Thursday, 28 August 2014

BetweenUs

I’ll admit it. I do spend a lot of time in Maling Road, Canterbury. This is apparent to everyone who knows me as I usually organise our catch-ups there... Anyway, whilst I have visited nearly all the cafés in Maling Road, I have not blogged them all. So today I am writing a blog about BetweenUs which I have been to a couple of times before. Last time I visited, I had the ‘Salmon Provencal: potato roestis, sautéed spinach, smoked salmon with poached eggs and hollandaise ($19.00)’, which was lovely but it is only available at breakfast time.


This time I am here for lunch so I was obliged to order something from the lunch menu. I saw a lot of the ‘Zucchini Feta Fritters with house yoghurt sauce and roasted tomato ($18.00)’ being sent out to eager patrons. However, I decided to have the ‘Beef sliders: premium eye fillet, spicy capsicum, rocket, mozzarella with mini buns ($18.00)’. The beef was cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth. Although, the overall flavour of the sliders was a little dreary. They needed the addition of something creamy like an aioli. The spicy capsicum and the mozzarella didn’t provide much impact either. The seeded bun was a little dense so perhaps a brioche bun would have made the dish more enjoyable.
 
Beef Sliders

 
My dining companion chose the ‘Prawns, avocado purée, fresh shaved zucchini, sliced lemon with dill ($18.00)’. Unfortunately, the prawns were overcooked and very rubbery. There was not a lot going on with this dish so you really need to make sure everything is perfect. The browning avocado purée was somewhat uninviting. The dish definitely needed a little bit of zing. The lemons slices appeared to be absent.

Prawns

 
Our lattes ($3.50) tasted great and were very large indeed. A BetweenUs coffee and one of their gorgeous looking homemade cakes would make a brilliant afternoon tea...

Latte
 
The café is usually bustling with people and can be quite noisy. In the past, the service has been rather slow to take your order but they were very attentive today. I might skip the lunch menu in the future, but I would still drop by for a luscious coffee or some brunch...


Address: 141 Maling Road, Canterbury, VIC

Phone: 03 9830 7915
 
Between Us, Coffee, Food And Wine on Urbanspoon



Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Chin Chin

Chin Chin is an extremely popular restaurant in the CBD that focuses on south-east Asian cuisine. The executive chef is Benjamin Cooper whom you may have seen on MasterChef. You know... That guy with the big mohawk.

Chin Chin is known for its long wait times but we were surprised to be seated straight away. I definitely had the luck of the Irish with me that day... We were seated at the bar which was wonderful as it gives you front row access to the kitchen. The service was great considering how packed the place was.


The menu is quite extensive so it took me quite awhile to decide what to order. I was tempted by the ‘Pad Seuw of six hour braised wagyu, gai laan, rolled rice noodles and crispy shallots ($24.00)’ but instead chose the ‘Aromatic yellow curry of roast pumpkin, char-grilled tofu and green beans ($19.00)’. I also ordered a side of ‘Steamed jasmine rice ($3.00)’. Wow, what a curry! Such an exciting experience for my tastebuds... You can really notice the flavour explosion of using freshly made curry paste. The curry also had just the right amount of heat.
 
Yellow Curry

 
My dining companion picked the ‘Chin Chin egg fried rice with chilli soy, cucumber and lettuce cups ($18.00)’. It was another divine dish. The fluffy rice tasted scrumptious and the whole feast really sparkled with freshness.

Chin Chin Egg Fried Rice
 
The desserts were very enticing, especially the ‘Palm sugar ice-cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup ($15.00)’. So if you are seeking some vibrant Asian food, try Chin Chin but don’t forget to pick up the Chin Chin cookbook on the way out...


Address: 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 8663 2000




Trading Hours:
Daily: 11.00am - late

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon






Friday, 22 August 2014

Shizuku Ramen

Miss Sage Sugar was invited by Shizuku Ramen

A bowl of steaming ramen is just the thing to warm you up on a cold winter’s day... What better place to go than a restaurant that claims that they have the best ramen in Melbourne! Shizuku Ramen offers delicious Japanese cuisine with a modern spin. You may have heard of their Ramen Burger ($15.00) which is a ‘bun’ made of ramen noodles with either a candied pork belly or miso glazed eggplant filling. Shizuku Ramen also has an extensive craft beer list and they are more than happy to help you match your beer with your selected ramen.  

We arrived for lunch and went for a non-alcoholic beverage. It was a bit cold that day for a beer... We ordered some Japanese Tea ($4.50). The tea was yummy and refreshing and tasted a bit like Weetbix!

We started off with some ‘Gyoza Classic ($10.00): six pieces of pan fried pork mince and cabbage dumplings, spring onions and a homemade, tangy sesame vinaigrette’. Three dumplings each was not enough for us as they were just so good! Next time I definitely need to order double...
 
Gyoza Classic

I decided to have the ‘Vegetarian Ramen ($15.00) with mixed vegetables’. I chose the miso option. A massive bowl of gorgeous ramen arrived that was packed full of vegetables and noodles. The heavenly broth was creamy and not too salty. I loved it so much I ate my way through most of the bowl until I could not physically eat any more!
 
Vegetarian Ramen

 
My dining companion picked the ‘Ebi Shio Ramen ($17.00): a hakata sea salt flavoured soup, scallop infused oil, fresh prawns, and vegetables’. The broth was fragrant and divine. The bowl contained a plentiful amount of succulent prawns.
  
Ebi Shio Ramen

The restaurant also has a nifty, easy to use online booking system that allows you to confirm via SMS. I can’t wait to return and enjoy another bowl of their delightful ramen and work my way through their craft beer list...


Address: 309 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, VIC

Phone: 03 9995 8180



Website

Trading Hours:
Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm
         5.30pm – 10.00pm
 
Shizuku Ramen on Urbanspoon
 
 
 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Salted Caramel and Banana Cupcakes

My friend was hosting an RSPCA Cupcake Day Morning Tea to raise money to stop animal cruelty. I had a couple of bananas turning black so I thought I might modify my usual vanilla cupcake recipe and make banana cupcakes instead. I decided that a salted caramel icing could complement the banana cupcakes and found a recipe from a Super Food Ideas Magazine (August 2010). I’m not a big fan of thick icing on my cupcakes so this icing was the perfect choice. The cupcakes were very scrumptious and disappeared very quickly. My host called them Hawthorn Cupcakes but she may be a little biased...


Banana Cupcakes (Makes 12 Cupcakes)

Ingredients

·        90g butter, chopped

·        1/2 cup brown sugar

·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·        2 free-range eggs

·        1 cup self-raising flour

·        2 very ripe bananas, mashed

·        1 tsp cinnamon

·        ½ tsp nutmeg

·        2 tbs milk, if needed

  


1.    Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.

2.    Using an electric mixer, beat butter, vanilla and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed banana. Fold in flour and spices. Add milk if needed to create the right consistency. Spoon mixture into the paper cases, using a spatula to smooth surfaces of each cake.

3.    Bake for 20 minutes, until springy to touch. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Salted Caramel Icing

Ingredients

·        1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

·        100g butter, chopped

·        4 tablespoons milk

·        1 cup icing sugar mixture

·        A couple of pinches of sea salt flakes

 


1.    Place brown sugar, butter, salt and milk in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes (don’t boil) or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in icing sugar until smooth. Cool for a couple of minutes. Ice your cupcakes and sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. If icing solidifies, put back on heat to warm a little.  

What cupcakes did you bake for RSPCA Cupcake Day?





Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Weekend Away - Bellarine Peninsula Part 1

For the Queen’s Birthday long weekend we headed down to the Bellarine Peninsula for the National Celtic Festival at Portarlington.

Point Lonsdale Beach
 
Point Lonsdale Lighthouse

Lunch: Day 1
 
We arrived at Ocean Grove around noon. The Driftwood Cafe looked like they would make a decent coffee so we thought we would give it a try. We waited for a very long time to be served but eventually gave up any hope of that happening! Thus we ventured across the road to the Olive Pit Delicatessen. Things were looking much more optimistic as we were given a menu straight away. The place was quite cramped with tables and you had to squeeze your way through to the counter to place your order. However, our lattes ($4.00) were gigantic and delicious! Just what we needed...

Address: 73 The Terrace, Ocean Grove, VIC

Phone: 03 5255 1511

Facebook
 
The Olive Pit Delicatessen on Urbanspoon
 
We just wanted a light meal for lunch as we were planning on going out for dinner that night. So, we each ordered a sausage roll ($3.00) from Rolling Pin Pies and Cakes. Obviously a popular bakery as we needed to wait and take a number. The sausage roll was a little bit bland. The pastry was not flaky as I managed to eat the whole thing without dropping so much as one crumb. It wasn’t my favourite sausage roll I have had...

Address: 12 Park Lane, Ocean Grove, VIC

Phone: 03 5256 1517

Website
 
Rolling Pin Pies & Cakes on Urbanspoon
 
 
Dinner: Day 1

I have always loved Queenscliff. The historic seaside village is so beautiful and charming, with many interesting stores and bookshops to browse. We decided to have dinner in Queenscliff at Lombardys On Hesse.
 
An Italian restaurant that caters for families, with a children’s play area located towards the back of the restaurant. Thankfully we were seated near the front of the restaurant which was less rowdy... We both ordered a glass of Phaedrus Estate Pinot Gris ($7.50) from the Mornington Peninsula which was lovely.

