Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meat in the Middle, Glen Waverley MELB

Now that the weather's warming up, I am looking forward to having lighter meals as opposed to hearty meals that are more suited for the cooler period. More hours in daylight also means I can spend more time catching up with friends rather than feeling sluggishly lazy after work.

Fairly new kid on the block fits the bill for a hangout place - efficient service, decently priced food and food worthy of sharing among company. Only downside is the lack of seating area but then again, cafes/ restaurants along Kingsway street have to fork out a lot in terms of financing the place. Location location location.

Not feeling too peckish that day, I opted to have the rat pack which is a combo of three mini burgers. Meet the Sinatra, Cheek to cheek and I did it my way. Different fillings (or should I say feelings haha) but still finger licking good.

I did it my way - cheeseburger with pickles, onions, bourbon sauce and american mustard.

The sinatra - pork/beef patty, maple glazed bacon, pork crackling, pickles, onions, cheddar with bourbon sauce.

Bourbon sauce was amazing, in case you are wondering;)

Cheek to cheek - crispy chicken breast, apple slaw, gouda cheese and onions. I am a fan of invention and this creation found it's way well to my tummy. Can't fault a juicy and crispy piece of chicken covered in a refreshing slaw that is blanketed by a piece of melted cheese. And those brioche buns were buttery and fluffy with the right amount of toasting done on each side.

Chips ~ nothing out of the ordinary. Have to have a good serving of chips with any burger:)

Meat in the Middle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 26, 2015

YOMG - Yo My Goodness, Glen Waverley MELB

Opening a business in Glen Waverley has to be the bravest thing someone could possibly invest in. This particular street is always busy regardless of what day it is and to run a business that sits on the fence can lead to the extreme ends of the success-failure line. And so, what started as a yoghurt shop but turned into a burger joint had me doubting the moment it opened its doors.

Strangely enough, just about all my friends raved about it and having witness how busy this place was, determined was I to do some investigation. The decor was very vibrant and lively which suited the teenage/young adult diners whom frequented this place.

Yo My with Cheese and the Howler, green tea milkshake and fries. Possibly one of the better burgers I have tried in Melbourne so far. Buns were fluffy, burger patty was succulent and moreish, sufficient condiments stuffed into the burgers but most importantly, the entire burger was flavourful. The burgers were not overly greasy and were neatly packed into cardboard boxes lined with colourful serviettes.

Thumbs up for the attention to detail here!

Whilst I have yet to sample everything on the menu, I am looking forward to a subsequent visit here and hopefully, be able to sample everything on the menu. The cheese burger was yummy and for those who prefer a little more kick, the howler has thin slices of jalapenos and a dash of habanero mayo to jazz up your palate. Bon appetit!

YOMG - Yo My Goodness Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

France-Soir, Toorak MELB

Today's blog post brought me back to France where I managed to squeeze a good 2 weeks at whilst in Europe. Every now and then, I do reminisce about those hilariously awkward or amazingly stunning moments throughout my trip - something to tick off my bucket list of things to do before I reach 30!

France-Soir reminded me of a typical bistro in Paris - filled with chatter, light music, wine glasses topped with ruby red wine and baskets of freshly sliced baguette. Not really the best place for intimate talk but rather, for a taste of France minus the air plane ticket.

In France, I was spoilt by how much bread I can have in a day. The same applies here. Our basket of bread and slab of butter was constantly replenished every time we emptied it. I struggled to keep my hands away whilst waiting for my main to arrive.

Tartare de thon rouge ~ red tuna tartare that had been lightly seasoned with olive oil and cracked pepper. A really simple dish that can't go wrong.

Escargots de Bourgogne a l'all ~ My love for snails cooked in a garlicky, parsley butter concoction had not fade with time. Very sinful treat that does stay on your hips. Oh wells..

Boeuf bourguignon ~ the safest choice of mains that can't go wrong unless the chef really had a bad day. Soft pieces of beef that had been simmered in a casserole with a good amount of red wine and freshened up with root vegetables.

Cuisse de canard gras confite ~ Possibly the best duck confit I had was in Rhone and this one came pretty close. Crisp on the outside with fragile meat underneath the skin, this is a dish that does not require any sauce or gravy. Slightly salty on the outside, possibly part of the confit process, but gosh, too good to resist. Can't say no to a good serve of French fries too!

It is worthy to note that France-Soir has an impressive selection of French wine in their cellar. Their wine menu has more than 20 pages in it and is as thick as an encyclopedia. These guys mean business.

France-Soir Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dainty Sichuan Express & Dainty Sichuan Food, MELB

All aboard the spicy express train towards Szechuan, home of the bold, pungent yet fragrant chilli oil and chilli peppers. For those with a low tolerance towards spicy dishes, my advice would be to go slow and steady. Jumping in too quickly can spell disaster if you bite into a pepper or burn your tongue from the chilli's heat.

Dainty Sichuan Express is the city's answer for something quick, affordable and yet deliciously filling. As I enter the premises, amazed I was by how much the scene reminded me of my previous visit to China aka surrounded by mandarin speaking individuals, red decor and busy waiters loudly landing bowls of food on the table. Probably not a place to impress on a first date but definitely worth the experience;)

Stewed pork belly ~ soft pork belly, flavoursome broth and al dante strands of homemade noodles all in a bowl that's garnished with spring onions. A good option for those who prefer non-spicy dishes.

Chongqing spicy noodles~ ordered this as it seemed to be popular amongst the diners. All my fears and doubts were washed away as soon as I slurp up a spoonful of noodles that's drenched in the spicy soup. Not spicy at all but be warned not to push your boundaries by gorging on all the chilli oil. Lovely fragrance that I can't describe at all. My only wish was for some protein in the bowl;/

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

Now if you are looking for something a bit more fancier, perhaps to impress your family or friends, do give the Dainty Sichuan restaurants a try. The dishes are slightly more pricey compared to other restaurants but be assured that you will not be disappointed.

Fish fillets in spicy chilli oil ~ the waiter had kindly ordered for us a smaller portion of this Szechuan speciality (the larger servicing would have been too much for us). Best enjoyed with a steaming bowl of rice, do take time to scoop out all the Szechuan peppers that you may have fished out. The fragrance from the chilli oil concoction had nicely perfumed each piece of fish fillet and boy, was it a joy to finish off.

Straw mushrooms with vegetables ~ this is a simple dish to cool us down a little. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Dainty Sichuan Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 I have enjoyed my experience at Dainty Sichuan immensely despite the iffy service that surfaced from a few waiting staff members. Decently priced for good quality food, be sure to give this a try;)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Kitchen Inn, Glen Waverley MELB

From a culinary perspective, Malaysia is a pretty colourful country as each town has it's own speciality. In comparison to the more vivid towns like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Melaka, Sarawak is probably the quiet sibling of the lot.

As a Malaysian myself, I have not been to Sarawak before but one day I will. For now, let's concentrate our energy and time on one of the few places I know that serves Sarawak fare. Costing slightly less than the other Malaysian restaurants along Kingsway, Kitchen Inn is probably your best bet for cheap eats.

Kampua with special soup ~ I don't know how to describe kampua. Noodles dressed in a secret, oily concoction that many Sarawakians find addictive? I cannot have asked for a better cooked piece of pork. Servicing size here is decent for $8.50 a bowl.

Sarawak laksa ~ I have not had the real deal yet so there's nothing for me to compare this with. There are generous bits of chicken and fish cakes in my bowl of mildly spicy laksa broth. I have added a few spoons of their homemade chilli paste to make the broth a little more spicy.

Kitchen Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bibelot, South Melbourne MELB

I have been frequenting South Melbourne Market almost every Sunday and often breeze past a few brunch cafes along the way. As I am not a fan of lining up especially when I am in starving mode, I wouldn't mind something sweet to nibble on as I get on with my grocery hunt.

Which brought me to Bibelot aka Chez Dre's sweet little sister. The cafe is dedicated to all things sweet and petite ala Parisian style. Can't say no to a place that has chocolates, gelato, matcha latte, cakes, macarons and biscuits!

Iced matcha with gelato ~ a refreshingly cooling drink to have when the weather tries to toast me up.

Dessert tasting plate ~ for first timers, I would suggest trying this out unless you have dessert preferences/ allergies. This plate has one of their homemade chocolates, cinnamon biscuit, salted butter caramel eclair, lemon myrtle macaron, a mini green tea dome, hazelnut-praline crunch and a couple of other mini cakes that I can't recall the names now:p

For $25, it is a little pricey but hey, at least you get the try bits and pieces from their display cabinet;)

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rustica Canteen, CBD MELB

I love a good morning walk followed by a hot, aromatic cup of coffee and not to be missed, a buttery piece of croissant. Having been to both Lune and Agathe on a few occasions, I decided it's time to break free from the cycle and venture other bakeries.

First up on my list is Rustica Canteen. I was expecting it to resemble a takeaway shop and got a surprised when I realized it is actually a pretty decently sized establishment. Unlike other coffee shops around Melbourne, I found this place to be quite peaceful - less surrounding sounds, more effective conversations.

Peanut butter croissant ~ I could not give this a miss and it did live up to my nutty expectations. Whilst the croissant may not be as light and earth shattering as Lune's the amount of flavour packed into each piece was just right. Still flaky and buttery, this has to be one of my favourite peanut butter treats;)

Rose and raspberry croissant ~ the sweet scent of a rose and raspberry concoction was more than intoxicating. Not to mention that it is a very picturesque item that will instantly brighten up any dull moments.

Almond croissant ~ slightly flatter than other types of croissants but still equally yummy.

My verdict? Will be back with a good book!

Rustica Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Black Toro, Glen Waverley MELB

Having been to Spain recently, I often find myself reminiscing about those carefree days. Cruising along curvy alleys with hidden gems and cheap drinks were part of our lifestyle during those two weeks.

The Black Toro exudes a vibe that reminds me of Spain - tapas, wine, great hospitality and a festive atmosphere. Waiting staff are extremely friendly and attentive which really boosted my overall experience here. Best to make reservations in advance as this place is pretty popular!

Sangria and Pedro Ximenez ~ I have fallen heads over heels for both drinks since my trip. I do prefer the cooling, fruit infused sangria on a warm summer day whilst the warm, toasty and sticky taste of the pedro ximenez would be more suited for cooler days.

As both of us were first timers, we went for the banquet option as it allowed us to sample a variety of dishes that may otherwise have been impossible to taste had we ordered individual platters.

Oysters with tequila and lime ~ The acidity from both the tequila and lime removed some of the salty, fishy taste of the oysters which was a plus point for me (not a huge fan of that taste). Oyster was still plump and juicy if you're wondering;)

Potato and chorizo croquettes with manchego cream ~ yummiest croquettes I have had thus far. Smooth texture, golden exterior crunch and a subtle salty taste that cuts through the creamy potato flavour well. I could easily finish off a bowl of this moreish item!

Pickled beetroot, sweet potato crisps, shaved manchego and mixed leaf salad ~ the perfect dish that refreshed our palates and prepared us for the next few dishes.

Wagyu beef sliders with caramelized onions, melted cheese, pickled jalapeno and ketchup ~ again, something that I can shamelessly polish off myself. The beef patty was extremely juicy and well-seasoned. Plus points for the fluffy buns too!

Spicy pulled pork tacos with shredded cabbage, onion and sour cream ~ the subtle heat from the pulled pork married well with the creamy sour cream taste and the addition of some lime zest gave this dish a different dimension.

Barbequed chilli chicken with cumin caramel, toasted sesame and mexican pilaf ~ kudos for the amazing caramelized chicken fillets. Albeit slightly messy to wrap (and munch on) the rice, chicken pieces and pickles in the taco wrap, we had no problems polishing everything off the plate;)

Dessert tasting plate ~ my overall experience at any restaurant boils down to the final dish I have in front of me aka dessert. Black Toro's amazing dessert plate blew me away with the brilliant array of miniature desserts that had been so thoughtfully arranged on the wooden plate.

We have here a caramel flan with aerated bread, caramelized banana and dulce de leche ice cream. I love a flan that has a good amount of caramel on it.

Behind the caramel flan is the chocolate brownie that comes with a good dose of popcorn and vanilla ice cream. Rich, dark and packed with chocolate-y goodness, this brownie ticked all the right boxes.

Deconstructed peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate ice cream and honeycomb ~ chocolate ice cream and honeycomb were delicious but really, who am I kidding here. I just wanted to have the peanut butter cheesecake all to myself. Slightly salty, rich and sweet this had to be the best dish of the night. The mere sight of it is enough to make me drool.

Coconut pannacotta with berries, passionfruit curd and mint ~ quietly sitting on the corner of the tasting plate is this little fella. Whilst the flavours here are not as rich as it's other sweet friends, this was an excellent complement to freshen us up. The tart, fruity flavours were definitely different from everything else across the board.

My verdict? Loved this place and will be back for that heaven sent peanut butter cheesecake:9

The Black Toro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato