Saturday, December 29, 2018

Secret Kitchen, CBD MELB

Capping 2018 off with a visit to a much anticipated yum cha restaurant and one that costs an arm and a leg. Booking is quintessential and without one, be prepared to be turned away during peak hours.

Service is evidently prompt as plates on our table is cleared quickly whenever the last piece of dim sum is picked off it. Aside from that, service was disappointing as not only did the waiter/waitress send wrong orders to our table (which we turned away for obvious reasons) but we were told off by a grumpy waitress when we asked for a plate of dim sum that was on her trolley.

She was very vocal in accusing us for being fickle minded with our previous orders when in fact we did not order it in the first place. Language barrier aside, we doubted she would understand if we had explained the situation to her which led us to channelling our concerns to the manager who mostly shrug it off.

Food wise - nothing to rave about as it fared no better than the ones I can get from other establishments and from a price perspective, it was not justifiable. Seafood bits used in the seafood dim sum was slightly more generous in terms of portions but as for the pork dim sums, I would think twice prior to re-ordering.

Fried squid was very dry and had a very chewy texture, akin to being deep fried twice.

Verdict: Albeit having a better dining experience at their branch in Westfield, I was very disappointed with this visit, both in terms of food and service. Dim sum plates can range from $7 to $13.50 which worked out to be at least $2 to $3 more and well, let's just say I would really need to think twice about spending this much here again.

Secret Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Cellar Door, Ringwood MELB

Dinner here on a weekday, all thanks to a colleague's recommendation and courtesy of my current employer.

House bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar - kudos for soft bread that pulls apart easily and for having a delectable balsamic vinegar reduction that is both sweet and savoury at the same time.

Mushroom arancini - very moreish and packed with funghi goodness.

Kingfish crudo, avocado puree and coriander relish - absolutely delicious, each freshly prepared element complimenting the other well.

Lamb - as we had our work function here, this may be a dish that is only available as part of a set meal. Lamb was flavoured well and pulled apart easily by the slightest force.

Polenta chips with truffle aioli - I feared eating polenta as once upon a time, it made me feel nauseous and thereafter, I steered clear of it. Having said that, I found myself reaching out frequently for more and lavishly coating each piece with the aioli.

Green beans coated in balsamic vinaigrette.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my dinner here and wouldn't mind popping back for another meal in the future :)

The Cellar Door Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Aoba, Malvern MELB

Lazy saturday evening calls for a quiet night spent at a quaint little Japanese restaurant in an attempt to reignite my zen mood prior to commencing work the next day. Story of my life summed up after working 5 days a week and waking up early for a non-existent shift.

Simple menu with favourite crowd-pleasers such as dons, sushi rolls and a few bento boxes for those looking for value for money.

Miso soup - first course to warm up our tummies.

Nasudengaku aka deep fried eggplant with sweet miso sauce - eggplant is well cooked through and generously topped with sauce. A little fiddly to consume as the entire eggplant held its shape pretty well but yummy nonetheless.

AOBA box - seaweed salad, spring roll, gyoza, takoyaki, vegetarian croquette with teriyaki chicken and rice.

S&S box - 8 pieces sashimi, 4 pieces sushi roll, 3 pieces nigiri and seaweed salad. No qualms about this box.

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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Europe: Albert Cuyp Market, Amsterdam NETHERLANDS

And just like that, two months have lapsed since I visited Europe and till today, I am still struggling to find time to blog about the entire trip. This blog post is dedicated to the Dutch, one of the tallest people in the world and also the country with the best waffle snack. And cheese as well, but we will get to that a bit later.

Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam is such a touristy site, selling knickknacks ranging from *ahem* magical brownies to clothing to household toiletries, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Having said that, I did buy a punnet of raspberries which, sadly, had mould growing beneath them and I had to throw out a large portion of it...

The highlight of this market visit was obviously the stroopwafels. Truly the best ones I had in Netherlands in terms of quality. Stroopwafel was thin, crisp, warm and filled with gooey goodness. Kudos to the friendly chap (probably the owner too!) who was all smiles and patient. Am more than happy to come back, not because of the stroopwafels, but also for this guy's personality.

On the flip side, lots of street food around the market, all offering samples to passersby. The sister stopped to order a barbecued chicken sandwich topped with melted cheese and some pickles. No regrets there.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Fish wraps recipe

One of the easiest meals I have made up and also one of the more nutritious ones in my books. Fish fillets can be cooked in the oven for convenience and if so, would probably take 10 to 15 minutes depending on the oven's temperature settings.

Literally just made this a couple of hours ago and am thinking of remaking it again next week or so.

500g whiting fillets (or any other type)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Massage paprika, tarragon, salt and pepper onto the fish fillets.
2. Pan fry fish fillets and set aside

Coleslaw mix:
200g A mix of green and purple cabbage
100g shredded carrots
250g cherry tomatoes
2 avocados
Juice of half a lime

1. Toss the salad together with lime juice, making sure to have the veggies evenly distributed.

The finale:
Missoni wraps

1. Place cooked fish fillets in the middle of the wrap and top with a good serve (about 4-5 tablespoons of salad) on top of it.
2. Wrap fish and salad mix firmly and serve warm.

Absolutely loved this easy to make dish and it is extremely versatile because you can add whatever veggies you prefer or even marinade the fish in cayenne pepper or stronger herbs like thyme. I like the idea of having something refreshing like lime juice as the salad dressing as it's also not oily.

P.s: If you plan on using oily fish like salmon or rainbow trout, use less oil when pan frying them.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

San Telmo, CBD MELB

I have been wanting to dine here since last year but never did find time to initiate an outing here. I do appreciate a good piece of steak and coupled by the fact that it's part of my post birthday celebration, it was the perfect excuse to brave Melbourne's downpour on a Thursday evening.

Service was not very attentive as the restaurant was fairly busy and overall, the atmosphere could have been better if not for the loud music.

Lamb and mushroom empanada - Akin Malaysia's version of curry puff. Filling was yummy but at $6, it was a little too dear to have ordered more.

Calamar - char grilled cuttlefish with tomatoes, almond hummus and watercress. Light and refreshing best describes this dish, a perfect entree before we commence on the heartier plates.

Mejilla de Cerdo - braised Berkshire pork jowl with crackling. Again, another delicious number that had been well seasoned and marinated, paired well with crispy crackling. I would happily order this dish if it came in a main size. It was that good.

For our mains, I opted to try the juicier cuts of steak such as the hanger and flank parts as it would truly reflect how well a chef can perform with the un-premium cuts of meat. And yes, I was very impressed with both dishes. Seasoned perfectly, with a slight caramelised, salty exterior made all the more tempting by a char grilled aroma. No sauce needed at all.

Tarta de chocolate - what appears to be a seemingly ordinary chocolate tart was actually one of the better ones that I have tasted. The tart's filling was warm and gooey whilst the shell enclosing it was rich and firm, providing good coverage for it. Ice cream was equally delicious but could not out match the delicious filling.

Flan: dulce de leche creme caramel with salted peanut praline. I absolutely loved this piece as well. The small but potent scoop of dulce de leche on top of the creme caramel was incredibly yummy and I was begging for more after each bite. Salted peanut praline was generous in terms of the amount of nuts used but again, there can only be one star of the dish and this was sitting on top of the creme caramel. 

  San Telmo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Baba Sus, Glen Iris MELB

Caught up with a college friend over the weekend and albeit said friend arriving a little late, we still managed to have a meaningful conversation over a couple of hours.

Parking was not difficult as street parking was easily available and there's even a train station nearby for those wanting to park at the station.

Matcha latte - with a teddy bear staring back at me. Would have liked a little more matcha oomph here but otherwise, it was a treat on a cool day.

The baba sus - crispy pork belly with carrot miso puree, paw paw salad in nam jim dressing. The vibrant colours from the dish was enough to catch anyone's attention and flavour wise, it was indeed flavourful.

Mixed Japanese mushroom with ponzu butter sauce, proscuitto, poached egg and toast. Overall a very light dish with a good array of mushrooms in it. Rather than concentrating on our conversation, I was more interested in wiping off every bit of that ponzu butter sauce with bread.

Baba Sus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, November 23, 2018

Bistro Morgan, Chadstone MELB

Of late, I have been moderately inactive in going out to eat as it can be a financial constraint at times and also, may possibly slow my fitness training process. I have been, for the longest time, aiming to reach my desired peak stamina and alas, am more determined now then ever to attain it before summer ends next year.

I can never say no to cheat meals/ snacks and am constantly striving to reach a balance with moderation. A single treat would not jeopardise my efforts but rather, fuel me to push harder in subsequent sets. Am super pleased that my friend had also encouraged me to incorporate weight training else I would never have considered it.

With the donut trend on the rise here in Melbourne, it was only natural to sample them from various establishments. Having heard of Bistro Morgan and with the opening of its new outlet in Chadstone, it seemed only reasonable for me to get a few as post-workout treats;)

Priced at $5 or $5.50 for one, it isn't the cheapest version in the market. That being said, I do admit that this is a good example of quality vs quantity whereby quality wins hands down.

Bought the gaytime crunch, sneaky snickers and vanilla custard for sharing. The actual donut dough itself was fluffy and light. The exterior, covered in lashes of chocolate sauce and nuts, may look intimidating but I did not think of it as being overly sweet. A donut a day would suffice, anymore would make my pancreas work overtime.

Verdict? Definitely worth the hype and am on the lookout for new flavours in next month's menu :p

  Bistro Morgan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato