Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A-Plus Kitchen 讚記廚房 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

A-Plus Kitchen (讚記廚房) is the place where I usually come to satisfy my craving for stir fried instant noodles. They have a very good one here and this one with delicious pork cutlets is my personal favorite. I can never stop myself from ordering this whenever I come here. It's just perfect to go with their iced milk tea.....

Food Rating: 4.5/10
Price: $$
Address: Shop B, G/F, Winfield Commercial Building, 6-8 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2311-6833

Tang2 廳2 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

After a 10-day hiatus in Australia, it's time to come back to my office and plan for my next trip. Following 10 straight days of western food, needless to say I was craving for some Chinese cuisine right about now. So I decided to get some expensive "cha chaan teng" food at Tang2 (廳2) for my first official meal.

First up was a pretty decent sweet corn soup and that was soon followed by a cup of Hong Kong style milk tea. I haven't had one for ages!!!

Signature baked pork chop on rice (馳名焗豬扒飯) - On top of the baked pork chop cutlets and rice was a layer of tomato purée and a bit of burnt cheese. I recalled this being a little salty last time but the seasoning was much improved this time around. Thought the rice could have been a little drier for a much tenderer bite but it was good to get this one out of the way. Oh, I miss my cha chaan tengs here!!!

Food Rating: 4/10
Price: $$$
Address: Unit G09C, G/F, Cheung SHa Wan Plaza, 833 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Lai Chi Kok
Tel: +852 2341-5788

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Gelatissimo The Rocks (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) ★☆☆☆☆

I hate rainy days and honestly, who won't when it has ruined your day at the Rocks! Perhaps a couple scoops of gelato at Gelatissimo can get my mojo going again...

Not really a wide selection there.....

The picture on the right showing the gelato donut suddenly caught my eyes. That's what I'm getting with my salted macadamia gelato...

This certainly didn't look like what was shown in the picture nor what I had in mind. It looked more than it's been running over by a bus! That looked awful.....

Food Rating: 3/10
Price: $$
Address: 73 George Street, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2-9251-3744
Website: www.gelatissimo.com.au

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) ★★★☆☆

Time really flies. It was almost 8 years ago when I was last here at this branch of Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe. I didn't remember it being so popular that I had to wait for almost half an hour for a table.

Belgian chocolate shake (AUD$12.5) - Pretty rich and flavorful to a point where I couldn't take on any of their cakes. 

Price: $$$
Address: 91 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2-8274-7500
Website: www.guyliancafe.com.au

Friday, February 24, 2017

KOI Dessert Bar (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) ★★★★☆

Many of us have already heard of Reynold Poernomo before, the posterboy from MasterChef Australia 2015 who scored a perfect 30/30 with his dessert in one of the episodes. The fact that he didn't end up winning it all won't matter anymore. The important thing that matters most, he has created a place for us to enjoy his masterful creations - KOI Dessert Bar.

This is the perfect stopover after lunch at Automata and a quick tour of its next-door neighbour Spicy Alley.

These pastries will most definitely make our trip to Chippendale even more worthwhile.

The two-storey space boasts a ground-floor patisserie-style café and lounge that looks more like a florist at first glance.

We decided to go upstairs where the main dining room was and tried to figure out how to divide up these treasure.

Coconut Kalamansi (AUD$9.5) - One of the most photographed cakes from KOI's impressive collection. The combination of coconut mousse, kalamansi curd and chocolate sable was a very good one with a nice balance of sweetness (coconut) and acidity (kalamansi).

Mango Yuzu (AUD$9.5) - More sweetness and acidity came our way in the form of mango and yuzu. In the middle of the delicate mango mousse was a layer of citrusy yuzu curd creating a pretty nice contrast of flavors. The almond sable on the bottom provided a lovely bite at the end.

Strawberry Pillow (AUD$9.5) - Almond sable, strawberry mousse and lychee jelly. Very nice again.

Tiramisu (AUD$12) - I initially wanted to go with their liquid tiramisu which would have been a little difficult to share among the four of us.

I kind of expected this. A deconstructed tiramisu with mascarpone cheese, lady finger, espresso sponge, coffee jelly and honeycombs. They got all the flavors right but I thought the flavors weren't nearly as exciting as what was offered with the previous three cakes.

I was glad we managed to squeeze KOI into our tight schedule. It's definitely a place that's worth coming back again (and again).

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$
Address: 42–44 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2-9212-1230
Website: www.koidessertbar.com.au

Automata (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) ★★★★☆

Chippendale is a trendy, up-and-coming suburb that is attracting a lot of attention these days with its hip cafés, restaurants and galleries. Personally, I'm not really a hipster which helps to explain why it takes me so long to come here for the first time.

Automata is my first destination in Chippendale this afternoon. Secretly, I have been looking forward to this meal for a long time. I have heard a lot of great things about head chef Clayton Wells. After working at David Chang's Momofuku Seiobo, Peter Gilmore's Quay and Tetsuya Wakuda's Tetsuya, Wells teamed up with Singapore-based business partner Loh Lik Peng two years ago to open the hotly anticipated 60-seater Automata at the restored The Old Clare Hotel.

The dishes on Automata's five-course tasting menu (AUD$88) promises a lot of (pleasant) surprises.

A peek into the open kitchen...looked like everyone was working real hard behind the scene!

We started things off with a couple of snacks first. The crispy salmon skin and pork's neck with smoked rosemary and enoki mushrooms were not the best-looking amuse bouche we've seen but both of them proved to be very tasty.

Next up was a very refreshing dish with fresh plums and dried tomato served in a chilled shiso and kelp broth. There were different levels of acidity there coming from different ingredients resulting in a pretty interesting after-taste.

Warm mussels were served on a bed of soft stracciatella cheese, along with marjoram and black garlic. The contrasting flavors and textures were further enhanced by the sweetness of the mussel juice. Pretty nice.

The wholemeal and malt bread which was still warm from the oven, was seriously good!

I was hoping I could get a crack of their signature smoked eel but that wasn't meant to be. Instead, I was having octopus with fennel, squid ink, xo chili and red vinegar as my seafood course.

Despite not getting my wish, I was quite happy with the results of this dish. Was a little surprised how well the octopus, squid-ink, xo chili and red vinegar all came together. The octopus was super tender and not even a slight bit of rubbery texture in there.

Most of us was having lamb rump as our meat course. The slices of lamb was nicely matched with some eggplant, miso, brown butter and tamari. Not bad but I was told that some of them turned out to be a little chewy.

I didn't feel like having lamb today so I ended up swapping it with a few pieces of skirt steak. It's pretty much the same supporting cast and I found it working well with the skirt steak. Always love my skirt steak with a rosy pink centre and even better when the meat was rich and flavorful. No complaints from me there!

Dessert was a simple coconut sorbet topped with little scoops of rock melon and sprayed with black sesame sauce.

That's a nice wrap although I thought I would have room for at least 1-2 more dishes!

At first glance, I thought the industrial chic décor was a little cold to start but slowly I grew to like it more.

Automata offers a unique contemporary cuisine that's innovative, adventurous and exciting. It might not be for everyone but it's ideal for those who appreciates originality and flair.

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$
Address: 5 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2-8277-8555
Website: www.automata.com.au

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Casa Asturiana (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) ★★☆☆☆

We had a pretty long day strolling around the city so we all agreed not to get too picky about tonight's supper. Northern Spanish cuisine near our service apartment suited us just fine tonight when everyone aimed to crash early.

My little nugget wasn't in a particularly good mood tonight. He's been pushing and shaving me ever since we arrived here (Trying to explain all these blurred photos.). Perhaps he didn't like Spanish food?

The decorations here sure look interesting but I have a feeling that this would turn out to be a tourist trap. Let's hope I was wrong.

Casa Asturiana is billed as a rustic Spanish eatery serving tapas, paella and sangria; all of which are meant to be shared. So let's share some sangria to start the meal, shall we?

Fried eggplant (AUD$10) - Love the ultra thin batter. It was crispy on the outside and moist inside. Very nice.

Chorizo / Grilled Spanish pork sausage (AUD$12) - There's a version of this cooked with cider but being someone not particularly adventurous, I went with this simple version which was grilled. That's pretty decent.

Braised baby octopus (AUD$15) - The baby octopus was marinated with olive oil, garlic, paprika and vinegar. Didn't do it for me.

Pork and meat paella (AUD$50) - We had two paella on this night but I only got the chance to try this one with pork and meat before calling it the night. I thought it was just average at best. Thought the rice would be more fragrant and flavorful but I was wrong.

(It said pork and meat on the menu but isn't pork a type of meat too? Just curious...)

Well, I ended up going back to our hotel for shower before I could finish this meal because my little nugget took a wild swing at a couple of drinks and poured them all over me. I was soaky wet and had to get myself sorted out. And I thought I just called it the day and crashed after shower.

Food Rating: 3.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: 77 Liverpool Street, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2-9264-1010

Lorraine's Pâtisserie (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) ★★★★☆

Obviously, Pâtisserie Zumbo's Zonuts and Zumbarons weren't nearly enough to satisfy our sweet tooth on this afternoon but that's perfectly okay because I knew we would be passing by Lorraine's Pâtisserie on our way to Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

Owner-chef Lorraine Godsmark is one of the greatest pâtissiers Sydney has ever seen. She was Rockpool's head pastry chef for ten years before striking out on her own to open her eponymous cake shop right here on Palings Lane. As the co-creator of Rockpool's famous date tart, you find it as one of the hottest items at Lorraine's Pâtisserie along with her strawberry mascarpone cake and cheesecakes.

For anyone coming to Lorraine's Pâtisserie (or Palings Lane) for the first time, trust me it can get a little tricky especially if you're coming from George Street. My advice is to look up for these signs on the wall and you should find this alley full of interesting little shops.

Just a typical day at the office with Chef Lorraine inside the open kitchen directing traffic.

Strawberry mascarpone (AUD$10) - Well, these look stunning!

Each layer of lightened mascarpone was met with crisp coconut dacquoise and fresh strawberries. This was very light and airy.

And the crunchy caramel was the perfect icing on the cake right there!

I'm not a fan of dates so I'm afraid I will pass on the lauded date tart this time around.

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Shop 5, Palings Lane, 320 George Street, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2-9254-8009

Zumbo Pâtisserie (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) ★★★☆☆

Some said a meal is never complete without something sweet and so we decided to finish what we left off (at Yayoi) and hopped across the street to QEB for a little dessert at Zumbo.


Located on the ground floor of the historical Queen Victoria Building, this is one of the 10 locations where you can find famed Australian pastry chef Adriano Zumbo's colourful Zumbarons, flaky Zonuts and tantalising tarts and pastries.

Chef Zumbo's appearance in the first series of MasterChef Australia has really helped to cement his position as one of the most celebrated patissiers here in Australia. I was real excited to finally get the chance to check out some of his masterful creations.

His tarts and pastries were pretty impressive.

Of course, I had to check out his zumbarons which are best known for their funky flavors (say malted milkshake, milo?).

A box of these goes for AUD$16.50. Not too shabby.

I knew had to check out this milo Zumbaron for sure. Having one of these really felt like having a milo drink. Very rich chocolate flavor.

The malted milkshake Zumbaron was very sweet. Wasn't too sure if it really tasted like milkshake though.

Pavlova lova zonut (AUD$5) - Chef Zumbo's twist on the New York cronut. This latest one called Pavlova lova zonut has fillings of passion fruit curd in between each layer and it was topped with raspberry, strawberry, passion fruit crunch and three pieces of coconut meringue.

Like the original cronut, it has the perfect marriage between buttery, flaky croissant and deep-fried doughnut but I thought there's a little too much acidity there with passion fruit curd, crunch, raspberry and strawberry all playing a small part in this.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 58 G/F, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George Street, Sydney, Australia
Website: www.zumbo.com.au