Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Taco Truck

Finally, the taco truck was in the city today. So I walked half way across the city to finally give these tacos a try!

I was greated with a windy allyway and a super long line. Since I already spent the last 35 min walking to this allyway, I was not going to give up that easily.

Fish Taco

Fish batter is nice and the fish is fluffy inside - it is not a crispy batter though. I think this works well for the taco to give it a consistent texture. However some people might like the crunch to add a different dimension so personal preference. Taco wrapping was very nice, not too toasted  and not too thick either. It holds the excellent dressing well (and the ok salad mix). Flavour combination is very nice, and you could easily down 2 or 3 of these fish tacos.



Potato Taco

Very interesting concept with hard shell made from potato and filled with soft potato, coleslaw and ricotta cheese and topped with green salsa. The flavours in this one was definitely different and a bit more intense. The combination of different textures are done brilliently, I do recommend you try this if you ever visit the taco truck.

Chicken Taco

Very simply fillings but very so yummy. Grilled chicken with sweet corn, spinach leaves and chopotle mayo. Sweetness from the corn then juicy chicken bits....Like the Fish taco, I wanted seconds.

Nachos

These were home made and nothing like the stuff you find in the supermarket. Served with guacamole, it was super crispy and crunchy. Only downside is I wish they also served salsa.


Sadly, they were out of chicken skins when I ordered but I do intend to try them next time I see the truck.

Overall 14/20 Satisfying, cheap meal. If you know the truck is nearby, make sure you check them out

Taco Truck on Urbanspoon

Naked for Satan


I've seen this name pop up a bit over the years and quite a few friends have mentioned it. So when my partner said we were going there for a midweek date night, I got super excited. This place is really a bar with tapas (they call it pintxos) that works on an honesty system. There is an array of pintxos on the bar and each of them will have a toothpick. How it works is that you help yourself to whatever you like and the bill is calculated at the end based on how many toothpicks you have. It's not expensive at all, lunch Mon-Fri and dinner Sun-Wed is $1 per toothpick and all other times it's $2 a toothpick.

There was a nice selection but I'll start off with my favorite, the squid ink with calamari. Strong robust flavours from the risoni is paired nicely with the calamari. 


Then there was also the cauliflower spread with prawn and finished with garlic. Very creamy but then a hint of meaty and freshness from the prawn.


The eggplant chip with blue cheese and honey; and the chili cashew and capsicum with eggplant is also worth the mention.


What you see on the bar is not the full selection, during the night waiters will wander to your table and offer you hot pintxos too, these may include chorizo croquette, grilled Parmesan and mascapone with cherry tomatoes, meatball with Parmesan, veal schnitzel and chorizo with caramelised onions.

This is bar, so I thought I would give the watermelon, mint vodka a shot. I was not disappointed. Fresh, fruity flavours that was not watered down. 


Overall I can see why people rave on about it. The food is decent and the alcohol is fairly priced. I can see myself coming back here. 15/20




  Naked For Satan on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Le Petit Gateau


I know there is a lot of new cake and dessert stores popping up everywhere. However Le Petit Gateau remains one of my favorite cake stores in Melbourne. I have known about this place for awhile now and it only recently occurred to me, I rave on about how great Lux Bite is, in my blog but I never mention anything about a place I regularly visit.

I've compiled this post from a number of visits, hoping to capture as many of their cakes as possible.

This place has a rather popular Brownie and passionfruit chocolate gateau. Made up of a nutty brownie base, passionfruit cream, chocolate moouse, chocolate glaze and a passionfruit jelly on top. The flavours come incredibly well together. It is a rich cake, but the array of flavours in chocolately and has that hint of sourness from the passionfruit mmmmmmm heaven on the tastebuds!

Another one I really like is the cosmopolitan. This is made up of a carrot cake base, cheesecake centre and a raspberry jelly on top. A combination of rather simple cakes but a fabulous texture combination. From soft and spicy to silky cheesecake and finally the hint of berry sweetness. Yummy!

They also have the classic Black Forest. This isn't a stand out cake for me. I like it because I like Black Forest but it is spectacular. Light fluffy chocolate cake with good cherry flavours but just a little lacking.

Overall this is a place with beautiful cakes and worth a visit. Also, if you have the entertainment book there is a buy one get one free voucher inside so makes it even more tempting. 16/20


  Le Petit Gateau on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shanghai Street Dumpling

I always walk pass this place and there is always a line outside. At the start I dismissed it as just another cheap, nasty dumpling place. However my partner kept going on about how he wanted to try it, so I eventually agreed to go with him.

Upon arriving I was quite surprised that it was a lot cleaner than the usual cheap dumpling places and was a lot more pleasent to be able to talk over a meal rather than shout.

There was no way I could visit a dumpling place without trying the xiao long bao. The xiao long bao exceeded my low expectations, it was not as oily as I imagined it to be. The fried xiao long bao had a really thick skin but the filling was juicy and not too fatty.

What deserves a mention is their wonton in chilli oil and peanut sauce. These come in a plate of 15 and they are super tasty with a bit of a kick from the chilli oil. If you like something spicy there is always extra chilli oil on the table. The nuttiness from the peanut sauce almost gives it slightly creamy dimension for a split second when it enters your mouth. Worth a try.

Also, tried the noodle with pork sauce (Ja Jiang Mien), this is different from the usual Ja Jiang Mien I've eaten before, as it comes with brocolli instead of cucumber. Not an outstanding dish but not a bad dish either.

Then, there is the beef noodle soup. I would not get this if you have an Asian palete or an Asian mother. Feels like it's aimed to be a white man's dish (no offence to anyone). The beef is overcooked and the noodles are bland not the usual flavours you would expect to get at a place like this. Feels more like those fake Asian noodles you get at the corner shop.


Fried rice cakes with pork and spiniah wasn't any better. It was overy salty and the pork was over cooked. I have been told by the friend I was with, that this dish is normally a lot better. I guess it shows the inconsistency. I guess if it was less salty, it would be a rather pleasent dish.

Finally, there was the oyster sauce with broccoli. I know it's a simple, standard dish, but I love having it to balance out all the meat and carbs. Felt like a rabbit nibbling on all the greens.

Overall I do like this place. This post was based on 3 visits and each time I had to wait at least 20 minutes. But this is a cheap dumpling joint, so don't expect exceptional service. 13.5/20


Shanghai Street Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ying Thai 2

End of the week and all I wanted was just a good, cheap, fast dinner before heading to my friend's birthday drinks. I wanted my Coconut rice and Green curry on a rainy cold night so Ying Thai 2 seem to fit my craving.

For those who haven't been before, it is located on Lygon St and generally quite hard to get a table on weekends, as it was once upon a time, a cheap place for uni students to grab a bite.

I've had their salads before and I know how electrifying spicy they can be. So when I ordered the Som Tum salad with crab I specifically asked that it be mild. When it came out, I must say I was very disappointed. The crab was not a fried soft shell crab, as I thought it would be. It was just a crab steamed and pulled apart. Even though I asked for mild it was still so spicy my mouth went numb. Then when I asked the waitress about it she said it was already mild. I am not stupid and I am pretty sure my dish was not mild.
Then there was the Pad Thai. This was not outstanding or nothing but probably the most enjoyable dish of all the things I ordered for the night.

Finally my Coconut rice and Green Curry came. The rice was a bit too sweet for my liking but still strong with coconut fragrant. Green curry was just bland and felt like something thrown together very casually. Overall, what I looked forward to much was such a let down.

I think over the years, the standard has dropped a fair bit but the prices went up. Service wasn't great either, the table next to me was kicked out after the finished their meal, even though no one was waiting for a table.


Overall 9/20 I won't call it cheap Thai anymore, I think it's just average over-hyped Thai now.

Ying Thai 2 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Snow Pony

What to do on a lazy Sunday with gloomy weather..? Have brunch!

Located on a local shopping strip in Balwyn, this is not some place you would know about unless you were local or the type the of person who researches your food adventures.

To start off I shared a McPony with my partner. This is as you probably guessed, a bacon and egg muffin inspired by McDonald's breakfast menu. Tasty bacon and soft egg with melted cheese..... definitely hit the spot for me to start my meal.

"Giddy up" which is almost like breakfast with the lot. Poach eggs, bacon, roast tomato, avocado, mushrooms on grained toast. You can't really get this wrong and Snow Pony gets it really right.


The smashed avocado with mushrooms is mushroom and avocado overload. It's a great dish if you love your mushrooms and avocado, it comes with feta, which gives it a nice kick in flavour.

Then there is the toasted banana bread, with mascapone, banana, berries and pistachio. This is absolutely amazing. For me it was all my favorite things put together in a beautiful way. However if you don't have a sweet tooth, it might be too much sweetness first thing in the morning, so maybe go halves with someone ordering a savory option.

I won't review the coffee, as I am not a big coffee drinker so this is something you have to find out yourself.


Overall I was very happy with Snow Pony. I would give it a 14/20, I also had 25% off from the Entertainment Book which made it even better! Thumbs up from me, and if you are in the area, definitely check this place out!


Snow Pony on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fonda Mexican


Seen this place's name pop up everywhere lately, so since i'm on a Mexican obsession phase, I decided I might as well give it a go. Walking in, you are greeted with a amora of Mexican from the kitchen near the enterance.
Going through the menu I decided to try something from each section.




Started my meal with the corn and I must say this was such a let down. I honestly didn't think modern/fusion Mexican resturants can get this wrong. The serving size was small and it was obvious they used frozen corn cobs rather than fresh corn cobs. At $3.50 a per serve it's not exactly cheap and considering a fresh full size corn is only $0.70 in supermarkets, it was not just up to scratch. If it intends to compare with other Mexican resturants such as Mamasita's, they should really reconsider where they source their ingredients.

Chipotle aioli chips were next. The chips where fluffy and crisp, but the chipotle mayo did nothing for me. I regretted choosing the chips over the nachos.

There was no way I would go to a mexican resturant and by pass a taco. I ordered the fish taco, this was crisp fried battered fish in a bed of cabbage, onion and pickled carrot. This was not bad compared to all the other disappointments. The fish was very juicy and completemented the other parts nicely.

Then there was the burrito. The tortilla was pressed and made with the order. The fresh suppleness of the wrap was very nice. The beef and black bean salsa was a nice change to the usual salsa and beef mix you get at places like Salsa's and Taco Bill. I really enjoyed this, but I was also full to the brim at the point. If I go back I would order this and forego the chips and corn.

The quesadilla wraps were also made on the spot. I had the Chorizo option with this. This was quite a spicy number with the salsa, chorizo and jalapenos. I think this is better suited for someone who really likes a kick. For me I needed a bit more freshness and crispness to balance out all the cheese and meat.

I would reccomend you get a drink to complement your meal. I got the Lime and passionfruit margarita. At times, with the chorizo spiciness and the meatiness of the burrito, it was a saviour on my taste buds.

Overall, I was disappointed. This might have something to do with my recent visits to Mamasita's, El Loco and Paco's Taco. Once you compare it to these other places, it doesn't quite feel like it lives up to the hype. 13/20

Fonda Mexican on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 20, 2012

Paco's Taco




Lately I've been obsessed with Mexican food and my research lead me to Paco Taco. Situated near MoVida on the rooftop, this place would sure make a cool 'date night' in summer. Sadly, I didn't go on a summer night, but a winter midday for lunch. Fortunately, I had a bit of sun to keep me warm.

When you look over at this place, it looks like just a canteen/bar type of place, which it kind of is......

All tacos are $6 so pricing won't come into play when picking out the filling for your taco. Since this is a taco joint, I'll start off with the tacos. I ordered 3 of the 6 tacos on their menu. To keep it basic I got the prawn, beef and pork. They served the tacos with lemon and coriander, to be quite honest, it wasn't that spectacular. After, trying the tacos at El Loco in Sydney, these seemed rather ordinary. Personally I found the large amount of coriander a bit of an overkill... I guess if you haven't been to El Loco you might like it more than I did.

The Nachos were a different story. The corn chips were loaded with flavour and topping. The Salsa Verde and the cheese just worked so well together and the salsa and guacamole was fresh and balanced the flavours so well. I think they should change their name to Paco's Nachos. If you visit this place, this is a must try.

Then, there was the BBQ corn. Char-grilled corn with chipotle mayo, queso (cheese) and lime. You simply can't get this wrong. The sweet juicy flavours from the corn with the cheese and chipotle mayo is just something I just keep eating if I was sitting in front of the television.

Then there was the doughnuts. These little suckers were loaded with either chocolate or caramel sauce. Not great for the waist line, but it was a treat on the lips. Personally I like the caramel over the chocolate, but the 2 friends I was with both prefer the chocolate. Not my favourite dessert under the sun, but it is something I won't mind if I visit again.



 
Overall, this place is not too pricey. However don't expect American street cart taco prices. It does aim to be slightly upmarket. Not a bad experience, I would definitely be visiting this place a bit more in summer. 14/20

Pacos Tacos on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Menya Mappen


Back in Sydney for work. Had dinner plans for catch with a friend, but get a call last minute that she has to cancel... What to do..? Well I still need to be fed regardless.

Since it was a Thursday night, I wondered down to Westfield to see if anything there catches my attention. If you have read my previous post, you will know I like my truffle oil, Parmesan chips. So I get myself a serving of that to start nibbling on.... However chips alone isn't quite dinner and since I was in Sydney with spare time, it felt a bit of shame not to try something new.

Keep wandering around and I find myself on George Street passing Menya Mappen. I have walked passed this place a number of times and I've always been curious to try it. Since it was a freezing day, soupy noodles sounded like the way to go.

I was a bit surprise to see how busy the place was, and also a bit overwhelmed. It looked confusing and I had no idea how to order. Took me a few minutes before I realised they didn't do ramen (which was what I originally had a craving for) but only did udon, soba and rice. The place was set up in a way that it's similar to a US school canteen, you line up order and with a tray pick up things along the way. Other than noodles, and rice they also had a good selection of tempura, side dishes and other Japansese street food. Now onto the food...

After 5 minutes of deliberation I finally settled for the Bukkake spicy pork udon, with extra soft boiled egg. The udon was made just right, smooth silky and not too soft. The soup was full of flavour and that spicy pork really packed a punch. The highlight had to be the egg though. Boiled just to the point where the yolk was still runny.
As much as I wanted to try everything, I was almost full so all I could try was the takoyaki from the tempura bar. Hmmm this wasn't anything special, think it was sitting there for awhile so it was slightly soggy.

Overall, I think for a fast food joint, it's pretty awesome. For less than $15 you can get yourself fully stuffed and if you compare it to how much McDonald's and KFC cost these days, it's pretty good value. If you just want a quick cheap meal, think you can't go wrong with this place.

Next time, I go back to Syd, I will review it's sister store in Chinatown where they do Ramen.




Menya Mappen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Huxtaburger

I have been wanting to come here for at least a whole month, before the day finally arrived. People have been telling me about it, the newpapers have been raving on about it. So it has been a long month to wait, before I found the time to head down to Collingwood.

I've heard about the waiting times before, so I thought going at 2.30 on a Sunday afternoon would mean no wait. Boy was I wrong, my boyfriend and I still waited for 45 min to an hour before we got our food.

The place is tiny, so I would definitely recommend you get take away considering the current freezing Melbourne weather. The place is run down but filled with people, so you really can't miss it when you go down Smith St.

The menu only consists of 5 burgers, 1 of them being a kids burger.

First one up was the original Huxtaburger. This has all the classic fillings: beef patty, mustard, mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomato, cheese and tomato sauce. What makes this the winning burger is the mayo and pickles. Unlike the usual burger joints, their pickles are freshly pickled and not the type you get from a jar. The patty was also juicy and full of flavour. Two thumbs up!

Second, there was the Bills burger. This had a slightly thicker beef patty with bacon, egg, pineapple and beetroot. This has a sweeter taste from the beetroot and pineapple, good combination and easy to down 1 or 2 or maybe even three in one seating.


Finally there was the Denise, which had the jalapenos, patty, tomatoes, cheese and sriracha mayo. Don't get me wrong, this is a good burger, but with the other options on the menu it just wasn't the winner. The sriracha mayo is beautiful but maybe just a bit too powering in this, especially with the kick in the jalapenos.

As a side, there was also the chipotle fries. This is an interesting concept, but my heart still lies with the truffle oil, parmasen chips at Charlie & Co, and Jamie's Italian. It was a good attempt to make fries interesting without an array of fancy sauces.

Overall. I think it does live up to the hype, maybe I am easy to please when it comes to burgers, but this is not what you will find easily. I think, when you visit this place you need to go with the mindset that you will be getting greasy burgers and not fancy burgers like Grill'd. 16/20


Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon

Mrs Parma's

This is one of those places that the boys like to head to on a night out. Lots of beer to choose from and a whole menu of Parma's

I am not someone who will shy away from a good parma either, so I was more than happy to go again.

We had the Mushroom Parma with veal. This was really as simple as Napoli sauce with oregano and mushroom topped with cheese. The meat was very juicy and it was crumbed nicely. Not a stand out but no complains from me either.

Next was the Roast Pumpkin Parma with chicken. This consisted of feta, roast pumpkin and basil, with the same Napoli sauce and cheese as the Mushroom parma. Again nicely crumbed but because the pumpkin was roasted, towards the end of the meal it started to get soggy from the water content in the pumpkin. Nice homey flavours. (Not quite sure why it was in a funny fish shape......)

Finally, there was the blistered pepper with veal. This was literally one big pepper on top, with bocconcini and basil accompanied with cheese and Napoli sauce. For me, this just didn't work. Having that whole pepper on top was not ideal, as it was hard to cut and put with each bite... Not a fan of this one. However, like the others it was also nicely crumbed.



Overall not a bad meal, not the best but then again this is not fine dining. However it is pretty neat for a parma. Don't expect your mind to be blown away with new and inventive combos, this is really a sample of all the classic flavours on top of a parma 14/20 Mrs Parma's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

El Loco

Another weekend in Sydney, so I could not pass the chance to swing by Surrey Hills and check out another one of Dan Hong's place. I've heard about El Loco and I normally like Mexican food, so I didn't need much more of a push.

When I got there, it was not as I expected. I knew the place was a drinking venue but I didn't expect a crowd to the door. There is no table service here, you pretty much just go in find yourself a seat and order (a bit like a canteen, but in a fun way). I had to admit when I walked in I was a overwhelmed but luckily one of the really cute chef noticed us and explained to my boyfriend how things worked. He even helped us look for a table

Anyway, on to the real reason for this blog, the food! Let's start with the tacos. All their tacos are $5 and they have 6 options, 1 being a secret taco that changes daily. So here it goes the tacos that I tried:

The pollo, a chicken taco with sweet corn salsa. This was my favourite taco out of all the ones I tried. The sweetness of the corn together with the tangy salsa, and crisp salad bed of cabbage was just something you would happily eat more than one of. Good combination of flavours

The tofu. This is as the name suggest, a taco filled with a marinated then fried tofu. For some reason this reminded me of spicy plume sauce tofu. It was nice but not something I will always order. But if you have any vegetarian friends, at least they won't miss out when you come here.

The pork. This was a bit funny, I don't quite know how to describe it. The pork was soft and juicy, but with the pineapple salsa it seemed to be overpowered by the salsa. I think because I had the other tacos beforehand, this felt disappointing. But if I had this at the start to lead up to the other tacos, I think I would've felt different. 

Secret taco. My secret taco was a pork belly taco. There is rarely a dish where pork belly fails, this time it was no different. Yummmmy

The beef. The beef was flavoured with lemongrass together with fresh salsa of lettuce and tomato.

Besides taco, I also tried the excelsior hot dog. It truly looks amazing. It was pork sausage in a soft bun, with loads of cheese and pickles inside and mayo on top. It looks better than it taste but that is not to say it doesn't taste good.

Finally, there was the nachos, fresh guacomole and spicy tangy salsa. So good I had it take away afterwards.




As a complement to the meal, I had the pink cuco, which was a pink grapefruit tequila slushy. This is a pretty girl drink, with a mild kick. Great for a good night out.

Overall, as crowded as it was, it was a good experience. It was really busy but the waitresses were still friendly and helpful. 17/20

Pricing $ dirt cheap. This is NOT fine dining, it is in a way bar food but it still kicks arse!

**more photos to follow**






El Loco on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Laksa King



I have a Malaysian mum who does lots of Malaysian dishes at home. So it is rare that I find a Malaysian restaurant that I absolutely love. Anybody who has friends with Malaysian mums or have a Malaysian mum will know that most of them are good cooks and can do a wide range of Malaysian hawkers cuisine at home.

This going to be a short post because I pretty much eat the same thing everytime I visit.

To start with I always get the roti rolls. Satay chicken with cucumber, red onions wrapped in a warm roti roll. Always gives me that very satisfied feeling.



As a main, there is no way you can visit Laksa King and not have a Laksa. They do have a whole range of different laksa's but I always like to get the combination laksa with extra eggplants yummmmmm

The reason I like the laksa here so much is the soup is very coconut creamy, unlike the typical food court styled laksa that are just watery and a bit of spice through it. This has a full body soup with fragrant curry base through it. Thumbs up!


After the roti rolls and laksa, I am normally stuffed to the brim but I will always make room for chendol. Not that Laksa King does an exceptional job on it, it's just hard to find in Melbourne and happens to be one of my favourite Asian desserts.
1
Overall 7/10 If you are in the area, you should really try this place!

Pricing is $. Very cheap and fast with quality to match





Laksa King on Urbanspoon