Thai Feast : Middle Fish

Thai feast at Middle Fish

I absolutely love thai food! I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I just love how thai food always packs a punch with their flavours! Somehow, they get to squeeze in the salty, sweet, sour and spicy all in a dish and equally in a mouthful, and leave you wanting more! It is definitely one of the cuisines I enjoy the most and would never turn down a thai meal. hehe

Middle Fish

I was introduced to Middle Fish by my dearest Miss D, and when I saw the pictures she was posting on Instagram of the food she was having, I knew we needed to head there, ASAP! Last weekend, the mr ended early at work so I headed down to Carlton to meet him and Melissa for some deliciousness! The sky had the most beautiful shade of blue and excited couldn’t really describe how I was feeling when I got there!

Middle Fish - Entrance

I love love love the entrance to the warehouse converted restaurant, so welcoming! (: The colours of the signage and furniture just pops out and everyone there were so friendly. The moment I stepped in, I was greeted by the owner, Pla, who has the most infectious smile and oh-so bubbly. You just feel so comfortable and just an amazing atmosphere!

Middle Fish - Inside

One side of the restaurant had booth seats and the other was a mix-match of tables and chairs which made the place so vibrant. I was so ready to order and feed our hungry tummies the moment I sat down! Truth is, I was salivating just looking through what the had to offer!

Our drinks

While deciding on what to order, we ordered our drinks first. I have always been a huge fan of thai ice milk tea and I remember Daisy highly recommending it, so I had to try it! Boy was it good! Plus, how cute is the metal bowl that it’s served in? I kept going “WAH WAH WAH!” when it arrived at our table! hehe The Mr and Melissa ordered their usual drinks of latte and hot chocolate respectively, and they were good too! (:

thai ice milk tea

Had to snap another shot of my thai ice milk tea, just cause I love the metal bowl so much! And it was quite a big bowl as well, I almost couldn’t finish it after scoffing down all the food we ordered. hehe But I did, every single drop of it!

Crying Tiger

We covered almost all the different kinds of protein that afternoon. First of : Crying Tiger. The name just cracks me up! But when you had a bite of it, you would understand why they had the “crying” part. The chilli in this salad dish added a good kick and there was a really good balance of flavours. The angus rump slices were so flavourful and tender, and the herbs added a freshness as well. DELISH! I could have this for lunch any day. hehe

Kao gapi

 Our next dish had pork : Kao Gapi. It was presented almost like a bibimbap! hehe So we called this a thai version of bibimbap. The shrimp paste rice was pungent and flavoursome, although the caramelised pork neck could have been a little more tender. Mixing in the green apple, red onion, bean shoots and carrot gave a crunch to the dish. Like I’ve said many times before, I love dishes with different textures so that was definitely a plus! The omelette tasted like it was made using salted eggs, and I just love having egg with rice. Somehow it’s a perfect combination to me. hehe

Crispy chicken ribs

We ordered a street food dish as well : Gai Tod which is crispy chicken ribs with a sweet and spicy sauce which was SO GOOD! We just wanted more of those ribs. So crispy and so juicy on the inside. Couldn’t get enough! hehe But this was meant to be a snack, so the portion was smaller than the others, but perfect for the 3 of us. (:

Middle Fish famous crunchy mussels omelette

This, my lovely readers, was our favourite dish of the day : Middle Fish’s famous Crunchy Mussels Omelette. Before Pla placed this dish on the table, she did a short dance and almost sang the name of the dish and told us it’s their best dish at the restaurant in her opinion, but we TOTALLY agreed! The outside layer is so crispy and there is a “crunch” with every bite/chew! The middle had the texture of fried carrot cake and there was a generous number of juicy mussels! With a similar sauce to the crispy chicken ribs, it was a match-made in heaven and we couldn’t stop singing praises about it!

It was a pity that we were too full to try the desserts they had to offer. But I’m sure we will be back again and the next time, we will! (: If you love thai food as much as I do, do visit Middle Fish and let me know what you think! Do note that they are only open 8-5pm (Monday-Friday) and 10-4pm (Saturday & Sunday), and they have breakfast too!

Happy mid week everyone, and remember to always cook and bake with love! (:

Middle Fish on Urbanspoon

{SG} One Year On

One year anniversary dinner

Time really flies, especially when you’re enjoying every second of every day. It’s already been 1 year since I married the love of my life! I can still remember the moment I said I do, and how he passed all the games set by my bridesmaids and opened my room door. I could still remember the smile on his face the moment he lifted my veil. Beautiful memories that I would always remember, and be thankful for. (: To mark our first year of marriage, the mr planned a romantic dinner at Salt Grill & Sky Bar. It’s located at the top of Ion (one of the newest shopping malls in Singapore) and has an amazing view! We went through a secret walkway to a pair of private lifts that lead us to the 55th level! The moment we exited the lifts till we were walked to our tables, I couldn’t stop saying wow in my head! haha

View from Salt

Just breath-taking! Couldn’t get enough of the skyline. Thankfully we had a window-seat, so I could take in the whole view, all night long (: Salt Grill & Sky Bar is opened by Luke Mangan, and not surprisingly, the mr chose a place that serves Modern Australian cuisine. We’ve never been to restaurants by Luke Mangan before (his first Salt is in Sydney), so we thought, why not? hehe I have to say, the mr was spot on with his choice! We were served by a very warm and personal staff, who looked after our every needs through the night. He made it a point to make sure we were enjoying our food and also made sure it was a night for us to remember.

pan seared scallops

One look at the menu, and I knew exactly what I wanted. I have a habit (a good one I would like to think) to order scallops as my entree whenever I’m at a fine-dining restaurant. For some reason, the scallop dish is always one of the stand outs of the night. And this was no different! The scallops were cooked to perfection, so so tender and mildly sweet. It was a perfect match with the chorizo sausages too! I slowly savoured each one, but I wanted more. hehe

tempura quail breast

The mr ordered the tempura quail breast with roasted legs. When it arrived, you could immediately tell it had some japanese influence to it. The quail was cooked to perfection and was very tender and succulent. The good thing was it was cooked different ways and the tempura version added a good crunch to the dish. YUM!

Veal with foie gras and mustard crust

Then came the main. I had the veal that is seared and poached to a perfect medium-rare that had a yummy foie gras and mustard crust, served with a pumpkin custard and red wine sauce. I don’t usually have veal, but this was really good! Though it was a little rare for my liking, the flavours were sensational! The foie gras just melted in my mouth and the sweetness of the pumpkin custard balances the dish out.

Crispy skin salmon

Though I liked my dish, I loved the mr’s dish more! hehe Doesn’t that always happen? You tend to love the dish your partner orders, and secretly hope he would give you more. That was me that night! The salmon was cooked to perfection! Super crispy skin, and still pink in the middle. Definitely a very good choice made by the mr. Amazing! Definitely recommend this if you’re a fan of seafood.

our sides

And as if we didn’t have enough food on our table, we decided to order some sides to share : roast mushrooms in garlic butter and truffle oil & parmesan fries. We loved the mushrooms; they were just little explosion of flavours in our mouth! So so good (: The truffle fries were alright, didn’t have the wow factor, but having a side of fries just worked with what we had.

pear tarte tatin

Of course, we couldn’t not order sweets! A little digestive for the night. hehe One dessert that I cannot go pass is a tarte tatin. It would always be one of my first choice of desserts. The first one I had was at Mr Hive’s Kitchen & Bar and that blew my mind! This one was a little smaller, and was also really delicious! Puff pastry and soft poached pears all caramelised and topped with some creme anglaise and double cream. HEAVEN!

Creme brulee

As I ordered something I love, it’s only fair the mr did too. Without a doubt, he chose the creme brulee. Plus, they were serving it with his favourite salted caramel ice cream! So I knew he was gonna pick this! The pastry chef was so sweet to write Happy Anniversary on the edge of the bowl! Was a super touching surprise. hehe Love personal touches like that! (: Just makes the night even better than it already was.

My love

Just want to say Happy Anniversary to my dearest mr once again! (: This post is late, but just want to tell you that I had an awesome night, and I am so blessed and thankful to have you in my life. I love you! Thank you for being you.

Happy Mid Week everyone! (: Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Of Dumplings & Popcorn Chicken

Dumplings. I absolutely love them! I’m sure I am not alone about this. What’s not to love? Pan-fried, steamed, boiled and I could have them on their own, or with noodles or soup. You name it, I will love it. hehe That’s how much I love dumplings. So you can imagine how happy I was when I realise the newly opened Food Republik in Boxhill has dumplings of all kinds made on the spot and served piping hot.

Food Republik has a concept of a food court just that it has table service. If you’re from Singapore or Malaysia, I’m sure Food Republik (or Republic) rings a bell. For those who ain’t familiar, Food Republik in Singapore and Malaysia is a huge food court that offers a whole range of food so everyone could get something they enjoy. So even if you go with a whole group of friends, everyone could order their own meal and still have the company of their friends.

Food Republik in Boxhill is a slightly different concept : It’s a food court with a whole range of different Taiwanese food and dessert. To reduce the queue lines, instead of the usual food court concept, it has table service which is pretty handy! There’s 2 menus : one savoury and one sweet. I met up with a few of my foodie girls (Miss D, Miss J, Miss L) and beauty blogger (Miss L) after seeing numerous pictures of the xiao long baos that people have been having. I couldn’t wait to dive into those dumplings!

These delicious small steam dumplings are filled with delicious mince pork and flavoursome soup. You have to eat it with caution as if you put the whole thing in your mouth, you would burn yourself bad! I love to place the dumpling on the spoon, and slowly nip a portion of the thin skin, and suck the soup before adding some vinegar and then, only then, popping the whole thing in my mouth. MMMM. (: My ultimate favourite is from Ding Tai Fung, but unfortunately they don’t have it here in Melbourne. This is 90% similar to those! The closest I’ve ever had. SO HAPPY! I would easily gobble up 4 (which is the small portion).

We also ordered a plate of pan-fried pork dumplings and they were delicious! Look how crispy they are! It’s amazing! And the skin was thin, and the filling was juicy. We definitely were in dumpling heaven! haha

Miss D suggested we order the meatball soup and it was really good. Almost like a hot and sour soup, without the spiciness! It had dried  shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots and topped with coriander. So many different textures, just the kind of dish I really enjoy. Perfect for a cold night!

Another dish we were all craving for was the popcorn chicken! These were absolutely mouthwatering! Every piece was crispy and well seasoned, I ended up popping them into my mouth non-stop! hehe It reminded me alot of the XXXL chicken chop I had when I went to Taiwan, just that it’s bite sized. We did wanna order the chicken chop, but Miss J said the last time she ordered it, it wasn’t cut! So would be difficult to share. This was so much easier! Loved it! NOMS! A must order when you’re there! (:

The last savoury dish we ordered was ja jiang mien (noodles with mince meat sauce). The noodles were bouncy and chewy and were all coated with the mince meat sauce. Nothing really special, but it was quite yum! I only needed a small bowl to make me stuffed!

So it was time for something sweet, and the dessert stall there was Dessert Story which I’ve only tried at Glen Waverly. We were all pretty full after all the dumplings and popcorn chicken so we decided to order one to share.

Miss D really wanted to try the taro shaved ice with red bean so that’s what we had! It was really huge! haha A tower of shaved ice, covered with red bean, condensed milk and pieces of taro. The taro were a little hard for my liking. Would prefer if it was a little softer and sweeter as well, though when eaten with the rest of the dessert, the sweetness was just nice! I was just happy cause there was condense milk. haha I’m such a kid sometimes! I remember how I love having condense milk on those old school Kong Guan biscuits and would secretly make them when my mum wasn’t looking! hehe They were so good (though sinful) though! Would love one now! hehe

So Food Republik is definitely a place I would return (quite soon actually haha) and really wanna bring the Mr there as I know he would love some xiao long baos and popcorn chicken! hehe Be there early though, cause there would be a line from 630pm onwards (on weekdays).

(photo credits to beauty blogger Miss L)

It was such a great meet up with the girls and I can’t wait to do it again! We were all still dreaming of the dumplings the day after! hehe How cute is Miss L above? In case you don’t know what we bloggers do, our cameras and phones have the first taste of our food, always! hehe Do head over to Miss J’s review of Food Republik as well! She has more photos of how it looks like from the inside! (:

Have a great night everyone and it’s Friday tomorrow so you can start doing your Friday happy dance! xx

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Food Republik on Urbanspoon

Last Bits, Good Bits.

Happy Monday my dear readers! Hope all of you had a really good start to the week. More eating adventures continues in this post, but I promise this will be the last one! So thank you for going through this adventure with me the last few weeks! Just re-capping everything we did is making me want to head back to Daylesford again! I hope it has inspired you all to also make a trip down cause you won’t regret it! (:

Of course, we started our day with the same amazing breakfast. How could we not right? hehe Till this day I’m still thinking about the breakfast we had and wanting more. So after we had our breakfast we chilled in our room for a little bit before setting off to try some more cafes this beautiful town had to offer.

Our first stop was Cliffy’s Emporium which was a store, cafe and wine bar. They have a whole range of local produce and their menu changes regularly and according to the seasonal produce. We were still really full from breakfast so we decided to just have something light, although there were lots of things I would have liked to try. Besides, we needed to save some things to try for our next visit, right? hehe

We ordered a small cheese platter and a pot of peppermint tea to go with. The platting was so pretty! Like art on a plate! We sat under the sun and enjoyed each other’s company. It’s really nice how there still seems to be alot of things to share with the mr although we see each other everyday. The best thing about being with your best friend. (: We could just chat and discuss about everything under the sun (pun intended hehe).

The small platter came with two delicious and creamy cheeses : one of which is goat and the other was a type of cheddar. I do apologise that I don’t know the names of the cheeses, as I wasn’t at the table when it was served. There was also a side of maple syrup which went really well with the cheese! Might be something we will try at home soon I reckon! hehe There’s something about the sweet and salty combination I love! Mmm (:

We then found a brochure I picked up amidst the whole pile that caught my attention : $1 oysters at Darmagi! Something my mr adores! He could finish a dozen on his own, and he did exactly that! (:

I don’t fancy oysters, especially when they are raw. The Mr LOVES them. Although they were $1 each, the quality wasn’t compromised! They were plump and juicy! The dozen were all slurped down within minutes! haha According to him, the best way to have them is just with a splash of lemon juice and nothing else! (:

The happy boy with his plate of oysters (: I think he could have had another dozen, easy. hah But I don’t think it’ll be good for his cholesterol!

What I really liked about Daylesford and Hepburn Springs is that their local cafes and restaurants all support local produce and this includes their drinks! Loving their cute logo as well. We had to try some of their sparkling liquid and I decided on the sparkling blood orange mineral water which was really refreshing. Loved it!

The Mr had the organic brewed ginger beer and it was really yummy without an overpowering taste of ginger and spice. Definitely went well with the oysters he had. hehe I have to say, ginger beer (alcoholic or not) is one of my favourite soft drinks! I’m not a big fan of coke or other carbonated drinks. It’s usually either ginger beer or sparkling apple juice to quench my thirst hehe

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. The Perfect Drop was one place that was highly recommended by not just the retreat but also from other blogs that I’ve read as I was researching on the places to visit. So without much thought, we made a reservation for dinner and headed there, hungry and full of excitement! Before I share with you what we had, I have to apologise that I’ve only got pictures of the entrees we had that night as it got too dark, and the iphone camera just couldn’t take any good shots when the mains and desserts arrived. So I’m really sorry! But here are the entrees we had that night (:

A Perfect Drop is a wine and food lounge that had a very cosy interior. We were shown to our tables by the window, close to the fire place. It was perfect for taking photos (until it started getting dark that is). Still kicking myself as to why I didn’t bring my camera along. But too late now!

After ordering our food, we were served with warm bread with a side of olive oil and sea salt. Nothing beats warm bread to be honest. The smell of the bread slowly envelops the air around us. Just the best smell in the world!

The first thing we ordered was the white anchovies with a boiled quail egg on toast with micro herbs. This was really delicious! Every single bite just makes me crave for more. The white anchovies just melts in your mouth and had the right amount of saltiness. Everything just went together so well. I had to pull myself back from ordering another haha

Another entree that we wanted to try was the homemade beef chorizo. It was delicious, juicy and just filled with spices and did I mention delicious? I didn’t know what was in the green mojo, but it was like a tapenade which complimented the chorizo very well. I never had a beef version before, usually the ones sold in the delis are made using pork. So this was definitely something different. But a good kind of different of course (:

Besides these 2 entrees that we ordered to share, we ordered 2 individual entrees as well. hehe We couldn’t help ourselves. There were too many things we wanted to try!

I ordered the veal carppacio with manchego, celeriac salt and horseradish mustard. How pretty is that? hehe It’s no wonder why people say we eat with our eyes. Don’t you just wanna dive your fork into this plate? I’ve not had veal carppacio, just beef. But they didn’t taste alot different, just a little gamier. But not overly so. i really enjoyed it! If you haven’t noticed, I usually have either a carppacio or a scallop dish for entree. haha I’m boring like that.

The mr ordered the stuffed duck neck with pork and pistachio sausage and it was just delish! When I saw it on the menu, I knew he would have to order it. The Mr is one person I know that would eat every single part of most animals. Yes, even the offal. It also means he doesn’t waste any part of the animal, just one of the things I love about him. (: The skin was crispy and the sausage stuffing was juicy and flavourful. Just a delight with every bite!

As much as I love to say the service was as good as the food we had that night, it was unfortunately a little inconsistent. We didn’t feel as included or welcomed as compared to the other tables. Perhaps it’s just us being sensitive, but there wasn’t a point when we were asked how our food was, or if we were enjoying the meal. In fact, after the first entree, I told one of the staff that it was amazing and she actually had a shock expression on her face, which I really couldn’t understand. It’s a real pity though, cause the food was really really good. But like I say in my reviews, service does play a huge part of the dining experience. So we left the restaurant with a bitter-sweet taste in our mouths.

So this wraps up our adventures of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs! I do hope you enjoyed everything I’ve shared with you! I can’t wait to head back to Daylesford and try the other restaurants that I missed this time round! (: Have a great week ahead everyone! xx

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

A Sweet Affair

Remember my last visit at Mr Hive’s Kitchne & Bar? Yes. I went back for more. This time I brought my mr and his family for a very special occasion: My in-law’s 29th wedding anniversary! I was so glad I decided to bring them there cause we were pampered from the very moment we were shown to our tables!

As I did let Mr Hive know, when I was booking the table, that we were celebrating a wedding anniversary, we were given a glass of champagne each to start the dinner off! I knew instantly that it was going to be a spectacular night! I couldn’t stop smiling and my in-laws were definitely really happy! (:

Mr Hive’s Kitchen & Bar

Address : 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank Vic 

Phone : 03 9292 8300

Though the service was exemplary for the whole night, the highlight of the evening was definitely when we adjourned to the dessert bar to fix our sweet tooth! I don’t usually have second posts for food reviews, but our experience that night is definitely worthy of my double post! Please do not get me wrong, the food was delicious, but we pretty much had the same dishes as my first visit, so I thought I would just focus on the desserts. Besides, who doesn’t like desserts? hehe Miss D would be with me on this! haha

We were lucky to dine at Mr Hive’s on a week night, so it was quite quiet and there was an empty dessert bar waiting for us! Having never seen a pastry chef plate desserts before, it was a great first experience for the mr and his family as well!

The moment we sat down, we were greeted by the friendly pastry chef – Chef Mario! We looked through the menu and ordered instantly. Then he started plating desserts. It was like watching a cook show right infront of our eyes! Although it was my second time, I still enjoyed it. You could tell he took pride in every single dessert he was plating.

He started plating individual portions of the yoghurt mousse with rhubarb compote and szechuan ice cream. We thought it was for another table, as we didn’t order actually this. Little did we know, it was a complimentary dessert for us as a gift for my in-law’s wedding anniversary again! Are they amazing or what? Not one but two gifts! The flavours just complimented each other. There was the lightness of the mousse with the slight hint of spiciness from the ice cream and crunch of the white chocolate crumble. NOMS!

Then came the apple tart tatin which had another surprise for my in-laws. They not only wrote happy anniversary on the board, but   also came with candles! That really made all of us smile! The tart tatin was perfect. The apples were so well caramelised and the tart was crispy and buttery. It was made to order, so it was still piping hot when served! Together with brandy cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Match-made in heaven!

Chef Mario portioned it and even gave each of us a scoop of ice cream to go with our slice! It was so good, I could continue eating it the whole night! There’s just something about a dessert that had both cold and hot elements. Makes my taste buds tingle (:

Of course, I couldn’t not order the Mr Hive’s chocolate bar when I dine at Mr Hive’s. It’s rich and decadent and the base is crunchy! If you know me, you know I love desserts with different textures. This definitely tick all the boxes! hehe And you know what’s even better?

This.

Chef Mario took the plate before I could, and split it into 5 portions and re-platted them individually with a beautifully quenelled peanut ice cream! In fact, the one that was served with the whole chocolate bar melted slightly, and he threw that away and quenelled 5 more for us! That’s how much pride he takes in his desserts! We were so impressed! hehe

The last dessert we ordered was of course the ricotta cheesecake because my mr’s dad loves cheesecake! Plus it was one of the prettiest desserts I’ve ever seen!

Of course, Chef Mario presented the dessert and then took it and replated it into individual portions again! What’s more amazing is that there were only 4 pieces of cheesecake but he just added another cause there were 5 of us!

How pretty is the individual portions? Every single plate looked like that. How could you not be touched? I couldn’t stop saying “wow!” both verbally and in my head. haha

And just you think there can’t be more. He picks up 5 glass bottles and starts preparing the grand finale! He started squeezing some chocolate milk with milo powder and tops the glass bottles with a salted caramel truffle! Trust me. That’s like the best truffle you will ever have. You bite into it and there’s an explosion of salted caramel in your mouth. LOVE.

I absolutely adore the straws they give to slurp the delicious, thick chocolate milk. I really need to go get some from Wheel & Barrow! hehe (:

So I can definitely say it was a night we will definitely remember! And we left Mr Hive’s with happy bellies!

Happy Wedding Anniversary to my dearest in-laws! It was great to celebrate this special day with the whole family! (: Our compliments to the chef and staff of Mr Hive’s! Thank you so much for making this day even more special than it already is!

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

The Merrywell

I’m late! I’m late! I’m very very late and I do sincerely apologise! But I really didn’t want to rush through this post cause it was a very exciting first experience for me. I got my very first invitation to a blogger’s lunch at The Merrywell a few months back and I could still remember how surprised I was when I read the email. I had to re-read again a few times just to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. haha Thankfully it was on the last day of my break so I could attend! Hurray!

The Merrywell

Address : Corner of Clarendon Street and Crown Riverside, Southbank Vic

Phone : (03) 9292 7468

Website : http://www.themerrywell.com.au/

The Merrywell is a relatively new restaurant situated at the corner of Clarendon Street and Crown Riverside. It features both a restaurant (at the upper level) and a burger bar (at the lower level). We were invited to try a whole range of food and drinks from the burger bar and we were definitely stuffed (with happiness) by the end of lunch! So let’s face it, we all love a good burger! The best I’ve had is at Huxtaburger and I was just really excited to be able to try another place out!

Lunch began with huge floats! There were both kid friendly and adult versions of floats available. I was sitting with 3 other girls and we all ordered a different float to try! I went old school and ordered a root beer float but I was very sure that if the mr was there, he would go for the guinness float which would be perfect for the beautiful sunny weather we’re having now! (: *slurps*

To be honest, I was already feeling a tad full half way through my float! But looking at the menu, we had lots of yummy food coming our way! I have to say, the amount of food that we were being served could easily feed double the number of people! There was so much! It was endless, just kept coming.

So we started off with the four entrees to be shared around the table : Caesar salad, mexican cobb salad, greek salad and grilled fish tacos!

The salads were all fresh and delicious but I had to only have a bit of each as we all had a burger each coming our way! In fact, the fish tacos came after our burgers did, so I had absolutely no room to fit it in my tummy! A pity though, as they looked really good! Have to save it for next time! hehe

So now the stars of the afternoon – the burgers! We were given a choice between 4 burgers. From the start, my eyes were set on the Merrywell burger, although I was intrigued by the Bistro burger that had fries stuffed in them! haha But I stuck to my decision and was so glad I did!

The Merrywell burger came wrapped beautifully with a side of fries! The fries were SO GOOD! Crispy and I love the fact its super crunchy! Not a single bit soggy. Unwrapping the burger was like opening a present! The moment you open it, the delicious smell of melted cheese and seared beef just fills the air. AMAZING!

The buns were soft, the meat was juicy and there was just enough melted cheese to tie everything together. Definitely a burger I recommend! I can just imagine myself having the burger, and gulping a beer while enjoying the sun with the view of the Yarra river! Doesn’t it sound picture perfect?

As Msihua doesn’t take beef, she chose the K.F.Club which had chicken, bacon, tomato, cheese and mayo. Definitely looked delicious! The Merrywell burger is the only one that came with fries, so of course, there was an extra side of fries and onion rings! Noms!

Yes. Golden fried onion rings. Couldn’t get any better!

Of course, the meal wouldn’t be complete without some sweets as Miss D would say! haha And we were presented with three jars! My eyes lit up as I have an obsession with desserts in jars, as you might know! They were all so beautiful and even though I was really stuffed, I had to give them all a try!

If you don’t already know, I LOVE chai. So when this was in front of me, I dived (okie, my spoon did haha) right into it! It had really in depth flavour of chai, and thick and creamy! But instead of the layer of burnt sugar, it had a layer of chocolate to crack into!

The chocolate mousse was highly recommended by the host of the event and I could tell why. It was not just chocolatey, it was luscious and just delicious! I wanted more even though my stomach was saying STOP!

Last but not the least, the lamington trifle! I have to admit, I never liked having lamingtons as I am not a big fan of desiccated coconut. But I couldn’t really taste much of the coconut in this! Love the soft cake with cream, vanilla custard and sweet berry sauce and strawberries! The colours of this dish was just so pretty!

Of course, you can only imagine how full I was by the end of the lunch but I was definitely satisfied! Was really happy to be able to meet new people over great food! Will definitely be returning to this place soon but just for their burgers this time so that my stomach won’t always be stretched! (: Definitely an experience I won’t forget! A big thank you to the team at Merrywell for the fantastic lunch!

For other reviews, do head over to :

I’m So Hungree

Sarah Cooks

Msihua

Disclaimer : I was invited to dine at the Merrywell with compliments to the restaurant and Crown Casino.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

Josie Bones

This would be my second visit to Josie Bones but this time, we had the mr’s cousin join us so we could try more of the menu, so I was really excited. I have to admit, we wanted to have Huxtaburger that night, but silly me didn’t check their opening times and they were closed on Mondays. But it was like a blessing in disguise, cause we got to dine at Josie Bones again!

We were first introduced to Josie Bones by my mr’s client who gave raving reviews about the food and the vast number of different beer/alcohol they offer. This comes as no surprise, because it is opened by Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins, who were contestents of Masterchef Season 1 and Chris was known as the beer merchant. And the Mr purchased Chris’ cook book because he loved how he uses the whole animal when he cooks, like the whole pig, sheep or cow. Nothing goes to waste, which is awesome!

Josie Bones

Address : 98 Smith Street, Collingwood 3066

Telephone : 03 94171878

Absoutely love the outlook of the restaurant. It has a long bench top which customers can sit and enjoy the food and have a chat with the most friendly staff! Josie Bones is a tapas style restaurant that serves heaps of unusual but delicious food. It’s definitely not your usual dishes, but trust me they are awesome! There was alot of oohs and ahhs the moment the plates were placed on the table. Just couldn’t wait to dive in, but as usual, our cameras ate first. hehe

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the beverage menu. haha Yes. It’s that thick. They do bring in lots and lots of beers from all around the world, and most of which we’ve never seen or heard. The staff were all very knowledgeable about every single beer and they are more than willing to help if you get lost in the ocean of beer choices!

The mr told him what he usually likes (which is whiskey, of course) and the staff actually recommended a beer that tasted like whiskey and totally suited his taste buds! I, on the other hand, prefer something fruity. And the melon gibson, which was more on the sweet side and tones of watermelon, was highly recommended. It was delicious and not overly sweet! Kong Seng had the raspberry beer which was really yum as well!

We ordered two entrees to start our meals. One of which is the crackling of the day ($4). Every single piece of crackling was super crispy and its served with a side of seas salt which was so good! It went from the a plate full of crackling to an empty plate in less than 10 minutes. And yes, we ordered a second serve of it as well! haha Whoops!

Our second entree was one of the specials of the day : mini sliders with braised pork belly and kimchi in freshly baked brioche buns. These were the BOMB! SO good! I could just have that all night long to be honest! The brioche buns were freshly made and cotton soft! and the braised pork. oh what can I say? Melt-in-your mouth goodness! The kimchi added a crunchy texture to the slider and also cut through the richness. AMAZING!

Yes. It was really really good. Would love one now. hehe

hehe that’s how small it was. Small but mighty, I have to say. hehe Can you tell how much I really like it?

So then come our mains. We ordered three to start with and the staff recommended we order a side of greens to balance our meal out. hehe It totally slipped my mind to order some greens! hehe Oops. Totally focused on all the meat dishes! But can you blame me? hehe I got overly excited when I saw the menu.

Our first main was stuffed trotters with black pudding, with braised lentils and crispy pigs ear. As you already know, I love dishes with different textures and this just ticks all the boxes in my list! The soft and tender pig trotters that were stuffed with black pudding was tasty but not overpowering! I was a little apprehensive about the black pudding at first, cos it wasn’t something I usually enjoy. But this was really good. The deep friend pigs ear was so good! I saved that to the very last bit and had it all slowly, savouring every bite. *crunch*

This was my favourite dish of the night! We had it the first time we came as well. But had to have it again, cause it was so good! It’s rolled pigs head with sauce gribiche and crackling. Yes. More crackling! haha This is just one of the examples of not wasting any part of the animal! In fact, the meat from the pig’s head (for example pork cheeks) are the best bits! Super tender and super tasty. Melt-in-your-mouth kind of goodness. The super crunchy outer layer covers the most tender piece of meat (and fat). But I’m really glad we shared, cos it might get a bit too rich. But the sauce gribiche helps cut through the richness as it is a tad bit sour and tangy.

This zucchini salad with fiore di burrata, toasted almonds, grapefruit and saffron pickled shallots was recommended by the staff and I must say it was a perfect in between dish to be served as it was really refreshing and acted almost like a palette cleanser, preparing us for our final main dish. Fior di burrata is actually an italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream. The texture was exactly like a fresh mozzarella. So good!

The mr’s cousin have never had rabbit, so he requested for us to try this dish : Braised rabbit with chorizo and creme fraiche jus. The rabbit pieces were really tender and the chorizo added a mild spiciness which was good! and what’s better? The staff offered us a basket of bread to go with the gravy! DUNK!

Of course, we couldn’t leave without having sweets. Although we were all quite full, but like the mr says. There is always space for dessert! hehe When we looked at the dessert menu, our choice was made up almost immediately. haha

Pear tarte tartin with beer caramel and bourbon & raisin ice cream. The puff pastry was still crispy-crunchy and the pear was really tender, all these yumminess covered with an intense beer caramel which was sticky and gooey. This hot tartin was paired perfectly with a boozy bourbon and raisin icecream. It was so good! Although we did wait 30 minutes for it, but I think it’s well-worth the wait! hehe

So after all the rich and delicious food, we were of course super stuffed but we had happy bellies at the end of the night! hehe I have to say that every single dish was really well balanced in terms of flavour and textures. Almost each dish had a a mix of tenderness and crunch! Plus you pair them with beers of your choice! Definitely really happy we went there that night.

So go ahead,  hold on to those hooves and give them a push! I know you would want to! (:

Josie Bones on Urbanspoon

Hare & Grace

It was a lunch that was planned a couple of weeks in advance so you can imagine how excited I was as the day drew nearer. I’ve been hearing lots of good feedback and seeing heaps of yummy food pictures of Hare & Grace and I was really looking forward to trying what they had to offer. PLUS! I was going to meet with Jan @ Peach Water for the first time. So it was definitely double the excitement for me! (:

Hare & Grace

Address : 525 Collins Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel : 03 9629 6755

Website : http://hareandgrace.com/

Opening hours : Mondays – Fridays

Lunch – 12 to 3pm

Dinner – 6pm till late

We were one of the first customers that afternoon, and when I walked through the glass doors, I was greeted by really friendly staffs. Jan arrived a little earlier than I did, and the dining area wasn’t ready for customers yet (the wait staffs were still being briefed). So they sat her at a table near the fire place. Perfect for that cold, rainy afternoon!

Shortly after I arrived, we were led into, what I can describe as, a forest-like dining area; an enchanted forest! There were branches hanging down from the ceiling and I was going ooh and ahh as the wait staff brought as to our table. She very kindly explained to us the different parts of the menu and gave us time to decide what we wanted.

We opted for the 3 course lunch set menu and decided that we were going to try one of each of the courses. This way, we were able to try everything they had to offer! (: Their lunch sets had the option of 2 or 3 courses ($42/$55), and it came with a complimentary glass of house white/red.

Jan had the house white – chardonnay and I had the house red – cabernet sauvignon.

We started our amazing food journey with freshly baked bread, a beautifully cornelled butter and a side of sea salt. I can still remember how impressed we both were when they placed the stone with the butter sitting proudly on top in the middle. I think I’ve never taken so many photos of butter before. haha.

The bread was served in a bird’s nest bowl. Really making me feel like I was dining in an enchanted forest! hehe

Composites (Entree)

Our entrees arrived and we asked the wait staff to place them in the middle as we were just going to share everything. How pretty is this beetroot, mint, pomegranate and goat’s cheese salad? It’s like an edible garden! So so pretty! I have to admit, when I saw it on the menu, I was quite reluctant to order it, cause I never really had beet root on it’s on before. Usually I have it in my juice back home. But had to trust the chefs and give it a go.

So glad I did! The chopped mint made the salad refreshing, and it had different textures! The pomegranate gave the dish a crunch and the goat’s cheese gave the dish the creaminess and cuts the acidity of the beets. It was definitely one of our favourite dishes of the day. hehe

The other entree we had was the eggplant, with sweet & sour cured salmon, cracked wheat and labne. It was my first time having cracked wheat actually. It tasted like couscous, just a little crunchier. The cured salmon was very flavourful and absolutely love that the dish had different textures! Just makes it more exciting when eating it. hehe After the composites, I just couldn’t wait to have our mains!

Principals (Mains)

When we saw mushroom risotto on the menu, we knew we wanted to have it because the night before, the Masterchef contestants were in Italy and they had the risotto challenge. Jan and I were chatting and imagining how flat our risotto will be! haha that was definitely emphasised when the contestants were making their risottos. Alas! It arrived and it sure was flat and the smell of the mushrooms was just heavenly! Every single mouthful was just mmmmm! We could taste every single grain and it was al dente and coated with mushroomy-goodness! We couldn’t stop singing praises about it!

When we told the wait staff about how flat the risotto had to be cause of what we saw on Masterchef, she asked if it was George who said it, as she use to work for him and she told us that he use to always say that! hehe Hilarious! I was quite entertained by that fact. hehe

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the braised beef cheeks with the most amazing mash EVER. Thick, creamy, buttery and luscious! I could have that all day! The beef cheeks were marinated in red wine for 26 hours before being slow braised for 5-6 hours. So you can imagine how it just falls apart with the touch of our forks/knives! The meat was oh-so-tender and just melts in your mouth! AMAZING!!

Sweet, Guilty, Vanity (Desserts)

Of course. There will always be space for desserts (in fact, some may argue we have a separate stomach for sweets hehe). We were pretty full by the time the mains were done, but we couldn’t not have desserts to end the meal (and meet up) on a sweet note! The kitchen had some difficulty with the blow torch, so there was a bit of a delay. But the friendly staff came by our table, twice, to apologise and update us on how long more it would take. We were very very impressed by their sincerity and professionalism!

Let me tell you, the chocolate bar was well-worth the wait! It was such a decadent dessert which a thick, chocolatey mousse (78%) accompanied by some chocolate soil, a Pedro Ximenez (port wine) jelly and spiced milk sorbet! The chocolate bar had just the right  level of sweetness and when eaten together with all the components, it was very well-balanced! Definitely not too rich, though it sure looks like it! hehe If you’re a fan of chocolate, this is a MUST HAVE!

When the vanilla creme brulee arrived at our table, it reminded me of the one I had in Paris many years back. The first thing I did was to take my spoon and crack the toffee layer at the top. Nothing more satisfying than hearing that crack when the spoon hits the hard surface, and a wide smile followed (: The custard was smooth and you could definitely see the vanilla seeds but was a tad too sweet for me. It helped having it with the biscotti though! hehe kinda mellowed the sweetness as it had the spiciness of ginger.

Hare & Grace has definitely lived up to our expectations and even more! Lovely and friendly wait staff, delicious food with awesome company (thanks Jan!) made the whole experience very memorable! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I brought the Mr back for lunch a few days later and he really loved it as well!

So do give H&G a try when you’re around the city, and do remember to call them up to book in advance. Do note that they are only open on weekdays for lunch and dinner! (:

 Stay tuned for the post on Peach Water this weekend and have a read of her review of the place and her beautiful photos!

Hare & Grace on Urbanspoon

Chin Chin

 I was super excited when the mr texted me to tell me that his colleagues are planning to head to Chin Chin for lunch and I was able to follow them! Chin Chin has been one of those places that you have been planning to go.But the first time I went there, they told me that a table of 3 would only be available after 2 and a half hours. It made me think twice whenever I think about the wait if I did want to head there for a meal! Thankfully, we went during the non-peak hour (2pm) and we got our table for 6 almost instantly!

Though it was 2pm, it will still packed with customers and the smell that greets you when you enter just makes you hungrier and just can’t wait to try their creations! As I was a plus one, I left the ordering to the mr and his colleagues. The only dish I requested was the famous son-in-law eggs! hehe (:

It was an extensive menu. I just wanted to try everything on it! haha So I can only imagine myself back at Chin Chin very soon trying more of the food that we didn’t get to try this time round! Chin Chin is a warehouse converted place that serves delicious Thai food! And boy have I been craving for some thai in my tummy! So every dish had some asian-thai influence on it.

 Our first starter was the kingfish sashimi with lime, chilli, coconut and thai basil. This was really fresh and with every bite you just want to have more. Love how a dish has many textures and this one had the sour, the sweet, the spicy and the crunch! Perfect dish to start our meal.

Our second starter was the DIY spring rolls! These were fun! The addition of the raw vegetables gave the dish a crunch with the very soft and thin handmade skin! What I really liked was the peanut sauce that came with it. Was really delicious! I couldn’t resist and had a second roll. hehe

I love restaurants who have dishes that encourage interactions between their customers at a time by having these DIY spring rolls! I think it’s a brilliant idea! This inspired me to have a DIY rice paper roll dinner which I will be blogging about soon! (:

Salad course : Salt & pepper salmon fin with banana blossom salad. The deep fried salmon skin just melts in your mouth the moment to bite into them. It was seriously delicious! It was our first time having banana blossom. It complimented the crunch of the fish and we just couldn’t get enough of it to be honest! Noms!

This was another really delicious dish. It’s dry curry “pad ped” with vegetables, spiced crusted organic tofu, kaffir lime leaf and thai basil. It’s a dry red curry and had a slight sweetness to it. It was so good! I could easily have this dish and a bowl of rice and be very happy!

 This was from their barbecue side of the menu : the salmon wrapped in banana leaf with coconut red curry, lime and thai basil. It reminded me so much of the otah we can get back home! The flavours were really good, but the mr and I felt that the salmon was a bit overcooked. And make us miss the otah his mum makes! can’t wait to head home and get some at the end of the year!

The stir-fried sirloin with green peppercorns were quite good as well. But wasn’t one of the stand out dishes in my opinion! Was pretty norma. Please don’t get me wrong, it was good, but compared to the rest of the dishes, this just didn’t stand out as much. The slices of the beef were really tender though!

And the much anticipated son-in-law eggs! They were so so good! We first had them when we went to Gingerboy last year, and also learned out lesson. haha We were told we have to put the whole egg in our mouths at Gingerboy and bite in to allow it to explode. But many of us had so much difficulty fitting an egg in our mouth! haha Thankfully this time, we cut it into halves and could really taste all the flavours in our mouths! DELICIOUS! The chilli jam that accompanied these fried eggs with gooey center was perfect. A true balance of flavours. Genius!

We were stuffed when we were done and just didn’t have any space for desserts, which I was actually looking forward to. So till we meet again Chin Chin, I really can’t wait to try the other dishes you have to offer! (:

PS : Chin Chin doesn’t take bookings unless for tables of 10-12. So do head there early (or late) and I highly recommend going there during off-peak hours so you will be able to get a seat and start indulging in the yummy food they have! 

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar

I was really excited to head to Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar for a couple of reasons. One of which is that I was going for my very first bloggers meet up with Daisy and Julie! The other reason is that I’ve seen the gorgeous desserts that Daisy posted and just couldn’t wait till the end of meal to dive in to the desserts! When you want dessert, you can always count on Daisy cause she’s the dessert queen in my book! (:

So if you know me, you know that I’m definitely not considered as sociable. Comfort is what I thrive in. So meeting up with these awesome food bloggers, you can imagine how nervous I was! But it felt like we already knew each other for a long time. All my nervousness went away instantly the second we met! Which was great! hehe I was actually quite shocked when I arrived at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar because it’s where Maze use to be. I actually didn’t know Maze was gone. Oops. Haven’t been to Crown for the longest time! That’s a real pity, loved the food at Maze. Anywho, back to the yums!

So we decided to order a starter each but share it and a main each. The starters were all really delicious. There wasn’t one that I didn’t like to be honest.

Cured kingfish, finger lime and smoked yogurt. Really refreshing and the kingfish was almost melt in your mouth. A good dish to start with!

Roasted scallop, wild rice and spice! The wild rice was puffed and crispy and added a really nice texture to the really well cooked scallops. I was very happy after having it. haha

I thought the kingfish and scallop was good. But let me tell you. This crispy little pig was AMAZING! There was one for each of us, and I just couldn’t bear to finish it. It was garnished with the crispiest crackling you can get! The only thing we didn’t really fancy was the round veg (we didn’t know what it was haha) that was pickled! But was a fantastic starter, a must have according to me!

I ordered the special of the day : ox cheek. I had to order it when I heard the specials of the week because the night before, Andy from Masterchef made ox cheek for the elimination challenge and it looks so good and I was craving for it the whole night! And it was no mistake! The ox cheek was full of flavour and it was pretty tender. It was accompanied by some chicken liver too and it was really creamy. Loved it!

Daisy chose the panfried snapper and it was really fresh! The skin was really crispy and the fish was really tender and well cooked. Definitely a good choice!

Julie couldn’t resist ordering the tri tip steak! It was tasty but unfortunately it was a little more towards medium-well than the medium that she asked for. So I think it just got a little dry towards the end of the meal.

So after our starter and main, Daisy asked if we could go sit by the dessert bar! And lucky us scored some seats which was really surprising on a Friday night! I was super excited as it would be my first time having the pastry chef plate our desserts in front of our eyes! WHOO! *jumps*

We dessert bar was superb. I just felt like I was back to being a kid again. You not only get to see the chef in action, you are facing a whole wall (or shelve rather) of sweets. Old school sweets.

Chef is plating Daisy’s dessert : White chocolate, mango, basil and coconut.

It’s a really unique dessert, and you’ll have to eat all the different components together. I had the individual parts on their own and their flavours are strong and punchy. But together, the different textures and all the flavours work well together. It was my first time having basil ice cream!

Next up, Julie’s ricotta cheesecake with yuzu, ginger, nuts and seeds.

This was actually my favourite of the day. I love yuzu. Can’t get enough of it. I would definitely head back with the mr and have this again. (:

I was really looking forward to having my dessert : praline souffle with jasmine and coco nib ice cream. My eyes lit up when the chef came up to us with the souffle standing mighty high and he cannelled the ice cream and just stuck it right in the middle. I couldn’t stop smiling.

The night definitely ended on a high when we were given complimentary salted chocolate truffle and salted chocolate milk!

Love the old school milk bottle and the straw! It was really thick and chocolatey. Just the way I like it. Really enjoyed the hit of salt with every bite of the truffle and every sip of the milk!

We were really spoilt that night and were given some old fashioned lollies that were on that magic wall of sweets we were facing.

It was a really great night with the girls, and we have decided to do a fortnightly meet up! It’s great cause we get to try new places together so it’s really exciting! (: So glad we could click and we love the same things! Can’t wait till our next meet up!

Oh yes! and I’m definitely returning back to Mr Hive’s Kitchen and Bar and this time bringing the hubs there cause I’m really sure he will enjoy everything they have to offer! (: Especially since he has developed a sweet tooth of late hehe

ps : if you got the entertainment book, it entitles you to 20% discount, so hurry grab your Entertainment book asap! (: