..... Enjoying life, one bite and plane ride at a time

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Builder's Arm Hotel

Located on Gertrude St in Fitzroy, it is another venture of Andrew O'Connell. Pitched at as sophisticated pub style dining where it is split into a dining room by the name of Moon Under Water and the Bistro. As we were only here for a casual affair we decided on the bistro. This is not the first time D and I have dined here. Last time we were here, it was for a surprise birthday dinner for D. So it bought back good memories.

To start we got the pot of curried mussels to share. The last time I had a pot of mussels was in Paris so a small part of me was hoping for something similar. When it arrived it was nothing like I expected. The serving I found a bit on the small side as we were advise it's something that's to be share and quite big. However that was compensated with the creamy curry flavours.

The frito mistro was done better compared to what I have eaten in the past. I liked the variety of seafood and the garlic mayo was just right.

As a main I had to try the fish pie. Baked in the dish with a fluffy pastry it did not disappoint. The filling was a combination of trout, prawns, rockling and sorrel. I was very pleased that the fish wasn't overcooked and there was just the right amount of sauce. The sauce was delicate and allow the true flavours of the fish to come through.

D got the sausage special which was made up of 5 different sausages; pickled, smoked and cured pork, mustard and sauerkraut. This was a once off special they had. it wasn't anything exciting. I found it to be too much meat on one plate for me. Though I did enjoy the pork belly on top.


To keep things slightly more balanced chopped broccoli, freekah salad on the side. This had a good fresh flavour, to help with the heaviness of the 2 mains.

By the end of mains, we were too full so we decided to go for a drive and ended up getting N2 afterwards which suited me just fine.

Overall 15/20 It's better than your average pub food and I really like the play on pub ideas like fish and chips, pie etc.  into a more refined dish.

Builders Arms Hotel Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nieuw Amsterdam

On a winter Monday night, we braved the cold and decided to try our luck here. Since it has opened it has become very popular in the Melbourne food scene and getting a table on Fridays and Saturdays can be a challenge. We were quite fortunate and were able to get a table with minimal wait. I was quite surprised to see so many dine there on a Monday night. There was a beautiful, casual ambiance to the restaurant, it felt like the perfect spot to 'catch up' with friends.

Being an American influenced eatery I couldn't pass the offer to try the chicken waffles. It came with pate, terrine and crispy chicken skin with orange sauce. It's all things bad for you but it was honestly delicious. The smoothness of the pate, with the crispiness of the chicken skin and that bit of tangy orange flavour. It was divine!

Broccoli and cheese profiteroles were something I have never tried before. The pockets of the pastry were filled with oozy cheese. The goat curd was delicate and not too overpowering, it went well with the broccoli sauce. It's very different from your typical appetizers.

For mains we got the Southern style pork belly chops. We were told that this was their signature dish. The pork belly was soft and full of fat with a crispy skin. Don't get it if you are on a diet. The layers of goodness comes with a lot of fat but otherwise, go wild!

Smoky beef brisket was another signature dish of theirs, the meat was juicy and just the right amount of smokiness. It wasn't outstanding but it was nice.

Final main we go to share was the Grit Fritters. These were sweetcorn fritters by name, but tasted more like sweetcorn gnocchi in flavour and texture. Topped with more sweetcorn, beetroot and cheese, I found myself really liking this dish. I love the light and sweetness the corn gave. This was my favourite, out of all the mains

For a side, we got the Dutch fries. The big potato chunks, came with a sriracha mayo as dipping sauce. If you like crispy, crunchy fries, I suggest you order a different side. This was a very heavy and big chip. I found it quite enjoyable but the party I was with, didn't agree with me. I liked the sriracha (chilli) mayo too, it inspired me to try making it at home.

Dessert, we couldn't decide so we got one of everything. 

Pumpkin doughnuts with bourbon cream didn't jump at me off the menu, but it did jump at me when I tasted it. The fluffy doughnut with the delight bourbon cream was a highlight. I never knew bourbon with cream could taste so good.

Chocolate delice reminded me of milo mousse with honeycomb. It was light and airy with a biscuit base and chunks of honeycomb.

Peanut butter waffle was served with raspberry sorbet and salted peanut caramel. It was as you would imagine it to be. Yes, it was very heavy, lucky we were sharing.

Lastly, there was the lemon mess. Lemonade granita, cream cheese sorbet and ginger crumble. Who knew they could work so well together. I just kept going back for more. It fresh and still creamy and a play on texture with the ginger crumble. Definitely recommend this.

If you don't plan to be as crazy as me and my friends (and maybe if there were less of you). I would pick the lemon mess and pumpkin doughnuts. Yum yum yum!

Overall 15.5/20 I was impressed overall. This is a place I would go back for another visit. There was a lovely atmosphere and the service was excellent, despite sitting in a corner, our waiter was attentive and friendly. If you were to come here make sure to book online via email, as we were told they don't attend to their phones very often.

Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mr Hendricks Cafe

I started to notice the name Mr Hendricks pop up on my Instagram and Facebook feed, so when K and R suggested we try it, I was already curious. Situated in a local shopping strip it Balwyn, it had a lovely cosy and welcoming atmosphere. The cafe was in 2 sections, with a indoors seating area at the front and a court yard that was doggy friendly at the back. Initially we were hoping to get an indoor seat but place was so packed the only table available was in the court yard. This was a blessing in disguise as it was a beautiful setting with garden touches throughout. It was heated and made the cold Melbourne weather seem 'not so bad' after all.

As soon as we were seated, the staff was attentive and took our drink orders. I am no coffee expert, but I didn't mind the blend of beans in my latte. It wasn't too bitter with a slight tangy after taste. K mentioned that her flat white was the right level of creaminess and quite liked it. D opted for a strawberry milkshake instead. Initially I had drink envy when it came out, but afterwards I found it too sweet and also tasted like a Big M.

For the real stuff (the food), I could not tear my eyes away from the array of dishes that came out on the nearby tables.K and I both  settled on the Brioche French toast with vanilla poached pears and caramel sauce. 

This was just fluffy goodness, I loved every bit of it. The brioche worked to complemented the sweetness of the caramel, and the pears have beautiful hints of vanilla through out. 

D got the avocado on toast. Avocado on toast is a very common brunch menu item these days. Mr Hendricks did put a spin on it, instead of the usual feta and mushroom it was served with corn fresh cut off the cob, feta, and salsa. I highly approve of the texture that the corn bought to the dish, but I wasn't a fan of the salsa. The salsa made me feel that something crunchy was missing on the plate. However this is just me nit picking.

R went with the crispy eggs and I got to try a bit of it. 

The crispy eggs were as you expected it to be, crispy and a oozy yolk centre. Served with ham, sweet potato puree and a salad of fennel, walnuts and radish on a sourdough. I found this the most interesting out of all 3.

To share I ordered a rosemary fries, they were very fluffy on the inside but just a tad oily. I had initially hope for aioli to compliment them, however they didn't have any. Instead they offered us kewpie mayo. It was a nice surprise and I am glad, I preferred it over aioli.

We ended up being really satisfied and walked away feeling quite piggy.

Overall 16/20 as a new kid on the Melbourne brunch scene, Mr Hendricks came in with a bang. I would happily come back here (I really want to try that softshell crab burger that walking past me, as I was dining). The staff is lovely and the food is amazing, and I don't normally gush like this.

Mr Hendricks Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Shanghai

If you read my blog regularly, you would remember how excited I was, when I discovered New Shanghai in Brisbane. New Shanghai is now also in Melbourne. They recently added another store to their chain, with a new store in the food court section of Emporium. I purely discovered this by serendipity as I was looking for Jimmy Grants.

D was just as excited when I told him, he use to love getting New Shanghai for lunch each time he visited me in Brisbane.

To start we got the famous pan fried pork buns. These buns have a juicy centre of pork encased with soft yet crispy base sweet casing. With a dashing of vinegar, these little bun were absolute delish! I was not disappointed and already craving to go back.

Hot and sour soup was very sour. It had a good assortment of ingredients but I felt the sour and spiciness needed a better balance and possibly could do with more stock base to balance out the sourness.

Next on the menu was salted egg fried tofu. I have never had this before, so I didn't know what to expect. It was quite different to all the other Asian tofu dishes I've eaten in the past. Small cubes of fried tofu, sprinkled with salted egg yolks was a combination I never expected to work, but it did. The saltiness from the egg yolk worked well with the bland but silky texture of the tofu. I won't eat a whole plate of this alone, but I would order it, if I was in a large group and sharing. It does make a nice twist to the usual Chinese tofu dishes such as mapo tofu, pipa tofu etc.

X.O sauce fried rice cakes was very heavy and filling. The doughiness of the ricecakes filled D and I up fast. The X.O sauce wasn't anything memorable and a tad oily but still very satisfying.

Overall 14/20 most dishes pretty good with the exception of the hot and sour soup. Their overall execution were done well. They have consistences with their Brisbane store which is good to see.

  New Shanghai on Urbanspoon

Luxbite - brunch

On Sunday with fellow blogger This(hungry)LittlePiggy we visited Luxbite for their brunch special. For celebrating they getting 10K followers on Instagram, they had a $10 special on all these brunch menu items. Being the foodies we were, we could not resist and made the trip to Toorak.

I managed to try 4 things out of the menu. First up was the  Lamb, mint and rosemary sausage. Unfortunately the 60/60 eggs were sold out so we got scramble as the substitute. The sausages didn't look like much on the plate but they were a punch of flavour.

The Pulled pork with lap cheong was served with a corn fritter, scrambled eggs (to replace 60/60) and avocado. On the menu it sounded very interesting but it didn't work as a whole, on the plate. On it's own, each aspect was great but once it was there together it didn't compliment each other. I would have preferred some crunchy bread instead of the corn fritter. The avocado looked old on the plate. The pulled pork with lap cheong was very tasty if only if there was rice, it would have been perfect (yes, yes that's very fobby of me).

Corn, miso and leek soup gave me food envy as I saw the table next to us get it, so I had to also have it. I loved the combination, the sweetness of the corn, saltiness of the miso and the avocado mousse in the creme to give that creaminess. This was a thumbs up dish for me. I couldn't get enough, but just wish they had served it that little bit more warmer for the cold winters day (Melbourne weather).

Slow braised beef was served with a bed of mash with elements of bacon, and a fried egg to top it off. I think this was the best value of the whole brunch menu. The beef was soft and had just the right amount of seasoning. The egg on top made it feel less dinner but more brunch.

If I am at Luxbite, I have to get dessert. Being a winter's day I couldn't pass up the warm sticky date, bread and butter pudding. This was served with a salted caramel sauce. This was divine, the fluffy and sticky parts of a dessert, all on one plate.

Desserts never stop at one for me, next was the Blue calpis. This was mascarpone mousse cake, with blueberry jelly, blueberry cream and a white chocolate glaze. This was light and airy. Great way to end the meal.

Overall 16/20  I was overall impressed with their brunch offering. Keep up the good work Luxbite!

Note: Luxbite has a different $10 special to celebrate them reaching 10K likes on instrgram. So check it out http://instagram.com/luxbite

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 4, 2014

Om Nom Dessert Bar

If you are a dessert enthusiasts you may have heard of Om Nom. Christy Tania who heads up the restaurant located in the Adelphi Hotel, was dubbed the female Zumbo in recent episodes of Masterchef. So naturally I came here for nothing, but dessert.

I came with a few friends after dinner, this was prior to the Masterchef exposure, to celebrate F's birthday in advance. I was quite surprise to see how full it was for 9.30pm on a Saturday night.

We got Raspberry Fields which was a combination of lychee sorbet, raspberries and panna cotta. I loved the concept and the design. The lychee sorbet was refreshing, but there wasn't a lot on the plate. However what was there was done well.

Apple Sphere had flavours of ginger, lemongrass, vanilla and white chocolate laced shell on a bed of crushed cookies. Very bold combination of flavours.

Banana Flambe is a banana flamed over cinnamon and rum. Served with soft chocolate sponge with smooth white chocolate ice cream on the side. I loved the effect but I don't think I'll order it again, if you leave the banana in the flame for too long, the flavour becomes very smokey to the point it's almost bitter.

Fruits of the forest was a giant meringue filled with raspberry and blueberry sorbet. This was probably the least original idea but I enjoyed this one the most. The presentation was beautiful with the pop of purple from the flower.

Basil Garden had a delicious bed of chocolate soil, vanilla served with honey, basil ice cream in a chocolate pot. If you like basil, you will enjoy this one. If not the flavours might be a bit strange. 

Overall 17.5/20 I had a very enjoyable experience. It was art on a plate and you can appreciate the time and work that went into each dessert. I just wish some of them was a little bigger. This really takes the art of desserts to the next level.

Om Nom Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Omah's Malaysian Cuisine

Located on Burwood road towards the Glenferrie road corner, this is a cute local Malaysian place that offers chilli crab. Yes, Chilli crab! If you have ever been to Singapore, had chilli crab, came back to Australia craving the same thing and failed to find it... this is really good news!

We had a groupon which offered us a 5 course and we added a chilli crab on the side.

As an entree we started with soft shell crab, duck sang choy bao and roti with peanut sauce. The soft shell crab was generous with seasoning, almost too generous in my opinion but no one else on the table didn't seem to mind. The curry powder on the chilli crab was new to me, I didn't mind it but I still think I prefer Japanese styled fried soft shell crab.

The duck sang choy bao has an abundance of sauce in it. The duck was tender and cooked just right. Sadly they were too heavy handed with the salt.

The roti with peanut sauce was nothing special, it wasn't freshly made roti.

We got buttered chicken, chilli prawn and balachan beans, as our main. The butter chicken was a lovely surprise, it was deep fried with a creamy buttery twist to it. I was expecting something more of a curry butter chicken and it was nothing as I imagined. I kept going back for more.

Chilli prawns had an amazing sauce with tanginess of tomato sweetness and chilli burst. The sauce had egg whites laced in for extra smoothness. The was prawn infused with flavour.

Balachan beans had great prawn fragrant in it, sadly the beans were too soft and overcooked for my liking. Still it's a good dish

Finally it came time for the chilli crab. We got one crab to share between four people which was enough given how much else we ordered, it was just right. The sauce in that crab was unbelievebly good, it taste sweet and tangy at first, then the spiciness hits you after. The crab meat was sweet and fresh, went together beautifully with the sauce. I just wish they would offer a noodle base option. That sauce with noodles would have been perfect. The sauce was so good, D got a container to take away the remaining sauce.

For dessert there was pandan sago (hot or cold) and mango pudding. 

The pandan sago was in a not too sweet coconut milk with gula malaka in it.

The mango pudding was smooth and cream in flavour, but nothing amazing about it.

As drinks, the boys went with beer, K and I got Teh Tarik and we found the size difference between the hot and cold to be quite funny.

Overall, 13.5/20. The food in general was alright. The crab was the highlight. Service levels could be better, wasn't attentive on a quiet night. Felt we got a bit of the "oh that table is using a groupon" vibe. The waitress forgot our crab order, took ages to get us our drinks and looked very lost. Another waitress just appeared lazy to me. In general, feels like the waiting staff could do with more training and dedication to their roles.

Omah's Malaysian Cuisine on Urbanspoon
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