We ordered a ‘Capricciosa Pizza’ to share and a ‘Tomato salad with fresh zucchini, boccocini, fresh basil and cracked pepper’. The service was very good but we had to wait nearly an hour for our meal. Just before our meal arrived we were informed that they had run out of zucchini for the salad so we opted for their alternative salad of ‘Rocket, parmesan, and balsamic dressing ($10.00)’. The salad was very dry. Some olive oil to dress the salad would have been nice.
 
Rocket and Parmesan Salad









 
The Capricciosa ($18.00) with ham, olives and mushrooms was very average. With poor quality ingredients, the pizza lacked any flavour. The salad helped to jazz up the pizza slightly. It’s not somewhere I would return again soon...
 
Capricciosa Pizza

 
Address: 38 Hesse Street, Queenscliff, VIC
 
Phone: 03 5258 1838
 
 
 Lombardys On Hesse on Urbanspoon
 

We stayed at the Point Lonsdale Guest House for the whole weekend. Built in 1884, the guest house is conveniently located within a short walk of the Point Lonsdale shops. Our hosts Sue and Peter provided a relaxing haven for us to unwind in between our various outings over the weekend. I would absolutely stay at the Point Lonsdale Guest House again.

Point Lonsdale Guest House







 
 
Address: 31 Point Lonsdale Road, Point Lonsdale

Phone: 03 5258 1142
 
 


 
Weekend Away - Bellarine Peninsula Part 2 coming soon...
 
 
 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Nieuw Amsterdam

Nieuw Amsterdam is a sophisticated bar and restaurant in the CBD serving mouth-watering American food. We dropped by for lunch and headed upstairs to the restaurant. The interior was dark and mysterious with exposed brick walls and a marble topped bar. We did not have a booking but it wasn’t a problem as there were a few tables available.

 

 
The lunch menu consists of dishes such as ‘New York Clam Chowder with leeks, bacon, potatoes and clam veloute ($21.00)’ and the ‘Baked Eggplant Sandwich with sumac onions, fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil ($14.00)’.

 
 

I thought I would try a ‘BBQ Meat Tray ($22.00) served with cabbage salad, mash and gravy, pickles, bread and sauce’. Out of the three options of beef brisket, spiced chicken, or pork belly chops, I chose the beef brisket. So full of flavour! The brisket was tender and smoky, the potato purée was rich and creamy, and the house made bread was perfect for mopping up the burly sauce. I especially loved the cabbage salad with the crispy shallots. I could have had a big bowl of it.
 
BBQ Meat Tray with beef brisket

My dining companion picked the ‘Nieuw Reuben: BBQ beef brisket, sauerkraut, pickles, cheese, Sriracha mayo ($16.00)’. What a massive meal! The sandwich was delicious but the accompanying salad was a bit too salty. The Rueben also came with some brilliant chips that were crisp and fluffy. I did manage to steal a few...
 
Nieuw Reuben

Most of the staff were friendly and efficient but one of the waitresses was quite gruff and lethargic. Perhaps she was still suffering the effects of a late night... If I had room for dessert, I would have loved to try the ‘Pumpkin Donuts with Kentucky bourbon cream ($12.00)’. The food at Nieuw Amsterdam was both hearty and comforting and I am keen to try their dinner menu and possibly a cocktail or two...


Address: 106-112 Hardware Street, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9602 2111



 
Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon
 
 
 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Dee's Kitchen

For afternoon tea, we thought we would try Dee’s Kitchen in Dromana. We were quite full after our fabulous lunch at Itali.co Sorrento but decided to share a couple of cakes between the four of us.

 
 

If you are after some breakfast or lunch, Dee’s Kitchen has a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean inspired menu with dishes that include ‘Warming Shakshouka ($15.00)’ and ‘Old School Homous & Pita ($19.00)’. They also have a range of produce and wines displayed around the table for you to ogle whilst you sip your coffee.

 

 
 
 
We decided to order two Sticky Lemon Slices ($6.50 each) to share. $6.50 for a petite slice was pretty pricey, but at least it tasted nice. The lemon curd top was zingy and yummy. However, the base of the slice was quite hard to carve the fork through so we ended up eating them with our fingers. They didn’t bother giving us any serviettes which was a shame as they were very sticky indeed.

Sticky Lemon Slice
 
Our coffees ($3.80) were not as good as Itali.co’s. They were a little on the bitter side. The addition of shaved chocolate on the cappuccinos rather than cocoa was a nice touch.  

Cappuccino
 
Latte

The service was so-so. It was a little slow and a bit fake, if you know what I mean... I was a little underwhelmed with Dee’s Kitchen and doubt I will visit again. I think I will try The Alley café down the road next time as it looked much more inviting...


Address: 19 Pier Street, Dromana, VIC

Phone: 03 5981 4666



Website

Trading Hours:
Daily: 8.00am – 5.00pm
 
Dee's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
 
 
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