***Miss L’s Melbourne Extravaganza Bonus Ed***

Bonus round in Melbourne.  Loving the food and shopping!

For Part 3 of this post, click here ! :)

Pei Modern

Website: http://www.peimodern.com.au/

1My first night of arrival in Melbourne and we headed to Pei Modern for dinner. Pei Modern was the winner of the Gourmet Traveller Maitre d of the Year so we were expecting some great service here. They did not disappoint, although  there was an initial hiccup with our drinks. We sat at the bar whilst waiting for our table and ordered a glass of NV Andre Clouet Rose Champagne ($21) each. I was happily sipping and chatting away until my friend said, “hmm I think our drink is supposed to be sparkling but why is it flat?” We enquired and was told that they had given us the wrong drink! What the?? Haha they were immediately changed! Much better!

The wrong drink!The correct drink!

The restaurant…

The frontAt the barOutdoor areaInside the restaurant  

For dinner we had:

  • Complimentary Bread
  • Organic Mussels & Fino ($18.50)

Complimentary bread Organic Mussels Mussels close up!

Bread came wrapped in a napkin. This is the second time that I have experienced such casualness in serving bread. The first was in a French restaurant in the Venetian Hotel in Vegas where the waiter just left the bread on the table (straight from basket to table top!). At least this was more hygienic! The bread was soft in the middle and crusty on the outside. Excellent! It went well with the Mussels that were plump and juicy in the fino sauce.

  • Kingfish, Artichokes & Wet Walnuts ($35)
  • Duck Breast, Boudin Noir & Clementine ($34)
  • Charred Beets, Sweet & Sour ($9)

Kingfish artichokeDuck BreastCharred Beets, sweet and sour

I had the Kingfish and it was tender and melted in the mouth. I love the crunchy walnuts on it too – great combination. The Charred Beets were excellent too, chunky pieces with a unique sweet and sour sauce. I have not had this combination of flavours before. Good to try something different.

The waiter was pretty smooth with his upselling skill and convinced us to order some wine to go with our meal even though we had told him we were going to a bar after and did not want to drink too much at dinner. We had the Chateau D’Esclans ‘Whispering Angel’ Grenache ($15). Very smooth wine and an awesome name!

Whispering Angel!

For dessert, I had the Caramelised Tomato, Stuffed with Twelve Flavours, Star Anise Ice Cream ($17) and my friend had the White Chocolate Ganache Mandarin & Sorrel Sorbet ($15). My dessert sounded special but didn’t taste the same. The twelve flavors were full of spices and too rich for my liking and the star anise ice cream had a heavy taste. A creative dish though. I liked my friend’s dessert, it was refreshing.

White Choc Ganache!Caramelised tomato with start anise ice cream

Overall it was a great experience in a chic restaurant! We were also admiring the hostess casual but funky dress sense.

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Pei Modern on Urbanspoon

Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar

Pellegrini'sWe were recommended this place by a guy sitting next to us on the plane.  He told us that this cafe had been around for ages and very much worth a visit!  Simple on the outside, old fashioned on the inside, there were no tables/chairs like your usual cafe but stools and a long bar! We propped ourselves on one end and waited for someone to serve us. Inside the espresso barWe waited and waited but no one came. I had to call out to a lady who was busy doing the stock take to get us a menu. “We have no menu” was the reply…(?????) This should be the sign for us to walk out but we persevered and instead asked what was on offer. “Just cheese on toast”. Hmm I didn’t come all the way from Perth to have some cheese on toast?? but my obliging friend agreed. Eeks! I asked whether there was anything else besides that, she said “Yes, ham and cheese on toast!” Sigh, I reluctantly said ok.

The toasts….get ready for the jaw drop…in shock! Haha

Cheese on ToastHam Cheese on ToastLayers of ham!

The Ham and Cheese Toast was layered with 5 slices of ham and a thick covering of cheese!! I felt sick eating it. Needless to say I couldn’t finish it. I felt a bit rude leaving half my dish on the plate but I really couldn’t take another bite!

Remind me not to trust a random stranger’s recommendation on the plane next time! :P  

On another note the only saving grace was the coffee.  My Long Mac gave me a big jolt to the system!

Long Mac and Cafe Latte

Rating:  1 out of 5 stars

Pellegrini's Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Pappa Rich

Website: http://papparich.net.au

I was so excited to spy a Pappa Rich whilst shopping in Chadstone. I had to drag my friend away from Zara to have a late lunch there. Clothes vs food, for me it was the food, for her clothes! Haha

PappaRichInside the restaurant

The place was packed even though it was quite late in the afternoon. I was still enthused even though we had to wait for a table, there were so much food on offer!! I decided on the Dry Egg Noodle with Curry Chicken ($10.90) and Bean  Sprouts on the side ($2.50) for my lunch.  The egg noodles had a nice bite to it and I loved the taste of the rich curry gravy with the noodles!

Dry Noodle with Chicken Curry Beansprouts

My friend ordered the Biryani Rice with Curry Chicken & Sambal Prawns ($11.90) with a Teh C Special ($3.90). I had the Pappa Cham (coffee + milk tea) ($3.50).  The Pappa Cham was awesome! I wish they sell them here in Perth! Please open one in Perth!!

Briyani Rice with Chicken Curry and Sambal Prawns  Teh C SpecialPappa Cham

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

PappaRich Chadstone on Urbanspoon

Gingerboy

Website: http://www.gingerboy.com.au

I met up with a close friend from Perth who was incidentally in Melbourne as well on the same weekend. We went out for dinner at Gingerboy, highly recommended by her sister who was staying in Melbourne. As there was a big group of us, we had to order the banquet menu which was $80 each with lots of food to share! Very much worth it! You can pick the dishes from the Snacks and Street Food, Shared Dishes, sides and sweets.

For drinks, I decided to have this unusual cocktail I spied across the room. It was called the Thai Moon ($22) with coriander, ginger and lemongrass, sweetened with gula Melaka and mixed with house made chilli vodka. Wow it was hot alright, as in spicy hot! Very suited to the Asian fusion feel of the place.

Thai Moon Cocktail

The food…comments only on the favourites :)

  • Son in law eggs, chilli jam and asian herbs ($13.50 for 3 pieces) – one of the best eggs I have eaten! They melted in your mouth!

Son in law eggsInside of the son in law eggs

  • Crispy chilli salt cuttlefish ($16)
  • Spiced duck and pork san choy bow ($18 for 3 pieces) – this was a favourite!

Crispy chilli salt cuttlefishSpiced duck&pork san choy bow

  •  Pork and garlic chive dumplings ($15 for 3 pieces)
  • Grilled lamb in la lot leaves ($15 for 3 pieces) – this was served with sour chilli vinegar, was meaty but tender

Pork&garlic chive dumplingsGrilled lamb in a lot leaves

  • Roasted hapuka with bandit sauce, zucchini fritters, fennel and citrus salad ($39)
  • Grain fed wagyu striploin with black pepper sauce and kim chi ($47.50) – another delicious meaty dish

Roasted HapukaWagyu striploin

  • Fried whole baby snapper with hot and sour salad, coriander and mint relish ($37) – this is one of my absolute favourite! I love the multiple flavours that came with the dish, the hot, sour and seafood freshness. Went really well with the steamed rice.

Fried whole baby snapperHalf eaten snapper

  • Red duck leg curry with shallots, thai basil and coconut cream ($38.50) – another favourite, the thick and creamy sauce with duck! Perfect combination!
  • Red braised pork belly with Szechuan spiced pineapple relish, pickled papaya ($37.50) – the guys loved this dish. I love the fatty layer – an indulgence!
  • Side of crispy fried sweet corn cakes ($8.50)

Red duck leg curry Red braised pork belly Crispy fried sweet corn cakes

Dessert was a selection of their popular sweets presented as a share plate.  There was the fruit salad, toasted coconut tofu cheesecake (wow!), some sort of sweet dumpling wrap with sorbet and black glutinous rice dessert with ice cream.  As it was so noisy, we had to ask three different staff to repeat what was in front of us and we still couldn’t hear perfectly!

Share Plate Fruit Salad Tofu Cheesecake Black Glutinous Rice / Dumpling case

With the variety of dishes in the banquet menu, I thought it was well worth the $80 paid.  Delicious food with beautiful ambiance (except the noise at the end when it got really busy)!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Gingerboy on Urbanspoon

The Emerald Peacock

Website: http://www.theemeraldpeacock.com/

Next stop was a bar in the city for a quick drink before heading to Crown. We ended up at this bar as one of the guy in our group knew the owner of this place. Very chic decor!

Emerald Peacock Pretty wallpaper!

We had the Madame Blush ($30 for big cocks) – labelled as elegant and sexy! Oooo! Chambord, strawberries, fresh mint, Gammay Blanc chardonnay & lemon juice. It was very yummy, I had to stop myself from drinking too much as it didn’t taste strong at all, but I know the after effects of too much alcohol in one go! Great bar!

Madame Blush cocktail

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Emerald Peacock on Urbanspoon

Crown Caffe Corso

My friend’s hubby got a bit tipsy (I think from the Madame Blush at The Emerald Peacock) so we wanted to find a place with coffee for him to sober up. All the places in Crown was packed! We couldn’t find seats anywhere except for this cafe. I decided to have my usual Long Mac and some macarons and tart. The staff was very rude when taking my order. Totally ruined my mood!

Latte Cappucino Long Mac Macarons Citrus Tart Choc Cake

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Cafe Corso on Urbanspoon

Hardware Societe

Back for some breakfast goodness at Hardware Societe. A long wait (more than 1/2 hour) but worth it!  We had the two specials of the day – the Tuna Nicoise Salad with Poached Eggs and Cherry Brioche topped with Meringue.  Wow the Brioche with the berry compote and cream was one of the best “dessert” breakfast I’d! I absolutely loved it! The food here never fails!

Tuna Nicoise Salad with poached eggCherry Brioche

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Hardware Societe on Urbanspoon

Cafe Andiamo

Website: http://www.cafeandiamo.com.au/

We only had a few hours left before heading to the airport so we stopped by a random Italian cafe for lunch. It was not very flash.  Felt like I wasted stomach space! We had the Parpadelle Arabiatta ($17.90) and a Warm Chicken Salad ($17.80) to share.

Cafe Andiamo Inside the cafeParpadelle ArabiattaWarm Chicken Salad 

The Parpadelle Arabiatta came with thick pasta ribbons with salami, onion, capsicum, garlic, chilli and pomodoro sauce. Very average! It was the same with the Chicken Salad of mixed salad, cucumber, Spanish onion, roasted capsicum, sundried tomato with honey mustard dressing. Should have researched before eating here!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Café Andiamo on Urbanspoon

Little Cupcakes

Not wanting to end the trip with an average lunch, I popped by this cute little cupcake place for dessert.  Loved the cuteness of this place! My Long Mac came with a side of warm bottled milk (aww!) and I managed to fit a Lemon and Devil’s Dark Choc cupcakes to my very happy stomach! Cool place!

Little Cupcake Cute table setting Glass cabinet Long Mac Lemon & Devil's Dark Choc Cupcake

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Little Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

It’s a byebye to Melbourne for now. Awesome in and out weekend trip. Hope I get to visit you again in the near future :)

 

***Miss L’s Melbourne Extravaganza Part 3 of 3***

Apologies in the extreme lateness in getting the third part of this extravaganza up! It had been a busy year! Hope you enjoy looking at the foodie photos as much as I do :)

For Part 2 of this post, click here ! :)

Sensory Lab

Website: http://www.sensorylab.com.au/

It was that time of the day when the eyes become heavy, the legs lethargic, and no amount of shopping can take away the gnawing longing inside. It is time…for some good coffee! And I’m in Melbourne…plenty of great coffee places to choose from. We were directed to Sensory Lab at the back of DJs in the city.

What a funky looking place, it’s a Science lab! I was quite impressed. There’s a station where all sort of coffee making equipment is on display and sold, another of the coffee beans for sale, another facing the street where the coffee is made, most convenient for the takeaways.

Sensory Lab - frontVariety of beansTakeaway anyone?Cafe

The decor is themed similarly as well – check out the measuring flask that contained our water – IsoLab 1000ml! Hehe

Water Bottle

We settled ourselves on one of the long benches and had:

  • Chai Latte
  • Long Mac (Champion house of Colombia Santuoria, Guatemala Antigua, Kenya Kirimara blend)

Chai LatteLong Mac

I looked around and saw an interesting drink on another table. Being the inquisitive me, I started chatting with the staff and asked what that drink is all about – it turned out to be a chilled filter coffee of a different blend Geisha SCAA. Ooo I must try and it promptly came. It was very strong and smooth!

Chilled Filter Coffee

I had never ordered two coffees in one sitting before, and both strong coffees too. Needless to say, I was buzzing after that. Love this place, the concept, the coffee, the friendly service!

Rating:  4.25 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9643 2222

Address: David Jones, 297 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Sensory Lab on Urbanspoon

St Ali

Website: http://stali.com.au/

St. Ali was a recommendation by a local friend. It was a fair distance from the main tram line but well worth the visit. The outside is very unassuming (is it even a cafe?), I would not have ventured in had the map on the phone did not point to the location. Seemed like an old warehouse turned quirky cafe!

The street where St Ali is locatedIt's a cafe?The entrance

The inside:

CounterInside the cafe

We had:

  • Flat White ($4) and Long Mac ($4) – House blend of Guatemala San Antonio and Colombian Narino

Flat WhiteLong Mac

Amazing coffee! It was aromatic, full bodied and had a nice finish. Now I know why this place is so highly recommended for its coffee. My friend was so impressed that she ordered another Flat White to take home.

For brunch:

  • Eggs poached on sourdough ($10.50) with added side of smoked salmon ($4.50) and avocado & feta mash ($4.50)
  • Hook, Line & Sinker Trout ($30.50) – ocean trout coated in sumac and sesame seed with caramelised fennel, radicchio, cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes and walnuts

Poached Eggs with salmon & avocado feta mash

Hook, Line & Sinker TroutThe trout & fennel

The Hook, Line & Sinker Trout was my order. It came out wrapped in a bag, looked special! Bonus point for the presentation. However the fish was dry for my liking and the salad bland. Not the best I’d had. The Poached Eggs turned out much nicer so I had a share of it :p The avocado & feta mash is one of the specialty recommended by the staff. I’m glad we ordered it!

Even though my dish did not turn out to my liking, I would back the next time round for their coffees and enticing cakes on display at the counter!

Enticing cakes

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9686 2990

Address: 12/18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne
St Ali on Urbanspoon

Captain of Industry

This was a random find courtesy of Urbanspoon and I’m so glad we ended up here for breakfast, even just to experience another quirky cafe. This may be a hardware store turned cafe?

Captains of IndustryInside the cafe

Tables seemed to be randomly place, and on each table an old piece of equipment is placed that makes you go, hey my grandparents used to have this at home. An old fashioned sewing machine with peddles was on one table and a telegraphy equipment of some sort on another. Even the counter is of shoes, typewriter, brush etc. The only sign of it being a food joint are the 3 muffins sitting on top of the counter and a blackboard sign at the back listing the food for sale.

The counterThe kitchen! I know!!Would you like to make a dress while you wait for your breakfast?Woww!Our table

After our order at the counter we walked past two rooms, and there were a barber and cobbler in business. What a sight.

Get a haircut while you wait!Busy at work

We had:

  • Avocado on toast ($8) and added goats cheese ($2)
  • 2 cheese scramble with spinach ($9) and added mushroom ($3)

Avocado on toast Scrambled cheese and spinach on toast

A very simple breakfast – it was great more for the atmosphere than the food. My cheese scramble with spinach on toast was very salty. We didn’t order any drinks as we wanted to visit Manchester Press just around the corner! A good experience!

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9670 4405

Address: Level 1, 2 Somerset Place, Melbourne
Captains of Industry on Urbanspoon

Manchester Press

Another fun cafe to visit – it was recommended by a local whom we met at Mamasita. What this place is famous for (to my limited knowledge) is not only the coffee but the art that comes with the coffee. I was most excited to see what I will get. I had to request for my coffee art quite earnestly though – the staff was hopeful that the barista would do something for me. I thought it was automatic. Doh!

Manchester Press CafeAnother alleyway cafeInside the cafeBarista in action

We just came from Captain Industry but ordered another small meal again – I tell ya, all Melbourne does it make you eat and eat!

  • Home made Bircher Muesli with yoghurt and mixed berries
  • Rhubarb Meringue Tart – just to look of it and you feel like devouring the whole tart by yourself! Yum!

Bircher MuesliRhubarb Meringue tartThe inside! Yum!

