Friday, 27 July 2012

Las Chicas

203 Carlisle Street
Balaclava, VIC 3183

Las Chicas is a brunch spot that has a really strategic location. Once you walk out of the Balaclava station, you will see a long sign with pink stripes and its only 3 mins walk really. They do have a lot of seatings from indoor and outdoor but trust me most of the times they are full so you better come earlier. That Saturday I arrived around 11am with 6 other girls and as expected there was no seat for us. The staff told me that its gonna be around 20 mins wait. We're thinking of going to somewhere nearby after waiting about 10 mins, thanks God we didn't leave yet when the staff came out and said that the table was ready.

As usual we ordered our drinks first and start looking on the menus while waiting.
The latte was good and lovely with a simple heart shape on top.
Latte - $3.5
Dea went for the chai latte because she's a fan and I had a try and its really nice. Unlike other places, the honey was actually put in a glass in every table so you can have as much as you want.  and we used the honey dipper to get it :)
Chai Latte - $4
On the other hand, Selly ordered the Chocolate Milkshake which was kinda shocking since its already winter. But who could resist a cold and sweet rich chocolate drink with a lot of vanilla ice cream in it? I couldn't which was why I ended up sharing it with her.
Chocolate Milkshake - $6
Talking about the breakfast menus, there are a lot of options from vegetarian and non-vegetarian and the portions are big so be prepared!
Multigrain toast with sauté spinach, perfectly cooked omelette, smoked salmon, some pesto and  pine nuts on top. What else are you asking for?
Salmon Brekky Bruschetta - $15.5
Vina went for the French Toast with cinnamon sugar, lemon wedge and mascarpone. I heard that this is the sweet favourite and couldn't agree more. It wasn't just a normal French Toast, the crispiness from the batter and the creaminess from the mascarpone just brought this dish to another level.
French Toast with Cinnamon Sugar, Lemon and Mascarpone - $12
From my last visit, what I remembered about Las Chicas is their bagel, poached eggs and hollandaise. As a result the rest of us ordered dishes that had to do with these components. All the eggs were perfectly cooked and the egg yolks still runny, the hollandaise were delicious and creamy enough to complement the dishes. However, the bagels were the let downs, they were overcooked which kinda forced our muscles to work harder to bite and chew them.
Egg Benedict with Smoked Salmon - $16.5
I was so happy with my egg benedict because of the leg ham. I don't really go for ham usually but this time I chose to have them and they're above my expectation. I'm not sure if they're the dry-cured ham but they had that coarse and dry texture compared to the normal ones.
Egg Benedict with Leg Ham - $15.5
4 of my friends actually ordered the famous BBB. Like the name Bikini Blowout Bottom, the eggs actually looked like "Boobs" while the extra avocado gave it another colour to the dish.
BBB (Bikini Blowout Bottom) - $17.5
I would say the service was really great from the moment we arrived at the place. Although they did mistaken our orders and gave us all toasts instead of bagels but they were still friendly and changed them straight away.

Coffee : 4     Food : 4     Service : 5

Las Chicas on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Toodouri Korean BBQ

260 Victoria Street
North Melbourne, VIC 3003

At first I didn't know whether I should blog about this place or not because I don't know what happened but I just lost all the food photos from my housemate's camera, so I only had two photos from my iPhone :( 
But here we go!! 

Toodouri is one of the four Korean restaurants along Victoria Street and its really close to Hallah
I heard pretty good news about this place and they are even more famous since Soo Jong Ki (Korean actor) visit. So without a doubt I bought the BBQ deal from Groupon. The deal was about Korean BBQ Feast for 4 people for $74. We had the options of four charcoal BBQ dishes, sides, two mains, two clay pots and a korean beer each. 

I wanted to order the Gal Bi which is my fav meat but they said its excluded so we ended up ordering t the Scotch Fillet, Bul Go Gi, Chicken and Spicy Pork Belly. All of the meats except the scotch were marinated but none of them really stood out. Pork Belly which should be a really safe option couldn't really satisfy us. 

For the main we went for the sweet spicy chicken and egg roll. It would be good if its the same as the chicken in Han Guk Guan but it's not. The chicken was stir fry and really red but gochujang was all I could taste. Fortunately, our second main, the egg roll was great. Pan fried egg roll with a lot of melting cheese inside, spring onion and tomato sauce on top. 

Egg Roll - $12.90
I couldn't remember all of the side dishes, but the kimchi was okay. After finishing all the sides, the staff came and asked if we'd like to have more of them and we directly said yes. The bad thing was they actually charged us for the extra sides for $2.5. It wasn't a big amount of money but its so wrong to charge sides in Korean restaurants. 

The service was another let down I could say. The staffs did come frequently to cook our meat and changed the grill but they were not friendly and I could barely see smile on their faces. 

Food : 3  Service : 3

Coming back? Well, I'm not sure I will since the neighbour (Donwoori) is so much better. 
Toodouri Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Friday, 13 July 2012

Chez Dré

287 Coventry Street
South Melbourne, VIC 3205

This is truly an unplanned date with Nixie. I was locked out from my apt because i forgot to bring my keys (Yes this is one of my biggest problem!) and had to wait at her place. It was another 3 hours till my brother came home and we had nothing to do so we decided to go to Max Brenner. However, we ended up going to Chez Dré because of my huge desire to blog this place :p
Chez Dré, one of the gems in South Melbourne, is a patisserie and cafe open from breakfast to lunch. This place is usually packed on weekend but we managed to get a table straight away since its weekday afternoon. What I love the most about this place is the wide open kitchen and we could see all the cooking and baking process clearly since there's no glass covering. Although I had been to Chez Dre once last year before i start blogging, I was still amazed with this place :)

Every single cake is just amazing and I just want to try all of them! 

It was a tough decision for me and I chose this red looking cake but I made no mistake. I love every component of this cake from the smooth chocolate mousse, raspberry compote to the crunchy base of cocoa nib. 
Chocolate Raspberry Mousse - $8.5
Nixie couldn't bear the shiny look of the chocolate tart. One of the best I've had so far, the tart base was so crunchy and firm which made it hard for us to make a good cut for the camera. It was also filled with chocolate mousse and covered in chocolate ganache. In short this is layers of chocolate! 
Chocolate Tart - $8.5
Believe it or not both of us were so full with these two cakes. This was because we spent almost 1 hour to finish them as a result of taking too much pictures. The staff even laughed and joked with us, when we had our first cut he came to our table and said "Finally, I thought you guys would never eat them".

After paying the bill, we were still looking at the macaroons on the counter. Then the cashier nicely asked if we wanted to have some of the broken ones. And without further thinking we grabbed one each. Both the blackcurrant and lemon are great in flavours but the shell was not goey enough for my liking. 
Blackcurrant and Lemon Macaroons - $3 each

Food : 4   Service : 5   

Coming back? YES, I would like to have a brunch and another round of dessert :)
Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

Monday, 9 July 2012

Green Refectory

115 Sydney Road
Brunswick, VIC 3056

One of the best restaurant on Sydney Road? Well the hype supports this sentence really well. We went to Green on Friday morning for brunch. It was about 10am and the place was already packed and we had to wait for the seats since there are not many of them. Btw, I should remind you that its quite tricky to find the place since they only put a really small frame with "green" writing on the window. We couldn't find the place at first too but when we saw the hype we knew that's the right place.

The menus are written on the big boards behind the counter. Well, I could say that they pretty much sell everything from pies, sausage rolls, salads, sushi, muffins, cakes, tarts and all below $10. CHEAP!

As usual, I ordered a cappuccino to start with. It did look good but the coffee tasted just so so.
I tried the breakfast stack, for $10 I could say the portion was huge. The stack consisted with potato pattie, grilled tomato, bacon, halloumi cheese, spinach and a poached egg. The potato pattie was a bit flavourless so you should ate them with the halloumi cheese and it tasted heaven. The poached egg was perfectly cooked, it was runny once I cut it.
Breakfast Stack - $10

My friend who loves baked beans enjoyed the dish. I am not sure if the picture tells the same but the portion was also big. The baked beans and the grilled mushroom had great flavours while the ciabatta was crispy.
Homemade Baked Beans - $7.95
I was already full but I couldn't help myself keep staring at their cakes so I went to the counter. The staff recommended the rhubarb cheesecake and I was a little worried about how it would taste. And again, the cake slice was huge. This was one of the best cheesecake I've had so far. It was baked to perfection, firm but still cheesy, the rhubarb tasted sour and a little bit salty which was balanced with the sweetness from the cream frosting.
Rhubarb Cheesecake - $4.5

Coffee : 3 / 5    Food : 4 / 5    Service : 3 / 5

The staffs were not that helpful especially in arranging us to our tables. The amount of people coming in and out for take aways might be the reason for the unfriendliness. However, I would come back for sure because the food is great and cheap :)

Green Refectory on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Burch & Purchese @ The Langham

1 Southgate Avenue
Southbank, VIC 3006

647 Chapel Street
South Yarra, VIC 3141

 I went through the high tea society blog and found the Langham's tea session interesting so I went to their website. What a surprise, they have been collaborating with Burch & Purchese to create a series of "bespoke" Afternoon teas. Having seen this, I called my friends straight away and made the booking.
The series are offered on selected Friday every month till October 2012, so you better pick a date and call for a booking. The cost is $69/person which includes three tiers of FOOD, unlimited tea, hot chocolate or coffee.

I was so excited because its my first experience of Afternoon tea. I have been longing to try for a long time but never had the chance.

The session took place on the second level of Hotel Langham, next to Melba restaurant. 

On the way to the tables, there is a big table fully decorated with Burch & Purchese's masterpieces. It would be really great if they are real cakes :p

They have many choices of tea from the usual ones to its signature tea selections that are really unique, but these cost extra 2 or 3 dollars more. I just love their tea sets, they are really antiques. We ordered different types of tea and this pink colour tea caught my attention although the taste's below my expectation.

Not long after the teas arrived, the staff came up with the three tiers and YES another plate. 
Well, there're just too much food to fit in one stand i guess.

The first tier consisted of five different sandwiches, one of each per person. Don't get it wrong, this was a set for two so it looked like we had more. What I like best was the free range chicken, the chicken was really tender, its not strong in flavour but it did taste great.
Egg and MayonaiseFree Range ChickenCucumber and Cress
Cream Cheese and Chive
Smoked Salmon Pin Wheel
The second tier were the scones served with fruit jam, butter and clotted cream. The scones were perfectly baked for me, the outside was crisp and not dry in the inside. I enjoyed both the plain and the raisin ones although I'm not a big fan of raisin.
Plain & Raisin Scones with Fruit Jam, Butter and Clotted Cream
Burch & Purchese here we come! 

This stunning looking dessert tube was just praiseworthy. The creamy coconut mousse was balanced out with the freshness of the passionfruit curd. 
Coconut, Ginger, Passionfruit, Mint
The chocolate moussed was not only look elegant because of the chocolate mirror glaze but also tasted great. I had to carefully cut the piece as it's really smooth. 
Chocolate, Mandarin, Salted Caramel
However, the blackforest eclair was a let down for us. The cream filling did not bring out the flavour so it tasted a bit plain me. 
Black Forest Eclair
I would say all these three desserts were amazing. The meringue cloud was truly crisp, the sweetness was balanced out by the sourness from the dried passionfruit. The rubble was made with homemade popcorn & honeycomb, together bounded in Spanish milk chocolate. It was indeed addictive as written in the menu. The last piece was the gold bullion bar that was made with Spanish dark chocolate and filled with salted caramel. I would really take away some if they did sell this bar by itself that day :p
Passionfruit Meringue Clouds, Popcorn & Honeycomb Rubble, Burch & Purchese Gold Bullion Bar
I thought this was just gonna be like "snacking" but i was wrong since all of these food were totally fulfilling. However, i couldn't resist myself to order a hot chocolate when the staff was asking for last orders. And yes, I didn't regret it. I didn't expect it to be nice, but this hot chocolate was rich and had the right amount of milk. Totally YUM!!!
Hot Chocolate
Overall : 9, it was a really pleasant experience and i didn't regret it at all. Both Langham and B&P have done a great job. The service was really great too, staffs were friendly and helpful :)

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon