Ramen Bankara

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I have to admit. I am quite a ramen lover. A bowl of hot soup that is bursting with flavour and springy noodles, who wouldn’t like that? But a good bowl of ramen is hard to find and because I haven’t had a bowl of ramen from Japan, I have nothing really to compare to. But I know a good broth and a yummy bowl of noodles when I have one!

When Thanh (I Eat Therefore I Am) asked me if I wanted to stuff my face with ramen at Ramen Bankara and other deliciousness on a cold night, there was no way I would turn that down! Thankfully, the Mr took Lochlan into the gym with him that night, and I could head to the tasting event without a worry!

Ramen Bankara

Shop G047, 619 Doncaster Road

Doncaster Westfield Shopping Centre

Menu for the night

It’s been more than a year since the last blogger event I attended, so I was really quite excited. I also got to catch up with some friends which I haven’t met for quite some time! I also got a chance to meet some new ones, which is always a plus!

Agedashi toufu

We started off the evening with some entrees! The Agedashi tofu has always been a dish I love to have when dining at a Japanese restaurant. These deep fried tofu were crispy on the outside and silky smooth on the inside, sitting in a bowl of hot dashi broth and topped with bonito flakes! I love how the bonito flakes always look like they come alive when they are on a dish. Definitely mad some people squirm! hehe Ok back to the tofu, these were definitely a great start to the night!

Gyoza

We also had some gyoza (panfried dumplings) and tori karaage (crispy fried chicken)!

tori karaage

Oh boy were these fried chicken good! Really well seasoned, crispy on the outside and it was really juicy & tender too! Couldn’t stop at one but had to save tummy for the bowls of ramen to come!

Tonkotsu ramen

First up – my favourite for the night – Tonkotsu ramen! This rich and creamy pork bone broth that was slow cooked for 12 hours! This is the premium bowl which comes with the works  – kanuni (braised pork belly), black fungus, pork cha shu, ajitsuki tamago (seasoned boiled egg, which was served on a side for this bowl), bamboo shoots & seaweed! I seriously wanted another bowl of this broth, not to mention the springy Hakata style noodles!

Ramen Bankara

This was the signature Ramen Bankara – The pork broth is infused with the shoyu (soy sauce) and has a hint of sweetness. A great balance of salty and sweet.

Chuka soba

This was something new to me – Chuka soba. The broth is a unique blend of seafood and pork which made it really rich in flavour. There is also a spicy version of this dish for those who enjoy an extra kick! Also, aren’t those tamagos just gorgeous?

Tamgo

They were perfectly cooked, with a molten yolk centre and seasoned really well! We were lucky to have one whole egg to ourselves that night!

Tsukemen

The Tsukemen definitely left a good impression on my tongue and belly that night! It was really different from the usual bowl of ramen I’ve had. Instead the springy noodles were served cold in this dish with a bowl of piping hot broth that is rich and peppery!Tsukemen noodles

So the idea is like having a bowl of cha soba! You dip the cold noodles into the hot broth and slurp away! This would be a perfect dish for the hotter months to come. Definitely heading back for these soon!

Lemon sorbet

After all the savouries I had for the night, and not to mention how full I was, we were served with a couple of desserts. First up was this tangy lemon sorbet that was seriously addictive! I found myself digging my spoon in for more and it kinda cleansed my palette a little!

Trio of ice-cream

Last but not the least, ice cream! A trio of ice-cream – green tea, black sesame and vanilla. The black sesame was a crowd pleaser and the green tea was a perfect balance of the bitterness of the matcha and the sweetness of the ice-cream. A perfect way to end the night!

Thank you to Thanh again and Ramen Bankara for having us and serving us all the delicious dishes for the night! It was an absolute ball and I haven’t laughed so much for a long time! So if you’re looking for a good bowl of ramen, do head to Ramen Bankara and definitely give that bowl of Tonkatsu a go! You won’t regret it!

I was invited to Ramen Bankara by Thanh of I Eat Therefore I Am. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity!

Ramen Bankara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eclair Affair

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High tea. Something I love but I don’t do it too often. Nothing beats sitting around a table of delicious sweets and savouries, sipping on champagne or tea, chatting with a group of your closest girlfriends! I was lucky enough to be invited by Q Strategies to the Lobby Lounge at The Westin for their Eclair Affair with Daisy & Agnes!

Domaine Chandon

There are two options available for this delicious high tea. $49 per person is served with Vittoria coffee, hot chocolate or a selection of Jing Tea. $59 per person includes 1 glass of Domaine Chandon and also with coffee, tea or hot chocolate!

Jing tea

As I couldn’t have the champagne, I decided to order a fruit tea to accompany the 3 tiered spread we were having! I love the different selection of teas there are. There’s black, green, white and fruity! (:

Eclair Affair

And what’s special about this high tea you ask? It’s served with a range of both savoury and sweet eclairs and also some scones! Choux pastry is something I love, especially when it’s thin and buttery. I actually prefer the savoury eclairs more than the sweet ones!

Eclair Affair

The savoury eclairs include :

Mushroom pate with pickled shemiji

Hame, comte cheese, confit tomato and grainy Dijon aioli

Smoked duck, gorgonzola, pear, caramelised walnut and rocket

Prawn, avocado and sweet chilli jam

Goat cheese with pesto

My favourite was the prawn and avocado with the slight kick of the sweet chilli jam. A really good balance of sweet, salty and creamy! YUMMO!

Sweet eclairs

The sweet eclairs include :

Strawberry & Lime

Passionfruit and White Chocolate

Pistachio and Fig

Chocolate & Caramel

I was really excited when I heard about the pistachio and fig, but sadly the one I had wasn’t filled! But I did enjoy the chocolate and caramel one the most! hehe It’s one of my favourite combinations, so definitely can’t go wrong! hehe

Scones

Last but definitely not the least, scones! It wouldn’t be high tea without scones, in my opinion! There’s a serve of vanilla scones and fruit scones! I actually love vanilla scones more with a dollop of cream and jam! Till now, I’m not sure what the right way of having scones. Cream first or jam first? hehe I mix them around and is different every time I have it! hehe

Eclair Affair

So if you’re looking for something different from the usual high tea, so head to the Westin to give this a go! With really comfy sofa seats and a beautiful ambience, it’s definitely somewhere you can consider going with your girlfriends or loved ones! But be quick cause this is only till the 30th of June!

Eclairs are definitely the new cupcakes and macarons! So get in quick! hehe

Disclaimer : I was invited to the Eclair Affair by the Westin and Q Strategies. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity!

 

New Autumn Menu : No. 8 By John Lawson

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I was so lucky and excited to be invited to taste the new autumn menu at No. 8 by John Lawson a few weeks back. Don’t know if you can remember my first tasting done there and I absolutely loved it! So when another opportunity came to dine back at No. 8, I couldn’t say no hehe If you don’t remember John Lawson, his dishes are driven & inspired by the fresh produce he has around him. In fact, his cooking revolves around sustainably produced ingredients that he can find around locally from Victorian farmers. 

Before I share with you the new menu, I just want to thank John Lawson, the chefs and the staff for accommodating to this expectant woman. hehe Cannot be more thankful that I am still able to dine comfortably and have delicious food! (:

Whole wheat and beer sourdough

So like always, the night starts with beautiful slices of bread made by Eds Breads! If you follow me on instagram, you would know that I often buy my breads from him and have them for my breakfast! Unfortunately, I was late due to work, so I didn’t get to try the newly created – whole wheat and beer sourdough. But lucky for me, we were all given a loaf to bring home! YAY! hehe Love the crunchy outer crust and a soft centre. There isn’t one loaf of his I could fault!

Wheat berry and baby carrot salad

The first course was the salad course : wheat berry and baby carrot salad ! I absolutely love the wheat berries. They have a nutty flavour to them and really good bite too! This was also served with jerusalem artichokes turnips and sunflower shoots! A really colourful and refreshing start to the night! This was paired with a gin & tonic, which I didn’t have, of course. But I can imagine what a good match it would be! hehe

Mildura yabbies, hervey bay scallops and pine mushrooms

The next dish was a show-stopper in my opinion! When it arrived in front of me, I could feel my jaw drop! How pretty is that? Perfectly cooked Mildura yabbies, that were so fresh and sweet with Hervey Bay scallops and pine mushrooms! What a great entree! Every seafood I love on a plate! Actually on a gorgeous scallop shell! Absolutely loved this dish.

Slippery Jack mushroom risotto

And the dishes just gets better and better! When I looked through the menu before dinner started, this was the dish I was really looking forward to! Risotto, when cooked perfectly, is my weakness. I could have a huge plate of it and still want more. hehe This, my dear readers, was absolutely delish! Every mouthful I had was bursting with mushroomy flavours, and the rice was creamy and cheesy! SO GOOD! Ticked all the right boxes! Hands down my favourite dish of the night! NOMS!

Milawa duck breast

The main for the new autumn menu was Milawa duck breast! As it was cooked medium rare to medium, I couldn’t have it. But from the sounds made by everyone sitting around me, I knew it was as good as the first time I had it! This time it was served with pear, brussel sprouts and foie gras sauce. How good does that sound? hehe Have to head back another time to try it! hehe

Flat iron steak

Lucky me though, a special dish was cooked for me – flat iron steak! I’ve not had this cut of steak before, but it was so tender and though it looked like it hasn’t been cooked through, it was! Every piece just melts in my mouth and goes so well with the slices of beet root! AMAZEBALLS! I was trying to savour it slowly, but I found myself finishing it before I knew it! haha

baked potato with cheddar and crispy pig

We were also served a side of baked potato with cheddar and crispy pig! Holy moly! This was everything I was craving for in my pregnancy! Lucky thing we shared among the 4 of us, or else I would have smothered my face in it! Don’t worry there was also a side of cosberg, kale and mustard leaf, but I was so engrossed in eating the potato and steak, I forgot to snap it! hehe

72% Cocoa and coffee fondant

Now, time for the sweets! Though I was already quite stuffed, but there is always room for dessert right? hehe There were two on offer again tonight, and this was the one I didn’t have cause they were worried the chocolate wasn’t pasteurised. 72% Cocoa & coffee fondant! Let me tell you though, the smell of the chocolate filled the table as they were being served! So delicately plated too!

Gooey middle

Of course, when you are served a fondant, the money shot would be when you cut it open! Sorry the photo is a tad dark, but can you see the shiny bit of chocolate oozing out? Definitely a perfectly cooked fondant!

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I had the slow poached quince, spiced crumb and yoghurt! The last time I was at No. 8 I had a yoghurt dessert too! Such a good way to end the night though. Light, refreshing with the sweetness of the poached quince! I definitely wanted more! Mmmm (:

Occelli testun in foglie di castagno

Something new was a fromage course : Occeelli Testun in Foglie di Castagno! haha The name was a tongue twister and I have to admit I googled just to see what it was! hehe It’s a cow and sheep milk cheese that is wrapped in chestnut leaves for 18 months! My constant craving has always been cheese this whole pregnancy, but sadly I couldn’t have this cause it was soft cheese! The smell was divine though! It was matched with a Grey Box honey from Castlemaine. Sweet and salty – match made in heaven I’m sure!

Chocolate and passionfruit truffle

Last but definitely not the least, we were given beautiful chocolate and passionfruit truffles to end the night (: Dark chocolate that is subtly bitter contrasting with a sweet passionfruit filling!

Once again, the food was outstanding and I highly recommend you to head down to No. 8 at Crown Melbourne to give the new menu a go! You definitely won’t regret it! (:

Disclaimer : I was invited to the launch  by Hatch Communications and No. 8 By John Lawson. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity yet again!

No. 8 by John Lawson (number 8) on Urbanspoon

I Scream, You Scream, We Scream for Harry’s Ice Cream!

Harry's Ice Cream

As the weather gets warmer, isn’t there just one thing that is always on your mind? It definitely is for me! Ice cream!! I was so excited when I was invited to the exclusive factory tour of Harry’s Ice Cream!

A beautiful setting of table of goodies

Upon arrival at the factory, we were greeted by a beautiful table with canapés, macarons and a blueberry-lemonade-vodka cocktail! Mmmm! Delish! And how pretty is the bunting?? Gosh, I am obsessed with them! hehe

mini smoked salmon bagels and pea tarts

The mini treats were so delicious! Never seen such small bagels before! They were stuffed with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers! I couldn’t stop at one. haha The pea tarts were surprisingly yum! I am never one for peas, but these were soft and sweet (in a savoury kind of way haha)!

mini chicken sandwiches and blue cheese and fig tarts

How cute are these mini chicken sandwiches? Never seen such small loafs before!!! Next to them drew my attention immediately! Do you know why? hehe Because of the dried figs!!! and they go so well with the blue cheese on the puff pastry base! Mmmmm!

Cocktails in mason jars

Cocktails in mason jars

We were so spoilt that day and were even given cocktails served in mason jars and with a polka dotted paper straw! It had a really good tang to it cause of the 40 lemons that were hand squeezed into the large jar dispenser! hehe Loved the tinge of pink it had too! Such a girlie drink! I have to admit, I almost wanted to take one of the jars home! haha

Lawrence - Owner

While we were enjoying the little nibbles, we were introduced to the brains behind Harry’s Ice Cream – Lawrence! He shared with us the history and how Harry’s Ice Cream came about. So here are some fun facts : They first started making ice cream in 1994 and sold them in stores. The first one is at Chadstone and this carried on till 1999. By then, they had 12 stores and they decided to open the Harry and Larry’s factory! They do supply to supermarkets under different brand names, but decided to come up with Harry’s that did exclusive flavours!

Lawrence and Tony

We were then introduced to the head of the ice cream maker, Tony, who would be bringing us for the factory tour as well as explaining to us the whole magical process!

Group photo at Harry's

(Photo credits : Harry’s Ice Cream)

But before we could enter the factory, we had to gear up and sanitise our hands so that we keep the area as clean as possible! haha Don’t we look good in our hair nets? haha We were ready to roll!

The inside of the factory

It was pavlova day at the factory that afternoon! So the team was high in production! Just tubs and tubs of ice cream being filled and capped, then stored in the freezer!

Making ice cream

Then the fun part started! We were brought to a smaller scale ice cream machine to make the flavour that Ling came up with : White chocolate and mixed berries ! It was such a phenomenal process, from the pasteurised custard to the adding of the mixed berries, and viola! Ice cream!!

Ling's white chocolate and mixed berries ice cream

How pretty is the colour? It was velvety smooth too! All contained and ready to be frozen so that we could taste a little later on!

The filling machine

On a larger scale, these filling machines fill up to 51 tubs per minute! It was so amazing to see it at work!

Ice cream tubs getting sealed

All filled and ready to be frozen

The pavlova flavour had an amazing passionfruit curd swirled into the custard and we could smell it from a mile away! They make up to 3600 litres of ice cream per hour and 68000 tubs of ice cream in 2 hours!!! WOWZER!

After the tour, I definitely couldn’t wait to get some tasting done! hehe

tasting and judging

We were also going to do some judging! Before the event, we were asked to come up with an ice cream flavour so that Harry’s could make it and we could taste and judge which flavour we loved! Before this, I never knew how ice cream was judged in a professional setting! There were three criteria for judging : flavour & aroma, texture & body, and presentation!

Jenny

Jenny is the official taster at Harry’s! She has the best job in the world of making sure all the ice cream is of the right taste, consistency and appearance! She explained to us the process of judging at an ice cream competition and then the tasting began!

Harry's ice cream

First up, the three Harry’s ice cream flavours! My favourite of the day is the Pavlova! It had bits of crushed meringue in it and every bite had lots of it! Gave it a really good texture and of course the flavours were spot on! Mmmmm

Our creations

Then it was time to taste the flavour we each come up with! I was super excited!!! Everyone had such great flavours and totally different too!

Pistachio, rose water and honey

The flavour I came up with was inspired by one of my favourite desserts of all time : the baklava! And if you don’t already know, I love pistachio! So when I was given the chance to come up with an ice cream flavour, I just had to give this combination a go! Pistachio, rose water and honey! I was so glad they added more crushed pistachio on the top of the ice cream, not just for presentation but also for texture! It was SO GOOD! The people working at Harry’s are just amazing!

Winner!

And guess what?? My flavour won!! Everyone liked it so much and it scored the highest! Whoopeedoo! hehe I was so surprised but was so happy! hehe Everyone did so well though! All the flavours were delicious!

Take home box!

The best thing was : take home tubs for everyone!! We had 6 each to bring home! 3 of their signature flavours and 3 of ours! hehe I was so excited that I gave one to Peggy on my way home! hehe The mr couldn’t wait to dig in to all the tubs too!

testing table

I had such a great time learning about the process of making ice cream and of course being able to taste not just the unique flavours that they have and also the flavour everyone came up with! (:

Thank you so much Harry’s Ice Cream and Keep Left PR for this amazing opportunity! It was such a fun event and I definitely recommend you to go try the Harry’s Ice Cream if you haven’t already tried it!

UPDATE :

Harry’s Ice Cream likes the flavour combination so much they are sharing the recipe to make it! Here’s the link and hopefully you’ll give it a try!!!

http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/2014/07/01/homemade-rosewater-pistachio-and-honey-ice-cream-recipe-harrys/

Disclaimer : I was invited to tour the Harry’s Ice Cream factory as a guest of Harry’s Ice Cream and Keep Left PR. Thank you once again or this wonderful experience! 

{Preview Event} Is Fine Dining Finished ?

Is Fine Dining Finished?

The Good Food Month by The Age is happening now and I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview event of Is Fine Dining Finished at The Point Albert Park. I was very excited as it was my first time dining at The Point and the weather we had that night was just glorious!

The view from The Point Albert Park

I couldn’t help but snap a few panoramic shots when we were invited to have some cocktails at the balcony. It was just breath-taking!

Karpouzi Kup

In the midst of catching up with every one, we were served with the prettiest drink I’ve had in a long time – The Karpouzi Kup by Gazi Restaurant. It was a cocktail of aperol, gin, lemon juice, soda water and fresh mint! I’m a sucker for gin, so give me anything with gin in it and I would be happy girl! And I definitely was smiling, while sipping on those cute candy cane straws!

Karpouzi Kup by Gazi

So refreshing and perfect for the sunny hot day! Soon after, we were led into the wine cellar that had a large communal table where we would be dining for the night. It was beautiful and I couldn’t wait till I get to try the food!

Recently, casual, shared, street food is taking over the food scene, so the purpose of the night was to discuss if fine dining is finished? Hosted by The Age’s Dani Valent, the dinner presented contrasting dishes from two very talented chefs : Justin Wise who is The Point’s Executive Chef, and Luke Croston of Gazi, who has travelled the road from fine dining to street food. The food was matched with wine and cocktails and the table was open to all opinions about the future of dining in Melbourne. All views shared, none judged!

Street food is definitely gaining popularity and the first course of Gazi has proven why. For me, I love casual dining as food could be conveniently consumed, and sometimes we could even eat standing up!! With a more relaxed atmosphere, I feel less concerned about being prim and proper when enjoying my food.

Soft shell crab souvlakakia

The soft shell crab souvlakakia was AMAZEBALLS. My first time having soft shell crab in pita bread. It was delicious with huge pieces of crispy soft shell crab, and the flesh was so fresh and sweet! The sauce had subtle flavours of honey and fish sauce! George Calombaris told us that Greek food use to utilise lots of fish sauce, but it is use less now. Definitely learnt something new that night! hehe The freshly made pita bread was also light and fluffy!

Beef brisket souvlakakia

The beef brisket souvlakakia was also really amazing. Melt-in-your-mouth pieces of beef brisket with chips (yes, chips!), red onion and fresh coriander. This was matched with another glass of Karpouzi Kup! Yum!

Then comes the fine dining courses by Justin Wise.

pan seared foie gras

Pan-seared foie gras with poached pear. This was luxury brought to another level! It’s probably my second having such a huge piece of foie gras, but this is truly the best one I’ve had! Crispy exterior, with a rich and creamy texture. This is definitely a dish that I would come back to dine for.

Foie gras paired with 2007 Max Ferd Richter Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese, Mosel Germany

This was paired with a 2007 Max Ferd Richter Braunerberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese, from Mosel Germany, which was a sweet white wine which cuts the richness of the foie gras. Definitely a great match and I loved the wine, which was no surprise, cause I cannot say no to a glass of sweet wine! hehe

Mackeay Valley rabbit, guanciale, pithier and broad beans

The next dish was the Macleay Valley rabbit, guanciale, pithier and broad beans. How amazing does it look? Plated exquisitely, the rabbit dish was nothing short of perfection and the epitome of what fine dining is about. Beautifully plated, with the finishing touches done at table side.

Pouring the jus

There’s just something about pouring jus, to complete the dish, at table side that excites every foodie. Every component of the fish was cooked to perfection, and matched harmoniously with the 2010 Domaine Geantet Pansiot Bourgogne Rouge, Cote d’Or France.

Decanter in the shape of a snake

The wine was poured using the coolest decanter in a shape of a snake! hehe and yes, I sneaked a shot of George Calombaris cause he was sitting just opposite me!

loukoumades

These loukoumi, loukoumades are golden and crispy greek donuts coated with honey and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. Not overly sweet and soft & fluffy on the inside! The best thing is that they were served hot!

mastic musk sticks

To go with the loukoumades were these mastic musk sticks.

Dessert

petit four

The final touches that a fine dining experience won’t be complete with : a plate of petit four and a cup of tea. Green tea to be exact. Lime jelly, chocolates and shortbread. Just divine.

Green tea

So is fine dining really finished? Not in my books! Though I do love my casual street food, there will always still be a time and place for such enjoyments in my life. The Mr and I love celebrating our special occasions (birthdays & anniversaries in particular) at fine dining restaurants. It’s like a little treat for us, a few times a year.

There are a few things I do love about fine dining :

Freshly baked bread with butter

The freshly baked bread/rolls with some of the best butters I’ve had! hehe Of course, this isn’t the most important reason. To me, dining at a fine dining restaurant is a time for the mr and I to feel just that little bit more special, and being treated like royalty for that hour or two! hehe Just being in our own world and enjoying the great ambience and views the restaurants have to offer.

We do deserve such pampering once in a while, don’t we?

Is fine dining finished?

So what do you think? Is fine dining finished? Book yourself in for the event and share your thoughts!

Venue : The Point Albert Park

Date & Time : 26th November, Tuesday, at 6.30pm

Cost : $145 per person for a four course menu matched with cocktails and wine. Tickets can be purchased here.

For more reads and discussions, please head to :

Never Too Sweet For Me

Iron Chef Shellie

I Eat Therefore I Am

Disclaimer : I dined at The Point Albert Park as a guest of TinkPR and The Point. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!

No. 8 By John Lawson

No. 8 By John Lawson

Respect. That’s what I have for John Lawson. The man and skills behind the newly launched No. 8 at Crown Melbourne. Why you ask? Because his beautiful creations are all driven & inspired by the fresh produce he has around him. In fact, his cooking revolves around sustainably produced ingredients that he can find around locally from Victorian farmers. BY doing that, he is proudly celebrating what Victoria has to offer. How great is that? Absolutely amazing!

John Lawson

John loves using ingredients that are not widely used, and in fact, a lot of the produce are exclusively grown and bred for No. 8 by John Lawson! These are definitely highlighted by the freshness and vibrance of each dish. And oh… have I mentioned how amazing it is?

Launch of No. 8 By John Lawson

I was so lucky to be invited to the launch of No. 8 by John Lawson and you can imagine how happy my belly was by the end of the night. Not to mention the beautifully paired wines we had with each course, I was definitely a very happy girl. The moment I sat down, I was greeted by a flute of Moët & Chandon champagne. Mmmm (: Bubbly!

flute of champagne

Shortly after, the feasting began! To start off, we were served a beautiful potato, honey and rosemary bread with seaweed butter.

Potato, honey and rosemary bread with seaweed butter

This bread was made by EDS Breads exclusively for No. 8 by John Lawson and it was seriously one of the best breads I’ve had! It was the first time I’ve had a potato flour bread and when you think potato, you would think heavy and dense. But this was nothing like that at all. In fact, the total opposite! It was soft, fluffy and light! Every bite you take, you would be able to taste the honey and the rosemary. Everyone loved it and even though we knew we would be stuffed by the end of the night, we asked (politely of course! haha) for more bread in the middle of the courses! AMAZEBALLS as some would say! hehe

Flowerdale Farm spring salad

The entree arrived and it was like a plate of edible garden. The Flowerdale Farm spring salad had a bed of wheat berries, topped with baby carrots, sunflower shoots and almond mushrooms.

Wheat berries

It was the first time I’ve had eaten wheat berries, and they had a similar texture to barley, but just a tad bit chewier. The almond mushrooms were grown exclusively for No. 8 by John Lawson and had a subtle almond flavour to it. Was so intriguing! John explained to us that when cooked, the nuttier flavour is more pronounced and had tones of the truffle. Yum!

Sunflower shoots

See the micro greens? They are sunflower shoots that are once again grown exclusively for John by Flowerdale Farm and these micro greens are grown in the Yarra Valley and harvested after a short 7 days of growing. Might probably be just me, but I get excited by micro herbs on dishes. haha This dish was paired with the Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard 2013 Riesling.

Portland black and blue tuna

Next up was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The Portland black and blue tuna with black garlic, yuzu jam and fermented aged soy. This is a signature dish at No. 8 by John Lawson and I can definitely understand why!

Black and blue tuna

Black and blue was a clever play of words, where one side of the tuna is charred and the other side is left raw. So light and refreshing, with a subtle kick from the aged soy. This is one dish I would definitely come back for. With the sweetness of the baby radish and the thinly sliced daikon. Just divine! You could tell how good this dish was, cause there was a silence at the table and then an endless of “this is SO GOOD!” going around after we all tried it.

For the main, we were given a choice of duck or lamb. Which was an obvious choice for me, cause I’m not usually a big fan of lamb. So duck it was!

Milawa duck breast with shallot puree, asparagus and peas

The Milawa free range duck is once again bred exclusively for John (a cross of 5 different species of ducks, like WOW!) and are so tender, the meat just melts in your mouth! Cooked to medium rare to medium,  your teeth is first greeted by the crispy duck skin and then it sinks into the juicy, tender flesh. I was in heaven!

Pinot noir

To go with the beautiful dish is a glass of Pinot Noir (2011) from Bannockburn 1314 A.D. It was fruity and light, and definitely complimented this rich duck! When I saw this big glass, I couldn’t help but think of the Mr, cause he always wanted a glass like that! hehe And yes! He is a pinot noir fan! (:

Milawa duck breast

The duck breasts were sitting on smooth shallot puree with crunchy, fresh asparagus and peas, I could seriously eat this all night long!

Barwon River lamb shoulder

Even though I didn’t order the lamb shoulder, I was lucky enough to try it (Thanks Ash!) The lamb had no lamb-ey taste (if you know what I mean haha), which is the reason why I stay away from lamb. hehe So even for me, this was delicious! Being braised for 12 hours, it was really tender and is also one of the featured dishes at No. 8 By John Lawson! It was served with bush spice quinoa (yum!) and sheep’s yoghurt to just round it all off! Perfect!

After all the savouries, you know what’s coming yes? DESSERT! And no matter how full you are, I truly believe, there is always room for dessert! hehe And this place is definitely not a place you would want to skip the sweets. They are to-die-for!

Yoghurt and honey mousse

There were two options to choose from and I decided to go for the one I thought (and sounded) healthier. haha I mean, after all the indulgence I had for the night, it would be good to have yoghurt yes? ABSOLUTELY! It was everything I thought it would be and more!

yoghurt and honey mousse with lychee, blueberries and mango

Doesn’t it look like art on a plate? The vibrant colours of the seasonal fruits -lychees, blueberries, grapefruit and mango, contrasting the creamy yoghurt and honey mousse. Not to mention, all the fruits on the plate are my favourite! Finishing off with freeze dried raspberries! Before I got to dig in, a syrup was poured on and everything was gone within 5 minutes! haha

Yoghurt and honey mousse

The other dessert was a different take on the old school banana split!

Banana split

OMG. How good does this look? When it was placed on the table, it was love at first sight! This was definitely nothing like the old school banana split with the napoleon ice cream. This was WAY WAY WAY better! A beautifully rum caramelised baby banana served on homemade banana bread and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts. Ooh-la-la! This is one sexy dessert!

Banana split

I only had one bite and I was definitely in loveeee! hehe

White chocolate truffles

To top the night off, we were served some beautiful petit four of white chocolate truffles with toasted coconut and strawberry jam. These reminded me of a more delicious version of a lamington! hehe

Green tea

I also couldn’t resist ordering a pot of green tea just to make myself less guilty. haha

Everything was just amazing and it’s really hard for me to choose a favourite. But I have to say the one dish that makes me excited (even by looking at the photos) is the Milawa duck breasts! hehe It was definitely a fun-filled, delicious night and I have to say, it is very exciting to see a chef being so enthusiastic about fresh local produce! His passion is definitely inspiring!

So if you’re looking for a place to go and celebrate a special occasion or just want to treat yourself to something delicious, head to No. 8 by John Lawson and I can assure you that you would not be disappointed! In fact, there would be a Coldstream Hills wine dinner that would be held at No. 8 By John Lawson as part of the Good Food Month, so what better time than to head down there on the 14th of November? For more information, please click here.

So what are you waiting for? Head down and try the delicious food for yourself! hehe and oh, did I mention? We were lucky enough to be given a loaf of the delicious potato, honey and rosemary bread to enjoy it at home! Woohoo!

potato, honey and rosemary bread

This is one bread that John Lawson himself cannot stop talking about and it is through months of testing with baker Ed Parker. So you know, it would be delish! hehe So hurry! Make your bookings now!

Disclaimer : I was invited to the launch  by Media Moguls and No. 8 By John Lawson. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity!

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Vogue Australia High Tea

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The Spring races are here! And the best way of celebrating this designer fashionista event is to dine in style! hehe The Langham Hotel has collaborated with Vogue Australia to come up with this beautiful designer Vogue High Tea! To me, high tea is a time to get together with your girlfriends to have tea, coffee, champagne and a spread of savouries and sweets! Of course, not forgetting the girly gossipy session to go with! haha Due to all the different work commitments, it’s really hard to arrange a meal, let alone to have High Tea. Fortunately for me, I had a date with the Sweet Queen (Miss D) herself at the Aria Bar & Lounge, The Langham Hotel, for the Vogue High Tea! I was so excited as it’s been a long long time since I had High Tea. Such a treat!

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the warmest and friendliest staff, who brought us to our comfortable sofa seats and served us a flute of Domain Chandon NV Brut! I felt so classy and bubbly for the afternoon! Such a silly billy I am. But it doesn’t take much to make me happy, as you can tell. hehe

Paris tea

Of course, you can’t have a High Tea without having tea, can you? There was an extensive list of tea, but Miss D highly recommended the Paris tea. hehe It’s a blend of black teas with the hints of vanilla, fruit and lemony bergamot. We were told that this was a hot favourite with many customers!

Paris tea

I knew why after my first sip. It was nice and fruity, and and a very subtle taste of vanilla. Not overly tart or sharp. Perfect for the afternoon of treats! How pretty is the colour of the tea?

Hot chocolate

Daisy ordered a hot chocolate to start off, then an earl grey tea after! The hot chocolate was a tad bit too milky, and would be better if it was more chocolatey!

3 tiered displayed

Then the three tiered stand arrived. My eyes inevitably lit up and a wide grin on my face appeared! hehe How pretty is the stand?? I couldn’t wait to dig in!

sandwiches

We started from the bottom of savouries and worked our way to the top. There were 5 types of finger sandwiches : smoked salmon pin wheel, free range chicken, cucumber and cress, egg & mayonnaise, cream cheese & chive! My favourite was the smoked salmon and the chicken! Mmmm (: Thankfully I had a light lunch before, or else I wouldn’t have space for what’s to come! hehe

scones!

The second layer was my favourite of the layers! Freshly baked scones with clotted cream, butter and jam. The scones were absolutely divine! Crumbly outside and fluffy & moist on the inside! Just everything you would love in a scone. I think there is only one thing that goes perfectly well with scones and thats thick and luscious clotted cream! Ooh la la! At this point, there’s this phrase that just keeps ringing in my head “Once it’s on your lips, goes straight to your hips!” haha Well, who cares! It’s scones! Mmmm!

Scones

Now with scones, do you have the jam first or the cream first? To me, it has always been jam first then cream, but just for that day, I decided to try the other way around. To be perfectly honest, either way is still as delicious!!! haha But do you have a preference? hehe

Sweets

The top tier offers a range of beautiful sweets! Definitely was spoilt for choice and we didn’t know where to begin! We decided to start with the chocolate macarons, which were a tad bit too crispy for me. But the chocolate ganache was delish! Then we made our way through the Vogue strawberry eclair, lamington bonbons, lace cookies, very vanilla cupcakes and ended the afternoon with the salted caramel popcorn tarts that were YUMMILICIOUS!

top view of our sweets tier

I apologise for the yellow tinge of my photos! The yellow light was just right above the tier! hehe but this is a top view of our sweets spread. The lace cookie was so pretty! hehe

So dress up, and plan a day with your girlfriends! Head down to the Vogue high tea and enjoy a whole afternoon of indulgence and pampering in style! The high tea is held at the Aria Bar & Lounge in the Langham, from now till the 8th of November, from 10:30am to 4:30pm at $65 per head.

Book soon cause not long to go! (: We all deserve an afternoon like that for sure!

Disclaimer : I was invited by Daisy of Never Too Sweet and Langham to have the Vogue High Tea at the Aria Bar & Lounge, Langham. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thanks so much for this opportunity and afternoon treat!