The coffees came…*drum roll*…my friend just had a leaf deco on her but I got a man’s face! Yay, it was so cute! I stared at it for a long time before finally drinking it. It was great, I think I was more obsessed with the coffee art than the coffee itself!

Flat WhiteLong Mac

Another great experience! I love finding all these small and quirky cafes! Manchester Press is known for its bagel as well, too bad we did not have any stomach space left!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9600 4054

Address: 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne
Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

Sushi Sushi

Website: http://www.sushisushi.com.au/index02.php

Our last stop in Melbourne before heading back to Perth was Sushi Sushi at the airport terminal. Great for a small snack before boarding. I had the Soft Shell Crab Roll and Seaweed Bag. Ahh, they did hit the spot!

Sushi SushiMy selection

BONUS PREVIEW

Hope you’d been liking the Melbourne posts as there are more! I made another quick weekend trip a few months later. What for? You guessed it – food and shopping! Oh yeah :) click here!

***Miss L’s Melbourne Extravaganza Part 2 of 3***

For Part 1 of this post, click here! :)

Cumulus Inc

Website: www.cumulusinc.com.au

I was looking forward to a nice dinner here after hearing great reviews of this restaurant.  We arrived at 730pm and was told that there would be an hour’s wait for a table.  I looked around and the place was packed to the brim.  “I wouldn’t mind an hour’s wait”, I thought, the place was buzzing and it did looked so nice! We headed to the waiting area, a tiny square located in one corner of the restaurant and proceeded to order drinks.  My bestie bumped into her conference colleagues in that small corner.  They told her they came an hour before to put the name down and went walkies after.  They got a table not long after, I had ‘table-envy’.  One must have a strategy to dine in this place! :p

Our drinks:

  • Kelly’s brother apple cider ($8.50) – “plain”
  • Mexicola – Herencia Mexicana Reposada tequila, Havana blanco rum, passionfruit & fresh mint ($20) – “too rummy” (is that a good or bad thing? :P)
  • House made lemonade ($6.50) – “sour and thick lime flavour”

The Apple Cider I had was not that great, it tasted very plain.  I didn’t manage to finish it.  I thought of ordering another drink but alcohol with no food in the tummy does not go well with me so decided against it.

By this time, we had waited 1.5 hours and I was getting hungry and restless!  I faced the dilemma of either walking out or trusting the staff when they said it was not long to go, which they have repeated to us a few times in the half hour.  What does one do in this instance?  I probably would have walked out but my two buddies wanted to stay.  Out of courtesy I obliged.  Where would I go at this hour anyways? The staff, noticed our faces gave us a menu promptly and told us we could order while we waited (trying to instil some confidence!).

It was 930pm by the time we sat down.  “The food better come straightaway”, another thought.  How I wish I could verbalise some dissatisfaction at them but manners prevented me from doing so.  Fortunately the staff kept her promise and the food did come out quickly.  We had the following:

(STARTERS)

  • Smoked mussels, escabeche ($9)
  • Grilled octopus – smoked paprika & basil ($10)

The Smoked Mussels had a tasteful cream underlying the marinated flesh which was delightful to savour.  The Grilled Octopus though were too salty and slightly chewy for my liking.  So far so good!

Complimentary bread was given which were welcomed with delight.  They were fluffy and cold.

(FISH, MEAT & VEG)

  • Whole baked rainbow trout, coriander & toasted almonds ($28)
  • Roast Aylesbury duck breast, toasted grains, lentils & plum ($36)
  • Roast zucchini, smoked curd, honey & chardonnay vinegar ($16)

The Rainbow Trout was one of my favourite dish, tender whilst maintaining the moisture in the flesh.  It was especially great with the nuts!  Watch out for little bones protruding from the flesh though.  The Duck Breast was another great dish, with tender and succulent duck pieces.  The surprising dish for the night was the Roast Zucchini.  They have such amazing flavours, I love every bit of it.  Hard to imagine loving a veggie dish so much.  It was my favourite dish of the night! Could have ordered another plate!

(DESSERT)

  • Yoghurt cream, fresh berries & lemon sorbet ($16)
  • Madeleine, filled with lemon curd ($2.50 each)

The Yoghurt Cream was light and refreshing and a great dish to finish the night off.  I was more excited though with the Madeleine as Cumulus is famous for this.  There was a 15 minutes wait for these dainty things but very much worth it.  Almost like a sponge cake but not quite, they were warm and light with a tangy lemon taste.  I love them!  Great recommendation from my bestie!

Overall I really enjoyed dining here despite the long wait.  The staffs were very friendly, always smiling even whilst facing our sour faces at one stage.  They suggested dishes for us to order and even stopped us from ordering too much food.  It came as no surprise that they are packed out every weekend!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9650 1445

Address: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Lindt Chocolate Cafe

Website: www.lindt.com.au

Lindt Café, one of the quick stop we made in between our shopping spree for some dessert.  The shop itself is so lovely, vibrant, colourful and stacks of Lindt bunnies across the shelves.  It was all so cute!

The café further in the shop:

We only managed to fit an Opera Cake ($13) at this stop.  I really wanted to try this after watching Rocco from My Kitchen Rules made this last season and scored a 10/10 for it.  The Lindt version consisted of coffee cream and dark chocolate.  It did not disappoint.  Yum!

Lindt also offers a monthly Chocolate Creations Class in Melbourne and Sydney.  Sounds awesome!  Bring it to Perth!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 99090 0009

Address: Shop T7 500 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Lindt Chocolate Cafe on Urbanspoon

China Red

Website: china-red.com.au

I met up with my bestie again before she headed back to Perth.  We decided to have dimsum at China Red.

This place is special because you can order the dimsum through a computer screen on the side wall.

We had:

  • Shredded Turnip Pastry (4 pieces) – $6.80
  • Prawn Dumplings (3 pieces) – $7.80
  • Shanghai Shao Long Bao (8 pieces) – $9.80
  • Pan Fried Pork Buns (4 pieces) – $7.80

The food was on the average side.  The Pan Fried Pork Buns were disappointing; maybe because I had great memories of the ones I tried in China before and these are not comparable.  I like though how the Prawn Dumplings were shaped like gold fish.  I think it’s meant to signify prosperity in the Chinese culture.

One thing I noticed was the stoned face staff in this place.  They will not smile back even if you smile at them.  Strange!  We decided against having dessert here and went to another place further down the road.  That was also disappointing so I won’t blog about it :p

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9662 3688

Address: Shop 6, 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne

China Red on Urbanspoon

Mamasita

Website: www.mamasita.com.au

A great Mexican restaurant that came highly recommended so we thought we must visit!  We cut short our museum tour and rushed over there for lunch.  Maybe we should have gone a bit later as the place was filled with the working crowd!  Luckily there were still some spare seats near the bar.  The bar was huge!

I ordered a Mamasita Margarita ($17) to start with – El Jimador reposado, Cointreau, fresh lime on the rocks.

We asked the staff for his recommendations and basically ordered what he told us :)

  • Elotes Callejeros ($4.90 each) – “street style” chargrilled corn, queso, chipotle, mayo & lime
  • De Cangrejo ($16) – crab meat, avocado, cucumber, tamarind mayo & habanero
  • De Pescado ($6) – grilled fish, lime, achiote paste, red onion salsa & chipotle mayo
  • De Camarones ($7) – marinated prawns, red chilli & chipotle almond salsa

The Chargrilled corn was quite different from what I’d before.  I couldn’t decide whether I really like it or not – the juicy corns seemed to be covered by all the outer sauce and spice.  Hmm sometimes, things are better simpler.

My favourite was the Crab & Avocado tostaditas!  Crunchy base and topped with chunks of crab meat.  It was bursting with flavours with each bite.  I would order this again!

The Tacos were not as nice as expected, I think I prefer the crunchy base rather than the soft.  The Marinated Prawns filling was the better of the two.

Mamasita was definitely worth the visit.  It has a very nice ambience – lively music and the staff was also very friendly!  The people are so friendly in Melbourne.  We started chatting to the couple seated next to us and they were offering their food for us to try and gave her drink to my friend when she burned her lip eating the habanero on the tostaditas!  They even took the time to write down the restaurants they recommend for us to try.  Thank you guys :)

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9650 3821

Address: Level 1, 11 Collins Street, Melbourne

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Pop Restaurant & Bar

Website: www.poprestaurant.com.au

We were looking for a place to have dinner and decided to head towards Chinatown.  Before we got there, we stopped by at Hardware Lane and walked along the row of restaurants, as my friend wanted to experience how hosts throw freebies at patrons to entice them to dine in their restaurant.  ½ price drinks, entrée, dinner or even free entrée and free drinks, you name it!

My friend was enticed by Pop Restaurant and we ended up eating there.  Their offer was a free tapas entrée and selected cocktails.  However we found that they changed the tapas to something else (from what they described at the front) once we sat down.  Hmm, shrewd business dealing here!

Free Drinks:

  • Tequila Sunrise ($14)
  • Cosmopolitan ($14)
  • Monteiths Cider Pear ($7)

Free tapas – sausage and mash:

We ordered the following for dinner:

  • Duck Duo ($34)
  • Paella ($35)
  • Prawn and Scallop Tagliatelle ($34)

The Duck Duo came as pan roasted breast and confit leg with puy lentils, roasted figs and duck jus.  Looked and tasted good.  Was quite a substantial dish.

The Paella consisted of chicken, chorizo and peas.  It’s not the best I’d tasted; the rice and chicken were bland.  The only distinctive flavour was from the chorizo.

The Prawn and Scallop Tagliatelle was one of the best pasta I’d eaten.  The tagliatelle was handmade and sautéed in a sage & butter sauce.  The prawns and scallops were huge as well.  I just love the butter sauce.  A must order!

It was a hit and miss with this restaurant but the pasta was worth the visit!  I’m glad I came to dine here!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9642 1341

Address: 68 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Pop Restaurant on Urbanspoon

PART 3 PREVIEW

It’s all about the coffee in this last part! Click here!

***Miss L’s Melbourne Extravaganza Part 1 of 3***

With a friend’s enticing “free accommodation in a nice apartment near the city” invitation to Melbourne, I went on a long weekend trip east.  The main mission – YUMMY FOOD!  We ate all day and night, literally.  Coincidentally, I found out my bestie was also heading there on the same weekend for a conference! Yay! She enjoys great food too!  Actually, she loves food more than me!  I was over the moon!

Here are some of the restaurants we visited!  Enjoy reading :)

Stalactites

Website: stalactites.com.au

Stalactites is located on Lonsdale Street which I was told by the locals to be the Greek ‘hood’.  That explained the numerous Greek restaurants I passed walking to Stalactites from Swanston St which is only a block away.  Quite fierce competition I would imagine!

The restaurant was recommended by a few people back in Perth so I was excited to try out the place.  When we arrived, there was already a queue outside.  A great sign as the other restaurants we walked past still had a few empty tables.  We waited in line and was promptly served by the host but alas!..as two of our friends had not arrive, we were told to wait in line until they did, in what I thought was a not so friendly tone.  We waited and waited with looks from other patrons as they walked pass us.  Strange I thought, it wasn’t common in Perth that we are not let into the restaurant unless the whole party has arrived.  I’m also not used to not being able to book for a table, but apparently it’s the norm here in Melbourne.  All good, adaptable I am! :)

The restaurant is casual in appearance, with the normal wooden tables, not much in terms of ambience.  We sat on the second floor.  It seemed lifeless compared to the bottom floor.

Definition of a stalactite, an icicle-shaped mineral deposit, hanging from the roof of a cavern, formed from the dripping of mineral-rich water.  The Greek version stalaktos = dripping.  I looked up to the ceiling and what do I see?  Replica of stalactites!  How clever! I like it!  After the initial admiration, my attention turned to the menu.

Quite an extensive menu I thought but I’m no expert in Greek food.  In fact I hardly ever dine in any greek restaurants back in Perth.  I let my newly met friend order for us.  He had been here numerous times and knew what’s good and not.  We had the following:

  • Mixed Dips ($9) – tarama, melitzanosalata, tzatziki & hommus
  • Homemade Moussaka ($24)
  • Lamb Souvlaki ($12.50)
  • Kalamari Platter ($19)

The Mixed Dips came with fresh and hot pita bread.  There were four dips, two of which I was familiar with – tzatziki (yoghurt with chopped cucumber & mint) and hommus (mashed chickpeas).  The other two I found out later were tarama, salted and cured roe of the cod and melitzanosalata, mashed eggplant.  I actually like these two unknown dips the most, tarama being my favourite.  I nearly had two of the pitas all by myself with the dips.  Yum!  It’s also great that you get four dips with one order, rather than having to pay extravagant amount for each.  I like.

The Homemade Moussaka was also great.  I have never tried it before but heard about it from My Kitchen Rules, a dish cooked by Helen & Steve from NSW.  Theirs was an open style moussaka so looked totally different than what I saw in front of me.  It consists of layers of potatoes, minced beef & eggplant topped with béchamel cream sauce and served with baked vegetables.  It’s the favourite of the night – it’s almost like a lasagne but with more flavours.  The vegetables were buttered too.  This could be my favourite greek food.

The Lamb Souvlaki looked like a kebab, and tasted like one, except with much more tender chunks of lamb, with crisp lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki rolled in warm pita bread.  Was an ok dish.

The Kalamari Platter was also another favourite, fresh, lightly floured and fried.  It was also very tender, not chewy as some I have eaten but maybe slightly salty.  Still a good dish though.

The service at the restaurant was mediocre, not sure whether I expected everyone to be really friendly in Melbourne but none of the waitstaff smiled or chatted, just poker faced whilst serving.  Maybe it’s due to the busyness but still, not an acceptable excuse.  I hope the other restaurants I visit in the coming days have better service.  Overall a great Greek food experience!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9663 3316

Address: 183 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Stalactites on Urbanspoon

Max Brenner

Website: www.maxbrenner.com.au

After dinner we wondered around looking for a good dessert place – tried looking up a few on Urbanspoon but most of them were closing by 9 – 10pm.  Why!?  We were trying to avoid going to Max Brenner as I’d been a few times (really wanted to try some place new) but couldn’t find anywhere decent so we ended up here.  As usual it was packed to the max.   I always love the atmosphere in Max Brenner.  The colourfulness, scrumptious praline chocolates, smell of chocolate, buzz in the air.  Bring it to Perth!

We only ordered drinks on this occasion as everyone is too full from dinner.  Would have loved to order the Chocolate Fondue (and also get some fruit goodness in me) but no one had the space.  Maybe next time.

Our drinks:

  • White Chocolate ($5.50)
  • Dark Chocolate ($5.50)
  • Mocha with Dark Chocolate ($6)
  • Max’s White Chocolate Chai ($6)

The drinks were served in the Hug Mug, cute and easy to hold with the cup of your hand.  I absolutely love my Dark Chocolate Mocha drink.  It was warm, thick but not too sickly and not too sweet – I could finish it with a big gulp which I almost did.  This drink really soothes the soul.  Love!

I tried some of the White Chocolate Chai and it was great too.  I mixed some into the Dark Chocolate Mocha drink and it tasted even better.  We were mixing our own drinks with great results.  Come to Perth Max Brenner!  Always a favourite each time.  Must try!  Also the service was great in this place.  The staff was very friendly at the counter and on the floor.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9663 6000

Address: 210 Lonsdale Street 25 – 27 Qv Sq, Melbourne

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon

The Hardware Societe

Another popular café which I was told is a must try for brunch.  It is located on Hardware Lane, off Lonsdale Street – a very unassuming location, the street was very quiet due to the heavy rain and we nearly turned around had we not trusted Google Map.

As expected, it was packed!  I was warned that there will be at least 30mins wait by friends, however luck must be on our side (or the heavy rain), we were seated in 15mins on a communal table.  I love the cheeriness of this place, it’s so bright and comforting even with the dreary weather.   I also spied lots of bakery goodies at the counter!

This place also has the friendliest service.  The guy was so helpful, explaining the drinks and specialy dishes on the menu.  He even ended up telling us how to pour out the drinks we ordered.

We had:

  • Hot Chocolate with 54% dark callebaut ($4.50)
  • Mocha ($4.50)
Check out the pics!  The drinks are half assembled on the table.  I had fun!  And they tasted great too.  Their milk is supplied by Jonesy’s Dairy Fresh of Loddon Murray Region.  Made a difference.
  • Baked Eggs ($15)
  • Croque Madame ($17)
There are three varieties of the Baked Eggs - my friend chose the chorizo, romesco and confit tomatoes.  The eggs tasted absolutely delicious!  The only complaint she had was that the bread slices were too hard.  Otherwise all good!
I had the Croque Madame which came with smoked salmon, fried duck egg and herbed creme fraiche.  Honestly, one of the best dish I’d had, with the fluffy thick bread, generous salmon and crispy egg!  Duck egg!  I couldn’t stop eating it and wanted more!  It was great for the price too!  No wonder this place is so packed all the time.  Wish I could come back here to try their other dishes!
We started chatting to the couple sitting opposite us for some culinary tips.  They were so friendly (everyone is so nice in Melbourne) and told us that Hardware Societe is their favourite spot for breakkie/brunch – they eat there once a week!  Talk about repeat customers!  They pointed us to either Tiamo or Tiamo 2 on Lygon Street for some Italian.  We headed there next for lunch.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9078 5992

Address: 118 – 120 Hardware Street, Melbourne

The Hardware Sociéte on Urbanspoon

Tiamo
Website:  www.tiamo.com.au
Choosing a restaurant to lunch on Lygon Street must be the hardest decision of the day.  There are so many to choose from.  We went with the recommendation of our friends in the morning and headed to Tiamo.  We were actually not that hungry but did not want to miss dining on Lygon so shared a dish between the two of us.
Tiamo is a cosy little cafe with a funky outlook albeit a bit on the dimmer side, in terms of the lighting.  It was divided into two sections, we were seated in the smaller and quieter section.  Not much view but all good for me. :)
We ordered our coffees – a Long Mac ($3.40) and a Affogato ($3.70).  The coffees in Melbourne are definitely cheaper than in Perth!  Whilst waiting for my coffee hit, along came the complimentary bread.  Alas, I did not touch, leaving room in my stomach to try the Spaghetti Don Giovanni ($17.90) we ordered.
The Long Mac gave me quite a bitter coffee hit!  I forgot to ask for the topped up!  Finished it in two sips :)
The Spaghetti Don Giovanni was a pasta dish with mussels, clams & spinach cooked with garlic, oregano & chilli in a light napoli sauce.   The sauce was flavorsome and spicy, with fresh chunky tomato pieces stirred through!  I’ve started to eat spicy food recently so that was good for me.  The mussels were huge as well.  A good portion for us!  It was a hearty meal on a cold rainy day!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: 03 9347 5759

Address: 303 Lygon Street, Carlton

Tiamo on Urbanspoon

PART 2 PREVIEW

A 2 hour wait in one of the most talked about restaurant in town for dinner.  Which restaurant is this?  Did Miss L and her friends walk out or persevered?  All to be revealed in Part 2 :) – Click here

***Singapore Delight***

So I spent about a week in Singapore to renew my passport and to transfer my Australian Visa from the old to the new. I went all out with food, and with a new passion for cam-whoring on food, I took the camera to places I love with my soul in Singapore… some that allowed me to visit the realms of nostalgia, and some new places that made me go “mmmm”.

I will not do a review of the places because there are too many but I will give a short description of each place, and where you might be able to find it, so if you love people do end up heading to Singapore for a holiday, you might wanna pop by these eateries! It’s too difficult to give the description of each dish, so all you have to do is hover your mouse over the picture to get the name of the dish (and I will give a description of those items that have local names :)).

AJITEI – Plaza Singapura
My first meal in Singapore – Japanese. How appropriate. NOT! But quite frankly, the number of Japenese places opening up is just amazing and is quite surprising. I reckon it’s the big anime craze in Singapore for all things Japanese. Anyway, this place had interesting food, but had the usual sushi as well. Not too bad, but it would be a once-off experience for me. Not something I would go back to.

That said, the food is NOT bad. :)

AJITEI - MenuAJITEI Menu 2AJITEI - Menu 3

Saba Fish SetChicken Katsu Omelette Rice (with curry)

California MakiSoft Shell Crab Maki

Dango

Mong Hing Teochew Restaurant – Key Point
Teochew cuisine is close to my heart because I am a Teochew myself. Wikipedia will assist me in explaining our cuisine a little more:

Teochew cuisine is particularly well known for its seafood and vegetarian dishes and is commonly regarded as being healthy. Its use of flavouring is much less heavy-handed than most other Chinese cuisines and depends much on the freshness and quality of the ingredients for taste and flavour. As a delicate cuisine, oil is not often used in large quantities and there is a relatively heavy emphasis on poaching, steaming and braising, as well as the common Chinese method of stir-frying. Chaozhou cuisine is also known for serving rice soup (潮州糜 or mue), in addition to steamed rice or noodles with meals. The Teochew mue is rather different from the Cantonese counterpart, the former being very watery with the rice sitting loosely at the bottom of the bowl.

Authentic Teochew restaurants serve very strong Oolong tea called Tieguanyin in very tiny cups before and after the meal. Presented as Gongfu cha, the tea has a thickly bittersweet taste, colloquially known as gam gam (甘甘).

A condiment that is commonly associated with Teochew cuisine is Shacha sauce. This popular paste is also used in Fujian and Taiwanese cuisine. It is made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chilis, brill fish, and dried shrimp. The paste has a savory and slightly spicy taste. As an ingredient, it has multiple uses:

as a base for soups

as a rub for barbecued meats

as a seasoning for stir fry dishes

as a component for dipping sauces, for example as used in hot pot meals

In addition to soy sauce (widely used in all Chinese cuisines), Teochew cuisine is one of the few regional Chinese that makes use of fish sauce due to Chaoshan’s coastal land. It is used as a flavoring agent (for e.g. in soup), rather than a dip. As an ingredient, peanuts are a relatively prominent feature in this cuisine; used both in savory dishes and desserts. They can be boiled, fried, roasted, crushed, grounded or even turned into a paste. Peanuts can be used as a garnish or feature in soups, amongst others.

Teochew chefs often use a special stock called shang tang (上湯). This stock remains on the stove and is continuously replenished. Portrayed in popular media, some Hong Kong chefs allegedly use the same shang tang that is preserved for decades. This stock can as well be seen on Chaozhou TV’s cooking programmes of today.

There is a famous feast in Teochew cuisine / banquet called “jiat dot” (食桌) which literally means “food table”. A myriad dishes are often served, which include shark fins soup, bird’s nest soup, lobster, steamed fish and braised goose.

Teochew chefs pride themselves in their skills of vegetable carving, and carved vegetables are used as garnishes on cold dishes and on the banquet table.

Teochew cuisine is also known for a late night dinner known as “meh siao” (夜宵) locally, or “da lang” (打冷) among the Cantonese. Teochew people enjoy eating out in restaurants or at roadside food stalls close to midnight before they go to bed. Some dai pai dong-like restaurants stay open till dawn.

Unlike the typical menu selections of many other Chinese cuisines, Teochew restaurant menus often have a dessert section.

Many people of Chaoshan origin, also known as Teochiu or Teochew people, have settled in Southeast Asia during the Chinese Diaspora, especially Singapore and Thailand; influences they bring can be noted in the cuisine of Singapore and that of other settlements. This review article, for example, illustrates a Teochew Noodles House in Singapore. A large number of Teochew people have also settled in Taiwan, evident in Taiwanese cuisine.

  This place serves authentic (in my own opinion) teochew dishes, and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. Will definitely go back there for more Teochew dishes to relive my childhood!

Chilli CrayfishBraised Goose Meat

Fried Prawns stuffed with Crushed ChestnutsOyster Omelette

Stir Fried Vegetables (Dou Miao)Yam Paste (Ou Ni)

Ding Tai Fung – Basement of Paragon Shopping Centre, Orchard Rd
I had heard all about this place from mom, and it does serve pretty good food! Famous for its Shanghai Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao), the dumplings are special because it contains some meat and some soup in it. Also famous for its fried rice (which I never tried because I only came to know of its fame when I came BACK to Perth. BOO), this place is reasonably priced and is of fairly good quality.

One thing to note is that it gets really crowded (they have a numbering system when it gets to peak period because of how many people are actually willing to wait to eat!). So be there early.

DING TAI FUNG - MenuDING TAI FUNG - Signage

Stir Fried Vegetables (Dou Miao)Shanghai Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

Dumpling Noodle SoupFried Rice with Pork Cutlets

Red Bean Paste BunRed Bean Paste Bun - Inside

BrotZeit – Raffles City (directly opposite CHIJMES)
I was craving for some good beer, and so I told my friend to bring me to a place where they had good beer. He brought me here – this german pub/restaurant. I definitely have had better beers, and because of the hot weather in Singapore, you had to really drink the beer rather quickly before it became luke warm beer (yook? I think so too!).

We only had one dish which was their specials for the night but it was MASSIVE. We finished it off with a nice blackforest cake (why wouldn’t you, when you’re in a german place?).

