Tom Phat, Sydney Road, Melbourne

It started raining as I got out of my taxi on Sydney Road. Saturday was cold and it felt like snow in the air. Tom Phat's bright pink sign was a welcome sight.

The place looked busy and full, and as usual, I didn't have a booking. This is a really bad idea in any city for a meal on Saturday night, but the gracious hostess suggested that if I didn't mind waiting, she would find a table as soon as she could. I settled into the window seat, against the soft cushions and sipped red wine and watched the rain fall on the street outside. It was very relaxing and warm and I felt extremely comfortable.

I was waiting for Eroica and her friend Frances, and not long after they arrived, our hostess was able to seat us which was wonderful. All the dishes sounded wonderful but we were all taken by the thought of silken tofu with beans and chilli. The meal was perfectly flavoured, with enough to warm the mouth but not so much my eyes knew about it. Silken tofu is really the bees knees and if you get a chance to order it, do so - it really is a lovely texture.

Our waiter was friendly and helpful and like Eroica and Frances, from Christchurch, New Zealand. How he picked up on our subtle accents I'll never know but we had a bit of a kiwi bonding session between our main and dessert dishes. I don't usually order dessert, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity of tapioca - it's been so many years since I tried it and this version had been made with coconut milk and served cold. I liked it very much.

I'm quite happy to take the trek from Collingwood over to Sydney Road to eat at Tom Phat's anytime. It's cosy, friendly and the food is great.