Monday, October 20, 2014

Bistro Vue, CBD MELB

I have a fascination for French pastries and bonbons but clearly, I have not explored the savoury part of the cuisine. My food dictionary is limited to what I see on the television but I am determined to soak up as much knowledge as I can before I actually enter that country one day.

Melbourne is known as one of the food capitals of Australia and so, it isn't a surprise to find more than a handful of French enterprises in the region.Via google, I found Bistro Vue and decided to book a table for a mini gathering with friends, not knowing what to expect.

Truffle pasta ~ my friend ordered this and found it a little too salty for his liking.

Secondary cut ~ this dish utilizes the shoulder part of the wagyu beef, one of the more exclusive selection of beef in the market. It was cooked medium rare and was perfection on a plate.

Confit duck leg, rainbow carrots and pommes sautees ~ The vegetables were cooked just the way I like them aka soft on the inside and slightly solid on the outside. The sauce used to dress the duck did not overshadow the subtle duck flavours and overall, it was a pleasant dish that would have went down well with a good glass of wine.

Creme brulee ~ a typical French dessert that uses good quality vanilla pods to not only mask the egg flavours but also to give the dish a strong kick of vanilla. My friends found this a little too big for their liking but heck, it's money well spent:)

Mandarin St. Honore ~ I could hardly pronounce the last bit of this dessert's name haha. To describe it in simple terms, it was puff pastry topped with chantilly creme and tempered chocolate, served with a mandarin jelly. choux pastry and mandarin sorbet. Very refreshing and not too heavy at all. It was indeed a textural playground for those seeking a little more oomph from their dessert.

Chocolate cigar, canele, macaron, pistachio cake and a fruit jelly ~ a small selection of petit fours for sharing. The waiter appeared at our table with a trolley full of mini goodies which was enough to make any sweet toothed fan tremble with delight.

  Bistro Vue on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 16, 2014

French Fantasies and Wagyu Ya Japanese Chargrill restaurant, Toorak MELB

I am known for initiating sugar crawls especially when I have not had lunch. Indirectly, this spells disaster for both my wallet and waistline but thankfully, this only happens on the weekends so I can recuperate during the week.

Second time visiting Toorak and each visit makes me even more obsessed over it. Plenty of sweets in every corner as seen from my previous posts but this time round, it was a pastry feast. First stop was French Fantasies.

Can't really say I'm a big fan of their pastries but that's just my opinion because I have been wandering around in search for the flakiest, buttery-est and most flavourful pastries I can lay my hands on. Nevertheless, this place seems like a good spot to plant yourself down for a lazy afternoon:) Almond croissant was a little flat for my liking but that might have been due to the use of a heavier ingredient between the pastry's layers that may have prevented it from rising.

On the flipside, their berry cake was pretty good. Moist? check. Sweet? check. Yummy? big check!

French Fantasies on Urbanspoon

Afterwards, we brought ourselves to Zumbo's patisserie. A good outing at the recently concluded Cake Bake and Sweets expo convinced me that there's more to that man than a good macaron or V8 cake. Man can bake and create!

His pastries were yummy but I reckon the best part of the visit was having bits and pieces of his cakes. Every spoonful made me crave for more and each of these cakes are unique creations of his. Have tried at least half of the cakes on display and hopefully, I could sample the rest on my next visit!:)

This was a special one to me. It had mango jelly, a coconut rice layer and its enclosed in a thin, savoury biscuit. Not sure what the exact ingredients are but worth a try if you are after something fresh and perhaps Asian inspired?

Meet the aero cake and the chocolate cake. Zumbo's cakes are never identical and looks can be deceiving. Admittedly, both of these cakes were not too sweet for my liking although after binge-ing on them, I think I have reached my sugar quota haha.

Ok, moving on to the savoury part of this blog post. I am trying hard to make each blog post balanced in terms of sweetness and savoury pictures so please be patient;)

A few doors down the road lies Wagyu Ya, chargrill specialists. Not for the budget conscious diner but for a special occasion or as a treat, I would recommend coming here. Good atmosphere, friendly staff and the food is really good.

Octopus with wasabi ~ a little fishy for my liking but it was refreshing:)

We ordered a plate of pork belly and wagyu beef, of which, both were just divine. The slices of meat were seasoned in salt and pepper. Pretty simple but for some reason, they magically turn into something out of this world. The fat bits melted slightly over the heated grill and only needed a few minutes on each side to cook it. Can be consumed with either a sweet, pungent or basic dipping sauce, which I didn't really use because I didn't think it was necessary:p

Next on the bucket list? Brunch spots in Melbourne!!!:))

Wagyu Ya Japanese Chargrill Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shira Nui, Glen Waverley MELB

Stressful days at work implies that I should to get out and spoil myself to end the day well. That's my mantra since I joined the work field and to be honest, everyone should practice this habit if possible. And of course, that does not always mean a hefty price tag is attached.

Shira Nui would be one of those places where I won't mind going to relax if I am not feeling very peckish. Reason being that it isn't exactly pocket friendly, especially after paying off the bills but you will get the A+ treatment. Good food, a reasonable selection of drinks and peaceful ambience, why not?

Decided to have the omakase meal whereby one sits at the chef's counter and dives into whatever the chef pulls out of his pantry. The chef would advise customers on how to eat each piece he prepares which is a good idea because some of us might be spamming soy sauce and wasabi that can potentially ruin the ingredient's true flavours.

I had the umeshu (plum wine) tasting platter which can be categorized into mild, medium and storng flavours. Not too bad at all and a good option if you're a tester like me:)

We were served a variety of different types of fish and meat. The food was really good but bear in mind that it did cost us $90pp so be warned not to have this meal if you're famished. Alternatively, their ala carte menu did look appealing and I wouldn't mind giving that a try next time.

Ended the meal with a green tea creme brulee served with ice cream. The ice cream was very creamy and goes well with the petite sized pear cubes. Would have liked more oomph from the creme brulee but still good enough to keep my sweet tooth satisfied.

Shira Nui on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lao Beijing, Glen Waverley MELB

Hong Kong will always be close to my heart despite it being almost a year since I last visited the country. The culture, food, lifestyle and most importantly, residents, made my 2013 Hong Kong trip too memorable to forget and at times, I wished time could have paused for that moment. Secretly wishing to head there again but time is not by my side.

Upon entry at Lao Beijing, it reminded me of Hong Kong. However, the name is certainly no indication that 99% of the staff here are Hongkies! I was expecting to be greeted in Mandarin but instead, got the Canto treatment which made me feel really at home!

So we ordered half of their Peking duck which includes half of the duck served with pancakes, hoisin sauce and shredded vegetables. Whilst the duck's skin was very crispy, we preferred to have less of the duck meat still attached to the skin. After all, the truly authentic Peking duck experience requires the duck's skin to have as little meat stuck to it as possible. Nevertheless, it was still a decent feed:)

Duck dumplings ~ this was the second course of the Peking duck set. The dumplings were very juicy and piping hot. The dumpling's pastry skin was paper thin which is ideal for a good dim sum.

Up next, we were recommended the chef's special pork ribs. This is a very generous dish and by the end of it, we were filled to the brim.

I was addicted to this assorted mushrooms and snow pea dish. The mushrooms were cooked until they were tender to eat and most of them had already soaked up all the yummy sauce. I could have easily finished this off myself:) Highly recommended in my books.

Lao Beijing on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Coconut House and Killiney Kopitiam, CBD MELB

Here's yet another back to back post on my recent search for Malaysian food in the CBD area. Having been to Coconut House before in the past, we knew what to order but I decided to be a tad more adventurous and picked a random noodle dish.

Chicken rice here is a must have. The chicken flesh is tender, juicy and very flavourful which complements the chilli sauce very well. I like my chicken with a little spice added in so this is a winning combination at a pocket friendly price:)

So I've ordered the minced pork noodles that is served in a claypot. Not exactly my cup of tea but worthwhile trying especially on a chilly cold winter night!

On a separate day, the bunch of us ventured into a little shop on Bourke Street that had been opened for years now. The interior is very rustic and reminded me of Malaysia a lot. Friendly staff and having combo meal options makes this a good place for the budget conscious foodie.

Mee rebus ~ I have always assumed that the noodles in this dish will be soggy by the time it gets placed in front of me but for some reason, the thick gravy that is poured over it doesn't seem to exert the same effect. Perhaps give it a good 10 minutes and it might but why would you do that?:) This is not a spicy dish despite the use of chilli pieces as condiments. Do give this a crack if you have not already.

Nasi lemak with beef rendang ~ you simply cannot walk away from Malaysia without trying our nasi lemak dishes. Broadly speaking, it is coconut rice that is served with a caramelized spiced onion jam, often accompanied with chunky peanuts, crispy fried anchovies, boiled eggs, cucumber and your choice of a curry. The beef rendang here is very tender and easily tears apart. I love how one could mix and match whatever floats your boat onto the spoon and there's no right or wrong way to do it!:)

One of the unique dishes available here would be their durian pancakes. It is a little costly for two pieces but for a durian lover, it can be considered an occasional treat. Not too heavy for the palate but definitely filled with durian flesh:)

Coconut House on Urbanspoon Killiney Kopitiam Bourke Street on Urbanspoon