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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Le Belle Miette

If you are a bit of a macaroon fan like me, then this name should be familiar with you. It's a little macaroon shop where you can enjoy a nice cup of tea with your macaroon.

Le Belle Miette, offers a nice range of flavours and they do them well as well. Unlike the more modern macaroons, their colours and range are more conservative.

My favourite here has always been the sake cherry blossom and the blueberry. The have a jam like filling in the blueberry macaroon which intensifies the flavour but keeping the integrity of the delicate elements on the rest of the macaroon.Their vanilla is also a clear example they use vanilla beans and not just vanilla essence. Oh and passion fruit is also another one with nice strong but elegant flavours.

They also make great gifts, I love their packaging. Cute boxes and nice pastel colours to match their macaroons. If you are a tea lover, they also serve Mariage tea.

Overall their macaroons are not overly sweet which is something I always looks for and the shell is just crispy enough that it melts in your mouth and not to the point it's crunchy. If you like macaroons, you really need to try these. I tried to look for a fault in them, but I really couldn't find one, think the only thing that would have been nice to see if there were more innovative flavours, but I think their selling point is not quirky flavours.

 If I had to score it, it would be a 4.5/5 in my books!

La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shandong Mama

I keep hearing about this place, I keep reading about this place and it keeps popping up in the newspaper.... So I caved in and tried it out.

Out and about on a Friday night, I was just after a quick and cheap dinner.... so dumplings felt like a good choice.

My partner and I got their famous boiled fish dumpling, which has a fish, chive, coriander filling. Unlike other dumplings, this is delicate in flavour. Don't go in expecting meaty and juicy because you will be disappointed. The way the fish filling is made, it's not mushy and had a element of 'bounce' when you bite in to it. However without any dipping sauce, this dumping can borderline and taste quite bland. It is suppose to be served with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and sesame oil. When you order it, they don't actually bring it out, you have to ask for it. I had mine with vinegar and soy sauce (occasionally a bit of chilli oil as well). Once dipped in sauce, it is quite nice, but still on the delicate side.

We also got a pan fried dumpling with a prawn, black fungus and chive filling. Of the two dumplings, I preferred this one. I think the crispy skin and the stronger flavours is something I prefer in a dumpling. The dumplings were wrapped in a cannoli fashion, with thin pan fried skins. The filling has prawn flavours through out. This is not your usual cheap dumpling style.

Overall I give it a 13.5/20. The fish dumpling is different but personally I still prefer stronger flavoured dumplings. I found it really disappointing that you weren't given the dipping sauce with the dumpling and that you had to either asked for it or make it yourself. We weren't told about it and I think that really influenced me in what I liked the fish dumpling. Service is like any other cheap Chinese restaurant (being no service). For dumplings, it's not really that cheap compared to other 'fast' dumpling places. The prawn dumplings were $12.80 for 10 and the fish dumplings were $14.80 for 10. Most other dumpling houses charge less than $10 for more than 10 dumplings. It's nice... but slightly over hyped.

  Shandong Mama on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meat Wine & Co - Southbank

I always find this place a dating hot spot. It's steak, nice atmosphere and right next to the Yarra. Perfect venue for a nice stroll after dinner. For me it was actually family dinner and not a hint of romance.

As the name suggest, I wouldn't recommend a vegetarian come here for dinner (or lunch). Due to the size of steak and I can never fit a 3 course when steak is the main, we skipped right to mains.

I got Monte Grain Fillet, medium rare. The meat was tender and beautiful, this is one of the reasons why I really like about Meat Wine & Co., I find it a real turn off, especially at a steakhouse when I ask for a steak to be medium or medium rare and it comes out pretty much well done or blue. I ordered blue cheese sauce to go with mine and the creaminess of the sauce was a great pairing with the steak. The fluffy and crunchy chips were also a great winner.

Mum and Dad both got the Monte Grain Rib eye, and both were quite impressed with their steak. Only challenge was the size (350g)!

My sister got the bbq ribs, she got a half rack but it was still a massive serving. The pork ribs were slow cooked and when you bite into it, the meat just fell off the bone. The marinate was a very intense flavour, personally I found a tad too sweet but my sister and dad didn't seem to mind it at all.

For sides, we got green beans with hazelnut and onions. The beans weren't baby fresh and were a tad old, however I did like the caramalised onions and hazelnut. The hazelnut gave it that nice crunch. Another side we got was the potato, this was herb crusted and had a nice crispy skin. 

As part of the Citibank reward program, we also got a free bottle Feet First Merlot. I am no expert in wine, but it was enough to keep me very happy through the whole meal.

We never got to dessert, as mum and dad both struggle to finish their mains alone.

Overall 16.5/20. Great steakhouse most of their steak have a decent marble score, but it's not top tier fine dining. As good as their steak is, I still think it's not refined as places such as Rockpool. I would definitely recommend you come here and I would come back myself. Service wise, I think it requires refining. One of the waiters spilled a drink on my mum, lucky it was water but her dress was drenched. We got an apology, but in other restaurants you would normally be offered a complimentary drink or at least a follow up call. I am not saying that I am hoping to get something free out of it, but it's more the gesture.

The Meat & Wine Co Southbank on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

George's Paragon

This is a place I visited a few months back but forgot to post about. Situated on the sunny South Bank of Brisbane, it was a perfect place with the perfect view on a sunny weekend.

We went for the half price lunch menu and started out with the three in one oysters. A dozen oysters in natural, Kilpatrick and Mornay. I loved the fact it came with an assortment as I love eating oysters and when I have to pick, I always pick natural even though I do enjoy the occasional Kilpatrick and Mornay. The Mornay had a good amount of cheese but not too much that it was overpowering.

Also got the seafood chowder to share. Quite creamy.

For mains we got the Kanoni which was Morton Bay bugs and BBQ prawns; and the Barouti which consisted of Morton Bay bugs, scallops, prawns and barramundi served with white sauce on rice with chips. Both of the bugs were cooked nicely, with the juices maintained and the meat still tender. The BBQ prawns were in my opinion a better option to the garlic prawns as the prawn taste was not overpowered.

Overall 4/5. For a half price menu and getting all that for less than $100, I couldn't complain.

George's Paragon Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 17, 2014

Steer Lunch Special

This place is close to the office, so we've been here for lunch a few times. They have a $29 lunch special which includes a steak and a glass of wine or beer.

For the lunch special you get a choice of 3 cuts. I went for the blade option, but they somehow got it wrong and gave me scotch fillet instead. I didn't complain as I was running short of time for my lunch break. The steak I got was actually beautifully cooked, perfectly medium rare (you would be surprised by how many steakhouse stuff up cooking the meat). It was soft and not too chewy, the meat had great flavour. It came with a side of chips and salad. For a $29 steak cooked this well,
it was great value in my eyes.

My colleague who got the blade as I had originally ordered, agreed that it was a really good steak too and cooked perfectly.

Overall 4/5! Great value for lunch! Only downside is the service; over the few times I have been for a meal, I have noticed a varying degree in their service standards.

Steer Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ajisen Ramen - Hawthorn

Being in the area and having a Entertainment book voucher, this seemed like a good place to hit up for lunch. Before going in, I read a few reviews and I was a bit concerned as most of the reviews talked about their bad service and also not accepting the ET book vouchers. This got me worried, as I had only suggested this place to my friend because of the voucher.

When we walked in, we were greeted with a very friendly waitress and the entire place was very neat, clean and tidy. As we were using the voucher, the only thing not valid on the menu was the combo, which I think was fair enough.

I got the Buta Kararage Ramen which was deep fried pork strips with cabbage, egg, black fungus and I added corn to it as well. This would normally also have a bit of greenery, but I don't like spring onions so I always order it without this. The pork strips were surprisingly nice, it wasn't too oily and the inside was still juicy. The broth isn't as thick as places such as Little Ramen Bar and Kokoro Ramen but the flavour was still strong and not bad for a chain ramen store.

My friend got the Gyoza Ramen. The gyoza pieces were juicy and had a bit of crunch; the filling had a higher vegetable to meat ratio compared to the typical gyoza you get but it was still a nice gyoza especially for a soup noodle. The noodles were al dente so just as I like it and able to soak up the soup flavour.

As a side, there was also the soft shell crab. This was nothing extraordinary, but I hardly ever say no to deep fried soft shell crab.

It was a stinking hot day so the green tea ice cream spider went down very fast and very well. I want to try to make this at home - now I just need to get my hands on some green tea ice cream!

Overall I would come back to this place. It does aim to be a student food/fast noodle venue so don't go expecting top service and fine dining, but it does hit the spot for ramen cravings. 13/20!

Ajisen Ramen Hawthorn on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This is one of those place I use to go for lunch all the time (burger special) when I worked in the city. Headed up by Shane Delia, it is considered one of the top restaurants in Melbourne. With a great middle eastern atmosphere to match the food, this place is great for a night out or date.

We got the 4 course shared menu and before i even go further, it was heaps of food and we were full to the brim.

First course was hummus with lamb, almond and cashew served with a flat bread; a selection of olives; cured salmon with asparagus; salad of greens with oyster cream and pork crackling. All this was to share and was only the start of the feast ahead. The hummus was beautiful and fluffy and that lamb just made it "more than just hummus". I loved the salad with those little bits of pork crackling which gave it that crunch factor and really elevated the dish. The salmon was a good tasty way to start the meal and complimented the rest of the dishes.

Second course was zucchini, haloumi fritters served with taramasalata; Turkish dumplings with garlic yogurt, mint and pepper. I love taramasalata so I kept going back for that, however the fritters weren't anything special. Nicely fried but nothing that makes you go "wow". The dumplings I found really interesting, they were tiny bite size pieces with lamb pieces inside. I really didn't know what to expect with this and I was pleasantly surprised. It looked quite bland when it came to the table but it was actually very flavoursome. 

Third course was roast lamb shoulder; fattoush; fish and; a cracked wheat pilaf with tomato and dill. The lamb was so soft and juicy but sadly by this point we were already struggling with the quantity of food. The fish was also another dish that I kept going back for more - it was beautifully crumbed. The cracked wheat pilaf didn't really do much for me. I was hoping for something with stronger flavours, but it was more on the bland side, compared to everything else served. The fattoush was served with tomato and cucumber and was the light dish - it really balanced this course out and was a great compliment.

Fourth course was dessert: there was Turkish delight filled doughnuts, mastic pudding and watermelon beetroot ice cream with rose water granita. The Turkish delight doughnut are one of my favourite things on the menu; it's oozy centre with the sticky honey, nuts and ice cream is a winning combination. The mastic pudding was a big disappointment for me. Last time I went i remembered this to be amazing and I couldn't get enough of both the pudding and the chocolate dirt. But this time... it did nothing for me, actually I didn't like it at all. The flavours were too strong, and not great scents to be strong in a dessert. I really wanted to dig a few more spoonfuls into the pearls but I just couldn't bring myself to it. The watermelon and beetroot ice cream with the granita was a nice and light finish to the meal.

Overall I would say it's a 17/20, it's not just the food here which is good but the service is always attentive. When I walked in I was seated at the bar and all the staff were friendly, our waiter checked on us at various times over the course of the meal to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. When we finished we were given rosewater for our hands. It's really the finer details here which makes it a stand out. On a side note, the bartender on the night, George, was entertaining while I waited for my friend to arrive.

  Maha Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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