Hello from Prague! Sorry for the lack of post. We are on a family holiday in Helsinki and Prague. I have never been to either countries so am very excited to be here! ‘The Mother’ went on a boys trip – the trip of their life – dog sledding and absolutely loved it! Hopefully he will be a guest post and he can share with you all about his trip and adventures.
Anyway, more on Helsinki and Prague later on. On my recent trip to Sydney, I was catching up with my favourite uncle, thesuzchef, M and ramenraff and thesuzchef suggested Three Williams and what an awesome suggestion it was! There has been a lot of vibe about this place and believe it! I love this cafe, the space!!! the food and of course the kids corner where kids can draw and play.
The menu is pretty awesome too, I couldn’t go past the Narnie – a sandwich made from naan bread and opt for the beef brisket. The beef was outstanding, melt in your mouth tender and full of flavour. Even Dragon couldn’t help but have some – actually i am pretty sure she had one large slab! The slaw was a wonderful complement – it definitely wouldn’t have minded another.
Ramenraff and uncle couldn’t go past the bacon and egg roll – look at that egg!!!!
Thesuzchef and E had the french toast with nuts, blueberry and yogurt. This looked fantastic and my diners companions said it was superb. Unfortunately i couldn’t try any as there were LOTS OF NUTS!
M had the avocado with beans on toast with a slab of hash brown! I had some of the avocado and it was fresh, creamy and oh so wonderful.
There’s so much love about this place and i can see why! I fell in love with this cafe also. The chips – which we ordered first and did not take a picture off was outstanding! Crispy and moist and it was so hard to stop at one.
We also had some soda water, pineapple juice and mint and my goodness it was refreshing and delicious – definitely perfect for summer! Service was friendly and polite and did i mention how much I love the space?!?!?!?
Thanks for organizing S, have really missed you guys!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
613a Elizabeth St
Ph: +61 2 9698 1111
There’s really not a shortage of cafes in Surry Hills and I am always amazed that there are new ones opening every couple of months! I have missed my old hood and the cafes. Rustic Pearl can be found on the busy street of Crown Street, right next to Ampersand cafe and opposite the clock hotel.
The cafe is quite small, the menu has an interesting mediterranean twist and everything on the menu sounded lovely. I couldn’t go past the avocado smoothie – fresh avocado, yogurt, milk, honey and pistachio AUD6.50. I had it sans pistachio, the smoothie was delicious, not too sweet and it went down perfectly.
F had the mocha and he really enjoyed it.
I couldn’t go past the pan fried chicken breast salad with crispy bacon, chickpeas, char grilled zucchini with balsamic dressing AUD18. The original comes with pine nuts, agresto and spiced apricot dressing but you all know about my nut allergy. The salad was indeed healthy and exactly what I needed – how I miss a good simple salad!
O had the chicken, mushroom and cheese gozleme and I have to say, this was superb!
F couldn’t go past the sucuk bruschetta – char grilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil, rocket, pomegranate molasses and soft boiled eggs AUD17 – I had serious food envy! F demolished this, and I can see why.
The char grilled Mediterranean lam burger with red onion jam, smoky eggplant puree, fresh tomato, cos lettuce and yoghurt dressing AUD18 was pretty decent, but I am not a big fan of burgers on focaccia bread. The filing was quite tasty though.
Service was polite and friendly. The cafe was busy at lunch time. I love the rustic feel to the place, and the mural on the wall. They have some decent sandwiches also – petunia trout sandwich with avocado, rocket, artichoke, capers and tarator sauce sounds pretty good! Next time!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
415 Crown Street
Surry Hills 2010
Ph: +61 406 930 083
Sorry for the lack of post last week, ‘The Mother’, Dragon and I went to Penang for a short gate away. We wanted somewhere relatively close (only 3.5 hours from Hong Kong) and somewhere we can chill and do nothing and that’s pretty much what we did. We tossed the idea of staying in a resort or have a private pool, although in Penang there weren’t many private pool villas so we stayed at a resort – The Shangrila Rasa Sayang to be exact and we stayed most of the time there.
Traveling with Dragon is different, holidays are never the same again as it is mostly about Dragon and not us. We have to go by HER routine and not ours, but that doesn’t bother us, it just means we have a more relaxing holiday than anything else. More time by the pool, more sleep and more chill time instead of being on the go. However, I guess the most annoying thing would be the food. ‘The Mother’ and I LOVE to eat at hawker centers and on the streets, but with Dragon it is slightly different. We ate probably 50 – 60% of our meals in the hotel, as it was just ‘convenient’ but thankfully they had a really good restaurant that served authentic Malaysian food. We ventured out a few times for lunch and dinner but that was pretty much it. Shame, as I love Malaysian food and I love eating at hawker stalls!
The Shangrila Rasa Sayang was a beautiful hotel, the pictures really doesn’t do any justice. I am missing the pool already, missing my drinks by the pool and going for a dip whenever I can!
One of the restaurants that we ate at is called Spice Market, slightly fancy and a little more expensive than Hawker food but it was good! We had two meals there, and for breakfast, this is where they had the buffet.
Started with some popadoms and prawn crackers.
I couldn’t go past the Hainan chicken rice – good for both Dragon and I and I have to say, it was a generous serving. The chicken was tender, and the sauce was fantastic! The chicken rice was also good, so good that Dragon ate at least ¼ – ½ of the rice!
We also had the chicken and beef satay (3 each) which was good but I have definitely had better.
‘The Mother’ had the chicken tikka which was served with rice. The chicken was extremely tender and the flavours were excellent.
He also had a serving of the garlic naan which was soft and fluffy and delicious.
On another visit for lunch, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the noodles, with chicken, prawns and lots of chili. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of this but ‘The Mother’ did say that it was fantastic.
‘The Mother’ absolutely loves young coconut – it is one of his favourite drinks.
I couldn’t go past the ais kacang – oh my! It was indeed a large serving and it was good! I admit though, I am not used to the ice cream on my ais kacang! I was told it is Penang’s style. Regardless, it was quite good and perfect for a hot day!
We also ate at the Pinang Restaurant and Bar, which is also at the Shangrila. We had dinner one evening, after our swim. We wanted something relaxing and didn’t want to leave the resort! Dragon and I had the chicken schnitzel which was a little thin for my liking but it was tasty. The salad and chips were a wonderful complement.
‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the prawn linguini which he enjoyed thoroughly.
I have heard that the brunch and dinner buffet at Spice Market is excellent. Service was good, the staff knew us WELL! LOL, well the staff knew Dragon as we had breakfast every day there and lunch also.
We really enjoyed our stay at Shangrila Rasa Sayang, the staffs were great and we had a fantastic time! Will definitely come back!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Shangrila Rasa Sayang
Batu Feringgi Beach,
Ph: +60 4 888 8888
Day 3 of Xiamen, it seems like so long ago now that we came and went to Xiamen. After we spent ¾ of the day at Gulangyu Island watching the boys play cricket, we had a pretty relaxing 3rd day. Dragon was up early so we had breakfast at the hotel first, no one else did but just us! She had her congee and I had a bit of eggs as I was craving some. After everyone was up, including ‘The Mother’, we walked around the old quarter again, as the last time we were there, it was quite dark and we didn’t get to see or buy much. I still didn’t buy anything but got to see a little bit more of the Old Quarter than before.
The rest of the crew had not eaten and was starving, so we stopped by Ze He Huang Peanut Soup Shop – we were told that this was a must visit. As the name of the restaurant suggests, this restaurant is famous for the peanut soup!
Considering I have a nut allergy, I didn’t try any but all my traveling companions did and thought it was sweet and that the peanuts were soft and melted in your mouth. They thought it was ‘different’ but in a good away. I wanted to try the spring rolls, it was weird had sticky rice in it and I couldn’t go past the first bite.
The place was BUSY! You have to buy ‘tokens’ in order to buy food. I was in heaven, they had all sorts of different snacks. We got some xiao long bao which were good but the skin was a little too thick for my liking.
I bought some pork buns – not your typical bbq pork buns and they were delicious. Even ate it at night whilst Dragon was sleeping and it still tasted good!
Not to mention these delicious red bean dessert – my favourite!
Whilst walking around the old quarter, we noticed this lady making some sort of pancakes, and of course M and I couldn’t resist!
We thought we would share half and it was good! Seriously good but I was getting full by this stage.
I dinner location to ‘The Mother’, again this is not something I do very often but he has not disappointed. We went to Shuyou Seafood Restaurant, which was relatively close to our hotel. Again left all the ordering to both M and ‘The Mother’.
Shuyou Seafood Restaurant has 4 floors and one of the largest restaurants I have seen. There was a wedding that evening and we were taken to the top floor and had our own private dining room! We didn’t ask for one, so ‘The Mother’ was a little scared at how much things were going to cost! Thankfully, it wasn’t as expensive as he had anticipated.
We started with these clams – I didn’t have any of this, but ‘The Mother’ said it was tasty and demolished it on his own!
The crispy skin duck, liver on rice cracker was amazingly tasty. The liver was smooth and rich, but the rice cracker balanced it out. I really loved the crispy skin duck, it wasn’t oily at all and the whole thing just melted in your mouth. Delicious!!!
We wanted to try a bit of everything so ordered the mix plate – duck, bbq pork and chicken from memory. The bbq pork was fantastic, so was the duck!
The mushroom and tofu hot pot was simple but tasty.
We all enjoyed the stir fry beef with green peppercorn. The beef was incredibly tender and the green peppercorn left a tingly sensation on your tongue.
We were too full for dessert, but I couldn’t stop eating these twist cookies that was on the table. It is one of my favourite Indonesian snacks and was surprised to have found it in China! No doubt I ate my fair share.
Service was good, even though it was a private room, they didn’t forget about us and food came out relatively quickly. It was definitely a wonderful meal shared between family and friends! Definitely worth the visit if you are in Xiamen.
We had a fantastic time in Xiamen, met some wonderful new friends and we definitely ate well! I really do miss the street hawker food – something that Sydney should have!
1-4 / F, Podium Building of Mansion of Bank of China, North Hubin Road
Ph: +86 592 533 8899
Gulangyu Island is a car-free island off the coast of Xiamen and is a must visit! You can go there by ferry from Xiamen Island in about 5 – 10 minutes. It is renowned for its beaches and winding lanes and its varied architecture. It is also known as Piano Island, as there are over 200 pianos on the island !The island is very pretty, very scenic and had beautiful architecture. What I loved most about it is the street foods – there were so many shops that I didn’t know where to start or should I say where to stop? I wanted to eat everything and believe me, I tried but my stomach really couldn’t take it.
‘The Mother’ and his cricket team played cricket here on Saturday, and my dear friend and I, M, roamed around the island eating whilst they were playing. We came back again the next day as ‘The Mother’ wanted to walk around and I wanted to do more shopping!
Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the boat we went on, as Dragon was asleep and I had my arms around her to protect her from all the pushing and shoving from the people trying to get on the boat! I don’t know why they insisted on going on that particular boat as the boat comes every 10 – 15 minutes! Needless to say, the first time was not a very enjoyable boat ride but the next day was a lot better.
M had these fish balls which had pork inside – I was so sad that I couldn’t have any! Am cutting out all seafood at the moment and these look fantastic! She had it again the next day! Even ‘The Mother’ who is not usually a fan of fish balls really enjoyed these!
More fish balls drowned in chili sauce / soup.
I was really curious about these egg custard things, but didn’t try any as I wanted to have something savoury and by the time I was ready for dessert I was too full!
Cute little biscuits packaging shop.
Oyster omelette!!! There were so many people making these on the island. The island is quite famous for their seafood but we didn’t have any that day. M and I just wanted to eat street food snacks which we did!
These xiao long bau were my favourite, 5 for like 5RMB which is less than a dollar! Seriously tasty!
Stinky tofu – YUM! Obviously the stinkier the better! ha!
And dessert – mango with sago, tapioca and pearl balls – a little on the sweet side but quite refreshing.
That evening, the boys went to an all you can eat curry place. However, I wasn’t up for curry and wanted Chinese food. So M and I ate the Chinese restaurant in the Marco Polo Hotel for dinner called lotus court. We could have eaten outside on the side street but with Dragon it was a little hard. She was already restless at the restaurant, I can’t imagine if we went to a street stall!
We started with the cold meat platter, however the meat weren’t cold and were warm. The tripe and pork were deliciously tender. You can’t see it from the picture but underneath all the mountain of meat were soft, silken tofu.
The vegetables were nice but nothing to rave about.
The chicken and ginger soup was full of flavours.
The dish of the night would have to be the braised pork belly! It was incredibly tender, incredibly fatty and incredibly sinful but scrumptiously good!
Service was quick and efficient and definitely friendly. The food was good and everything else on the menu looked good. Definitely worth coming back.
Deliciously full, I went back to the room, put Dragon to sleep and had a date with candy crush! It was a good day of eating, and believe me, day 3 was no different!
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
8 Jianye Road, Hubin Bei,
Xiamen 361012, Fujian, China
Ph: +86 (592) 509 1888