Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Foreigner, Ivanhoe

While where I live is very much the eastern suburbs, I have friends scattered across the city and when it's time to catch up I much prefer to go to them rather than having them come to me (unless they live close by in which case all bets are off and we go to Knox!).

One of these fabulous amazing friends is a teacher buddy from old school who suggested we meet at The Foreigner in Ivanhoe for a coffee over the holidays. What a lovely space! AND IT HAD PARKING OUT THE FRONT! The staff were laid back and entertaining (there was an impromptu dance going on at one point which was very engaging) as well as really knowing their stuff about the menu items.

Being as it is I couldn't eat, I ordered a chai latte. Imagine my surprise when they asked 'Leaf or powder?' I pounced on that - a rarity - and was presented with a lovely pot of PROPER chai latte. The flavour was distinct but not overpowering and the milk not too frothy and not too boiled but just right. It was the Goldilocks of chai tea latte.

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Mmmm proper chai for the first time in forever!

My teacher buddy had a coffee but also ordered the ricotta and honey pancakes with a side of bacon. They came out with a generous scoop of ice cream, a fairy floss garnish and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios - a beautifully presented plate full of colour and different textures. I am assured it was just as tasty as it was pretty - and it was very, very pretty.

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FLOOFY

If I was closer to the area I think this would become my regular haunt. As it is, I can guarantee I'll be back during the term at least once - it's too good not to have a repeat visit!

The Foreigner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 26 September 2016

Badda-Bing Boy!

This post was a long time coming! A while back I visited Bing Boy at Wantirna as I'd heard lots of different things (both good and bad) about their omuwraps (omelette wrapped around fillings) from different people, and I wanted to try it for myself before passing judgement. I ordered a prawn wrap with extra meat (who wouldn't ask for extra meat if given the opportunity?? except maybe vegetarians...).

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CHECK OUT ALL THE FILLINGS
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MOAR FILLINGS

I didn't mind it! The prawns were juicy and tender, the omuwrap was warm and not too dry, and the sauce was simultaneously sweet and salty - a good combination with the multitude of different sliced, diced and rolled veggies they packed into the wrap. The price was reasonable for the large-ish serving, and the staff were quick, polite and well-presented. I don't necessarily think I'd go out of my way to do it every day but it certainly wouldn't be my last choice of place at Knox either. I'll be watching out for them wherever else I end up too!

Bing Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 25 September 2016

A Match (& Co) made in heaven..!

Earlier this year I was a bit despondent as I couldn't find somewhere to get my chai from in the morning that rivalled any of the joints I'd enjoyed while I was working in Mitcham. Mona's Bakehouse was okay, but their specialty is baked stuff - their chai was okay but not something I'd go out of my way for.

Imagine my happy when I noticed Match & Co had opened their doors.

Chai contains enough sugar and milk to get me going for the day, and it tastes awesome into the bargain. It's hard to find good chai - and while Match & Co use powder it's pretty good - definitely not a generic one, not too sweet but not weak either. It's a very reasonable $4.50 for a medium one. I've picked up coffee for my co-teacher as well - she likes a skinny cap with sugar - and I am assured their coffee is amazing too.

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Oooh, pretty!

Their displays are always picture perfect - croissants, petit fours, biscuits, slices... sniffle - they look so good! While I can't enjoy their sweets, I've bought one of the chef's fresh breakfast muffins and eaten the middle out of it. There's something I can't quite put my finger on - I think it's that they use some kind of special sauce on it that adds a real zing to the bacon, egg and cheese.

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Mmm, proteinfull muffin innards

The only down side to their amazing operation is that they don't open on Monday and I REALLY NEED A CHAI BEFORE SCHOOL ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. Still, you can't blame them - they need a break after being busy over the weekend! If you're in Dingley Village, this is THE place to hit up for your hot drink and brunchy stuff fix.

Match & Co  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gold Leaf

We visited Gold Leaf in Burwood for Yum Cha a while back (pre-surgery for both the Khocolateman and I... so a really long time ago!) with two of our friends (the owners of two of Dalek's best doggy friends, Toebes and Theo). I'd been there once before for an end of year function and I liked the food then, but their yum cha put that to shame!

My favourite yum cha dish is always the chicken feet. They get done a couple of different ways for yum cha at different restaurants - at Gold Leaf it was savoury (though it didn't taste like a black bean sauce as you usually get though) and they were very sticky, but not so much so that the texture of the meat was lost. Yum. The Khocolateman REALLY likes the steamed BBQ pork buns and went through several plates, much to the amusement of all watching, and reported that they were satisfying and adequate. Nothing to be given Michelin stars over, but certainly very edible.

NOW USUALLY if we go out together we steer clear of seafood as the Khocolateman has a nasty allergy and we like him alive and kicking. On this day, though, the seafood lovers outnumbered him three to one - so dumplings with scallops, and dumplings with prawns, and tofu thingies (sorry I don't know the actual name... I will pay more attention next time) with more scallops were the order of the day. There were a lot of them.

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ALL OF THE SEAFOOD THINGS

All up, a very satisfying meal for a very reasonable price. It does get very busy so I do recommend booking ahead, especially on weekends.

Gold Leaf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 19 September 2016

Kumamoto

I hit up Kumamoto before work on a Saturday. I was in a hurry, I didn't want to cruise the food court at Knox looking for something else that may or may not exist - something high in protein, small enough to fit into my stomach and easy to eat on the way to work - and the Khocolateman had found something yummy there the previous week.

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Yakitori skewer... sticky goodness

Yakitori skewers are a Japanese food. They're pretty basic - chicken and onion basted with a thick, sticky marinade and grilled until they're cooked through. Usually, they're soft and squishy, sweet and salty, a post-beer snack or izakaya/Japanese pub food or something you grab from a street stall before jumping on the train to commute home.

This one didn't exactly disappoint - the flavour was good, and at $3 per chunky skewer it hit the mark for value. The chunkiness told a story of the lean chicken pieces making a protein-packed snack. The texture was a little dry but overall, not bad - especially for food court food! I'll be hitting them up again for another skewer soon.

Kumamoto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pappa Rich - the father of fish soup!

I caught up with the lovely Bu Glenda for an impromptu dinner of Malaysian hawker food at Pappa Rich in Ozone at Knox a little while back. Most of the menu is off-limits to me now - no rice, no noodles, no bread - so I gravitated towards soup. At the time, I wasn't able to get much solid food down so when I saw a soup that had silken tofu in it the 'DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER' lights and sirens went off in my head, and I knew what I was getting.

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Fishy! Why are you so yummy?

This enormous bowl of fish fillet soup (minus the noodles) landed on the table. It was a clear broth that I was worried on sight might be too oniony - but I was pleasantly surprised, as it was salty and fishy (funny that). The fillets were crispy but sogged up the soup after a bit, and the tofu was almost infused by the broth by the time I got it. The veggies in the broth were fresh and provided a point of contrast in the taste and texture of the other elements.

I liked Pappa Rich before, but now I like them even more. They're happy to change some of their menu items so they're sleeve-friendly (remove the noodles from the soup, for example) and are prepared with copious varieties of take-away containers so the leftovers can be accommodated. To top it off, they're very inexpensive and if you choose right from their ENORMOUS menu their food can be healthy and high in protein.

PappaRich Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 5 September 2016

Happy hotpot to you...!

We celebrated my brother in law's seventeenth birthday not that long ago, and for something different Akki suggested we try a place in Abbotsford that I hadn't heard of before but boy am I glad I have now!

FOF (Full Of Food) Rotary Hotpot is like a combination of a shabushabu restaurant and a sushi train. Each place setting has a hot plate where you warm your personal soup (you can choose from four), and then you choose the meat, veggies, noodles and other yummies from the 'train' and cook to your heart's content.


Not my video - made by the eminent Youtuber Katerina Kotsakis - skip to about the two-minute mark to see how the actual hot pot train works!

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Meaty hot pot select-for-yourself goodness

The Khocolateman and I decided on the Chinese spicy hotpot. We chose a couple of 'special' items from the menu to be served with it, and once the soup was served went about adding what we felt like to it. The Khocolateman was definitely in the mood for red meat - ox tongue, strips of beef and pork, quail eggs, etc. On my other side, Malli (my brother in law) had chosen a miso soup base and was loading it with noodles and veggies.

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Oh dear Lord. It killed me.

They also had fridges of sushi and bain maries of hot food. Imagine my OMGWTFBBQ reaction when I found they had takoyaki! I wasn't quite game to try noodles or rice, but the little fried dough octopus balls absolutely made my night.

The cost of the evening came to $28.80 per adult (all you can eat! nice!), plus drinks, however I showed them my VSG card and explained I was not long out of surgery, and they agreed to charge me kids price as I'd only be picking at other people's food. They were very obliging and very sensitive and I would highly recommend them as a VSG-friendly venue.

VSG note: The Chinese spicy soup was not a good fit for me, and ended up losing quite a lot of it about half an hour in (even after going for a walk... and maybe playing a spot of Pokemon Go... trying to get my stomach to settle). The miso soup was a good fit, and a little of the broth thickened after the addition of other yumminess like meat and noodles was definitely a win. This place deserves massive kudos - even as a buffet they are VSG friendly - but I would recommend going with others as they do have a sign that says they charge for wasted food and I don't think it's the kind of thing that would take-away well.

FOF Rotary Hotpot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato