Saturday, 4 August 2012

Australia (Part 2/2) : Melbourne

Melbourne's famous trams (own photo)

The mention of Melbourne and warm fuzzy feelings always overwhelm us. Warm people, delightful food and a perfect blend of culture and modernisation. A place that never seems too busy nor too quiet to sooth the soul.

Some of our favourite places includes....


South Melbourne - Centro Ristorante Italiano

Photo from Centro's website
Unpretentious and serves amazing Italian food that is welcoming and warm.

We started off with the Calamari Al Peperoncino, a signature dish of calamari cooked in virgin olive oil, chilli and garlic. Serving was sizeable but it tasted so good that we wished it was a neverending dish!

For the mains, M had the Gnocchi Al Forno, a house made potato gnocchi baked in red wine, porcini and napoli sauce with bocconcini and parmesan. Needless to say, this was creamy yet tasty and was more to my liking than M's.

I had the Capellini Alla Harold, this was inspired by a patron, Harold Mitchel, and is a angel hair pasta dish with scallops, diced prawns laden with lemon zest, virgin olive oil and a blast of chili. We loved this!

Feeling full yet greedy, we shared a dessert of crepes with ice cream and nearly licked everything off the dish!

We are surely coming back here again!

Albert Park - Andrew's Hamburger

We hopped onto the tram and took a short journey salivating at the thought of sinking our teeth into the best burger in town.

Ding! Off the tram and straight into ordering burgers that has been around since 1939. "2 of The Lot, please". The Lot encompasses egg, bacon, tomato, cheese and of course, the tasty succulent beef pattie.

There is no formal area for a sit down but there are chairs and are benches outside and across the street. M stood patiently in the shop as they cooked the burgers whilst I braved the chilly winds outside in hope of burning couple more calories. When M came through the door with the burgers, we both dashed across the street to an empty bench under the direct afternoon sunlight.

Photo from Andrew's Facebook page
Just the smell from the bag of burgers sent our stomachs into a rumble and within a couple of seconds, we had our teeth into the amazing, succulent, juicy and tasty burgers.

We have arrived. Yes, we have!

Carlton - Burnetti

Photo from Brunetti's website
Brunetti's is a place where we always felt like kids in a candy store. Our eyes would always be mesmerised as it feasted upon the beautifully displayed cakes on both sides of the entrance and the counter of desserts in the front.

Without fail, being spoilt for choice, we would spend a couple minutes glancing across the counter and also the seated tables to see what is the "in" dessert.

Finally, a piece of chocolate cake to share coupled with a hot chocolate and latte. Both beverages were creamy and aromatic and admittedly, over powered the chocolate cake. Still, I love you, Burnetti's!

Also, not forgetting some gifts for home - some pistacchio nougats!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Australia (Part 1/2) : Sydney

A year and a half has just whisked by and am now back to mom's kitchen. Before jumping into any cooking galore, a quick diversion to Australia. 

M & I were in Sydney and Melbourne and this time for a couple weeks for some pure R & R and of course, some gastronomic delights!

A couple of mentions on our favourite places for all to enjoy. No personal food photos posted this round as it'll be total injustice to do so - case of bad handling of lighting on my part.

Sydney - Marigold Restaurant   

Sydney's crisp winter breath welcomed us and as it was lunch time, we headed off for "yum cha" at our favourite Marigold Restaurant in Chinatown that serves authentic Cantonese-styled dim sum. It was a weekday, so we took a chance with no reservations and thankfully, when the lift doors opened, we were greeted by the ever smiling and efficient restaurant captain and a cozy table

Marigold is a feast to tease and tantalise the palate.

Photo from Marigold's website

We indulged in our favourites of "char siew pau" (BBQ pork bun), egg tart,  seafood "cheong fun" (steamed rice flour roll), fried radish, dim sum styled chicken feet, calamari in spicy salt, "siew mai" (pork dumplings), "har kow" (prawn dumpling) and fried seafood noodles.

Marigold's "char siew pau" was as usual, just perfect - steam oozed out when our teeth sunk into the soft white spongy bun to meet the aromatic and tender filling. Just satisfying.   

Another  must have is the egg tart, flaky crispy fragrant pastry that cuddles the tasty yellow eggy custard. Oh, then another must have is the dim sum styled chicken feet, so tasty that you will find yourself sucking the bone dry!  

What is there not to love about Marigold?

Sydney - Caminetto Italian @ The Rocks

Though there are many great places for pizzas, we just love Caminetto's. There is just something about sitting al fresco with whiffs from the oven of goodness and watching people walk by.
Photo from Caminetto's website
This trip, we had the Marinara that comes with tomatoes, anchovies, baby clams and prawns. The crust was thin with a crispy crunch and extremely tasty on its own. This is one of the few places that we have found to have perfected their thin crust pastry.

Together with the toppings and the stringy cheese..  Oh my, this is making me drool now

We were filled to the brim and had to give dessert a miss once again. Oh Tiramisu, hope to see you soon.

Sydney - Hurricane's Grill and Bar @ Darling Harbour

Fancy yourself turning caveman? Don't worry, you will be given a bib to keep any splatter from your evening's best.

It was our first time to Hurricane's and we started with the knife and fork - the civilised manner, but caveman instincts took over and am glad to have done so. The ribs were so well marinated and grilled to perfection that the meat just ripped off the bone when tugged at. The sauce was to die for!

For the side dish, we had some hot chips to neutralised the protein and some salad to keep our guilt at bay.
Photo from Hurricane's website
The Darling Harbour view was a delight that added ambience to our meal and most importantly, thanks to our dear friend, D, for making and begging for our reservations to be squeezed in - we had ours at 6.00pm and had to be out by 8pm for the next booking! 

Hurricane's will now be on our Sydney's eating list!

Bankstown - An Restaurant

To us, this has and continues to be the best pho around and with speedy service too. Upon ordering, the pho is served before you within 3-5 minutes and this has been consistent over the years even if we had ordered for 2, 4 or 6 persons. 

A bowl of steaming hot pho topped with tender beef in rich aromatic broth that comes with a separate dish of bean sprouts and herbs to be added in at will. Of coz, do add some fish sauce and lemon for that extra zing!

If I dare say, the pho here taste even better than the ones that I had in Ho Chi Minh!