Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pancake Dessert House, Melbourne CBD

Came here after our Chilli Padi dinner. N was too full for dessert, so I ate for two.

Drinks were ok lah. The coconut with sago was fine but a little too much sago and not sweet enough for me.

This was yummy! I think it would've been better minus the chocolate topping. Mango topping, or condensed milk would have been more complementary.

Pancake Dessert House Eatery on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 25, 2011

Orient Express, Southbank

I was really really excited to try out this place. It sounded so awesome and exciting. Hot and cold food on their huge sushi train that went around the whole restaurant! It should have been sushi train heaven. But I just didn't like it that much.

First, the food. It is overpriced for the amount and the quality. The food was edible, but it wasn't great. The fried stuff was too oily and the honey chicken tasted like it had been circling for a while. The sushis were alright, but pretty ordinary. I did like the one with the soft shell crab. But paying $5.80 for two pieces of sushi is a bit too much. Even inside Crown. And a lychee ice tea that would have come out of a 2lt bottle was $4.50. I could buy that same 2lt bottle for about $3 in any Asian grocery shop.

It's a vicious cycle really, lack of customers means lower quality food and hiked up prices. Which in turn drives away more customers. Which in turn exacerbates the situation.

Secondly, let's talk the ambiance and the decor. I don't usually feel the need to comment on such things. But I think the Orient Express has got it all wrong. Sushi train is supposed to be fun. I expect bright lighting, bursts of color on the wall or bright furniture. The place felt too stuffy and the sushi train was too tall to see over the top. So it was almost like eating against a wall. A tad weird.

Service was fine and the staff try very hard. But there's not much they can do given its inherent weaknesses. I think management needs to give the place a serious makeover and develop a new business strategy. With the way it's going right now, the place is going to shut down in no time.

Orient Express on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wonton House Secret Kitchen, Glen Waverley

L and I came here for an impromptu dinner last weekend and we felt like some good old comfort food. I suggested Wonton House because L hadn't been there and I wanted to have another look at their menu.

Our pig trotter looked, tasted and was just amazing. for once I also enjoyed the texture of the outer skin, because it wasn't fatty at all and quite easy to eat. Definitely a bonus since the skin's apparently full of collagen and very good for girls.

We dug in and peeled back the skin to reveal tender pork stewed to soft perfection.

As for greens, I decided to try the spinach with century egg and salted duck egg. A very interesting combination which I liked and will try to copy at home. But perhaps with less liquid, or with some cornflour at the end to thicken the broth.

Wonton House Secret Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Dessert and Drinks at Airstream Cafe, Glen Waverley

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snags and Mac & Cheese

So one day, we were really lazy and couldn't even be bothered going out to buy food, so I made this for us to eat. We grilled the sausages on the sandwich grill in N's room and the mac and cheese came out of a packet. The pretty Casa Domani plateware saved this meal by making it look appetizing.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bistro Thierry, Toorak

Arriving at 12, and with everyone else running a tad late, I had a bit of time to trawl my way through the Gant sale two doors down. There was also a cute little book shop next door that stocked titles such as 'How to dress like the perfect wife' and 'Hosting a tea party'.

To celebrate her 21st, L booked us in for lunch at Bistro Thierry. I had often perused their menu in anticipation of a future visit and hence very much looked forward to the occasion. The 4 of us were seated at a table near the back of the restaurant and close to the kitchen.

Menus were promptly placed in front of us and whilst the al carte options were very tantalizing, we all decided to choose from the lunch menu.

After our orders were taken, warm pieces of baguette were placed on the table. We wanted to start buttering them before their warmth dissipated, but there was no butter knife nor a bread plate. Odd, we thought. So we waited. They never arrived. We made do with what we had at our disposal. A and J used their entrée knives and L and I made do with the ones meant for our mains.

Next, I had the onion soup which was definitely one of the best ones I have had in Melbourne. N would have loved it! The cheese crust was perfectly crusty and cheesy and floated atop a piece of submerged baguette. The onion soup itself was strong in flavor and the onions were perfectly soft.

L also ordered the onion soup but hers spilled over the rim of the bowl when it was placed in front of her. I'm sure it was very much a rookie mistake, but it was a bit too much to endure after the lack of bread-eating apparatus.

A had the Salad Nicoise and J took one for the team and ordered the lamb brains so that we could all bask in its eccentricity. J enjoyed it, but personally, one bite was enough for me.

A asked for her mains to arrive first because she had to leave early for work and the kitchen happily obliged. Her minced steak was juicy, the fries were crisp and the salad was fresh.

Then the rest of our mains arrived. Both J and L are meat lovers and they ordered the minute steak.

I thought I would try the fish and was very pleased with my choice. The fish was very soft and I liked the contrast between the crisp golden finish and the juicy middle. The spinach was also nicely done and complemented the fish very well. Every element on the plate fitted perfectly together and it also looked great. The meat lovers commented that the portion was a bit small, but it was fine for me and gave me a good excuse to look forward to dessert.

Having finished our mains, our plates were cleared away. We did get asked whether everything was alright and responded accordingly. But we didn't get asked whether we would like some coffee or dessert and was left glancing around wondering when we would be offered the menu again.

TBC - Desserts

Bistro Thierry on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Post Office Hotel, Richmond

I am usually a bit apprehensive about Richmond. The area's a bit too indie for my liking and on sometimes, it's just weird. Nevertheless, T was heading to China for a year and I could not say no to goodbye drinks at the PO. They were famous for pizza and the thin based variety was exactly what I liked.

We also had some of their small share platters and they were both great. We had zucchini patties and lamb koftas.

However, be wary of bringing a big group here. The side room that was allocated to our group of 20+ place was rather small. Whilst cosy, the intimate setting meant we had to sustain great difficulties in trying to get the food from the plates to our mouths. One pizza pretty much covered a whole table and there were only two tables in the room.

So a special mention must also go out to L for her awesome plate holding skills - the best!

Post Office Hotel on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blue Train, Southbank

First year of uni, I always came to Blue Train. It used to the go-to place before a big night out because the prices were alright and the portions were generous. Then for some reason, the visits just stopped. Coming back here certainly brought back fond memories.

Our impromptu visit on a Friday night nearly did not happen because we had a large group and the place was packed out. But after some negotiating, we found ourselves squished onto a table on the balcony.

Trying to get service was a bit of a chore, but once our orders were placed, everything went pretty smoothly from thereon.

Drinks and food arrived and so did three more guests. To their credit, the wait staff weren't too flustered and organised for additional chairs to be brought. The meal went on without much of a hitch after that and it was a generally satisfactory experience. Not anything to rave about, but it's a convenient place to have an easy no-fuss meal.

Blue Train Café on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roasted Lamb Loins

I was really inspired by the lamb loins that we had at Squire's Loft and decided to make my own. The onions were sauteed first, then put to the side. The lamb loins had been marinated in a oyster sauce and honey marinade and were cooked for 3 minutes per side. The onions were then finished off in the jus left behind in the pan. The potatos were tossed in Peri Peri seasoning before a slow roast in the oven for about 30mins.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Night Market at the Queen Victoria Market

Gleeful and giddy and with N in tow, I could hardly contain my excitement now that we were finally here. We'd arrived nice and early before the influx of the work crowd and there was hardly anyone around. It meant there were plenty of seats and no queues. Perfect

We began by doing a lap around the market to sniff out the best stalls and to plan out a menu for the night.

After doing the rounds, we were quite thirsty and we got a lemonade to quench our thirst. At $5 per cup, it wasn't too bad at all.

By now our tummies were beginning to rumble and we started with a paella and a cup of pork crackle. The paella was very oridnary and I could've probably done a better job at home. Not really worth the $10 and the serving was rather small (even for me).

On the other hand, the pork crackle was amazing! Some of the pieces even had strands of meat attached to it and they were simply divine! I did not like sharing this at all.

We did a bit more of walking around and bought a few random things like soap, fudge, cookies and these cute cupcakes.

We meant to get more cupcakes from the other stall to compare them, but the other place ran out by the time we got around to them =(

By now, we were getting thirsty/hungry again and I got a hibiscus juice from the African stall whilst N was sent to line up for the Gumbo rice and the fish taco. I liked both, but preferred the fish taco. The Gumbo would've been better with a bit more salt and less hot sauce, but such things are merely a matter of personal preference.

Finally, I still had not had enough and ordered a serve of dumplings with chocolate sauce for the car ride home. These turned out to be my favorite pick of the night. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I want to try them with honey and vanilla ice cream.