Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Shanghai Garden Dumpling

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Purely in the name of investigative reportage and not for gluttonous reasons, I have tried many a dumpling places of late.  I present to you the first in a series to come of dumpling reviews.  Shanghai Garden Dumpling apparently makes their own buns and dumplings from scratch daily.

I very much enjoyed their Pan Fried Chive Pancake ($6.80).  It was filled with chives (obviously) but also with glass noodles and dried shrimp.  The pancake had a warm toasted/char taste and it was not soggy at all given the moist interior.

Pan fried chive pancakes
We also ordered the Pan Fried Pork Soup Buns ($7.90).  P declared these to taste just as good as the ones he lined up on the streets for in Shanghai.  But I found these very greasy with a overwhelming porky aftertaste.  

Pan fried pork soup buns
 They redeemed themselves with the Pan Fried Pork Dumplings ($7.00).  The wrapper were thin and slippery which made the dumplings themselves very light.  They were deliciously crisp underneath and the filling inside wasn't too greasy.  I would highly recommend these dumplings!

Pan fried dumplings
I would definitely return for the dumplings and the chive pancakes and perhaps also try some of their Shanghainese noodle and rice dishes.

Shanghai Garden Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Until next time...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Qantas First Class Lounge Melbourne & Qantas Lounge Singapore

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

I was very lucky to be able to have brekkie at Qantas' First Class Lounge in Melbourne airport before flying out to Singapore.  It sure beats grabbing a bacon McMuffin at the old airport Maccas!  The breakfast items are all cooked to order.  The waiter was very cognizant of time contraints and requested our flight details in order to time our food service accordingly.  The customer service was impeccable, as one would expect from a first class lounge.

Kiddo ordered herself a brioche roll filled with bacon, relish and fried egg with a side of hash brown.

I had an assortment of sauteed spinach, bacon, mushrooms, poached eggs, hash brown with sourdough.  It was a big breakfast compared with what I normally would eat but it kept me going until I got on the plane...and ate even more breakfast!

Chefs at work, Qantas Lounge Melbourne

On the way back home from Singapore, we checked out the newly done up Qantas Lounge in Changi airport.  At Changi, they had a self service buffet with an array of salads, sweets and hot foods.  An example of the hot foods is the plate below filled with pilaf, chicken cacciatore, sauteed veggies.

The kitchen also served a selection cooked to order dishes.  Pictured below is the stir fried beef served with rice.  The dishes were hearty and well executed.  It was lovely to just fill up the tum before a night flight.  I was definitely ready for a nap after that.

Here is the salad selection.  They also had a cocktail bar in full service.  I'm kicking myself in retrospect for not trying out a few drinks the bar tender was mixing for everyone.

Salad selection from salad bar

In summary, love the food in the Qantas Lounges both in Melbourne and Changi airports.  It is sometimes hard to eat well when travelling but the lounges never fails to provide healthy hearty meals for the hungry and peckish traveller.  Please see here for our post on the Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney.

Until next time...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Madelines at Jells Park

Hello Fellow Nom  Seekers!

Madelines is a cafe situated within the picturesque Jells Park.  Because of it's location it makes it a convenient place for an apres sportif coffee / lunch / brunch.  There is a indoor cafe area as well as an alfresco dining and a even more casual kiosk opening for coffee orders.  Being a cafe in a park, it naturally is bike and scooter friendly.

After a brisk walk in the bracing wind around the lake, we headed to Madelines for coffees and a wee snack.  The staff were very friendly and Kiddo received an activity sheet to keep her occupied.  The wood fire was roaring which was a much needed comfort on a wintery day.

The food service came rather promptly however there was a bit of a wait for the beverages (10 - 15 mins).
We ordered a latte;  hot chocolate for Kiddo;  green tea and their "Meat Platter" ($17) which is more or less an antipasto plate to share.  The Meat Platter came with salami, proscuitto, bococini; semi sun dried tomatoes, marinated eggplant, fetta, rocket salad, grilled capsicums, grisini and lavosh.  It was surprisingly filling with the coffees as a snack between four people.


Hot chocolate

Green tea

Meat platter

I wouldn't go so far as to say it was the best antipasto plate ever to be constructed or the best coffees/teas brewed.  But the view is magnificent, it's convenient for park goers and it's child friendly which makes Madelines worth visiting.  

Madeline's at Jells on Urbanspoon

Until next time...

Friday, 18 July 2014

Food Travelogue - Singapore pt 3 - Kopitiam at Vivo City

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

No wonder Singapore is often touted as the foodie's destination.  I was so impressed with their definition of shopping mall food court.  No, not  McDonalds or KFCs but individual shops selling noodles, rice, BBQ meats, all serving customers very quickly and very cheaply.  Tucked away in the basement of  Vivo City which apparently is Singapore's largest retail and lifestyle complex is an unbelievably well priced kopitiam.

I could not resist ordering a bowl of "Lia Mian" which are noodles pulled in front of your very eyes and served with your selection of broth and meats.    In my case, I ordered the braised mince pork which came with bok choy and bean sprouts.  This bowl of lusciousness cost $4.80!  Yes, $4.80 Singaporean dollars which roughly equates the the same in Australian currency.  My God, my lunch cost less than $5! McDonalds cost more than this and I know what I would much rather eat.  At that price, I was tempted to order two bowls!  The braised meat was savoury with a touch of sweetness - very much like a Jia Jeung Mian which is like a Chinese style bolognese.

Whilst in Singapore, Kiddo has been clocking an average of two bowls of laksa per day.  So just to vary it up a bit, we ordered her Yeung Tofu which is different types of stuffed beancurd in a laksa soup base with rice noodles.  The Yeung Tofu shops in Singapore are frequently 'help yourself' type set ups. You take an empty bowl and select whatever types of beancurd and veggies you like from their display and present this to the cook who heats it all up in your chosen broth.  This was the most expensive dish of the day at $5.80.  

We also got another tofu/beancurd dish.  It was Japansese styled silken tofu stir fried with chicken and mushrooms atop of a whole heap of rice.  This also set us back less than $6.

The Kopitiam at Vivo City is definitely worth a visit whilst you are in Singapore.  A head's up - it does get crazy busy on the weekends.  I went once a weekday and once on a Sunday.  It was swarming with people on a Sunday.  Just to paint the picture - we spent 45 mins queuing to pay at Toys R Us....I would recommend visiting on a weekday for sanity's sake.  

Until next time...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Oasis Bakery (Revisit)

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers

I freaking love this place so much I had to take the olds there for brunch.  Well any excuse would do.  I recently lunched at Oasis and absolutely loved their food and more particularly their grocery store.  See previous post  and contact details here.

This time round we ordered so thick Lebanese coffee to kick things off.  $5.50 for a small.

Kiddo was recovering from a bout of gastro and wanted something bland.  So we got her the spiced rice which was very fragrant and had heaps of pine nuts and almonds throughout. ($5)

Zaatar bread was an essential.  ($1.50 each).  I also bought some frozen to take home.

I ordered the chicken Sharwarma and rice.  It was like a deconstructed souvlaki with grilled chicken, salad, pickled cabbage served on a bed of spiced rice and with a pita. ($16)  My eyes were bigger than my stomach, this could have probably fed two people.

Shawarma rice and salad with chicken $16
My parents ordered the Lebanese breakfast which came in several components: scrambled eggs and sausage, chickpea stew, salad, haloumi, olives and pitta.  ($19.90)
Lebanese breakfast $19.90

part of Lebanese breakfast

part of Lebahnese breakfast
Since everyone around us were ordering the chips, we had to get some to see what the fuss was about.  They were chunky cut and very crispy.  I suspect they may have been double fried.

chips $5
I left bloated but happy.

Until next time...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Food Travelogue - Singapore part 2 - Rise at Marina Bay Sands

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Whilst in Singapore I stayed at Marina Bay Sands renowned for the highest infinity pool in the world over looking the skyline of Singapore.

Infamous infinity pool at dawn
But at ground level of this hotel is a very splendidly laid out buffet, Rise.  We went there for dinner on two occasions.  The first one being the 4th July and the buffet was American themed with a smokey BBQ in the courtyard, apple pie for dessert as well as the usual buffet offerings.  The second occasion was just run of the mill buffet menu.  Run of the mill being defined as a mix of East/West cuisine - curries, roasts, seafood, soups and salads.

The prices were a bit on the ex-y side (S$88 per person on a theme night) Further pricing details and contact details here.  Despite the cost,  the quality was second to none, especially the oyster bar.  Oh, the oyster bar!  They were the creamiest oysters I have ever eaten.  Also if you are a fan of artisan cheeses and breads like I am, you would not be disappointed with the array of weird and wonderful cheeses and breads to be sampled.  I could have filled up with cheese alone.  Without further ado, allow me to show you the pics.

Oyster bar
Oysters and sushi up close

Hot food station with roast and made to order noodle bar
Cheese and bread station
Comforting Chinese style lotus root and pork shoup

Lobster thermidor!
American styled BBQ - slow cooked ribs, grilled prawns, corn on cob

Artisan bread strung up with assortment of olives and pickles below

Sashimi and sushi station
Wee little savoury appetisers 
Usual seafood items - mussels, prawns and pippis

The customer service was very convivial and staff stopped to have a chat with us.  Kiddo was offered activity sheets and colouring pencils to keep her occupied.

Well worth a look-in for a little treat.

Until next time...

Friday, 11 July 2014

Food Travelogue - Singapore part 1 - Red House

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Everyone but everyone talks about the famous chilli crab of Singapore.  But I have on good authority (Info segment on Qantas flight) that the lesser known pepper crab is equally as awesome.  So I had to try.  Am so pleased I did as in my humble opinion, it is waaay better - less sweet and not as spicy, so it caters well for chilli wimps, children and people with a sugar aversion (like myself).

We did a bit ground work to locate an authentic experience.  Our taxi driver and several other randoms we accosted during our stay all recommended the East Coast which is a district in Singapore for the best crab experience.  Our taxi driver personally recommended Red House.  So Red House we went.

Let me entice you with a few photos:

This is the delicious beast which I speak of...the black pepper crab.  This one is 1kg - plenty for two adults and a child who refuses to get her hands dirty.  It was peppery (no kidding) but without the heat and the sweet tang of a chilli crab.  Perfect in my book.  The crab was Sri Lankan (not sure the significance of that but thought I share it).  It had plenty of roe and head goo for me to suck on....yum!  Plenty of flesh albeit very firm in the legs and claws.

We also ordered a seafood soup which was a hodge podge of chopped seafood in a tofu, egg white suspension.  Real comfort food and great mixed with rice.

Speaking of rice, there was a fried rice ordered however I completely forgot to photograph it as I was too busy extracting crab out of shell.

This is a squid 3 ways.  I couldn't decide which I liked better.  The top squid was battered in salted duck egg and deep fried.  *drool*  The orangey coloured squid was char grilled *drool again* and the brown mass of tentacles were baby squid with a sweet glaze and also tasted of bbq *serious drool*.

I felt a bit of vegetative matter was in order so got this kang kung with a belachan like seasoning.  Normally I could eat this stuff by the bucketfuls but I was too stuffed with all the other good food to fit it all in.

As amazing as the food was, I have to mention the ambience/customer service which was as dismal as the food was excellent.  But I'm prepared to overlook mute customer service and no air con (was sweating like a piggie in a sauna).  The waitresses were completely non communicative.  I don't believe they said one word as they took the order and slapped down food in front of us.  They also charged us $3 for an unsolicited plate of boiled peanuts.  They were plonked in front of us before the rest of the food came so we ate it and it took up valuable tummy real estate which I would much rather reserve for crab and then we were charged for it.  Grr...

But having said all that I would gladly go again for that was truly the best crab I have ever ever eaten.  Amen.

Link to East Coast Red House, here.

Until next time...
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