Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Lucy's Divine Cafe

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

P has introduced me to Lucy's Divine Cafe for a fix of Mauritian cuisine.  The cafe part of Lucy's is an off shoot from their already well established bakery.  We would typically buy a selection of home style foods as a take away for Sunday lunch and have enough for leftovers at night.  Here is an idea of what they serve:

Gateau arouille and gateau piment

Interior of gateau arouille (taro fritter)

Interior of gateau piment

I love their gateau arouille which are taro root fritters.  They are super crunchy with a hint of ginger and sweetness.  Kiddo loves their gateau piment which are spicy chickpea fritters.

For mains, we order the usual suspects:  beef briyani which came with boiled eggs (love this way of serving), fried rice with chicken and a curry.


Fried rice

Beef curry and roti
To accompany the mains, we got mango and mixed vegetable achar which was more than plenty to keep for the remainder of the week.

Mango achar

Mixed vegetable achar
Most of the mains are less than $15 and the serving sizes are generous.  The briyani and the gateau arouille are definitely a drawcard.  If you are curious about Mauritian food, this is a good place to try.

Lucy's Divine Cafe on Urbanspoon

Until next time...

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Food Travelogue - Malaysia, The Chicken Rice Shop

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Not long ago we accompanied Kiddo on her pilgrimage to Legoland in Johor, Malaysia.  Our driver recommended we avoid the usual theme park food and opt for one of the restaurants in the Medina Complex next to Legoland.  He actually recommended The Chicken Rice Shop as it had a reputation of being a family restaurant and reasonably priced.  If I had to compare The Chicken Rice Shop to something familiar in Australia, I would say it is a chicken rice equivalent of the Grill'd burger joints.

We ordered two of their meal 'pax 'and an additional noodle for Kiddo.

I had the Healthy Meal  (RM 16.50 which roughly translated to $5-ish AUD, it was a bargain!).  Here's what I got, including a cup of tea (not pictured):

Steamed chicken breast with all the trimmings (dipping sauces and rice)

Chicken soup, soya egg and braised tofu

Pak choy
I very much enjoyed my Healthy Meal.  The chicken was silken and well cooked.  The veggies were steamed nicely and not over done.  Loved the soya egg and tofu and could have easily eaten more.  I didn't drink the soup as I feared it looked a bit greasy.  For under $6 AUD, it was a very decent meal and way better than fast food option.

P ordered the Hainanese Chicken Rice Meal (RM 15.50).  The following is what came with the pax (tea not pictured).  I just realised upon uploading the pictures, they forgot to give us the Ipoh bean sprouts which supposedly came with the pax.

This is the Hainanese curry chicken, rice, soup and the sweets

Nyonya Pai Tee
P reported he really enjoyed the curried chicken.  We didn't eat the Pai tee or the sweets as it looked really sugary.  Too bad we only realised the bean sprouts were MIA after we left the country.  But once again, for approximately $5 AUD, it was great value.

Kiddo had a bowl of laksa (RM 11.90).  It looked very fresh and plenty of veggies within.

For more details on The Chicken Shop(s) peppered throughout Asian, click here. When travelling through Malaysia and Singapore, I would definitely pick The Chicken Rice Shop over say, McDonalds or other fast food outlets purely because it offers fairly healthy fare at reasonable prices.

Until next time...

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Food Travelogue - Singapore Part 5 - Imperial Treasure

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

We had time to kill whilst waiting for our flight back home at Changi Airport and decided to check ourselves in at the Crowne Plaza Hotel next to Changi for a lie-down and a freshen up.  That was when we stumbled upon Imperial Treasure which was located within Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Even though it was neither lunch nor dinner time, we decided anytime was yum cha time.

The yum cha was an 'order off the menu' affair rather than a 'pick off the trolley' type.  This was perhaps because we were eating around 3pm.  The service was very attentive and we were offered a plate of honeyed cashews upon arrival.  Thinking it was a gratis amuse bouche, we quickly scoffed down said unsolicited nuts but got a bit irked when the billed came and we discovered we were charged for them. It was only $3.70 or thereabouts but it was more the principle of the matter.

