Saturday, May 28, 2016

Campari House, CBD MELB

I was craving for Italian food last week and decided to venture into Hardware lane, easily one of the busier lanes in Melbourne CBD but on a Sunday night, we managed to avoid any crowds.

There are two parts to this establishment - upstairs for those seeking the bar and downstairs for a more laid back dining atmosphere. The waiter was kind enough to let us try an assortment of wines available on their menu.

Truffled tallegio arancini, aioli, roquette and parmesan ~ well seasoned arancini balls that are filled with risotto rice.

Shaved prosciutto, tomato, roquette and parmesan ~ the pizza dough was neither too think nor thin to my liking and has a sensational crisp that compliments the creaminess of the pizza sauce very well. Would have liked a little more prosciutto on the pizza but it was a good feed nonetheless.

Gnocchi with braised duck, mushroom and shaved parmesan ~ I cannot say no to gnocchi and this plate was worth the extra run around the block. Pillowy soft, caramelized exterior and smooth textured, just the way I like it. Paired with another two of my favourite ingredients, duck and mushroom, this made my night.

Campari House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Japan: Iphone snippets in Tokyo

Hi guys!! I have blogged about my rendezvous around Tokyo (check out the Japan link on the right side of the page!) but here's a little glimpse through my Iphone's lens - just a different perspective that sometimes is a little more convenient compared to having to whip out my bulky camera:)

The sister and I departed Melbourne at the stroke of midnight via Singapore airlines. No meals during that time but did get breakfast before we touched down Singapore!  Love having apple juice on the plane and the omelette that I had was so delishhhh

So this was my meal from Singapore heading to Tokyo. Did not quite enjoy the chicken dish - made me nauseous.

As per usual, the sister needed a quick fix at Singapore airport whilst we were in transit and so, we spent our remaining Singaporean dollars on a combo meal which comprised of toast, soft boiled eggs and coffee at the food court. From memory, this costs us SGD$5.

Tokyo Narita airport was crazyyyy. We didn't know where to catch the bus but still managed to track down the bus that would take us to the city. It was probably cheaper for us this way as we then had to just catch a taxi to our hotel. Some people take the train to the city but as we still had to take a different line afterwards, we figured it's probably easier for us to take the bus. Don't really want to lunge a heavy bag around!

Our first mission in Tokyo after we checked in was to head to the local convenience stores for dinner. Yes, we heard a lot of people rave about convenience food there and true enough, it was decent food at bargain prices. And a good variety too.

I love how there's matcha coffee and Starbucks drinks easily available in convenience stores. How I wish we have this here in Australia.

Our hotel toilet was so..technical? Well not really - I do get easily amazed at the silliest things, really.

Breakfast was included in our hotel deal and here's a snippet of what we would have on a daily basis. Vegetables or fruit was not cheap and so, we took advantage of what fiber we can get from the hotel. Miso soup was well, miso soup. Not pictured was a bowl of porridge, topped with pickles and seaweed. Gosh, how I miss having that. Oh and in the middle of the picture is a piece of tamago (egg), deep fried onion rings, deep fried lotus root and a piece of deep fried glutinous dough.

Zara denim jacket, Topshop skater skirt, Zara lace dress worn as a top and Guess watch.

Finding our way around Tokyo!

Advice from the shrine.

Sushi prices in Tsukiji fish market.

Entire outfit from Zara.

Toy galore in Akihibara.

Pablo is a must in Japan. Look at all that cheesy goodness.

Claw machines 1, team sisters 0

Cheap thrills. Oh how I miss this too.

1% alcoholic from the vending machine for $2

Melon pan at Ueno Park

Taiyaki at Asakusa

Octopus skewer at Asakusa.

Zara denim jacket, Adidas for Stella Mccartney t-shirt, Bershka shorts.

Calbee chip stand.

A pillar of candy. Dreams do come true in Disneyland.

Our adorable Disneyland tickets.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Punch Lane, CBD MELB

I was never a wine drinker despite living in the Barossa valley for a few years. Over time, I slowly cultured the habit of having a glass of wine over the weekend or when I am out with friends. Still not a beer, cider or cocktail drinker but will work on that at some stage!

Melbourne has a few good wine bars to look out for and would be something to put on your agenda if you are in town for the weekend. Wine bars are great places to try out various types of wines be it red, white, sweet or fortified. I personally like a good glass of shiraz or riesling or botrylis:)

Punch lane has a mix of local and international wines to choose from - less options if you are going by the glass though;/ My favourite would be the Domaine des Baumard Coteau du Layon from Loire valley in France. Not overly sweet, balanced in terms of fruity essence and refreshing.

Mushroom pasta ~ the dish of the day. Well seasoned but probably not the most filling dish if you are feeling very peckish.

Ocean trout, dill, potatoes, charred cucumbers and caper mayonnaise ~ a light main that compliments any choice of white wine.

We did enjoy the vast selection of cheese available on the menu and found our waiting staff very knowledgeable in this area.

Overall, this is an excellent place to "wine" down - unpretentious, laid back, classy and very accommodating staff. I wouldn't mind heading back just to try out the other alcoholic beverages available;)

  Punch Lane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 23, 2016

Japan: Around Tokyo

If you think Sydney is a bustling metropolitan city, wait until you walk into Tokyo. To describe Tokyo in one word is almost impossible as each angle of it varies from the other.

Our day usually starts with hopping onto the subway line (of which, makes travelling across the different suburbs superbly easy) and despite being packed like a can of sardines in the subway, we strangely enough, did not feel uncomfortable at all. Maybe because everyone is respectful towards each other and did not make any attempts at causing a ruckus? No talking on mobile phones, please!

Our first stop in Tokyo was Shibuya, not for shopping but for grabbing our 3 day tourist subway tickets from Bic Camera. These subway tickets will save you heaps of money if you intend on travelling around Tokyo for a few days.

Shibuya - shopping, shopping, shopping. One thing I really liked about shopping in Japan is the number of feminine attires available and workmanship is topnotch. Only downside is the sizing which caters more for the petite Asian frames (sizes from UK4 to UK6, I believe). Upon exiting the Shibuya station, you will be greeted by the statue of Hachiko, the famous canine who spent all his life waiting for his master to return from the train station.

There are abundant of gardens or parks around Tokyo and there is an entrance fee for most of them. These parks exude a very zen mode - strolling around these places seems to have helped me clear my mind a lot better as compared to my usual jogging sessions.

We were fortunate to visit Japan during the sakura season. This is symbolic time as it represents a new phase of one's life and it is a highly regarded festive time of the year.

We then visited Meiji Shrine, also located in Shibuya. Entry here is free and despite the large crowd of tourists and locals alike, there is enough space for everyone to have a leisurely walk around the shrine.

The empty barrels of sake (kazaridaru/ decorative barrels) which represents the donations from sake brewers to the shrines during festive seasons.

One can easily see wooden plaques located in the shrine. These are wishes/ prayers from visitors.

Day 2 in Tokyo begun with a quick trip to Tsukiji market, one of the most important fish markets in Tokyo. We arrived at around 10am and gosh, was it already packed full of people. You can certainly grab breakfast here but we thought it was more so a tourist trap. Prices are not exactly cheap and in terms of quality, let's just say I was not exactly blown away. But that's just my humble, personal opinion.

Asakusa temple, located in Asakusa is Tokyo's oldest temple and is surrounded by Nakamise, a shopping street. Lots of souvenirs ranging from food items to dainty, decorative pieces to clothing items - something for everyone.

Along the way, we stumbled upon this melon pan stall which seemingly enough, appears to have been frequented by famous celebrities. Inexpensive and fluffy light snack it was:)

Ok, the both of us are equally guilty at probing each other to try out the various tantalizing snacks that greeted our eyes as we waltzed around the temple. Taiyaki is a fish shaped cake that can be filled with red bean paste or custard or ice cream. Best served piping hot and enjoyed on a cool day.

Roppongi is yet another upbeat part of Tokyo that is also known to be seedy at night. Lots of bars and pubs here so if you are seeking adventure, why not head here?

Akihibara is the electronic/ anime part of Tokyo. If you are looking for a particular comic book, figurine or electronic game, chances are you will find it here. Lots of gachapon machines located along the way and even more intricately crafted figurine shops. Name any manga character that you can think of and I am sure you will see that character along the way.

Last but not least, Tokyo tower. Located in the governmental area of Tokyo, it was a bit of a hassle to get to considering that we stayed in the west side of Tokyo. Nonetheless, it was a pretty sight to view at night and if I do visit Tokyo again, I will definitely consider a trip up:)