Friday, July 24, 2015

Hawk & Hunter - Zomato Meetup

Recently I had the privilege of being invited to a Zomato meetup hosted by Hawk & Hunter. Located in Ripponlea it's one of those places which makes a great local cafe with plenty of buzz, atmosphere and caffeine.

The owner Amanda picked out a great brunch menu for us and along with Bistro Morgan's treats on the table, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into all of them.

First thing that came around was the signature falafels with cauliflower and red peppers. These little balls had a fiery kick to it while being crisp on the outside.

Next was the mini wagyu beef burgers. I am a big lover of burgers so when I saw this I was already salivating. It was a basic burger with the beef patty, lettuce, caramelized onion, homemade tomato relish in a seeded bun. It wasn't fancy but it got all the key elements right. The patty was juicy and well seasoned, the onion and the tomato relish provided the sweet and zest.


The dukkha crusted chicken tenderloin with kale and pea salad. Chicken was cooked just right with a middle eastern themed taste.

In between I had to try their juice. A combination of watermelon, apple, passionfruit and orange. Very fresh with just enough tang from the passionfruit

Final savory was the smoked salmon canapes. Smoke salmon with creme fraiche on a corn and zucchini fritter. I really enjoyed the fritters, it wasn't too oily and had the right ratio of corn to zucchini.

Before we started with Bistro Morgan's goodies, there was also the pineapple, passionfruit tarts. Small bite size tartlets with a good amount of passionfruit and pineapple filling.

Then there were the baked goodies by Morgan. We cut them up so we could try more. The first one I went for was the chocolate mint doughnut. Fresh mint chips with a chocolate syringe for the chocolate. Fluffy doughnuts that didn't leave the oily taste. Really wanted a second one.

Raspberry white chocolate. This came topped with white chocolate and a jam filled syringe. Again the fluffiness was the winner.

Salted caramel popcorn and creme brulee wasn't a syringe doughnut it was still lip-smacking good. 

Then there was the cookie. Crumbly cookie sandwich. I went with the raspberry cheesecake filling. It wasn't too  sweet and the filling was just right, it wasn't too sweet and hard. It made the perfect afternoon snack.

Morgan was nice enough and gave everyone a lemon meringue tart to take home. I ate mine 2 days after and the pastry base was still soft and crumbly. Meringue was whipped with lots of elevation.




Kombucha and Almond Milk also gave us goodies to take home so a big shout out to them. I've had almond milk before so I was very happy to take some home. I'm becoming more and more lactose intolerant as the days go by so I have been experimenting with different soy and almond milks. I found that I actually prefer my coffees with almond these days. I love the nutty flavour, it makes the coffee flavor more enhanced in my opinion.

Never had Kobucha before, I went with the Matcha zen. I love my green tea, when I'm not drinking coffee, I will have a mug of green tea on my all day (my dentist Dr Cocks loves me for this... opps). The matcha kobucha I got was a green tea elixir. It didn't taste like your typical green tea, because it was fermented with probiotics, it had that zest. It reminded me of preserved sour plum. Very refreshing, a good afternoon pick me up.

Overall I have a wonderful time. I really enjoyed the food at Hawk & Hunter. Blown away by the talent of Bistro Morgan and discovered a new drink that is good for me. Thank you for inviting me Zomato!



Click to add a blog post for Hawk & Hunter on Zomato

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Subscribe Option

To the regular readers of my blog... and anyone new, here for the first time (Welcome).

There is now a subscribe option on the right hand menu, so you can be notified next time I write about another food adventure. If you are here just for the photos, that's cool too.

Or if you are really bored and killing time..... well it gives you something to look at, next time you feel bored.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tokyo Tina

If you read my blog often enough, you will know I do enjoy eating out A LOT. Tokyo Tina was one of the latest places I became obsessed with over Instagram (yes I am very active on it and maybe even slightly addicted). So it gave me the perfect excuse when D asked to eat somewhere new.

Located on Chapel St, Tokyo Tina is the poster child for that hipster restaurant with fusion food, cool decor and filled with people. Oh and yes! There is a "no booking system" unless you come with a full posse. D and I learnt the trick over the years is to show up after 8pm with only 2 people, chances are there will be a seat at the bar (we don't mind) or it's just a short wait. AND yes it did work for us this time as well.

Once seated we had a lovely waitress attend to us straight away to explain how the menu worked and to take our drink order. Melbourne weather (being freezing cold right now), turned me off getting my usual cocktail. We were quite unadventurous and just got water (yes, I know how boring... and wow I am on fire with my attitude today). 

On to the important part, to start we got 2 ceviche. First one was the Kingfish with wasabi and apple in a charcoal cone. The kingfish's freshness was enhanced with the apple. Only complain for me, it was too small, I wanted more!


The other ceviche was the Tasmanian salmon tartare. This was fresh diced salmon with cucumber and nashi served with a crispy skin cracker. Great combination of fresh, crunch and sweetness. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

For the salad we got the poached chicken with wombok, edamame and mizuna. This was my favorite dish of the night. The chicken was succulent and refined. Wombok was a good change from the typical salad leaf options. The edamame and mizuna took it to that next level. You need to try it to understand what I'm talking about.

As a side we decided on the spiced edamame. This felt like a bad choice but a good choice. Bad choice because we were very full and it came with the main, good choice because it was freaking tasty and we wanted to clear the the plate but we were full to the brim.

For main, D and I got a ramen each. I went with the Ash ramen which had a tonkotsu base, pork belly, soft boiled egg, seaweed and black tahini (basically grounded black sesame paste). This didn't quite hit the spot for me. I am more accustomed to my ramen broth being rich and thick. This didn't hit the spot and I wasn't liking the ash taste either. The actual noodle was the right softness and the pork belly was good but sadly the broth was a let down.

D got the classic, he has a tendency to judge a ramen with the classic. This was just like the ash ramen with the exception of the black tahini. It had the same issue though, the broth was just not rich and thick enough. Everything else was good but the key joining element, the broth, just didn't hit that spot.

We were going to say no to dessert but we got talking to Kha (2015 Masterchef contestant currently working at Tokyo Tina) and he said we had to try the Tokyo banana, so we took his word for it. It was a very small dessert (lucky it was small, we were very full at this point) consisting of banana mousse and salted caramel parfait in a banana shaped macaron. This was a great finish to the meal, it was just the amount of sweetness I needed and the salted caramel played that nice twist in the flavors.

Overall 16.5/20 Even though the ramen didn't quite hit the spot everything else went great. It left me wanting to go back to try more (and I will). The service was attentive and the creativity on the menu provides a good twist but still with enough familiarity and an array of choice.



Click to add a blog post for Tokyo Tina on Zomato

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New Entertainment Section - Strictly Ballroom

So this is the first post to the new section of my blog. This is the entertainment section. I will be sharing with you the things you can do on the weekends or upcoming events.

I was lucky enough to go Strictly Ballroom as a guest of Nuffnang recently.

If you haven't seen Baz Luhrmann's iconic movie, don't worry, you don't need to. The musical does it more than enough justice and I dare even say, it's better than the movie.


The show captivates you from the very beginning. The costumes are colourful, and very close to the actual movie. Love is actually in the air for the whole show.





Thomas Lacey and Phoebe Panaretos have magical feet and their dancing steps were spectacular. It's a must see and their vocals breath life into the classics like Time after Time.


Don't worry, since it's in Melbourne you can turn it into a spectacular night of food and entertainment. D and I grabbed a quick bite at Gazi beforehand. We told the host that we had a musical plan and they were very understanding and got our food to us really quickly. We even managed to sneak in dessert too. I must say I do love this city and you need to check out Strictly Ballroom!

Monday, July 13, 2015

No.8 by John Lawson

D and I rarely get a chance to date night these days but when he knew that I really wanted to see the Avengers, he made sure he booked seats in advance so we could have a fancy date night. Due to the cold Melbourne weather, Crown seemed like a sensible place to see the movie, nice cinema and plenty of places to eat.

No.8 has been revamped for quite a while now and I haven't had the chance to try it since John Lawson's name was added to their name. This felt like the perfect opportunity to try them.

I am really lucky that D is never stingy when it comes to food, and enjoys a good meal, glass of wine and beautiful atmosphere with me. However, given we were on a tight time frame we decided 2 course was the way to go and if we had time at the end, we would consider dessert.

For starters I got the Jieama ravioli salad. Jiemam a root vegetable similar to a yam, it was served with snap peas, chilli, avocado and pistachio. I loved the chilli bringing in a bit of fire to an otherwise fresh and light dish.



D went with the octopus terrine. We both love terrines but never tried octopus terrine before. It was an interesting dish, I love the bite from the octopus and the fried pork acted as that bite of crispiness you want and the zest came from the tomato tartare.


For mains I went with the duck breast. This came with pears, Brussels sprouts and foie gras sauce. The duck was nice and tender but I think I prefer it with a berry or a citrus sauce rather than pears and Brussels sprouts.


D got the lamb. It was served with snap peas, mint and yoghurt. This was the highlight of the night. The lamb was tender and the snap peas were a good sweet burst of freshness to match the rich lamb taste and creamy, tangy yoghurt.

Bubble and squeak on the side.


We finished our meal quite quickly as we wanted to fit in dessert but this was when it all fell apart. We asked for the dessert menu and we had to ask more than once and waited over 20 minutes for it to come. By the time it came, we pretty much ran out of time. This is very disappointing for a fine dining resturant such as No.8. It kind of ruined the vibe for us. Even when asking for the bill, we had to ask multiple times. The service was a let down, it's not my first time at No.8 but it was my first time with such poor service.

Overall 16.5/20 I enjoyed the food but nothing 'wowed' me, it doesn't mean it wasn't great, but it's more a place for reliable Modern Australian. Hopefully the service will be better next time.


Click to add a blog post for No. 8 by John Lawson on Zomato

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hung Vuong Saigon

Prior to Bear going back to Sydney, we did manage to squeeze in a pho date in the West. Pho is one of my favourite things to eat in the Melbourne winter. It's warm soup noodle and best of all, it's generally good, fast and cheap.

During a project with A, he introduced to me Hung Vuong calling it the best pho in Melbourne, he took me and he was right. I then told Bear, Miss P and Mario about it and they were all keen to try it so off we went to the west.

Miss P got the BBH which had a nice rich broth and a soup loaded with topping.


Bear got the pork chop rice. It came with lemongrass scented pork chops, shredded meat load, cucumber, carrots served on a bed of broken rice and fish sauce on the side. The pork chop was well marinated and cooked till it was soft enough to be cut through with a spoon. Quite a satisfying meal.

Mario got the beef special. This is basically a pho version of 'burger with the lot', it had fresh beef, beef balls, tripe, beef sausage, blood and silky soft rice noodles. The broth was intense with flavour.


I got the fresh beef with tripe. This is my go to dish each time I go to pho. I prefer mine simple. There was plenty of beef and by the time I added in all the beanshoots, I was a happy camper. The intensity of the broth was just right.


Overall 17/20 I definitely agree with A, this is the best pho in Melbourne!

Click to add a blog post for Pho Hung Vuong Saigon on Zomato

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fritz Gelato

This is a name that has been popping up a number of times in the newspaper recently. Melbourne and Sydney have been going through a gelato craze so there has been a number of articles on the best gelato in town. Fritz's name has popped up quite a few times.

Anyway I was near one last Saturday night, so the time had come for me to try one. D and I visited the one in Richmond. It's located on Bridge road, near all the restaurants.

We walked in and was greeted with a friendly guy behind the counter offering us to taste. The strawberry panna cotta caught my eye, so I had that to taste. It was too sweet for my liking. I really wanted pistachio when I walked in and sadly they didn't have any that day.




In the end D and I decided to get a 3 scoop to share, it was like 3 degrees outside and we couldn't decide on the forth flavour so we just got 1, 3 scoop to share. We got the hazelnut, blood orange and strawberry sundae.

The hazelnut was the winner out of the 3, velvety texture and strong hazelnut taste. Blood orange had all the right notes. good tangy and sweet balance. Last flavor was the strawberry sundae, this was a bit 'ordinary' compared to the other 2 flavours. It was a really good strawberry gelato taste to it, but I felt like I wanted more, after tasting the other 2.

Next time I go back, I think I will get the salted caramel. There were 2 ladies near us to got it and was saying how good it tasted. I definitely had gelato envy!

Overall 17/20 great gelato and just makes me want to go back for more!


Click to add a blog post for Fritz Gelato on Zomato