Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Key(stone) to a good beginning of the day...

A few months ago, I noticed that the coffee shop formerly known as a De Gani's just off Stud Road in the Harcrest Estate had changed hands, been renamed and now looked just a smidge spiffier and a bit more unique. To boot, they have a nice-looking website where you can find what you need to know about the place.

I stopped in for breakfast one morning - because let's face it, I'm best at judging a place by its breakfast food - and ordered a chai latte (duh) and a serving of eggs royale (panini topped with poached eggs, avocado, salmon, tomato and onion salsa and hollandaise sauce). Service was quick and pleasant; there were a few of us there, scattered between the meeting or function space up one end, down into the main part of the restaurant and then onto the terrace outside in the mild weather.

The chai was delivered to my table quickly. It was a packet job, but nothing terrible about it - drinkable, and definitely not a latte with chai powder stirred in!

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Yummy chai

The eggs royale were pretty awesome. The panini wasn't too crispy, but instead warmed all the way through. The avocado - worth more than gold in today's agricultural downturn - wasn't mooshy but firm enough to hold its shape. Mixed with the tomato and onion it had a great kick to its usually more subtle flavour. They were generous with the salmon and the hollandaise, and the poached eggs were done quite well (a little solid in the middle, but that's okay - it kind of suited the other textures in the meal).

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Eggs fit for a royale breakfast

All up, a satisfying and tasty breakfast - the perfect start to the day! I'll definitely be back to this new kid on the block.

The Keystone Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Saehaebokmanipaduseyo! Happy New Year!

One of my favourite times of year living in Korea was Seollal/Seonal or lunar New Year. It was usually late January or early February, we got a few days off work, and they'd have a day where we wore hanbok and made mandu (dumplings) with the kids, before the cooks made them into deokkmanduguk or MY FAVOURITE KOREAN FOOD OF ALL TIME (closely followed by pajang and dolsot bibimbap).

This year I decided I was going to give it a red hot shot - it's been six years since I left Korea (!) and I am determined to get back there this year, but this is a way I can feel like there's still a little bit of Korea in my life while I've got my feet on the ground here in Australia.

I looked up a couple of recipes on the usual sites I hit up for how to get my Korean cooking to taste authentic, and ended up using a combination of a couple. We're lucky to live near a good Asian grocery store in Glen Waverley, so I paid them a visit for my mandu (wasn't quite game to make them myself just yet - maybe next year) and kicked back at home to make me some deokkmandugoodness.

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VoilĂ ! Check out my soup!
Verdict: got the egg right, got the ddeok right, got the mandu right. Got the broth about half right. Too soy-ish and not quite onion-ish enough. Not bad, though - definitely drinkable, and it made enough for dinner and then lunch the next day. And now I can say I'm a year older a few weeks early cos I've had my new year soup!

Sehebokmanipaduseyo (about a month too late!)!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Yoyogi

I've been past Yoyogi on Swanston Street many, many times - but I've always had other places to go and other establishments I had to go eat at. When a friend suggested we use this as a meet-up point for dinner with a cohort from my uni days, I jumped at the opportunity!

We sat upstairs, far enough from the noise of the street to be conversation-holdable but close enough to the front for there to be ambient noise filter through from the summer evening revelry (namely a guy playing non-stop on everything in an improvised rig he'd set up on the pavement) outside on the street.

I ordered my three favourites - octopus balls (takoyaki), seaweed salad and cabbage pancake (okonomiyaki). They were deemed side dish or entree sizes, which was fine as put together with a little bit of sharing they made a pretty decent meal, but they were fortunately served with everyone else's food so we could all eat together.

The seaweed salad was not too rubbery, and not too drippy (both massive turn-offs, enough to stop me eating it in the past). The sea-ish flavour from the two kinds of shredded seaweed was punctuated with dots of seasame as I crunched the little seeds between my teeth, and the lettuce underneath was like a middle step between the salad and the next dish as it had retained some of the marinade-type-stuff but had a change in texture. Yum. Off to a good start.

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Mmmmm seaweedy happiness

Takoyaki. Ah, little octopus balls. Fried happiness on a plate. So many different textures - crispy, doughy, chewy - as you bite through the fried crust, explore the doughy interior and find the chewy little morsels of octopus hidden within. They were served with the usual white and brown sauces and the flakes on top. Really, really yummy - definitely tickled my takoyaki-loving spot.

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C'mere, octopus goodness

Finally, the complement to the two - vegetarian okonomiyaki. The pancake was chock full of cabbage and onion, fried both sides (hence the PANCAKE PART der) and served with the same garnishes as the takoyaki. It was filling, very satisfying with its combination of tasks, and pretty decent value as an entree-size!

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GIMME PANCAKES

Yummo! A great Japanese dinner, great company and a greatly gratifying bill at the end (definitely good value for money as the four of us ate for less than a hundred dollars - in the CBD). Don't go anywhere takoyaki. I'll be back.

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