Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

May all my dear readers have a very wonderful Christmas with amazing home cooked food with your loved ones.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pacific House Vol II

Once again, I'm back to Pacific house for their yummy roast duck. What's even better is I actually got to try their Crab noodle this time! It's yummilicious!

The Beautiful Chilli Crab with noodles

The waiter helped us plate it into individual plates
The noodles were springy and not soggy with the right amount of sauce. Delicious!

Some vegetable to boost our fibre intake.

Claypot Satay Beef with vermicelli
I thought this was rather bland too. Couldn't taste the 'satay sauce' at all. My brother liked it though.

Pipa beancurd
This wasn't as good as I'd expected. I preferred the one at Kumden better.

Salt and Pepper Calamari
This was good. The squid was fresh and I can easily bite through it.

We've also ordered other the crispy pork and their famous salted egg-yolk prawns, which were all really good. Their service, however, remained chaotic as usual. Maybe that's how they keep their food quality up.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday Night Dinner @ Peko Peko, Fitzroy

I've heard of Peko Peko several times in the Age's Cheap Eats and from other bloggers, so I decided to try it out with my friends on Friday. I was quite surprised when we walked in as the place had both Caucasians and Asian waitresses. That did not at all reduce the quality of their service though, they were still very friendly and attentive. The place was a bit smaller than I'd expected and there were already a few customers there enjoying their food. The restaurant had very simple, yet cute decorations with an open kitchen. We did not try the 'specials', but decided to go with whatever looked good on the menu.

Here are the dishes we had tried:

Assorted Tempura
The batter was really very light! Just the way I like it! I just wished there were more prawns!

Beef Gyoza
I quite like this dish, it was different from other restaurants!

Our plain rice, decorated with toasted sasame

Agedashi Tofu
I was quite disappointed with this dish. The sauce was rather bland and tasteless. I had to season it with the leftover sauce from the tempura.

I forgot what sauce this was. It was a fusion dish which I quite like. Very flavorful! The prawns were very fresh and succulent! ~yum~

Miso Squid on a bed of fresh baby spinach
This was interesting too, fresh squids. But I still prefer the prawns.

I was quite impressed with the Chef's skills with the fiery fire

After our dinner, my friends decided they want to eat the Green Tea Parfait at Cocoro pottery cafe, so we head down to Cocoro for their yummy desserts. Since I'm not a big fan of Green tea, we also tried their roasted sesame ice cream.

Loved their decorations too! There is a cute little corner for you to wait while the waitresses are getting the table ready for you.

Refreshing hand towels presented in a beautiful basket. They pay so much attention to all the details!

Roasted sesame ice-cream
I actually prefer the one at crown food court, this one was a bit too nutty for my liking. I couldn't really taste the creaminess of the ice-cream. Actually, it didn't really taste much like ice cream at all. I liked the strawberries and the red bean paste on the side though.

Green tea parfait. My friend loved this.

I really did enjoy my experiences at both Peko Peko and Cocoro and will definitely come back here again. My next few Japanese restaurants that I want to try are probably Horoki and Hako. Hope I will enjoy them as much too!

Peko Peko
199 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Cocoro Japanese Pottery and Cafe
117 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Friday, December 7, 2007

Satisfying Brunch at The European, Spring Street

After our disappointment from Monday's Eggs Benedict, me and my friends decided we definitely have to try European. European is located on 161 Spring Street, near the Princess Theater where The Phantom of the Opera is currently showing.

As I stepped into the restaurant, I was warmly greeted by a friendly waitress. Some of my friends arrived at the restaurant before me and had already planned out what they wanted to order. After reading the Breakfast Blog, I did not even need to look at the menu to know that I want to try the Eggs Benedict. My friends ordered Eggs Atlantis (or was it Atlantic?), Croque Monsier, and Baked Eggs with Black pudding and Chorizos. After our order, we were given our utensils along with a cloth napkin! I was quite impressed with that as usually we only get paper serviettes in cafes. I guess that's what you get for $17.50 Eggs Benedict.

The restaurant was very busy with people in their business suits walking in and out all the time. That did not stop the waitress from being very attentive and replacing our water whenever they ran out.

My friend's skinny Mocha. The pattern is so pretty.

Eggs Atlantis (Smoked salmon instead of grilled ham)

My friend's Croque Monsier.
They seemed to like this as it was buttered just nicely and didn't leave an oily feeling.

Bake Eggs with Chorizo

My Eggs Benedict. Benito's seemed more photogenic.

I was really impressed with the taste of their Eggs Benedict. The poached eggs were done to perfection! The egg whites were well set with lovely runny golden yolks. Just the way I like it! The combination of the smooth Hollandaise, crunchy toasted muffins, the grilled ham, and the richness of the runny egg yolk was just amazing! Their Hollandaise is rich, and seems to have different dimension to it! Definitely the best Benedicts I've had so far!

Check out the beautiful river of golden goodness!

My Eggs Benedict Cravings were definitely satisfied. Now I'd probably need to stay off eggs for a while as this breakfast have probably sent my cholesterol level sky high.

161 Spring Street
Melbourne 3000
(03) 9654 0811

Monday, December 3, 2007

Disappointing Brunch

I woke up today looking forward to my yummy brunch at the European, but my first sign of bad luck appeared as I looked out my window. The whole sky was gloomy, but that didn't affect me. I messaged my friends to make sure they were up, so we would not be late for our brunch. I was really looking forward to trying out the Eggs Benedict at the European after reading great reviews from the Breakfast blog and it was also recommended by Mutemonkey.

We arrived at European at 11:00 am, and to my horror, it was closed until 12 pm! I was contemplating on whether to wait for the restaurant to open or find some other cafe instead. Unfortunately, our starving tummies opted for another restaurant close by. We walked down Bourke street and I was tempted to eat Ajisen Ramen, but it only opens at 12 pm too.

After my friend saw my disappointed look, she suggested we go to Hardware lane, as there might be a few nice cafes there. It's only my 2nd time to Hardware lane, so I have absolutely no clue which one to try. We saw a sign for Eggs Benedict at Jeremy's Hardware cafe, and decided to try it out.

The waitress was very friendly and attentive. We looked at the menu for a few seconds and ordered Eggs Benedict and The Big Breakfast. When the dishes arrived, I was slightly disappointed by the appearance of the Eggs Benedict. The eggs were a bit flat and they looked a lot smaller than I'd expected. I think my expectations were too high since the last Eggs Benedict I had was at Benito's. When I cut into the poached eggs, I was quite shocked, as the runny yolks were no where to be seen! It was totally overcooked and hard. The Hollandaise was quite bland too, I couldn't really taste it at all. The only good thing about this Eggs Benedict is probably the sourdough toast instead of the English muffin which added more crunch to it.

My disappointing poached eggs

The Big Breakfast

The Big Breakfast was slightly better though as the mushroom was quite juicy and the sausage was pretty good. The Bacon was quite dry though, but it was saved by the tomato relish that was served together.

The breakfast was filling, but disappointing for me. I understand that it's a lot cheaper than European as it's only $9.50 instead of $15-$16 dollars at European, but at least they could have poached the eggs better. I may come back here for their sandwiches and drinks in the future as the service was great, but definitely not their Eggs Benedict!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Easy Chocolate Fondue

What can be better than a relaxing Saturday afternoon at home with a homemade chocolate fondue with lovely fresh strawberries? This was so easy to make, and even easier to finish! The chocolate fondue was made with a good quality chocolate and equal amount of fresh cream. You can also add a dash of your favorite liquor if you want. Just bring the cream on a saucepan to an almost boiling point, but not boiling, and pour it over chopped chocolate pieces and mixed together. Or, if you are lazy like me, you can just pop both of them into the microwave and let it do the trick.

Chocolate fondue goes well with practically almost any fruits! But I decided to use strawberries today, as I wanted to use up the leftover strawberries from friend's birthday cake yesterday. I tried it with marshmallows today and loved it! Never knew marshmallows tasted so nice with dark chocolate!

Here's the birthday cake I made for my friend. Yvonne, hope you liked it! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mornington Peninsular Road Trip

I just came back from my weekend road trip at Mornington Peninsular. It was probably my fourth visit to Mornington Peninsular, but each trip is always different!

We departed Melbourne on Saturday and our first stop was Miss Marple's Tea Room. This little cottage is located on Mt. Dandenong in a town called Olinda.

I love its little cozy setting, and all of its interior and exterior design. I felt like I was really having an afternoon tea in Britain.

This tea room is so popular with the local and tourists that it does not take bookings! You can't take away their scones either!. I believe it's for quality control purpose. When we first arrived, it was still empty as it had just opened. But it quickly filled up as time passed! The turnover rate is quite high too, and there's always a queue waiting whenever I go.

As this was probably my third visit, I've learned from my previous experiences that the dishes are quite 'rich', so we ordered less on this trip. I think we made a mistake while ordering this time, as we ordered the dessert at the same time as the other dishes. This was a bad move as the ice cream sundae arrived at the same time as the other dishes. So we had to simultaneously eat both savory and sweet dishes at the same time to prevent the ice cream from melting.

Miss Marple's Famous Fresh Chicken, Cheese, and Asparagus Fingers.
This was quite nice, very cheesy with strong flavor.

Miss Marple's famous Plain Scones, served with whipped cream and homemade strawberry jam.
The scones here are different from the other places I've eaten before. They looked more like cakes than scones to me. Despite the not-so-sconish looks that I'm used to, they still taste heavenly when eaten with thick layer of cream and jam!

Miss Marple's Fish and Chips with Salad
This was their special dish that day. I was pretty disappointed with the taste despite its great looks. The batter wasn't really crispy and it tasted a bit bland for my liking.

Miss Marple's Sundae Best!
This was vanilla icecream topped with whipped cream, strawberries, almond flakes and drizzled with homemade berry and chocolate sauce. This was good, but it would be better if there were more ice cream instead of cream.

After our lovely brunch, we proceeded to Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm. The place was quite commercialized with lots of tourists, both local and international.

You can either buy the packed strawberries, or pick your own from the farm!

The large, packed strawberries

You can also get them coated in Chocolates

Little tubs of chocolate sauce for the strawberries are also on sale

I decided to try out their 'world famous' strawberry icecream and sorbet instead.
Both flavors were good, but I prefered the sorbet more as it has a stronger strawberry flavor

After the fulfilling treat, we decided to burn some calories by picking the strawberries at the farm. Here are some strawberries picking tips.

I should give you a little warning though. Some areas of the farm are muddy, so be careful when you walk. I almost slipped and fell into the mud myself. It really gave my friends something to laughed about through out the whole trip.

After the strawberry farm, we decided to go to Arthur's seat to take a look at the beautiful view and check-in to our beach house.

Our dinner at this little shop called 'Fish and Chips' located in Sorrento
These were a lot better than the ones I had at Miss Marple's!
The price was also very reasonable.

The next day, we went took a ferry across and had lunch around the Torquay area. We didn't really know what to eat, so we ended up eating at La Porchetta.

Spagetthi Marinara
I didn't really enjoy this dish as it was too soggy for my liking. I also find the taste a bit too fishy.
I'm quite particular about my pasta as I love them 'al dente'. My friends seemed to like this dish though.

Mexicana Pizza
This salami was a bit too spicy for me, otherwise it's pretty good

Sun-dried tomatoPizza
I thought this pizza looked quite pretty, but I would enjoy it more if there were MORE sun-dried tomatoes

I really enjoyed this trip, and had a lot of fun with yummy food and great company! Probably wouldn't mind going there again for the fifth time.