started to cook as it was placed on the hot dish, retaining the freshness of the vegetable. And the broth – if only we were given some bread to mop up the juices! It tasted a little like a Thai Green Curry but not as creamy with a lot more seafood stock infused in it… yum!

We just could not get enough of the broth – we even used the mussel shells and prawn heads to scoop up the broth! Hahaha. The waitress did advise we should order some couscous to soak up the broth but as newbies to the Moroccan cuisine, we weren’t too keen. But next time, we’ll know!

Our 2nd large plate:

Beef short rib, carrot jam, preserved lemon - $34
Beef short rib, carrot jam, preserved lemon – $34

The beef was well-cooked – tender and definitely fell off the bone. There were hints of acidity and freshness, from the mint leaves, carrot jam and preserved lemon! The preserved lemon are those white slivers on the plate – initially I thought they were onions until Ms NO told me otherwise!

At this stage, we knew we had tummy space for more and we had been eyeing the Vegetable Tagine on the menu the whole night. So we couldn’t resist ordering our 3rd large plate for the night – sorry to that waitress but we are not such petite eaters as you thought! 😛

Vegetable tagine (figs, goat's curds, caramelised pepitas) - $28
Vegetable tagine (figs, goat’s curds, caramelised pepitas) – $28

We were all so glad that we ordered this dish after all – how could you possibly say no to figs?? The figs lent such a natural sweetness to the rest of the dish and we would have loved to have more of them! The other root vegetables were under the tomato sauce with goat’s curd swirled around and there was a wonderful earthiness to this whole dish, with the pepitas, or pumpkin seeds giving that crunchy finish – lovely dish!

So yes, only after our 3rd large plate, we were finally full and satisfied 😉 We were then asked if we wanted dessert – although the Moroccan desserts sounded really exotic and tempting, we thought we wanted to give the other South Yarra desserts a try so we took the bill from there – if you do the Maths from above, our bill came up to slightly above $30 per person. So I guess B’Stilla does live up to its reputation of good food at the $30+ range – that makes it one of my Top Picks!

B'Stilla on Urbanspoon

Alas, to our dismay, all the dessert places in South Yarra had closed early for a weekday night finish! So we parted our ways, with Ms CC and Ms NO heading into the suburbs while Ms JQ and I made our way to the city…

But with making our way back from sleepy South Yarra into the bustling city that was still not quite ready to sleep yet, Ms JQ and I decided that we should just feed our sweet tooth anyway, hopping off the tram conveniently to find ourselves in Cacao Green!

Mmm all the more reason to return on Mon nights!
Mmm all the more reason to return on Mon nights!

So yes, to end off the night on a sweet finish….

Regular Green Tea Froyo w/ honey macadamias - $7.70
Regular Green Tea Froyo w/ honey macadamias – $7.70

My favourite froyo flavour will always be green tea and despite the sprouting of froyo places in Melbourne, I’ve not found another that has green tea. Mmm I love the matcha taste of the yoghurt and as it wasn’t as sweet, I thought that we picked the right topping to go with it as the honey macadamias gave that sweet crunch. Yum!

So despite the initial disappointment of not having a fancy dessert at South Yarra, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer dessert finish in this little froyo place with my dear sister, Ms JQ 🙂

Cacao Green on Urbanspoon

And I couldn’t have asked for a cosier and nicer birthday dinner – the 3 of them could be doing many other things on a weekday night (i.e. studying or just resting after a hard’s day of work) but they chose to spend it with me 🙂 There were also other unexpected surprises along the way for my birthday so thank you all for being a part of my birthday, you know who you are!

And thank God for the love shown towards me through His people and His unchanging faithfulness. So that’s it for the birthday dinner – thank God for seeing me through another year of life!

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