But having said that, the yum cha itself was a delight.  We ordered the cholesterol laden fried octopus coated with salted duck egg yolk.  OMG, anything coated in duck egg yolk is a winner, never mind the angioplasty I require later.

Octopus coated with salted duck egg yolk
Kiddo being the only person on this planet who dislikes dumplings and yum cha stubbornly ordered a beef brisket noodle soup.  It was very flavoursome with the five spiced broth and the melt in your  mouth brisket.
Beef brisket noodle soup
It would not be yum cha without prawn dumplings.  These were ok.  Not vile but nothing to rave about.  

Prawn dumplings
Feeling like I should eat at least some vegetative matter, we ordered the turnip cake as our concessionary vegetable.  This was very tasty with loads of Chinese sausage within.  

Pan fried turnip cake
Whilst the prawn dumplings were underwhelming, the siu mai was fantastic!  They were chock filled with seafood.
Siu Mai
Last but not least, another yum cha staple, the prawn rice noodle rolls.  These were very moreish.

Prawn rice noodle rolls
Imperial Treasure - a very pleasant way to while away the hours during a layover at Changi Airport.  Please see here for Imperial Treasure's contact details and website.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

My dear friends V & A were joined in holy matrimony a few weekends ago.  The ceremony was touching and humorously reflected their personalities and the food at the reception was ah-may-zing!  I count myself blessed to have friends who love their food because it guarantees good eating in their company.

The reception dinner was held at Matteo's in North Fitzroy which dabbles in a bit of Italian-Asian fusion.  I am generally wary of fusion cuisines but the folks at Matteo's somehow marry these diametrically opposite food cultures up and create exquisite plates to remember.

To prove my point, here is what we had:

Soft boiled duck egg coated with yuzu curd, organic quinoa salad with avocado, hazelnuts, Myrtleford ricotta and preserved lemon
We got to pick out our own entree and main from a selection.  For entree I could not resist the duck egg.  In general, I love a good boiled egg - it's simple but perfect at the same time.  The accompanying quinoa was complex and interesting with crunchy nuts and creamy avocado and the zing of the preserved lemon.  Yum!

Japanese seafood plate
P ordered the Japanese seafood plate which looked like works of art.  My photography does not do this justice (the room was romantically lit = dim,  which did made it difficult for a hack like me to take a decent shot).  The trio consisted of:  Hiramasa kingfish sashimi, shrimp remoulade with kaffir lime and lemongrass;  tempura Balmain bug tail, wakame seaweed salad and teriyaki glazed smoked eel, coddled egg and potato salad with kewpie mayo.

Crisp skin Cone Bay barramundi, jasmine rice congee with scallop & freekah, finger fennel & mustard green
Being Asian, I am partial to a bit of congee so this was my selection of mains.  The congee tasted of the sea. with chunks of scallops throughout.  I would go so far to say that the congee rivalled my mum's.   The barramundi was nicely cooked ie the flesh still held together.  Sometimes when barras are badly cooked (eg when I cook it) the flesh tends to fall apart.

Seared wagyu beef skirt steak, tamarind beef sauce, panko-crumbed tomato-sambal eggplant, braised snake beans, bell pepper piperade

This was P's mains choice.  He was still reminiscing about the wagyu a week later.  The mains came with sides.  If veggies tasted this good all the time, I would happily be a vegetarian.

tatsoi salad with nashi pear and daikon, dried wasabi peas, wasabi mayonnaise

Fried royal blue potatoes, sesame and furikake salt
The dessert was our own tasting plate with three small tastes:

Five spiced quince & pistachio frangipane tartlet

Coconut milk panna-cotta with plum wine jelly

Warm, dark chocolate fondant pudding
It was a beautiful evening celebrating a beautiful couple *sniff*

After such a lovely experience, I have decided to have my birthday dinner at Matteo's! So hopefully  more pics to come later on this year.

Matteo's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Until next time...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Gyros Party At Home

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

It was my niece's 10th birthday a few months back (Happy birthday M!) and I was so impressed with the house party her parents threw for her.  They managed to feed a crowd the size of a small army (I estimated at least 50 people) and managed to do this without seeming too flustered or resentful (as I tend to get in a similar situation).

The clever parents decided to serve gyros which they cooked over coals in the backyard.  The meat itself (chicken, lamb, beef, pork - all domesticated animals were well represented) were purchased pre-skewered at the Greek shop, salads and accompaniments were easily pulled together from the supermarket.  The tzatziki was bought - and voila! - a fun meal where everyone can assembled their own gyros to their liking.

Is there anything better than the smell of chargrilled meats? Wait, yes there is - chargrilled cuttlefish! Cuttlefish on the open flame is the ultimate in smell-unami.  It is reminiscent of holidays in South East Asia, strolling pass street vendors selling their wares on a balmy night.  Put a few cuttlefish on the barbie and it would blow your mind.  My brother in law, two of his friends and I quickly snaffled up the coveted crispy cuttlefish between us before anyone else gets their paws onto it.

An incredibly meat-ccentric gyros assembled by Kiddo. 

A more balanced gyros
 Anything goes...

I have been informed that the spit is purchased from Bunnings for $80 or thereabouts.  I found YouTube clip of the spit in action by Vinygee if you would like further details.

In summary - a great idea for feeding a crowd.

Until next time...

Grand Noodle

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Grand Noodle is a good solid takeaway staple for those nights where you just can't be faffed.  They do a more Westernised take on the standard hawker store noodles and rice dishes.  The serving sizes are decent and the service is quick - no mucking about.

Our standard order (for we are predictable people) include:

Curry Laksa
 Their curry laksa had loads more veggies than the more traditional curry laksa, which is actually a positive.

Nasi Goreng
Their Nasi Goreng had plenty of BBQ within and not too spicy which made it family friendly.

Char Kwai Teow
 So this may not be the most authentic tasting Char Kwai Teow I have ever tasted but as stir fried noodles go, it tasted more than fine.  Better than what I am capable of.

In summary - Grand Noodle, a handy go-to takeaway place.  It might not be authentic hawker stall fare but it tastes more than fine, service is quick and serves are substantial.

Grand Noodle on Urbanspoon

Until next time...

Monday, 28 July 2014

Food Travelogue, Singapore Part 4 - Rasapura Masters

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Whilst we were in Singapore we ate at Rasapura Masters practically daily.  Firstly it was conveniently located in the Marina Bay Sands complex where we were staying but mainly because it served the most delicious tasting Hainanese Chicken I have ever ever tasted (no exaggeration, I used to hate Hainanese Chicken but now I'm a convert).  It was only after I got home that I Googled Rasapura Masters website and realised Rasapura means "City of Taste".  The whole concept of Raspura Masters was to offer all the multi-cultural experiences of Singaporean street food all in one place.

Here are some of their offerings:

The best Hainanese Chicken in the world, in my humble opinion
I could end this post right here, quite frankly.  Although very unassuming in this photo, the Hainanese Chicken rice was ah-maaa-zing.  The chicken was silken smooth and flavourful.  The rice was chickeny without being greasy.  I had my epiphany moment - "Ah, so that's what Hainanese Chicken should taste like" . It made me realised all the Hainanese Chicken I've had before was just plain old steamed chicken. It came with clear chicken broth which Kiddo knocked back so I can't comment on how the broth tasted but presumably it tasted fine as it disappeared very quickly.  We added to the order with soya eggs and bok choy.

Naan and curry
Another very moreish eats at Rasapura Masters was the tandoor store.  The smell of the naan fresh from the tandoor was just beckoning from across the complex.

Chinese BBQ
We also tried out the Chinese BBQ stall.  This was a combo plate with roast duck and pork.  It tasted ok but paled in comparison with the Hainanese Chicken and naan.

Most dishes at Rasapura Masters were under $20.  The Hainanese Chicken is well worth a look-in.  For details of Rasapura Masters go here.

Until next time...
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