Monday, March 30, 2015

Gekkazan @ GPO, MELB CBD

I hardly have the opportunity to have lunch in the CBD area due to work commitments and travelling distance. Henceforth, imagine the endless, growing list of places that I would like to visit when I make a trip to the city.

Gekkazan usually operates at lunchtime and some nights for dinner. I may be able to drag myself here after work on a weekday but then again it would be a very tiring night if I do. And so, lunch on a Saturday arvo would be the best time available.

Food is to be ordered at the front followed by payment and then you will be given a table number. Sit anywhere you like and before you know it, you food will be cruising onto the table.

Sushi platter ~ for $14.90, this was a decent price to pay. Sushi was fresh, rolls were neatly framed by the nori summary, it was spot on.

Katsudon ~ the katsudon's sauce was very potent. Some people may find it a little too thick for their liking but I thought it was alright. The bowl was neatly decorated and fear not, lots of vegetables to balance the meal. Certainly filled me up for the day.

Gekkazan @ GPO on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Millstone, Malvern MELB

How about a glimpse of sweetness for today's blog post? As some of you may have noted, I am a sugarholic and I seek all things sweet be it in patisseries or viennoiseries. To me, there are certainly endless of options in Melbourne, almost as though the list goes on an infinite loop.

Not that I am whinging of course (well, maybe health conscious me might). But anyhooo, I have been wanting to tick Millstone patisserie off my list for the longest time and was finally able to last weekend. Yay for sweet treats!:)

This was a takeaway run so in no method possible would it sum the entire patisserie well. I will only be sampling the baked good in this blogpost;)

Custard tart ~ I have a weakness for pretty looking desserts and this was one of them. The raspberry added hints of acidity and freshness to the tart whilst the crumbly tart shell was a lovely contrast to the silky smooth custard layer.

And now, we move on to the yeast infused dough pieces aka the croissant and cruffin. Unfortunately, I only had this at 1.30pm on the same day which would mean that these pastries may have already lost a bit of their aroma. Both of them were still flaky and buttery to my liking. Thumbs up for the chocolate cream in the cruffin; not overly sweet nor bitter!

Pavlova and chocolate tart ~ First of all, the pavlova is a must have. I am not a big fan of pavlovas but I found this one incredibly well balanced in terms of sweetness and sourness. The pavlova was not overly sweet and what a lovely surprise it was to find a tart tart (haha geddit?) underneath it. Not entirely sure if it's creme patisserie or not but doesn't matter..twas delicious.

If you are a dark chocoholic, the chocolate tart is a must try. It tasted like it was made with 85% dark chocolate. Very moreish it was for such a tiny piece.

Millstone on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Izakaya Chuji, CBD MELB

Whenever I am in the CBD region, I tend to stick to a few favourite spots as they have obviously be tried, tested and approved by yours truly. Trying new restaurants/ cafes is often a hit or miss subject for me, to which, may affect my mood thereafter.

But as always, my favourite spots will eventually reach a point whereby I need to jazz things up a bit or I may lose my appetite overall. And so, begins the food hunt.

I have been craving for Japanese lately and having been to not many restaurants in the CBD, I flicked open Urbanspoon, scrolled through a few websites and found a place that I may like.

In terms of service, yes, attentive and efficient. Good explanation about the dishes/ platters available and food arrives at our table within ten minutes of ordering.

Steamed edamame beans ~ some places over season their beans but here, it is just right.

Sushi and sashimi platter ~ 

Yes, freshness guaranteed although I would like to see some improvements with the slicing of the fish..some pieces were a little..err...not the best looking ones I have seen :S

Soft shell crab roll ~ crab was fried in clean cooking oil and the roll was decently sized. The chef had done well with stuffing it with just the right amount of avocado, tomatoes and deep fried crab pieces.

Green tea ice cream ~ I have had a fair share of green tea ice cream in Melbourne and unfortunately, this is not something I would rave about although portion is generous here. Would like it to be a bit more creamy...

Izakaya Chuji on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shanghai Street Dumpling, CBD MELB

Been waiting for this restaurant to reopen since last year and now that they have finally reopened, I can get my quick fix of xiaolongbao. I am strangely attracted to dumplings, perhaps for the comfort that they offer or for the fact that these little morsels can be shared among groups of friends.

No bookings are allowed so be prepared to wait in line during peak trading hours such as lunch and dinner time. There are two outlets in the city; one's in Chinatown whilst the smaller outlet is located on the same street but just a street away from the GPO.

Service is pretty quick as the restaurant relies on a high customer turnover.

Cold steamed chicken with spring onions ~ a traditional appetizer in China. For personal reasons, I try to steer away from this dish but if you're feeling adventurous and prefer something not too heavy, this is a good start.

Shanghai fried noodles ~ in this restaurant, bulk portions is key. This plate alone is enough for two meals at at about $11, it's not too bad a price. A little bland and greasy but hey, can't complain much especially when it's compensated by it's price and portion.

Pork xiaolongbao ~ for those unfamiliar with xiaolongbao, it's actually a steamed dumpling which has a little spoonful of soup in it. Extremely hot and can potentially squirt out the wrong way if you bite into an incorrect spot. Slightly too big to take into one mouthful but still a good feed for what you're paying.

Shanghai Street Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Palms Restaurant, Glen Waverley MELB

Now that the weather is beginning to cool down significantly, I am resorting to warm, soupy-ish comfort type of food that will warm me up from the inside. Aside from Korean cuisine, Indian cuisine would be the next best alternative. Spicy food tends to do the trick for me too;)

Despite living just 3 minutes by foot from this restaurant, I never did thought about popping by until a few weeks post-Malaysia and the craving for spices reemerges. This restaurant reminded me of a hawker where you order your food at selected counters. The counters are divided into different categories, mainly Chinese, Indian and cafe.

We ordered food from the Indian corner to satisfy our cravings and because the smell is too tantalizing to resist.

Butter chicken ~ creamy and a little on the sweetish side. Decent serving of chicken pieces in it and well-spiced to our liking.

Lamb masala ~ literally melts in your mouth. I reckon the meat must have been cooked over a prolonged period of time to reach this desirable point and boy, was it worth it.

Garlic naan ~ not the fluffiest naan in my books but still decent enough to soak up all that lovely curry gravy.

Vegetable briyani ~ sigh if only I could prepare rice dishes well in the kitchen. Briyani has a good balance of spices in it and was not overly pungent for my liking. Also equally good for cushioning more curry gravy hehe:)

Matar paneer ~ so the bunch of us felt awful if we did not have our daily intake of veges. So here's our attempt in the form of cottage cheese and peas in curry. Not spicy at all and yes, plenty of cheese and peas included.

Do note that food takes a little while to arrive so be prepared to wait for an extra 5-10 minutes. We got there before the dinner crowd takes over and had to wait at least 20 minutes for our food to arrive. Not too long but if you're in a hurry...

Palms Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Malaysia: Around Publika

I have been back from Malaysia for almost a month now and I have yet to blog about my trip! Life's been travelling at the speed of a bullet train and it's so difficult to find time to chill.

Whinging aside, allow me to introduce to you more Malaysian food from Publika aka the "youngster" food hub whereby new restaurants mushroom in this region regardless of whether it has Asian or Western influence..always something for everyone there!:)

First up would be the Penang Road Famous Chendol which originates from Penang and has a long history to back it up. Quint little cafe that can accommodate maybe 20 customers and a small menu mostly consisting Penang favourites such as rojak, chendol and a few types of drinks.

From memory, a bowl costs around RM9, depending on which variation you opt for.

A bowl of shaved ice drizzled in gula Melaka syrup topped with strands of green "jelly" and covered in creamy coconut milk. Yes, one bowl is more than enough to keep you fueled for the afternoon. Not too bad although would have liked less coconut milk in mine:)

For dinner, a friend brought me to Okonomi, a newly opened Japanese restaurant that allows you to customize your sushi rolls. Feel free to pick your choice of rice, style of sushi (rice on the inside or outside), stuffing (2 types of meat and 1 type of vege), topping and dressing/sauce.

Found it quite amusing because we came up with all sorts of funky combinations that can make or break our friendship (haha jk!). But yes, the more peeps you have the merrier because you can surprise each other!

We had sushi with brown rice stuffed with cherry tomato, chicken karage and topped with kiwi mayonnaise and fried garlic chips. Yum!

Second option was deep fried soft shell crab, salmon and tamago sushi topped with cheesy mayonnaise and fish roe.

We ordered the CNY special which was fried chicken with shredded carrots and lettuce, rolled in soy based wrapped and drizzled with a sweetish orange sauce. Not too bad although the soy wrapper kept tearing on us.

The highlight would be their dessert menu which consists of so many types of green tea inspired desserts. Opted for a green tea lava cake and yes, it was bloody good. Highly recommended.

The sis had green tea ice cream which was also packed full of green tea flavour. Very smooth and extremely delicious.

Alas, bought a box of the famous macarons from Publika. Having tried macarons from various places in Australia and overseas, I found it challenging to give it a fair score. It is good but it's lacking something which I can't put a finger on. Ah wells..

Shira Nui, Glen Waverley MELB

For fancy yet intimate place to celebrate a special occassion, Shira Nui still tops my chart, noting that it's not exactly a very pocket friendly place to go. Food is definitely worthwhile and if you're not a big eater, this is definitely an ideal place to chill out over some sake or plum wine (yes, lots of options to choose from!).

Having been here before to sample their omakase set, we decide to order ala carte for a change in scenery.

Sushi and sashimi platter ~ everything on the place was top notch quality and tasted superb despite it's simplicity. Each piece of sashimi was evenly sliced and the sushi pieces were just the right size.

We have also ordered a plate of aburi nigiri and yes, each piece was well seasoned yet again.

Tuna tataki ~ Tuna was cooked on the exterior but still retains a good amount of pinkish hue on the flesh. The dollop of relish on top of the tuna added extra sweetness and zing to the dish. Favourite tuna tataki thus far!

Tempura of prawns and vegetables ~ Crunchy and not too raw for our liking. The bowl on the center of the plate holds grated radish which is used to mix into the accompanying soy sauce (and magically thickens it). Not too sure what's the idea behind it but hey, it made coating the tempura in the accompanying soy sauce a lot more easier:)

Overall, excellent service and food here but do not that it's not exactly somewhere you would go often unless you're a small eater and if you are loaded. won't regret, that's for sure:)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant, CBD MELB

There is definitely no shortage of affordable Japanese food in Melbourne and to my delight, one can opt for a lavish meal or cost saving meal. Too often I would walk into a certain establishment and blow my food budget, purely from not doing any background research. Hence that's why restaurant websites play an important role in managing customers' (like me) expectations.

Although certain places do not display their menus online, it's not difficult to estimate the cost of a meal based on location. Obviously if a restaurant is in a swanky suburb or if the interior looks flash, brace yourself.

Now back to the food bit, this particular restaurant is rather cozy and judging by the number of people lining up to get in, it must mean something.

Takoyaki ~ with huge chunks of octopus in it. Always something to look forward to as an appetizer.

Salmon sashimi ~ fresh and evenly sliced.

Now if you want to skip the appetizers, you can jump to mains. There's a good selection of bento boxes and dons that will suit your budget. The bento boxes come with a serving of rice, salad, fried chicken/ pork/ tempura, a few pieces of sashimi and a small serve of pickled vegetables.

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sakura Inn Japanese restaurant, Camberwell MELB

Camberwell is my new playground for Japanese food and honestly, there's too many options. Second time round this area and tried a different restaurant which thankfully, had plenty of seating areas to accommodate large crowds so no reservations necessary on weekdays. However, reservations are probably necessary if you would like to order big platters of sushi.

Edamame ~ not too salty for my liking and a good start to the meal.

We had the sashimi boat which is beautifully decorated by the chef. The salmon pieces were arranged into a flower shape and the colour of their tuna sashimi proved that it was fresh.

Takoyaki ~ piping hot so be warned not to stick this into your mouth too quickly. Had large chunks of octopus pieces in the moist inner center of the ball.

Crab croquette ~ a little disappointed with this one as the meat was rather spongy in texture and we could barely taste any crab essence. Fried to perfection but could be so much better with more oomph from the crab.

Deep fried soft shell crabs with wasabi mayo ~ can never ever say no to soft shell crabs, what more when it's served with wasabit mayo. Again, piping hot and extremely juicy.

Green tea ice cream with Japanese pancake stuffed with red bean paste ~ not bad although would prefer more green tea in the ice cream.

Sakura Inn Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon