Pizza Art Hawthorn East Review

by duncan on November 15, 2010

in Italian/ Pizza


Pizza Art

631 Burwood Rd Hawthorn East 3123
(03) 9882 4066

One of three pizza shops in Auburn Village, Pizza Art offers the best pizza in the Hawthorn/ Camberwell area


Why you’d need three pizza outlets in Auburn Village has always had been confused. There’s no convenience store, and yet magically there’s three pizza outlets. And here’s why it gets better: two of them are side by side.

Pizza Art is one of the three, and although like the others it doesn’t really offer much in the way of in house dining, it’s become my local favorite.

The menu offers a wide variety of pizzas, from the standard topping range through to “gourmet pizzas” that include tandoori, pepper chicken, and some other more exotic combinations.

We regularly order a small ham and pineapple (having an eight year old son dictates this) and either the pepper chicken or the tandoori.

The crust is freshly made, crisp, and somewhere between a traditional thin and thick crust.

The toppings and sauce mix hit the spot like neither of their competitors do. Succulent, ample, rich and inviting. Like most Melbourne pizza shops they do tend to use processed ham (what is that about Melbourne???) but you can forgive that given the way the pizzas taste.

I’d note that this isn’t gourmet pizza as you’d get at a high end outlet, and for that reason we’re not giving it 5 stars, but for affordability, speed and taste, I can’t recommend Pizza Art enough.

4 stars out of 5

For: low price, great taste, quick to make them
Against: it’s probably fattening 🙂

Pizza Art on Urbanspoon


Tower Hotel Hawthorn East Review

by duncan on November 15, 2010

in Modern Australian

calamari salad

Tower Hotel

686 Burwood Rd Hawthorn East 3123
(03) 9882 2347

Sometimes food can be an adventure and trying new places is fun. With the Tower Hotel, this wasn’t the case. I’d have a beer there, but the food never again.


Our original intent Sunday had been to return to the Geebung for a feed (see our Geebung Polo Club review) as we enjoyed it so much last time, but with the Sunday session on it was beyond busy so we thought we’d go to the Tower instead.

Located at the intersection of Burwood Road and Camberwell Road, the Tower Hotel offers a large family oriented pub style bistro menu that at least on paper looks ok.

You don’t particularly buy pub food for the ambiance of the surrounds, and while I’ve been to far worse places that The Tower, you’re not getting anything flash.

But in that context you’d expect one of two things: cheap food or half decent food. Sadly The Tower offers neither.

fish and chips

We ordered the fish and chips (as one does in a pub) and the Calamari salad. Along with one beer and one soft drink the bill came to approx $45, with the dishes in the $18-$23 range. Sure, at a restaurant you’re not going to think twice about those prices, but for a pub it’s a bit pricey.

With those prices we sort of expected some half decent food.

We were wrong.

The fish and chips, labeled as fresh market white fish was nothing of the sort. The batter was thick and unappealing, and the fish tasted like it had been well and truly frozen for some significant period of time. It was so bad I couldn’t force myself to finish it.

The calamari was rubbery and not at all nice, although the salad wasn’t terrible…be it if you can call some lettuce, tomato and some sort of salad dressing a serious salad.

With the Geebung Polo Club about a 300m walk away offering cheaper, far better food we’re not sure why anyone would want to eat at the Tower Hotel.

The only reason I’d go back to the Tower is the beer. It’s not a bad pub (this was the first time I’d eaten there, but I’ve drunk there before) but it’s a do not want on the food side.

0 stars out of 5

For: not one thing I can think of
Against: overpriced nasty pub food


pasta bacon mushroom white sauce recipe

A dead easy recipe that goes well on just about any sort of pasta, and most will love to eat.

In our case we’re using Chicken and Mushroom Angolotti acquired from Camberwell Markets, but you can substitute any sort of pasta with this sauce.

If you’re in Melbourne, we recommend where you can getting fresh (or frozen fresh) pasta from one of the markets. There’s two pasta shops in Prahran Market, one in Camberwell, and for memory a couple in Victoria markets. You can buy the stuff at the supermarket, and it’s ok to use, but it’s just not as nice 🙂

If you’re not in Melbourne, fresh pasta tends to taste better if it’s available in your area.


– Pasta
in our case 1kg bag of Chicken Mushroom Agnolotti from Camberwell Markets. This feeds 3-4 people and you’ll usually get left overs
– 5-6 Mushrooms
definitely use if you’re using non-mushroom pasta. We added them here anyway. Add to suit
– Bacon
6 rashes of shortback bacon
– 5 Spring Onions
– White wine
We’ve used a $3 bottle of Bowlers Run from Wollworths Liquor, but anything you’ve got at home
– Fresh garlic
– salt and black pepper
up to you on the salt. A little bit doesn’t hurt much
– Cream
we’d usually use a lite cream but in this case we’ve used normal
– Olive Oil

bacon mushroom white sauce

To Cook

– chop mushrooms, spring onions, bacon and garlic into small pieces
– put water in a pot and place on oven top, bring water to the boil add pasta.
– add olive oil to a fry pan on high, then add bacon and garlic. Stir for approx 2 mins or until bacon is starting to look lightly cooked
– add spring onions and mushrooms. Continue to stir
– while doing this, check on the pasta: it takes a while for the water to boil again after the pasta is added, but doesn’t take long for the past to cook.
– add approx 100-200 ml of white wine, allow it to bubble. You’re boiling off the alcohol here while keeping the taste
– turn frypan right down to low-mid and add cream. You can add cream to suit depending on how much sauce you want
– add a small shake of salt and black peeper, stir
– presuming pasta is cooked (it will have changed colour + you should taste it), strain pasta and add to fry pan. Stir ingredients briefly then switch heat off.

We tend to eat pasta in a bowl by itself ,but you can serve it along side other things. Also for a professional touch, and a touch of parsley to set it off.


Poppy’s Thai Camberwell Review

by duncan on November 11, 2010

in Thai

masaman beef curry

Poppy’s Thai

762 Burke Rd Camberwell 3124
(03) 9882 7277

Unexciting Thai chain food that is rather cheap


Located at the top of the hill on Burke Road at Camberwell, Poppy’s Thai is one of a variety of Thai outlets in Camberwell/ Hawthorn East all within close proximity.

Relatively busy on Friday and Saturday nights, Poppy’s doesn’t do a huge trade during the week, but it is fairly popular for takeaways.

We visited on a balmy spring lunchtime, and as one does with a dog, we sat out the front to order.

roti with peanut sauce

The serving staff were very friendly, but the outdoor table had clearly been left out in the rain for too long as the wood was split and rough to touch.

Poppy’s offers a three piece set course lunch for $14 which includes an entree, main course and drink, or you can order directly from the menu.

Service time was around 20 minutes, not unreasonable for a restaurant and what we ordered, but given there were only two other tables seated, could have been a little quicker.

We ordered the Roti with Peanut Sauce as the entree, Masaman Beef Curry and Green Chicken Curry as mains.

None of the dishes were particularly hot when served, but it was noticeable mostly with the Roti which was borderline cold.

green chicken curry

Taste was reasonable. The peanut sauce was enjoyable, as was the Masaman; far from the best I’ve ever had, but it was pleasant. The green curry though seemed to suffer from what I can only guess was too much flour and not enough coconut milk, presuming there is flour in green curry (I wouldn’t make it that way) as that’s what it tasted like. It was edible though.

I use to be a regular here until about two years ago when it changed hands and the quality went downhill. It’s not that it’s terrible today, it’s just that there’s better Thai restaurants nearby.

The only reason I’d go back though is price: $9 for a main is good buying in a food court, let alone a restaurant.

2 stars out of 5

For: cheap cheap cheap
Against: unexciting uninspiring food

Poppy's Thai on Urbanspoon

poppys thai

Note the quality of the table


fish and chips

Geebung Polo Club

85 Auburn Road Hawthorn East 3123
(03) 9810 0032

A local favourite offers a great, be it a little pricey pub food seven days a week


Located opposite the Auburn train station in Auburn Village, the 19th century Geebung Polo Club pitches itself as one of the better local pubs with lovingly restored interiors and an extensive dining area.

Usually fairly quiet on weekdays, the Geebung comes alive on weekends where it attracts a diverse range of locals, particularly on a Sunday afternoon for its Sunday session.

As well as offering a strong range of boutique beers, the Geebung also offers one of the better pub menus in the area.

On a recent visit, we went for the basics: fish and chips (pictured top) and fried calamari. As per the pictures we were more than a little surprised at the presentation: fancy pub grub is how one reviewer on Urbanspoon describes it, and that’s a dead accurate description.

The fish was fresh and thoroughly enjoyable to eat. The calamari was cooked perfectly, and went down a treat.

Service was super quick, although you do have to order at the bar.

We can’t complain about the food at all, but the pricing was a little high for pub food, but that aside you do get what you pay for and I’d pay for it again.

3.5 stars out of 5

For: great food and atmosphere
Against: a little pricey for pub food

Geebung Polo Club on Urbanspoon

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