Saturday, May 29, 2010

Malaysia Garden, Clayton

There used to be a time when I didn't know the difference between Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, and Thai cuisine. The Dark Ages as I now think of it.

But over the past 3 years, having undertaken/been coerced into undertaking frequent lunch and dinner runs along Clayton Rd and Kingsway in Glen Waverley, I can now proclaim that I have been thoroughly re-educated.

I count Malaysia Garden as one of the first places where I had my lessons.

The food here is simple, rustic and very very tasty! I love the fact that all the flavours are so wholesome and rich and strong. Their menu provides quite a large range of dishes and there's a choice to eat on the cheap with a Laksa or Kway Teow, or to order the more complicated dishes such as the Oyster Omelette, Fish Curry or Beef Rendang. And to seal the deal, their dessert menu is full of irresistible listings such as Ice Kachang, Cendol and Bubu ChaCha.

Here's a snapshot of some of the dishes on offer:

Kakong (seasonal) with Sambal Chilli and Hot and Sour Soup


Nasi Lemak with Beef Curry

Cendol - mnnnn burnt sugar syrup...

Malaysia Garden on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

La Notte, Lygon St

I'm in a few university clubs and group outings are quite common. Lygon Street is a popular choice for us because of its central location and its great food. Being uni students, we are often a loud and boisterous bunch, so it's always interesting to see which restaurants are willing to take us in. And once they do, it's not always guaranteed that we will make it to the entrée. I count it as a good night if we all make it through the meal without being asked to leave the premises.

On this particular occasion, we had the foresight to make a reservation and La Notte turned out to be a great choice. La Notte cleverly seated us outside and the noise we made were drowned out by the revving of the HSV engines and thus it didn't affect the other patrons that much. Our waiter was also fantastic and he had the patience and humour to entertain our large group.

The food was simple and real. My carbonara fettuccine was so creamy and full of bacon. And the fettuccine was al dente just how I like it, not too soft and just chewy. The pesto sauce on the brushcetta was also a nice deviation from the standard tomato taste. Definitely worth going back to.

La Notte on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Outback Jack, Knox City

Good portions! Nice new spanking place. Hot wait staff (both guys and gals) to ogle at. Very entrepreneurial of them to make the paintings on the wall for sale, but seriously I wouldn't want to spend that much cash for a piece of paper with some brush strokes on it.

As for the food, we had the following:

Smoky and charred and crispy meat that is juicy and tender in the middle.

Nachos done to perfection, cheese was melted all the way through. Lots of salsa and sour cream and guacamole.

Soup in a bread bowl! Nice and thick just the way I like it!

Outback Jacks on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Indian Night

Found more of these photos on my desktop. Such good memories of a more relaxed time when we would organise nights of cooking and movie marathons. Should definitely do one of these again after exams!

Stirring the curry paste, before putting the mixture in a steamcooker and running away in fear of the whole thing exploding.

My awesome salad with roasted pumpkin, feta, spinach leaves and pinenuts.


Homemade Fried Rice

Fried rice is often not given enough credit as a serious dish. But it actually takes a lot of practice to perfect the right texture in both the egg and the rice.

The greasier version cooked in a wok.

The healthier version cooked over low heat in a pan without oil.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jones the Grocer, Chadstone

I love shopping. N loves eating. So the natural compromise when I want a shopping spree is to incorporate a food interlude into my planned shopping trips. That is why we are always eating out at Chadstone.
Jones the Grocer is one of those new-age concept stores which combines the idea of a cafe and a deli into one. It means that a lot of the stuff on their dining menu can also be bought in the shop section and taken home.

We tried the breakfast b/c it boasted of a black pudding. I was excited to try it out and was severely disappointed at the dry and hard to chew texture of the offending piece. However N informs me that it is just as horrible as it should be. Despite this, the rest of the breakfast was just fine.

The antipasto platter was also quite delicious. N adored the prosciutto and I ate all the olives with my field mushroom soup.

ChongQing Hotpot, Glen Waverley

As a general principle, I love the idea of buffets. I also love hot pot. So when this hotpot buffet sprang up so close to my house, to say I was excited would be an understatement.
At $26pp, it's pretty cheap. It's al carte menu is also pretty awesome, for those interested in real Chinese food. By that I mean, real authentic mainland style dishes. There is also a yummy selection of Chinese drinks like coconut milk, winter melon juice, soya bean milk and herbal tea to cool you down.
The restaurant itself is a great huge space and there are TV screens showing TV shows on satellite channels. Being able to speak Mandarin here will make it easier to communicate with the staff, but English will get you by.

We got two round tables when we came for a birthday party and so much food!!!

Also came here on one of our study breaks to stockpile some nutritious and delicious food into our tummies.

Last but not least, the most important part of a good hotpot: the soup base.

PS: do buy a Korean ice cream from the grocery shop in the same arcade after the meal and pick up some sweet breads from Bread Kingdom too!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salsa's, Knox City

Being a huge fan of the Salsa's at Chadstone foodcourt, I was so excited to find a whole store at Knox. Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves silly that day!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Claypot King, Glen Waverley

Claypot King actually specialises in more than just claypot rice. Its other specialty is its selection of various herbal soups. I first went to the one in the CBD with my aunty because she was a huge fan of their herbal soup selection. She firmly believes in their healing properties on her skin and general well being. The soups uses many kinds of traditional Chinese herbs and plants, and different combinations profess to cure different ailments.

The claypots here are hot, sizzling and very filing. Claypot rices are good if you like your rice with a slightly burnt aroma and crispy texture. Otherwise they have hokkien noodles and kuay teow served on hotplates which are also very nice!

Fried chicken wings for entree. The outer coating was so unique!

Perfect! Chicken feet for moi and brisket for N.

PS: there is also a good selection of drinks and ice blends as well as desserts to accompany the savoury dishes

Sunday, May 9, 2010

TGI Friday's, Chapel St

One of our favourite places to go for a good decent feed. It never disappoints.

T.G.I Friday's on Urbanspoon

Conservatory, Crown Casino, Southbank

As far as I remember, Conservatory was one of the first buffet restaurants which tried to market itself as a fine dining eatery. It's distinguishable because of the high quality of its food and service and its corresponding PPP.

Being a sucker for sweet goodness, I love the chocolate fondue, the pretty tarts and cake slices and the tubs of ice cream on offer.

One of my plated creations.

Chilli Padi, Melbourne Central

I decided to give this a try after reading and hearing about it from a quite a few sources. Overall I wasn't disappointed.

The first time we went was at lunchtime. In the foreground is the duck curry which I had and the nasi lemak that N ordered is in the right corner to the back.

The main attraction of this place is probably the fact that it's open until very late (~2am) which means that its Asian customers who are used to having supper late at night can find something here to satisfy their cravings.

The hawker style menu at night is also a bit more fun. But then again, I suppose anything will taste pretty good at 1 am in the morning.

PS:look out for the live music on some nights

Chilli Padi on Urbanspoon

Morrocan Night

Last year, we had a Morrocan themed cooking night at a friend's house. A bunch of us arrived at his house at about 5 in the afternoon. We planned a menu and went shopping and started cooking by 6. By 9 o'clock the food was finally ready!

Yes it took us amateurs 3 whole hours, but it was well worth the long hours.

Cupcakes and Chocolates

Zagame's, Caulfield

This place has been our perfect pre-exam and post-exam eatery to either stuff our faces with comfort food and/or study for our impending hours of doom. The food is very hearty and the portions are reasonable.

My Caesar Salad with Sautéed Garlic Prawns. Very tasty and fresh.

Veal with Spinach and Roast Capsicum Risotto. Nice and tender meat and soft risotto.

Zagame's Caulfield on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Homemade Pastabake

Basically this is an easy way to get rid off left over's from the fridge. In this case, we had left over pasta and sauce and some bacon and an egg and some frozen vegies. But it can be anything really, and sometimes I might use rice, chicken and stir fried roasted veggies to make a risotto bake.

The one consistent rule is: chuck everything in a disposable foil baking dish and spread some pieces of sliced cheese over the top. Then put in an oven and turn up the heat for app. 25 min. Voila, oily, greasy creamy goodness

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wagamama, Chadstone

Trendy, fresh, different. The menu and the ordering system is unique and every dish looks pretty. But the service can be slow sometimes, and especially on weekends. The flavours are quite delicate and I had fun with the different seasoning shakers.

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Homemade Roti

Haha alright, ok I admit that's a lie. But I did add my own touch to it, so it is somewhat of a creation rather than a standard packet recipe. Basically it's just store bought roti heated gently in a pan, over an egg on one side and rubbed with curry paste and butter on the other side.

Gold Leaf, Springvale

This place is the original king of yumcha. Cheap prices, good variety, and fresh products. Yes, service is a bit bland if you don't speak their language, but meh who cares when the suckling pig is a 20/10!

It's a great place to go for a pure feed with friends who love food as much as each other. It's probably not the place to go if there are overseas guests involved or business deals on the table. For that, the Gold Leaf on Burwood Hwy may be more appropriate.

Sorry again, we started eating everything before I remembered to take this photo.

Joe's, Monash Uni, Clayton

Joe's is another place that we would usually go to in order to escape the stampede that usually occurs in and around the uni between the hours of 12-2.
It's tucked away near the smelly side entrance of the campus centre and it has a more popular pizza outlet specialising in cheap pizza for feeding the masses. But the restaurant itself is actually rather big and the food here is decent. The price is similar to places like Zagame, La Porchetta and other casual diners. This means that it is quite indecent in uni student terms. A meal here with a shared entrée and shared dessert and coffee will be around $50-65. But I suppose somebody's gotta pay the rent, although I do suspect that the university itself actually owns the place. Besides, it's not too much to pay to escape the impending death by stampede during the hours of 12-2, and the staff are all very friendly here and plus they have one set of power points at table number 18 which I request so I can plug in my laptop.

KimChi Grandma,Carnegie

When I first arrived in Australia at the age of 7, I lived in Carnegie. It was the place where I got my first library card, my first haircut and my first taste of Korean food. Almost 15 years later, I still come back to Koornang road to borrow my murder mysteries from the same library and get my hair done at the same Korean hairdresser and of course, eat my kimchi's at the same KimChi Grandma's.

Yes, it's true that a number of other Korean restaurants have opened in Carnegie since, but every time I'm in the area, I will come back to KimChi Grandma's for Korean food. The place brings back many childhood memories and the quality has always been consistent.

This place also has personality. The waiters and waitresses are always Korean and I love seeing how they are dressed every time. They are always visited by friends and it feels like you are on a Korean drama set. Then there are the cooks who would often come out into the dining area and have a few beers or two at the end of the lunch hour rush and it's fun to hear them joking and bantering in their native tongue.

I always see this one being ordered and thought I would give it a try. Very chewy and flavourful. Nevertheless, quite yummy even tho I am more used to the Chinese stir fried rice cakes which tend to come with more meat and vegies...
Slurp, slurp, my must order! It's just so full of goodness and very healthy and nutritious too.