Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Cambodia, Springvale MELB

I love trying out new cuisines at unfamiliar places, be it suspicious looking or not, and whether I walk out knowing that I have discovered a hidden treasure is entirely a different part of the story. The thrill seeker in me would still be glad to have at least ticked another place off my books.

Among the three of us, I was the only one who had not been to Cambodia and so, was probably the one who should be the most curious at the menu. Sadly, my companions disappointed me by not knowing much about the local cuisine despite having visited the country prior. Oh well, so that makes three of us on a new venture then...

A mix of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Thai cuisine is evident in their menu, with a few simple Chinese dishes such as fried koay teow and chicken rice. Staff were very friendly and prices were quite affordable.

Avocado smoothie - very milky and could improve with more avocado incorporated into it.

Prawn spring roll - a little greasy but served us well as entrees.

Three colour drink - one of my favourites in Melbourne by far. Reminded me of a Malaysian shaved ice dessert but only loaded with beans, sweet potatoes and yams. Bliss.

Phnom Penh noodles - interesting how this arrived unexpectedly loaded with the other organs of which, I did not really touch and passed them on to my companions. Probably not my cup of tea but still worth a try if you prefer simple, unpretentious meals.

Combination broken rice - one of those staples that is hard to mess with. Crisp and juicy pork served with a side of acidity to cut through the fatty sensation, all served atop a bed of broken rice that had been slightly soaked in the fish sauce dressing.

Cambodian vermicelli green curry fish soup - the highlight of our meal. It is certainly an unfamiliar taste for us although my companion did mention that it is decent tasting. Again, I cannot comment having never tried it before.

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

Monday, March 5, 2018

Thanh Nga Nine, Richmond MELB

It has been such a long time since I last had Vietnamese food and fortunately, the sister and her male companion were easy going enough to bring me to Richmond and get my fix. We randomly walked into a what appears to be a busy restaurant and had our eyes fixated on favourite go to dishes on the menu.

Iced coffee - no coffee for me this late but it did look good :)

Three colour bean - my go to drink at a Vietnamese restaurant. Would have liked more red beans in the concoction and perhaps for the ice to be shaved slightly finer (imagine all that yummy goodness easily slipping through the shaved ice).

Combination spring rolls - slightly smaller than what I anticipated it to be. A little difficult to distinguish between the different types of meat as everything was finely minced.

Pho - as with most Vietnamese restaurants, the serving size is generous.

Combination broken rice - served with an assortment of meat side dishes and all very tasty and juicy. Highly recommended for the carnivores out there.

Vermicelli with grilled pork - me being the adventurous foodie decided on a fresh take and ordered this without a second thought. Pork pieces had a lovely charred aroma to it and perfectly balanced in terms of sweetness and saltiness. The sister and her companion questioned my semi-vegetarian order tho!

Thanh Nga Nine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Brioche By Philip, CBD MELB

Prior to working in the city, I have always wanted to explore all the little eateries that are only operating on weekdays but the opportunity never did appear. Having worked in the city for a good 6 months now, I still have yet to visit all these eateries and often times, put the idea off due to distance.

I stumbled upon Brioche by Philip, a bakery/cafe on my list, as I was racing to my first aid course seminar. Made a mental note to pop back after the course finishes and despite running late to work, I still managed to squeeze a quick visit here.

No coffee takeaways but I did get bronut takeaways, a term loosely coined from the marriage between a brioche and donut.

Matcha bronut - unlike the donut's light, fluffy texture, this one was a denser from the incorporation of more (?) butter into the dough. Yes, it did pack a good punch of matcha and would have liked just a little bit more filling evenly spread across the bronut.

Lamington bronut - a take on an Aussie favourite, incorporating the usual jam, coconut and chocolate mix. A generous amount of jam pipped into this fella and it was rather pleasing to see it slowly ooze out with each bite.

My verdict? Have to try the coffee in my next visit and perhaps, bring along reading material. I have this newfound hobby of immersing myself in a coffee shop with my work which is slowly turning into a regular habit on my days off.

Brioche By Philip Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Isshin Japanese House, Forest Hill MELB

The siblings and I rarely do get an opportunity to spend time together and seeing as all of us have now relocated to Melbourne, we headed out for a buffet as our Chinese New Year reunion dinner. A win solution seeing as everyone can order what they want and eat to their heart's content.

At $43, this is a decent price to pay for a Japanese themed buffet that includes a small selection of sashimi, rolls, entrees, mains and desserts. Drinks are not included with the price tag. My word of advice would be to order everything you want when the waitress first takes your order as subsequent orders will be attended to at a much slower pace.

So what did we have *drum rolls*

Pork and vegetable gyoza - because dumplings signify wholeness, an important criteria for us auspicious folks.

Chicken skewers - hmmm...

Premier beef steak - labelled as premier, I am not sure if it does live up to it's name.

Fried rice - just to round off everything we had throughout the evening!

Beef tataki

Edamame - because I love veggies and need my fiber intake

Chicken karaage - a little greasy but still strangely satisfying.

Takoyaki - piping hot and beautifully presented.

Prawn tempura - Fried seafood here is yums

Unagi nigiri - slightly charred but still tasty

Beef tongue - chef may have overdosed the meat with MSG. I personally felt it would have done so much better without it.

Deep fried abalone - didn't get to try this

Salmon and kingfish sashimi - not the freshest or prettiest of cuts but for $43, I am not complaining at the unlimited flow of it.

Soft shell crab rolls - one of my favourite items to order and again, could do better with a bit more crab stuffed into it.

Tuna and prawn nigiri - delicious

Chawan mushi - aka steamed egg custard. Not bad

Fried mochi topped with red bean - at this stage of the meal, I was filled with fried goodness and still managed a bit of this. A little soaked in oil but the red bean paste convinced me to not get overly disappointed.

Matcha and black sesame ice cream -  absolutely loved the black sesame ice cream and even managed to have seconds. 

Isshin Japanese House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sette Bello, Glen Waverley MELB

"Where would you like to go for Valentine's day?", WL asked out of the blue. I starred at him in utter disbelief, allowing myself a few minutes to gather my thoughts. I responded with a casual burger outlet that we frequented last year but after giving a bit more thought into it, I suggested Sette Bello, a restaurant that is close enough for the both of us and a place where we could unwind.

Bookings are necessary here and WL had arranged for it in advance, a feat that he is pretty good at hehe.  Service is friendly and efficient, orders came within a reasonable time frame.

Not sure if WL liked the idea of bread dipped in butter but I did find it amusing how he could down it quickly regardless.

Salt and pepper calamari, crisp fennel, cucumber, iceberg salad, basil aioli - salt and pepper is quite a simple method of prepping a dish but I personally felt Setto Bello did right by cooking the calamari at the right temperature and obtaining a pleasant balance between crunch and dry. Salad lent the dish some acidity, a good contrast to the fried pieces of calamari.

"Involtino di qualglia" quail, mushroom and foie gras wrapped in filo - I do like quail and this was prepared well from the crisp layer of filo to perfectly removing the fine quail bones to the fine mesh of fruit infused jam/pickles. Highly recommended to give this guy a try;)

Spicy Italian pork sausage and smoked eggplant - I have a good tolerance towards spicy food and found this a little spicy in my books. Not something for the faint hearted but worth a try if you don't mind a little kick of it.

Chargrilled eye fillet steak, potato gratin, crushed greens and brandy peppercorn sauce. Another simple dish done right, bonus points for serving it with potato gratin (a favourite of mine!).

Fries - because WL loves fries as much as I do and he almost finished the entire bowl by himself.

Confit duck leg, pan fried duck breast, cannellini bean scordalia, grilled peach and duck glaze. I love meat served with fruit and this was no exception. Scordalia toned down the robust flavours from the duck and fruit by a notch and somehow bridged those two ingredients together well. I thought the serving portion for this was a lot more generous compared to other establishments:)

Italian fried doughnuts, honeycomb, nutella, cracked chocolate and double cream - at this stage both of us probably did not need dessert but we still went ahead and ordered one. Doughnuts were delicious although I found the combination of ingredients a little too rich to my liking. Still a satisfying way to end our meal tho:)

Sette Bello Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Japan: Red Rock Harajuku TOKYO

My first trip to Japan saw me heading to Harajuku once but this time, I managed to get about three visits here, equalling to three opportunities to sample something new.

Yes, Tokyo is a very busy city and chances of dining in a popular restaurant at peak meal hours is almost impossible. To avoid disappointment, I would suggest queuing up about 10 to 15 minutes before the restaurant opens.

The line for this restaurant was bearable when we arrive which meant we get an early lunch to keep us fuelled for the rest of the day's itinerary. Ordering is done at the ticket vending machine and tickets are handed to staff members prior to being seated.

American cut steak don - not sure what glaze was used here but it bumped up this dish's aesthetic by a 1000 times. In essence, it is a very simple dish but done right aka good quality cut of beef and fragrant sauce used.

American slice beef don - the restaurant's most popular item and I can understand why. Lightly seared prior to being sliced, the meat already has a fragrant aroma wafting through it and the addition of an egg yolk and a squeeze of mayonnaise toned down the intensity slightly, making it a creamy affair. Slices of beef was neatly layered over a small mountain of steamed rice. This would change any vegetarian's perspective of meat and a must try in Harajuku.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Grain Asian Cafe, Box Hill MELB

Very rarely do I make my way to Box Hill, being that location wise is, it isn't the nearest spot to get to and parking may prove to be a challenge for most especially during peak hours.

Weary and deflated post a week of long work shifts, I manage to pull myself out of bed at 8am on Saturday and drove the sister to Box Hill, in search of festive goodies. Rewarded I was for this early attempt and after collecting our groceries, we had time for late breakfast.

Unexpectedly, the waitresses here are very friendly and had smiles plastered all over their faces throughout their shifts. A feat that I find rare in Asian outlets but nonetheless, a pleasing change of atmosphere.

Akin having breakfast in a Hong Kong cha chaan teng, set meals are available in addition to the usual lunch fares.

For $8.50, I had the steamed rice pancake with barbequed pork and a bowl of pork and century egg porridge.  The pancake's texture was rather thick but would certainly keep my tummy quiet for a few hours. Porridge was smooth and had a mild savoury flavour dispersed through it. Brownie points for the addition of bite sized pieces of century egg and pork.

I have ordered myself a glass of hot soy bean separately, a perfect way to end the meal with.

The peckish sister ordered a plate of roast duck on rice and had to takeaway half of it. Yes, definitely value for money.

Grain Asian Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato