Pepper Lunch launch

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Food Blogger Pepper Lunch launch thanks to a lovely friend Fran (go check out her awesome blog here) and the generous owners of Pepper Lunch Canberra. They offered each blogger and their guest a main, a side, a drink and a dessert, although our meals were complimentary all opinions are our own.Pepper Lunch is bringing Japanese DIY Teppan to Canberra! Meals come out on a 260C hot plate and you cook the meat to your liking. Here is their ‘how to guide’:When we received our meal, the polite staff apologised for the wait when in fact we barely waited at all. I hope it is always this fast!

Classic beef pepper rice (a la carte $9.90). I couldn’t go to Pepper Lunch and not try their signature dish. The beef cooked really fast and was tasty but I felt the rice needed more sauce. Luckily there are two sauces on the table which included a sweet sauce and a garlic sauce (shake before use) that I added to my liking.Edit  Curry chicken pepper rice (a la carte $11.20). I really loved the curry sauce and I’ve decided that the next time I go, I’m getting something with that sauce!Shimofuri ‘porterhouse’ pepper steak (a la carte $16.90). The Food Marshall said that it was seasoned to perfection but it had a bit of gristle through it. She found TimmyC’s dish had better marbling.Giant rib eye steak (a la carte $24.90). This steak was noticeably bigger than the porterhouse but it was in the ‘giant’ section of the menu. I found this steak really delicious and ‘melt in your mouth’. It is on the more expensive end when compared with other menu items especially if you make it into a meal. You can make any a la carte menu item into a meal which includes one regular drink and one regular side for $4.90.

Regular sides: rice/chips/miso soup/shake shake salad.

Premium sides: onion rings/sweet potato wedges.All the sundaes have the same ice cream base but they are covered in different toppings. There are four flavours: chocolate nut crush, caramel swirl, green tea delight and black seasame; they  currently don’t have the black sesame flavour yet but they ensure me it is coming. I really enjoyed the caramel swirl and I really wanted to love the green tea delight but the flavour was so subtle, it was almost non existent. I hoping they adjust it and it will be better in the future.It was getting toasty warm inside the restaurant between all the people and 260C plates, so I imagine the restaurant will be a popular place to be this winter.

They have a loyalty card, the more you eat the better the reward!They are really trying to ensure that things run smoothly with the restaurant having a soft opening for the next few days to train staff and slowly ease their way in before trading normal hours (see below).

Venue:Pepper Lunch (Canberra)

Address: Shop 3 (next to Oliver Brown) 88-96, Bunda Street, Opposite Canberra Centre, Civic,  ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0565

Opening hours: The next few days Pepper Lunch will have a soft opening, so hours will vary but they will roughly be lunch 12pm – 3pm dinner 6pm – 9pm

Sunday – Thursday 11:30am – 9:30pm

Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 10:30pm

Steak nights at Ducks Nuts

Tuesday nights are steak nights at the new Ducks Nuts bar and grill in Dickson, $15 bucks will get you a butler steak with green leaf salad and your choice of gravy (chips are $5.00 extra).I asked mine to be medium rare and that’s what I got.  It’s not an overly big piece of steak but it was still delicious and succulent piece of meat.A useful condiment caddy with all the favourites.For those who want something else other than steak will find many options on their menu. Fried buttermilk chicken burger with house slaw and chipotle mayo served with shoe string fries ($19.00).My friend really enjoyed his burger.

Ducks Nuts specials calendar

Sunday Roast all day with all the trimmings ($20.00).

Monday SchnitzelHaus ($15.00).

Tuesday Steak night ($15.00).

Wednesday Burger night with craft beer ($15.00).

 

 

Venue: Ducks Nuts

Address: 30 Woolley St, Dickson ACT 2602 (where O’Neill’s Irish Pub used to be)

Phone(02) 6230 7675

Websitehttp://ducksnuts.net.au/

Opening hours: 7 days a week 11:00am – late

Progressive walking dinner – Kingston foreshore

It is always wonderful to meet up with like minded people, so when fellow foodies and I met for dinner at Kingston foreshore and we weren’t sure what to eat, we strategically planned for a progressive walking dinner to get the most of our meal.

To start we made good use of C dine‘s ‘Buck a Shuck’ Friday’s in summer and we had a dozen oysters each for our entree.Venue:C dine bar

Address:17/19 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone: (02) 6239 5299
C Dine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


7 by the Lake has only opened recently so we were excited to check it out. As we walked in, I was confused by the decor, it was supposed to be an Indian restaurant but it had African-eqsue statues around the room.

We ordered three curries: Goanese prawns ($29.90), murgh makhani (aka butter chicken $23.90) and palak paneer ($23.90). I really enjoyed their butter chicken, it isn’t your typical creamy and sweet version. I felt that the prawns and the paneer tasted slightly watery and didn’t absorb the flavours of the curry, maybe because it was added in later from a stock sauce.

 

We also ordered a serve of masala kulcha fermented plain flour bread stuffed with a mix of spiced potatoes and herbs, sprinkled with onion seeds, chopped coriander and mint, cooked in a tandoor ($5.00). It smelt divine and I would easily just eat this with butter chicken and be happy.
Our waitress did three odd things while we were there 1) she didn’t really know the name of the dish when she put down our palak paneer, she just stated it was our ‘cheese dish’ 2) she interrupted our conversation when she over heard us wanting to have dessert somewhere else 3) she opened the bill folder counted the money at the table, every last cent of it.

 

I found the prices of the curries a little steep but to be fair, everything along the Kingston foreshore seems to be over priced. I really enjoyed the bread and the chicken curry but I feel that isn’t enough to have me running back for more any time soon.

 

Venue: 7 by the lake (contemporary Indian cuisine)

Address: 143/41 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone(02) 6140 7040

Websitewww.sevenbythelake.com/
7 by the lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


To not be disappointed any more, we opted dessert an an old favourite, Morks. I had eaten their other desserts recently so I chose the Pikachu *I choose you* mango gelato ($3.00) for dessert with a side of BBQ pork bun ($8.00). It may not be conventional but I think a BBQ pork bun and mango gelato from @morksrestaurant was a wonderful way to end the nights meal. Venue: Morks

Address: 18-19 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone(02) 6295 0112
Morks Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Noma Australia

If you somehow have not heard, Noma have made a home in Barangaroo, Australia for 10 weeks. Bookings were highly anticipated for the number 3 restaurant in the world and the entire 10-week calendar (excluding some special events) was sold out in less than 2 minutes. I was lucky enough to have dinner there last Friday night.

