Thursday, February 11, 2016

Niko Niko, Chadstone MELB

Nothing beats the feeling of having discovered a hidden (food) gem that serves delicious food at affordable prices. I am obsessed with Cantonese cuisine and to find a Hong Kong restaurant that is not too far away from where I live is the cherry on the cake.

Opened throughout the day and located not too far from the Holmesglen train station, this is probably the place to bring a group of friends who have different taste buds. The menu is very extensive and I am sure you will find a dish that suites your needs.

Shredded duck stir fry with vermicelli noodles ~ To be honest, I tend to enjoy clear broths more than thickened curry type of broths because I find it hydrating in a way. The broth had a desirable scent, possibly from the hours spent in the pot. Duck meat was evenly shredded to the right size aka not unbearably chunky nor stick thin.

Fried pastry rolls with meat sauce ~ this dish only came in an appetizer size but I found it more than enough for lunch as the pastry rolls can be quite filling. I found the sauce a little salty although I suppose that the idea behind pairing it with the pastry rolls that lacked seasoning. I secretly did enjoy nibbling on the crispy side of the pastry rolls which provided some textural contrast to the dish.

Porridge ~ this is one of the few places I know in Melbourne that serves a diverse range of porridge dishes for less than $10. Choose from chicken, pork, seafood or even the more exotic innards. In terms of taste and texture, it is very similar to the ones I have had in Hong Kong.

One cannot have porridge without youtiao aka fried Chinese curlers. I seldom have this as a child, purely because it's not the healthiest item to snack on but when I do, it escalated the meal to a whole different level. This porridge topper is prepared to order in the kitchen and tastes as good as the ones I had in the past. At $3.50, it does cost about 8x what I would pay in Malaysia but hey, its a rare treat;)

Niko Niko Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, February 8, 2016

Omah's Malaysian Cuisine, Hawthorn MELB

In spirit of the Lunar New Year, this week's blog posts will be all about those chopstick licking Chinese meals that usually gets consumed during this festive period. A last minute decision brought us to Omah's whereby a seafood loaded dinner is a good excuse to usher in prosperity and happiness.

Depending on the number of patrons in the restaurant, be prepared to wait for a bit after placing your order. On the bright side, this fancy Malaysian restaurant does have a little bar located close to the entrance so if you are in need of treats in the form of Asian inspired beverages, you know to go.

Crab omelette ~ we were fortunate to be able to nab the mud crab meal package which comes with a serve of crab omelette as a start, followed by the mud crab itself and a serve of dessert afterwards.. all for the price of $49.50. Crab omelette was decent although would have liked a little more crab meat in it.

Salted egg prawns ~ The prawns were evenly coated with a serve of salted egg yolks prior to being deep fried. Juicy and bursting with flavour, prawns are a must have for Chinese New Year because they signify laughter aka happiness. Surely you want to start the year off right, ey?

Belacan beans ~ belacan is a traditional fermented paste that is often associated with the addition of chilli. I found this dish a little salty to my liking but overall, the beans were cooked well.

Singapore noodles ~ noodles signify longevity in life and whilst this is definitely not the traditional one that you get at Chinese restaurants, it is close enough for us. A touch of curry paste was incorporated here which gave it a lovely aroma. Generous portions of chicken, prawns and eggs in this dish, definitely one of my favourites.

Chilli crab ~ seafood or poultry has to be served whole during the New Year as it symbolizes wholeness in life aka nobody wants an incomplete life/job, right? The crab was the star dish of the night. The sauce that comes with it had bits and pieces of the crab's essence added into it and boy, was it such a treat to lap it off with bread. Be warned that there may be pieces of crab shell in the sauce so don't be in a hurry to clean your plate.

For dessert, we had a pandan sago that sits on a bed of gula Melaka syrup and coconut milk sauce. Not too sweet and certainly a light end to the meal.

Omah's Malaysian Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, February 4, 2016

No Name, Oakleigh MELB

Lately I have not been diligently bringing my camera out with me, especially on days whereby I have been to before on numerous events. I still do love my DSLR camera but somehow, I have not been inspired into my photographer-wannabe mode. Which might explain the rare blog posts which sees me relying heavily on my iphone to create magic.

And this has to be one of them. We had a change of plans at the very last minute and so, I had nothing on me but my iphone. I will let you be the judge on whether I have done justice to the food served here;)

Oakleigh is my new found favourite place to escape to whenever I am in the mode for non-Asian cuisines. Also proves that I am still "living the life" by hanging out at places that are still buzzing late at night:p

Hawaiian pizza ~ I like how the crust is not too chewy and thick but rather, thin and fluffy..The pieces of ham were carefully layered over each other and the addition of pineapple cubes served as a moisture medium. Oozing with cheesy goodness and arrived on our table straight from the oven. Thumbs up.

Seafood tower ~ the bunch of us were not overly hungry and decided to order this dish as well, the Greeks are known for their attachment to protein from the sea. Bottom layer consisted of mussels cooked with smoked salmon and accompanied by a fragrant broth. Mussels were fresh albeit slightly on the smaller size.

The middle layer of this seafood tower consisted of seared scallops cooked in parsley butter, battered fish and calamari rings ~ the battered fish was the favourite among the table. Why you ask? Well, we liked the bread like crust texture that is crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Top tiered is home to a decent serve of chips and deep fried prawns. Plus points for chips that are not soaking in oil and for prawns that are not overcooked:)

No Name Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Anshumann Da Dhaba, Clayton MELB

Summer is not the best time to have a fiery hot or spicy meal - there's no need for it else one might be overheating on the outside and inside as well, if you know what I mean. However, granted our strange weather in Melbourne, we have had a few cool days which warrants the need for warm comfort food.

Which lead me here. Located about 13 minutes away from my suburb, it was worth an adventure, for a change in scenery. Packed full of people and heavily perfumed with various spices, this is the place for cheap and good eats.

Mango lassi ~ not overly sweet or bland, with the right amount of viscosity.

This was one of their curries that was on the specials board (unfortunately, I can't recall the name!) Boness pieces of chicken drenched in a creamy coconut based curry sauce that is not too spicy for my liking. Only downside is the lack of protein bits in this dish but can't really complain considering that I would have paid a lot more for something similar elsewhere.

Naan bread ~ at 90cents per piece, this was too cheap to believe. Best part was that it did not disappoint - fluffy, light and nicely toasted all round, this was the ideal sponge for soaking up all the curry sauce.

Kadai paneer ~ cottage cheese cooked in tomato, ginger and spices. This was spicier than I have expected but thankfully, we were provided with a serve of yoghurt just in case we needed it to cool off the spicy effects. More tomato-y taste than curry and probably a good option to have if you want something different.

Anshumann Da Dhaba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 29, 2016

Din Tai Fung, CBD MELB

Having been to Din Tai Fung in Taiwan (as seen here) and Malaysia, I was initially skeptical on whether their outlet in Melbourne is able to live up to its standards. Located just above the Emporium mall's food court on level 4, this is always packed full of people for lunch and dinner.

Xiaolongbao ~ Din Tai Fung's signature dish that screams perfection in a dainty pouch. Albeit having a slightly thicker skin layer compared to the ones I had in Taiwan, they are on mark in terms of taste.

Steamed bun filled with meat ~ Its been awhile since I last had a good steamed bun, one that strikes a good balance between a thick and thin layer and filling still retains a good amount of moisture after the steaming process. Only downside of this little bun is the price..not exactly budget friendly but hey, a treat every now and then is acceptable;)

Braised beef noodle soup ~ This was THE dish to have in Taiwan and despite it being slightly more than a year since I last visited Taiwan, the memory of this dish still lingers on. Soft textured beef from hours of braising and a slightly spicy broth that can easily warm your tummy up within minutes. Noodles are freshly made too. Such a treat and a must try in my books.

Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tetsujin, CBD MELB

Rumour has it that a new Japanese restaurant has opened its doors in the Emporium mall and being someone who frequents that mall every so often, it gave me a good excuse to have a little peep at what's happening upstairs.

Opened throughout the day and relying solely on the self-ordering Ipad conveniently located at every table, this sushi train concept restaurant is definitely keeping up with modern technology. If sushi is not your thing, they do have a barbeque section next to the train.

Just about every plate costs $3.30, with the exception of udons, rice bowls, sashimi and a selective few. Not sure how long is this offer going on for but hey, not complaining whatsoever;)

Soft shell crab roll ~ neatly wrapped although would have preferred the soft shell crab to give a bit more oomph with every bite.

Sashimi platter ~ fresh and neatly sliced

Scallop nigiri ~

Salmon nigiri ~ again, fresh and neatly presented.

Aburi salmon ~

Overall, the service here is attentive and efficient although I personally felt as though the food could do with some improvements. Not an area where I can exactly put a finger on but perhaps the quality of the ingredients could do better? No tummy ache issues but probably could do with a bit more oomph, maybe? What do you think?

Tetsujin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 21, 2016

South Society, Mt.Waverley MELB

Yet another cafe off my bucket list..2016 seems to be hitting all the high notes at this stage and let's hope it stays this way. A chance outing on a mildly hot summer day brought us here on a lazy Saturday evening.

Fully booked out but seats are available outdoors or on the communal tables, I suppose you could take a chance at not making reservations..well, unless if you are rocking up with a large crowd or if it's too chilly to dine outside.

The cafe's concept is very tapas-ish whereby plates of food are shared among everyone at the table. Choose between a few small appetizers and mains, top it off with some side dishes if you must:)

18 Hour slow cooked spice rubbed lamb shoulder with homemade hommus ~ anything slow cooked gets my approval. The lamb is coated with a deliciously sticky sauce and still retained a lot of juicy fats that simply melts away on one's palate. To bring extra dimensions to the plate, the lamb is topped with crunchy silvered almonds that must have been dusted with spices. Amazing dish worthy of that extra day at the gym;)

Lettuce, pear and walnut salad ~ a little disappointed with this one..would have liked a bit more dressing on the plate...

Cherry ripe ~ I have a love hate relationship with desserts. Having been successfully dieting throughout this year, I crumbled when the dessert menu was presented. I wanted to sample everything and in the end, settled on two desserts. This cherry ripe masterpiece would have shined with the addition of fresh cherries on the plate but nevertheless, I have thoroughly enjoyed the cake and ice cream.

Passionfruit and coconut creme brulee ~ this creme brulee is enough to feed two adults. The dessert monster in me easily polished off this piece. In terms of texture, I would like it to be smoother but that's a minor point. The flavours were well balanced and not too heavy for an after meal treat.

South Society Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato