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

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Grain Store, CBD MELB

As a Malaysian, the task of choosing a place to eat is a stressful ordeal. Why is it such a burden, you may wonder. Well, firstly, it has to accommodate everyone's needs in terms of cravings and budget. Secondly, if it turns out to be a disappointing meal, your friends will look at you in a disapproving manner in the future (in a friendly/ joking way of course - no harm intended).

Traditions aside, I have wanted to visit this place for some time but sadly, brunch is not on everyone's agenda and so, the urge is suppressed. Upon meeting up with a good friend, I immediately jumped at the suggestion of heading here - the glee on my face was priceless.

Coq au vin, milawa free range chicken and red wine ~ mash potatoes, caramelised winter vegetables, pancetta and mushroom with the piece de resistance aka chicken braised in red wine. Delicious but would have liked a little more considering that this plate costs about $29 :/

pumpkin halloumi potato gnocchi ~ gnocchi is not everyone's cup of tea (well, too bad, more for me haha!) but it is a treat when executed well. The gnocchi was silky smooth and I love the generous serving of each individual ingredient, from the crisp kale to the sprouts to the pumpkin pieces. The flavourful butternut emulsion provided the dish with a lovely well seasoned dressing. Two thumbs up!

Chocolate chip cookies and milk ~ decisions, decisions, decisions. Too many choices to go for for but I stood by my favourite cookies and milk. Baked to order so do be prepared to wait for at least 10 minutes. Cookies came out hot and oozing chocolately goodness. Portion wise, let's just say 1 cookie was more than enough, 2 was just being greedy hehe;)

The Grain Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cafe de Beaumarchais, Sassafras MELB

An attempt at hiking brought us to Mt. Dandenong where we managed to explore the lovely town of Sassafras. Bustling with visitors and locals alike on a pleasant weathered day, be prepared to wait for a seat at any cafe unless you book in advance. Having said that, crowd turnover is pretty decent and short stroll along the street helps turn minutes into seconds.

Breakfast baguette ~ filled with ham, cheese, tomato and given a good dose of mustard, this brought back fond memories from my trip to France. Mustard had a strong flavour but thankfully, was used in moderation so as to not overpower the other ingredients.

Quiche lorraine ~ warm and served with a generous dollop of caramelised onion jam, this quiche hit all the right notes that day. Buttery pastry, well seasoned filling but would have liked a little more cheese added to add some sinful ooze to it, but that's just my perference;)

Ham and cheese croissant ~ whilst not the flakiest one I have had, it was still a nice afternoon treat for those who are not feeling too peckish.

Beaumarchais platter ~ slices of cured meat, cheese, olives, pork and pistachio terrine and little pots of mustards and jams sit on this carefully arranged platter. Comes with sliced baguette and lavosh for dipping, this platter is great for sharing. Go crazy and experiment with different food combinations using the ingredients on this platter.

Portuguese egg tart ~ I was looking forward to ending the meal on a high note but sadly, was let down by this. Tacky pastry texture and the solid custard filling had a very strong egg taste that may not have been well concealed. Might have to drop back again to give this another go in the future, will see.

Cafe de Beaumarchais Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Merchants Guild, Bentleigh East MELB

One of my new year resolutions was to make healthier choices when I eat out as often enough, food prepared in restaurants or cafe tend to be drenched in excess amounts of oil or lack the necessary nutritions as the result of degradation from the cooking process.

And I'm doing well so far by opting for leafy-er choices and avoiding sugary drinks or sugary desserts. An achievement to be proud of, considering that I do have an annoyingly sweet tooth that craves for the most unhealthy item ever created by mankind!

Laidback, unpretentious and serving interesting breakfast concoctions, this is the place to visit if you are a foodie that's still trying to shake off those Christmas tyres (if you know what I mean).

Prana chai ~ weekends are reserved for chai, purely because I can't find it close to where I work. Lovely aroma of spices wafting in the pot and there's enough for two serves here!

Iced chocolate milkshake ~

superfood breakfast ~ avocado, kale, broccoli, barley, mung sprouts, green chilli and pumpkin seeds on a toast that's been lashed with a good serve of cottage cheese and topped with poached free range eggs. At $19.50, it is bordering on the pricey range but it is worth every penny considering the quality of the ingredients. Everything was fresh, delicious and most importantly, not drenched in olive oil (a pet peeve of mine).

Eggs benedict with smoked ham and a paprika hollandaise sauce ~ I love how their hollandaise sauce changes everyday, a sign that its been freshly prepared and definitely keeps the menu exciting. The creamy consistency of the sauce was inviting and easily soaked into the toasted slice of bread.

Maple glazed pork belly with fried eggs, black barley, macadamia and whipped feta ~ again, this was a freshly prepared plate of healthy goodness but the only downside is the small portions of pork belly served. Would have liked perhaps a little more than 2 pieces of pork belly considering the price of it:/

Warm tuscan kale, asparagus, roast cauliflower, quinoa, hazelnuts and feta with poached eggs ~ moments like this brightens up my meat-free days. The savoury and salty taste of the feta was counteracted by the neutral flavoured asparagus, cauliflower, quinoa and kale whilst the poached egg provided some "sauce" to the dish. Bonus points for including hazelnuts, one of my favourite types of nuts :)

Merchants Guild Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 8, 2016

Il Tempo, CBD MELB

Having heard numerous positive reviews about the restaurants along Degraves street, it was a no-brainer for us to grab a meal there just before we head home. The staff were very friendly and helpful but after placing our orders, I personally felt as though their customer service had slowly disappeared, perhaps in the wake of the influx of customers for dinner.

What started off as a $7 alcoholic beverage (yes, for that tiny amount) turned into a $12 drink when we asked for the bill. Upon questioning, we were told that we were given an alternative as the one we had ordered was not available. As we were in the company of elderly visitors from overseas, we decided to let it go and not kick a fuss.

Note to future diners: double check the price of your drinks before ordering and triple check it when the bill comes. $12 for a small glass of diluted alcohol is not reasonable at all and to 1) not be informed of the beverage's availability before ordering and 2) to still be charged a ridiculous amount when the prices are clearly wrong is just NOT acceptable.

Pan seared salmon with fennel and citrus ~ despite the disappointing service, I would admit that the food is good here. The salmon was cooked to perfection aka crisp skin and slightly translucent fleshed.

Hawaiian pizza ~ each piece of thinly sliced ham was carefully layered onto the pizza dough and generously garnished with shredded cheese. I like my pizza dough to have a thin-ish consistency that borders on doughy and I think this fits the bill.

Spaghetti carbonara ~ I admire the fact that the chef makes the pasta from scratch, a feat that is becoming increasingly rare these days. This dish was sinfully creamy but well balanced by the salty bacon and sharp cheese flavours. Only downside is that the portion is a tad small for $25 :(

Il Tempo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, January 4, 2016

My My, Mount Waverley MELB

Commencing 2016 with blog post on a new addition to my growing repertoire of Vietnamese restaurants, My My. The waiters here were very friendly and attentive despite the strong Vietnamese accent that may make it difficult for some people to grasp what they are trying to say.

Beef pho ~ not too bad although a little salty for my liking.

Vermicelli with grilled pork ~ I used to have a bowl of pho or a plate of broken rice whenever I crave for Vietnamese but these days, I prefer to have vermicelli type of dishes as it's not as heavy and comes with a good serve of sliced vegetables. In essence, this is what happens when pho meets broken rice and have offsprings. The dressing that came with this dish was nicely balanced in terms of acidity and sweetness, and most importantly, brought a pleasant form of "sauce" aka moisture to the dish.

Longan drink ~

Three colour bean drink ~ my all time favourite drink. This one passed my expectations and I left a happy girl after slurping on this:)

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