Thursday, February 24, 2011

Food That I Made

This may come as a shock, considering that I am not a naturally gifted domestic goddess - check out my epic fail at making chocolate chip cookies. But I have been practising so here's some food that I made :-

Strawberries & Cream Sponge Cake

I even have a YouTube video of it! Please don't laugh! Oh wait, please do...I look like such a dork!

Salt & Pepper Wicked Wings

Baked Eggs with Sardines in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Banana Bread

Sausages & Roast Potatoes with Salad

I'm HUNGRY now, are you?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

3 Kingdoms, Box Hill

My temp dental assistant from Laos recommended 3 Kingdoms so on that very same night, we went there to eat. The place was relatively busy for a Friday night but we got seated quickly. The people sitting in the table next to us were eating something which smelt and looked delicious. I had high hopes for 3 Kingdoms. Their menu had Chinese, Korean and Japanese food.

For starters, we ordered fried dumplings, kimchi pancake and spring onion pancake to share.

Usually korean pancakes are presented in the formation of a round pancake with slices, like a pizza. But this was just plonked onto a rectangular plate. Sadly, the starters weren't that impressive. Adding to my annoyance was the fact that the starters came out at uncoordinated times, i.e. we'd finish one starter and then sit and wait until the next starter came out.

And then came our mains. Hubby ordered beef bulgogi which was yummy. The meat was well marinaded and was very tasty indeed.

The couple - Minda and Steve - both ordered bibimbap which is stone pot rice with beef and vegetables topped with a fried egg. They seemed to enjoy it.

As for me, I ordered teriyaki fried fish. And boy, it was a long wait before I got my dinner! By the time it had arrived, Steve and Noah had finished their dinner!!!

Was it worth the wait? NO!!! The fish was salty and the sauce was overly sweet = bad combination of flavours. Sigh. I didn't finish my dinner even though I was hungry from the long wait.

Would I go back to 3 Kingdoms? NO! Service was poor. Long and uncoordinated waiting times.

3 Kingdoms on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine

Being total cheap-asses, you may be wondering how we ended up having lunch in Shoya, one of the high-end Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. Well, we were there to celebrate my lovely friend, Minda's birthday. Shoya is situated in one of the lanes in Melbourne's Chinatown and it look deceivingly small from the outside because this Japanese restaurant has 6 levels!

Anyway, Shoya does a number of lunch sets which start from a reasonable $24.80 to $65.

I chose the UME set at $28 which consisted of :-

Savoury egg custard - silky smooth steamed egg topped with an edemame bean which had shitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots in the bottom layer - this was simply gorgeous!

Sashimi - Presentation was excellent. The raw fish was placed on top of half a frozen orange - we wondered whether they would reuse it? Does anyone know?? Anyway, the fish was fresh and tasty with wasabi and soy sauce paste.

Tempura - Two prawns and the rest were vegetables. The tempura batter was light and crispy. Loved it.

Grilled eel - The unagi was simply delicious - very moist and tasty bathed in its sauce. The annoying thing was that I only ate a quarter of this because my Husband ate the rest while I was chatting away to the girls. Grrr!

Teriyaki wagyu beef - OMG! The beef was cooked to perfection. The meat was extremely tender and moist with nice bits of fat through it. I took a bite off the chilli and it nearly killed me - I was surprised that it was so hot!

Mixed steam rice - this was bland in comparison to the rest of the dishes

Green tea ice-cream - Yummy goodness.

Although the food was exceptionally good, I did have a few dislikes about Shoya.

1. For a high end Japanese restaurant, you would think they would serve complimentary green tea - but no, they don't.

2. There wasn't enough time for me to enjoy each of the courses because the food came rushing out. I was even more annoyed that the waiter served the ice-cream BEFORE I had even finished eating the mixed steam rice!

3. We were the only table left on that floor and it felt like that they were trying to rush us out. If I'm not mistaken, they brought the bill immediately after the ice-cream; without us asking for it.

In conclusion : Shoya serves high quality Japanese food but needs to slow down and let slow eaters like me enjoy and savour the food.

Would I go back? Yes, but only if it was for a special occasion.

Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grain Asian Cafe, Box Hill

Melbourne City's Chinatown seems puny in comparison to the suburb of Box Hill. Seriously, there are Asian eateries all over the place here. We fancied a change from our usual haunt, Wong's Lucky Bar (which I have yet to write a review about)and decided to try Grain Asian Cafe which is located in Box Hill Shopping Centre.

However, the guys weren't hungry so I ended up ordering food for myself and they got drinks. Yeah, how weird is that? The only female eats while the guys just have a drink!!??

Anyway, I'm from Scotland so I LOVE anything deep fried. Can you guess what I chose to eat?

Pat yourself on the back if you answered correctly. I ordered the chicken rib with spiced salt on rice. The funny thing about this cafe is that once the waitress takes your order, you have to pay. A bit weird...but maybe they have had bad experiences with customers who left without paying??

I was pleasantly surprised at the large portion. The chicken ribs had been coated in a light batter and then deep fried perfectly. I enjoyed munching the crispy chicken skin. BUT I could feel the MSG burning my throat after I chowed down 2 ribs. I was also rather disappointed with the lack of spice - the topping of minced garlic, spring onions and specks of chilli were inadequate to satisfy me - it needed more fire. Also, because the ribs were dry, I found it really hard to swallow the dry rice. The dish needed something to help with the dryness, e.g. some cucumber or soy sauce would really help.

In the end, I only ate half and packed the rest into a plastic container to take home. It actually tasted even better when I reheated it for lunch the next day because I added soy sauce and chilli sauce.

Would I return to Grain Asian Cafe? Yes. I saw lots of people order dumplings with soup noodles - so that's something I want to try next time.

Grain-Asian Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monga Dessert Lounge, Box Hill

I'm a dentist by profession so I LOVE it when people like desserts because it keeps us in demand - haha. Anyway, I have been to Monga Dessert Lounge a few times and like the boring old fart that I am, I have ordered the same dessert every time - red bean sweet soup with lily bulbs and lotus seeds.

I LOVE this Chinese dessert sweet soup because it comes in a relatively large bowl when it is piping hot - I'm a hot or cold person; I hate lukewarm. The sweet soup has the perfect amount of sweetness for me - many places make this sweeter and often, I dilute it with more hot water. The red beans, lily bulbs and lotus seeds are cooked to perfection too - soft but still got that tiny bit of bite to it. And that is why I have ordered it E-V-E-R-Y time I go there. Some may say that it is expensive for a bowl of sweet soup at $5 - yes it is, but then again, I don't mind paying for something that I enjoy eating.

I have tried their other desserts by sampling the Husband and friends' orders and alas, nothing compares to the red bean sweet soup.

Red bean pancake - I would describe this as red beans wrapped in glutinous rice paste and deep fried. I thought that it was oily but it did have a nice chewy consistency and not too sweet.

Mango sweet soup with popping boba, pomelo, sago and grass jelly - last time I checked, this cost $8.50. It sounded interesting as I have never tried popping boba - it's basically small balls filled with sweet liquid which burst when you bite into it. However, this dessert was lacking for me - the mango was sour, the pomelo was non-existent and the soup base was just far too sweet.

Mango sweet soup with pomelo and sago - this is another mango-based dessert from Monga Dessert Lounge which did not impress me.

Watermelon with herbal jelly drink - refreshing on a hot day

Monga Dessert Lounge is quite a popular hang-out during the weekends. The decor is pretty cool and is supposed to remind you of Hong Kong. I'm being safe by ordering the same red bean dessert every time because everything else I have tried so far is pretty dire to be honest. Would I recommend it to friends? Yes - like I said before, these dessert places keep my job in demand!

(Disclaimer : I am a HUGE fan of mango-based desserts of Hong Kong dessert places like Hui Lau Shan and Honeymoon Dessert so my palate has been accustomed to superior mango-based desserts so nothing else can compare)

Monga Dessert Lounge on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Baths Middle Brighton

We are currently enjoying massive doses of sunshine in Melbourne. Last Saturday, Noah, Ken and I headed off to Brighton to check out the beach there. As you can see in the photo, there are some cool and colourful beach huts. And behind me were a couple taking their wedding photos there - awesome! Wish I had known about that...

Anyway, we headed off to one of the cafes in Brighton - The Baths Middle Brighton. It was around 11.30am when we got there and that's why the beach was relatively quiet because lots of people were eating in here! We managed to get a table facing the sea and although it was a sunny day, it was still a bit chilly with the sea breeze. (I know, I know! I'm from Scotland and I should be used to the cold but I'm not!)

We ordered our drinks - I ordered a pot of Earl Grey, Noah ordered a Virgin Mary and Ken ordered a latte. Finally, after 20 minutes, we got our drinks. Not off to a good start!! I tasted Noah's Virgin Mary and it tasted like cold tomato soup - yuk! My Earl Grey tea was strong - and I actually wanted to add milk to it, but none was supplied.

We didn't order food till after midday because we wanted to order off the Lunch menu. Ken and I ordered Beer battered fish and chips with tartare Sauce ($18) and Noah ordered The Baths Ice-burger with wagyu beef, Swiss cheese and fries ($17). When the waiter took my order, I specifically requested "No salt" - because for some reason, Aussie fish and chips automatically come served with gallons of salt.

Again, we had to wait for over 20 minutes before our lunch got served. I was very disappointed with this slow service...but I was EVEN MORE disappointed when the waiter came out and said, "Fish and chips with no salt on the fish." HELLO? I said "No salt" on both fish and chips!! But I was too hungry to complain. The fish was fresh and the batter was light. BUT dammit, my throat was burning with the amount of salt I consumed from those bloody salty chips.

As for Noah's burger, he wasn't that impressed either. He said "It was alright.." which translates to nothing impressive.

My Opinions On The Baths Middle Brighton

Although it is a popular place because of the location and views of the beach, I did not enjoy my lunch there. Service was slower than me doing a dump when I am constipated. It's true! And the worst thing is - adding unnecessary salt to my chips! Maybe it's a ploy to make people order more drinks? Anyway, I refuse to return to this establishment because it peed me off so much - cannot follow simple orders and slow service.

The Baths Middle Brighton on Urbanspoon
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