Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Eat. @ Meega Korean Restaurant

259 Springvale Rd, Glen Waverley  3150 ph 0413 154 168 (aka Chickilia)

Now that Bubs is a bit bigger, we have been more adventurous with our food destinations and our latest phase has been exploring Korean Cuisine.  Now, eating at Meega is indeed an adventure, as this little place is tucked up behind a Korean Grocery Store.  It's so well concealed it's like going into a secret bat cave that only those in the know could find.  You can access the little restaurant via a narrow corridor hidden at the back of the shop, or via the "back" entrance via a laneway behind the shops.  Either way you will find a little place with about seating for about 20, serviced by 2 very hard working home cooks, and get to eat some really yummy Korean food.

The Beef Bulgolgi is a must for us in Korean restaurants, and the serving here is good sized, tasty and excellent with a bowl of rice.

But to be honest, we are always here for the Korean Fried Chicken.   We ordered the 1kg serve (it sounds like a lot but it's so yummy it didn't feel like it!) with half soy & garlic and half sweet chilli.  The soy & garlic seasoning was really tasty and more-ish, and the sweet chilli sauce is not too spicy and quite older-kid-friendly.  You can also get spicier version which would go down nicely with a beer.   (Being a non-beer drinker I had mine with a coke.) We've also tried the spicy soy garlic and it's awesome, bit too spicy for the kids so more for me!

All up the meal with rice comes to ~ $50.  A pretty cheap and tasty meal for a family of 5!  I would recommend making a booking as the shop is quite small but popular to those in the know.  Ordering the chicken via the phone ahead of time is also a good idea as they're made fresh to order and take about 20 mintues.  The phone kept ringing and people had to be turned away whilst we were there.  This is Mini Me's favourite place to eat right now, and if you follow me on instagram you'll know we've here quite a bit lately!

Meega Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 25, 2014

Eat. @ Naked For Satan & Naked in the Sky

285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 3065 ph (03) 9416 2238

It's Kinder Girls' night out time again and this time we headed to a spot that is decidedly kid-unfriendly.   It's Sarah's turn to pick a place, and the plan was for vodka and pintxos at Naked For Satan, then heading upstairs to Naked in the Sky, the rooftop restaurant, for a bigger meal.  There's a no booking policy which I am usually not a big fan of, but given that we could just hang out downstairs with our drinks and nibblies whilst we wait for a table upstairs, it's not as big an obstacle!

I was so excited at the selection of pintxos I forgot to take photos of the delicious cocktails that the others' had whilst we were downstairs!  Here's a picture of the Blueberry Crush my friend Jodi had on her second round.

Pintxos are little bite sized tapas nibblies which you can self-serve from the counter and you pay at the end by the number of toothpicks you end up with.  They're usually $2 each but were only $1 each midweek!!!  What a bargain!

We had quite a selection of different toppings including prawns, goats cheese, chorizo, squid ink risotto with calamari, eggplant chip, smoked salmon and a warm one with grilled vegies.  An excellent "bar food" to help soak up the alcohol from the vodka!  I could've kept eating these except that I was mindful of leaving space for more food upstairs.

Before we knew it we got a call on the mobile to let us know that our table was ready.  So up the little elevator to the top floor restaurant we went.  We were seated in the centre part of the restaurant which is under cover, with the peripheral section of the restaurant catering for roof top open air dining.  The views over Melbourne were spectacular from there but I wasn't too disappointed to not sit outside as it was quite chilly that evening.

We ordered several dishes to share and we started with some marinated green olives ($8).  These are quite tart and not as salty as I'm used to.

The Soft Shell Crab ($16) is another good starter (excellent with a jug of cocktails I would imagine - next time Ladies!!!)

Our favourite dish of the night was the Roasted Figs and Goats Curd, with agrodulce pinenuts and currants ($16).  The contrast of sweet and salty flavours and soft and crunchy textures was brilliant mix of opposites that worked amazingly well together.

I must admit I did not know what to expect when we ordered The Mushroom Parfait ($16), and was quite surprised this is a bit of a ploughman's lunch board with a slice of mousse textured parfait with intense mushroom flavour, onion jam, smoked almonds and radish.  There was also sultanas and greens thrown in the mix.  Again a lovely mix of flavours and textures and a great sharing dish.

Migas ($19) was a dish with broken bread, cooked with spinach, tomato, garlic, capsicum and cider.  A more comfort food style dish with a lovely soft texture.

The Fried Cheese and Walnut Croquettes ($12) were just plan yum.  What's not to like in a soft cheesy croquette with a crunchy skin?

We finished our meal with the Crema Catalana ($9).  We had a great time chatting as we all cracked through the toffee top and dug into soft custardy goodness.

I love exploring new places with my Kinder Girls and always look forward to our nights out together (sorry kids!)  Thanks Girls for another wonderful evening of fun, food and non-alcopop drinkies!

Naked In the Sky on UrbanspoonNaked For Satan on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shop. @ Emporium Melbourne

287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD 3000
Website for latest news :

The long awaited opening of Emporium Melbourne is finally here.   I have fond memories of the majestic Myer Emporium building as a little girl.   It is a beautiful building and I was excited to see this grand old Dame of Melbourne transform into a world class shopping Mall, yet still maintain it's charm and class.

I've visited Emproium twice since it's opening last Wednesday (16th April), once on Thursday, with Mini Me and Macaron Monster, and again on Easter Saturday with Hubby and the whole gang.  My first thought as I walked through the entrance from Lonsdale Street was that it felt like Westfield Sydney, which I really like as a modern, city shopping mall.  It is spacious, modern, and well, interesting looking, and felt like one of the shiny malls from overseas. 

The first shop I headed to was Uniqlo.  The much anticipated arrival of this famous Japanese affordable casual wear giant has stirred up much excitement  as it opens its first Australian Flagship store which spans 4 floors of retail space!  Some of the staff have been flown in from overseas Uniqlo stores to assist the local staff who have been in training for months to deliver the service that Uniqlo customers are used to.  There were lots of customers on Thursday, but the cashier and changeroom queues both moved quickly, and I actually like their policy during opening of only letting you try on 3 items, before you have to line up again.  On Saturday there was a long queue to get in the store, but again it moved quickly and we lined up for less than 5 minutes.  Most of their items were under $100, with jeans under $60 and most tops and shirts under $50.  I got some really comfy stretchy jeans and a cute jacket for work and it didn't break the bank (or my husband!)  I also got a couple of cute UT t-shirts for the kids which were $9.90 on special (usually $12.9) but even at full price they are good quality t-shirts and cheaper than Target!  If you're not in Melbourne you can now shop online at the Uniqlo website.

Next up we headed to Muji.  It's no secret I love Muji!  Their philosophy of unbranded, simple but well designed and good quality products has always been a favourite of mine.  This is their second store (their first opened in Chadstone last year) and they carry similar lines of homewares, clothing, stationery, kitchenware and storage.  I do hope they start carrying the large range of food items that Muji sells in their overseas stores!

The kids had a blast personalising their B5 notebooks with the stamps available in store.  At $3.95 each these were a good little treat for their patience with all the lining up that we did.

Then off for a spot of lunch.  The "Cafe Court" is no ordinary food court, and boasts many well loved foodie eateries including Earl Canteen, Esteller, Top Juice Cha Time, South Melbourne Dim Sims, Rice Workshop and Bingboy amongst others which are still to open.  

We shared "The Pork Belly" ($13.5) from EARL, the third branch of the Original EARL Canteen at 500 Bourke.  The pork is comforting and delish with a great bit of crispy crackling.  We also had the "Meatballs" ($11.5) , with really tasty meatballs and melted Jarlsberg cheese, tomato sugo, zucchini pickles and basil.  

As a side we had the Crispy Fried Potatoes ($4) with tomoato relish ($1).   This was obviously a hit with the kids (and the adults too!)  We also had a giant chocolate chip cookie ($2.5), a Lime Coconut Biscuit ($2.5) and a beautiful strawberries-topped honey panna cotta ($6) for sweets.  (Sorry there's no photos I think Bubs deleted them whilst playing with my phone!)  In particular I loved the lime coconut biscuit and had to make some myself the next day!

The kids have never tried a South Melbourne Dim Sim so we got one whilst the line was short.  At $2 each they were selling like hot cakes.  They only had steamed ones on Thursday but by Saturday 2 giant woks full of fried dim sims were selling like the proverbial hot cakes.

A quick wander around the basement level revealed more shops like the first Zoo York store, a Mr Simple store and The Face Shop which is a Korean Beauty shop.  There are also a few more eateries including the newly relocated Ramen Ya and Botica, an espresso bar.

Many of the shops are still yet to open over the coming weeks and months including Victoria Secret.  Top Shop and Nespresso are opening in the next couple of weeks.  The Cafe Court will also have an official opening with Becasse Bakery and Charlie & Co. Burgers (yay for Parmesan and truffle fries!) and also Jimmy Grants setting up an outpost here in May.

The Emporium feels like a piece of the missing puzzle piece which is finally in place.  Its location conveniently links up the shopping precinct nicely, with bridge walkways through to Melbourne Central to the North and the Myer Store (and Bourke Street Mall) to the South.  I love that Melbourne comfortably boasts a mix of global brands and large shopping malls, as well as our charming lane ways and little hidden shops and cafes.  This is the Melbourne I love!

Earl Canteen Emporium on Urbanspoon
South Melbourne Market Dim Sims on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Eat. @ Top Paddock

658 Church St, Richmond 3121 ph (03) 9429 4332

Top Paddock opened last year and has been a popular breakfast, lunch and coffee spot ever since.  I have visited many times and each time have been impressed with the quality of coffee, interesting combination of fresh ingredients, and the beautiful presentation of the food. 

The interior of the cafe is modern, spacious and stylish.  The different configurations of smaller tables, bigger share tables and quirky stools accommodate families and catch ups as well as single diners looking for a coffee break equally well. 

The mochas ($3.8) I have are consistently good, and comes with beautiful latte art of course.

I love the sense of relaxation I get with a beautiful mocha on a gorgeous autumn day in the sun.

Here's a round up of some of the dishes I've had here.  The  Gin and Lime cured Ocean Trout ($20) is a dish that I've ordered over and over.   The trout is beautifully done, with the gin and lime giving it a subtle tang, served with poached eggs, little potato galettes, leaves and goat curd.  The pickled beetroot gives it a sweet but sharp lift that compliments the heavier components of the dish.  It's quite a decent serve as well and usually keeps me full all day as a brunch.

It's such a pretty dish I can't help taking lots of photos of it every time I order it! 

And of course some #yolkporn to show you the perfectly poached eggy goodness.

Apart from that we've also tried the White Anchovies and Jamon Serrano with fried eggs, padron peppers & manchego on toast ($19).  Another interesting combination using more exotic components than your usually brekkie fried eggs dish.

We also had a beautiful drunken ginger bread ($18) served with a berry coulis as a special on one of our visits (not currently on menu) adorned with pretty flowers and fruit that is an excellent sweet dish.

The lines can be quite long on weekends and if you're in a hurry a take-away coffee and one of the yummy cakes or pastries from the counter can hit the spot.

Toilets - Yes

Top Paddock on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eat. @ Fukuryu Ramen & Shop Ramen

My kids love noodles and we're always looking for good ramen/udon places.  Here are 2 recent finds that have been quite good.

Fukuryu Ramen
Level 1, 22-26 Corrs Lane, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph (03) 9090 7149

Fukuryu Ramen (don't let your kids say this too quickly!) is literally a new kid on the block.  It opened recently in a first floor warehouse space.  There's quite a bit of seating and the red feature wall is adorned with a giant black dragon. (Fukuryu means lucky dragon)  You order at the counter and the food is delivered to your table.

From the small plates section we ordered tried the Nori Tofu ($4.9).  A relatively light tofu, with a side of kewpie mayo.  Personally I thought this could be better with a dash more salt.

The Pork Gyozas ($5.9) were pleasant enough.  Didn't knock my socks off but quite serviceable as a starter.

The Signature Tonkotsu Ramen ($9.9) is what will bring me back though.  The soup base is meaty without being overly so, and not as salty as others around town.  The Ramen is pleasantly chewy and reflects the freshness of the noodles.

Hubby prefers Miso to Tonkotsu as a soup so he had the Miso Ramen ($9.9) and this was very nice, with a serve of buttery corn goodness.  The soft boiled egg was nicely done.

Lastly we tried the Shio Ramen ($9.9) which was a lighter salted broth.  It definitely is not as tasty as the Tonkotsu or Miso but did indeed feel a lot lighter.  This was served with a couple of dumplings and a slice of pork.

We were lucky enough to have gone when they still had their opening special with free green tea soft serve.  We had to wait for these as they had run out but they were worth the wait.  I'd be happy to pay for these next time we visit.

There was a queue intermittently for ordering but there was quite a rapid turnover of tables when we visited at 12:30pm on a Saturday.  By the time we left they had run out of the Tonkotsu Ramen!!  Upstairs location will mean you need help negotiating the stairs with a pram.  Verdict - good sized bowls of ramen with tasty broth at a reasonable price.  The ramen is the star and the soft serve a great palate cleansing after act.

Toilets - Yes
Highchairs - Yes

Shop Ramen
329 Smith St, Fitzroy 3065

Shop Ramen is the permanent incarnation of the successful pop-up Shophouse Ramen.  We stopped here for dinner on the weekend when the weather turned to autumn with a slight chill in the wind.  Yep,  Ramen weather!

The menu at a glance was ramen-shop-with-a-twist.  Offerings included ramen, buns, milkshake and pie!  

So of course we started with a Salted Caramel and Coconut Milkshake ($8).  It was quite pricey but delicious, and the 3 kids shared so as not to get too full.  

The waitress was super friendly, and she let us know that they offer kids sized ramen off-menu at $4 a bowl.  This was a great idea as both Bubs and Macaron Monster are fans of noodles but usually not so keen on the meat and seaweed.   Mini Me also had a bowl of noodles but added beef brisket extra ($4).   The size of the serving was quite good for the price.  All the kids were happy.

Hubby had the Shoyu Ramen ($14) which had pork belly, king oyster mushroom, spring onion, watercress, nori and organic shoyu.  The broth was quite tasty and the soft boiled egg is again excellent here.

I tried the Kimchi Miso Ramen ($14) featuring Cape Grim brisket, kimchi, peanuts, bean shoots, grilled spring onion and marinated egg (you can add Kraft Single Cheese slice for $1 - I think this is a Korean thing!)  An interesting twist to the traditional ramen that was quite delicious, although it might have traditionalists like my Hubby scratching his head a bit.  

The shop is not very big and became packed shortly after we arrived.  By the time we left there was a line.  We didn't get to stay for pie (next time!) as the kids wanted to go to Gelato Messina.  Verdict - good bowls of hearty noodles, a little bit pricey but decent broths with a few non-traditional twists and an interesting mix with milkshakes and pie - somehow it works, it is Fitzroy afterall!

Toilets - yes

Fukuryu Ramen on Urbanspoon
Shop Ramen on Urbanspoon