Sunday, April 23, 2017

Okra Restaurant, Hawthorn MELB

Okra is a Malaysian/ Thai/ Indonesian restaurant that owner Lawrence started more than 10 years ago in the heart of Hawthorn. Last Thursday, Lawrence and co were kind enough to host an event for us bloggers/instagram-ers to get together and sample their menu. It was a small gathering but gave us a good insight on what the restaurant has to offer for diners.

Cassava crackers and sambal chilli sauce - a vegetarian option and truthfully, I couldn't tell it was vegetarian at all. Sambal chilli sauce is made in house and is extremely fragrant, all thanks to the usage of fresh chilli.

Khanom jeep chicken dumplings - a sweet, salty broth encompasses the lightly flavoured dumplings. Petite enough as an appetizer and kept us intrigued on what else will surprise us that evening.

Satay chicken and beef - WL laughed when he realized that I have no recollection as to whether I had beef satay before or not. Probably one of the best grilled satay dishes in Melbourne,

Thai style beef salad - another light entree to whet our appetite for the next few dishes.

Tangy oyster shooters - probably a bit too hot to be a shooter but nevertheless, seasoned well with Asian aromatics, a feat that has to not overpower the sweet, milder oyster flavour.

Loh bak - a traditional Malaysian dish of meat filling wrapped in bean curd skin before being deep fried. Nailed it.

Crispy whole snapper in tamarind sauce - WL liked this a lot for its tangy taste on the palate which pairs well with the deep fried fish. Fish was easy to consume as the chef had removed the main bones from the fish. Do be careful of the smaller bones when digging into this dish, just in case.

Okra belachan - another Malaysian favourite and thankfully, not overly spicy on the palate nor were the bite sized okra pieces overcooked.

Indonesian grilled chicken - crispy grilled skin and succulent chicken flesh.

Special lamb shank - managed to nibble on a small portion of this lamb shank but loved how rich and moorish the curry sauce was.

Homemade roti canai - I have recently became addicted to roti and this was no exception. Deliciously crisp, oozing a pleasant butter aroma through it.

Black sticky rice with egg custard, sago pudding, served with durian, coconut, mango and green tea ice cream - and a whole lot of fruit. Loved the sticky rice with egg custard and could have easily polished it off myself as it was not sickeningly sweet.

Thumbs up to Lawrence and Mark for accommodating the bunch of us that evening and for feeding us well. Lucky Hawthorn residents definitely have a good Southeast Asian restaurant in their neighbourhood :)

Okra Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ishiya Stone Grill, CBD MELB

Having walked along Little Bourke Street on numerous occasions, I very rarely enter a restaurant located along the Chinatown end of the street as I find a lot of the restaurants are either overpriced or lacked quality.

One of the many man date locations of WL and a first for me. There is a lot to choose from the menu but I think for a restaurant to proudly associate itself with a stone grill, surely it would be worthwhile to sample on one for dinner.

Mashed potato - almost a compulsory and complimentary entree in most Japanese restaurants.

From memory, this was a scallop salad, a light option on the palate.

Soft shell crab salad - am a big fan of soft shell crabs and found this to be decent. Would have liked a bit more dressing/ ingredients added into the salad though.

Baked sea scallops with creamy miso mushroom sauce - an indulgent item that both of us had easily lapped off without a second thought.

There are so many stone grill options to choose from be it purely carnivorous or a seafood/ meat mix platter. We have selected a few different cuts of meat and had fun cooking them on our hot stone grill plate. Timing wise, it was difficult to manage as each piece of meat required a different cooking time. Eventually, we got the hang of it.

Comes served with a few types of dipping sauce to which, we experimented with. Favourite cuts of meat for me would be the scotch fillet and wagyu pieces, hands down.

Fried rice is served to complete the set meal and it was actually quite yummy. In short, it would not be a meal that I could have on a weekly basis but one that I would consider for future events.

Ishiya Stone Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Fish & Burger Co, Doncaster East MELB

I like having burgers, chips and milkshakes every now and then as a break from the usual routine. When WL suggested heading here after receiving positive feedback from his friends, I was more than happy to give it a try. And secretly fatten myself up with chips and sauce, such is the sinful life I lead.

Packed full of hungry customers but also plenty of seating to accommodate every individual, customers are basically seated first and when ready, head to the counter to order their meals. It was difficult to pick a favourite because all of the options sounded delicious. Thankfully, WL and I have been sharing food lately..both good or not so great :p

Gaytime milkshake - told WL to surprise me with whatever he wanted to have. I am not a proactive milkshake drinker but am game to try anything. This one was loaded with caramel, dusted with chopped peanuts and topped with generous bits of honeycomb and cubes of marbled cake. A meal on it's own and one that I am currently drooling over again as I channel my thoughts here.

Onion rings - always a big fan of onion rings and found these ones to be spot on yummy. Crisp batter? Tick. Softened onion pieces? Tick.

Double chilli cheese - Two beef patties, American cheddar, lettuce, pickles, jalapenos, Spanish onion, ketchup, mayo and chilli cheese sauce. One of the better cheese burgers I have tried. Meat was juicy and prepared medium to well done. Generous amounts of cheese utilized here.

American waffle fries - I love waffles and fries but have never had this combination before. Worth every calorie, especially when drizzled with oozing, melted cheese.

Lady Boy - such a dodgy name (no ideal what's the train of thought behind it) but again, another delicious number delivered by the Fish and Burger co. Grenadier had a lovely, even panko crust around it and it was lavishly coated in Sriracha hot sauce and kewpie mayo. Loved the addition of coriander and mint for added freshness.

A cross section of both burgers that we had. Highly recommended and worth a second visit even if I have to spend hours in the gym burning it off over the next few days.

  The Fish & Burger Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, April 14, 2017

Industry Beans, Fitzroy MELB

Very rarely do I venture into suburbs located just next to the CBD area as I find it such a hassle to hop onto a train and then onto a tram to get my destination. Am secretly glad WL is an expert around the area else I would be extremely lost.

Having said that I did have this brunch spot on my radar and finally got to tick it off after such a long time. Crowded like any other brunch spots but thankfully, customer turnover is decent and so, seating is less of a chore in smaller groups.

Boba iced coffee - skeptical as always, I hesitated at the prospect of it turning out to be a nightmare but when WL's sister ordered it and I managed a sip, I changed my mind. Reminded me of traditional bubble teas, except more refined and sweetness level has been toned down a few notches.

Latte - strong, just the way I like it when I am weak and in great need to be caffeinated.
Marinated rare beef - puffed quinoa, pickled onion, sriracha aioli, peanut crusted eggs and fried capers. A protein packed meal perfect for feeding the muscles after an intense gym session. Would have liked the meat to be served warm but I suppose it is akin a salad, no?

Cinnamon dusted brioche - tonka bean creme patisserie, chard pineapple, maple roasted peanuts, strawberry gel and coffee caviar. Was I glad WL's sister wanted to try this (and share it with the rest of us) because I would never be able to stomach this much sugar in the morning. Am a big fan of cinnamon and brioche so this was a no brainer favourite of mine. Not overly sweet and fruity flavours were quite evident on the palate.

Truffled eggs - zucchini ribbons, enoki mushroom, pea panna cotta, artichoke crisps, coffee cornbread crumbs, almond cous cous and pesto. Panna cotta was delish and provided a good backdrop to the otherwise complex flavoured dish. One can only wonder about the amount of time spent on preparing each individual component of the dish and presentation wise, it was worth the effort. Perfect play on textural elements here.

Industry Beans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 10, 2017

Amba, South Yarra MELB

I was invited to visit Amba for lunch and despite the less than desirable weather, I found it somewhat comforting to be under the shelter with probably one of the most amusing characters I have met thus far.

Being a soft spoken individual that I am, I seek solace in cafes that enable me to carry out conversations without needing to raise my voice too much. Kai and his team were quite attentive towards us and made us feel very much at home in our little corner. Having a bouquet of freshly plucked pink lilies nearby was bonus too.

Hot chocolate and latte -

Linguine with seafood and seared salmon - Portion size was decent and this would be the dish any seafood lover can consider ordering. I liked how the thin slices of parmesan provided a pleasant sharpness to the overall dish and was light enough to enjoy without worrying about it being too moreish for lunch.

Soft shell crab salad - I actually liked how fresh this was on the palate which boiled down to having crisp slices of green apples, lettuce, juicy cherry tomatoes and thin slices of sweet onion. Would have liked a bit more soft shell crab pieces on the dish but aside from that, no qualms whatsoever.

This review would not have been made possible without the generous invitation from Amba's management.

AMBA Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Breizoz French Creperie, Fitzroy MELB

I have a tendency to favour French desserts such as creme brulee, macarons and to a lesser degree, crepes. The best crepe I had was at Mont St.Michel amidst the swarm of tourists hovering around us as we wolf down our snack. Standing outside the busy restaurant, we sank our teeth into a flavourful piece of warm crepe that is light and fragrant on the palate. No extra toppings required except for a small drizzle of syrup over it, lending a touch of sweetness.

Fast forward, I have since then discovered a few cafes serving this yummy French dessert and recently became acquainted to another place that would probably be one of my places to go to when I am in the area.

We had their homemade praline ice cream which was packed full of the mild praline aroma and was not overly sweet nor bland. Highly recommend trying this out:)

Beurre caramel with mango ice cream - simplicity at it's best. The French sure do know how to utilize butter and this was a perfect example of that. Again, not overly sweet and had a lovely buttery aroma to it.

Praline and cointreau - flambee is the name of the game for a selected few types of crepes. Pick a favourite and behold, a mini flame party dancing on your crepe, which would eventually disappear, of course. Pretty yummy too although my favourite would still be the beurre caramel :p

Breizoz French Creperie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato