Friday, June 27, 2014

Eat. @ Canton Kitchen with Menulog + Our first Give-Away!

4/261 Blackburn Rd, Doncaster East 3109 ph (03) 9842 8082

We're now right in the middle of winter and our household is crazier than ever!  Juggling kids going to school/kinder/activities,  along with my increased work hours mean that "take-away" nights are sometimes almost a necessity.  I was recently contacted by Menulog to try out their website, which is an online delivery site that lets you order from participating restaurants that deliver in your area.

All you have to do is enter your suburb or postcode and the list of eateries that deliver to you pops up.  You can then click on the links directly and order from there.  We haven't had any good old Chinese take-away for a while so we ordered from Canton Chinese Restaurant, a little place which has a decent reputation for authentic Cantonese food around the area.  I chose the "Now" option for delivery, and an SMS text was sent to me right after I finished ordering, letting me know that dinner would be arriving in around 35 minutes.  In fact it arrived in 15! 

We ordered the Fillet Steak with Cantonese Sauce ($18) which was a tangy plum-saucy fillet steak.  Often I find Chinese food quite heavy and I like that the sauce in this dish makes it a bit lighter and it goes so well with rice!  I did however think $18 a little pricey though.

The kids' choice was the Crispy Lemon Chicken ($13), no surprises there.  It was a decently sized serve and the chicken was still crispy (with the sauce being packaged separately) at delivery which was great.

Lastly we ordered the quite traditional Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice ($10), a good sized serve for the price!  I love salted fish, and this is such a delicious alternative to the usual fried rice.

We got a free serve of prawn crackers (free for orders over $25 with orders through menulog) , which I had to hide from Bubs because given the chance, they are all he will eat.  It was a great bribe for the older ones to finish their dinner in a timely manner though!

Overall Menulog is a handy website for ordering take-away.  It's great that you can browse through the menus and order directly from one place.  The types of food delivered obviously depends on the suburb ( I did NOT know there were that many pizza places near me!), and will further improve if more restaurants around your area offer ordering through the site.  

The folk at Menulog have given me the opportunity to host our first give-away by giving one lucky reader the chance to try Menulog out for yourself with a $20 voucher!

To enter the draw :

1) Like us on Facebook here and leave a comment on this blog post about what your favourite take-away foods are.  If you're already a liker just say so in the comment :)

2) Share this post (or the facebook post) on your facebook page and you'll get an extra entry.

The competition ends at midnight 6th July 2014.  The winner will be randomly drawn, and the results posted with an update on this blog post.   The winner will have 3 days to send their email contact details to : so the voucher can be sent through.  Australian residents only.  Voucher conditions - expires 1 month after winner selection.  Delivery, Credit Card and 1 use only.

Disclaimer : Menulog provided us with a $30 voucher to try their service, the rest of the meal was paid for by us.  They will also supply the $20 for the winner of this competition.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

And our winner is : anastasiastarz!!!  Please contact us with your email details within 3 days to claim you prize!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Eat. @ Scarvelli and Goodies. @ Lune Croissanterie

143 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn 3101 ph (03) 9816 8887

I finally got an opportunity to catch up with Jo and the Angmoh from The Hangry Bitch a while back when they graciously came over to my side of town and had brunch with me.  I'd been to Scarvelli a few times with Hubby for coffee and dukkah eggs at breakfast.  The cafe wasn't super busy and I enjoyed a lovely chat over brunch, it's always so much fun meeting other bloggers!

I had a tea on the day, but the mochas ($3.8) here are quite nice, and I've always been impressed with the coffee art!

Jo had a prana chai latte ($3.8) and the Angmoh had a Lindt hot chocolate ($5), which were unfortunately both too milky.

Jo had the Smashed avocado ($15) with a poached egg ($3) which was served with persian feta, roasted vine tomatoes and toast.  She quite enjoyed it but would've liked it with a squeeze of citrusy lemon or lime.  

The Angmoh likes Dukkah Eggs ($17.5) and of course he ordered this.  These are crumbed poached eggs, served with cauliflower puree, pinenuts, pomegranate and sauteed spinach.  I have ordered this dish the last few times I'd been there and had enjoyed the crunchiness of the pinenuts, the tart sweetness of the pomegranate combined with the creamy, comforting cauliflower puree.  The Angmoh liked the dukkah eggs but suggested that bread would be a great addition to the dish to mop up the generous serve of puree. 

I decided to go for something from the lunch menu and had the Cured ocean trout ($16.5) which came with pickled radish, cucumber, fresh dill and horseradish creme fraiche.  This dish was ultra healthy as there was a lot of greens, and protein from the delicious house cured trout.  The creme fraiche was too heavy in a giant dollop though, and I would've preferred if it had a drizzle of citrus to give the dish a bit of a lift and moisture, and some carbs in the form of potato latkes or some bread would make this a fantastic lunch.

