Thursday, April 22, 2010

Asian Tapas at Pan Asian

I missed David, David missed me. When you're best friends, a week and a half is a long time not to hang out together!

We needed some gossip time.

I was free, he was in South Yarra that night.

Let's go eat!

Pan Asian is a spot I've gone to quite a bit, not just because I do know the owners who have recruited me a few times to do some food photography for them (I am actually a lot better than the photos in here may suggest so far...), but because I actually really do like the food. My whole family are occasional regulars (weird term, but it seems to suit us...). Why haven't I blogged about this place earlier?!

Pan Asian is an interesting place, there is a lot of 'Asian fusion' places out there, but I find that Pan Asian's food really pushes the limits of creativity by incorporating the 'tapas' concept into Asian food and so offers something different.

I find the restaurant quite inviting to be, high ceilings (which I'm a sucker for if you haven't noticed already!) beautiful rich decor mixed with explosively colourful murals, making the place quite funky but not tacky.

Pan Asian is actually where I was first introduced to chai latte's and although they aren't the absolute best I've had anymore, I still marvel at how beautifully frothed the milk is.

Alas I was driving, but I can certainly vouch that some of the cocktails being shaken up here are all very delicious and quite addictive. Hmmmm.

After ordering, we were presented with a complimentary amuse bouche, a tempura-ed fig, quite a nice way to start the meal if you ask me!

One of my favourite items on the menu, we started off with the blue swimmer crab sushi roll, wrapped in a soybean sheet. Apparently the head chef, Kin-san, made this for the Princess of Japan when she visited Melbourne and went to Taxi (when she was still there). Always light and flavourful! And I love the soybean sheet wrapped around it, gives it a different texture.

We then tried the tempura vegetable sushi roll with spicy mungbeans, mozzarella and tomato relish. With a bit of sour cream and achat (Malay pickled veggies) on the side. This was very plesantly surprising for me, in contrast to the first sushi roll, this was quite rich with the cheese and the spicy mungbeans, mixed with the crunchy texture of the tempura though, it was quite a treat!

David insisted we needed meat, but as we're both (attempting) to watch our waistlines, didn't want anything too heavy. We opted for the grilled baby chicken in teriyaki port wine with a ginger flower and heart of palm salad. The chicken was tender and tasty, I really liked that it wasn't drowned in teriyaki sauce (I'm not such a fan when it's too thick...) and the salad was so delicious! I could've definitely gone for more.

Whilst I normally do go for the desserts, I had to go help David move so we had to cut short our dinner a little bit early. But if you go in, definitely try the pannacotta, Kin-san's are just the perfect consistency!

Although I was told they might be changing up the menu within a week or two too....

267 Chapel St
Prahran, 3181
9533 7022

Pan Asian on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Poor little food blog, I promise I didn't mean to neglect you all week! I've just been so busy and not eating anywhere exciting or new, not to mention my home cooking attempts are not much to blog about yet.

So Brad and I decided to remedy this last night and make this little blog a little happier!

Since we were meeting with his friends at Robot bar, he suggested finding something around the area. After tossing up between The Deanery and Hako, I settled for the latter.

Hako is on Flinders Lane, tucked away right next to Bligh Place and although it is a rather decent sized space, it's rather discreet and still somehow hidden from the outside.

Stepping in to Hako took you into an almost warehouse space, lovely high ceilings and simple minimalist decor. Kinda zen-like when I think about, quite appropriate, but still romantic and atmospheric with the slight dimmed lights and tea candles scattered across the tables.

Hi Brad!

As soon as we got the drink menus, I pretty much asked straight away for Umeshu, plum wine. It's been absolutely ages since I've enjoyed this drink, at Hako, they popped in a wedge of orange which made the drink sweet and quite refreshing.

In good Asian style, we got a couple of dishes to share:

The nasudengaku, deep fried eggplant with miso paste, is something I almost always jump on if I see it on a menu in a Japanese restaurant. Or well, I'll jump onto almost anything eggplant really.... but this was done so well! Generous with the miso paste, which when scraped out with the eggplant just became a soft melting, delicious mass.

Nabeyaki udon, which came with egg, tempura and chicken. The noodles and soup were fantastic, although I'm not particularly well-versed in udon, but I appreciated the springy texture of the noodles, not at all soggy. The tempura sweet potato was also delicious, however it took us quite a while to find the two pieces of chicken hiding somewhere at the bottom of the bowl. I think a little more chicken wouldn't have hurt too much!

And to finish off, since the two of us are quite big sushi fans, we had to (or at least I did) try the Moriawase set, a sushi and sashimi combination. I do highly recommend this so that you can try a bit of everything, although it is a little bit pricey, it is really quite worth it! You get a plate of sashimi, sushi and a hand roll as well.

I think it's been way too long since I indulged in some really good sashimi or sushi, since whilst $2.50 hand rolls are great, it's not quite the same.

The tuna and salmon sushi and sashimi were just to die for, the texture was so smooth and the flavour soooo rich! I kind of wish I had asked what the other fish was, I had completely forgotten to! The ebi (prawn) sushi was also particularly sweet.

Overall, Hako is a really lovely dining experience. It's not pretentious, it's very 'Melbourne', with good food and good service. I love Japanese places with Japanese waitresses, the one who explained to us the specials was so sweet and attentive, although then I begin to lament that I didn't keep up my Japanese skills after I left high school....sighsigh.

I plan to possibly drag David here for lunch soon to compare the experience!

310 Flinders Lane
9620 1881

Hako on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shire cafe

If you're like me and immediately thought of short little men with hairy feet, GET THAT OUT OF YOUR HEAD!

Although, Shire certainly was very homely and cosy, which those hobbits did like.

I've been wanting to try this place out for ages, I don't remember where I had heard about it from, but I liked the website and I quite liked the offerings that the menu from the website had to offer.

So just last night, my mum picked up our new copy of the Melbourne Entertainment booklet, which, lo and behold, had a voucher for Shire! I think it was meant to be.

Whilst the very vibrant and loud graffiti on the outside makes this place look like a funky hipster place, the second you walk in, you feel like you've walked into someone's house. It is a very quiet intimate space, which let in lots of light, which I always enjoy.

I got my usual chai latte (it really is becoming a usual event now...) which I extremely enjoyed! My mother found it too sweet, but I found that, although sweet it the chai still gave a good strong bite from the spice and a warmth in the back the throat. Which on a cool 19 degree day is perfect. And hey at least I know the sweetness came from all the honey that I saw sitting at the bottom of the glass before I stirred it up!

Mum got the fish and chips, the potatoes were amazing and the salad was very interesting, had a bit of chilli and dried shallots in it, which really added to the flavour! The fish however, my mum found the batter a bit too doughy, but she still finished all the fish.

I went for the sweet corn fritters with avocado, tomatoes and mushroom (usually has bacon but the vegetarian version came with mushrooms. Which I felt like having). Absolutely delicious, the fritters really were full of sweet corn and the flavours were rich but just worked together. Everything tasted so fresh. Would definitely go back for those again.

Or that amazing chai latte. Mmm.

69 Victoria St

Shire Cafe on Urbanspoon

A taste of Four Ate Five.

Would you believe me if I said over the weekend I rampaged around town as a zombie and randomly broke into Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' dance in public areas in Sydney?

Well I did and it was fabulous! I'll have some videos up soon!

But of course, being in Sydney, I had to try some of the fare up that way.

Having had been on a very early morning flight, David, Mr A and Mr S (who very kindly picked us up) agreed with me when I was decidedly very vocal on getting eggs.

We turned up at Surrey Hills, noticed this cute lil cafe that had tarts in the window, which sucked in David and therefore found us in the cafe.

We stole an amaazing seat right by the window, which somehow managed to squeeze the 4 of us in.

I was very smitten with the coffee art, look how fine those ferns are!

Not being a caffeine fiend myself, I opted for the fresh peppermint tea, just like how I used to have it all the time back in Dusseldorf! Oh nostalgia....but what was different about this peppermint tea is that...

It came with a honey gun. I completely freaked out. A gun that shoots perfect amounts of honey into cups of tea and coffee? I very highly approve.

We all opted for variations of the free range eggs, all the boys got fried eggs...

And I got poached eggs with tomatoes and mushrooms (although the mushrooms ended up on David's plate for some reason...). A really good and wholesome brunch, Mr S got some haloumi as a side and that was just divine!

We were pretty quick with finishing up our eggs!

And don't forget to watch your step on the way out!

Somewhere in Surrey Hills. Sorry I don't know Sydney that well!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Proud Mary

So picked up my mother from the airport last Thursday and on the way home, she complained about not having slept very well and needing some food.

So of course, the only remedy for this is eggs.

Since I had not taken her to Proud Mary's yet, that's where we popped down to (and also because I had been there once but had not had the opportunity to try their chai latte yet...)

So if you're a coffee connoisseur and haven't heard of or been to Proud Mary's yet, COME OUT FROM UNDER YOUR ROCK.

I have a friend who when he is back in Melbourne, will drive down from Sandringham to Collingwood, just to go to Proud Mary's for the coffee. And usually breakfast as well I suppose. But mainly for the coffee. And he's quite the coffee snob. And actually is supposed to update this blog with posts from Sydney...but what can you do.

I love how the plate matches my mum's nails! She quite enjoyed her coffee and even as a non coffee drinker, I could certainly appreciate how beautifully smooth the milk looked. I've also had the opportunity in the past to try their syphoned coffee, which is just delicious and aromatic. They do different blends and the barrister comes over and explains exactly how he brewed it for you. (Or maybe he might not if it's busy I suppose, but it was a nice touch!)

I got my chai latte...just look at that milk. So beautifully smooth. Wouldn't have minded a stronger chai flavour, but otherwise still very nicely done.

Since I already had had breakfast, we decided mum would order something and I would just nibble on it a little bit...

And this marvellous bowl rolled on out. Baked eggs with sausages...oh my goodness. It was so delicious, the sauce was just a beautiful consistency, not too watery and the sausages really added to the wholesome nature of the dish.

The colour just sucks me in too, such a deep red!

So next time you're going along Smith St, take a small diversion and treat yourself to some damn good coffee, or if you're like me and that's not so much your thing, the single estate teas are amazing as well.

Proud Mary
172 Oxford St
Proud Mary on Urbanspoon