This has got to be one of the most photographed walls in Sydney.The view from the terrace.When we arrived, they knew what the person who made the booking looked like. They must have stalked him through social media/google like many other restaurants do. We were slightly early to our booking so the Noma staff offered us a drink on their terrace. Without asking if everyone wanted the aperitif, they poured 6 glasses and I naturally just gave mine to TimmyC. They were very liberal with the refills and then we were brought inside to our table.

Snakebite aperitif a mix of cider and beer ($25.00 per person). I was a bit shocked at the price but I guess after the price we paid for the meal I shouldn’t really be. I was a little disappointed that they poured me a glass even though I didn’t have any but TimmyC had both glasses and multiple refills so I guess we didn’t lose out.We were greeted by the kitchen staff who waited patiently for my phone to unfreeze and capture a quick photo before sitting down. The table was modestly decorated with a big flat plate, simple napkins and of course native Australian plants.

I finally got my camera to unfreeze and stop holding everyone up.A small intimate dining room setting.Soon after choosing beverages, a wave of chefs come to our table and all 6 of us were served instantaneously. Throughout the night, the dishes are served and taken away in this efficient manner.12 course degustation ($493 per person including credit card costs).

Unripe macadamia and spanner crab the juice of a spanner crab, green macadamia nuts with rose oil. I was surprised to find this cold and served on ice but I guess it kept the crab juices fresh and crisp on the palette. I found that some bites were more crab juice intense while with others the rose oil was stronger, but every mouthful had a nice crunch to it.Wild seasonal berries flavoured with gubinge bowl of berries (lilli pilli, native lime etc) with seaweed oil dusted with kakadu native plum powder. With so many berries each with their own unique taste, every bite was different. TimmyC called it Russian roulette as something within that berry mix was not agreeing with his taste buds. Some bites tasted nuttier than others but my favourite mouthfuls was when I’d get a bursts of citrus from the native lime.Porridge of golden and desert oak wattleseed with saltbush wattle porridge topped with salt bush and finger lime. Despite the wattleseed being prepared for many hours, I found it too hard, slightly dry and chewy for my liking. The finger lime helped but this dish wasn’t my favourite.Seafood platter and crocodile fat starting from the bottom right hand corner pipi, blue mussel, strawberry clam, cockle and oyster all prepared with tomato juice and crocodile fat. Okay, I may have gotten a little over excited and  finished eating without taking a photo first. I am only (a hungry) human. I liked how the brittle sticky covering gave each shellfish a nice salty oompf while allowing their fabulous natural flavours come through; my favourite one would have to be either the blue mussel or oyster.

You can pretend that they aren’t just empty shellsThere was one oyster left on the table that wasn’t eaten yet when I realised my lack of photos of this dish.W.A. deep sea snow crab with cured egg yolk lightly steamed snow crab in a fermented kangaroo meat sauce (we are pretty sure that is what they said). Hello heaven! The light steaming made the crab meat warm and succulent, while the sauce made it feel like we were eating buttery goodness. I wish this bowl was bigger and never ending.PIE: dried scallops and nasturium flowers kelp tart with scallop fudge and a celery reduction served with foraged flowers. They said that they could not come to Australia and not make a ‘pie’. This was a like a delicate soft savoury tart that I can’t completely describe; I didn’t think it needed the flowers though.BBQed milk ‘dumpling’ with marron and magpie goose marron brushed with magpie goose ragout wrapped in a burnt milk skin. I find it fascinating that they made a ragout from the magpie goose, just to brush the sauce onto the marron. The burnt milk skin was surprisingly sweet when eaten by itself but it provided a beautiful ‘dumpling skin’ to the juicy marron meat. I really enjoyed this.Sea urchin and tomato dried with pepper berries semi dried tomatoes from the Blue Mountains with sea urchin. Now the way I describe this dish was that it felt like art but I didn’t understand it. I don’t usually like sea urchin but I stomached this one okay and the broth cut through the acidity in the tomatoes that I found really intense. I found myself slowly eating this dish as it kept me pondering about what these flavours meant until I finished it all but I still felt a bit puzzled. Others on the table barely touched theirs as they didn’t like it so this was replaced with an alternative dish.Alternate dishavocado, kelp and truffle. The salty exterior of the kelp gave a nice seasoning to the fatty rich avocado, which finished with a truffle after taste. I much preferred this over the sea urchin.Abalone schnitzel and bush condiments finger lime, beach floral bouquet, succulent, kakadu native plum, Neptune’s necklace, glass beads, seaside fennel served with an abalone schnitzel and celery yeast water. Just when I was deciding which one I liked more between the marron or the snow crab, this strong contender was the next course that was served to us.

We were advised to spread the finger lime over the schnitzel, dip it in the sauce and just to eat all the other condiments naturally. It was amazing to see so many familiar things on my plate but I had never thought to eat or taste them before; they all provided interesting textures and subtle flavours. The abalone schnitzel was perfectly crumbed and crispy and dipping it into that sauce just gave it extra levels of flavours and saltiness. I loved the sauce so much I started dipping my bouquet in it just to finish it all off.Delicious celery yeast water.Marinated fresh fruit mango ice cream sandwich with green ants, compressed watermelon with black currant wood oil and pineapple sprayed in whisky and sprinkled with some salt. I thought that the mango gelato was so intense that I didn’t notice what the ants tasted like, I should have picked one off and ate it separately. I really liked the pineapple, the whisky really cut through the acidity and allowed it to be extra sweet.Blackberries served with mirrabelle plum, lime and pepperberry twig. We were told to eat the fruit and then to gently chew on the juniper branch. I thought the fresh blackberries and plum weren’t overly sweet especially when pairing it with the last juice but the twig was really interesting as it gave my mouth some heat.Rum lamington lamington with milk crumb and native tamarind sauce. I knew I was eating something because I put spoonfuls of it into my mouth, but what looked like sponge cake before me dissolved on my tongue almost instantly. It was almost like eating fairy floss with the way it disappeared. The native tamarind sauce gave the whole dessert a nice tart tang.Peanut milk and freekah “Baytime”. When they said that they couldn’t use the name of a certain ice-cream and replaced the name with “Baytime” because we were by the water, I had a certain expectation in my mind. What this reminded me of was more of an ice-cream picnic bar as the peanut flavour was quite strong and it had a toffee centre. Native lime. This reminded me of dried mandarin peels that I used to eat as a kid, the skin quickly dissolved to give you a sweet then sour aftertaste.Beverages~

Juice parings (5 juices $95.00)

It felt really weird drinking a juice with oil in it but helped coat the mouth before all these intense seafood courses came out. When had by itself, these juices were really intense in flavour but it eventually rounded out in my mouth when paired with food.

Bergamot kombucha / native mint 

Rose/spruce wood oil 

Green tomato / lemon myrtle 

smoked pepper/red pepper berry

blood plum/native lemongrass This was really sweet unlike the other juices of the degustation.Wine pairings (there were 7 wines $215.00)

Tea and coffee ($10.00 each).The first question most people ask me is ‘how was Noma/the fancy restaurant?’ and I respond with ‘Noma isn’t for everyone’.

That statement has nothing to do with the price but really the meat heavy culture we have in Australia. The time leading up to my meal at Noma, I was in a ‘no spoilers’ mode for trying to keep the menu a surprise to get the full effect on the day. I knew it would be seafood heavy with tropical fruits but I was surprised to find that there was no red meat on the menu.

A lot of my friends won’t eat seafood unless it is a crumbed piece of fish next to fried chips, so to serve shellfish and sea urchin would be wasted on some (like the sad feelings I get when non-Asians go to a Chinese wedding and don’t eat much). The reality is that the majority of us don’t eat as much seafood as other parts of the world, despite our iconic saying of throwing another shrimp on the barbie.

To have been ranked number 1 in the world, you can’t just cook the usual things really well, you have to break new ground, find new ingredients and do things a little differently, which Noma has done during their time in Australia. I felt a bit naïve at the end of the meal as these chefs have come to our country to show of our unique and native ingredients to us.

People ask me if it was worth the money and I say yes. If the number 3 restaurant in the world comes to your doorstep and prepares unique ingredients for a 10-week stint, you say ‘yes!’. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a unique dining experience.

Venue: Noma Australia

Address: 23 Barangaroo Ave, New South Wales 2146

Website: http://noma.dk/australia/
Noma Australia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A lot of Barangaroo is still under construction but in a few years, I cannot wait to see what this place becomes.

Attica

Sorry to those who have been waiting for this post to come out (it might only be José who was waiting, sorry!). I was absolutely ecstatic to get a booking at Attica and the memories of this dinner will stay with me always.

When people ask me to describe my meal, I tell them that Attica is Australia’s only restaurant to make it to The World’s 50 best restaurants, but that isn’t the only reason why I wanted to go. There is Spanish cuisine, French, Italian and a big up and coming South American wave but there really isn’t much in the way of Australian cuisine. Attica uses lots of Australian produce and native herbs and spices that show off our country’s unique ingredients, so it was nice to have an Australian restaurant using Australian ingredients (by a NZ chef hehehe) to make it on the coveted top 50 list.

 

The evening’s dinner was broken up into a lot (and I mean a lot!) of little starters, 4 mains, 1 palette cleanser, 2 desserts and of course ending the night with the very famous Pukeko egg. It ended up being a five and a half hour dinner with excitement at every new plate, good company and lots of fabulous food.

 

I felt the modest furnishings of the food and the unlikely suburban location of the restaurant reflected the humble personality of the talented chef Ben Shewry.
Starters~
Now there were lots of these and I’ll just write about the most interesting and also my absolute favourite ones (it was hard to choose), otherwise it will take me another 4 months to write this post.

 

House made sour cream apple balsamic and olive oil with leaves.

Pickle daikon, pumpkin beetroot with honey mustard.

Steamed pippies with seaweed butter.

Mouth full of green asparagus sugar snap peas walnut purée. For something that seemed so simple, this really took me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it. The flavours and textures seemed so fresh that it showed off these humble ingredients at its best.

Fresh cheese and honeycomb cows milk cheese made on site with honeycomb with hazelnut oil and lemon. It seemed like an odd pairing but the flavours worked so well together. I love how the honeycomb is served fresh onto the plate.

Crispy artichoke with snow crab.
Wallaby blood pikelet malt vinegar cream with native plum jam. It felt very strange to have a pikelet with blood in it but if you didn’t tell me I’m unsure if I would have noticed.
Chicken carrots carrot with marinated chicken thigh sorrel and tarragon. This was like a little carrot taco. I really enjoyed the marinated chicken and the carrot provided the perfect ‘taco shell’ which doesn’t fall apart as you try and eat it.
Baby corn. I’m not usually a fan of creepy corn (that is what I call baby corn) but this was served even younger than what we would normally find at supermarkets. The corn barely feels like it has individual kernels and has a different taste; more juicy and refreshing rather than sweet.

Mussels freshly shucked mussels, battered flash fried served with succulents. I thought this was fantastic. The flash fried cooking really brought out the mussels natural sweetness. 
Beef on the Bone. There is something primal yet modern about this dish. The ribboned beef carefully weaved  on the ‘skewer’ placed on a beautiful plate really contrasted to the fact that I was eating of a sharpened bone. The beef was beautiful and I really wanted more than one bite that we got.Garden herbs in a light chicken stock. Errr, eating got the better of me and only  when I was almost done eating, did I remember to take a photo.  Just take my word that it was beautifully presented. The stock was really light and all the flavours came from all the interesting herbs and flowers, I just wished that the starters were more spaced out so I didn’t feel rushed while finishing my broth to attend to the next dish.House made bread and condiments.Macadamia purée with macadamia oil and saltbush leaves.

Mains~

Red kangaroo with bunya bunya. I thought that the carrots and currants were the star of the dish and the kangaroo just played the perfect side kick.Look at that amazing colour.
Marron. It was suggested to us that the best bit of the marron was the tail so don’t bother with the body, so what did we do? We tore open the pincers and the body to eat whatever we could find, as daintily as we could before proceeding to the delicious tail. Even though the tail was admittedly better, I definitely thought it was still worth eating the meat from the upper part of the body.So much prettiness in the detail.Yeasty potatoes with cheesy rind sauce. I love potatoes and I love cheese so this dish was perfect for me. There was definitely lots of depth to this dish; the array of flavours became more intense the more you ate. It left me feeling warm and comforted, with a craving for more cheese sauce.

Adding the final touches at the table.142 Days on Earth emu with baby red cabbage. So cutely named because that is the time it took for the cabbage to grow and get to your plate. Just when I thought the dish was complete, the server kept on adding more and more on top. I have never had emu before and I naively thought it would taste like chicken, instead, it was a dark heavier meat. This dish to me felt like a rich heavy stew mixed in with the delicate leaves of the baby cabbage. It was really interesting and I love how this dish was prepared and so thoughtfully named.Half time oranges. The flesh of the frozen orange segment was replaced by orange sorbet and lemon myrtle. We were taken outside for a spot of ‘tennis’ (our skills really sucked) and then we were undeservedly rewarded with our half time oranges. It was really cold on my teeth but it made for a refreshing palette cleanser despite being a little salty and tart.We were taken into their garden with lots of beautiful flowers and herbs for the ‘half time show’.Dessert~

Maria’s Green Apple granny smith apple filled with cream cheese served with fermented rhubarb. I was so amused by the never ending coil of the delicate apple. The tartness of the apple was balanced out by the cream cheese filling and was given the ever so slightly sweet touch by the rhubarb. I loved this! How beautifully delicate is this dessert!
Lois’ Jelly Whip sheeps milk gelato, mandarin jam, freeze fried sorrel and coconut. Just when I didn’t think the desserts could get any better, out came the next one. It was hard to describe but the gelato was perfectly soft which contrasted against the crunchy textures of the top. Nothing was overly sweet and OTT, it was just a lovely balance of flavours and textures. 

I was so happy after two amazing desserts and ready to be rolled out the door that I almost forgot about the Pukeko egg, but after the cute patch of grass with three eggs balanced perfectly on top was placed down in front of us, I quickly forgot about feeling full and my eyes widened with excitement.
Pukeko’s Egg. The chocolate shell was beautifully decorated to look like a spotted egg and inside was mainly hollow except for the patch of very thick caramel which was incredible. I broke apart my shell and dipped my pieces into the paste savouring every bite. TimmyC was wondering if he could get 5 more on the way out, he was a massive fan.

It was wonderful to have been served by lots of different people and chefs, it allowed the people who helped create the dish to be proud of their work and serve it to happy customers.

The menu is forever changing at Attica but a few key dishes get a longer run time. I would happily go again if I ever get the chance.

Venue: Attica
Address: 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, VIC 3185
Phone: (03) 9530 0111
Bookings: Bookings are released on a month-by-month basis on the first Wednesday of each month at 9am, three months in advance. Bookings can be made via their website.

 

Attica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MoVida – Melbourne series

Okay, most people plan their interstate trips to do multiple things but TimmyC and I came to Melbourne (this time) to specifically eat at MoVida. TimmyC’s trendy cousin was generous enough to buy me a voucher to the MoVida group but because the other restaurants were not open yet since the New Year holidays, we booked a table for 3 at the original MoVida.Complimentary~

Warmed bread with olive oil. Always a happy surprise when a restaurant gives you delicious warmed bread for free!I loved their personalised wine glasses.
Tapa~ I love the thought that these morsels were made so well, individually portioned and reasonably priced; it didn’t matter if no one wanted to share with me, I could just order one for myself.
Yabbie special ($9.00 each). I thought this was a refreshing morsel but nothing really specifically unique. It was good to have at the beginning of the meal before the heavier, deep fried tapas arrived.
Queso quince paste cigar with whipped goats milk cheese ($4.00 each). I’m not particularly fond of goats milk products but that didn’t stop me from ordering this just to see how it would taste. I liked it so much I convinced the rest of the table to order another just to taste it. The outer quince paste cigar was surprisingly crispy and provided a nice contrasting texture to the whipped filling. The goats milk cheese wasn’t too strong but it was perfectly balanced out by the sweetness of the quince. You definitely have to try this; there were so many surprises in one mouthful.
It looks so simple and small but there was a lot of flavour in this tapa.
Flamenquin crumbed pork with jamon, thyme and mahon ($5.50 each). These were perfectly crispy and jam packed with pork. I was very tempted to order more of these, but I got too full in the end.
A delicious peek into the crispy croquette.
Fish croquette special ($4.50 each). These were very ‘fishy’ which I loved, it was a nicely seasoned filling with a crunchy non oily exterior. 
Raciones~
Carrillera De Buey slowly braised beef cheek in Perdo Ximenez on Cauliflower puree ($28.50). Oh where to begin while describing this fabulous dish. The beef was amazingly tender and pulled away effortlessly as you put a spoon through it. It had a beautiful sweet stick glaze all over which worked perfectly with the cauliflower. Don’t even get me started on that puree, it was so smooth, it was like a thick soup (and I could have easily drunk it like soup). I would order this again in a heartbeat.
This photo doesn’t do it any justice.
Patatas Bravas fried potatoes with spicy tomato and mayonnaise ($16.00). The smaller pieces were fine but I thought some of the potatoes were too big and therefore the ratio between crispy exterior to starchy fluffy filling to be way off. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting and since the rest of the meal had been so spectacular, these potatoes couldn’t compare.  Barramundi special ($27.00). The fish was soft and moist while the asparagus was cooked perfectly allowing the fresh flavours to really shine through. It was nice to have a lighter main among all the deep fried tapas and heavy meals.
Desserts~
Churros Spanish doughnuts with rich drinking chocolate ($12.50). The doughnuts were really crunchy on the outside with a fluffy texture in the centre and it was paired with what was truthfully named a ‘rich drinking chocolate’.
Flan crème caramel with pestinos ($15.00). This was so smooth and creamy, making it very easy to eat.
Pan con chocolate chocolate, bread and olive oil ice cream ($14.50). I wasn’t convinced by the description on the black board that this was the dessert for me. It wasn’t until I asked our waiter which the best dessert was; he then smirked and asked me if I was asking for the best dessert in his opinion or the most popular dessert ordered (which we rightly guessed was churros). I obviously wanted the best dessert and for something interesting against the ‘norm’, he then suggested this dessert and to ignore the very poor description on the board. What came out was fabulous. A warm soft chocolate cake encased in a crispy bread sandwich, which gave it a wonderful contrasting texture while the olive oil ice cream helped balance out the sweetness of the chocolate. As we were leaving, I told our waiter that they should really change the description because it didn’t really do the dessert justice.
I love how they have presented the ‘sandwich’ standing up on its side, it gives you a clear view of the crispy bread encasing a warm moist chocolate cake.
Check out the sexy chocolate cake sandwiched inside.
Even though we were eating on a dead line (6pm- 8pm booking) we never felt rushed and despite the restaurant was completely packed, the service and food was very prompt and the staff were very friendly and helpful. I would love to come back to try more of the menu or even the other restaurants. I loved the small tapas for individual portions at a reasonable price (take note Canberra restaurants) and that there were good variety of mains available.
The famous graffiti on Hosiser Lane which is opposite the lane way to the MoVida restaurant.
Venue: Movida
Address: 1 Hosier Lane, (off Flinders St), Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9663 3038

MoVida Bar De Tapas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cibo 

After a decade of trading under ‘Peppered Prawn’ in the Woden town centre, the owners have decided to do something a little different and have revamped the restaurant with a new look, new menu and a new name – Cibo.Meze/small plates~

This is why you bring friends along, you get to try more of the menu.Arancini fried risotto balls filled with porcini mushrooms with napolitana sauce, fresh basil leaves (3 for $16.00). I noticed the ‘holes’ in the arancini as soon as they  were put down in front of us. I found that the risotto mixture was too sloppy to make a perfect arancini ball without it crumbling. The interior was nice and salty with a district mushroom flavour but I was hoping for a more cheesy filling.Crispy prawns lightly battered, golden fried, served with lemon wedge and lemon mayo (4 for $16.00). Despite being favoured by the other guests that I was dining with, I was impressed with the size of the prawn but I didn’t think there was anything special about this dish.    
Burek baked handmade layered pastry filled with ricotta and feta ($10.00).I didn’t get much of the filling in my bite but I really liked the flaky pastry. Not really made for sharing, I would just eat one myself next time.Zucchini puffs with tzatziki (5 for $14.00). Not really memorable in comparison to the other dishes but they weren’t oily which I admired.Kobasice thin spicy semi smoked pork sausages simply filled with ajvar ($12.00). I really enjoyed these as I found them to have lots of flavour in the sausages, although I was not a fan of the ajvar as I could taste a light bitterness from capsicum skin. This was my favourite meze plate of the night.More substantial~

Pappardelle fresh ribbon egg pasta, traditional slow braised veal and pork bolognaise, grana padano ($22.00). I was very tempted to order this as I love pasta. I found that the sauce to lack some salt and found it overall a bit bland but the pappardelle pasta was fresh and was fantastic.
Pork skewers marinated with garlic, lemon, oregano, olive oil with spanish onion, tomato, tzatziki and pita (2 skewers $26.00). I don’t usually see pork skewers as an option on a menu, but these had a lovely char-grilled flavour whilst remaining succulent. It seemed like a complete meal because it was served with a small salad and bread.
Chevapi char grilled skinless sausage made of veal and pork, with spanish onion, feta and ajvar (300g $22.00). The chevapi was nice on its own but it was the perfect balance of flavours when you added a bit of onion and feta with every bite. Again I found the ajvar a bit bitter so I avoided dipping the meat in it. I thought as a main, it was a bit sad that this didn’t come with some bread or a simple salad to balance out the heaviness of the meat.
Sides~
Bowl of chips ($10.00). Unlike the skewers, the chevapi sausages were served on their own and it was suggested to get a side of chips or bread to balance out all the meat. I thought the price was a bit steep for chips but fortunately they were delicious because of their crispiness and seasoning.
You can’t tell from this angle, but the bowl was pretty deep.
Pita ($4.00). This bread was warmed which quickly turned cold and brittle. I think $4 is a bit steep for one pita bread, I should have just borrowed some from the skewers plate, but they said that they made it on site so I was curious to try.
Something sweet~
Gelato panna cotta, white chocolate and raspberry, salted caramel ($10.00). I really liked the salted caramel gelato over the other flavours but TimmyC really enjoyed the panna cotta, it goes to show each to their own.
Palacinke Balkan style crepe filled with Nutella served with bon bon rocher gelato ($10.00). I felt that this ‘crepe’ was too thick and since it was presented in a rolled cigar, it made it feel even thicker, heavier and too sweet in one mouthful. If it was even slightly thinner, it wouldn’t feel as doughy in one bite.
Krofne European donut filled with raspberry jam and icing sugar ($4.00 each). This reminded me of a Nanna’s frozen jam doughnut, but fresh. The sweet centre was at a good ratio to the doughnut so it wasn’t too sweet, the doughnut itself was nice and fluffy in texture. These are made in house and they are definitely tasty when they are fresh.A soft fluffy pillow encasing some delicious jam, that’s how I would describe this dessert.
We found the staff very friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. It is nice to have a restaurant concentrating on Mediterranean cuisine in the area. I would come back and try more unique dishes I couldn’t get normally in other restaurants.

 

Venue: Cibo
Address: Sky Plaza Apartments, 98 Corinna Street, Woden Town Centre, ACT 2606
Phone: (02) 6162 0122

Websitewww.cibokitchen.com.au/ << they have a handy online booking system

Orient Kitchen 

The lovely Canberra foodie and I caught up at her local shops to explore the new eatery that was Orient Kitchen. Weston Creek is already a hive of different eateries but it was handy to have a ‘Chinese roast meats’ place closer to home.Homemade pan fried dumplings chicken and garlic chive dumplings (12 pieces $13.80). These were pretty tasty although I prefer my dumplings a little more cooked to have that crunchy exterior. I like how they served this with Chinese vinegar and ginger.Mixed BBQ platter (2 choices) roast pork and roast duck ($18.80). I thought the pork had an extremely crunchy crackling and slightly over salted but I did preferred it over the roast duck. I found the roast duck pieces to be too thick (breast pieces) and the meat felt a little gritty and dry; the bony pieces that had a good meat to skin ratio were fabulous though.Shantang chicken boneless crispy chicken in spicy tangy vinegar sauce ($16.80). I really enjoyed this dish as there was plenty of chicken with crispy skin, lots of sauce and it wasn’t too salty. I think if there was more cucumber it would be more refreshing on the palette.They were a bit busy but food and service were very prompt. It felt like more of a take-away or quick meal atmosphere as Canberra foodie and I quickly found ourselves to be the only people left in the restaurant and we felt obliged to leave when they were packing up around us.

There are many menu items that sound tasty at a reasonable price, I’d be keen to go again.

Venue: Orient Kitchen

Address: 19 Brierly Street, Weston, ACT

Phone: (02) 6288 3330
Orient Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kong BBQ – Melbourne series

I had heard great things about Kong BBQ and it always intrigued me that the Lucas group’s band of restaurants did so well (Kong BBQ, Chin Chin, Baby Pizza and now also Hawker Hall) but yet were so different. I heard all of them were hard to get into but Kong BBQ was our best bet. We left our name with the waitress and told her we were happy to wait for a table, we were told we would receive a sms when the table was ready and we had 10 minutes to come back and claim it.

I was enjoying a lovely mocktail from the Royal Saxon when we got the sms. I quickly sculled the rest and headed to Kong BBQ before they gave away our table.Kong apple and cinnamon iced tea ($6.00). TimmyC and I found the cinnamon a bit OTT but it was cooling and refreshing on a hot summer’s day.Bao~

Spicy pork belly with pickled cucumber and Kong crazy horse chilli ($7.00 each). Despite the description, this bun filling wasn’t really spicy so don’t let the name stop you from ordering this. I loved how the pork came in two separate parts: one is the tender pork belly with striations of fat and meat while the crackling, which is served separately and delicately laid on top of everything, was super crunchy.Fried chicken with spicy corn and edamame salsa ($7.00). The chicken must have been just fried, placed in the bao and served straight to me because it was so hot and fresh. I really enjoyed this bao and it was possibly my favourite pick (pork was a close second but the chicken had a better filling to bao ratio).Soft shell crab with salted duck egg relish and coriander ($8.50). I was surprised to see the soft shell crab was so small, the tiny legs meant that there was a lot of batter and I found it more oily than ‘meaty’. Not worth the higher price, I would stick with pork or chicken. BBQ soy chicken wings with sesame and spring onion (6 pieces $12.50). I found these overly sweet and as much as I love chicken wings, I think the sticky marinade over powered all the senses.BBQ baby back pork ribs with soy and sesame (half 300g $22.00). I found the same problem with this as I had with the chicken wings, the sticky sweet salty marinade was over powering and you couldn’t taste the pork meat at all, although the meat itself was very tender.Bossam – BBQ Cape Grim black Angus sirloin bulgogi marinated with walnut ssamjang, kimchi and lettuce ($29.00). I have a habit not really reading all the menu, take exhibit A. I read that there was Cape Grim beef, I wanted it so I ordered it. So I was some what surprised when this arrived and the server explained to wrap the beef in the lettuce with the condiments like a sang choy bao. As much as I wanted to like this, I did not like the marinade and the beef was oddly dry and chewy in some parts. The only saving grace of the dish was the walnut ssamjang.Oh Cape Grim beef, why were you not as delicious as I wanted you to be?Fried rice with kimchi, beef brisket and egg ($16.00). I love a good fried rice, there is little ingredients so there is nothing to hide behind. This was amazing. Not a strong kimchi flavour but everything combined: hot rice, kimchi, beef and the runny egg yolk was the perfect combination. I would definitely order this again!BBQ zucchini and spice crusted silken tofu salad with soy vinegar dressing ($17.00). While ordering so much meat, I start to feel guilty that there was little vegetable content so I ordered this from the ‘greens’ section of the menu. It wasn’t what I expected but this surprisingly was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The tofu was ever so delicate covered in a thin crispy batter which paired well with the refreshing BBQed zucchini.Look at that beautiful tofu.This place was packed and clearly popular with the Melburnians and I can see why. We waited happily at a trendy pub down the road for almost 45 minutes for our table and when we came back, it was busier than before it that was possible. I would probably steer clear of meats with heavy marinades and stick to the baos, fried rice and accompanying dishes.

It can get pretty noisy in here with all the people, not a romantic date place.Dishes arrived when they were ready but the spacing between dishes were pretty close together; our table filled up very quickly.Food came out almost instantly from the kitchen so kudos to them for getting the orders out so well despite being ridiculously busy. The waiters were really friendly, attentive, and knew what they were doing which really helped with the efficiency of things, although towards the end they did start packing my plate away while I was still eating the bao above it and we felt a bit rushed to leave.

Venue: Kong BBQ

Address: 599 Church Street,Richmond, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: (03) 9427 1307

Websitewww.kongbbq.com.au/
Kong BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Buvette

When The Food Avenue asked me where I wanted to meet up for a catch up dinner, I suggested Buvette the newly opened French bistro inside Hotel Realm in Barton. I didn’t really check out their main menu but I knew what dessert caught my eye.

The dining area is a big open area but the tables are arranged for more of an intimate setting. It appears I have taken zero photos of the dining space, only photos of food.Complimentary~

House bread and butter. I really loved this bread, it was soft and springy while the crust wasn’t too chewy and tough to rip through.Appetisers~

Croquettes chicken and chorizo (3 pieces $12.00). The outside crumb was perfectly crisp and hot but the size of the croquettes did catch me a little off guard. The filling was okay but I was hoping for a more solid centre.

Escargot a la bourguignonne snails cooked in garlic, herb butter (12 pieces $20.00). Being in a French restaurant, we thought it was only fitting that we ordered the escargots for our appetisers. Some snails were really hard to get out of the shell and the waiter then provided us with toothpicks to dig them out. We felt very refined as we sat there digging through the snail shell for our food with a toothpick. TimmyC came across a stubborn one that refused to come out and with the awkward bend of the shell it was really hard to poke at. Finally it was MacGyver boyfriend who saved the day and I eventually got a cold snail to eat. The sauce was nice but if you minus the novelty of eating escargots in a French restaurant, it really wasn’t worth ordering.

Grill~ served with pomme frites, mixed leaf salad and a choice of sauce.

Scotch fillet with a truffle butter sauce ($38.00). Not an overly memorable steak with warm shoe string fries and truffle butter that eventually melted. I think Chifley’s has ruined me for other steaks.To share~

Chateaubriand 600g grass fed eye fillet carved and served on a timber board accompanied with a mixed green salad (not pictured), onion rings and truffle butter ($66.00). This wasn’t my main but the steak looked too rare even for my liking even though it was ordered “medium rare”. p.s. this is not a timber board.Mains~

Beef bourguignon wagyu tri-tip, carrots, onion bulbs, shemeji mushrooms ($33.00). I really enjoyed this main over TimmyC’s steak. The beef was very tender, there was a nice variety of vegetables and the beef broth had a very rich flavour. I wish it came on a bed of mash potato or a side of pasta, a bland carb to help dilute such a strong stew.

Desserts~ (all $17.00).

Chocolate assiette 3 ways chocolate tart 71% from Ecuador, Chocolate mousse 64% from Peru, Chocolate caramel and pistachio cake and cherry sorbet.Vanilla creme brulee fresh berries, cat’s tongue biscuits. This was so unbelievably eggy, like ridiculously eggy with zero vanilla taste. Even though the texture was very smooth and the serving was very generous, I could not finish it because of its disappointing eggy-no vanilla- taste.

You couldn’t tell because of the photo and the angle but this was the dish was the size of an entrée soup. If it had been really good, I would have happily finished it all.Crispy apple tart house-made vanilla ice cream, salted caramel. If this had sticky caramelised sugar over the apples or some extra sweetness in the pastry, it would have been perfect but I felt that it was missing something. It’s a shame because this was the dessert that made me choose this restaurant!Overall, we shared the same views about Buvette; I wouldn’t call it a ‘French’ restaurant/bistro just because of some key dishes, it was very over priced for what it is (we spend just over $60 pp for shared appetisers, main and dessert with no drinks) and we didn’t really enjoyed the food all that much. I hope that they will improve in the future but for now we are not keen to return.

Venue: Buvette

Address: Hotel Realm, 18 National cct, Barton, ACT

Phone: (02) 6163 1818

Website: http://buvette.com.au/

Opening hours:

BREAKFAST
Mon-Sun — 6:30am–10:30am
LUNCH
Tue-Fri — 12:00pm–3:00pm
ALL DAY
Tue-Fri — 11:00am–6:00pm
DINNER
Tue-Sat — 6:00pm–10:30pm
Buvette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Temporada re-run

With so many new restaurants coming out and so many good existing ones, I rarely would go out of my way to go back to a place where I found it mediocre but I’m always up for second chances. I didn’t love Temporada like everyone else did when it first opened but it has been a few years so maybe things have changed. TimmyC was keen to go back because we had such fond memories of their beef rib sliders.

We were seated at the bar which meant lots of table space but the seats were uncomfortable and towards the end of the meal, TimmyC and I ended up standing up while finishing our meal. 

 

To start~
House-made sourdough and cultured butter ($2.50).Their bread was delicious but the butter was definitely the best part. Order this when you sit down, then it will be perfectly timed to arrive when you have just finished ordering the rest of the meal.
Wood grilled pippies, saffron and chorizo ($20.00). I found the sauce to be most addictive to eat and I resorted to dipping my bread in it to get every last drop. Unfortunately the sauce and really salty chorizo probably drowned out the natural taste of the pippies.
BBQ King prawn, bourride ($9.00 each). TimmyC’s prawn came out of its shell rather easy but I found mine was stuck to the shell which made it really difficult to eat. I got a lot of ‘burnt’ taste in my mouth from the charred legs as I resorted to pulling the prawn meat off with my teeth. The prawn meat itself was sort of sweet but I didn’t enjoy this dish.
Zucchini flower, spanner crab, lemon ($9.00 each). These don’t look like much but they came out piping hot without being oily and they were delicious. Definitely my top pick of the smalls plates that we tried.
Filled with crabby goodness.
Wood grilled dry aged 500g T-bone, smoked potato, pink peppercorn, leeks ($45.00). TimmyC always jokes that T-bones are a ‘private steak’ for me because I like to pick up the bone and get every last bit of meat, but this was served pre-cut which meant for easy eating and sharing. The steak itself wasn’t anything special and I was hoping for more butter and smooth texture from the potato.
The steak wasn’t amazing but it was cooked perfectly.
We still weren’t overly impressed with the food but more importantly our bums were super sore from the seats, so we decided to pay the bill and head somewhere else for dessert. My friend who was also there having dinner that night was coincidentally sitting at the bar next to us, eventually she got a sore bum too but her party of two really enjoyed their duck main and would happily come back again. I guess it depends on experiences and the food that you order, but I won’t be in a hurry to come back again, maybe if they get beef ribs sliders back on the menu.
We sat near the kitchen entrance so it was easy to flag down staff when we wanted a water refill etc, the food wait time was very minimal and it was fairly busy by the time we had left.
See my previous post about Temporada here.

Temporada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mezze

It isn’t that often that TimmyC will hear about a new restaurant before I do but that was the case this time when he took me to Mezze in Manuka, which is located next to the cinema where Camellia used to be.
I don’t usually like having Turkish with one other person because it really limits you to what you can order, but we tried to be smart with our ordering, so we avoided eating a lot of bread and more delicious grilled meats.
We were going to order two grilled meats plates but after doing some quick calculations we realised it was much more economical getting the platter for two which encompassed what we wanted to order and many more delicious things. After we ordered the waitress asked us if we knew that the price was $40 per person and we said we were aware. There must have been awkward situations before that have led to clarification of the price before ordering.

 

Kebab platter minimum two people sis tavuk, sis kebab, kofte, pirzola with rice, salad, garlic bread and zucchini balls ($40.00 per person).
Zucchini balls. They were hot, crispy and fluffy but nothing special.
Garlic bread. I know I said we weren’t going to go bread heavy but there was a bit of bread in the banquet. I thought it was unusual that they were serving garlic bread at a Turkish restaurant but the twist is that they serve it on Turkish bread. I know this dish sounds simple but the bread was flatter than usual, it was really hot and crispy and it had a strong garlic flavour. We ate this so fast with no regrets! I’m craving some more as I write this.
 
The platter. I was surprised to see that one of the chefs came out to present us with our platter. Everything was super freshly cooked and very hot. Even though we had gorged ourselves on popcorn before, we ate everything on the platter but only left a bit of rice and salad. We were getting full but we couldn’t help ourselves.
The chicken kebabs and kofte were so moist and succulent, the lamb skewers were a little chewy (definitely eat them while they are hot) but the lamb chops albeit were overcooked, were still very delicious. It was refreshing to have the fresh salad, char grilled vegetables and rice on the side as the platter was rather meat heavy. I think my favourite thing on the plate were the kofte with spoonfuls of hot rice.
This is not a ‘buy a banquet for two which really serves four’ type of place, the servings are still on the larger size but it is about quality over quantity. Service was fantastic even though there was only one waitress, she was friendly and efficient and I also liked how the chef presented his food with pride. I would be curious to see what they serve for ‘Turkish breakfast’ on weekends.

Venue: Mezze
Address: Shop 8 Capitol Theatre BLDG, 17 Franklin St, Canberra ACT 2603
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 11:00am – 11:00pm
Saturday – Sunday 8:00am – 11:00pm

Fun filled weekend – Monster

Since I was basically at capacity after our dinner at Močan and Green Grout, I had no input in what to do about dessert (yes, some of us could still fit it in). Nothing in particular sparked TimmyC’s interest on their dessert menu so he suggested to go to Monster which was just a short stroll away.
We seated ourselves in the new section near the fancy fireplace, which was thankfully off. Friends chose their desserts quickly and when I was probed about not having a dessert by the friendly waitress, TimmyC quickly chose a dessert for me but really a second one for himself.
Hot chocolate ($4.00).
Flat white coffee ($4.00).Creme Catalan, pear, Pedro Ximinez ($17.00). When we were receiving our cutlery, our waitress informed us that we ordered the last two Creme catalans and that we were very lucky. I knew how big the catalan was because another friend had ordered it recently but it caught everyone else by surprise. It is a really smooth custard with chunks of soft pear every so often, topped with a sprinkle of sweet syrup. The perfect dessert for those who are looking for something not too sweet, rich or heavy.
Mango, coconut, lime, sesame ice cream, lychee sherbet ($17.00). When I took a photo of this dish, I didn’t even know what angle to take it from (clearly) and I was even more puzzled about where to start when I was tasting it. I just dabbed my spoon in a bit of everything and the dominant tastes in my mouth were mango and coconut. We went back to review the menu to see what was on the plate and we couldn’t taste lychee at all but it was a very light and fruity dessert.
Soft chocolate, poached figs, almond, fig leaf ice-cream ($19.00). Although this was the sweetest dessert at the table it still wasn’t too rich or heavy. I found the texture of the soft chocolate (hidden somewhere underneath) to be somewhere between dense mousse and a soft jube, it was thick but had an unusual natural spring to it. I didn’t get to each too much of this dessert because TimmyC eats so quickly but he at least left me the figs, which I loved. I don’t think that the figs really paired well with everything else and I don’t think it was worth the steep price tag.
We were served by a lovely waitress who we also found very amusing. When we received the bill it turns out that we spent just as much on dessert as we did on dinner at Močan and Green Grout. Prices have always been more expensive at Monster but we didn’t mind paying more as not many places are open that late and we really liked the atmosphere.

Monster Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fun filled weekend – Močan and Green Grout 

Despite having eaten half of Canberra, I dragged my friends away from The Forage to go have dinner at Močan and Green Grout with me. I had recently started talking to one of the chefs, Jose Blanco who has been very encouraging of my blogging and I said I would pop by to try out his handy work.

I haven’t been to Močan and Green Grout in years (see my first post here) but TimmyC and I remember vividly that the food was delicious even though we found the bill total was a bit steep.Organic cola ($4.50). My friend said I described it perfectly when I said that it tasted like a melted cola frozen slushie.The waitress explained that each dish would come out one at a time to allow for maximum enjoyment of each dish. I much prefer it this way, otherwise I’m left (of my own accord) taking photos one dish after another and always eating one plate behind. This way I could enjoy each dish as they come, hot and fresh and discuss the one dish with my dining companions.

Marinated kingfish, wild fennel and orange ($23.00). The flavours of this dish were very clean. The marinated kingfish taste wasn’t very overwhelming or ‘fishy’ and when paired with the crunchy fennel and orange, it really refreshed the palette. Even my friend who doesn’t like fish ate it; it was  nice way to start the meal.There were 8 pieces of kingfish in total.Boxgum Grazing pork belly, butifarra negra and smoked koblrabi ($24.00). I didn’t really understand half the ingredients but when I saw ‘Boxgum Grazing pork’, I knew I wanted this dish. This dish came with four pieces of delicious pork belly that had the right amount of fat to melt into your mouth. Only some of the skin was crispy but it was seasoned perfectly. We had taken bites out of the ‘crisps’ looking things which we guessed was possibly koblrabi after some googling, it was crispy and juicy but had  bitter aftertaste like a radish. It didn’t really add much to the dish but if it was also made into the base puree, it was wonderful. I’m not a huge fan of blood sausages but the butifarra negra had a nice taste, although it did have a slightly chewy odd texture.

Lamb shoulder, smoked yoghurt, pomegranate and kale chips ($26.00). We all agreed that this was the favourite dish of the night. The lamb was so tender that it was almost effortless to divvy it up into four portions. True, all the elements helped make this dish fabulous but the meat itself was the star of the night.The service was always prompt, friendly and attentive while the dinner atmosphere was very relaxed; it was a perfect night to sit outside and catch up with friends (BYO for all those wondering). The waitress suggested order to 1.5 dishes per person but we ordered a lot less after the end of a very busy eating day for me. The menu is very limited but is currently changing with the seasons and produce available. I’ve always enjoyed the food here, just keep in mind it is Canberra hipster prices and portions.
Mocan & Green Grout Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

XO re-run 

Just like Santa, I’m going through my list and checking it twice, although mine is probably less of a list and more of a menu, more specifically XO‘s menu. After patting my belly at the end my second visit, I checked the menu and there are only four items that I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting yet. Soon, my pretties. Soon you’ll be mine.

Don’t mind me and my random sense of humoursoonmyprettiesyouwillbemineSince I had eaten most of the menu the first time around I spent most of my second trip talking to friends and enjoying the food all over again, I did eat more than two things (best you don’t know how much more) and I’ll only write about the dishes I hadn’t tried before.

Starters~
Steamed dumping  minced prawn and pork with spicy soy vinaigrette ($16.00). These reminded me of the dumplings you can get at Din Tai Fung, and that is fine by me. Unbeknownst to me, my chilli tolerance must be gradually getting better because I didn’t think the soy sauce was too spicy but according to some, it was.
Larger~
Barramundi fillet steamed in sesame soy with cherry tomatoes and pickled mustard leaves ($32.00). Most of my life, I remember my family patiently sitting there and waiting for me to finish eating at restaurants and what I am usually ‘pecking’ at is the last of the steamed fish with soy sauce that I love drowning in my bowl of rice. I don’t often have this dish anymore as A) I’m more aware of how much a steamed fish costs at a restaurant (lots of thanks for all the meals Mummy paid for) and B) I can’t eat a whole one to myself and need people to share it with. Anyway, back to this dish, It reminds me exactly of that dish (minus the tomatoes), it makes my heart flutter and takes me back to my childhood. The fish itself was really delicate and almost melts in your mouth, which is not usually a term you would use to describe fish! I was keen to try this after reading Gary’s review of XO and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity.
I’m still dreaming about the Asian bolognese and xiu mai… YUMMMMMMMMMMMM