Overall Scarvelli is a great addition to Balwyn's cafe culture and I particularly like their wider range of dishes and more roomy setup as compared to nearby eateries.  

I was a lucky, lucky girl that day, as Jo had gotten up early and visited Lune Croissanterie in Elwood, and generously gifted me with some of the goodies she got there.   I love, love, LOVE good quality pastries and have been dying to try the "best croissants in Melbourne", but have never been able to juggle my love of sleep and children well enough to wake up that early (some queue from 5am!!)  and make the trek across town to queue for these goodies.    

The Cruffin was filled with..... wait for it.... peanut butter custard!  And it was absolutely as awesome as you would think this combo would be.  

The Kouign Amann was layers upon layers of buttery goodness with the the perfect amount of sweet.  

Let's just say that there was a no-sharing rule at my house when these arrived home!

I had a great time catching up with Jo and the Angmoh and I really do enjoy meeting other  bloggers and chatting about a shared passion for good food!  I cannot thank you guys enough for your amazing pastry gifts and look forward to brunching again with you in the near future!

Lune Croissanterie on UrbanspoonScarvelli Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eat. @ Estelle Bar & Kitchen

243 High St, Northcote 3070 ph (03) 9489 4609

It's Date Night again and this time we booked for dinner at Estelle Bar & Kitchen.  I've often admired the beautifully plated food from their degustation menu on my instagram feed since Scott Pickett (now over at St. Crispin) opened this lovely eatery over in Northcote.  

We had an earlier sitting and only had time for the 8 course degustation ($100pp) (6 courses/$80, 10 courses/$120, matched wines optional extra).   We started off with an amuse bouche, which was delightful and tasty, the standout of which would be the onion cream/mousse with the crackling.  This was the start of an exciting food adventure!

The tomato, fior di burrata, & yellow gazpacho was surprisingly packed with flavour, and beautifully presented on a Glenn Tebble plate.

The hand rolled macaroni, slippery jack mushroom & pinenut is a great twist on the tradition, with sheets of rolled pasta and smokey mushrooms held together with a sauce packed full of umami.  I am usually a "meat please" type of girl but I would happily gobble a plateful of this.

Next up was the spanner crab soldier.  I loved the presentation and the spanner crab was lovely and delicate sitting on top of the slightly chewy soldier, giving it an interesting contrast in textures.

John Dory, artichoke and farro was a perfectly cooked piece of fish, and I have to admit I had to google what "farro" is (a type of grain).  Again the crisps on top gave the dish a really nice balance in both flavour and texture.

Pork jowl and blood plums was our first meat dish, and I really enjoyed the tang of the plums both as a piece and in the sauce coupled with the oh-so-good fatty pork and a crispy skin.

The second meat dish was the wagyu rump, bone marrow & eggplant.  Hubby found the combination of the fatty wagyu and bone marrow a bit overpowering but the glutton in me loved every bit of this dish.

On to dessert!  The fig and beetroot was quite an unusual combination for me.  I found the use of the freeze dried beetroot and the meringue really interesting but the sweet-tooth in me wanted this to just be a little sweeter.  

Sadly we came to our last course, which was the chocolate, yuzu & gruetine, presented in the form of a beautiful and smooth mousse.  A lovely sweet note to end the degustation.  

Alas, there was one more little treat as we paid the bill and bid the lovely evening adieu.  We lingered (just a little bit) over the sticky meringue, and exited to the apple-liciously tangy note in the sugar coated jellies.  

The degustation menu at Estelle was a delightful experience which showcased the chef's mastery with fresh and interesting ingredients.  The creativity of the dishes was impressive and refreshing, and the artfully presented dishes were a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.  I am most certainly looking forward to our next visit with great anticipation!

Estelle Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Eat. @ Daniel Son

471 - 473 Neerim Rd, Murrumbeena 3163 ph 0497 690 628

Daniel Son is a cafe located in a little strip of shops on Neerim Rd, a stone's throw away from Chadstone Shopping Centre.  On a shopping trip down that way recently Bubs and I had one of our Friday brunchie dates there.

After a hectic morning of school drop offs and witnessing some pretty dangerous parental driving and road rage, I was ready for a coffee.  (Seriously people it's not that big an ask to drive safely when dropping your children off at school and not use obscene words at each other!)  My mocha ($3.8) came with a pretty heart and a thumbs up for meeting the Melbourne standard!

I was a little disappointed that the fritters on the specials board was not available by the time we got there mid-morning, and that we didn't get to try the crack pie that I had seen on their instagram feed.  We ended up getting what we like to call the "choose your own adventure" options, starting with sous vide slow poached eggs on toast ($9), and adding a side of house made hashbrown ($4) and free range bacon ($4.5).  Not amazing but a decent and pleasant breakfast dish.