Lovely place to be in, great service, but average food (other than the dessert which was YUMMO).

BrotZeit Signage

Special Pork Ribs with Potato Salad & SauerkrautA Closer Look at the Pork Ribs

Me Beer - Can't remember what it was called!Blackforest Cake

Kushinbo Buffet – Suntec City
I was rather impressed with the range/variety in this buffet meal. My friend told me about this many a time, and so it was nice to be able to try something that has been talked about so often.

This was a Japanese-themed buffet, and the spread was amazing. I wouldn’t say everything was fantastic, but I was most impressed by the amount of things they had to offer. Would definitely bring others to this buffet (assuming their standard doesn’t drop any further).

Kushinbo - Dessert 1Kushinbo - Dessert 2

Kushinbo - Snow CrabsKushinbo - Sushi

Kushinbo - Hot DishesKushinbo - Kaminabe (Paper Pot of soup with various ingredients)

Kushinbo - Cold SobaKushinbo - Desserts 3

Shokudo – Bugis Junction
Caught up with my high school friend whom I’ve missed dearly since the last time I caught up with her, and she decided to bring me to a modern take of a Japanese cafe (yes, it seems like I have eaten too much Jap food on this trip!).

The food’s interesting but nothing too fanciful… they do have a mean Macha (Green Tea) Latte that really surprised me tho’! Kudos for that drink!

Oh, and they’ve got Tako Yaki (fried octupus balls)… something we can never really find here in Perth!! And guess who suggested to order? :)

Shokudo - SignageShokudo - Interior

Shokudo - Tako YakiShokudo - Pork Katsu with Omelette Rice and Curry

Macha Latte

CHOMP CHOMP – Serangoon Gardens
This is probably the only place I would HAVE TO visit each time I go back to Singapore. Lovin’ it from childhood, this place is not exactly for the faint-hearted. The area is small and crowded most of the time, with a talent to make people perspire all the way through the meal because of how humid and hot it is. They have made some changes/renovations over the years to improve this but hey, it’s not a Singaporean food centre if you don’t actually perspire!

Love the food there, especially the special BBQ-ed stingray (yes, it’s edible!), their Hokkien Noodles (prawn noodles), oyster omelette, sugar cane juice (please order the LARGE cup with lemon… yummo!), and many other local delights.

The pictures shall tell the story. Get a taxi there, and a taxi back. It’s definitely worth the trip!

Chomp Chomp - The LookChomp Chomp - Dessert Stall Choices

Chomp Chomp - SugarCane with Lemon (LARGE)Chomp Chomp - Chicken Wings ($1 per wing!!)

Chomp Chomp - Char Kuey (fried radish cake with egg)Chomp Chomp - Stingray, YouTiao (Fried Dough stuffed with Squid), Sambal KangKong

Chomp Chomp - Oyster OmeletteChomp Chomp - Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodles) - Order from a stall that's on the right hand alley as you walk in, towards the end

Chomp Chomp - Lor Mee (do NOT order, better ones available outside)Chomp Chomp - Pork & Century Egg Congee

Chomp Chomp - On the Outside

Wah Lok – Carlton Hotel (Opposite CHIJMES)
This is a Cantonese Restaurant that’s rather famous among the locals, especially the business people because of its classy yet traditional look in the restaurant itself (I was too hungry to take any interior photos… Oops!). Before I continue, a little something on Cantonese Cuisine:

Cantonese cuisine draws upon a great diversity of ingredients as Guangdong has been a trading port since the days of the Thirteen Factories, bringing it many imported foods and ingredients. Besides pork, beef, and chicken, Cantonese cuisine incorporates almost all edible meats, including organ meats, chicken feet, duck and duck tongues, snakes, and snails. Many cooking methods are used, steaming and stir-frying being the most favoured due to their convenience and rapidity, and their ability to bring out the flavor of the freshest ingredients. Other techniques include shallow frying, double boiling, braising, and deep-frying.

For many traditional Cantonese cooks, the flavors of a finished dish should be well-balanced, and never cloying or greasy. Also, spices should be used in modest amounts to avoid overwhelming the flavors of the primary ingredients, and these primary ingredients in turn should be at the peak of their freshness and quality. Interestingly, there is no widespread use of fresh herbs in Cantonese cooking (and most other regional Chinese cuisines in fact), contrasting with the liberal usage seen in European cuisines and other Asian cuisines such as Thai or Vietnamese. Garlic chives and coriander leaves are notable exceptions, although the latter tends to be mere garnish in most dishes.

This place is beautiful on the side, but the food to me was rather average. Perhaps I’m not one with an exquisite-food palate. But I have to give them kudos for their beautiful presentation. It is on the expensive side, so just be forewarned. :)

Wah Lok - Char Siew Buns (BBQ Pork Buns)Wah Lok - Roast Duck and Pork

Wah Lok - Steamed Prawn & Chives Dumpling (KUDOS!)Wah Lok - Tofu with Blanched Vegetables

Wah Lok - Pan-Fried Fish with Sauce

 Sushi Tei – Paragon Shopping Centre
This Japanese (yes, again!) place has a few chains in Singapore, with this chain being one of the best, and from my own knowledge, was the original branch. If you have heard of Sakae Sushi in Singapore, this place is sort of the cousin of Sakae but of much higher class and quality. The idea of it really, is a sushi train, however, they have revamped to be more of a sit-down concept, where you order your sushi from your table, and the sushi chefs will make it for you fresh when you order (or so it’s supposed to be).

Some of the dishes are special and really worth having a try, the rest – well, they’re ordinary and you probably can find equally good or even better ones outside, and even right here in Perth.

It’s affordable and thus many people flock to this place. No reservations, so be there early, or be prepared to just wait!

Sushi Tei - Tuna Belly Handroll (raw fish)Sushi Tei - Soft Shell Crab Maki

Sushi Tei - Fried Squid (YUMMO!)Sushi Tei - Sashimi Salad (YUMMO!) - Ask for the sesame dressing

Sushi Tei - Agedashi TofuSushi Tei - Squid Ink Pasta

 Sushi Tei - Eel Maki (YUMMO!)Sushi Tei - Grilled Salmon Teriyaki

Tambuah Mas – Paragon Shopping Centre, Basement Level
I left Singapore with a taste of some Indonesian Food. We had wanted to go to Ding Tai Fung again (I wanted to try the infamous fried rice!), but the queue was just far too long for us… especially for me – the one who would be boarding a plane back to Singapore filled with so many fond food memories.

My lovely auntie suggested the place saying that the food has always been pretty good. I was happy to try – afterall, I do have about 25% of Indonesian blood in me. :)

The thing I will definitely rave about is the Chendol (Cendol), which is a nice coconut-milk based drink, filled with nice big red beans,a nd some green jelly like “worms”.

The other thing I definitely enjoyed was the petai, which is literally “smelly beans” when translated from Teochew. In any case, I would definitely go back there to have another go at the dishes the next time I go back if I do get the opportunity. :)

Tambuah Mas - Cutlery and NapkinsTambuah Mas - Emping! (Complementary Fried Crackers made of Ginko Nuts)

Tambuah Mas - Otak (BBQ Fish Paste), Satay, Special Tofu Dish (can't remember the name now! :()Tambuah Mas - Udang Petai (Chilli Prawns with Petai, YUMMO!)

 Tambuah Mas - Gado Gado (Mixture of Vegetables covered with Peanut Sauce.. YUMMO!)Tambuah Mas - Chendol (Cendol)

And so wraps up the delights I found in little red-dot Singapore! My homeland. Someone once asked me, “where do you consider home?”…. my answer was “Singapore will always be a home to be because I was taught my values there, but Perth is a home to me for how it’s been able to allow me to keep those values”.

So to all you foodies who are heading to Singapore, you might want to take down some of these places’ information – who knows where you will go and when you do head there, think of these beautiful pictures, and I hope you’ll enjoy these munchies as much as I did! :)

***Melbourne Extravaganza!***

So I went to Melbourne on a mission… to find out – with the help of friends, the finest places to eat!!

NO. Unfortunately, I did not go there on a food-blog-all-expenses-paid trip. However, I did take photos of the places I went to for some great food, and would like to share the dining experiences with you lot of fine readers!! :)

This post will feature multiple spots, so please bear with the length of this post. I will provide a rating as usual for each place, and will provide the venue information as must as possible so that you maybe able to visit those places should you head to Melbourne for a holiday and would like to find some good food. :)

Oriental Tea House

Oriental Tea House - Chapel St

the first day saw us heading down towards Chapel Street in search for a recommended tea inn that served good dim sum (or at least this was what the travel book I bought said…)…

After much walking, we finally stumbled into the right venue and was pleasantly surprised by how beautifully decorated the interior is.

