Monday, January 15, 2018

Hawker Chan, CBD MELB

Made famous internationally after receiving a Michelin star, Hawker Chan expanded its wings from Singapore into Melbourne, home to many Malaysians/ Singaporeans who are more than familiar with it's chicken rice/noodles concept.

Queued for at least 20 minutes before being told that the roast pork had already been sold out and chicken is the only option available. Waited for another 15 minutes before we could place our orders and give our feet their much needed rest as we watched other eager customers patiently lining up, some smiling sheepishly at the thought of dining at an affordable Michelin starred restaurant.

Chicken rice was priced at $6.80, a decent price to pay but portion wise, it's not enough to fully satisfy oneself. I'd say I was about 70% full after having a plate of it. Meat is tender, well marinated and delicious but the standout for me was the sauce used to drench the every grain of rice. Extremely flavourful.

Had a plate of their dumplings which tasted decent but am dubious about the price of it.

Hawker Chan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Secret Kitchen, Doncaster MELB

Blessed to be surrounded by fantastic cooks, I am spoilt for choices when it comes to Chinese dishes. Henceforth, there's no need to scout externally to satisfy any Chinese food cravings.

When A’s birthday came about, I was uncertain where to bring a food connoisseur who has just about tried every restaurant in the eastern suburbs. The sister suggested Chinese and not a single place popped to mind. Frankly, a lot of Chinese restaurants are uninspiring when it comes to the types of dishes served and service is always dubious.

After another thorough reassessment of places, Secret Kitchen appears to be one of the highly rated restaurants albeit costing slightly more in comparison to other restaurants. I was happy to compromise price for good quality food and at least a bearable restaurant environment.

Bookings are necessary to avoid disappointment but for last minute decision makers, rest assured that there is ample of seating area in their Doncaster branch so walk-ins may be accommodated easily.

Service is definitely top-notch here as waiters actually paid close attention to our needs such as refilling our pot of tea without us requesting for it, offering to change our dishes when needed and ensuring that dishes on our table are cleared as soon as the plate is stripped clean.

For entree, we ordered the abalone and shark fin soup which was priced at $42.80 and shared it amongst the three of us. Was it worth it? Yes it was. The abalone was tender and braised in a delicious, savoury sauce, of which, I doubt I can replicate. The shark fin soup was delicious as well and neither too salty or bland to my liking.

We begun with the roast duck and boy, did it have a deliciously crisp skin and moist flesh. All of us agreed that this has to be one of the better roast duck dish we have had in Melbourne.

Up next was a plate of stir fry mushrooms and snow peas. A little greasy in my opinion but still a well seasoned dish. Veggies still has a nice crunch to them, an important indication of it's freshness.

Mapo tofu with king prawn - I love tofu dishes and although it wasn’t my birthday that day, I was still insistent on having tofu be it with meat or seafood. Slightly spicy and prepared with the juiciest butterflied prawns, this dish went down well with our bowls of steaming rice. Only downside was that it costs $34.80.

No celebratory meal is without a plate of freshly steamed fish, garnished with spring onions and shallots. I love how the waiter managed to perfectly debone the fish and put it back together as though bones never did exist in the first place. Fish meat was soft and pairs well with the soy sauce dressing that it’s drenched with.

Final thoughts? Yes it does cost more than your usual Chinese restaurant but I personally felt that it was worth every cent spent and have made this my number one place to bring any Chinese cuisine foodie or for important events. Or maybe just to reward myself;)

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

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Old Kingdom, Fitzroy MELB

It has been such a long time since I last laid my eyes on a delectable piece of Peking duck and seeing that it is the holiday season after all, I did not want to miss the opportunity to stuff myself silly.

Having heard peeps rave about this restaurant, we ducked (haha geddit?) here after I clocked off for the day. The restaurant has very narrow walkways considering that they must have tried to squeeze as many tables possible into the vicinity. Service is efficient despite the minimal space between tables and diners.

We had the 3 course duck meal which came to around $60 for a whole duck.

First course has to be the duck; thinly sliced pieces of meat with a glistening, crisp skin, best consumed wrapped in paperthin layers of pastry, with a few pieces of cucumber and spring onion, drizzled in a sweet-tangy sauce. Skin was delicious and as much as I loved how tender the meat was, I think this dish would have fared better if there is less meat attached to the skin, enabling the perfectly cooked skin to bask in the spotlight.

P.s: I think the restaurant is a little stingy when it comes the spring onion and cucumber pieces. Do practice moderation where possible.

Duck with noodles - I love how the crispy noodles gave the dish a pleasant crunch factor and again, this dish is well prepared using whatever meat the chef could scrap from the duck after it was served in the first course.

Lastly, we were served a bowl of duck soup which has tofu and a few bits of veggies included. A subtle way to end the meal.

Now, is it as good as it's second branch in Surry Hills? Yes and no. Whilst the duck is better prepared here, the other branch fared better in terms of portion sizing, available dish varieties and seating. All in, it is entirely up to you to decide;)

Old Kingdom Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Laksa Town, Glen Waverley MELB

Having tried most Malaysian restaurants in the eastern suburbs, there are a handful that I won't mind revisiting for its convenient location and affordable fares. Laksa Town would be one of them. Seating wise, there is ample of space and the overall ambience is not as distracting compared to other restaurants.

The menu is quite concise and revolves around a variety of laksa dishes and flat egg noodles in addition to must have favourites such as nasi lemak and bak kut teh. Diners are entitled to a free drink with every main order. This runs from Monday to Thursday nights and is limited to about four types of beverages.

Soy bean - the sister and I reckons it has a bit of ginger added to it which does soothe the tummy on days where it's not at it's best. Only downside was that we found it diluted on our second visit :/

BBQ chicken and mee pok - a rather satisfying number, loaded with sufficient protein and seasoned accordingly. Chicken skin was crisp and meat was tender.

Curry laksa - broth was good and would do better if it was a little bit more spicy but that's just in my humble opinion because I do like my laksas with a bit of fire in it. Again, sufficient incorporation of accompanying ingredients, satisfying my hungry tummy once more.

Laksa Town Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Kimchi fried rice recipe

The first Korean dish I have learnt to prepare (aside from instant noodles) and one that uses any leftovers in the fridge too.

Leftover fried rice
Kimchi, cut into bite sized pieces
Spam/ any leftover meat, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, diced
Enoki mushroom (I had some leftovers in the fridge)
Spring onions for decor

1. Saute kimchi with onion over medium heat for about 4 minutes before tossing in the meat and mushroom. Continue to saute for another 2 minutes or until mushrooms and meat appears to be cooked.
2. Add rice and stir well, ensuring that the rice has an even distribution of the other ingredients.
3. Prepare sunny side eggs and serve.

Ribs and Burgers, Hawthorn MELB

Despite stating that I hardly have burgers as a meal, this year saw me consuming them at an almost monthly basis. Partly due to the rise of burger joints around neighbouring areas, each boasting of its "signature" options and also due to the fact that burgers can be a favourable option when dining with friends.

Ordering is a must before being seated here and menu wise, I would describe it as traditional burgers with extra; nothing flamboyant or pretentious.

Bacon and cheese - a classic burger done right, utilizing fresh ingredients. Only downside was the bun was a little soggy which eventually got worse as the meal progresses because it broke down further.

Crispy onion rings - errrr what is this? We must have been pretty unlucky that day because we ended up with the leftover, broken bits of onion which were soaked in oil. Not sure if this is normal or not but it was unpleasant to finish.

Vanilla thickshakes - made up for the disappointing onion "rings".

Pork St. Louis - I am not a big fan of eating off the bone despite being told numerous times that the meat here is the tastiest. But, I have grown to appreciate this effort-requiring feat, especially if it's one worthy of the energy invested into it. Not a lot of meat on the ribs but what I had was well glazed in sauce and has a nice charred taste to it.

Ribs & Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Left-Handed Chef, South Melbourne MELB

The sister and I headed to South Melbourne market last weekend to grab a few items that we deem necessary in the lead up for our Christmas celebration at home. Nothing extravagant lined up for this year aside from a few blocks of cheese and wine on day 1 and a hearty feast loaded with meat on boxing day.

This year has truly flew by almost too quickly and needless to say, I am pretty happy with what I have achieved this year; being more involved in physical activities, venturing into newer opportunities and picking up new hobbies. Also not forgetting new faces I have met this year and the presence of old friends.

Moving forth, I have finally summed enough courage to drive around the city area and rewarded myself with a good brunch with the sister post-marketing. The shop isn't big but there's a sense of calmness upon entry and from my observations, it appears that most of the patrons are regulars.

Coffee - I needed a wake-me-up in the form of caffeine else I would have opted for chai latte. Coffee did not let me down at all, literally.

Eggs benedict - the sister dived straight into her favourite brunch option. Both of us loved the freshness and texture of the English muffin used to cushion the weight of the pulled pork and poached egg. It was without a doubt one of the better ones we have tasted and was a stand out even by itself. Pulled pork was very flavourful, tender and satisfying.

The piggy - I am a sucker for waffles and this one was filled with cheesy goodness and topped with a really tasty piece of thick cut bacon, chill scrambled eggs and avocado and goat's curd. Another delicious combination that I wouldn't mind having seconds of.

The saltiness from the bacon and goat's curd was balanced out by the subtle flavours from the eggs and avocado. Waffle gave the overall dish a pleasant crunch factor and indirectly, a bit of assistance for scooping up the soft eggs and avocado mix.

The Left-Handed Chef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato