Wollongong Series- Gigi’s


We were taking a risk when showing up to Gigi’s, the newest hot spot in town without a booking, but we figured it was 9pm and hopefully some tables had cleared out. When we got there we were informed that the restaurant had been fully booked out but they were able to squeeze us in- yay!

When I was browsing through the menu, I was torn between my love of seafood and my love of home made pasta but when my friend asked if I wanted to go halves in a seafood platter for two, I couldn’t say no, after all, it was her birthday weekend .

I agree! That would explain why I’m happy most of the time 

Very busy, even though we were seated at 9pm, there were still people coming in.

Table all prepped for our seafood platter for two! 

With almost an hour long wait for our food, we were offered complimentary warm bread with balsamic and olive oil from the kitchen. 

Finally! Our Seafood platter for two arrives!

Venetian Hot and Cold Seafood Fritto Mistosalt and pepper squid, Spanish mussels cooked in a bianco sauce, rosemary grilled Australian king prawns, fish of the day (local John Dory), Crystal bay king prawns, Tasmanian smoked salmon on a celeriac remoulade and Balmain bugs in a citrus dressing ($78.00).

Where to begin? Clockwise from the top left hand corner maybe. Salt and pepper squid was very tasty with a ‘not too over the top’ batter and non chewy squid, you can’t go wrong. The John Dory was a nice light fresh fish. The rosemary grilled Australian king prawns was so fresh, sweet and delicious! Crystal bay king prawns– I’m pretty sure I ate most of these but I was “helping” my friend because she was getting full. Balmain bugs- very fresh and truely delicious. Tasmanian smoked salmon on a celeriac remoulade- probably my least favourite thing on the platter only because I didn’t find the salmon salty enough. Spanish mussels cooked in a bianco sauce- I’m not the biggest fan of mussels so I was hesitant to try one, but oh my! They fast became my favourite thing on the platter, they were well cooked and I even dipped my bread into the sauce to savour the flavour.

Chicken breast involtini saltimboccawith polenta parmesan and sage mash, served with muscatel butter and sage sauce ($19.50). Nice, lots of flavour but a bit too rich, my friend had to order some extra bread.

Fettuccinewith red wine slowly braised beef ragu, shaved parmesan and orange gremolata ($18.90). With fresh home made pasta this was definitely better than your average Italian restaurant! The beef was very tender and melted in your mouth.

Dark chocolate & hazelnut tortinawith warm ganache, vanilla ice-cream & pistachio nut praline ($8.50) When 3 out of 4 people order one type of dessert (they weren’t going to share     ), you better hope that it was good. Luckily the chefs did no disappoint, one my friends said ‘that it was to die for’. For me personally, it was too rich, one bite had me on a sugar high for a while but I did appreciate the warm soft moist cake.

Vanilla bean white chocolate panna cottawith peach liquor & blueberry compote & biscotti  ($8.50) Not an overly sweet dessert, this suited me to a ‘T’. The blueberry compote was delicious and was sweet enough to compliment the panna cotta. I couldn’t taste the white chocolate but it had a nice wobbly texture.

When we went, Gigi’s had only been open for a month. Since following them on FaceBook it looks like they have a lot planned for this venue including live music on Sundays and updating their menu. I have high hopes for this restaurant and can’t wait to go back and eat more fresh seafood.

Venue: Gigi’s restaurant and bar

Address: 22 Market Street, Wollongong, NSW, 2500

Opening hours: The restaurant is open from 7am till late, seven days a week.

Gigi's on Urbanspoon


Wollongong Series- Diggin it @ Diggies


We made a quick trip to the ‘Gong’ to visit a friend for her birthday. The night before she made us a delicious roast with all the trimmings (yes she cooked for us even though it was her  birthday weekend – she loves us that much!). The next morning we thought we’d try our luck at our favourite (and often busy) brunch place by the beach, lucky for us there was only a short wait!

Welcome to Diggies, a favourite cafe for the locals with a gorgeous view of North beach!

I thought even their chalkboard signs were really cute!

A lot of cyclists come by to get their morning coffee hit, but now with the upgrade of the surf club it’s harder to cycle through the area with all the construction.

Although it’s spacious on the inside and out, there still never seems to be enough room and therefore always a line up for Diggies.

Diggies– prime location, right by the beach!

For those who weren’t ordering coffee to kick start their motor indulged in a ‘sunkissed’ juiceorange, pineapple and strawberry ($6.50). So delicious and worth ordering!

Ricotta hotcakeswith fresh strawberries and sweet ricotta ($18.00)  I tried some as this was my (very close) second choice and I could have easily finished the whole thing , it was incredible! My friend ordered it without maple syrup but the ricotta is sweet enough that you don’t need it. 


Bennipoached eggs set on sourdough with smoked ham, spinach and hollandaise ($17.00) My local friend said that the serving sizes had shrunk a bit but the quality of food is still the same. 

Big one (sorry, no alterations) bacon, two eggs, diggies house sausage, spiced chats and grilled mushrooms on turkish bread. ($20.00) When this was placed in front of me, I thought to myself- ‘how am I going to finish this?’, apparently I had no trouble at all  I asked for tomato sauce for my egg and sausages- yum!


Despite the shrunken menu and increased prices since I’ve last been, this will always be one of my favourite places to dine for brunch on a weekend morning while I’m in Wollongong, although I’m always open to new places! My friend said she’ll take me somewhere with awesome mango smoothies next time- I can’t wait!

Venue: Diggies

Address: 1 Cliff Road, Wollongong, NSW 2500

Phone: (02) 4226 2688


Diggies on Urbanspoon

Melbourne Series – Monga Sweet Cafe


You might think we ate out a lot on the 29th, well we did but you can’t come to Melbourne and skip out on dessert! Our friends took us to a cute dessert place where they have Chinese desserts and its decor gives the feel of Hong Kong in the 70s.

Monga Sweet Cafe has fast become a popular hang out spot for all the Asians wanting to indulge in a bowl of sweet soup after a meal and with its very convenient opening hours of 11:30am to 3am in the morning, it doesn’t matter what time you finish your meal.

Sago with Coconut Milk– cold and refreshing, just the way I like it.

Black Sesame Sweet Soup- thick and hot, my Mum would have loved this!

Papaya Poached in Almond Sweet Soup

Banana fritters with ice cream– for all those who don’t like the more traditional Chinese desserts and sweet soups. 

We didn’t have any trouble with service and the food came relatively quick. Although the prices seem reasonable, it’s still probably cheaper to make it yourself. They also have a variety of snacks available including Swiss chicken wings instant noodle, crunchy bun with condensed milk and tomato soup with sausage & egg macaroni.

With the new Chinese generation being more into technology and less likely to make these traditional Chinese desserts themselves, it’s great that we can sit at our      iPhones/   laptops/Nintendo DS and eat our desserts too.  

Venue: Monga Sweet Cafe

Address: CBD, Level 1, 217 Russell St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Phone: 039654 4885

Opening hours: 11:30am – 3:00 am, 7 days


Monga Sweet Cafe on Urbanspoon

~Extended Festivus!~

I’ve just recently came back to Canberra and had all these presents waiting for me, yay for extended Festivus! I’ve been spoilt this year with lots of food related gifts.

25 delicious chocolates which include my favourite #44, java and caramel mousse. KoKo black now have really cute packaging too!


Mmmmm my favourite- stroopwafels! I  the cookie tins and delicious ginger biscuits.

Hampers seem to be all the rage this year. I’m glad that we got two nougat puddings because I placed dibs on the first one! I’ve always wanted to eat at The Victoria Room and the pretty pretty pictures make me want to go even more.


A handy cheese platter with all the useful tools underneath!

Thanks everyone! 

Melbourne Series- e.c.pot cafe bar


While meeting up with friends, we came across the same conundrum- what to eat in a city filled with restaurants? We narrowed it down to two choices- noodles or rice in clay pot- “RICE IN CLAY POT!” I yelled, e.c. pot cafe bar it is then!

From the website:

“Clay pot cooking is a centuries-old tradition in Chinese cooking. The process begins by lining the clay pot with raw rice, over which fresh ingredients are then placed, the clay pot will then be cooked over low heat. The complete cooking process requires a minimum of 15 minutes, from the time of placing the order. Please enquire with our staff for waiting time. Thank you for your understanding.”


Short soup not too salty and the won tons had a nice filling

Deep fried calamari in spicy salt (6pcs) crispy, salty and slightly spicy- the perfect combo!

Mains: Clay pot rice/dish– our dishes took about 20 minutes to come out after ordering which isn’t bad considering they make the clay pots to order with raw ingredients.

Beef in black pepper sauce on rice- tender beef and the sauce goes really well with rice.

Chicken in Portuguese style sauce- tasted like a creamy cheese sauce, very rich and filling.

Chicken, spare ribs, Chinese sausage on rice- a more traditional clay pot and very delicious. All the cooked oils and sauce drip into the rice while cooking.

Boneless Hainanese chicken on rice– this didn’t look too special to me because the topping was served on the side but my friend seemed to enjoy it.

Although Melbourne has an endless list of where to eat, I’d come back here to eat the chicken, spare ribs, Chinese sausage on rice again, some times you just get a craving for it or maybe I should learn to make it at home?    
Venue: E.C. Pot Cafe bar
Phone: 0396 638 319
Address: CBD, 200 Lonsdale St, MelbourneVIC 3000

E.C.Pot on Urbanspoon

Melbourne Series – Lux bite


… So less than 20 minute after leaving the Dainty Sichuan restaurant (being very full mind you), I couldn’t resist going into this gorgeous little sweets store after spotting it across the road. I convinced Timmy that we were only ‘browsing’.  

Walking in I see everyone eating these gorgeous little cakes, but my head turns to the macaron counter where I see ‘ribeana’ as a flavour which made me squeal! Pandan, PB&J, mandarin and saffron, it’s not every day that you see these flavours. 

If I hadn’t JUST finished eating lunch I would have ordered at least two cakes from the cabinet. They all looked so beautiful and had interesting flavours.

Love the Halloween themed cakes! Such unique flavours.

As we narrowed our choices down to 5 (yes I just had to try some), they packed our selection away in a cute box topped with a paper ribbon. 

To my surprise Timmy opens the box and starts munching away.  I thought he was full?

$11.00 for 4 macarons (from top to bottom)

Rose and lychee– a delicious fusion of floral and fruit. I was only allowed one nibble as this was Timmy’s favourite.

Salted caramel – very delicious though very buttery at the same time.

Creme brulee– flecked with vanilla bean speckles, this did taste like a delicious baked custard (but my favourite part of a brulee is the sugar toffee layer).

PB&J– a smooth peanut butter filling, not much in the way of jelly though but I really liked it (because I  PB).

not pictured sorry~ Ribeana ($2.00 special)– slightly disappointing as it could have passed for a blueberry cheesecake flavour.

Their macarons haven’t gone unnoticed.

I will be back to try some cake and grab a few more macarons flavours while I’m there! 

Venue: Lux bite

Address: 38 Toorak Road, South Yarra, VIC, 3141 Australia

Phone:  0398 675 888

Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (closed Tuesday)

Website: http://www.luxbite.com.au/

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Melbourne series- Dainty Sichuan


People think Canberra is a small world, within an hour of being in Melbourne we ran into some friends while I was staring into a cake store (what else would I be doing?).   They kindly invited us to their gorgeous daughter’s 100th day birthday celebration which we excitedly accepted!

Welcome to the Dainty Sichuan where the dishes have a three chili rating scale! I was hoping for one or less chilies on our dishes that we order, for an Asian my chili tolerance is very poor.

Some pre-emptive soya bean milk for all the spicy food that we just ordered.

Vegetarian delight- you could easily pick at the plate and finish it yourself without even noticing.

Sticky pork ribs- a crowd favourite with a slightly sweet sticky sauce covering pork ribs, how could you go wrong?

Ma po tofu (one  rating) I usually can eat this so when it came to table I put spoonfuls into my bowl and mixed it into my rice. Alas it was a lot spicier than I’m used to, the sauce was so hot that I couldn’t eat any more rice.

Vegetables and tofu with chili

Roast duck- you didn’t get a second shot at this dish after everyone had their first serve 

Bubbling hot pot it literally bubbled for another 10 minutes after it was placed on the table! I can’t remember exactly what was in it but it wasn’t too chili hot though. 

Fried egg plant– this was so delicious and was highly recommended by my friend. It’s hard to describe the taste, it didn’t taste like eggplant instead it tasted sweet and crispy- you just have to order it!

While we were waiting for our food, I looked around to see what other tables had ordered. The tables are fitted with a hole in the middle so you could order a hot pot steam boat which looked pretty cool as they wheeled a cart with all the meats and vegetables to you. Another table had some Sichuan dish that looked very hot- fried meats surrounded by lots of fried chilies, obviously some people could handle it because when I turned around again there was nothing but the chilis left.

As we were leaving, the restaurant was completely packed and intermittently there was a cluster of people waiting for a table. Obviously a very popular restaurant! I would be very happy to come back and try more from the menu (and have more eggplant) as the food was delicious and it’s just a short train ride away from the CBD!

Venue: Dainty Sichuan

Address: 176 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Vic, 3141

Dainty Sichuan on Urbanspoon