The cafe has room for prams and there were lots of mummies and toddlers as well as the usual mix of local business-people on coffee breaks and uni students on their way to afternoon classes.  The staff were friendly and efficient.  A cool little suburban cafe.

Daniel Son on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shop. and Eat. @ Emporium Melbourne (Part 2)

287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD 3000
Website for latest news :
Check out Part 1 of this post here.

The Mykids Emporium opened last weekend on the 4th floor of the Emporium Melbourne.  Myers has moved its toys and children's wear department, as well as Men's Casual Wear and Luggage departments into this large open space.  It reminded me a little bit of the toy department back in the day when I was little, and I would have to "patiently" go through each level of the department store with my parents until we hit the top floor of the old Myer Store where the toy department was located! 

 It's just an escalator ride up from the food court on Level 3.
The big difference of course is that there are now so many different and varied toys available!  Myer has set up little play areas throughout the level to let children have some hands on fun with some of the toys.  To the delight of my children this meant that they got to spend quite a bit of time checking out all the toys!  My afternoon was full of exclamations from my very excitable trio of kids.

"Here's Emmet!"

"And Wyldstyle!"

And a duplo wall that entertained Bubs for ages.  You'd think we don't have any duplo at home.......

I was quite impressed with the model of Luna Park made with Lego.

Iron Man was there striking a pose.

Thomas and Percy were there.  Thomas had about 15 kids hanging off him so I took a picture of quiet little Percy. The Thomas toys have always been a massive draw for Bubs and this was no exception.

There were a couple of Little Tikes playhouses as well as their infamous little cars to entertain the toddlers. These were bolted to the ground when we were there, which is not a bad idea as I can't help envisioning the possible motor vehicle accidents and subsequent TAC claims.

Rainbow Dash was there.

And so was Lalaloopsy and a massive wall of all its different curly hair and detachable body bits incarnations. (At this angle all you can see are the Monster High dolls though, of which I am not a huge fan)

And next to that was a big screen TV (with a couch, which I took unabashed advantage of to have a rest) showing an endless loop of the latest Barbie movies.

There's also one of the biggest selection of Playmobil sets I have seen in Melbourne. I love Playmobil!

To my delight I found that Fisher Price has remade some of its classic toys. You're probably thinking that I know way too much about toys.  I'm sure Hubby often thinks that I buy toys for my own excitement rather than for the kids!  (I'm no Will Farrell but seriously hands off my minifig display case!)

We spent most of the afternoon here and by the time we left we were too lazy to walk far for dinner, and ended up having a bit of an "international buffet" of sorts by getting different dishes from the various vendors in the food court.   

We ordered some Parmasen Truffled Fries from Charlie & Co. Burgers.  ($4.9)  We had loved them and couldn't get enough when we tried them at the Sydney Westfield foodcourt (they serve a bigger bowl there for $8).  We've had these a couple of times here since they've opened but have found that somehow these seem less "truffle-y" and "parmasen-y" than the ones from the North.  Hopefully this will improve with time!

Hubby had the Bonezilla from Jimmy Grants ($9), as we hadn't tried that on our previous visit to their Fitzroy Store

Happy to report that this was just as awesome as the other ones!

And I acutally preferred their Chips with garlic oil, feta and oregano ($7).  

The kids wanted spaghetti and pizza so we ordered from Bar Napoli which has opened up in the same area, and the chef there cooks to order.

Thumbs up for the chef!

The Spaghetti Bolognaise ($12) was very pleasant.  Hubby felt it could probably do with a little bit more salt but the kids didn't mind and gobbled it all up, loving the generous amount of cheese on top.

The Margherita Pizza ($12) was very tasty in its simplicity, as it should.

As if Greek and Italian weren't enough, I had a hankering for sushi, probably because I had spotted the sushi train going around at Sushi Hon.  

By the time I got there the train had finished, so I got a sushi platter ($12) which helped me fulfill my hankering for aburi salmon, although it probably would've tasted even nicer fresh!

Macaron Monster had been asking for milk teas from Chatime everytime we've been out.  My last Chatime Milktea was way too sweet so this time we had them with 50% less sugar and 50% less ice and they turned out perfectly refreshing!

Earlier on in the day we had popped down to Tutti Frutti for some frozen yoghurt as they had an opening special with 50% off then normal price of $2.60/100g.  We tried the green apple, coconut and the salted caramel flavours which were all quite pleasant.

I of course added lots of pearls (they had pomegranate ones!) and some coconut jelly, and quite liked the little bits of mochi as a topping.

I'm looking forward to our next visit to the Emporium as more shops open over the next few months!

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt on UrbanspoonCharlie & Co Burgers on Urbanspoon
Jimmy Grants on Urbanspoon

Chatime on Urbanspoon

Sushi Hon on UrbanspoonBar Napoli on Urbanspoon