Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hwaro Korean Barbeque

One of my best girlfriends has been suggesting that she and her boyfriend, and David (my best friend) and I do a double date at this Korean barbeque place she really likes (the last time we did a double date we went to Trunk which was a little less than impressive).

When I think about it, Korean is one cuisine I am totally unfamiliar with, however David and my girlfriend love the stuff, so off we trotted on Monday night.

My god, I arrived there by myself and you can SMELL the charcoal from the other side of Little Bourke St, it's actually incredibly inviting.

So since I'm rather the novice with Korean food, I got David and my girlfriend (I'll refer to her as Miss C) ordered most of the food...which of course is just meat, meat and more meat.

The whole arrangement of the place is quite cute, wooden communal benches and tables, which are made into smaller seating arrangements with a blind partition to seperate different groups.

And once you order your food, they lower the vent from the ceiling and bring out your charcoals!

To start off with they bring out an assortment of dips and sauces and veggies and a bit of kimchi which I found quite nice, the sourness really cleans up your palate!

We started off with the ox tongue....which cooked in a flash! If we left it on for more than a few minutes it would crisp up and burn already, so we ate that all very quickly. Delicious.

We then got the wagyu scotch filet steak....I think I've been a bit spoiled with the wagyu I've had in the Philippines as I did not find it particularly amazing. Tasty, but not as tender as I was expecting to be.

Here you see the pork belly marinated in...I forget the marinade, some kind of soy based marinade...but it was delicious, probably one of my favourite pieces of meat for the night! Next to is the traditional Gal-bi beef, which was also, very tasty.

I loved how the waiter folded out the Gal-bi beef on top of the charcoals, it's all initially wrapped around the bone. So I thought that was quite cute.

And to finish off, Miss C and Mr T (hahaha) ordered the green tea ice-cream whilst David and I shared a black sesame ice-cream. One of my favourite flavours that I haven't had in ages! Always a delight.

A fun night for sure, but the whole barbeque concept doesn't really sell on me so much, although if it was a cold night, I can certainly see the concept being much more inviting.

And as a warning for those who have never been, never wear your best clothes to a korean (or Japanese) barbeque night, I absolutely REEKED of charcoals when I got home, I had to have a shower before going to bed!

One more note, Miss C tells me that it's always busy at Hwaro, we were there on a Monday night and the place was full! So make sure if you plan to go that you make a booking in advance!

Hwaro Korean Barbeque
562 Little Bourke St
Melbourne 3000
9642 5696

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New York Tomato - Saucy baby...

Before I go into this review, I just want to say thanks to the people who do comment on my very small little blog, for some reason I haven't been getting email alerts when you do, so pardon my late replies but I do definetly read everything eventually!

But anyway!

We went to New York Tomato, somewhere I've been wanting to try for ages, for a late breakfast before popping off to Werribee zoo today! (Which was fabulous fun)

I really do like how quaint and hidden the place is amongst all the houses...loved the grunge-esque feel and the staff who worked there were very friendly...although it was quite hot, but I suppose it was 34 degrees today...

One friend got the poached eggs with a side order of bacon and mushrooms.

And David got his always favourite poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, came with mushrooms and bacon. Although he wasn't entirely impressed with them...he has been to New York Tomato a few times before and thinks that the additional sides used to not be there.

But he did finish everything, so I suppose that's a good sign!

And I just HAD to try the baked eggs with napoli sauce, cheese, dukkah and onions. Gosh isn't that colour just inviting? It was a little bit saucier than I would have liked though, I found I didn't really get much of the taste or texture of the eggs or the tomatoes and onions that were in the dish. It was just swimming in sauce!

But to be fair, the sauce was tasty and I just love tomatoes. And it was great with the bread!

So although I might not come back for the baked eggs, I think the guys got their orders right with the poached eggs, so might come back to try that some time!

2-6 New Street
Richmond Victoria
9429 0505

Hardware Societe - Now for brunch!

So I've been going to Hardware Societe like once a week, because I absolutely adore the place.

But went there on Saturday for the first time, they only just started doing Saturdays this month, and after having a brief discussion with the owners, they may or may not continue doing it, depending on how good the business is...

I do love though, since I'm not usually in the city in the mornings, that on their brunch menu they have a lot of their breakfast-y items! So I finally got to try their eggs! Although they will be making a change to include more brunch-type food in the future. :] (I wonder what defines brunch-type food...?)

Scrambled eggs with peas, fish roe and a smoked salmon baguette. DELICIOUS. The eggs were so creamy...and the saltiness of the fish roe was just right. :]

My friend got the omelette with tomatoes and asparagus. He finished everything so I assume i was pretty good!

120 Hardware St, Melbourne

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Craving Mexican....Mamasita

So I only just read about Mamasita in Melbourne Gastronome, but it sounded fabulous and when my bestie David and I finished a free screening of District 9 at his work place (good but quite gruesome, no I hadn't seen it yet) we were both a bit peckish...and well, Mamasita came to mind since it was close to his workplace! So off we trotted.

Silly me had brought out my camera, but forgot my SD card. So David very kindly took pictures for me, but he loves food porn as much as I do. It all works out.

The space in Mamasita, very plesantly surprised me, I'm not sure what I was expecting, something a bit darker, a bit more dingy maybe? Not in a bad way, but the clean, minimalist, warm yet open space, was quite an unexpected find.

I was already in love with the place. Gosh it's so CUTE. Not to mention the waiter who served us. ;]

Cute menus no?

We ordered the grapefruit margarita to share, I love the salt rocks!

By the suggestion of our waiter, we started with the 'Elotes callejeros', "Street Style" chargrilled corn with queso, chipotle mayonnaise and lime. Absolutely delicious and addictive. And I love corn on the cob.

We then ordered a taco each, a taco de Pollo (chicken) and a taco de Cordero (lamb). Although my friend was hoping for the giant jumbo american style taco's, I was very pleased to receive the soft shell, easy to eat, well-sized servings. Very tasty and the de Pollo in particular I found very juicy.

Following that, we ordered a Tostada tasting board, which gives you the choice of 2 tostaditas, out of the 5 variations they have available. For a bit of variation from our tacos, we got the tostaditas de Pescado (fish) and tostaditas de Carnitas (slow braised pork shoulder)

The Pescado was delightfully light and with a nice citrus bang, the lime really comes through, whilst the Carnitas, absolutely savoury but with the jalapenos on top, gave it a really lovely warm and spicy after taste. Almost got a little bit too strong for me!

So whilst we were planning to come with some friends in the next week or two, I'm glad that we got a chance to sample it earlier, as I think I have discovered a new favourite haunt in the city to drag all my friends to!

Level 1, 11 Collins St
+61 3 9650 3821

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's good...and that's no Lie. - Liar Liar

So today I had no plans until 5:30pm where I have to drop my brother off at work.

And I was really getting...well not cabin fever. But it was a nice day and I wanted to go out and buy a book and have lunch.

My brother decided to join me in my random escapade and we down to Glenferrie Road and after picking up 'A Game of Thrones' from Readings, popped into Liar Liar.

I'd been reading about this cafe for a while, I can't remember why, but hey, why read when you can try it for yourself? :]

The place is indeed very cool. It's small, intimate and has some very funky beats going on in the background. Friendly staff too, my brother and I first positioned ourselves by the door as I didn't think there was more space in the back, but we were quickly ushered into a nice quiet cool spot in the back corner, which I quite appreciated.

My brother's strawberry granita, sweet and refreshing. I ordered a 'refresher' juice, which was well...sorry to be cliche, but refreshing indeed. I'm quite keen to try their apple, mint and lime juice next time though!

I ordered one of the blackboard specials, a frittata with tomato, artichoke and rocket salad. Nice and light, the salsa was delicious as well!

My brother was mega hungry and ordered the "The Big Fat Liar" or something like that. Essentially a big breakfast with tomato, spinach, bacon, mushrooms and eggs (he prefers them scrambled). Although since he eats so fast I cannot comment on how it was! It looked pretty delicious though!

A lovely meal and I'd love to come back one mid afternoon maybe with my dog, order a chai tea latte and continue reading my new book.

90 Kinkora Rd
Hawthorn Victoria 3122
9818 8864

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Hey everyone! I hope y'all had a great Valentine's day or/and Happy Chinese New Year!

Since I am happily single right now, I celebrated Chinese New Year with my family. :]

A week or two ago, we were invited to Chillipadi in Melbourne Central to sample the Chinese New year banquet they're offering. :]

It is an 8 course meal...and believe me, there's PLENTY of food!

To start off, of course, the Yee Sang salad. Which is always fun, the higher you toss everything the more money you'll get in the new year! Wahey! There's grated veggies, pomelo, some smoked salmon, sesame oil and 5 spices in this. Always a nice way to start off a meal. :]

This is the sundried oyster dish with pork and wrapped in wongbok. They've changed the presentation a bit since I believe...

Fried fish fillets with mango sauce, and sweet chilli, gives it a nice bang.

King prawns served with braised noodles. The noodles were a wee bit starchy, but the prawns were still very sweet and tasty.

Stir fried vegies, I love those gingko nuts! Mmm!

Chicken poached in sauvignon blanc and chinese spices. Unfortunately we had tucked into this before I remembered to take a picture! This is served cold, which actually made for a very refreshing dish midway through the banquet, refreshed the palate y'know? :] Could really really taste the alcohol in it though...although it is quite nice.

Pork cooked with kahlua and chocolate sauce. This is...a boogling dish. It absolutely smells like chocolate, but when you eat it, it tastes more like plum sauce, none of the cocoa comes through the flavour at all. We all had a lot of fun being puzzled by this dish!

Black rice pudding with fruits and warm coconut sauce. A little bit thick for my preference personally, but the chefs informed me that it is supposed to be thicker as it is more of a pudding, that the traditional black rice dessert. Could've used a little more coconut milk as well, but I tend to like my things very sweet. Hehe.

All in all, quite a good meal, with pleeenty of food to be had. I believe the banquet promotion is still on, so if you feel the need to celebrate Chinese New Year and eat your way to wealth, why not book yourself in? :]

Menzies Alley, Cnr Elizabeth and Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne Vic 3000
9663 5688

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kappaya - Japanese Soul Food

I'm one of those people who really like to plan their days out, so since my mum suggested we go yum cha yesterday I thought we would go through with it today. But due to some last minute problems, that had to be cancelled.

But since I did have to go to the Abbotsford Convent for a videogame tournament, my mum thought it might be a good idea to check out Kappaya, which the last time we went, was still on Johnson St.

Whilst the old joint was small, cosy and quite earthy...I would describe the place as feeling very 'warm', this new joint is, well the insides are still quite small (which I'm not pointing out as a bad thing) but there is a lot of additional outside sitting space, which would've been perfect on a day like today.

And whilst a lot of the interior still had a lot of the quirks that the previous Kappaya had, with rice-paper menus written on with ink, wooden boards and adorable ceramic lamps, it wasn't quite as warm and cosy as before. It might've been the tiles or the spanking clean and shiny new kitchen...but that's just me nitpicking.

What I am really very quite sad about that they stopped doing their brown rice onigiri balls. They used to have a variety of flavoured onigiri, made with brown rice and you would pick one or two to have on their own or as part of a bento box.

But now they only have bento boxes, with a choice of three 'proteins' I suppose would be the word I'm looking for.

So my mum, brother and I settled in and ordered some of the brown rice tea, which I absolutely love and mum had a very nice looking latte, which she informed me was quite strong.

They always serve the tea with a small bowl of candied walnuts...something a bit different than a little cookie. :]

My brother had the chicken bento:

Mum went for the salmon and I went for the steamed vegetable.

Well as you can see, it's all exactly the same other than the 'protein'. And although I think that the steamed vegetable option could use a little more veggies, considering it's the same price as the salmon and chicken, it was all very tasty.

I loved that my steamed vegetable selection included sweet potato and pumpkin, and cooked long enough so it was lovely and soft. I also absolutely love the brown rice with grains through it, it's so nutty and flavorsome and it's nice to feel like you're eating something good for your body!

For dessert, since my brother tends to eat like a horse....we opted for the macha mousse with honeyed biscuits.

It was delicious and creamy and not overly sweet. The biscuits were a lovely touch too!

So whilst I enjoyed my meal at Kappaya very much and will likely be back since I've decided I"m quite fond of the Abbotsford Convent (the bakery there is great as well!), I do very sorely miss the onigiri and the hippy, laid back charm the old place had.

1 St Heliers Street
Abbotsford Vic 3067