Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fifteen Melbourne @ Collins Street, Melbourne

Despite the not so stellar reviews about this place since it was open back in 2006, i couldn't resist trying it out. After all, i watched the original run of the Jamie Oliver series and caught the rerun of the show where we see Jamie Oliver bringing the concept to Australia; from training the chefs to finding the place. It meant something to be stepping into a place that you watched on Asian Food Channel (i know many of us wouldn't mind dining in the kitchen of Nigella)

I suppose when it came to Australia, i knew dining prices in Adelaide well enough but definitely not in Melbourne. I was flipping through the wine list and no wine came cheaper than AUD 50 and it only went all the way up. In Adelaide, any good restaurant will still offer wines from AUD 20-30. Looks like i have landed into the big city.

Flipping through the entrees, i didn't see anything that could possibly excite the palate so we zoomed onto a gnocchi, risotto and a meat dish.

The risotto was fabulous, not too creamy, cooked with zucchini (vegetable and the flowers) with two nice juicy king prawns and some shiso cress (AUD 20). The head of the prawns provided an extra layer of creamy texture to the al dente rice.

The lightest gnocchi with roasted capsicum, goats cheese, black olive poor man parmesan. The parmesan was mixed with bread crumbs which gave it a bite, the rich sauce was something you would finish it off with bread and the gnocchi was well, not too bad (AUD 20)

Finished off with a pork belly confit with cotechino sausage, celeriac remoulade, salsa verde and apple sauce (AUD 38). Theres something about proteins, the prices which are almost twice the price of pastas. The pork belly is like akin to eating siew yuk in the form of a big chunk but imagine melting fats in the middle. The accompanying apple sauce which was the sweet element and salsa verde made eating such a rich piece of meat easy. The sausage seem abit like an afterthought and the remoulade was way too salty. In any case, the waiter took it positively and kindly ask if we would like a replacement. In Malaysia, you will get a stare and maybe a grunt (as a sorry)

As we were heading to Greco for desserts, we finished off our wine and left. All in all, a place for its name and purpose, foodwise i suppose i didn't place great expectations and in return i got a good meal.

Address and contact details:

Fifteen Melbourne
Basement, 115 – 117 Collins Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
(Enter through George Parade)

Tel: +61 (3) 9639 7586

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. I suppose there are much more expensive and delicious food around Melbourne but all in all a decent experience worth trying at least once.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yu-u @ Flinders Lane, Melbourne

What? This is an entrance to a restaurant?

What? This is an entrance to one of the most talked about japanese dining restaurant?

Welcome to Melbourne. A city that is merely a square, it houses so many restaurants that it is not funny. With only so many days, what can one possibly eat?

Googling my way through tons of restaurants in Melbourne, i finally stumbled upon Yu-u. A quick read on the address, thinking that it would be in my face, so i mark the spot X on Flinders Lane and off i went. Walking along Flinders Lane back and forth, i failed. It was nowhere to be seen.

Then i decided to go walk around the alleys. I failed again.

Almost gave up, matter of fact.

Then i saw 2 ladies walk through some dodgy looking door in the picture above.

A closer look and you will see a small japanese word, presumably pronounced as Yu-u.

It is amazing how such an obscure place can gain such a cult reputation and the ambience is by no means what the entrance look like. A dim setting and a big U table occupies majority of the restaurant. For lunch, there are no more than 5 options for only AUD18. Eventhough i had wanted to try more, i couldn't, that was exclusive to dinner.

So i settle for 9 slices of fresh sashimi served with the warm sticky japanese rice, pickles, miso soup and a square of rock melon.

Value for money if i may say so.

Yu-u, i am coming back to find you.

137 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, 3000

(03) 9639 7073

The first door you see on Oliver Lane.

Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. The challenge of finding of the place is worth all the stars.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Extra Super Tanker Restaurant @ The Club, Bukit Utama

Just like one more for the road, its one more review before Chinese New Year.

Wait, it was meant to be one more before Chinese New Year but looked likes its more like before the end of the 15 days will be a more appropriate title.

Finally got to try out the Extra Super Tanker Restaurant just before Chinese New Year. Having browsed their website before to find many unique creations, a group of us finally got together to 'lou sang' and try out some of their signature dishes. It was also my first time meeting up with some new faces, saying hi to Kat from Abu Dhabi and Pureglutton!

Located at The Club @ Bukit Utama, the restaurant looks like any normal restaurant with an above average decor and ambience. The dishes that we ordered however were anything less than ordinary.

Not many restaurants serve acar as a starter on the table, but they do.

For starters, we had the Pear Yee Sang, thick chunky strips of sweet chinese pear brings a refreshing bite to what otherwise is a staple dish throughout all the Chinese New Year dinners.

Fermented bean curd flavoured pork ribs soup with foo chook, some say it wasn't as thick as their outlet in Damansara Kim. All the same as it was comforting for a rainy night with fall of the bone ribs.

Not any normal beancurd but a Thousand Layer Crispy Beancurd. Well actually its more like 5 layers with 2 layers of ham and 3 layers of bean curd. True to its description, the outer layer is crispy while the inside is soft and melt in your mouth.

Roast Duck?


Some funky action


The awesome crispy peking duck pancake! To pre-order and i think it is like RM78 per duck but worth every drop of cholesterol it delivers.

After such wonderful creations, the mix vegetables and seafood sang mee looked rather plain jane but still lip smacking all the same.

So before the end of the 15 days, go give them a visit!

Address and contact details:

1, Club Drive, Bukit Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-77268877

Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. Appreciate the creativeness in coming up with delicious chinese dishes without adding the word fusion.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yuzu @ Gardens, Mid Valley

After my initial shock that japanese fast food will still set you back RM40 per pax, I decided sod it and went to Yuzu (well the Lady decided to sod it when it came to saving my money and actually demanded for some good japanese food and i obliged).

Apparently under the same management as Ninja Jones which can be quite a walk, i was glad that for one, people don't have to queue to get in and that we have to sit so closely to each other that we can participate in each other's conversation.

A minute into the menu and i thought oh no, this meal would cost way MORE than RM40 per pax judging from all their wagyu and fresh fish.

I suppose the last page saved me (at least) as there have value for money sets.

Like this Yuzu set at RM48 that offers a bite of almost everything.

The overall picture of the set; salad, sushi, sashimi, tempura, chawan mushi, sizzling beef, dobin mushi and a trio of starters.

Soft and smooth chawan mushi

4 pieces of sashimi, cant complain at all

5 slices of sushi, hand rolled and not from the machine. A plate of this ala-carte would set you back well close to half the price of the set.

A bland salad that i later ate with my beef

Beef cubes that tasted oh so yum and succulent

Tempura too, my latest must order item when i eat japanese, not healthy but can't resist.

With that you still got the teapot soup, pickles and tofu too!

The amount that they serve in the set was almost obscene compared to what you can get for RM45 on the ala-carte menu:

Wagyu Beef Cubes- Don. Juicy cubes of grilled beef and rice, what else can you ask for?

If thats not enough, why not a riceless softshell crab maki?

Vegetables and Softshell crab, a tasty combination.

By now, everyone can probably do the maths and realise yes, the meal does cost more than my fast food meal but for the quality and service, RM 120 for the final meal is so much more worthwhile paying than RM80 at a fast food concept store. However RM 40 is indeed 50% more than the RM80 spent.

Then again, the whole issue of what is worth paying will forever and ever be subjective but i think in my case, i can safely say i enjoyed the meal than the previous one.

Address and contact number:

Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
T236, 3rd Floor
The Gardens
Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2284 7663

Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. Value for money set which i am not going to complain about, just in case they increase the prices or take it out altogether. Although ala-carte items do dent the wallet quite abit.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tell me where to eat in Melbourne!

I must say i have been blessed or (cursed) as the eldest sibling in the family.

When i went to Australia to study as a 17 year old, no one trusted me to go alone and my uncle followed me to ensure i wouldn't get detained at the immigration for being a runaway child and that i wouldn't be smuggled off to the some strawberry farm to do hard labor.

When it was my brother's turn, again no one really trusted him that he could take the right flight to Australia. Who else but as the eldest brother to accompany him to go buy his pillows, blankets, study material and whatever he needed to survive.

That was a good few years ago.

Now who else? Oh yes, my younger sister who will be going to University of Melbourne in 9 days. Again i think no one really trusts her whether she would just cash the cheque and splurge it into shopping and not have enough to buy a sandwich for the rest of the semester.

Thus i shall be making another journey to Melbourne.

Whether it is your father, mother, uncle or auntie or yourself who have been to Melbourne and eaten good food, leave your comments here! Let me know what to eat while everyone else enjoy CNY cookies and feasts while i am down under.

1 week to CNY, lets countdown to the big traffic jams!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sushi Zanmai @ 1Utama

I remember blogging about what i am about to blog but i can't seem to find it. It almost deja-vu like, then again, i have been experiencing a few deja-vu moments of apparently going through the same conversations on repeat mode.

Anyways, where was i?

Ar, yes. Sushi.

In a galaxy far far away, there used to be Sushi King, a fast food like sushi bar, a place where you can have cheap sushi. That myth has been banished from the sight of my wallet, as i never understand how i can spend anywhere between RM30-RM50 on ridiculously looking sad pieces of riceballs and questionable sources of raw fish.

Riding on that myth, other sushi bars open with the aim of serving value for money japanese food. Now if you walk into a shopping mall, you will find that Sushi King is no longer the cool place to hang out but there are Sakae Sushi, Sushi Zanmai and etc etc.

The question though, are there really value for money when compared to full fledged japanese restaurants?

I remember having four items, maybe sneaked in an extra plate which i can't remember (no picture).

Salmon and Tuna Belly Combo. It is a case of you get what you pay for. The thickness of the fish is unbelievably thin compared to the chunks you get in proper restaurants. Pricewise, it is also much thinner.

A Caterpillar roll with unagi and avocado. Used to be the highlight of fusion japanese but is now considered normal and ordinary.

More salmon, roe and rice.

An Unadon to fill the stomach.

The point is the food is alright, enough to fill you up and off you go BUT the queues are ridiculously long as if free food is given out or like queuing up for rollercoaster rides in Genting on public holidays (you get the drift, i hope). So what does that mean? Is it really that cheap? Well for the above, I spend almost RM80, RM40 per pax, enough to get you alot more outside a shopping complex. The next question to ask is how about eating in a proper Japanese restaurant? Find out in my next entry.

You can find Sushi Zanmai in 1Utama, Gardens Mid Valley and Sunway Pyramid.

Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. While you get decent fast food kind of sushi, is the price really justified?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Delectable Su @ Gardens

Delectable Su has been around for quite awhile at the Gardens, shamefully i admit that i have yet to try anything that comes out from their kitchen/ovens till last weekend. The perception that all they do are thousand dollar wedding/birthday/event cakes are not entirely true as they also serve delights that are affordable to my wallet.

Having heard of the 7 layer of sins/chocolate since last year, i finally braved in and got myself one. Ohh lala, no regrets.

Having no shame and no patience to take it home, we walked across to Austin Chase, plomped our asses down and opened the ribbon to heaven.

The packaging gets the approval from the lady.

The contents gets the thumbs up too! A combination of a dense sponge cake forms the base and then its layers of surprise and delight, not overly sweet and gives a good oomph of chocolate.

The drinks at Austin Chase on the other hand was not great. My Chai Latte was mild and the lady's Toffee Latte just tasted like a mess.

Situated at the Gardens, Mid Valley

Verdict: Can't wait to get hold of the cupcakes!