After being at university for a long 6 years, I often wonder what good actually came out of it, apart from finding a job of course. I hardly remember a lot of what I learnt in class and have since forgotten the names and faces of many classmates. Some became lifelong friends and many went on to be colleagues. But one thing is for sure. Uni is where my foodie instincts were nurtured. This is where I started my appreciation for Indian, Malaysian, Irish food and my beloved coffees. As I was in my early foodie stages, I wasn’t yet able to distinguish between good and great food, I just loved anything and everything edible that away from mum’s kitchen. I know, I was destined to be a glutton (hence the weight gain over the years ahh!).
It wasn’t until a lot later that I started this food blog so I wasn’t able to document my food journeys during those early years like many young bloggers are doing now.
I always loved going to Corkmans Irish Pub right beside the law building. It’s where I tasted my first beef and Guinness pie, although I haven’t been back there in a long time so not sure how it actually tastes now. Every time I go to an Irish pub, I think of this place and start reminiscing about the uni days.
This is actually what I was doing when I visited Seamus O’Toole’s Irish Pub in Knox Shopping Centre the other night. It was a cold wintery night where the only thing I felt like doing was cuddle up in bed with a hot cup of soup. Yuye felt like something hearty and warming and we immediately thought of pub food. It’s been a long time since we had a proper pub experience as they are not so common out in the suburbs.
It was a Friday evening and when we arrived at Seamus, we were a bit alarmed at the bouncers at the door, checking for ID.
“Why do we have to show ID to eat at a pub?” I whispered to Yuye.
“it’s Friday night, look at all those people drinking alcohol!” He replied back. Of course, people don’t go to a pub just to eat hearty meals like us, they also go there to celebrate a long week at work (or in this case, seems holidays have started for uni students too).
Whenever I show my ID to bouncers, I always feel like a little child trying to get away with something naughty I’ve done, although of course, I’m totally over age and have done nothing wrong. I’m not sure why I feel that way. I am one of those Asian girls with a chubby baby face so it doesn’t matter how old I am, there has not been a single time where my ID wasn’t checked.
There were a surprising number of free tables inside though as many people were drinking beer standing up at the counter. I chose the brightest table I could find and started ordering our dishes. Although I’ve been there many times before, I’ve never actually read people’s reviews on Urbanspoon until that night. I found out that apparently they made fantastic chicken parmas which is exactly what I ordered. Costing only $13.90, it was a bargain, not to mention it was absolutely delicious. People were not wrong!
I was expecting a thin chicken schnitzel topped with tomato paste, cheese and ham, but what came out was a wonderful surprise. It was a thick, whole piece of chicken breast that was SO succulent and tender it didn’t feel like I was eating a parma. It was the best parma I’ve had. The mash was not as buttery as I liked, but Yuye doesn’t like much butter in his mash.
As Yuye felt like something warm and hearty, he opted for the shepherd’s pie for $17.90. It came out with a light golden mash that just called out “EAT ME!”. The Turkish bread was fantastic. The slightly crunchy crust mixed with the soft centre went perfectly with the rich aromatic pie.
I love a good beef pie or stew. It’s one of my favourite foods to counter the coldness and this definitely did its job. We were quite hungry but these two dishes were substantial enough that I was almost rolling out the door holding my bloated stomach.
A meal wouldn’t be Irish without the accompaniment of a beer or two. Yuye ordered a Guinness while one of the meals came with a regular beer. The one in the picture is a Cascade Light, a bit weak for me, but since when did I talk so big about drinking beer eh? Weak is good. I haven’t yet mastered the art of drinking very bitter beers but I’m getting there.
Although the weather hasn’t been too great lately, having a hearty meal like this really cures all the winter blues and fills hungry stomaches. I’m not sure if live music is on every night, but at least on Friday nights, you’ll be able to enjoy the somewhat loud melodies of a live band, as well as the chatters of many people hiding in this wonderful Irish pub, behind a glass of beer and a good ol’ Irish meal.
Question time: Do you often reminisce about school or university days? And do you always get your ID checked like I do?
Seamus O’Toole’s Irish Pub
Phone: (03) 9801 2255
Shop 2215, Knox City Shopping Centre, 425 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South VIC 3152
After posting this post, I was told that Sunny from Melon Magazine has translated it into Chinese and I am now featured in their latest issue – Issue 69 – on pages 16 and 17. Melon Magazine is a Melbourne based free Chinese magazine with content such as guide to restaurants around Melbourne, recipes to make, current food and lifestyle trends and so forth for the Chinese community. I will be a regular contributor to this fabulous magazine from now on so if you’re from Melbourne and you can read Chinese, please support me and the magazine by going to their online issues at http://issuu.com/melonmagazine or pick up a free physical copy at the many locations across Melbourne. Here’s the translated version:
筆者第一次品嘗到牛肉批和健力士啤酒是於大學旁的IRISH PUB。雖然已經忘了那時的味道，但每次去到IRISH PUB 時，都總會想大學時的日子。這次也不例外，因為筆者的友人想在寒冷的這個晚上吃些暖胃菜，所以筆者第一時間想起酒吧內的食物，於是就來到這間位於KNOX CITY 的SEAMUS O’TOOLE’S IRISH PUB。
雖說是星期五，很多人來酒吧歡度假期，但裡面卻出奇地多空桌，大概是因為大部份人都喜歡站在櫃枱前暢飲吧，而筆者就選擇了一張最明亮的枱坐下來並開始點菜。URBAN SPOON的評論之中發現這裡似乎有一流的CHICKEN PARMAS，正好筆者也點了這就菜呢！筆者最初只期待一塊薄薄的雞排，上面有些番茄醬、芝士和火腿，但結果出來卻完全是個驚喜！首先雞排居然是整整一塊的雞胸，吃起來鮮嫩多汁，完全感覺不到我是在吃PARMA，絕對是筆者吃過最好的一道PARMA。不過筆者就覺得那薯蓉的幼滑度略嫌不足，牛油不夠多。
因為筆者的友人想要吃暖胃的東西，所以就點了這個SHEPHERD’S PIE。這個焗至微微金黃的薯蓉外層，就像不停呼喊著「快吃我！」一樣。不過還是要先說說那兩片非常突出的土耳其麵包，鬆脆的外層與鬆軟的中心，與這個香氣十足的SHEPHERD’S PIE完美地配合起來。筆者十分喜歡牛肉批或燉牛肉，特別是在嚴寒的冬季，非常有效地驅走寒意，正如這個批一樣。雖然我們二人都十分之餓，但這兩道菜的份量都非常之十足，足以讓我們差點要抱著肚皮走出門口。最後，一道愛爾蘭餐沒啤酒又怎能成事呢？筆者的友人點了一杯健力士啤酒，而筆者則是隨餐的一杯CASCADE LIGHT。