Yat Bun Tong

We were driving home from Sydney when I realise there was nothing but carrots, eggs and butter in my fridge, so I made plans to meet my friends in Braddon to try out the new dumpling restaurant Yat Bun Tong for dinner.

On a Sunday night without a booking at 7pm, we were very lucky to get a table for four without a reservation. The menus are huge  (and heavy) because of the diverse range of dishes and the accompanying photos. I had to be careful not to over order and there were a few dietary restrictions within the group.I was torn between ordering the Shanghai pan fried pork bun (10 for $14.80) or the Shanghai steamed bun (10 for $13.80) but because I know the pan fried pork buns can be filling, I went with the steamed dumplings so I could order more dishes instead.

I expected them to come out in a particular order but instead they came as they were ready and the gap between waiting times wasn’t that long. It was a struggle to fit everything on the table though as the plates are rather big.

Garlic chicken fried rice ($12.80). I wanted a more garlic flavour but it was nice enough as an accompaniment to the other dishes.Fried beef onion dumplings (15 for $12.80). These weren’t fabulous but still rather tasty and I preferred these over the steamed ones.Pan fried chive cakes (2 for $8.80). Not very flavoursome and definitely not worth ordering again.Shanghai steamed bun (10 for $13.80). There is a little soup inside each dumpling which stayed inside as the dumpling wrapper wasn’t too delicate. I didn’t love the taste of the dumpling though.Deep fried soft shell crab with spicy peppery salt ($19.80). I was surprised to see that this was a rather large serve. The batter was a tad too thick but there was plenty of delicious fried garlic, chilli and shallots.Chinese broccoli with garlic ($14.80). A simple tasty dish to break up the oily and heaviness from the other dishes.Someone told me that Yat Bun Tong have the same owners as Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House in Woden. It’s no Din Tai Fung but it is better than other dumpling places I have tried around town. I would like to come back and try the other dumplings like the Shanghai pan fried pork bun and also try their noodles which I hear is quite nice.

Venue: Yat Bun Tong

Address: 61/10-12 Lonsdale street, Braddon, ACT 2612

Phone: (02) 61520880
Yat Bun Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Galleon Cafe – Melbourne series

 

TimmyC’s trendy cousin took us out for brunch at the Galleon Cafe near Ackland street; it is a hipster central cafe decked out in mismatched vintage furniture (it reminded us of A bite to Eat in Chifley) and really friendly staff. There was a bit of a line up at the front to get a seat but since we didn’t mind squishing to one side whilst sitting outside, we got a table fairly quickly.
Us seating outside smooshed to one side, just trying out the fish eye camera lens that I got for Christmas.
A peek inside the cafe: the view from the outside.
There was a bit of a wait for food and beverages but they were super busy.
Scrambled tofu with mushroom, spinach and crispy fried enoki with sour dough toast – vegan ($14.50). I surprised even myself when I ordered this but I love a good tofu scramble ever since my friend made an awesome one for me years ago (hello Mellie!). I think because it doesn’t have a sauce or bacon, it needed a good dose of flavour or salt from something and this tofu scramble just didn’t have that. I think if it had more salty notes or chilli it would have been a lot better. I love the addition of fried enoki and I think I’ll be doing that more often in my own home cooking.
Eggs Benedict made with our house made hollandaise sauce with bacon and two eggs ($14.00). I really liked their house made hollandaise and was sporadically dipping my forkful in it. The eggs were probably ever so slightly over cooked, maybe 30 seconds less it would have been perfect. 
Poached eggs on toast (full serve $10.00) with a sweet potato hash brown ($4.50).
Banana and date loaf (baked in house) toasted with vanilla bean ricotta (half serve $4.00?). I am always torn between savoury and sweet for breakfast, so today I decided I will have both. It probably didn’t really matter what was underneath because the vanilla bean ricotta stole the show! A semi sweet, rich creamy paste that I smothered all over the bread. I’m going to have to start making my own ricotta soon.
Fresh juice orange, pineapple and ginger ($7.50). This was a nice refreshing sweet juice but I couldn’t taste any ginger.
Despite being bogged down heavily with patrons, I found all the staff at Galleons to be super friendly. I loved the diversity in the menu from different toasts, bagels, breakfast bowls to a wide variety of vegetarian, non vegetarian and a whole bunch of extras. The most expensive menu item was $15.50 and a lot of options come with half serves for those who don’t eat as much as me; making this place very accommodating and cheap!

 

Venue: The Galleon Cafe
Address: 9 Carlisle St, St Kilda VIC 3182
Phone: (03) 9534 8934

The Galleon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Easey’s – Melbourne series

When TimmyC’s trendy cousin was telling me about a place that we were going for breakfast which was in train carriage on top of a building, I thought to myself ‘only in Melbourne’. Surprisingly, these trains carriages were up on the building before the burger joint Easey’s moved in and they only occupy one of the carriages; I think an Entertainment lawyer is next door.We can spot the joint a mile away!There is some seats outside if you don’t want to dine in the train carriage.BLT streaky bacon, egg, ketchup and double cheese ($6.00).Sausage and egg sanga sausage patty, egg, ketchup and double cheese ($6.00). I love cheese so the double cheese was great for me but I wasn’t too big on the texture of the sausage patty (think sausage meat shaped into a patty), which was somewhat springy. Still, it was only 6 bucks.Just in case you wondered what it looked like under all that cheese.Chicken tenders three southern fried chicken pieces with perinnaise ($5.50). I really enjoyed this over my breakfast burger. The chicken was super crispy but the flavour hit definitely came from the sauce.When we ordered water for the table, we were very grateful that all the glasses came with lots of ice. It can get hot up there, even with the air con on!  I took the stairs going up to see the cool graffiti art but the lift going downIt might be the world’s slowest lift, but it will take you to the 4th floor when your legs cannot.The view from the window.Inside the train carriage is pretty cute.
Neighbouring graffiti, I love the detail in the eye.
Our breakfast bill came to the grand whopping total of $23.50 albeit no drinks but still a bargain! I probably wouldn’t come for breakfast again, but their burgers looked awesome and worth coming back for, especially if they have double cheese on them too.

 

Venue: Easey’s

Address: 48 Easey street, Collingwood, VIC 3066

Phone: OFFICE: (03) 90795942 TAKE AWAY: (03) 90795940

Websitehttp://easeys.com.au/

Easey's 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

Bspoke cafe and bar

It would be by complete luck and nerdy reasons that I found Bspoke cafe and bar out in Fyshwick.

TimmyC had rushed into MSY for computer parts, leaving me in the car (with the air con on) to reply to messages but after I was done I turned my head to notice a cute cafe that I had never seen before and in true foodie fashion, I locked the car and went straight in to explore.If you’re somehow not tempted by their extensive cabinet, there is a small menu to choose from.Bspoke is actually inside the Pushys bike store. They have a cute small bar to one side, an open cafe next to it and plenty of seating which extended to an outside courtyard. It looked like there was  limited menu and not a single piece of bacon in sight but it still intrigued me. I wasn’t really hungry as I just ate my weight in popcorn but my eyes lit up when I saw home-made pies in the cabinet. I messaged TimmyC to come next door to meet me.

Smoothie of the day mango honey and coconut ($8.00). This was really light in texture, not all foam but frothed into light fluffy texture which made this very easy to drink. It didn’t have a strong flavour overall but you could still taste the mango, honey and coconut.Flat white medium coffee ($4.00). TimmyC said it was a decent coffee but it wasn’t good enough to just come just for their coffee.Homemade pepper steak pie ($9.00). I am the first to admit that 9 bucks for a small pie is a bit steep but I loved the outer pattern of the pie and I’m a sucker for pepper steak. The pastry was golden brown which encased big chunky pieces of tender steak with a good dousing of pepper. It was served with a side of delicious sweet tangy chutney but it could have done with some simple green leaves to make the plate more complete.I really liked the huge tender chunks of steak inside the pie.If my friend or partner wanted to shop for bike bits, I would definitely appreciate this oasis with a laid back atmosphere as they shopped on the other side of the store. I found the service to be very friendly and efficient.

Venue: Bspoke cafe and bar

Address: 79 Collie street, Fyshwick, ACT

Phone: (02) 6280 4984

Opening hours:

Monday – Friday 6:30am – 5:30pm

Saturday 8:30am – 4:00pm

Sunday 10:00am – 3:00pm

BSpoke Cafe and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mister Zee’s

Mister Zee’s has only been opened for three days but I have been waiting months for this restaurant to open. We went last night for dinner and even though there was four of us, I proceeded to order almost half the menu.Chocolate baklava shake ($8.00). I must say this was one of the first things that caught my eye when I read the menu; I thought it was an odd combination but I definitely wanted to try it. It was a delicious chocolate milkshake and at first you couldn’t really sense any baklava but towards the last third you start to notice the filo pastry that has been blended through. I don’t know how well a milk shake goes with the amount of food we ordered, maybe this would be better if you were looking for something sweet after one menu item as opposed to half of the menu like we had ordered.Charcoal chicken served with Lebanese bread, toum (garlic dip), pickles (half $13.00). When the plate we put in front of us we were really underwhelmed as the chicken looked cold and dry but I was surprised to find it slightly warm. I ate a bit of the breast which was on the drier side but even when I ate around the thighs it was also dry. There was a nice flavour through the meat but all the deliciousness was in the skin. The salty charcoal flavours were delicious and the way it was cooked left the skin nice and crispy. I really wished the Lebanese bread would have been slightly warmed, it would have made a fabulous difference. The pickles were really strong, eye widening type of pickles but the flavours became refreshing as we were eating it between other dishes.

We didn’t know what this was but found out very quickly that it was garlic dip. It went really well with the chicken.The pickles were almost as intense as their colour!Lebanese nachos choice of chicken, lamb or falafel served with fried Lebanese bread, tomato, onion, parsley, cheese, hummus, labneh ($15.00). We chose chicken for the meat and we really enjoyed this. The fried Lebanese bread wasn’t oily and sickly but rather addictive and super crunchy, I was surprised it didn’t get soggy towards the end and it kept its crispness. I would easily order this again.Lamb kofte with spicy tomato sauce served with rice pilaf ($18.00). This was really nice at first but as the dish got colder, the meat got tighter and tougher; I would definitely recommend eating this while it is hot. I didn’t find the tomato sauce spicy at all and while we really enjoyed this dish when we first tried it, I found myself preferring the other menu items after all our order arrived.Hummus ($6.00). We didn’t really read the additions to every dish but I wish the server at the register pointed out that many of our dishes already came with hummus and we really didn’t need to order any more additionally. I was hoping for more of a garlic hit but it was rather mild and smooth.Babaganoush ($7.00). I don’t know if they had given this to us complimentary because we ordered so much but it was a lovely gesture. Babaganoush isn’t my first preference of dip as I find some versions have too strong of a burnt eggplant taste but I surprisingly enjoyed this dip.Shish choice of chicken, lamb or adana (minced lamb meat) served with salad, Turkish flatbread, hummus (triple $26.50). We had all started dipping our Lebanese bread from the charcoal chicken plate in dips but as soon as the warm Turkish flatbread hit our table we all happily swapped breads almost instantly. To have more choice we naturally ordered one of each type of shish and I was really surprised to find that chicken was my favourite with its delicious flavours while remaining succulent. The lamb pieces was a close second but the adana, just like the lamb kofte was nice while it was hot but it as it got colder, it too got tougher. I would love to eat a kebab made up of the chicken pieces wrapped in flatbread which was smeared in hummus. Mmmmmm…

While we were happily stuffing our faces, someone who we presumed to be the manager asked us what we thought of the meal. After our compliments on certain dishes, he was really interested to find out what we  didn’t enjoy as much. We went through things such as the dry charcoal chicken, cold Lebanese bread and the texture of the adana to which he all seemed to be aware and said he was working on getting the perfect balance of a succulent moist chicken while getting that crispy salty skin, the problems of heating Lebanese bread and still working on getting the perfect cooking time of the adana. I was really impressed about how he had taken the feed back on board and that he really wanted to better his product. I then quizzed him about his dessert menu and in particular why there was no Lebanese doughnuts available, he proceeded to then tell me how they are made fresh every day but the batter is only good for so long but they hope to make a batter (which takes 2-3 hours) ready for opening time and by the time it reached late afternoon, they would make another batch for night time.Something sweet~

My friend and I were still eating dinner when the waitress came over and gave us complimentary dessert, I presumed it was because we had given feedback in addition to my enthusiasm for their desserts. I thought it was so nice of them.Baklava ice cream sandwich ($6.00). Before we even ordered, I was asking the girl at the front counter many questions which included: what is adana? Is everything on the menu available? Do you have baklava ice cream sandwiches? She then explained that the ice cream sandwich was a literally a piece of baklava cut in half with ice cream wedged in the middle. It isn’t as sweet and overwhelming as it sounds because the baklava isn’t that sweet and flavours and crispy texture went really well with the ice cream. I would eat this again, but it is definitely not a first date food as it gets messy very quickly.Knafeh ($6.00). We were told that this was made by a local couple and I was super excited to try this ever since I had it late last year when we had that pop up shop. It had a delicious subtle sweet flavours of rosewater and pistachios with a beautiful smooth texture. I would have loved this if it was served warm. *drool*I was surprised for a place that would do a lot of take- aways had such nice spacious seating, good heavy cutlery and crockery. It is nice to have something different to eat when there are so many cafe and Asian options in the area. I will definitely be back to try more and eat more of what I’ve already tried. Waiting times didn’t take long, the prices are reasonable and the staff were very friendly and efficient.

We spent just under $100 between the four of us ordering dinner and we were really full even before the desserts arrived but everyone knows that you have a separate stomach for dessert. I think you could easily be content with a single shish ($14.50) and leave enough room for something sweet.

Venue: Mister Zee’s

Address: 122 Bunda Street, Canberra, Civic, ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0306

Opening hours:

11:00am – 9:00pm Sunday – Thursday

11:00am – 10/10:30pm Friday and Saturday
Mister Zee's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What’s in season: November

In season: November

 

Vegetables

asparagus, Reed and Hass avocados varieties, artichokes, Asian greens (bok choy, kang kung, etc), asparagus, beetroot, broad beans (peak of season), broccoli, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, green beans, kale, lettuces, shiitake mushrooms, okra, onions, red/Spanish (first of the season), peas, sugar snap, potatoes, pumpkin (Jap variety), silverbeet, spinach, witlof, zucchini, zucchini flowers

Herbs, spices and aromatics

basil, chillies, coriander, curly parsley, dill, flat leaf parsley, Italian Purple garlic, ginger, mint, oregano, rocket, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), thyme, watercress

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples – Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith, Sundowner, apricots (just starting), bananas, blueberries, blood oranges (end of season), cherries, grapefruit, kiwifruit, loquats, mango (beginning of season), mangosteen, mulberries, oranges (Valencia), papaya, passionfruit (panama variety), pineapples, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, watermelon

What’s in season: October

In season: October

 

Vegetables

Globe artichokes, Asian greens, asparagus, avocadoes, beetroot, broad beans, cauliflower, lettuces, shiitake mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes (chat, new), silverbeet, spinach, watercress, witlof, wombok, zucchini

Herbs, spices and aromatics

chillies, coriander, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, ginger, mint, oregano, rocket, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), thyme

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples – fujis, sundowners, pink lady, lady williams, golden delicious, red delicious and granny smiths are all in season, bananas, cumquats, grapefruits, kiwi fruit, oranges (Valencia), and nearing the end of the blood oranges, mandarins, papaya, passionfruit, pomelos, tangellos, strawberries

What’s in season: September

In season: September

 

Vegetables

Globe artichokes, Asian greens, asparagus, beetroot, bitter melon, broad beans, broccolini, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce, mushrooms, cultivated, shiitake, peas, potatoes (chat, new), silverbeet, spinach, swedes, wombok

Herbs, spices and aromatics

chillies, coriander, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, ginger, horseradish, mint, oregano, rocket, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), turmeric, thyme

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples (Lady Williams), bananas, cumquats, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins (Honey Murcott), melons, nashis, oranges, Seville and Blood oranges, papaya, pineapple, pomelo, tangelos

Attica – birthday promises

Ready, get set… Book!

TimmyC had promised to take me to Attica for my birthday next year; we rarely plan ahead but for meals like this we will. As it so happens, we have been given a generous offer of free accommodation with family until the end of the year and we jumped at the opportunity.

I told TimmyC to book Attica for around November unaware of their booking system. Apparently they only release booking blocks of up to three months in advance and new dates are released the first Wednesday of each month, which happen to be last week. From my blanket fort in the lounge room, I reminded TimmyC last week that he had to make a very important phone call at 9am. It turns out that all the bookings are made online and as soon as the phone message prompted him to go on the website TimmyC rushed online. Dates quickly became dashed from the calendar, TimmyC panics and fumbles for his mouse. The 21st of November was already dashed but he clicked on it anyway. Presto! He was able to make a booking for 3 people that night anyway.

WOHOO, we’re in! And now we wait…

p.s.
Yes I realise I have already been very spoilt this year.
p.p.s.
No this will no longer count as my birthday present TimmyC

Pancake trial #3

My lovely American friend invited me over for brunch which entailed bacon, home-made hash browns and very fluffy thick pancakes, she happily gave me the recipe and I needed to try for myself if it was as easy as she said it was. The recipe is supposed to be easy to remember: 1 of everything, although you have to remember it is only one tablespoon of sweetener or your teeth will fall out. 😉

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1-3/4 cup milk (depends on how thick or thin you like your pancakes)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey
  • Butter for cooking

Equipment

  • Fry pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup for easy pouring of the batter
  • Spatula

Method

  1. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix only until all the ingredients have just been incorporated. Apparently it doesn’t even matter if you don’t get all the flour pockets, just don’t over mix it
  2. Let it stand in the bowl for 10 minutes
  3. Grab a measuring cup for easy scooping, I chose my 1/3 cup for smallish pancakes
  4. Heat the pan on medium heat and throw a knob of butter to oil the pan
  5. Once the butter is bubbling, scoop a portion of your pancake batter in and it should spread nicely to create circles. I was able to fit two in a big fry pan, because I only added 3/4 cup of milk, it was thick and stayed put
  6. Flip the pancake once bubbles have formed (should only take a few minutes).
  7. Once flipped, it only needs around another minute to brown the other side.
  8. Remember to adjust heat based on your stove top so the pancakes do not burn

Tips

This mixture made only 5 fluffy pancakes, it is good portions for one or two people and ensures you’re not eating pancakes for the next week.

They reheat well after a 10-15 seconds in the microwave.

You can also add some berries (frozen or fresh), after you’ve poured the batter into the pan

Throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, rest for 10 minutes, scoop, cook, flip and eat, it is that easy.
TimmyC has his with maple syrup and ice cream, I prefer mine with Lyle’s Golden syrup.They’re so fluffy!!I think I have found a winner, these pancakes are thick and fluffy, the ingredients list is easy to remember and are basic staple to the kitchen pantry/fridge. I will just have to keep an eye on the cooking so they don’t look so brown around the edges. That is one out of five completed for my New Year’s resolution. It’s already August, eeep!

What’s in season: August

In season: August

 

Vegetables

beetroots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, okra, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, silverbeet, spinach, swede, sweet potatoes, witlof, wombok (aka Chinese cabbage, aka celery cabbage)

Herbs, spices and aromatics

ginger, horseradish, nuts, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), turmeric

Fruits, berries and nuts

grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, oranges (blood), oranges (Navel), oranges (Seville)

What’s in season: July

In season: July

 

Vegetables

artichoke, Asian greens, avocados, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, eschallots (red shallots), fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, okra, olives, brown onions, pickling onion, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, swedes, sweet potatoes, truffle (local Canberra black truffle), turnips, wombok (aka Chinese cabbage, aka celery cabbage), witlof (aka Belgian endive)

Herbs, spices and aromatics

ginger, horseradish, nuts, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), turmeric

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples (Granny Smith), cumquats, custard apples, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, melons, oranges (blood), oranges (Navel), papaya, pears, persimmons, pineapple, pomelos, quince, rhubarb, tangelos

California cafe

TimmyC has had a deep love for waffles ever since he came back from his America trip, so when I heard that there was a ‘takeaway diner’ in Mawson I took him there immediately. California Cafe has joined the many other cafes that have popped in recent years which has made Mawson a hive of activity and a location full of choice. Not as many cafes are open on a Sunday but luckily the diner was. TimmyC is a bit of a snob when it comes to waffles, he dislikes pre-made rock hard ones (but who doesn’t) and would prefer them to have deep wells so all the syrup and ice cream catch in the pockets.

There were waffles and pancakes on the breakfast menu served with bacon, banana and maple syrup, so TimmyC was set; although it was early I felt like a cheeseburger from this diner. We went to order at the counter and TimmyC’s first question was “do you make the waffles in-house?”, the waitress answered no, “do you make the pancakes from batter?” which I thought was a stupid question until it was also met with a ‘no’; he opted for an eggs benedict instead.The cake cabinet should have been my first clue not to eat here, can you see the huge chunks of carrot in the carrot cake?While we were waiting for our food, the woman next to us had ordered the waffles and she was super excited when three thick store-bought waffles topped with bacon and banana was placed in front of her. I had noticed that she shared some with her Mum and even then they only finished half a waffle each which meant there was plenty still left on the plate after they left.Caramel thick shake ($7.00). We watched them make this and it had tonnes of ice-cream in it and there was just enough topping without making me feel sick. YUM!Coffee (lge ($4.00). TimmyC said it was okay coffee. They also serve a ‘jumbo’ size here.Eggs benedict eggs with bacon on a sour dough roll with hollandaise sauce ($14.90). The hollandaise was nice enough but still tasted like it was bottled sauce and I’m a bit confused as to why there were unseasoned chips on the plate. A very underwhelming breakfast when I promised TimmyC waffles from a diner. I don’t see exactly what the kitchen is cooking when the sauce is from a jar, the waffles and pancakes are store-bought and the chips are from frozen packets.The plates that they serve on are massive.Cheeseburger with fries ($8.90). I was really disappointed with my burger, it was an okay patty drowned in tomato sauce and mustard topped with a plastic (at least melted) slice of cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love plastic cheese but I couldn’t taste much of anything other than mustard and tomato sauce. The chips were hot and seasoned with something that I couldn’t pick, it reminded me of mamee noodle snacks. The thick shake helped with washing the acidity of the sauces from my mouth.

I couldn’t taste anything other than sauce.  The diner was getting busy with lots of staff from neighbouring business coming in for takeaway so some people obviously enjoy the food here but with so much better choices in the area, I won’t be coming back.

Venue: California Cafe

Address: 4 Southlands Shopping Centre, Mawson ACT 2607

Opening hours:

Monday – Friday 7:30am – 8:00pm

Saturday – Sunday (and public holidays) 8:00am – 3:00pm
The California Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pancake like object trial#2 aka crepes

TimmyC’s love of pancakes quickly shifted to crepes when he discovered their crispy buttery goodness a few years ago and I thought while I was trying to get a good pancake, I could probably look into crepes as well.

A wonderful Belgian friend of mine made me some crepes for breakfast the last time I stayed with her; the crepes were delicious with a subtle sweetness from the vanilla sugar she uses. I didn’t find it needed much else but a touch of cinnamon to enjoy its buttery crispy goodness but she had hers with bacon, banana and syrup. Her recipe comes from an old photocopied recipes from Belgium and she was also nice enough to translate it for me so I could try to make them when I got home.


 

Crêpes (makes 15)

I had to double check with my friend that I had written down the right type of flour, I just thought it was an odd concept for something so thin and crispy to have self raising flour.
I forgot to make a well for my wet ingredients which just meant I had to mix a bit more but it incorporated together in the end.

Ingredients

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 500mL milk
  • 4 eggs
  • Butter for frying

Equipment

  • Fry pan with shallow sides
  • Spatula
  • 2x Mixing bowls

Method

  1. Sift flour into a bowl
  2. Mix through both sugars
  3. Make a well
  4. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl
  5. Put eggs and milk in the well and mix until everything is incorporated
  6. Ladle the batter into medium hot buttered pan.
  7. Swirl the pan instantly to cover the bottom of the pan evenly with batter
  8. Loosen edges with spatula when bubble start to form
  9. Flip the crepe without dropping it on the floor
  10. Cook for less than a minute on the other side or until golden brown

Tips

We were eating them by the stove top because we were impatient and we liked them hot. My friend placed all of the layers on a plate kept it warm in the oven until she was done cooking. You will have to keep adjusting the heat to the pan so the crepes won’t burn.

For my own convenience, I cooked them all in one hit and just microwaved them when I wanted one; they were hot but lost their crispiness. They looked ugly at first but it takes a few tries to get them thin and flip them without breaking.

Choose your condiments and you’re on your way! Tim likes maple syrup and ice cream (you’ll see a trend) but I like it plain and simple with hints of icing sugar and cinnamon. Layers of crispy thin crepes