Monday, 6 February 2012

Australia Day & Chocolate Buddha

Melbourne has been buzzing lately. City suits relinquished the CBD to camera wielding tourists. Fed Square and outdoor bars became seas of people. Screeches and grunts filled tennis courts. All the while, the sun was sizzling the grass and our noses.

The buzz, the people, the events, all seem amplified on Australia Day (26 January - for those who don't know).

Australia Day commemorates the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain at Sydney Cove in 1788. The day is controversial for some, but for many involves friends/love ones, a BBQ and triple j's Hottest 100.

Australian flag paraphernalia and the host at work

Beginning the day with a sizzling BBQ, foldaway chairs, a table covered with food and a handful of good friends. I couldn't want for anything more. And of course, the BBQ was delicious (thanks Renee!). Sausages, roo sausages, chicken & beef shaslicks (made with veggies from the host sister's garden) and hamburgers. Garden salad, asian salad, potato salad and rice salad. Nom nom.


Leaving the BBQ to recharge our batteries with some tequila and tv. We then joined the throngs at Fed Square to watch I, a Man and Loon Lake, both triple j unearthed artists, for some pick-me-up tunes.

I, a Man

Making the most of the break between the two bands, we managed to grab a spot at the nearby Chocolate Buddha. Hello Japanese food! Neatly located just off 'The Square', Chocolate Buddha is an easily accessible refuge for those seeking shade and sustenance.

The crowd at Fed Square and hidden at the back - Chocolate Buddha

A serve of Sashimi, Ebi Tempura, Nasu Dengaku, Gyu Ramen, Shake Oyako Den and three delightful cocktails made their way to our table.

The Sashimi (Salmon, Tuna and Kingfish) was tender and fresh, and surprisingly filling.

The lightly battered and perfectly crispy Ebi Tempura (tempura prawns) certainly didn't last long.

And the Nasu Dengaku (eggplant with a miso reduction) was scrumptious. There is something about miso that compliments so many ingredients - I should definitely consider experimenting with miso more in my own kitchen.

With full bellies, we returned to the stage as darkness was descending and the crowd was ramping up for...

Loon Lake


Phew another Australia Day over, but as I think about the coming weeks and months - Grand Prix, Moomba, Comedy Festival - I realise that Melbourne will be buzzing for many days to come.

- Dani

Name: Chocolate Buddha
Cuisine: Japanese
Price: $$
Location: Federation Square, 2 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC

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