Thursday, December 31, 2015

Exchange Specialty Coffee, CBD ADL

Ending 2015 with a blog post dedicated to one of my favourite places in Australia, Adelaide. I was fortunate enough to revisit this state and do what I do best aka exploring the food scene.

The last time I have "toured" Adelaide was more than a year ago, more specifically in July. Despite not having a lot of time to indulge myself, I managed to get my hands on a good cup of coffee amidst the shopping chaos happening in Rundle Mall.

Not much space in this little cafe so be prepared to wait if you would like a large table. Alternatively, window sit is not a bad option.

Cappuccino and latte ~ I am beginning to appreciate caffeine after living in Melbourne for more than a year. Not a connoisseur, unfortunately, but am pretty happy with my cuppa that day. Good amount of milk foam and caffeine buzz.

Mexibreakfast ~ avocado, pancetta, poached Kangaroo Island eggs, charred corn, cheese and minted yoghurt on house made cornbread. Not a big fan myself of meals made of corn but found this to be a decent feed. This is a good example of eating the rainbow..and a chance encounter with bacon and eggs. yummm

The wallace sandwich ~ avocado, Barossa pancetta, chitpotle mayo, tomato, roasted peppers, coriander salsa in a ciabatta roll. This is a very filling sandwich that is packed full of flavour using only the freshest ingredients available. Ciabatta roll was fluffy, aromatic and definitely not stale:)

Exchange Specialty Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hainan Chicken, Glen Waverley MELB

Smacked right in the middle of Kingsway aka foodie lane of Glen Waverley, Hainan Chicken has a lot of pressure riding on its back. Firstly, this area alone is packed full of delicious food options to pick from and secondly, to showcase Malaysian food in a suburb already concentrated with Malaysians, one cannot expect to be forgiven for a substandard plate of chicken rice.

This restaurant is in its infancy stages and I am sure staff are working hard at fine tuning a few areas be it in terms of customer service or workflow. However, my main mission for that day was to satisfy my cravings for chicken rice, a dish that resonates about my childhood trips to the market. The market meal for the day? Chicken rice.

Chicken rice ~ yep, this plate of golden skinned chicken that's kept moisturized with a layer of oil was good. Would have liked a slightly bigger serve of this as my plate of chicken had a lot of bones/ parts that did not have much flesh such as the wings.

The rice that comes with it has a lovely perfume and is cooked to perfection aka not too dry or wet.

Bean sprouts ~ a side dish we ordered just because you cannot have chicken rice without this.

Herbal duck soup noodles ~ I am not a big fan of herbal dishes but this one was pretty good. Comes with a good sized piece of duck leg and broth wise, it is heavily infused with Chinese herbs - a good option if you need a pick up when you are feeling under the weather.

Hainan Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Black Flat Coffee Brewers, Glen Waverley MELB

Growing up, I knew I was never a morning person. Without fail, I was always the last one out of bed and probably the one that struggles the most to accomplish simple tasks such as brushing teeth and dressing prior to school/ college.

With what little time I had to prep myself in the morning, I skipped breakfast. Yep, I was guilty and not ashamed of it. Fast forward, this became a habit that I stick to throughout university and my work life. Not that it affects my performance but perhaps having a source of energy in the morning would have provided me with a much more positive outlook for the day.

One morning, I needed to drop off some keys to my house agent which led me to getting out of bed early as I had to do this before I head to work. Subsequently, I had a few extra minutes to kill and decided to grab a cup of coffee at a nearby coffee shop.

Coffee was indeed aromatic from the different blends of beans used and in my humble opinion, this little cup of caffeine made the rest of my day positive. I must have been buzzing from the caffeine kick but seriously, it was a good cup of coffee nonetheless.

The coffee was so good that I decided to drop by the following week! This time round, I tried the latte instead of cappuccino and got myself a danish as well. Talk about having treats in the morning - the perfect start to the day. Staff were friendly and service was efficient so no time wasted on waiting.

These guys open at 6am on weekdays and slightly later on weekends - a feat worth applauding for considering that the timing suits us peeps who need a quick fix prior to work.

My overall verdict? I would not get out of bed if it was not a good cuppa so you have my satisfaction approval here;)

  Black Flat Coffee Brewers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On a side note, here are some updates on what I have been up to lately! It's been a while since I have blogged on pictures from my phone.

Night noodle market ~ went there for Black Star Pastry's watermelon cake and Gelato Messina's kickass gelatos. Amazing treats worth the hype.

Having watched numerous Youtube videos on this notoriously spicy Korean instant noodles, I decided to try it out myself. It is spicy (8/10) but tolerable and tasty. Worth a try if you can handle the heat.

I jumped on the tea craze bandwagon. Made a few purchases during a promotion and I think that will last me for a few months. Now for cooler weather to come forth.

Like it or not, summer is here to stay so what better way to enjoy this season that keeping yourself covered with a hat and a good glass of wine.

Lastly, Christmas is just around the corner! Few more days until the public holidays roll in!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kyoto Cafe, Ringwood MELB

The newly opened Eastland shopping mall is conveniently linked to a Hoyts cinema that has amazingly comfortable reclining chairs in each cinema hall. Hence the trip that prompted me to explore new grounds.

The mall has an outdoor dining area that houses a few different restaurants and cafe and I am certain there is something for everyone. We chanced upon a Japanese restaurant and was drawn in by the almost Japan like restaurant setting with an open kitchen concept and wooden furniture.

Chicken teriyaki ~ reminded me of a Chinese stirfry dish and was slightly disappointed:/

Iced matcha latte ~ oozes a good aroma of matcha and was refreshing especially on a hot summery day.

Pork ramen ~ enjoyed this dish and found the broth very flavourful and rich. Would have liked probably a bit more than 2 pieces of pork though.

Kyoto Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 10, 2015

De Bortoli Winery and Restaurant, Yarra Valley MELB

The initial plan for last weekend was for a good hike around Dandenong ranges followed by a good cup of tea with a side of scones. Sadly, lethargy and procastination got the better of me and before I knew it, the plan revolved to visiting the Yarra valley.

Would have liked to do a tour of the valley but that may have to wait for now. After doing a bit of tasting at De Bortoli's cellar door (the best dessert wines I have tasted thus far), we were fortunate that a few cancellations happened that day which led us to dining at their restaurant.

Customer service was top notch and could not ask for anything more. Waitress was extremely friendly, helpful and attentive which made our dining experience here all the more pleasant.

Oysters ala natural and shallot and lemon dressing ~

Tasting board for two ~ we had octopus salad, sun dried tomatoes, olives, arancini, slices of cured meat, pork terrine and a couple more salad dishes that were light enough for an appetizer and yet still packed full of flavour. Perfect for sharing and such an amazing platter that allows you to sample bits and pieces.

Bread with olive oil ~ the bread here was phenomenal. Extremely soft and goodness me, the olive oil was amazingly full of olive oil essence and has an undesirable aroma.

Squid ink pasta with spanner crab and squid ~ every pasta served in the restaurant is housemade and so, freshness and quality is guaranteed. This dish was light and had enough dressing on every strand of pasta - no need for extra sauce, Manu!

Duck tortellini with mushrooms, pears and parmigiano cheese ~ I am delighted that the serving here is not measly unlike a few other establishments that I have been. I love every bit of textural element added to this dish be it the pillowy soft tortellinis or earthy crunch from the mushrooms and nut.

The most decadent chocolate cake ~ who would have thought a tiny piece of cake is so densely packed with chocolate? The sorbet and pieces of fruit lent the dish some freshness, acidity and lightness - chef did an amazing job at balancing this dish well.

Zeppole ~ ricotta doughnuts, dulce du leche, blood orange, candied zest, mint and orange curd ice cream. I have not tried zeppole before but if all zeppoles taste as good as this dish here, I will probably need to work harder at the gym. The doughnut had an interestingly moist centre despite undergoing some intense deep frying to attain that crunch exterior. Paired with a medley of citrus, this dish was also well balanced on the sweet-sour scale. A bit of savoury caramel added a different dimension to this altogether.

 Will I be back? I sure will with an army of hungry foodies;)

  De Bortoli Winery and Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ganache Chocolate, South Toorak MELB

I have been on a chocolate craze lately (I blame stress) and chanced upon Ganache, conveniently located on the mainstreet of Toorak. When chocolate cravings met fitness nut, it was a torn decision aka more conservative ordering:/

The outlet itself is very spacious and perfect for an afternoon catch up with long lost souls.

Iced chocolate ~ not overly rich but me being the semi lactose intolerant individual that I am, I found this bordering on the milkier side.

Blackforest cake ~ did I mention that I was also craving for cake? A simple cake that is not overly flamboyant in taste and textures - no guessing what you're getting, right Forest?

Would have liked to sample their gourmet chocolates but will save that for another trip;)

Ganache Chocolate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Gyoza Gyoza, Chadstone MELB

Over the past few years in Australia, I have become very acquainted with the term dumpling, an oriental treat that has diversified across a few countries. The Chinese call these tasty morsels dumplings, the Koreans named them mando whilst the Japanese decided on gyoza.

I suppose the main differences are the way the dumplings are folded as well as the filling enclosed in each piece. Dumplings are usually affordable and great for sharing with a large group of family or friends.

Gyoza Gyoza had newly opened its doors in Chadstone and is an alternative to consider if you have been to most of the shopping mall's restaurants/ cafes like me. The drinks menu is quite extensive and one can easily spend about 10 minutes trying to select a drink. The restaurant's concept is quite simple - think Spanish tapas but with Japanese flavours.

Iced matcha ~ softee ice cream was a little grainy but aside from that, it was refreshing.

Salmon sashimi ~ every plate of food costs $6.80, except if there's a special promotion happening. Sashimi was fresh albeit the irregular slicing.

Teriyaki chicken ~ juicy and succulent chicken fillet that pairs well with a dip in mayonnaise.

Seared scallops with mayonnaise ~ a little too much mayonnaise on the scallop but nevertheless, a perfectly cooked scallop is a good reason to oversee this.

Soft shell crab rolls ~ delishhhh. Thumbs up for a brilliant reinterpretation of the traditional soft shell crab rolls.

Gyoza ~ alas, the piece de resistance. Lots of different fillings to choose from be it duck, beef or pork. There's even a vegetarian option for the vegetarians out there. Would have liked a little more filling but that's just my personal opinion.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hunky Dory, South Yarra MELB

Fish and I are not the best-est of friends. As a child, the sight of a slimy piece of fish skin is enough to put me off consuming the fish's flesh and at times, the addition of fishy scents do not aid the situation.

Sadly, being heavily involved in the science and medical field made me realize the importance of consuming sufficient amounts of fish as part of a balanced, healthier diet. My current diet is a far cry from perfect but I am working on it. Henceforth my never ending search for fishy options whenever I dine out.

In my humble opinion, the best way to consume a piece of fish is when the fish had been deep fried. Oh yes, we are talking about the Brit's favourite fish and chips here. Undesirable sights and scents begone, hello crispy fish:)

There are many Hunky Dory franchises all around Melbourne but because I have only tried the one in South Yarra, this blog post only refers to this particular outlet, not the entire franchise as a whole.

Service is fast, ample of seating space and definitely a nice place to catch up with some mates over a cold glass of beer or white wine, if you may.

Grilled fish pack ~ fish of the day with chips and salad. Comes with a generous serve of tartare sauce and lots of chips underneath the fish. Would not say its a mind blowing meal but heck, don't expect fine dining for $13.50, which is pretty much the average cost of a decent main serving.

Feel free to top up your order with other types of fish available on the menu such as barramundi, dory or king george whiting.

Salt n pepper calamari ~ a little soft for my liking although kudos for a good serving size. Comes with a sweet chilli mayo sauce on the side:)

Hunky Dory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Nabe One, CBD MELB

Where did November go? I swear, this had been such as crazy (in a good way) month for me. Just about everyday is filled with new agendas be it a personal or work related affair. Alas, I have time to sit down and slowly pen my thoughts with a cup of matcha on hand. More on the matcha obsession in a later post.

I can hardly bypass walking into Emporium in the CBD region no matter how hard I try not to. Aside from it's convenient location it is also a great food hub and surely there is something here for everyone.

I am currently into all things Japanese related and so, I have been craving for food from this part of the orient. In need of a lunch break without having to wrestle my way through a crowd, we decided on Nabe One for a decent bite.

Ramen served with soft shell crab ~ not a big fan of having corn in my  bowl of ramen but aside from that, bonus points have to be awarded for that crunchy piece of deep fried soft shell crab that is not overly soaked in oil.

Tempura ~ I am trying to stick to a healthy regime at the moment so do believe me when I say that the deep fried items here are worth the extra calories. The oil used for deep frying is clean and I am happy to note that there is no annoying burnt pieces that is stuck to my tempura pieces. Would have liked some grated daikon to go with the dipping sauce but hey, that's just a minor point.

Gyu don set ~ the don set comes with a bowl of hot miso soup and a small serve of tofu. The individual ingredients in this gyu don was freshly prepared and still retains a lovely bite as opposed to a soggy, overcooked texture.

Nabe One Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato