Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Shujinko, Glen Waverley MELB

The sister can be very predictable with her food choices and is no stranger to the many ramen restaurants around Melbourne. Affordable, delicious and filling best describes her regular choice of restaurant, with the exception of her intermittent fine dining indulgence.

Post-work grocery shopping followed by devouring a bowl of heart warming ramen best described last Thursday's outing.

Chicken karaage - fried chicken that arrived piping hot at our table.

Shujinko ramen - rich pork broth and a good serve of grilled pork belly.

Tsukumen - I am a fan of tsukumen aka Japanese dipping noodles whereby both broth and noodles are separated. Generous serve of chopped pork belly came with the broth. I found it a little salty towards the end of my meal but overall, had thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gyoza - a little different from the Chinese version that I am used to but nonetheless, delicious it was.

Shujinko - Glen Waverley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Bakers Wife. Camberwell MELB

Ten more days until 2019 is over and here we go again in 2020. To put simply, this year had been a roller coaster of highs and lows, both to their extreme ends and thankfully, there had always been a supporting hand for comfort and for celebration.

Here's to more than a decade of friendship with Mr. Potato, an easy going and trustworthy friend who brings out the food monster in me every single time without fail.

Cafe's interior is spacious, notably insta-worthy, with lush greenery surrounding patrons and a line up of baked goods ranging from filled doughnuts to slices neatly arranged at the front counter, making it almost impossible to walk out without one on hand.

Chilli scrambled eggs, bacon and tempura enoki mushroom served atop ciabatta bread. Scrambled eggs were creamy and had a reasonable amount of spiciness to it. The addition of saltier ingredients like the bacon and tempura complimented the milder tasting eggs well. Wouldn't mind re-ordering this dish again.

French toast with berries, lemon curd, burnt mascarpone, poached pear, pistachio praline and a serve of maple. Not sure if it was a good idea for the dishes to appear at the same time as our eyes were fixated on this dish. Pretty as a picture and delicious it was, in a sugar-rific sense. Not too sure if the burnt mascarpone was necessary but aside from that, both of us had no trouble drenching our toast with syrup and topping it off with lemon curd to balance off the sweetness.

Black angus beef burger - a simple burger done well with minimal attempts at making it overly extravagant. Thick cut chips were crisp and piping hot upon arrival at our table which allowed us to slowly enjoy our meal without having to worry about the possibility of cold, soggy chips.

  The Bakers Wife Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Cafe Carpenter, Malvern East MELB

A long overdue catch up which led me to choose this quaint little cafe located along Waverley road. While it was not overly crowded when we appeared, I would recommend making reservations to avoid disappointment.

Having said that, outdoor seating can be considered, granted the weather permits it. Akin an izakaya aka Japanese pub scene, whereby diners can sit close to the bar for dinner and a chat with staff members, the atmosphere felt welcoming.

Spoilt by a myriad of alcoholic beverage choices, locally and internationally sourced, we declined having a few drinks for fear of not being in the right mental state at work the following day. As compensation, we fed ourselves well that night.

Japchae - Korean stir fried noodles tossed in vegetables and thin slices of beef. Not too bad but can do better with a little more seasoning.

Bossam - steamed pork belly served with lettuce, kimchi, carrot, cucumber and ssamjang soy paste. A little pricey for the portion served but aside from that, I liked the fact that a leaner cut of pork belly was used. Less guilt involved post consumption.

L.A galbi - marinated BBQ beef ribs served with lettuce and ssamjang sauce. One of my favourite dishes for the night. Sticky, sweet and savoury flavours marred well in this dish. In hindsight, I wished this came with the option of a larger serve.

Seafood okonomiyaki - another highlight for the night as we can't get past how crispy and generously stuffed the pancake was. Perfect balance of chopped cabbage and seafood bits, drizzled in a sweet sauce and kewpie mayonnaise.

Cafe Carpenter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Muddings Bakery, Glen Waverley MELB

I have a habit of buying cakes from a different bakery each time I am in charge of getting a cake. Call it curiousity if you may, but it can be a rewarding experience if one is lucky to find a hidden gem.

Not saying that Muddings is a hidden gem as it has been in the suburb for some time and having stumbled upon it after a quick Google search, I wasted no time in booking in 2 cakes.

Strawberry cream cake - freshly prepared as the strawberry aroma was quite prominent here. Sponge was light, airy and certainly layered with a good serve of cream in between it's layers. The danger of this is having one too many slices considering how light it is.

Brandy snaps sponge cake layered with cream and lightly brushed with apricot jam - the lady who took my order convinced me to try this and yes, it lived up to my expectations. I love how both cakes were not sickeningly sweet and used fresh cream in the process, something uncommon these days.

Highly recommended cake shop! And price was reasonable too:)

  Muddings Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

New Jaffa, Collingwood MELB

Prior to relocating to Melbourne, I was very religiously in my food choices and often it would take a lot of effort to convince me to try another cuisine. It’s been almost 5 years since my arrival here and I dare say I’m a lot more adventurous and have a newfound love for middle eastern types of cuisines.

I’ve always been a fan of syrupy drenched floral scented desserts and soon after, I became obsessed with having my savoury dishes infused with aromatics, preferably generously jewelled with ruby red pomegranates or the much sought threads of saffron.

A rather impromptu (or greedy) decision brought me to a restaurant recommended by a friend in Collingwood. This may be one of the few times whereby I’d encourage anyone dining here to seat outdoors and admire the restaurant’s colourful glass decorations and lush greenery.

Hummus - As agreed with Faty, it is difficult to find a good plate of hummus in Melbourne ad hoc and so, we did not waste any when this got served on our table, paying attention to lapping the plate clean with bread.

Braised beef cheeks - ticked all the right boxes for a good piece of braised meat. Not a big fan of the parsley salad that it came with but did enjoy the dish nonetheless.

Lamb and beef kebabs with green tahini and harissa - prepared medium rare and albeit generous in terms of size, I do think the dish can be improved by serving it in smaller sized portions which also meant that there is a higher meat surface area in contact with the other aromatics on the plate.

Cauliflower - Am obsessed with this method of preparing cauliflowers and loved the addition of runny egg yolk to combine everything together. Middle eastern spiced vegan mayo had a nice subtle flavour to it which paired with the cauliflower really well.

Kanafeh - kadaif noodles with ricotta, homemade halva, rose water syrup and pistachios. Amazingly delicious and one that I’d recommend. Not overly sweet and noodle pieces were still crispy despite the syrup coating. 

  New Jaffa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Abacus, South Yarra MELB

I am a fan of hearty meals that are unpretentious when it comes to taste and aesthetics. Being a melting pot of food hubs, it can be a little tricky to find THE restaurant, that suits my preferences, amongst the many restaurants Melbourne that has to offer, especially in heavily populated suburbs such as Richmond or Fitzroy.

Albeit having been to South Yarra quite a few times, there are still many food outlets that I have yet to visit along Chapel Street, Abacus being one of them. Admittedly, I have passed this restaurant on a few occasions throughout my stay in Melbourne.

After being seated, both of us felt very relaxed and were fans of the restaurant's settings. The idea of having clear window doors left wide open allowed a cool breeze to ventilate the facility and having some greenery cleverly located in the centre and scattered around gave one the impression of space and privacy.

Homemade iced lemon tea - very similar appearance to a jug of freshly poured beer but non-alcoholic in this case. Just the right sweetness consistency and perfect for the warmer weather.

Portobello mushroom fries with chilli jam and malt vinegar - this is probably the most concrete (and possibly only) reason for me to become vegan. Fooled was I to think that the mushroom pieces would turnout mushy and wet, in fact, they were the complete opposite.

Portobello's meaty texture gave me the impression of biting into a juicy piece of meat, only that it was healthier. Highly recommended and one that I would love to have almost every week if only I lived nearby.

Chicken liver parfait, kumquat, pistachio, pickles and lavosh - another dish that I thoroughly enjoyed and wouldn't mind having it on it's own. I am not a big fan of liver dishes but had I not been told, I would not have been able to guess what it was.

Smooth textured, pairing really well with the sweet kumquat pieces and slightly acidic pickles, I found myself constantly intrigued with each bite as one can easily mix the various textures and flavours with each mouthful, almost akin a little surprise on the palate.

Kingfish tartare with avocado, chilli, citrus and roe - a brilliant dish to have during the warmer weather and one that is freshly light on the palate. Kingfish had a subtle sweetness to it and went down well with equally fresh, mellow flavours of the avocado, chilli and roe pieces.

There's no need to raise alarm flags upon seeing chilli being listed as part of the dish as it's use was carefully added to the dish, taking care not to overpower the other ingredients.

Aylesbury duck breast with plum and goat's curd - I must have duck whenever it is an option on the menu as I find it challenging to prepare at home. Abacus delivered in terms of flavour and cooking precision of the duck.

Pairing duck with sweet plum pieces and sauce is a classic combination but when goat's curd is tossed into the mix, I found it brought a savoury element to what may have been an overall sweet dish.

Scotch fillet with native pepperberry and roasted garlic - this has to be the best piece of medium rare scotch fillet I have had in Melbourne. Well rested and seasoned with an inviting charred aroma to it, the chef had showcased this piece of meat well, taking no shortcuts to it's preparation.

Decently sized too, both of us mutually agreed that it was well priced on the menu. Trust me on this.

Geelong lamb shoulder with jerusalem artichoke and pickled orange - also another type of meat that I hardly prepare at home and one that I look forward to when dining out. Our plate had been generously topped with soft, juicy and flavourful pieces of lamb that may have taken hours to prepare (finished by us in a fraction of that time).

On any given hungry or bad day, this is the dish to have to keep any negative emotions at bay. Again, unpretentious food done well, perfectly sized for sharing amongst a group of friends.

I shall end this post with a rather (at least I think so) drool worthy picture of the scotch fillet for your judging.

The folks at Abacus were very accommodating with our requests for the night and albeit being invited by the restaurant for a review, I daresay the restaurant need not my recommendation as it had fared very well in the food and service department.

Do yourself a huge favour now and try out their mushroom fries and liver parfait if I had not already convinced you enough. Alternatively, speak to their friendly staff members for recommendations. Trust me, disappointment does not exist here.

Abacus. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Komugi, Ringwood MELB

Birthday week commenced with me being able to boss the fiance around on what I want to eat as someone is fearful that a terrible meal would turn the house upside down. Probably one of the few moments I can eat a cake and not feel guilty about it!

Komugi is fairly new in Melbourne's cake shop game and that week was perfect for trying it out.

Green tea tiramisu and oreo cake - hmmm... whilst I love the idea of a non-caffeinated version of tiramisu, it fell short on flavour. The cream cheese (?) filling between the sponge layers did not have much taste to it and could not rely on the dry sponge for salvation.

In comparison, the oreo cake tasted better although only marginally. It was fresher in terms of taste but not memorable enough for me to make a second trip to Eastland mall for it.
Komugi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Estelle Bistro, Northcote MELB

Reaching a milestone in age should be celebrated in the grandest fashion thinkable and for me, this year fell nothing short of surprises. When the fiance asked where would I like to celebrate dinner at, all I could think of was the numerous delicious meals I had overseas slightly over a month ago.

 A constant place much discussed about, we decided on dinner here and found the service faultless and attentive. So what do we think of Estelle?

Entree - quail, pear, mulberry and macadamia. A delicious entree to kick start our meal. Sweet and sour flavours contrast well on the palate and when paired with a crunchy element, this would have been my favourite dish for the night.

Baramundi - again, I have failed to take note of an accurate description of this main dish. A clever play on colours and textures when pairing fresh seafood with vegetables.

Spring lamb, asparagus, eggplant and hazelnuts - Once again, the vegetables were brilliantly showcased on the plate but I would have liked the lamb to have a share in the spotlight as I found it lacking when compared to the other characters.

Mayura station wagyu rump, wild garlic and nori - meat was well seasoned and cooked here and paired well with the subtle, sweeter flavour of the char grilled spring onion.

The staff were kind enough to present us with a mango, coconut pavlova dish as it was my birthday :) Simple and indeed a light way to sum up our meal.

Chocolate, hazelnut and mandarin - a little disappointed with this one as I felt it needed a little more love to make it a standout dish. Combination of flavours sounded promising but fell short upon presentation.

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

Paradai Thai II, Carnegie MELB

A strange week it had been when we made our way to Carnegie, one that left us too drained to have a proper conversation. Weather was still freezing which made it the perfect excuse to tuck into some hot and spicy fare.

Chicken spring rolls - deep fried minced chicken served with a side of sweet chilli sauce. Not too bad although would like to see a bit more meat in each roll.

Pla rad prik aka deep fried fish fillets served with fried egg noodles and sweet sour tamarind sauce - fish fillets were fried to golden perfection but aside from that, I thought the tamarind sauce was a tad too salty to my liking. Fried egg noodles were served as small, broken crumbs, raising the question as to whether these were leftover bits from previously.

Pad ruammit aka stir fried mixed vegetables with chicken in garlic and oyster sauce - a simple dish but again, I found it bordering on the saltier side of the scale.

Red duck curry - curry had a good aroma to it and had a good mix of sweet and spicy flavours. Only downside was that again, it was too salty to my liking and had to be mixed with a lot of rice to "dilute" it out.

Paradai II Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 9, 2019

Singapore: Ya Kun Kaya Toast

Kaya toast is a must have to complete a Malaysian/ Singaporean breakfast alongside soft boiled eggs and a cup of coffee/ tea. A concoction of sweet coconut jam, thickened with eggs and infused with pandan leaves, undergoes consistent stirring for a few hours, depending on the volume, before it can be bottled up ready for consumption.

The sister and I headed to a popular kaya toast chain, Ya Kun, for our early morning fix prior to catching the train to Orchard. Service is prompt being that most of the items are prepared in advance such as eggs and tea/coffee. 

Kaya toast was crisp and slathered with margarine and kaya. Wouldn’t mind having a bit more kaya on the toast as I like my toasts with thick spreads. No qualms about the beverages tho!