Bathroom in Crown Towers room

Birthday weekend at Crown, Melbourne

by April@MyFoodTrail on May 17, 2012

in Celebrations, Dining Out, Japanese, Modern European, Southbank

Mine and Hubby’s birthdays are only a few days apart, so we always have joint birthday parties with family and friends, including a joint birthday dinner somewhere nice for just the two of us. This year (as if we needed an excuse to dine out more) we decided to have separate birthday dinners for the both of us!

My wonderful mum booked a weekend for us to stay at Crown Towers for our birthday. I’ve stayed at Crown Towers before, but not for a number of years. I always feel it’s a bit wasteful for us to pay for accommodation in Melbourne city when we don’t stay too far from the city anyway. This time though, I definitely felt it was a relaxing weekend away from home, not having to worry about the chores and being able to veg out in a nice, comfy, big bed and watch TV all day if we wanted to (we didn’t!).

Even though we had a standard room, the room still felt very luxurious. The room was on the large side for a hotel, with a desk, huge bathroom and separate walk in robe. There was even a TV in the bathroom above the bathtub!

Crown Towers

Our room at Crown Towers


Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC
(03) 9292 7879

The first dinner we had with just myself and hubby was at Nobu restaurant at Crown. Nobu is somewhere we try to go at least once a year, whether for our birthdays or our anniversary. We love the food there and always order the same dishes when we go because we can’t find those dishes anywhere else. It’s expensive, but a great place for a once in a while treat.

We started off with the sashimi tacos. There are four crispy shells each filled with different seafood – yellowtail, salmon, lobster and crab.

Nobu - Sashimi tacos $23.50

Sashimi tacos with yellowtail, salmon, lobster & snow crab $23.50

Salmon sashimi is one of my favourite foods and the way Nobu prepares it has to be one of my favourite ways of eating it. I said on Twitter that the new style salmon sashimi dish would definitely be on my last meal menu! The combination of the hot sesame oil and soya sauce slightly sears the thinly sliced salmon sashimi and creates an amazing way of eating salmon.

Nobu - New style salmon sashimi $20.50

New style salmon sashimi $20.50

Another dish that we always order when we go to Nobu is the crispy rice with spicy tuna. Raw tuna is finely chopped and marinated in a spicy mayonnaise and served with deep fried rice cubes. The rice cubes are so crunchy and the tuna tartare is so tasty.

Nobu - Crispy rice with spicy tuna $28

Crispy rice with spicy tuna (8 pieces) $28

The other dish which is one of our favourites is the black cod miso. It still tastes as good as we remembered. I love the saltiness of the miso marinade together with the almost gelatinous texture of the soft cod.

Nobu - Black cod miso $47.50

Black cod miso $47.50

The last dish we ordered was one we hadn’t tried before. It was tempura prawns mixed with a creamy, spicy sauce. It was good, but I felt that it needed more seasoning.

Nobu - Baby tiger prawn tempura with creamy spicy sauce $20.50

Baby tiger prawn tempura with creamy spicy sauce $20.50

As I had advised Nobu it was hubby’s birthday, they gave us a complimentary birthday cake for dessert. It was a raspberry mousse cake, complete with a candle!

Nobu - Complimentary birthday cake

Complimentary birthday cake

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar
Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC
(03) 9292 7879

The second dinner we had was at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar. Mr Hive took over from the defunct Maze Grill, in the part of the Crown complex housing Crown Metropol Hotel. While the layout stayed relatively similar, the menu has changed to reflect Executive Chef John Lawson’s love for comforting dishes that ‘burst with big flavours’.

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Inside & Outside

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar

Hubby read on Urbanspoon that a number of people had commented how good the hen eggs and soldiers were so he was interested in trying them. I was wondering how good can egg soldiers really be and why would people order it at a restaurant when it’s so easy to make at home. To me, they tasted like egg yolks with bread… but maybe the novelty is that how the chef can get a perfectly poached egg yolk?

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Hen egg & soldiers $8

Hen egg & soldiers $8

Hubby likes to order chicken liver parfait when he sees it on the menu, and Mr Hive has a version that is mixed with foie gras, then topped with mulberries and crushed red peppercorns. The parfait was wonderfully light and smooth, without being too strong, but I found the mulberries and peppercorns took away from the hero of the dish.

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Foie gras & chicken liver parfait with mulberries $12

Foie gras & chicken liver parfait with mulberries $12

The last entree we had was called ‘Crispy little pig’. While it was definitely crispy, it was unfortunately also little! There were four small cubes of deep fried pork and a crispy piece of rind on top. Really tasty morsels, but I wish there had been more.

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Crispy Little Pig $18

Crispy Little Pig $18

Hubby ordered the Saltbush lamb belly, which was two thin triangles of lamb belly served with crushed peas. It was unusual to see lamb belly served like that. Hubby enjoyed the dish.

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Saltbush lamb belly, peas & mint $30

Saltbush lamb belly, peas & mint $30

I ordered the slow cooked salmon, which was incredibly soft. The salmon went well with the sweet corn and crab mix it came with.

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Slow cooked Marlborough King salmon, crab & sweet corn $34

Slow cooked Marlborough King salmon, crab & sweet corn $34

We also ordered a side of the sautéed wild mushrooms. When you have good mushrooms, all it needs is butter, parsley and seasoning… yum!

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Sauteed wild mushrooms $7

Sautéed wild mushrooms $7

Hubby told the restaurant it was my birthday and we were given a complimentary birthday cake again. This cake was AMAZING! It had a chocolate caramel mousse with a crunchy peanut brittle base. I was disappointed to learn that it’s not available on the menu, though there is a similar dessert. I would go back just for that cake!

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Complimentary birthday cake

Complimentary birthday cake

Over & Out, April xx

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah May 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Happy birthday to you and hubby! Looks like the perfect indulgent weekend.

I recently went to Mr Hive too, and saw them bring out that same cake for another birthday. Next time you go, you have to order the chocolate bar with peanut butter ice-cream, it’s amazing!!!

xox Sarah


April@MyFoodTrail June 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for the tip, shall try that next time!


OohLookBel May 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm

What a great way to celebrate your birthdays. Since the cake at Mr Hive was so good, wonder if I could pull the same trick: ‘Uh, it’s my birthday, you know…’ =)


April@MyFoodTrail June 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Haha, yes that thought did cross my mind 🙂


Hannah May 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Happy birthday to you and your husband! What a wonderful way to celebrate in delicious style 🙂 That parfait is blowing my mind; I kept thinking it was meringue topped with cream and berries 😛


April@MyFoodTrail June 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Hannah! It does look like that doesn’t it? Parfait good, berries bad!


Agnes May 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Okay the egg & toast soldiers is odd – I agree with you!


Michelle May 18, 2012 at 8:31 am

Nice birthday cakes!


msihua May 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm

You guys did have a massive birthday month this year! Well done!


April@MyFoodTrail June 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I’m still working on hubby to give me a birthday week like you! 😛


Winston May 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Ooooohhhh what a FANTASTIC weekend, you guys!! Happy belated birthday to you and the Hub! And whoaaa, your meal at Nobu sounds fantastic! I’ve only been once and that was almost 4 yrs ago for Mum’s bday, I’m quite overdue for a second visit! Glad to hear it’s still yummy, esp the black cod miso. But your food at Mr Hive seemed quite delicious too, esp the lamb. Will look out for that place next time I’m there (or when my folks are in town haha!)


April@MyFoodTrail June 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Thanks Winston!

Wow, 4 years ago?! Yes, you definitely are due for another visit! The food there is still good.


GourmetGetaways May 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Happy Birthday to you and your husband!! It looks like quite a celebration 🙂

I loved the look of the wild mushrooms and the birthday cake YUMMY!


April@MyFoodTrail June 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Thanks! 🙂


Ames May 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Happy belated birthday to you and your husband :). Looks and sounds like it was a lovely weekend :). Love those complimentary cakes ^^


Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) July 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

A happy belated birthday to you both! The husband and my birthdays are 8 days apart and we often have 2 birthday dinners, just an excuse to eat more really =p

Love the look of the Nobu cripsy rice with spicy tuna – such an inventive twist on tuna tartar with croutes/toast.


April@MyFoodTrail July 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Thanks! It feels like such a long time ago now 🙂 Do the two of you get separate pressies? We always tend to get a combined one!


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