Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Operator 25, CBD MELB

Woke up late on Sunday? check. Unexplained hunger? Gotcha. This sums me up pretty well on a weekend, ideally. Although there would be a few days whereby waking up late is not really an option and I would have been too stuffed from Saturday's dinner to even think about food on Sunday haha.

I saw a handful of friends upload pictures of Operator 25's matcha hot cakes on Instagram and thought to myself, why not? I don't mind a sweet brekkie every now and then..and so, off I go:)

Balinese pulled pork burger with fried egg, cabbage and carrot slaw, chilli mayo served with sweet potato wedges. Due to lack of experience with Balinese cuisine, I do not trust my narration of this dish (and neither should you haha). However, a foodie friend of mine liked it very much as it reminded him of something similar from a Balinese restaurant. Oh and sweet potato wedges were delishhh.

Beer battered soft shell crab with Thai style salad, toasted peanuts, tamarind dressing and sesame rice crackers. A really light dish for those not feeling too peckish or if you opt for something less sinful. Or if you are like me who wants to save some tummy space for desserts;) Very refreshing it was.

Smoked chicken and vegetable hash with tomato chutney and poached egg.

Matcha and white chocolate hotcakes, mandarin mascarpone, toasted hazelnuts, banana chips and cherry coulis ~ was not as sweet as I had anticipated it to be and probably a good thing as well! Aesthetically brilliant and one can taste the individual characteristics of every component. Sour, bitter and sweet in motion.

Operator25 on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 24, 2014

Darac Grill Bar, CBD MELB

Nothing beats the feeling one gets after clocking off from work on Friday..except the feeling of knowing that you will be out with good company. Boo yeahhh that's what I am talking about. I am not really an extravagant Friday night goer so anything too fancy is off the list, also because I can't be bothered to follow any dress codes. And so, a casual and affordable place is the place to go.

First up, bookings are essential here or be prepared to face disappointment especially when there are not many seating areas available. Service is quite efficient in no time, your food will be served.

The bunch of us ordered a few dishes for sharing which is always the ideal option as you get to sample more that way:)

Takoyaki ~

Fiery cheesy chicken ~ on a scale of 10, I would rate this 7. It can be pretty intense for some but it is an interesting fusion concept.

Darac Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Birds One Stone, Toorak MELB

Aside from being labelled as the sweet street (think Luxbite, Zumbo, Ala Folie etc), Toorak is also (in my humble opinion), known as the little European street. Parisian chic, Italian flair and Spanish twists just to name a few.

And of course, one cannot be categorized as a food street without a few quint brunch spots. I am not too keen on googling up on places to eat but I do trust that each restaurant/cafe in Toorak is surviving for a good reason.

We got here at around 10am and this place was already packed full of people. Managed to secure a few seats and placed our orders quickly.

 Eggs Benedict, house smoked ham hock and bearnaise on toast ~ Eggs were poached to perfection and topped with a slightly tangy benedict sauce and a side of shredded ham hock. Not a heavy dish as compared to the ones I have had before and certainly a good start to the morning.

 Sauteed pine mushrooms on brioche with trussed cherry tomatoes, goats cheese cream, roasted almonds and two poached eggs ~ I am obsessed with mushrooms and it was only natural that I chose this over everything else on the menu. Pine mushrooms, king oyster and button mushrooms goes so well with the salty goats cheese cream and the piece of buttery bread soaked in egg yolk was divine. Worth a try if you love mushrooms as mush as I do haha:)

Little did I know that DoughBoyDougnuts have left their mark here. Only three flavours to choose from but wow, they were good. Hopefully I will get to visit their outlet soon:9

Two Birds One Stone on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lune Croissanterie, Elwood MELB

Upon hearing that I need to wake up at 6.30am on a Sunday morning and wait in line for at least 30 minutes before getting my hands on anything, I was very reluctant to even get out of bed. Gave in to temptation, afterall, I do love a good piece of baked croissant in the morning and surely it is something worth raving about if people are willing to queue for it, no?

Arrived here at 7.20am and despite the light drizzle, there must have been at least 10 people already waiting in line. Fearing that I may lose my number in the line, I held on to my ticket and OCD-ly look at it. When the names started to roll out, my heart skipped a beat as I surely do not want to miss my place in the queue just because I dozed off in the corner of the street!

Each person can only purchase a maximum of 6 items which I think, is pretty fair considering that there are so many people waiting in line and to be leave without anything is too cruel for the soul. The waffling scent of baked croissants gave me the extra bit of boost I needed to stay awake. We had strategically decided on what to get so that we could sample everything on the menu.

These baked goodies are not exactly pocket friendly but I wouldn't a good treat every now and then. They are possibly one of the best croissants I have tasted in Melbourne so far and so, I would highly recommend coming here if you love croissants as much as I do.

Rhubarb danish ~ yum yum yum. Pastry was extremely flaky and butter. Rhubarb was cooked just right aka not too soggy nor undercooked.

We were also introduced to the twice baked croissant concept which utilizes leftover croissants from yesterday's baking. These "unwanted" babies are then baked again but this time round, stuffed with a vivid array of ingredients that is only limited by your imagination. We had the almond croissant which was generously stuffed with a nut paste and topped with flaked almonds and a good dusting of icing sugar. It was extremely sinful but so worth the run on the treadmill.

On that particular week, the twice baked croissant came in three different flavours: almond croissant, pandan croissant and sticky date pudding croissant. The pandan croissant had a good kick of pandan cream that had been thinly spread on the halved croissant before it enters the oven.

Sticky date pudding croissant ~ extremely sinful and at $12.50, this has to be the most expensive croissant I have bought in my life. It comes with a cup of vanilla gelato and as you can see, it was generously drizzled with butterscotch sauce. I was told to consume it soonest possible. No problems there. I felt a big sugar rush after I downed half of this but I still wanted more. Ok, so maybe a run on the treadmill for two days?

Peanut butter and jelly cruffin ~ basically a croissant baked in a muffin tin. I grew up eating peanut butter and jam so this brought back good memories. The peanut butter cream was not too heavy and that bit of jelly topping added a nice tangy flavour to the savoury cream.

Overall, one must head here at least once when in Melbourne. I have not tried real French croissants before and can only imagine what it will be like if I do step into that land.

Ps, this place only opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

  Lune Croissanterie on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Durian cheesecake recipe

I can't remember when was the last time I have posted up a recipe nor can I recall when was the last time I have baked anything. Baking is one of my favourite hobbies and never fails to put a smile on my face. Sadly, there's not enough people here to share the ups and downs of my baking here with me and hence, the lack of sweets production.

However, I do try to squeeze in a bit of time if I can and preferably, I will seek an easy, foolproof recipe. This recipe is so easy to recreate with minimal fuss. Do note that the final outcome taste depends on the type of durian used and the quality of your other ingredients. However, do not fret if this recipe's cost is outside your budget as you can still achieve something magnificent with what you have in the pantry:)

160g digestive biscuits
80g softened butter

Blitz everything in a food processor until it resembles fine crumbs. Press it down on to your baking tin and refrigerate for a few hours.

*I've lined my baking tin with baking paper to prevent any unwanted sticking.

Cheese layer:
500g cream cheese
90g caster sugar
300g durian flesh
3 eggs
80g milk
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. Beat cream cheese and caster sugar until smooth. Add durian flesh and slowly beat eggs into the mixture.
2. Add milk and cornstarch and mix until well blended.
3. Preheat oven at 170C.
4. Pour mixture into baking tin that has been lined with biscuit base. Bake at 170C in a steam bath until light brown or when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
5. Cool cake, preferably overnight before serving.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Saigon Light and Rock Kung, Glen Waverley MELB

On my better days, I can be spotted wandering the streets and alleys of the CBD area whilst on my lazy days (which usually involves post-work days), I can be seen dragging myself along Kingsway avenue in search for a quick and cheap bite. Living near this food hub definitely has its perks on those days!

Felt like having Vietnamese for dinner but dreaded the thought of driving to Springvale and so..walked into Saigon Light. Viola, another favourite on my food map. Plenty of choices, be it vegetarian, noodles, soup, sharing plates and the list goes on.

Combination broken rice ~ Crispy and juicy pork wins my vote hands down. Portion wise, it was filling enough for me. Thoroughly enjoyed spooning off everything on the plate and would love to order this again in the future.

Pho ~ you can't claim to be a vietnamese restaurant without serving a bowl of pho. Broth was flavourful and more suited to my liking. Only downside was that there's not much meat pieces in the bowl so be warned if you need your daily fix of iron and protein.

If you're craving for good Chinese food, head down to Rock Kung. According to rumours, service here is temperamental depending on how busy the establishment gets but I have yet to encounter any sour moments here so let's keep it that way.

Steamed fish ~

Combination three roasts (roast duck, roast pork and barbequed pork) ~ not a big fan of their roast pork. However, barbequed pork and roast duck were chopstick licking good and worth a second trip. This plate would suffice for three people so if there's more people on the table, do let the staff know so that they can adjust the serving portions.

p.s: just about everyone around us ordered a plate of roast meat so it must be a really popular one.

  Saigon Light on Urbanspoon Rock Kung on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Little Creatures Melbourne Dining Hall, Fitzroy MELB

Of lately, I have been exploring the eastern side of Melbourne CBD rather than succumbing to my comfort zones (aka places closer to home). Initially, I was a little nervous at the thought of venturing out as previous experience had taught me to be a lot more cautious with what I see online. Probably my second time in this area but this time round, I have pictures:)

This place was recommended by a friend and I can see why. It's such a fun place to hangout with friends and what's really special about this outlet is their beer selection. I am not a beer connoisseur but if you are, this is the place for you (and a few friends duhh).

Beetroot cured salmon, fennel and potato ~ fresh and definitely a good start considering that it's about 27C outside!

Pickled octopus, peas, citrus and goat's curd salad ~ can't really say I am a big fan of this dish as the octopus had a strong "fishy" aftertaste. Not sure if this was intentional or not.

Pork belly, coleslaw and apple sliders ~ I love the toasted buttery buns and when paired with a refreshing serve of vegetables and a decent slab of pork belly, this would have been the perfect match to any alcoholic drink. Only downside is the size so be prepared to order a bit of sides if you are feeling peckish!

Would I drop by again? Indeed and I will probably try their pizzas (ah the perks of spying on what other's are having).

Little Creatures Melbourne Dining Hall on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 7, 2014

Manchester Press, CBD MELB

On my last few days in Adelaide, I have spent most of my meal times at my favourite restaurants/cafes just for memory's sake. The thought of not getting my weekly fix when needed and the fact that I now need to explore unknown places is exciting but yet daunting at the same time.

I have walked into places where I am left severely disappointed so do note, do NOT believe everything you read online. This same quote applies to doing your university assignments too;) I was equally intrigued and fearful that I might be disappointed here but truth be told, I left a happy foodie.

This is a tiny cafe situated in one of Melbourne CBD's lanes (take note 2, eat in the little lanes for good food) and so, be prepared to wait especially on busy days. Customer turnover is pretty quick so it shouldn't take too long to get a table.

Menu wise, this place serves mostly bagel inspired dishes. Do not expect your classic brekkie menu..probably because traditional dishes are too mainstream?:P

I am slowly beginning to appreciate coffee and what better place to test out my new found interest than in Melbourne where most coffee outlets are good:)

Closed bagel with avocado, tomato, bacon and cheese ~ not much a bagel fan but I do make exceptions. It does not look like much but trust me, it does fill you up.

Maple bacon and banana on raisin bagel topped with mascarpone cheese~ a quirky combination that worked well. Salty meets sweet and healthy meets naughty. Probably a bit more on the sweeter side. The non-sugar friend liked it so it's a winner:) Do give this a go if you are bored of the safer food combinations.

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 3, 2014

O'Town and Pho Huong Vuong 2, Glen Waverley and Springvale MELB

Allow me to introduce the new kids on the Glen Waverley block, O'Town. I stumbled upon this place by mistake and although it was not an intentional visit, it did develop into a persisting thought that finally lured me into the premises.

A Malaysian can never be bored of the sights and scents of anything that is reminiscence of home which is what you get here. After a quick scan at the menu, the bunch of us managed to narrow down our choices and pick a few dishes to share around.

Char kuey teow ~ not too bad although a tad more heat from the wok would do wonders.

Curry noodles ~ A very big bowl filled with oodles of noodles and topped with the usual accompaniments. The staff were considerate enough to plonk a small dollop of chilli paste on a spoon to which, diners can mix in whatever amount of paste they desire into the stock. Very flavourful and had a good amount of spiciness for my liking. Did struggle a bit to finish it off in the end!

Sambal kangkung ~

On a separate day, we decided to be adventurous and headed out to Springvale aka the Vietnamese town of Melbourne. Most shops close at around 8pm so be sure to get in quick. And remember to bring some cash just in case!

Longan and three colour bean sweet ~ Both drinks just as good as the ones we get from Adelaide:)

Pho topped with beansprouts and a few sprigs of mint leaves ~ the stock was lighter in terms of flavour compared to the ones I get from Adelaide. Would have liked to have fresh noodles in the soup but can't complain much when a decent sized bowl only costs about $9?

O' Town on Urbanspoon Pho Hung Vuong 2 on Urbanspoon