Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lolo And Wren

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We hardly visit food places around Brunswick West area but we finally did today. Jan's friend, Marcus, just alighted the country. We made our way to fetch him in the morning from the airport and then we dropped by Lolo And Wren for a brunch session before ticking the next agenda (*giggles* because we are going  shopping!).



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Mocha, 3.80AUD


Beautifully made mocha with a tiny chocolate ball on the side.



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Banoffee Porridge, 12.50AUD


I ordered Banoffee Porridge which had a gooey caramelised texture with a slight banana taste and aroma. It wasn't all that guilty that most of all that sweetness came from the stewed dates and dulce de leche. My favourite part? Always the crumbs!




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Caramelized Pear, Almond And Walnut Pancakes, 16.50AUD


Marcus went for the pancakes, an item I hardly expect a guy would order. Chunks of vanilla mauri mascarpone was centered in the middle of each pancake with rhubarb and raspberry compote to sweeten. He ditched the mint leaves and poured gobs and gobs of the Canadian maple syrup. It didn't felt like pancakes, more of an enhanced danish pastry, délicioux!




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Chorizo Cazuela, 17AUD


Jan ordered a Spanish inspired dish, the Chorizo Cazuela. It was a tomato based ragu with chickpea beans, some red wine and aged manchego cheese crumble. The bed of pale cheese-y hay was delicate as it melts in your mouth like butter. Jan also added two poached eggs for 3AUD.




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We will be bringing Marcus to more places to eat, some at our favourite places to eat, and more new places to explore. And yes, everyday we have been consuming a little too much. Stay tuned on that.






Lolo And Wren

484 Albion Street, Brunswick West
Melbourne, Victoria 3055
Australia

Tel: +(61) 03 9383 3712

Mon to Fri: 7am-4pm
Sat to Sun: 8am-4pm





Lolo and Wren on Urbanspoon



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NSHRY

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We're celebrating Rachel's post birthday lunch by the seaside at NSHRY. 'Ns..shry.... Un...shreee?' Nope! I believe this particular place is pronounced as 'Noshery'! It was the perfect sunny sunday to have light sunrays glaring at us while I tug on my cozy warmers, munch on something delicious and sip in on warm coffee. Rach's Parents and aunt came all the way to Melbourne, so it'll only be appropriate for us to have a big intimate meal together. I'll be breaking a sweat as I walk you through on what we ordered, because we ordered a lot!



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Flat White, 3.70AUD + Skinny 
Cappuccino, 3.70AUD + Hot Chocolate, 4.20AUD

Even though the sun is out, it was still winter so a hot cuppa is always a good way to start. Everybody had a cup, Rach had the Flat White, Jan had the Hot Chocolate while I went for a cup of Cappuccino. Its almost predictable of what winter-cup warmer they are inclined towards. Yup, I know them too well.



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Umami Burger, 22AUD

The Umami Burger is one of NSHRY's staple dishes. The burger weighs 200 grams. It essentially was a mix of wagyu and angus beef cooked to medium rare achieving a taste of umami. I took a Neuroscience module dedicated to business students. As sciencey as it gets, apparently umami has recently been introduced to the four basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter), umami being the fifth! The taste of umami is not odd, its when you experience the tang from glutamates or some people would say that they could taste umami from red proteins. No, this particular patty was not gamey.

To enhance the combo, there was enough caramelised onions, oven roasted tomato and a parmesan crisp in between the brioche bun. The chips are beer battered too and it includes three types of sauces that was served along with the dish, tomato sauce, spicy chip dip and wasabi kewpie.



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Buffalo Wings, 9AUD

Six pieces of what was referred to as spicy (but ended up being not-so-spicy) Buffalo Wings. Its a birthday event and we were all supposed to be glamorous, yeah ummm.... nevermind I'll use my hands instead. It was good so I had to lick it to the bone.



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Pork Burger, 22AUD

The birthday girl chose the Japanese Pork Burger. Sitting on the sweet brioche bun was slathers of slow braised pork belly with miso pumpkin and sweet soy glaze. I had a bite of this and it was amazing.



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Baked Eggs, 19AUD

No surprise, Jan ordered Baked Eggs again. Not just your regular red based tomato pan, its baked with cauliflower bĂ©chamel this time! It wasn't the best of all time baked eggs but Jan was still pleased with his order. Another Japanese-Australian Fusion with teriyaki grilled eel slices on the pan. One fish is not enough, there was also thinly sliced smoked rainbow trout, dill creme fraiche, and eggs of course! The creme fraiche gave a lot of taste and flavour which we really liked.



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Fish N Chips, 22AUD

Three Fish N Chips flakes which were tempura battered, seasoned with seaweed, sesame and wasabi flakes. Honestly, the owner of the restaurant must love Japanese food so much to add so many different Japanese spices and sauces to many of their dishes on the menu.



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The Double, 21AUD

The man of the house aka Rach's dad ordered The Double wagyu and angus patty, with grilled bacon and topped with melted gruyere cheese.



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Huevos Rancheros, 22AUD

I was more adventurous to try a Mexican breakfast in a pot. There were chorizo slices which was overcooked and hardened, pleasant spicy cassoulet, really good roasted tomatoes, melted gruyere and a poached egg. The chorizo sausage was supposedly the star of this dish but that failed to stand out. On the side, I received a chili sourdough which I thought was unique, but it did not taste particularly different from the normal ones.



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Real girls eat burgers?!



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NSHRY faces the ocean and on a sunny day, you would get to view a perfect picture of the sea with marshmallow clouds dancing in baby blue. The palm trees also helped to create that beachy summer vibe. I would definitely come back here in the summer time with some girlfriends, just to chill and grab a mandatory cup of iced coffee.



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Look at Rach's birthday cake from Brunetti! This reminded me of a sack full of cash or coins. Ummm.... we wish...! All kidding aside, it was an adorable cake that was difficult to cut and perhaps was covered in too much fondant. We all still enjoyed what's within, awesome hazelnut filling!



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Once again, happy birthday baby girl. Go set the world on fire with your dreams, humorous personality, and your red lipstick (duh). I wish you the very best, to live life with grace and for you to be blessed abundantly from this day onwards. Love you!





NSHRY
129A Beacon Parade, Albert Park
Melbourne, Victoria 3206
Australia

Tel: +(61) 03 9682 1077

Mon: Closed
Tue to Wed: 8am-4pm
Thu to Sun: 8am-4pm
                   6pm-9pm





Nshry on Urbanspoon



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fonda Mexican

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After trying out Fonda Mexican (Richmond Outlet), it is now one of my favourite places to dine at when I crave for something Mexican. There are other two Fonda outlets in town, one strategically situated on Flinders Lane, the other at a fast developing suburb, Prahran.




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Charred Corn Antojito, 4.50AUD


Jan and I started out with Charred Corn Antojito, probably 2/5 the size of a normal corn on the cob. The topping was grated ricotta salata cheese with a mild taste of chipotle aioli. Not the juiciest corn, nor were we wowed by it. Jan said the Charred Corn at Mamasita was way tastier. This starter dish was our least favourite of the night.



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Fish Taco, 7AUD


We chose a soft taco shell paired with lightly battered fish meat with chipotle aioli spread underneath. It was an expensive taco but it sure tasted good.




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Grilled Chicken Ensalada, 15AUD


Ensaladas are Spanish salads. The waitress recommended the grilled chicken, which we ordered. Its mixed together with quinoa, black beans, coriander, fresh corn, sweet potato, mint, peas and lemon vinaigrette dressing. Jan does not usually like salad, but this he love. I believe there was more than too many black beans hidden within. The grilled chicken was ample and so was the sweet potato.




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Chopped Beef Burrito, 15AUD

One of the best burritos I have in a while. Why? Its not white rice or even brown rice was used for the carb filling, its quinoa so it makes it less sinful (even though I am aware we're still eating that tortilla, but still...). Other than the chopped beef slices, there is more black beans, some salsa roja and cabbages mixed with chipotle aioli.



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At Fonda Mexican, you need to take orders at the counter and pay right ahead. The food would be sent to you afterwards. Service was really quick as well and we had a good chat with the owner of the place. It was crowded already at half past six. By the time we left, the place was swarming and queues reach up all the way to the front of the store. If you are looking for a healthier Mexican food option, Fonda Mexican is now a place that I would always visit to fix my Mexican food craving.








Fonda Mexican
248 Swan Street, Richmond
Melbourne, Victoria 3121
Australia

Tel: +(61) 03 9429 0085





Fonda Mexican on Urbanspoon



Friday, August 15, 2014

Fandango

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Pancakes, 15AUD


One of the most beautiful holy mother of pancakes I have ever encountered upon in my life was at Fandango. The stacks were higher than what you would normally see elsewhere. The best part was the mix of toasted rhubarb, strawberries and honeyed cream cheese. The sweetness level was mild so you would not feel so cloyed up even after multiple bites. The portion of bacon on the side was also generous and they were not too overdone. I shared half of both the Pancakes and French Toast with my friend, Bianca. We thought that sharing was the perfect idea so we would get to savour each dish without feeling too much.




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Curried Eggs, 17.50AUD


Jan went savoury (as always) and ordered the Curried Eggs. Instead of the usual baked or poached in a pot, its two delicate sunny side ups this time. Underneath that egg were Indian spiced chickpeas, minted yoghurt cheese, brinjal vegetable pickles, and roti at the base. He also added bacon for 3.80AUD. I sort of think he is in the hunt for all types of baked eggs, and this Curried Eggs is similar to one. The good news is, he loved this one as well.




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Beetroot Eggs, 16AUD


We all tried a little bit of the Beetroot Eggs. 
First initial thought of how this dish would turn out to taste? Meh, not too keen. After trying out a bite of it, both Jan and I agreed that this was the best dish of the day. I do not usually like beets but this one was an exception! The beetroot tasted delish this time because its soured and slightly sweetened with feta relish. Topped with boiled spinach and raw watercress on a thick sourdough with a poached egg on the side. All that combined was very delectable.



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French Toast, 17.50AUD


The French Toast wasn't as good as the Pancakes. There were in total six halves of toasts with sour apples combined. The bread was not toasty, albeit too overdone that the fluff was gone. I guess the best part of the whole plate was the bacon.




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Today's agenda was to have a quick catch up with Bianca and her friend who came over all the way from Sydney. Wave them hello!




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The portions at Fandango are huge and prices considered cheap for the amount given.




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The place was crowded inside. To have a meal at their outdoor garden, you have to take a two to three minutes detour all the way around the block. Then we figured it was too cold to sit here so we took the detour back and settled inside. Fandango is located beside another pretty and rustic cafe called, Auction Rooms. Fandango is relatively hard to spot because its signage did not pop up from across the street. Passer bys may not even realise their existence if they don't pay careful enough attention. Thankfully the internet is a strong enough influence to have made us come here at the first place. Overall, it was still a satisfying brunch we had. I recommend both the Beetroot Eggs and Pancakes if you decide to dine in here.





Fandango
97 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria 3051
Australia

Tel: +(61) 03 9329 0693

Mon: Closed 
Tue to Sat: 7.30am-3pm
Sun: Closed
PH: Closed




Fandango on Urbanspoon



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Vue Grand

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Jan and I celebrated a very special day today at Vue Grand. It was our 8th year anniversary! Oh how time flies. I can't believe I get to see him grow up from a boy to a man. If you haven't already know, we first know each other through several mutual friends from when I was 10. From the age of 13 and onwards, we became inseparable. I feel so fortunate that he came into my life for a good reason. All that cheesy talk aside, we had another meaningful anniversary date this year.




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We took just slightly less than a two hour drive from Melbourne city to Queenscliff to have a getaway of our own for a night. Vue Grand Hotel houses a fine dining restaurant (this restaurant) targeting couples for their anniversaries, birthday events, high tea sessions and even wedding ceremonies. By the way, take a stay at one of their suites, we chose the Bay View Suite. Its modern and lovely!




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The decor was a reminiscence of an old English Victorian setting. This building is very old, but well preserved. It has a slight modern take with the tables and chairs, but the interior facade was built with a classic touch. We were taken aback, and figuratively transported to the 1800s.



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We started out with warm crusty ciabatta, one plain, one infused with garlic. Every table was given a scoop of burnt butter to spread. We loved it, okay I think Jan loved it more than I do because it gets too salty in the tongue after a while. So what do we do? Get more complimentary bread! More carbs.. I am the lady and I am not even sorry.



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Aside from the three course meals (and breads), this particular starter was complimentary, how thoughtful. It had beetroot underneath paired with creamy sweetened cheese and crispy salted seaweed. Still unsure but I think it is seaweed.



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Jan also ordered a glass of Shiraz to pair his red meat with.



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Greenvale Pork Loin And Pancetta With Fig And Almond


The first entree was a Pork Loin dish and it was top notch. The pork still had that juicy pink center and the overall sub ingredients had different textures which matches. I also love how the fig cutouts had a mild sourish taste so the meats tasted more fresh.



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Poached Crayfish With Fresh Pasta, Lemon, Bacon, Radish And Chive


The best part of the dish was a no brainer. It was unarguably the hidden soft crayfish which was tucked under that pasta blanket. It was tasteful and you can't deny that it should be considered as a decadent piece of artwork.



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Confit Duck Leg With Baby Beetroots, Cabbage, Mustard And Duck “Ham”


The next dish looks even more appealing. Is this food for the Sailor Moon girls or is this dish for me? Sorry girls, tonight is my night! I feel so special to have such an artistic plate, yet again I secretly dread deconstructing what's beautiful because I had to. It wasn't a whole duck leg stuck to the bone, one I had expected. It was pulled out, laid above barley rice and beautified with sliced baby beetroots on top. Beetroot puree was used to decorate, and tiny dots of mustard to render each bite with.



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I gotta be honest, beetroot is not something I fancy. I thought the baby beets would be separable and not take much content out of the whole dish, but boy I was wrong. Most of the beets slices ended up getting on Jan's plate.



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Hopkins River Eye Fillet With Shitakes, Braised Brisket, Potato Mustard Puree And Horseradish Cream 


I thought Jan's dish was more savoury and it tasted way better than mine. We could do slightly more rare than that. I love the cream which balances out the saltiness of the braised briskets.



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My happy man!




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Burnt Butter Cake With Pistachio Mousse, Caramel And Roasted Pear Sorbet

I made Jan order the Burnt butter cake, its so sweet how he always let me pick the desserts. Thankfully, we did made the right choice! When I saw pistachio mousse, I knew we had to get it. The plating was beautiful too. Other than the candied crisp which was too sweet and which sticked to our teeth, everything else was spot on and I love how we get to try different cream, sorbet, and mousse all in one plate.



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Coffee Parfait With Brioche, Chocolate And Hazelnut 


Another dessert that I eyed on was the Coffee Parfait with dark chocolate blocks and tiny roasted brioche cubes. The coffee flavour was quite distinct, which was a plus point of course. I told Jan someone must have spat at my dish before serving it to us (focus on that bubble foam). That was a BAD joke, but he laughed anyway.



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English Breakfast Tea


We spent another half an hour drinking tea and chit chatting our night away. It was good catching up one on one and spending close to three hours at Vue Grand restaurant. Rather than usual where we eat casually at a restaurant, finish our meal and then leave right away. There was nothing on the agenda tonight, no errands to do or problems worry about. Just him, me and endless conversations.



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That's where a waiter would cut out the breads




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We had a three course meal costing us 79AUD each. Dining at Vue Grand was definitely worth the buy for such an ambiance and impeccable service. I hope this post helps if you are looking for an anniversary getaway from the city. Cheers!







Vue Grand
46 Hesse Street, Queenscliff
Melbourne, Victoria 3225
Australia

Tel: +(61) 03 5258 1544





Vue Grand on Urbanspoon



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