I’ve heard so many good things about John Smith, which is located in Waterloo in Sydney and was on my list of cafe’s to visit on my recent trip. My list pretty much consisted of cafes and good breakfast. The place however, is tiny, so get there early or in our case, we went during the weekdays just after the lunch time rush and didn’t have to wait for a booth at all.
The menu vast which we love and who doesn’t love all day breakfast? We started with cold pressed juices – apple, pineapple and it was refreshingly good. Dragon drank most of it, that we had to order another glass for me!
My brother really enjoyed their coffee – one of the best he said.
My sis-in-law, O and I couldn’t go past the eggs Benedict with pulled pork – my goodness, it had my name all over it! The pulled pork was incredibly tender, even Dragon wanted more. The béarnaise sauce was excellent, wasn’t too rich and sickening and perfect with oozy egg! It was the perfect breakfast!
I was pleasantly surprised when my brother, F, ordered the chicken salad with pesto. I thought he would have ordered a burger but he wanted something healthy and indeed it was surprisingly tasty. Everything was so fresh and we love pesto, so its as a win win for both of us.
We thought we would share a cronut, and oh my my, it was sinfully good! I have heard wonderful things about Brewtown Newton’s cronut and this definitely did not disappoint!
The staff was super duper friendly, and food excellent. We did have to wait a bit for our benedict as they ran out of béarnaise sauce but it was definitely worth the wait. I can’t wait to visit John Smith Cafe when I am back next!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
John Smith Cafe
1 John Street
Ph: +61 422 855 811
As you may have recalled, ‘The Mother’, Dragon and I went for a quick getaway to meet the extended family in Phuket. It was one of those holidays where we didn’t leave the resort and just ate around there. Didn’t see much to be honest, just hung by the pool, slept, ate and took Dragon to the mall where she spent a few hours in this kids area – will post about that soon. I have been to Phuket many times now and have stayed at different places, however, this time, we stayed at the most tourist-y place – Patong, which was ok, I prefer to stay in a much quieter area and the resort we stayed was definitely NOT 5 star, it was a little old, room was ok and pretty noisy at night as there are markets near the mall.
Anyhow, it was an ok holiday, unfortunately we didn’t eat as well as I had hoped, however, a good friend recommended that I go to Raya House and I am SO glad that we did! It was potentially the BEST meal we had in Phuket! HA! Raya House can be found in Phuket Town, a century year old house which has been converted into a restaurant – there’s a lot of character – rusting ceiling fans, vintage posters, very old photographs (which are cool) and the vibe is very down to earth and ‘rustic’.
The menu is quite extensive, however, it is famous for its crabmeat coconut curry which is a MUST order and potentially one of the nicest curry we have had. Real chunks of crab meat pieces which are plump and generous, the curry is served with coconut milk and rice vermicelli. This was a hit amongst the diners.
The salt and pepper squid was excellent, the batter was thin and not oily and the squid was tender.
My favourite dish would have to be the pork belly – extremely tender, extremely succulent – it was phenomenal. It had the right amount of fat to meat ratio and one of the best dish I’ve had in Phuket! Even Dragon had a couple of pieces!
The most disappointing would have to be the fried chicken which was topped with a mountain of fried garlic. The chicken pieces were small, and tough. I had meant to order this dish for Dragon but the chicken meat wGas so tough, Dragon couldn’t really chew it.
The vegetables were also fantastic – a little on the spicy side for Dragon though.
There weren’t a lot of options for dessert, however, we did manage to share grass jelly with longan topped with palm sugar – oh my my.. it was refreshing light and delicious. I probably should have ordered a serving for myself!
Meal was excellent, shame about the chicken, but the pork belly and the crab curry was definitely a hit. Definitely worth visiting when you are in Phuket!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
48 New Debuk Cross Road,
Amphur Muang Phuket
Ph: +66 76 218 155
Lotte World is Korean’s version of Disney Land. Good thing about Lotte World is that there is an indoor part as well as outdoor part, so if it’s raining, one can still go to Lotte World. It is not only for kids but for adults. I dragged the whole family here and they absolutely loved it. Tickets aren’t cheap but what fun parks have cheap tickets right? Adults who are over 65 pay child fare which isn’t too bad.
The problem with going to amusement parks are the queues and crowds. The adults didn’t really go on many rides, Dragon and her cousin went on 5 rides maximum and they had a ball. Dragon especially loved the merry-go-around, she insisted that we go twice. I am not a big fan, going around in circles, it really does give me a headache but as long as she enjoyed it that’s the main thing.
We arrived around lunch time and were all ravenous. Was recommended by one of the staff to try this restaurant called La Paloma, which is on the first floor in Adventure land and the restaurant serves various grilled and fried foods. Our family loves fried chicken, so we ordered two servings of this. Mum still thinks that this is the BEST fried chicken she had in Seoul! Big CALL but it was good. The chicken were cut into small pieces and was incredibly crispy. Meat was deliciously tender – I can see why she really enjoyed it but saying the BEST she ate in Seoul was definitely a big call.
We ordered a couple servings of the pork cutlet which was served with fried rice and some macaroni salad which was interestingly nice.
We also ordered a serving of the fried rice which went down so quickly that I didn’t even get to snap! Dragon definitely enjoyed the fried rice and the fried chicken. So grateful that she is quite an easy baby to feed – as long as there’s chicken she is one happy girl.
Outside, there is an ice-cream / ice block store which we kept coming back too called the ice factory. So many different flavours in different shapes.
Dragon and I had two servings of the watermelon heart-shaped ice block – it was so refreshing and prefect for a hot day. As you can see from the picture below, Dragon couldn’t wait to dig in!!
We had the panda – which was vanilla ice cream with chocolate through them – it was seriously good. The cookies and cream (can’t remember what shape it was) was also very good. Like Dragon, I could and would like to try every single one of them but.
We spent a good 7 hours in Lotte World, we were absolutely shattered but it was a great day with the kids and family. Will be back to Lotte World in October – yes we are visiting Seoul again! We seriously loved Korea, can’t wait to go back!
When I was searching for places to eat in Seoul, the first thing I googled was Fried Chicken – I have missed good KFC – Korean Fried Chicken, especially those in Sydney. I have yet to find one in Hong Kong so this was priority!
Two Two Fried Chicken is located in the shopping central of Korea, Myeondong. It has over 500 outlets in Korea alone. The menu is simple – fried chicken and lots of it! The menu is in English also, so easy to read with colourful pictures! There are other dishes on offer, but we were here for one thing only – FRIED CHICKEN!
Between the 5 of us, we ordered THREE servings of fried chicken – overkill much? But it was necessary and I can’t tell you when the last time I had KFC! Started with the original – it was excellent, crispy skin and the meat was tender. Dragon absolutely loved it – I lost count how many fried chicken she ate, she just kept asking for more.
We also ordered half plain and half smothered in sweet and spicy sauce. The sweet and spicy sauce was a little too sweet for my liking, and believe it or not too spicy for me? Not sure what is going on with my taste buds!!!
We also ordered a serving of the garlic fried chicken – the garlic flavour was strong, even the next day when I ate it. The skin wasn’t as crispy though but the meat was still seriously tender.
Overall, I still prefer the normal fried chicken – like any other places the normal fried chicken is always the best. Service minimal but fried chicken was good!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Two Two Fried Chicken
6-4 Namsadong 2(i)-Ga
Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Ph: +86 2 2275 2297
It’s definitely been a while since my last post – apologies for being MIA! It’s been a hectic couple of weeks – my family are in town, work was a tad crazy and we went to Korea for a week. Loved Seoul – the food, the shopping – am definitely keen to go back again sometimes soon.
Dragon also turned 2 last week and we had a birthday party for her, so trying to organise that and everything else, the blog got a little neglected. Hopefully things will get back to normal and there will be more posts to come, especially about Seoul and the food there.
Dragon and I went to Seoul with my family, unfortunately, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go due to work commitments. We were there for 5 days and believe me that was not long enough! Stayed at the Fraser Place near City Hall and it was extremely home-y. We didn’t want to leave, there was a pool and kids area which was perfect for Dragon and I! We went swimming almost every morning and we loved it!
We had dinner one evening at Myeongdong Gyoza – now Myeongdong is one HUGE place! Lots of shopping and lots of food – absolutely loved the alleys! We spent a good 2 days in Myeongdong and I feel we didn’t cover everything! lol Now, Myeongdong Gyoza has been around for about 40 years, the restaurant is quite big, 2 floors and quite spacious. The menu is short and simple – dumplings and noodles and that’s it. They are quite famous for their kalguksu noodles which is their knife-cut handmade noodles.
The steamed dumplings are excellent! Filled with pork, mushroom, stir-fried zucchini and mungbean spouts. The dumplings are HUGE, meaty, and scrumptiously good! The skin deliciously soft and thin that if not picked up in the right way may tear! It was so good that I demolished about 8 on my own!
We also got a serving of the Kalguksu – which is similar to that of Chinese dumpling soup. The noodles were thin and soup had a wonderful pork broth, which was extremely flavourful! Dragon absolutely loved the noodles. The noodles were also served with dumplings and shredded vegetables.
I forgot to take a picture of the bibim guksu – which is noodles served cold and incredibly spicy! The sauce is sweet and sour and has a wonderful aromatic sesame oil. It was so spicy that my brother started to sweat! It was a little too spicy for my liking but perfect for hot humid summer.
It was cheap and cheerful dinner – I was extremely satisfied with the dumplings. My family came here twice – they really enjoyed the dumplings and the noodles. Food came relatively quickly, service was surprisingly ok.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
25-2, 2-ga Myoung-dong, Chung-gu
Seoul, South Korea
Ph: +82 2 776 5348
Juttutupa is a laid back restaurant which can be found behind Scandic Paasi Hotel which we stayed on the 2nd leg of our trip in Helsinki. It was quite a funky hotel but a bit out of the city centre. We ate here on our second last night in Helsinki, and Juttutupa serves good hearty food, a wide range of beers and other drinks.
There is no table service, you pay at the bar, and then food will be delivered to your table. ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the Juttutupa’s classic hamburger served with domestic quality beef (18,90€) – 200g beef patty of domestic quality beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, salt-pickled cucumber, chili mayonnaise, marinated red onion between house bun. Not to mention also served with French fries. It was quite a big burger, and it looked absolutely sensational and yes it did taste as good as it looked!
I couldn’t go past the grandma’s meatballs (16,90€) – creamy brandy sauce, beetroot, salt-pickled cucumber, mashed potatoes. I was craving beef, and the meatballs were surprisingly tender. The sauce I wasn’t a fan off but the mashed potatoes were creamy and I loved the salt-pickled cucumber.
They even had a kids menu and Dragon had the chicken breast with salad. Unfortunately, it was uber dry and Dragon did not eat much of it. She ate more of my meatballs and ‘The Mother’s’ chips than her own dish!
We were stuffed so did not have any dessert. Service was minimal but food came relatively quickly and we all did enjoy the meal. Definitely great having this restaurant behind the hotel, there aren’t a lot of restaurants near the hotel which is a shame.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Säästöpankinranta 6, 00530 Helsinki
Ph: +358 20 7424 240
Ravintola Juuri was on my must go to eat place in Helsinki. It specializes in ‘Sapas’ which are tapas. I was very excited to try their tapas, unfortunately we were there for lunch and there weren’t a lot of tapas on offer. It was Christmas and they had the special Christmas menu which consists of 3 tapas, a main and dessert.
There were a LOT of seafood on the menu, and since I am on a seafood band, the chef kindly made me a vegetarian one! We started with some bread – Dragon loves rye! I didn’t think she would be she couldn’t stop eating it.
‘The Mother’ started with Cured artic char root vegetable rosti and horseradish, escabeshe of herring with lingoberry mayonnaise and smoked fish pancake with sour cream and roe. I didn’t have any of this, when asked ‘which is your favourite’ his respond was ‘they were all nice’. I probably would have loved the cured artic char root vegetable with horseradish – I am such a sucker of horseradish.
I had the (left to right) 10 hour turnip with Swiss cheese and linen seed, broad bean patty a la lindstrom and pea crème and smoked egg cheese from raw milk, sea buckthorn and carrot. I really enjoyed the broad bean patty but I absolutely LOVED the smoked egg cheese from raw milk – it loved the cheese and the carrot a wonderful complement. Could have definitely eaten more of it!
For mains, ‘The Mother’ opt for Braised perch roll with smoked perch oven porridge and carrot butter sauce. It looked too pretty to eat. ‘The Mother’ thought the combination was interesting but he definitely enjoyed it. The carrot butter sauce was sweet but not over powering.
The Chef made me the mushroom fondant and opera sandwich on brioche a la Juuri, dark cep and onion course – OH MY! This was sensational, a highlight for me. Onion-bechamel-ish sauce oozed out gently and the brioche – my my… delicious!
For dessert, ‘The Mother’ had spiced waffle with cinnamon apple whipped porridge and ice cream. I really wanted this but unfortunately this had traces of nuts.
I had the blueberry sorbet, blueberry puree and sour cream whey and this was delicious and light. Even Dragon loved the blueberry sorbet and blueberry – pretty sure she had more than I!
I am SO glad that I got the vegetarian option. Most of the dishes I tried are on the menu so I was very happy about that. The mushroom fondant was definitely my favourite followed by the smoked egg cheese. Definitely glad I came.
Service was excellent, they were very accommodating with my allergies and did not bat an eye with Dragon running around! I have to say, going to a fine dining restaurant with Dragon is definitely a challenge. I didn’t enjoy the atmosphere as much as I was constantly running after Dragon or telling her to sit down, but the food was definitely fantastic! Definitely worth going if you are in Helsinki!
GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10
Korkeavuorenkatu 27, 00130 Helsinki
Ph: +358 9 635732