Thursday, October 30, 2014

Madam Kwongs Kitchen, Box Hill MELB

Box Hill is known to be the center of the Chinese community in Melbourne and so, restaurants and cafes have to be up to scratch to meet their customer demands. The street is not as bustling compared to Kingsway Avenue but nevertheless, it made me feel as though I was back in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Just about every shop has Chinese characters embedded in their door signs and walls!

And of course, the streets were packed full of people on Saturday and it is especially packed in the malls. Saturdays seems to be everyone's shopping day and guess who was lucky enough to rub shoulders with more than a handful of the locals?;)

On to the food story of this post, us Malaysians need to have our fix and where else than a popular little shop on the main street? This shop sells an assortment of pastes and food unique to Malaysia so if you are not sure what to have for dinner, popping over might be a good option.

Char kuey kak aka fried radish cake. I am not familiar with this dish as the one I had in Kuala Lumpur was lighter in colour and had more eggs scrambled into it. It did satisfied our hungry tummies though.

Char kuey teow ~ one cannot simply walk past a Malaysian restaurant without seeing char kuey teow on the menu. Their version had the right notch in spiciness and although it was drier than what I would have liked, it was still a chopstick licking dish.

Chee cheong fun ~ words cannot simply describe the black sauce that coats the chee cheong fun and honestly, you have to try it out yourself. I can finish off half the plate before raising the white flag as the taste can be a little too pungent after a few mouthfuls.

Overall, service was quick, food was priced well and reasonably authentic considering there are many limitations to recreating the same dish here as opposed to in Malaysia. On the flip side, one can find about four variations of durian here so if you're a durian fan, why not?:)

Madam Kwong's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Taipei Delight and Nitro Lab, Glen Waverley MELB

To me, Kingsway avenue at Glen Waverley can be divided into two completely different sections of the street. On the side that's nearer to the cinemas, one can find a livelier scene that is heavily populated by a younger crowd. Meanwhile, the side of Kingsway that is nearer to the Glen complex is a little more toned down in comparison.

This will have to be my first time dining on this side of the street and although it is not as happening, it is a pretty decent spot to hang out at for overdue catchup sessions;) I popped by a little Taiwanese restaurant that serves a few popular Taiwanese dishes and was pleasantly greeted by the friendly family that mans the shop together.

Spicy and sour beef noodles ~ probably not for the ones with fragile tummies and probably not everyone's cup of tea because the spicy yet sour soup can be overbearing. Nevertheless, it was good value for money and satisfied my Taiwanese beef noodles craving:)

Another item that is famous is Taiwan would be their fried chicken. And no, it's not KFC. At barely $2/chicken fillet in Taiwan, it could not have gotten any better for a nibble whilst brisking down the street. Here, the oil for deep frying is heaps "fresher" the chicken as compared to the one in Taiwan. Succulent chicken with a crisp outer layer. Yum.

After all that spicy food, why not head over to Nitro Lab and grab yourself a nitrogenated gelato? A few quirky flavours but yummy nevertheless:)

  Taipei Delight on Urbanspoon Nitro Lab on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chez Dre and Penang Road, South Melbourne MELB

A lazy Sunday wandering around South Melbourne in search for some good bites and for a change in atmosphere.

Chez Dre's macarons costs $3 each which made me think twice about getting too many. However, it is a tad bigger than the ones I usually get and it is really delishhh, packed full of flavour. Recommended for macaron lovers;) Got myself the rose raspberry, green tea, praline, salted caramel and vanilla flavoured ones.

And this hungry Malaysian went to yet another Malaysian restaurant to try her luck. Decently priced and reasonably quick service means no painfully long waiting time.

Cendol in a cup..what a brilliant idea and probably something that you could walk away with on a hot summer day.

Their mamak mee was different compared to the ones I am used to but nevertheless, equally yummy and satisfying:)

Penang Road on Urbanspoon Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

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