With both retail and restaurant fused together… the seating area was actually at the back of the shop. It looked narrow from the outside but it had quite abit of depth.

So we sat down and being such a gloomy cold day… we really wanted some hot steamy dim sum to keep us going for the rest of the day.

Oriental Tea House - MenuAs we browsed through the menu, we started realising that we’ve walked into a palace-like eating venue, with prices of dishes far more expensive than what we have seen here in Perth. Perhaps it’s to upkeep the beautiful decor that we see inside. Nevertheless, we had hoped for the best in terms of the quality of food.

With the many dishes ordered… I will not break it down but rather supply some photos for your viewing pleasure.

In any case, it is important for me to mention that the price of their tea came as the biggest shock of the whole trip! A simple glass of jasmine tea cost $5.50 per cup!! We couldn’t believe it because it ended up being at least 10% of our final bill which was horrendous. I have to give it the credits in terms of having quality tea leaves being used, but $5.50 is really a tad too much for the size of the tea that was served to us.

In any case, the food came too, and we were ultimately disappointed with the dishes that we ordered. The dishes were quite standard dim sum dishes, and we definitely have had much better ones around, especially here in Perth.

I wouldn’t go back there to eat again but I do encourage people to go in to have a look at their teas if you are a fan of tea, especially asian tea. They seem to carry a wide range and it will definitely be worth going to have a lookie.

The Cup of Tea that was $5.50Dim Sum 1Dim Sum 2Table Setting

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9826 0168
Address: 455 Chapel Street, South Yarra, VIC 3141, Australia

 Oriental Tea House on Urbanspoon

Dumplings PLUS

J gave me two choices for lunch the day I met her in Melbourne city –  a place with good dumplings, and another with good vietnamese noodles… I decided to go with dumplings knowing I have never seen a dumplings place here in Perth.

Beautiful Signboard

From the outside, you get reminded a little bit of China (no, I haven’t been there, but I did feel the chinese culture just by looking at the exterior)… with the chinese-writing on the signboard, it felt rather authentic.

When we entered, we were greeted by someone who looked like the boss of the establishment.

We quickly had the menus served to our tables, but because it has been a good three years since I last saw J, our catching up moments seem to overpower the urge to place our orders…

We were then given our reminder when the boss came back and asked if we were ready. This time, embarrassed, we quickly glanced through the menu and made our decisions.

For the reason of bad memory, I will not be listening what we ordered.

MenuThe food!

We decided to order a few dishes to share… a few being three (3)… a beef-noodle-soup-dish, where the noodles are actually hand-made… a plate of jellyfish seasoned by their chef… looks really spicy but it really isn’t spicy at all! And of course, we ordered some shanghai dumplings (how could we enter a dumplings house without even ordering any dumplings to eat?!

The dishes were quite average, with the dumplings standing out the most. They had some condiments on the side, which made the food taste much better. I was not impressed with the jelly fish. J and myself had to end up seasoning it up even more with the condiments on the table to make it more suitable for our palettes.

Overall, this place has the right ambience, and I would like to go back to try their other dishes (less the jelly fish)… :)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9663 8181
Address: 269 Swanston Street, Melbourne

 Dumplings Plus on Urbanspoon

Brunetti’s, Carlton

Website: http://www.brunetti.com.au

everyone in Melbourne whom I know of were raving from day to night about this little cafe in Carlton… sayin’ how great their little tarts, cakes, and what-nots are. J was definitely keen on bringing me there, and I on the other hand was excited to see what the hype was all about, in this little (well not so little after look at it) joint.

Before I start raving myself, here are some pictures to make your mouth water:

Nice WalliesThe Cakes!

Interior (on the other side)Profiteroles

So J told me to go look around the other corner to take some pictures and to see what they actually have to offer… I was stunned beyond description. The amount of choices was unbelievable and the best part was how beautiful they all looked!! From cakes, to profiteroles, from tarts, to chocolate truffles, unless you go there every week, you wouldn’t be able to try every single thing they actually have there.

More Cakes!Little Truffles!

The Tarts and What-Nots

And I actually have more photos to come! But before I continue on… we only ordered three little tartlets/what-nots to try, and had a nice double-scoop of gelati each… yes this was only about 2-3 hours after lunch.

The little things that J got was just priceless! The beauty of their little foodlings is how unique-tasting each one was, and we only tried three different kinds! From the above pictures, there would be so many more to try! And according to J, she tries a different thing each time she comes, and is always blown away by the quality of the taste.

The gelati was no different. I believe they are actually made on the premises, because the tiramisu flavour that I ordered was by far the best tiramisu gelati I have ever tasted. It wasn’t too rich but yet it was full in flavour. Absolutely brilliant!

J had a pink grapefruit flavour that was interestingly great! It was nothing like what I expected and it was somewhat addictive. I’m not too sure if she noticed but I think I must have eaten at least half of that scoop she had =X

In any case, this place is a definite MUST-GO if you were in Melbourne! it’s not too far from the city and whilst I was driven there, I’m quite sure it’s rather accessible using the tram system over there.

The Gelati!The little tartlets/what-nots

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9347 2801
Address: 194 – 204 Faraday Street, Carlton Vic 3053

 Brunetti on Urbanspoon

Nobu, Melbourne

Website: http://www.noburestaurants.com/melbourne/index.html

I have heard great things about this place, and J’s been wanting to bring me there since forever. So we went!

The service there is quite the best I have seen around but it is to be expected of such an establishment I would think. We were in quite a hurry that night because we were going for WICKED The Musical (and whilst I’m at it, please take the time to see this musical, it is brilliant!!!!)… we told the waiter that we’re not too sure what the good dishes are (other than J pointing out the oysters and the yellow-tail tataki), so we left him to decide for us what we should have, and it was very well chosen without a doubt.

They know exactly what is good in the house and what is average, so we were served what he thought were the better dishes, and whilst I haven’t tried the rest of the dishes, these ones were quite impressive:

Yellow-Tail Tataki

The first dish for us was the yellow-tail sashimi, with some kind of ponzu sauce.

It was fresh and absolutely tasty with the ponzu sauce all over it. The fish would just melt in your mouth, and if you fancy sashimi, this is a change from the usual kikoman sauce and wasabi condiments. Each of the ingredient had a purpose for being on the plate, as with the other dishes, and these were well explained by each waiter/waitress who served our table.

It certainly didn’t take long for us to gobble down these beautiful slices of fish.

Oysters!

The oysters were just sublime. with three different toppings, they were all unique in its own way and the best part was how beautiful it went together with the oysters!! Being a huge fan of fresh oysters, this totally made my day, and to taste the freshness of the pearl carrying rock, wow.

The little thing in the middle is actually for one to cleanse the palette with. Looks like a really small version of a lychee, its hairy exterior might put one off, but it’s actually quite refreshing. It’s not tasty in any way but the ‘juice’ that burst out of it when you take the first munch does bring you to another platform – all ready to have the next dish.

This dish deserves KUDOS+++!!!!

Tempura Prawns

The tempura prawns was quite the average dish, except that the prawns were so fresh, and the dipping sauces were just magnificent. I seriously wonder where they get the ideas for all these beautiful dips!! My personal favourite was probably the ponzu sauce because of its tangy flavour.

There were actually heaps of prawns in that little bowl, and being the third course, we were really starting to get filled up (don’t forget the food that we had eaten earlier during the day).

In any case, the prawns were beautiful, but the coating of batter could have been better – tho’ I think there might be a reason why they even did it that way. :)

Black Cod

This was another dish that J seems to remember, and was actually asking the waiter to order for us. Known as the black cod, with some miso sauce (depicted by the four little dots on the corners of the plate)… I was just awaiting to try this beautiful dish. The smell that came from the fish was just overwhelming, and to show my reaction to this dish, J actually took some shots of me as I took my first mouthful. Ain’t showing it because it turned it out to be rather unsightly =S

The fish once again – really fresh, and the tenderness of the fish really gave it the thumbs up. I am not a fish lover but this was good stuff. The two little sticks with pink tips, in case you are wondering (like I was), are actually things that we can eat… once again, to cleanse the palette. And this time, it was sour as you got towards the pink bit. I took it anyway but squirmed just a litte =) So  I would suggest for those who are not sour-lovers to avoid that pink bit should you order this dish!

Overall a beautiful place to dine – the next time I go, I might just try the wagyu beef, which I’ve heard is of really high quality.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9292 7879
Address: Riverside at Crown Melbourne Australia, 8 Whiteman StreetSouthbank, VIC 3006

Nobu on Urbanspoon
 

Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant, Melbourne

Coincidentally, this was the place that J had wanted to bring me to when we met in the city…

Interior of Mekong


The inside of this place is quite cramped, but well stuffed with tables to enable maximisation of the place… typical asian style I would say. Tee Hee.

The waitress wasn’t too keen on taking our orders, half the time with eyes wandering around the restaurant other than our table (we didn’t smell, nor were we that disgusting looking… not to me at least =X)… so that put me off quite abit.

We ordered the usual fresh spring rolls, and some pho… the interesting thing about this place is actually the bowl sizes they offer. We had both regular and large orders, and when they came out, it seemed as tho’ the same amount of noodles were placed in each bowl – just that you had more soup in the large bowl compared to the regular.

We also ordered some fried spring rolls as the uncle/auntie who flew from Sydney to meet me and my folks actually liked them.

I ordered a vietnamese coffee too, just to boost myself for the activities for the rest of the day (I haven’t had my first cup, so I was rather grumpy before the meal!)

Shop sign PhoSpring Rolls

The pho was actually cooked to the right texture – soft but not too mushy. and the thickness of it was actually just right too. The beef slices however, were a tad too thick, and from eating at another vietnamese restaurant thereafter, we started to realise that’s how vietnamese restaurants in Melbourne like to serve their beef slices. Or at least the ones in the city. Because of their thickness, the tenderness and ease of actually munching the meat was compromised, so it was quite a task to chew on those cow slices ultimately.

The beef balls were pretty good tho’. :)

The fresh spring rolls were quite average, and their fried ones were apparently not up to scratch either, with the spring rolls looking a tad burnt on the outside – but it really wasn’t. It was just old oil being used to fry (which is in itself a no-no at such an early hour)…

The one thing that was quite the disappointment was the vietnamese white coffee. I had expected a serving similar to what is presented here in Perth when we order the coffee, that is, a filter, with a small cup below, allowing the coffee to drip through. this place gave the cup of coffee as it is, and whilst it tasted good, the presentation was a definite let-down.

Overall this place was an average place. Would definitely try other places before coming back here again.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9663 3288
Address: 241 Swanston St, Melbourne, Australia

 Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam on Urbanspoon

Squires Loft City Steakhouse, Melbourne

Website: http://www.squiresloftcity.com.au

A little steakhouse tucked in a little lane in the city of Melbourne, I would never have known of this place if not for J bringing me there for dinner one night. We were both up for some good cow and she said she knew a good place that served good cow. Trusting her taste, I went with the flow and met her at the corner of two main streets.

The BarInterior

The place had a nice cosy feel to it, simply because of how small it really is. With a maximum of 20 tables in that establishment, service was prompt and attention was given to details. the waiters who served us were friendly, and probably found the two of us rather odd, taking photos of everything…

The menu was simple, with a good range of steak available… from porterhouse to the eye fillet, to the scotch.

So I had an eye fillet, and J had the scotch fillet, both with chips (we were craving!) and some pepper sauce to come along with it.

The sauces were a tad expensive to order – $4.50 per serving, but  it was one generous serving compared to the other places I have been to with steak.

Eye Fillet (dark)Eye Fillet (flash!)

Didn’t manage to take pictures of the scotch fillet, but the eye fillet, as you would be able to see, was MASSIVE… and I actually finished it all! The meat was cooked medium-rare, and it was just so tender… the sides were a little tough but they would be with such thickness in the steak.

All in all, that was some GOOD COW. Chips were average. not the best around, and the sauce was rather unique, nothing like what I would have thought but they could do with a little more salt to make it tastier.

A place I would definitely go back again for their fabulous cow!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9670 7317
Address: 12 Goldie Place, Melbourne

 Squires Loft City Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

GingerBoy, Melbourne

Website: http://www.gingerboy.com.au

Met up with the Wookster and the Yoda for dinner and Yoda suggested GingerBoy… a place he’s been wanting to go but couldn’t find the great company like Wookster and myself… so off we went!

InteriorTable Setting

MenuIt was actually quite a task to get to the right place because there is another establishment up the stairs. So Yoda thought it was upstairs, and we went up… I had mistaken the toilet stairs for the actual stairs I was supposed to take… so a boo-boo, and a good teasin’ time for the gentlemen =P

So we were nicely seated with the menus brought to us. We had absolutely no idea what to order! So we decided to just go for a banquet meal that consisted of a little of each of their finest dishes. Why not? Then of course, we had some wine to top off the night. A white to start us off, then a red to finish up. :)

This place is actually an all asian-fusion of food. From Thai, to M’sian to Singaporean (well not so)… they certainly have alot going on. But this is with a western touch for sure because we wouldn’t be able to get this sort of food anywhere in Asia. :) Something different, and as an asian myself, I was really looking forward to seeing how the fusion would end up.

To this end, I shall refrain from sayin’ too much and let the pictures do all the talking for now…

We had about six courses… all quite a small serving but at the end, really filled us up!

DumplingsSome TatakiTwo-way Fried EggStuffed SquidCurry Dish served with Corn FrittersPlate of Desserts

 To get a good idea of how our tummies were filled, look at the pictures from left to right, top to bottom :)

The dumplings were first served, and I wasn’t actually expecting much of it since it is meant to be a fusion restaurant… to my surprise, it was quite tasty and the sauce at the side of the plate made it even better! It was simply beautiful…

The fish tataki (unfortunately memory doesn’t allow me to remember the type of fish used) was lovely, with a mustard sauce over the slices… the quality was good, with the fish just melting in the mouth as you put it in, and it went well with the shredded cucumber too!!

The two-way fried egg was something rather interesting. It was hard on the outside (fried), and actually runny in the yolk… so the recommended way of eating was to put the whole egg into the mouth and bite, allowing the runny yolk to just burst out onto the walls of the mouth – something that took me about 5min to do, because I was the only girl amongst the guys. what kinda message was I going to send by stuffing the whole egg into my mouth? I eventually did it anyway, and what a decision it was!! It was quite difficult to chew the whole egg after the initial burst but eventually I got there with much satisfaction. :)

Then we had the stuffed squid, which was once again very tasty, albeit too gingery. There was ginger infused into the stuffing, and ginger pieces below the squid! well, no wonder the place was called GingerBoy? Lame. Ok. next.

The curry was actually served with some corn fritters that I didn’t take pictures of due to my greedy need to eat the dish as soon as it arrived. the point of the corn fritters (on top of the rice), is to dip it in the curry and wow, I never knew that would go well, but it did!! I wasn’t too impressed with the curry other than this little odd detail.

The dessert is definitely a thing to talk about although I can’t remember what they all were, other than the ones that really caught my attention:

  • Coconut Sorbet (yes, I never knew it existed too!)
  • Spicy Choc Mousse

These two out of the few that you see in the picture really caught my attention, simply because of how unique the tastes were for each! Not the biggest fan of coconut, my eyes just glittered with satisfaction when I took the first mouthful of the sorbet… Yoda was a fan of the sorbet too, so it was quite a fight! But ultimately, everything was fininshed, putting a good end to a rather interesting meal.

It’s not all too asian but yet it’s got the flavours of Asia. Unique place, albeit pricey. Thanks to  Yoda for the meal!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Telephone: (03) 9662 4200
Address: 27-29 Crossley St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Gingerboy on Urbanspoon

And this marks my coverage of the places I tried in Melbourne with pictures to share! I did go to other place but with greed overpowering my fingers, the lack of pictures mean a no-review for that place. I do encourage those who are visiting Melbourne for the first time, or haven’t been to this street, to head down to Lygon Street in Carlton for some lovely Italian food! There’s heaps to choose from and you will be hoarded with hosts trying to vie for your attention and patronage. I was sucked into one for his offer of free garlic bread and drinks. :) what would your weakness be?

And as a recap of the ratings!

Oriental Tea House: 2 out of 5 stars
Dumplings PLUS: 3 out of 5 stars
Brunetti’s: 4 out of 5 stars
Nobu, Melbourne: 4 out of 5 stars
Mekong: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Squires Loft City Steakhouse: 3.5 out of 5 stars
GingerBoy: 3.5 out of 5 stars

All ratings by: S.T