Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Richmond Oysters, Glen Waverley MELB

I have never been a fan of seafood for as long as I remember as I can barely tolerate fishy odours or the thought of having to work my way around fine bones to get a decent feed. My parents would be familiar with this picky habit of mine and often enough, resort to punishing me should I reject my meals.

But as some of my close friends would have noted, I have been leaning towards seafood dishes when I dine out simply because I don't get enough of it in my diet at all. Am gladly, not as picky with seafood although the once off fishy aroma can still get on my nerves at times.

At Richmond Oysters, all my seafood fears are overshadowed by how fresh the seafood served here are - yes, no fishy or slimy textures at all! Having been to their Richmond branch before, I have since fallen in love with their concept of serving good quality items. And now there's a new branch just around the corner from where I am woohoo.

Sashimi - pickled ginger, wasabi, soy, salad served with an assortment of sashimi. Loved how the wasabi taste was not too overpowering for the delicate salmon, tuna and kingfish flavours. Perfectly balanced with a touch of acidity from the salad. A brilliant way to kick start our meal.

Angasi oysters - one of the may seafood produces that I cringe at for the fact that depending on what type and where it comes from, it sometimes can be very fishy for my liking. However, I didn't mind the bold, coppery flavours from these Tasmanian farmed oysters. Strangely moreish and for me, 3 to 4 pieces would do as they can be quite rich! Not easy to find these in restaurants or even the markets at all.

Paella with chorizo, chicken,tiger prawns and local marinara - cannot fault this paella at all. Love the subtle saffron flavours that compliments the seafood taste very well. Rice was cooked to perfection too:)

Bloody mary linguini - a specialty only available at the Glen Waverley branch and one that I would highly recommend. Abundant of seafood pieces tossed together with the linguini and dressed with a light tomato based sauce that has a slight hit of chilli in it. Absolutely delicious and worth a try:)

Dessert comprised of an assortment of fruit in the form of a sorbet, freeze dried and freshly sliced. A very refreshing way to cleanse your palate.

Gaytime served with fairy floss - saw this little number heading to another table and immediately wanted one for myself. The honey comb flavoured ice cream was covered in a salted caramel sauce and sprinkled with crushed malteses. Could not have asked for a more indulgent way to end a perfect meal.

  Richmond Oysters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dainty Sichuan Noodle Express, Chadstone MELB

Have always been a fan of the Dainty Sichuan franchise and can not stop raving about it to family and friends. Yes, some may find the food served here extremely spicy but rest assured, there are non-spicy options available!

Another one of my favourite places to head to is Chadstone shopping mall and now that the renovation is 90% complete, I am glad to know that there are a lot more dining options for customers, something much needed.

Only downside is how extremely busy it can be during meal times and I do hope eventually, the little shop would have Eftpos facilities.

Braised chicken with mushrooms noodle soup - simply delicious and this is one of the recommended non-spicy options to go for.

Chilled spicy chicken - when hot and spicy meet, it often spells disaster but when cold and spicy meet, it may be the opposite. Albeit dripping in oil, I love how well seasoned the chicken meat was and not too spicy to my liking. Would have liked more meat as opposed to bones though.

Stewd pork hock - a little congealed after being left alone while I tucked into my bowl of noodles - be sure to down this first next time. Flavourful but again, has too many bones for my liking.

Pork bits with noodles - a spicy option that is suitable for those who love nibbling on the less popular parts of the pig. Has a strong scent to it and definitely not for the weak.

Dainty Sichuan Noodle Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chopstick Delight, Mulgrave MELB

I hardly have the opportunity to venture out to surrounding suburbs but due to the recent, unpredictable Melbourne showers, I think its only wise to not get too adventurous - imagine walking in the heavy downpour, let alone walking in it.

Service here is efficient and friendly, something uncommon in Chinese restaurants, unfortunately.  It is located on a quiet street and while you may think there's not a lot happening at night, I reckon most of the neighbourhood is in here. While cash in the preferred transaction mode, they do accept card payments which does attract a small fee.

Roast duck - I love a good roast duck dish and this one ticked all the right boxes for me. It was extremely succulent and goes perfectly well with the plum sauce served with it. Best way to spend an evening whilst listening to the heavy rain drops splatting on the roof.

Coral trout fillets with vegetables - I found this dish to ooze a strong fishy scent which I was not very keen on. I can be quite a fussy eater with seafood and tend to struggle finishing a seafood dish if I did not like it. The vegetables served with it was cooked to perfection and there were deep fried bits of coral trout which weren't too fish to my liking. Such a shame because I was really looking forward to it.

Chopstick Delight Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 17, 2016

Time Out Fed Square Cafe, CBD MELB

I have been successful in my attempts at heading to the gym on a constant basis and couldn't be prouder of my achievement. There were moments in the past where I have been very much involved but soon after, the fire eventually burnt off and I am back to square one.

I did ponder on potential reasons as to why my body couldn't keep up and realized that I have not been refueling myself well. Not a breakfast person nor a person who counts my calories, I failed to note my lack of daily protein intake that spiraled into this never ending cycle of binge eating - crash diets.

To all my exercise junkies, please do not skip meals at all - you have no idea how important it is to eat the right meals at the right time. I do go out to eat every now and then and am making a conscious effort to choose healthier options:)

Chai latte - I know every cup of caffeine is loaded with unnecessary amounts of sugar but I am not ready to give up my morning cuppa. Will rather work more in the gym:)

Eggs benedict - portion was a bit flat and kinda looked like something I could easily whip up at home. For $19, I doubt I will be reordering this again, knowing that I can get better fare elsewhere.

Chips - can't go wrong with crisp chips that are not overly salty.

Warm roast pumpkin salad - I liked how there's a variety of greens on my plate but again, was disappointed - this time by how soggy the veggies were and the entire dish lacked creativity. Again, something I could have easily whipped up from home:/

Time Out Fed Square Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Japan: 24 hours in Osaka

Osaka, the nation's kitchen, is the third largest city in Japan and is divided into 24 wards. The sister and I stayed in Umeda which is located not too far from the JR Osaka station and easily connected to the next ward by train. Both of us got a little lost trying to find our way around this large city but eventually got used to the city's rhythm.

With our limited time here, we spent our first day at Osaka castle, a castle that had been rebuilt after destruction by Tokugawa's soldiers and from being burnt down by lightning. The castle now has a lift inside it which makes travelling up and down the castle much easier for elderly visitors.

The sister and I climbed up the castle and inhaled as much as possible on our way down - this meant taking the time to read every bit of history plastered across every corner of each floor. Be sure not to miss the bird's eye view of Osaka should weather permits.

Another attraction that you may want to locate would be Kuromon market, a great place to grab breakfast or lunch. Not as crowded as Tsukiji market in Tokyo or Nishiki market in Kyoto which made it a lot more easier to breeze around.

Just like any other Japanese market, fresh, ready to eat seafood meals are served at most seafood shops. The sister paused for a little tuna belly treat after casting her eyes on a fellow deftly making incisions on a large tuna fish.

Knowing that fruit and vegetables in Japan are luxury commodities, I made a quick stop at the local fruit shop and purchased a large Fiji apple to share with the sister. These days, I tend to feel icky when I do not get enough fiber in my diet.

Both of us ogled at these bright coloured baby octopus skewers purchased one skewer to share. Knowing that it would be a messy sharing feat, the sister made an executive decision to polish it off and was stoked by how delicious it was. I can only let my imagination wonder.

One of Osaka's most popular tourist destinations would be a stroll along Dotonburi aka the city's food junction. Almost like a suburb on its own, there are so many food options to choose from and surely, something for every character. Do be warned that most of the restaurants can get extremely crowded and so, would be worthwhile to spare yourself an extra 20 minutes at least if you want to dine at a highly sought after establishment.

Glico aka a popular Japanese snack company has a large store just for tourists - go crazy at the huge selection of pokki sticks or biscuits that comes in an assortment of flavours and sizes.

Takoyaki is a popular Osaka street snack that can easily be found in every corner of Dotonburi. We decided on a small serve of these octopus balls to snack on before dinner. Boy, was it piping hot to touch and drizzled with a generous handful of bonito flakes.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Babka Bakery Cafe, Fitzroy MELB

My fondest memories come from the aroma of baked goodies that have pop out of the oven. Strangely enough, the scent intoxicates me and often stirs up hunger in me even when I don't have the appetite for it.

Which subsequently, led me here after a pastry enthusiast friend of mine posted drool-worthy pictures on instagram. Breakfast menu includes the usual omelette, toastie, poached egg, ham and bacon dishes but what really drew me in was the sight of trays after trays of bread lined up behind the counter.

Bread and butter - something I wish I could wake up to every morning.

Croissant served with jam - the croissant may not have an earth shattering crispiness to it but it was sure packed with good quality butter that oozes slightly when the layers are pressed against each other. At $3 for takeaway, I can see myself swinging by constantly if only I lived nearer. Jam is house made and I found them not overly sweet which allowed the fruity flavours to take the limelight.

Lemon tart - this is THE best lemon tart I have tasted thus far. Smooth, creamy and zesty. Acidity was well balanced with the addition of sugar and I love how the tart shell's thickness is to my liking. Generous slice it was and one that I would recommend.

Mushroom and beef pie - the filling was a little bland for me but what I loved about this pie was the flaky pastry that again, has the perfect thickness, allowing it to soak up some of the filling's juices whilst still remaining crisp on the outside.

This place has some seriously good pastry or bread making skills - one bite is not enough.

Babka Bakery Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar, CBD MELB

I am slowly developing a fondness for simple food done well thereby showcasing the best of each ingredient used. The Japanese seem to have mastered this skill and have fueled me well with their creations, much to my delight.

This is the second time I have been here, a week after the first. I was very impressed by my first  visit here as I felt that dishes prepared were quite authentic and the atmosphere reminded me heavily of a traditional izakaya one would find in Tokyo. Also good to note that there are Japanese customers dining in.

Space is limited here so don't be surprised if you are seated close to a stranger but hey, everyone is in their own relaxed zone and hardly notices each other.

Potato salad - our complimentary appetizers while we waited for our other dishes to arrive.

Edamame - I found this ones to not be as soft as compared to the ones served at other restaurants. Has a good bite to it and not overly salty.

Deep fried squid - The Japanese have tactfully presented what may sound like a sinfully greasy consumable into a delicate, crisp treat. The coating around the squid had a lovely golden brown hue and batter wise, it was thin enough to give it a crisp finishing. Would have liked more!

Sake - another plus point of this restaurant is that it doubles up as a mini drinking outlet for customers who love their sakes and plum wines as much as I do. Not a lot to choose from although it does make it all the more easier to streamline what we were after. Tasting sets are highly recommended if you are wanting to sip a bit of everything.

Salmon miso soup - generous amount of greens incorporated into this homemade miso soup.

Tempura with chilled soba - I love my noodles and seeing as the weather is beginning to heat up, I have opted for chilled soba. Hot soba dishes are also available on the menu and did look very tempting. Tempura was fried to golden perfection whilst still retaining a little solid bite, especially on the hard veggies used such as capsicum and broccoli.

Soba noodles were amazing - prepared al dente and goes well with the dipping sauce. I would suggest heading down here to try them out as it is a little hard to describe.

Salmon soba noodles - another dish that I had my eyes on. I am currently a big fan of salad dishes and loved how this one was presented with copious amounts of veggies with seared salmon and dressed in soy sauce. Refreshing, light and healthy!

Overall, I would definitely head down here again. Price wise, it is affordable for what you get and service is worth a mention too. Third visit coming up soon:)

  Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato