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Archive for December, 2012

The Hardware Societe, Melbourne

The Hardware Societe was also on my list of places to go whilst in Melbourne. I had one morning off before an afternoon of gruelling meetings, so suggested that we come here for brunch. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait at all, it was a weekday, and the place was relatively busy but we managed to get a table straight away. Located on Hardware Street, this place is super cosy and cute and the staffs were uber friendly.

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I have heard that the baked eggs are fantastic, but I couldn’t go past the breakfast board which consisted of jamon, salmon, chicken liver pate with gerkin, and two perfectly poached eggs!

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OH MY GOODNESS – it was one of the nicest breakfast I have ever had, better than a breakfast buffet – it had everything that I wanted. The jamon, delicious – you don’t get anything like that in Hong Kong, the chicken liver pate was smooth and creamy.

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The poached eggs – cooked to perfection. I absolutely loved this breakfast and would happily come back to have another. I don’t think I could ever get sick of this meal.

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‘The Mother’ loves sardines, so opt for sardines on toast which sat on a thick slice of bread. He absolutely loved this, so much that he didn’t even offer me any. He did say that it was ‘delicious’.

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I can see why this place is popular, everything on the menu sounded wonderful and I could see this as my ‘local’ – even if I didn’t live nearby! Service was excellent, Dragon loved all the wait staff and they were uber friendly, making her feel comfortable.

If you haven’t been, definitely worth the visit – you won’t regret it, but the place does get busy so come early or expect to wait for 20 – 30 mins or so. Thank goodness we came on a weekday. No waiting, and was seated immediately!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

The Hardware Societe

118-120 Hardware Street

Melbourne Victoria

Ph: +61 3 9078 5992

The Hardware Sociéte on Urbanspoon

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Jackie M Masterclass, Sydney

I have seen posts and pictures of the Jackie M class, if I was in Sydney I would have loved to attend. Learn her secrets on the BEST Char Kway Teow (“CKT”) in Sydney and of course, pandan crepes and roti. Thankfully, my favourite Uncle was invited and he was kind enough to write a post and share some of the photos that he took. I certainly wouldn’t mind having some CKT right now. Here’s what Uncle had to say about the class…..

Where does the time go! I can’t believe 2012 has zoomed by and it’s less than 3 weeks before we roll into yet, another new year. With all the xmas goodies, long lunches (no one has invited me yet) and dinners (see previous point), I know I will be rolling into 2013 for sure (hint, hint!).

Step back into the weekend just gone past, I was fortunate enough to be a guest of Jackie M’s ‘Street Food 1’ masterclass. I had the option to choose from other classes, but I could not go past the one that taught you how to make Lala’s favourite stir fried rice noodle: CKT. We’ve tried lots of CKT here in Sydney. And yeah, I know everyone has different expectation of what a good CKT should be like, but we (Lala, Boo and I) have found Jackie M’s to be the one we rate most highly. So when the opportunity came up to learn from Sydney’s best, I could not say no.

Fast forward to the class: I put on my best pair of summer shorts (the one with no holes) and also my cooking boxers (fire-proof and the one with the good elastic still). I figured, if it’s street food, I should really get into my zone. I also put on shoes for a change. Didn’t want to “drop it like it’s hot…” onto my girlie toes. The event was held at the Grace Hotel – a really pretty art deco hotel with a neo-gothic exterior. All that is missing are some gargoyles and it would be really awesome. Not sure if the Graces Bros who originally built it will agree though. Anyway, here are some pics from the day. I made oyster omelette, the KL Hokkien Mee, CKT and also helped out with some of the pandan crepes for the Kuih / Kueh Dadar. Not DADAH. That has a completely different meaning and if you took some into Malaysia, you’d find yourself in big trouble. So take note when asking for ‘dadar’ in Malaysia. You have been warned.

General tips form Jackie:

–          Malaysian cooking is not an exact science

–          Taste and moderate salt / spice according to your liking: AGAK AGAK (sorta, kinda, approximately, bit of this, bit of that)

Tips for CKT:

–          you need heat to char the ‘K-T’ – > Kway Teow…rice noodles.

–          don’t scramble the egg into the noodles. fold it in gently once it’s cooked a bit.

Tips for oyster omelette:

–          you want to achieve a consistency that is gooey and also crispy

–          be vigilant with how much ‘fire’ you have going…you’d need to up it and reduce as needed to cook the components

It was a fun day for everyone. I had entertaining cooking neighbours: my Instagram buddies: theheardoffood, theveryhungrykaterpilla & aloosh, ramenraff who made it fun and also Vani and Iza from Jackie’s team just making sure everyone had everything they needed.

Here’s some photos from the day. Sorry, once my hands got dirty (cos my sous chef was busy running around distracting people…bad boo), there are no step by step photos.

Jackie M

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What does Boo think? APPROVED!

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If you are lucky enough to live in Sydney, guess what? You can visit Jackie at her restaurant or at one of her many market stalls over the weekend

Jackie M

85 Majors Bay Road

Concord

Email jackie@jackiem.com.au 

Ph: 02-9743 0390 

Fax: 02-9012 0058

Huxtable, Fitzroy, Melbourne

December 11, 2012 1 comment

A trip to Melbourne for work meant that I get to eat at some of the restaurants I have wanted to try and Huxtable has been on the list for a while now. Located at Fitzroy, the restaurant is quite tiny, and reservations are highly recommended. Daniel Wilson is the owner and chef behind this great restaurant, and I have to say, I had high expectations and it did not disappoint.

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I had made reservations at 7pm and the place was already busy at the time. I had perused the menu a week before so knew exactly what I wanted but let ‘The Mother’ have a quick look before ordering. He couldn’t go past the olives, green and brown and they were delicious and fresh.

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t resist ordering the chilli smoked mussels, pickled shallots, aioli (g) ($9.50). They were deliciously smokey and plump and the aioli gave it a nice touch.

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The jalapeno and cheddar croquette ($3.50) was excellent – the combination of the jalapeno and cheese was a match in heaven! Who would have thought? It was amazing!

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The tempura eggplant and prawn fritter ($5.50) was lightly battered, I love the eggplant and the prawn was moreish.

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For something more substantial, ‘The Mother’ opt for sashimi of ocean trout, finger lime & sesame ponzu, seaweed ($23). Beautifully presented, I love the redness of the ocean trout! It was fresh and absolutely delicious and I love the ponzu sauce.

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I couldn’t go past the korean bbq pork ribs, spicy slaw, chilli gherkin ($24) – OMG! The ribs were amazingly good – tender, succulent and lots of flavour! It was a little spicy and the spicy slaw and chili gherkin a wonderful complement. Probably the highlight dish that evening.

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For dessert, we ordered the warm banana bread, caramelised white chocolate, espresso ice cream ($12). Loved the espresso ice cream and the banana bread was soft and fluffy.

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We really enjoyed our meal at Huxtable and would definitely come back to try their other dishes. However in saying that, it would be difficult to resist ordering the kimchi ribs! Service was very friendly and they really looked after us and Dragon which was nice. Loved the ambiance, the fit out and especially the food!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Huxtable

 

131 Smith Street

Fitzroy, 3065

Melbourne

Ph: +61 3 9419 5101

Huxtable on Urbanspoon

Craftsteak, Soho, Hong Kong

Craftsteak is one of the restaurants owned by Dining Concepts which can be located in Soho. I was craving steak one day, and all I could think about was that – steak! I didn’t and wouldn’t eat anything else, so did a little bit of googling (the beauty of internet) and found Craftsteak – open fire cooking, and they have the ‘freshest cuts of steaks from Australia, USA, and Canada’ – how can I say no to that?

So I ‘dragged’ the boys at work and wondered up to Soho to Craftsteak. It was relatively busy when we got there, thankfully we did get a table without booking. Crafsteak offers diners set lunches – a combination of Appetizers and Main, Appetizers and Dessert or if you are super-duper hungry, all three – Appetizers, Main and Dessert.

We started with warm bread which was soft, and fluffy and bacon flavoured butter – oh my!

The boys couldn’t help but order a couple more servings! Talk about filling up on bread!

I was on a mission – I wanted steak so no guessing what I had! I started with classic Caesar Salad – it was refreshingly light and tasty.

C had the mixed salad leaves with house vinaigrette, which I thought looked a little sad but very colourful. He did say that it was good and exactly what he wanted.

J had the summer corn chowder – it was creamy but not sickening.

For mains, both C and I had the 8oz hanger steak with French fries and steak sauce (we had to pay an extra but I can’t for the life remember how much). It was a generous serving of steak – it was HUGE! Char-grilled, and cooked medium rare – just the way I like it. It was juicy, tender and exactly what I wanted and needed!

J couldn’t go past craft burger, bacon, cheese, and steak house sauce and fries. Oh my! What a large serving. I can’t believe he finished it all – needless to say, he fell into a food coma that afternoon and had to undo his pants whilst working! J can eat, and he was even defeated by the burger. I still can’t believe he polished the whole thing!

C couldn’t resist a chocolate brownie, it was deliciously dense and chocolate-y!

Service was good, the only gripe I had was coming out of the restaurant smelling a little ‘smokey’ but food was definitely delicious and I am looking forward to going back again to try their other dishes. I heard the chicken was good also. Bit of a trek but worth it!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

CraftSteak

29 Elgin Street

Soho, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2526 0999

Tea and Steamed Buns, Shanghai

One evening we were looking for a place to eat and we stumbled across Tea and Steamed Buns which is very close to our hotel on Tian Yao Qiao Road in Shanghai. It was quiet by the time we dined, it was about 8pm and there weren’t many people there. However, the next day when we walked past we did notice how busy the place was – a good sign perhaps?

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We started with silken tofu – it was served cold but the tofu was silky smooth and the sauce had a hint of chili which gave it a nice kick.

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the xiao long bao – one of his favourites. I was surprised that we didn’t eat more dumplings in Shanghai – these were the only xiao long bao that we had. I remembered during our honeymoon, when we went to Shanghai, every single meal consisted of some sort of dumplings. These little babies were good but ‘The Mother’ still preferred the one at Din Tai Fung.

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We couldn’t go past the chicken – half a chicken – they were good, however, I found the sauce a little salty which was a shame.

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Last but not least, and probably most important – vegetables.

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Service minimal, food was scrumptious and came out relatively quickly. Definitely wouldn’t mind coming back here and try their other dishes.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Tea and Steamed Buns

First floor of Ascendas Plaza

No. 323 Tianyaoqiao Road

Xuhui District

Shanghai(near East Nandan Road) ZIP:200030

First Drop, East Redfern

I have driven past this place many times, especially every time I go to Waterloo and have always wondered about it. It’s always busy, there are always people queuing to go inside so on my last day in Sydney before I jet off back to Hong Kong, I suggested we go here. I had originally wanted to go to St Jude, but for some strange reason I got both the places mix up – thought this was St Jude. Oh wells – never mind, will definitely go to St Jude next time.

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I was impressed with the menu – variety of breakfast dishes that I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat. Eggs, non-eggs, or maybe the lunch items which also sounded great. Finally, I settled for breakfast item – the veggie breakfast which includes two poached eggs, spinach, mushrooms, haloumi, baked beans, roasted tomato and hash brown. I wanted avocado on the side for Dragon as she is now eating solids and absolutely LOVES avocado.

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It was a rather generous serving, I couldn’t finish everything. Loved the poached eggs, it oozed with yolk and Dragon absolutely loved the avocado.

My brother, F, couldn’t go past the baked eggs with beans and chorizo. I love baked eggs and this was good, the beans were tomato-y with a little bit of spice and the chorizo a wonderful complement. This was a relatively filing and heavy breakfast, but F seemed to have enjoyed it.

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My sis-in-law, O, wanted something more substantial and ordered lunch, the pasta – chicken linguini with tomato based and a hint of chili. Again it was scrumptious but a little too filing for my liking.

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They have great fruit juices which we all enjoyed, and the coffee isn’t too bad either. Service was efficient, food came out relatively quickly and they absolutely loved Dragon! Thanks for keeping her entertained.

Great little café, I can see this being a local – can’t believe it took me this long to finally visit this place. I guess better late than never. I have only been back for a few days and am already missing the café scenes already. Till next time Sydney – thanks for the good times, albeit short!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

First Drop

69 Baptist Street

East Redfern, 2016

Ph: +61 2 9690 1611

First Drop on Urbanspoon

Queenies, Surry Hills

Queenie’s is located above the renowned Forresters Hotel which can be found on the corner of Riley and Foveaux Street in Surry Hills. They serve Jamaican food and the menu is designed by executive chef Jamie Thomas, who is also responsible for The Carrington, The Norfolk, Santa Barbara Kings Cross (part of the Drink and Dine Group).

I was catching up with the lovely S and suggested this place. Everything on the menu sounded wonderful. We started with bammies (similar to a taco) – one of each – pulled pork and pineapple and prawn, mango and ginger. No guessing which one I had, the pork deliciously tender and the pineapple complemented the pork well – it was delightful.

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The prawn, mango and ginger were also delicious but I definitely preferred the pork.

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S couldn’t go past the Hellshire ceviche ($16) with snapper, avocado, mango and chili which were served with corn chips. I didn’t have any of this but S said that it was fantastic – lots of flavours and refreshing.  It looked absolutely fantastic!

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I couldn’t go past the bbq jerk chicken with jungle slaw ($18) – oh my what a generous serving! I love the dark, sweet and sticky flavour of the chicken – it was tender and succulent and the jungle slaw a wonderful complement.

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We also ordered a serve of the jungle slaw ($7) – cabbage, coriander, lime and jerk mayo.

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Unfortunately we were too full for dessert, however the table next to us had the donuts and they looked tremendous! A lot better than those from Gowings! Next time!

Service was a tad slow at times but overall ok. They had some interesting items on the menu that I wouldn’t mind trying, like the smoked pork loin with crumbed mussels and mango salsa and the chicken wings looked good also. Will definitely come back on my next visit to Sydney!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Queenies

Corner Foveaux and Riley St

Surry Hills, 2010

PH: +61 2 9212  3035

Queenies on Urbanspoon