Tag Archives: Japanese

My favourite Matcha Softserve – Via Tokyo, Hong Kong

My Dearest Readers! I’m back 🙂 I arrived back home in Melbourne on Monday morning. And even though it’s great to be home, I’m already starting to miss my family, friends and one of the best matcha soft serve I’ve had! I don’t use these words lightly, but I honestly liked the matcha soft serve so much from Via Tokyo, I visited 3 times in during my short stay.

Via Tokyo in Causeway bay

Via Tokyo in Causeway bay

Via Tokyo is one of Kosei Kamatani many ventures in Melbourne, he’s also the owner and operator of Ramen Jo which is just a stores down from Via Tokyo and believe it or not he also owns a Shisha bar. A lot of my foodie friends in Hong Kong are friends with Kosei so I was lucky enough to meet him in person. He was surprisingly young, friendly and very dedicated to his businesses, I’ve visited both Ramen Jo and Via Tokyo and they’re both brilliant, will have to try the Shisha bar as well next time 🙂

Via Tokyo Menu

*Warning* Via Tokyo is definitely designed for matchaholics! More than half of their menu is matcha based and the rest is focused on soft serve made from Hokkaido milk and a range of coffees. My first visit was on my 3rd night in town and I dragged my friend Mary to come with me. We arrived at around 8pm and there was already a queue outside. We were told to stand line up and given the menu to look at, I couldn’t decide I just wanted it all!

Matcha Azuki Parfait $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Matcha Azuki Parfait $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

We were both quite full from dinner so we only ordered two things, the first was the Match Azuki Parfait, the base is a matcha soft serve, Azuki beans puree, mochi (glutinous balls), sliced banana and rice puffs. I didn’t even pay much attention to the toppings and just dived straight into the matcha soft serve, and it was everything I expected but more! It had the smoothest texture but what really impressed me was the strong matcha flavour. That is the main issue I have when I go to most places for matcha soft serve, it always look green in colour but usually the matcha flavour is really light and merely tastes like green vanilla ice-cream. But here at Via Tokyo the matcha flavour is not only strong enough but it doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste 😀

Sample Set $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Sample Set $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

We then got the sample set with mochis azuki beans, matcha soft serve and a soft jelly served with a brown sugar syrup. Once again I had my eyes and mind set on the matcha soft serve, which was just as nice but the other two sides was also nice and shouldn’t be ignored especially the mochi which was chewy on the outside but still soft in the middle. That concludes my first visit to Via Tokyo and I can only describe it as ‘impressive’.

Matcha Addicts!

Matcha Addicts!

I went home with a huge smile on my face, and kept bugging my other matcha loving friends (Ivan, Minnie, Winnie, Margaret and Ann) and kept telling them we have to go back together as soon as possible. So about a week later we finally found the time to go, conveniently, we had dinner at Ramen Jo first (blog post to come) then walked over to Via Tokyo. Its a small store and we had 5 of us so we wanted for a good 20 minutes before we got a table. And we went nuts hahaha we ordered a whole table of matcha desserts and drinks!

Matcha Affogato $42HKD ($6AUD)

Matcha Affogato $42HKD ($6AUD)

I’ve heard and seen so much about the Matcha Affogato that I was so excited to try. But note that this isn’t on the menu so if you want to try simply order it at the cashier 🙂 It’s basically a serve of matcha soft serve topped with matcha latte. It’s a genius idea! Because we get the best of both worlds.

Matcha Affogato

Moving on we got the Okome Shiratoma Matcha Soft serve, which is similar to the Azuki Parfait with the matcha soft serve base and I found out the Shiratoma are not really mochi but more sweet rice flour dumplings. I particularly liked the rice puffs which gave the soft serve a little crunchiness.

Okome Shiratoma Matcha Soft Serve $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Okome Shiratoma Matcha Soft Serve $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Nope we still weren’t matcha-ed out and Margaret suggested we get a matcha latte, and I was so surprised to see the latte art. It was a very cute Winnie The Pooh face and also the word ‘Pooh’ with a little heart on the side! Definitely one of the prettiest lattes I’ve seen! Didn’t even want to drink and wreck the face! The matcha flavour wasn’t as strong because we’ve been overdosing in matcha but I know if I drank this first it would’ve had enough matcha flavour ~

Matcha Latte $32HKD ($3.5AUD)

Matcha Latte $32HKD ($3.5AUD)

Ok to give you guys a relief from matcha, we also shared a regular Affogato with Hokkaido milk soft serve and a shot of Espresso. I loved this shot! Thanks Ann for being such a great pourer hehe even though it’s not matcha, I still enjoyed this soft serve it has the richest and creamiest texture probably because they use the milk imported from Hokkaido to make all their soft serves.

Affogato $38HKD($5.30AUD)

Affogato $38HKD($5.30AUD)

That’s the second time I visited and I was left thinking about the matcha soft serve again, and I knew I would’ve visited even more often if it was closer to where I lived. So on the last day I was about to leave, we had peking duck with the family for lunch and then we had a couple of hours before I had to fly out … and there was only one place I wanted to visit before I left and that was Via Tokyo for the matcha soft serve yet again 🙂 And I really wanted Win Win (sister) to try because she also likes matcha ice-cream ~

Matcha affogato

Matcha affogato

I got another Matcha Affogato all for myself and no sharing 🙂 I mean it was my last day so I think I had the right to be selfish hehe still just as good! Win Win got a simple cup with the matcha soft serve and she was also impressed with the strong flavour.

Okome Shiratama Soft Serve $38HKD($5.40AUD)

Okome Shiratama Soft Serve $38HKD($5.40AUD)

My nephew Aden isn’t a fan of matcha yet probably because he’s 3 and doesn’t like the slight bitterness which comes with matcha. So got him an Okome Shiratama Soft Serve with ‘milk’ instead and the shiratama again. Aden really liked the soft serve and kept asking for more haha I think soon enough I will be able to train him to like match as much as his Auntie Daisy done 😀

And that there sums up my 3 visits to Via Tokyo and trust me when I tell you, I really really like the matcha soft serve here. One of the best I’ve had and if you’re a matchaholic like me or like really rich and creamy soft serves, I highly recommend you trying Via Tokyo! Now I can’t wait till the next time I get to visit 😀

Via Tokyo
Shop nos. 1A-1B, G/F., Leishun Court,
106-126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣禮頓道106-126號禮信大廈地下1A-1B號舖
PH: +852 
2895 1116
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/viatokyocafe

Advertisements

Matcha Delights – Miam Miam + Some News :)

Happy Chinese New Year my Dearest Readers 🙂 If you celebrate I wish you all a prosperous horse year!! Mr Bao and I celebrated Chinese New Years with our friends and I will be sharing that story with you soon ~ But today, I want to share with you a new French-Japanese restaurant that has recently opened in Chadstone Shopping Centre – Miam Miam.

Miam Miam

Miam Miam is originally from Tokyo and have now opened throughout Asia including Singapore and have now ventured into Australia and landed in Melbourne 🙂 As soon as I saw photos of of the matcha lattes and desserts, I knew I had to go check it out ASAP! You know how much I love my matcha hehe

Miam MIam

If you’re not familiar with Chadstone, Miam Miam is in the area with the other restaurants such as Pappa Rich and close to Aldi and Colonial Markets. I really like the decor of the restaurant with the aluminion chairs and bright lights. They have a no booking policy, so I arrived early to get a table for 6 as I was meeting up with Jana, her husband and some of her friends ~ The waitress was friendly and even though they didn’t have a table for us, they were willing to shuffle the tables around to accommodate us.

Matcha latte with softie $8.8

Matcha latte with softie $8.8

They had a whole section on the menu dedicated to matcha goodies! You should’ve seen the smile on my face 🙂 A couple of us ordered this matcha latte with matcha soft serve, I must say I was quite impressed! Because it is quite hard to find matcha lattes that have a strong matcha flavour and the soft serve had a nice creamy texture and good matcha flavour. I would have preferred if it had an even stronger matcha flavour, but its already one of the better ones I’ve had in Melbourne.

Matcha smoothie with red bean $7.5

Matcha smoothie with red bean $7.5

Mr Bao ordered a matcha smoothie with red bean, I couldn’t really taste the red bean but it had the same matcha flavour and had a more icy texture as it was a smoothie. I think I prefer the matcha latte a little more ~

Miam Miam Spaghetti $16.8

Miam Miam Spaghetti $16.8

The menu is a little small with only a handful of savoury dishes, it was made even more disappointing when a few dishes were sold out at 7pm and we were only left with either the Miam Miam spaghetti or the squid ink risotto. 3 of us got the Miam Miam Spaghetti with tomato, eggplant, bacon and a soft boiled egg. The pasta was cooked to a nice al dente texture and with good flavour, we did find it to be slightly salty.

Squid Ink Risotto $20.8

Squid Ink Risotto $20.8

The rest of the table ordered the Squid Ink Risotto with omelette on top, once again cooked to al dente and with squid pieces through it, flavour was great and the egg top was creamy and soft. For such a small portion I find it a little overpriced for $20.8, the boys were definitely not full and wanted more food ~

Matcha Souffle

Matcha Souffle

Sorry I can’t find the prices for the desserts, of course all the desserts we ordered were MATCHA 😀 Starting with the matcha soufflé, I don’t think I’ve had this before. Unfortunately, it was a little bit of a disappointment, it was very wet inside and felt a little uncooked, while matcha flavour wasn’t very strong. I think it would make a great soufflé if a few improvements were made.

Matcha soufflé pancake with soft serve

Matcha soufflé pancake with soft serve

The other dessert we got was the matcha soufflé pancake with matcha soft serve, coffee jelly, matcha jelly and red bean. The pancake is thicker and dense in the middle but remained soft, once again lacked some matcha flavour but the coffee jelly actually complimented the matcha in general.

That’s the first meal I had at Miam Miam, I enjoyed some of the dishes but would’ve have liked more options no the menu and stronger matcha flavour for some desserts. However, still really glad that they have now opened up and serving so many matcha desserts.

Iced Matcha Tea

Iced Matcha Tea

Because I am a true matchaholic, I couldn’t hope but go back two days later with my colleague and we had afternoon there. This time I had the iced matcha tea as it was quite hot and I wanted something to quench the thirst. It’s very different from the matcha latte as this iced version has no milk and not sweetened either, it had quite a lot of ice which watered down the matcha.

Matcha parfait with matcha jelly, red bean and rice crisps

Matcha parfait with matcha jelly, coffee jelly, red bean and rice crisps

I didn’t get to try the parfait last time so went back to try the matcha parfait with matcha jelly, coffee jelly, red bean and rice crisps. Pretty much the same toppings that was on the matcha soufflé pancake, all matched quite well but I think I would’ve liked some other topping on the parfait to make it a little different. 

Cookie N Cream Parfait

Cookie N Cream Parfait

They made a mistake with our order and brought a Cookie N Cream parfait when we ordered another pancake. They were kind enough to offer it to us so yay for us we got to try this as well. Similar to the matcha parfait it had a vanilla soft serve base chocolate rice crisps, sliced banana, chocolate syrup and some crushed Oreo cookies. Not bad but I think I prefer the matcha more hehe maybe I’m bias!

Spiced Apple soufflé pancake

Spiced Apple soufflé pancake

Last but not least was the spiced apple soufflé pancake topped with vanilla soft serve and crushed corn flakes. I found the pancake to be slightly overcooked this time, and would have preferred if the apples were a little softer.

After two visits in 3 days, I definitely like Miam Miam especially their matcha soft serve and all their other matcha drinks and desserts. However, I find the quality of the food to be a little inconsistent and the same elements used again and again. I have also heard from others that they find the menu to be limited and for some dishes it is overpriced. I think Miam Miam needs more time to improve and expand on their menu but other than that it is a great addition to our food scene ~

Miam Miam Restaurant on Urbanspoon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now time to share some exciting news 🙂

My little CUPCAKE!

My little CUPCAKE!

Mr Bao and I are very happy to announce that we are now proud parents to this gorgeous little silver toy poodle 🙂 And his name is CUPCAKE! I have actually Instagrammed some photos before so those who follow me will know about him hehe we are both so in love with this little puppy! But I do understand not everyone likes dogs so I have created a separate Instagram account for him to share his daily adventures ~ His account is @My_Mr_Cupcake

Cupcake

I totally underestimated the time and effort required to train a puppy, between working full-time, going to puppy school twice a week, toilet training, feeding and playing with Cupcake. It hasn’t left me with a lot of time to do my own things like blogging! But please bear with me Dearest Readers, I promise to get my act together as soon as possible! Thank you so much for being so patient with me!

Japanese Afternoon Tea – Hihou

Hello my Dearest Readers 🙂 Hope you’ve all recovered from Christmas and now getting ready to celebrate New Years! This year has just gone by so quickly I haven’t even had time to think about my achievements and failures…let alone New Years resolutions. But it’s ok I still have a little bit of time to work that out hehe

Hihou tea

I’m sure I’ve said that plenty of times and I’ll say it again, I can’t think of a better way to spend Saturday afternoon than having afternoon tea with my girls – BBFF (Michele), Lianne (Food Made with Love) and Michelle (The Bakernista) 🙂 A couple of weeks ago I came across an article which talked about Hihou limited edition Japanese Afternoon tea which they have on the last Saturday of each month. For Japanese food connoisseurs in Melbourne they will know Hihou is owned by the same group as Izakaya Den and Nama Nama the acclaimed restaurnats. I haven’t had the chance to try these restaurants but was lucky to try some of Hihou’s dishes at the Lexus Pavilion on Stakes Day.

HIhou tea

Hihou Japanese Afternoon Tea $25 per person

Because there were limited seats, I literally emailed and booked a table of for and then merely informed the girls that they were to have afternoon tea with me on that date and 2pm. I gave them no choice and the only way they could get out of it was to give me a REALLY good excuse 😛 Yes I can be very pushy or efficient as I like to describe myself hehe

I’m glad we all made it to the afternoon tea that day and got a nice table by the window which gave us a good view of the Flagstaff gardens and the people walking along Flinders Lane. We all started with a hot tea, I obviously went for the matcha while the girls Ume Vert which was a Japanese Plum Green. I think I prefer the taste of the matcha tea but the Japanese plum green smelt so good!

Chilli miso soy bean oyaki

Chilli miso soy bean oyaki

The first course for the afternoon tea was this Chilli miso soy bean oyaki which is a dumpling made from fermented buckwheat and a miso soy bean filling. I found the dumpling to be a little dense and chewy but I did like the slight spiciness from the chilli.

Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich

Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich

It was then followed by this delicious Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich the girls went crazy for this 😛 I can’t blame them the pork tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet) had a light crispy layer on the outside but still remained so juicy and tender inside. This may sound a little silly but I also found the bread so soft and fluffy as well hehe

Scallop and Shitake Shumai

Scallop and Shitake Shumai

My favourite out of the savoury dishes would have to be this scallop and shitake shumai, they were freshly steamed and I loved the flavour and texture of the scallop. Just modernises and makes the already delicious Shumai even better.

Japanese Sweet Treat Box - Matcha cookies, Japanese Whiskey chocolate, Mountain berry tart, Miso caramel nut praline

Japanese Sweet Treat Box
Matcha cookies, Japanese Whiskey chocolate, Mountain berry tart, White bean paste dumpling, Miso caramel nut praline

Now time for sweets! I did let out a little squeal when I saw this little sweet treat box. It had a good spread of Japanese inspired and style sweets. On the top left was the matcha cookie which was more like a shortbread it was quite nice but I would’ve liked a stronger matcha flavour. On the top right was the Japanese Whiskey chocolate which was surprisingly sweet and couldn’t really taste the whiskey. In the middle was the Japanese Mountain Berry tart, there wasn’t a distinct flavour to the mountain berry best way to describe it would be like a really light tasting raspberry. On the bottom left was a white bean pate dumpling this was my least favourite as I’m not a fan of white bean and the paste texture. Last but not least was the miso caramel nut praline, it may sound unusual, however, the saltiness from the miso matched the sweet caramel quite well.

Black Sesame Cheesecake

Black Sesame Cheesecake

That’s not it there’s more dessert yay! This was the black sesame cheesecake, I know the colour may alarm people who are not familiar with black sesame but if you’re a fan you will appreciate the strong yet not overpowering black sesame flavour and the soft cotton like texture of the cheesecake.

Warm Yuzu tofu cake, white chocolate sauce

Warm Yuzu tofu cake, white chocolate sauce

Everything was lovely, but the winner of this whole afternoon tea was this warm yuzu tofu cake. I find it’s quite hard to find yuzu flavoured desserts in Melbourne. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit cross between a lemon/mandarin. I really like the spongey texture of the tofu cake and the delicious white chocolate sauce topped with chopped pistachio and cranberry. I have already instructed Mr Bao to try and replicate this at home and try and open and use that bottle of yuzu juice we have at home 😀

Overall, all of us had a great time at Hihou and really enjoyed the afternoon tea. We probably overstayed and wanted to stay for longer and just chat chat chat hehe for only $25 per person, it’s actually very good value for all the food we got and also unlimited supply of tea. Would highly recommended this to anyone who likes Japanese food or want afternoon tea with a twist.

Hihou on Urbanspoon

Stakes Day 2013 – Lexus Design Pavilion

Lexus Design Pavilion

Lexus Design Pavilion

Even though I’m born and raised in Melbourne I never quite understood the Spring Racing Carnival and certainly did not understand the reason why we have a public holiday for Melbourne Cup. For my Dearest Readers not from Melbourne, this is the first Tuesday of November every year the Melbourne Cup races will be held that day and it is a public holiday. Yup it may be hard to comprehend but we have a day off because of horse racing 😀

Lexus Design Pavlion

And the guys and girls who go to these Spring Carnival racing are always dressed up in a pretty dress or suit but most importantly is the FACINATOR For girls! I had no idea that’s what the head piece is called with feathers and flowers and all different colours but now I know it’s the facinator. I have thought about going to one of the races, but my friends weren’t really interested so it never happened. Until one day the amazing Julia from Tink PR invited me and Ms Ihua, Zeboy, Thanh and Shellie to the Lexus Pavilion catering preview followed by an actual invite to the races on STAKES day! Please bare with me because this is going to be a long post because it really is such an awesome event 🙂

Lexus Design Pavilion

All five of us were so excited! We’ve all wanted to go and this is the PERFECT opportunity and excuse to GLAM up! We were going as guests of Lexus and was definitely treated like VIPs that day, we arrived at the Grand Hyatt hotel where a brand new Lexus picked us up and drove us to the Flemington race courses and we made our way through to the Birdcage and finally into the Lexus Design Pavilion!

Very important not to lose ticket into the Birdcare :)

How pretty are Shellie’s and I-hua’s feet 😛

I was so ignorant and thought a Pavilion was going to be a marquee or tent, but I was wrong very wrong. It was a fully built 3 story building with bars on each floor and a free flow of drinks and food. I will cover more about the food later on the post but I was more mesmerised by the design and all the pretty people!

I think we look pretty good GLAMMED UP!

All glammed up 🙂

We don’t really dress up much but I think we glammed up pretty well! It was a huge rush for me though because I have been so busy at work…I literally got the dress a week before, got my facinator 2 nights before and dyed my hair the night and rushed late at night to do my nails hahaha gosh it’s hard being a girl 😛

Breakfast - Champagne egg and bacon roll

Breakfast – Champagne egg and bacon roll

None of us had breakfast so was pretty hungry, for breakfast we had these delicious egg and bacon rolls and of course our first glass of champagne. And behind the rolls is our betting book, I have never bet on horses in my life so I had trouble trying to figure how and what to do ~

Nutella Donut

Nutella Donut

I then had one of the BEST donuts with warm melting and oozing Nutella filling inside! I honestly can’t explain how good these were! They disappeared so quickly I didn’t even have a chance to get another one >_< I wonder where else can I find such delicious donuts.

From the Roof top

Moving on we went up to the second level to hang out and then on to the roof where it hard outdoor seating and a great view of The Birdcage and of the other marquees. That’s when I could really feel the exclusivity of the Lexus Marquee and in The Birdcage so privileged!

The Birdcage

We did go for a stroll around the Birdcage and admired some of the other marquees, there was G.H Mumm Champagne with their Moulin Rouge themed marquee. Lavazza was known as the party marquee with loud music and everyone dancing while Myer and another few marquees were a little quieter but we could still see people having a lot of fun.

Ms I-hua on TV!

Ms I-hua on TV!

On our way back to the Lexus Pavilion Ms I-Hua was stopped by a camera man from Chanel 7 and asked to show off her pretty nails! Ms I-Hua is going to be on TV 🙂

CHEERS!

CHEERS!

Then there was more champagne and all of a sudden Matt Preston (Masterchef judge, food writer and presenter) walked into the second level. I was a little nervous but still made my way up and asked if I could please take a photo with him!

I met Matt Preston

I met Matt Preston

He was such a lovely man and quite tall too! I felt tiny next to hime hehe I really wished Mr Bao was with me because he is a huge fan of Matt Preston and have bought all his cookbooks and we’ve really enjoyed the recipes! We actually did receive a tweet from Matt Preston himself before so it was just really nice to meet him in person!

Lexusdesign4

Catering is taken very seriously at the Lexus Pavilion with The Big Group being the main provider, a pop up Hihou Japanese restaurant and Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill. We were lucky to try all the dishes at the preview and again on Stakes day.

Betting on horses

We also bet on quite a few horses. Unfortunately, I won nothing…yup I lost every single time I bet hahaha that was like 6 races…Ok I do admit it’s partially my fault because I did no research and basically chose all horses based on their names and clearly the funnier the name the more likely I’m going to pick it. Hence, why I chose the horse ‘Unpretentious’ and clearly it was too ‘pretentious’ and lost the race 😛

We then repeated what we did above until it was time for us to go home, where another friendly driver picked me up in a Lexus and drove me back to the Grand Hyatt. Unfortunately, I left a little earlier because I had to meet Mr Bao and some friends, because I heard from the others at 6pm the ground floor became a dance floor and it was the best time of the day. But I still really enjoyed myself and if I get the chance to go again, I will read up on all the horses and make sure I win!

Yuzu Sparkler (Mocktail)

Yuzu Sparkler (Mocktail)

Now backtracking about 10 days before Stakes day, Julia invited us the Lexus Menu Tasting at The Big Group a prestige catering firm. As mentioned before they did a cross over with Hihou a Japanese restaurant from the Izakaya Den group and also some of Neil Perry’s recipes. We started the event that night with a Yuzu Sparkler which is a mocktail, it was so refreshing and not too tart. I’m a huge fan of Yuzu because it’s like a cross between a lemon, grapefruit and orange.

Crisp miso cigars - filled with tuna tartare, yuzu salmon tartare and soybean curry

Crisp miso cigars – filled with tuna tartare, yuzu salmon tartare and soybean curry

We start off with some dishes from Hihou, these are the crisp miso cigars filled with tuna tartare, yuzu salmon tartare and soybean curry. It’s such an amusing way to eat these canapés, and also really liked the light miso flavour from the crispy miso wrap. The salmon tartare was definitely my favourite cigar!

Hihou - Kingfish Ceviche sashimi, Duck breast crepe, with mustard miso and Temaki roll with lobster, cucumber and mayo

Kingfish Ceviche sashimi, Duck breast crepe, with mustard miso and Temaki roll with lobster, cucumber and mayo

Next up was the Kingfish ceviche sashimi with clear crystallised seaweed which I haven’t seen or tried before. The Temaki roll with lobster, cucumber and kewpie mayonnaise was left for us to roll ourselves which is a great idea because it keeps the seaweed super crisp. And the last is the buckwheat crepe with duck breast, mustard miso, pickled mushroom and leek, another dish I know Mr Bao would’ve liked because he’s a fan of duck and I liked the nutty flavour from the buckwheat crepe.

Mini Hihou hotdogs - Gotzinger Pork sausage served with pickled onion and cabbage and chilli, wasabi mayo and tonkatsu sauce

Mini Hihou hotdogs – Gotzinger Pork sausage served with
pickled onion and cabbage and chilli, wasabi mayo and tonkatsu sauce

Even though the cigars and Japanese styles were delicious, my favourite that night was actually the mini Hihou hotdogs with a Gotzinger Pork Sausage served with Pickled onions and cabbage and your choice of chilli, wasabi mayo and tonkatsu sauce. I’m really hope they serve these at Hihou because I loved the pork sausage kind of reminds me of a Frankfurt and take my advice it needs to be served with all 3 sauces!

Neil Perry's - Rockpool Bar & Grill Slider, Asparagus pancetta and egg tart and Fried calamari and zucchini aioli

Neil Perry’s – Rockpool Bar & Grill Slider, Fried calamari and zucchini aioli and Asparagus pancetta and egg tart

Moving on was Neil Perry’s dishes, the Rockpool Bar and Grill slider which is based on their famous burger they serve at Rockpool. The patty was so juicy with a slice of bacon, pickle and tomato relish a small slider isn’t enough so I think I’m going to have to try the full size soon. The winner for me though was the fried calamari with zucchini aioli and fennel pollen, never had that before and its quite floral. Last but not least was the Asparagus pancetta and egg tart, the puff pastry was so buttery and flakey with the eggy filling perfect afternoon canape.

The Big Group - Pork belly cooked in coconut caramel, Beetroot and orange cured tuna with cucumber, Steak and Chip and Smoked goats cheese on spun pastry

The Big Group – Pork belly cooked in coconut caramel, Beetroot and orange cured tuna with cucumber, Steak and Chip and Smoked goats cheese on spun pastry

The food kept coming and the last savoury dishes came from The Big Group kitchen and designed by Chef Chris Henderson. On the top we have the Pork belly cooked in coconut caramel with crunchy ice-berg, hot mint and fresh lime I guess you can never go wrong with pork belly. On the left is the steak and chip which was piping hot and served with creamy tarragon béarnaise, impressed that the steak and still cooked quite well even though it was cut into a small cube. The beetroot and orange cured tuna and cucumber was a lighter tasting dish and smoked goats cheese with tomato sherry jelly on spun pastry.

Desserts - Toffee and coconut creme brulee on a macadamia sable, Tequila and lime marshmallow, Rosetta tiramisu and Peanut butter Eskimo Pie with salted caramel and praline

Desserts – Toffee and coconut creme brulee on a macadamia sable, Tequila and lime marshmallow, Rosetta tiramisu and Peanut butter Eskimo Pie with salted caramel and praline

After all that food, it’s finally time for DESSERT! I was patiently waiting and it was well worth the wait, on the top left we had a toffee and coconut creme brulee on a macadamia sable, I can’t decide if I like the creme brulee more or the sable both so good. Tiramisu using the recipe from Neil Perry’s Rosetta recipe it had a good kick of coffee but not too strong. The tequila and lime marshmallow was a little strong for me but the texture of the marshmallow was lovely. But always save the best for last! We were all so impressed and enthralled by the Eskimo pie, peanut butter ice-cream coated in chocolate topped with salted caramel and praline can not get better!

This whole experience at the Lexus tasting and the Design Pavilion has by far been one of the best events I have gone to this year. Would like to thank Julia and Lexus again for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to be part of this extravagant and fun event 😀

Check out my fellow bloggers take on the event:
Iron Chef Shellie 
Ms I-Hua
I Eat Therefore I Am 

Daisy@Nevertoosweet attended the as guests of TinkPR and Lexus Australia 

Mushroom Mania Part I – Komeyui

My Dearest Readers 🙂 I am proud to announce that I have been chosen to be one of the official Mushroom Mania bloggers this year! The campaign is run by Australian Mushroom Growers and every year in July a handful of bloggers from each state will review mushroom dishes from cafes and restaurants of their choice. Check out their reviews here ~

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 1.53.31 AM

I am a huge fan of mushrooms! Love some herbed mushrooms for breakfast, in my stir-fry for lunch and mushroom sauce over my steaks for dinner 🙂 So I was thrilled to be part of Mushroom Mania and be able to share with you my favourite mushrooms dishes.

s2_1205160648

I always knew mushrooms were good for me, but I didn’t realise that it was actually a superfood with so many benefits! Here are some interesting health facts:
– Mushrooms are a superfood – low in kilojules, high in bioactive compounds, antioxidants, nutrient-rich, flavour-rich, convenient and affordable.
– Mushrooms are not a plant and neither a fruit or vegetable, they have their own biological kingdom
– Mushrooms have a natural savoury flavour, which acts as a flavour enhancer like salt or MSG
– A serve of mushrooms provide over 20% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B and also contains vitamin B12
– You don’t need to sit in the sun to get vitamin D because Mushrooms naturally contain vitamin D ~
– Research suggest women who eat 10g mushrooms or more daily has a 50-69% lower risk of getting breast cancer compared to those who don’t
– Last but not least it’s very affordable 100 grams (three button mushrooms or one flat mushroom) is less than $1 a serve
For more information please visit the Power of Mushroom website.

Komeyui, Port Melbourne

Komeyui, Port Melbourne

I had so many ideas about the mushroom dishes but realised most of them were brunch places. Mr Bao wanted something a little out of the ordinary and suggested maybe we try looking for mushrooms dishes used in Japanese cuisine because many mushrooms originated from Japan such as the Shiitake, Enoki and Shimeiji 😀 Awesome idea! I immediately went through the menu of our favourite Japanese restaurant Komeyui, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any dishes where ‘mushrooms’ was the hero ingredient. But I didn’t want to give up…so I shamelessly emailed Kuma the executive chef and owner of Komeyui and told him about Mushroom Mania and whether he would like to create some mushroom dishes ~ Thankfully, he immediately agreed! YAY!

Chef Kuma

Chef Kuma

A week later, we were back at Komeyui and ready to try the special mushroom dishes 😀 Mr Bao was probably more excited because Japanese is definitely his favourite cuisine.

Button Mushroom Gratin $9 each

Button Mushroom Gratin $9 each

Wasting no time, the first mushroom dish was immediately brought to our table and it smelt so good. To my surprise it was a French inspired dish, a button mushroom gratin. It was a button mushroom filled with a duxelles (minced mixture of mushroom), an oyster topped with cheese and finished with pine nuts which gave it a great crunch. The dish had so much flavour and the duxelles just took the mushroom flavour to a whole new level! A highly recommended dish if you like mushrooms!

IMG_3940

The dish had so much flavour and the duxelles just took the mushroom flavour to a whole new level! A highly recommended dish if you like mushrooms!

Broiling seasonal mushrooms and clams $18

Broiling seasonal mushrooms and clams $18

Next was a lighter tasting dish, broiling seasonal mushrooms and clams which had oyster, enoki, shiitake and shimeiji mushrooms. Kuma told us he thinks this is the best way to eat mushrooms because usually mushrooms smell really great but some of that flavour is lost during the cooking process. But because the mushrooms are broiled it retains all the flavour, which I agree and the clams also gave it an additional sweetness.

IMG_3958

Mr Bao and I were fighting over the broth like liquid left behind because we think that’s the best part ~ I would recommend having this dish first and before having the gratin as it’s strong flavour may overpower this dish a little.

King Oyster Mushroom Nigiri

King Oyster Mushroom Nigiri

We only expected 2 dishes but Kuma also made us some King Oyster Mushroom Nigiri that was lightly seared with a blow torch. The oyster mushrooms can be quite bland in flavour, to add more flavour the sushi rice was actually seasoned with seaweed. I just wished more nigiri used seasoned rice 😀

Chawan Mushi $12.5

Chawan Mushi $12.5

We also ordered some non-shroom dishes, including this Chawan Mushi a savoury steamed egg custard with pieces of prawn, chicken and also a soft mochi like dumpling hidden inside 🙂 One of my favourite Japanese dishes!

IMG_3981

Ohhh surprisingly found mushrooms in the Chawan Mushi as well 🙂

Assorted Sushi & Sashimi $45

Assorted Sushi & Sashimi $45

Mr Bao loves his sushi, so he ordered the Assorted sushi and sashimi platter for us…but he probably ate more than half 😦 Not fair!

Sushi platter

The platter has a good variety of sushi and sashimi, with salmon, kingfish, tuna, scallop, salmon roll and ebi prawn. My pick would definitely be the seared salmon and the salmon roll with salmon roe on top. I love it when the roe pops and the salty liquid explode in my mouth hehe. Mr Bao really liked the tuna sashimi with a fatty oil layer which melts in his mouth ~

Deep fried soft shell crab $20

Deep fried soft shell crab $20

I had serious cravings for soft shell crab so we got a serve ~ I love how easy it is to eat without having to break any teeth trying to crack the shell. It was crispy and crunchy but not the least oily 🙂

IMG_4030

Hiding behind the soft shell crab! I found another MUSHROOM 😀 I’m actually not sure what mushroom this is? Button? Swiss Brown?

Berkshire Pork Tonkastu $27

Berkshire Pork Tonkastu $27

Still had some room for some more food 😛 so we tried the Berkshire Pork Tonkatsu another deep fried dish. I loved the thin batter coating the pork, even though it was deep fried it wasn’t dry and still tender and succulent inside. We would have liked a little more mustard but other than that it was great ~

Honey dew with brown sugar syrup

For once I was defeated 😛 I couldn’t have a proper dessert but we did have the complimentary honey dew with brown sugar syrup so that was a nice sweet treat to end our wonderful mushroom themed meal.

Even though two mushroom dishes were specially made for us ~ Kuma has now placed it on the menu and you too can try these dishes!

Komeyui Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon
There’s also a competition running on the Mushroom Mania website 😀

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 1.39.34 AM

It’s really simple! You eat a mushroom dish, share it through:
Instagram – follow @powerofmushrooms, post photo and hashtag it with the name of the restaurant (#establishment), state (#state), #mushroommania
Twitter – follow @Mighty_Mushroom, post your photo and hashtag it with the name of the restaurant (#establishment), state (#state), #mushroommania
Email – email your photo to mushroommania@emushrooms.org, state ‘Mushroom Mania’ as your email subject line, include full name, phone number and delivery address don’t forget the restaurant name and state 🙂
Competition opens 9am 1st July and runs until 11.59pm 31st July 2013.
For more information please visit their website.

Hope you’ll be enjoying some mushroom dishes too 😀

This is a sponsored post by Australia Mushroom Growers, but meal was paid for individually at Komeyui all opinions are honest and based on time of visit. 

Delicious and Affordable – Shyun

I remember when I was at University, so many people would tell me “Enjoy when you can, because once you start work…it’s not the same”. And back then I didn’t think it was going to be true, how bad can working be…and even though I’m very fortunate to work in a good company with a great team. I really do miss my Uni days… only having 12 contact hours, being able to get up at 12pm every day, going out late at night and my only job was to ‘study’ 😀 Even though, those days are gone now, but it’s nice to revisit cafe and restaurants we use to go all the time to relive those memories.

Shyun is definitely one of the places we use to a lot because it was only a short 5 minute drive from Uni. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I realised that Shyun is actually quite well-known and well blogged about too ~ My best friend Sasa and I use to be late for our classes just so we can have lunch at Shyun and it’s partly my fault because I always got dessert lol

IMG_1549

Bento (Terriyaki tofu, sukiyaki beef) $10

A few weeks ago, Mr Bao and I happened to be around the area so we decided to have late lunch at Shyun ~ Although I don’t go to Carnegie as often now, not much has really changed. The menu has remained generally the same, I’m boring so ordered what I always get which is a DIY bento, where you get to choose the dishes of your choice. There are quite a few options to choose from such as tempura, karaage chicken, terriyaki beef and many more. The bento also comes with rice and potato mash and sometimes a little gyoza. I decided to go with the Terriyaki Tofu and the Sukiyaki Beef.

Bento

The terriyaki tofu was coated in a light translucent paste and then covered in sweet terriyaki sauce and even though Mr Bao likes his meat he gave the thumbs up to this tofu ~ The sukiyaki beef was thinly sliced beef marinated and sautéed in sukiyaki sauce, I could really taste the mirin. Only compliant about this was the beef was a little overcooked and the meat seemed a little tough but flavours were great.

Chirashi $17.90

Chirashi $17.90

Mr Bao loves his sashimi so decided to get the Chirashi which is a slices of sashimi on a bed of rice and finished off with some salmon roe. We were both impressed with the generous amount of sashimi that was given but would have liked some more salmon roe. The fish was fresh and definitely help curb Mr Bao’s cravings for sashimi ~

Shyun Rolls $13

Shyun Rolls $13

Mr Bao had skipped breakfast so he was still hungry and continued to order more food… lol what’s new? He wanted to try the Shyun special rolls, which is a sushi with a prawn and cucumber filling in the middle and on top was a thin slice of raw salmon, salmon roe and Kewpie mayonnaise. I’m not sure if I’ve told you before, but Mr Bao previously trained and worked as a sushi chef for about 8 months 🙂 He was very happy with these sushi rolls, saying the rice was cooked perfectly and had a good amount of vinegar that wasn’t overpowering.

Gyoza $5.30

Gyoza $5.30

We also got the Gyoza the pan-fried dumplings, I really liked the filing with pork and vegetable but I found the dumpling skin to be a little thick and didn’t really have that crispy fried base.

 Chawan mushi $7.90

Chawan mushi $7.90

I really shouldn’t order anymore but couldn’t resist ordering the Chawan mushi which is a steamed egg dish with chicken pieces. I always order this when I see it on the menu as I find not many places do this dish, it’s a very simple dish but so comforting to me and I love the soft velvety texture of the egg. This one had chicken pieces, but I’ve had others with crab sticks before which I think compliments the egg flavour even better 😀

IMG_1578

They have definitely extended the dessert menu since the last time I visited because they had Green tea chiffon cake! YAY! It was nicely plated on a brown piece of baking paper with a little tub of whipped cream and a dollop of red bean paste. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment, I could barely taste the matcha flavour in the chiffon cake, and it had a very dry dense texture which resembled more of a butter cake.

Green tea chiffon cake $4.5

Green tea chiffon cake $4.5

We also tried the Homemade baked cheesecake, if you’ve had Japanese cheesecake before you will notice that it is very light in flavour and texture compared to say your New York Cheesecake. I personally prefer the richer and dense cheesecakes, but this was perfect after such a large meal with had. I also liked how they cut it in up bite sizes 🙂

Homemade baked cheesecake $4.5

Homemade baked cheesecake $4.5

Shyun is still just as good as I remembered it to be ~ serving delicious and affordable Japanese food. I just wished it was closer because I know we will be regulars again if it was closer to home.

Shyun on Urbanspoon

Theatrical Show – Tokyo Teppanyaki + Groupon Giveaway *WINNER ANNOUNCED*

Coupons 🙂 They’re every where now ~ there are so many websites that sell them. I will be the first to put my hand up and say I’m addicted to coupons hahaha I love buying and using them. Main reason because they give me the chance to try new places and new experiences for a discounted price 🙂 But having said that, there are some things I rarely buy on coupon sites…and one of them would be restaurant deals…I have had a couple of bad experiences. That’s why to be very honest, when Groupon first approached and asked if I was interested in trying out on of their restaurant deals and wasn’t sure if I should do it.

Tokyo Teppenyaki

Tokyo Teppanyaki

But then I saw that Winston (The Hungry Excavator) reviewed Tokyo Teppanyaki through Groupon’s coupon and really enjoyed his experience 🙂 Do check out the video his friend made it’s quite amusing and seems like a fun experience. So I agreed and decided to also try Tokyo Teppanyaki, there were other restaurant available but I knew Mr Bao would enjoy Japanese the most.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I used the code Groupon gave me to purchase the voucher for this deal and called up to make a reservation. Unfortunately, the voucher was only available at lunch time and they are only open at lunchtimes on the weekends, so we made a booking on a Saturday at 12pm perfect for brunch. I had driven past and dined as so many restaurants around Tokyo Teppanyaki and knew exactly where it was, as it is situated in the centre of Chapel St, I suggest you going early to find parking. We were very lucky and found parking right in front of the restaurant 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Upon walking in, we found the little bridge quite amusing as you had to walk past it to into the restaurant. We were immediately greeted by the manager, who asked us for our Groupon voucher. She then led us to the table and placed us in between a family of four and and another couple next to us. I felt it was a little cramped and it would have been nicer if they had given us more room and not fill the whole table up.

Mixed entree - sushi, fried chicken and springroll

Mixed entree – sushi, fried chicken and springroll

Nearly instantaneously, a waitress came over and put a little plate of picked beansprouts and carrots in front of us along with a small plate of entree which consist of a piece of sushi, fried chicken and spring roll. We were impressed at how fresh and crunchy the fried chicken was and really liked the sauce that came with it, which tasted like a mixture of Kewpie mayonnaise and soy sauce.

Miso soup

Miso soup

Next it was the miso soup, thank gosh it wasn’t too salty as most Japanese restaurants serve it, having said that I would have liked a little tofu in the soup ~

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Soon our Teppanyaki Chef came over, he was a friendly man joking with us and asking if we’ve had Teppanyaki before, it created a relaxed environment. First dish was tiger prawn which was super fragrant but found it to be slightly overcooked.

TIger Prawn

TIger Prawn

The chef was able to cut the calamari into thin strips and also control how well it was cooked,  still amazes me the amazing knife skills Teppanyaki chef’s have and their ability to resist heat 🙂

Untitled

The calamari was immediately our favourite ~ it was super tender and not at all rubbery! Simply seasoned with some butter, you could really taste the grilled flavour 🙂

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

We then moved onto the teriyaki chicken which I am a fan of 🙂 I love the sticky and sweetness from teriyaki hehe ~ you can see how glossy the chicken was coasted with the teriyaki sauce ~ Very well cooked and seasoned yum!

Sake

Sake

The food then stopped for a little while, where the waitress came and delivered the warm sake included in the offer. We don’t drink very much sake but found this to be quite strong but really liked that it was warm and left a sweetish aftertaste.

Tenderloin Steak

Tenderloin Steak

Next up it was the tenderloin steak, sorry about the messy plate, they didn’t change our plates throughout the whole meal, so by the end we got the tenderloin steak it was full of sauce 😛 This tenderloin steak was very nice and better quality than we expected, however, Mr Bao did comment that he wished it was taken off the heat a minute or so earlier, as it was more ‘medium-welldone’ and not ‘medium-rare’. He can be so picky *rolls eyes*

Sauce

Sauce

While I really liked dipping the steak in the red sauce in the middle which was the onion and tomato sauce ~ they two just paired up really well.

Warm sake

Warm sake

There was another short break while the chef got ready for the ‘theatrical show’ 🙂 we continued to enjoy the warm sake, that was placed on the corner of the teppanyaki iron plate ~ very creative never thought of keeping the sake warm like this hehe

Bean shoots and carrots

Bean shoots and carrots

Finally some veggies ~ The whole course had been meat based, Mr Bao was  not complaining 😛 It was simple fried bean shoots and carrots with some soy sauce.

Tokyo Teppanyaki2

Now the show begins, the chef cleans the iron griddle plates and starts by throwing around an egg and spinning it ~ he then threw it up and cracked it 😀

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He then made a omelette with the end and cut little strips off and started throwing it to customers and asked us to eat it with our mouths open and without any utensils ~

Throwing omelette pieces ~

Throwing omelette pieces ~

LOL as you can see the gentleman sitting across was had a good time and tried so hard by opening his mouth extremely wide. He didn’t get it the first two times, but finally got it the third time ~ we had really bad lighting on our side, so I couldn’t take a decent picture of Mr Bao trying to eat it.

Rice bowl throwing ~

Rice bowl throwing ~

It was then rice bowl throwing hahaha the chef tried it out on the little girl sitting across us first, he throws an empty rice bowl first and then another and eventually the third one is full of rice! Unfortunately, Mr Bao dropped his 😛 but i managed to catch up! YAY!

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

The last course was the fried rice with pieces of egg, spring onion and little pieces of carrots. It was good, however, it was a little dry and overcooked because the Chef had left it on the griddle for a couple of minutes while we were playing the throwing rice bowl game. I think it would have been better if he had served the rice first before the game 🙂

Because we only got the voucher for two we didn’t get ice-cream 😦 it would have been really nice if we were able to end the meal with something sweet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overall, Mr Bao and I enjoyed our teppanyaki lunch, food was good, staff was friendly and attentive and the chef was very talented and funny. We never expected such a theatrical show and thought it was a great way to get the whole table to interact with each other and the chef 🙂

Now to the giveaway 🙂 Thanks to Groupon one lucky reader is going to get a $50 voucher to spend on anything Groupon deals ~

To enter this giveaway:
– Leave a comment and tell me if you have tried Japanese Teppanyaki before and do you like it? 🙂
– For more entries please ‘Like’ me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter ~ If you’ve already done that please let me now! Thank you!
– Giveaway ends on the 31st of January
– You may reenter daily, one entry a day
– Winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on this blog and notified via email
– Please ensure you enter a valid email address
– Open to all Australian residents (Sorry International Readers)

WINNER ANNOUNCED

Congratulations Benjamin you are the winner of this giveaway!

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 11.01.40 PM

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 11.01.57 PM

Daisy and Mr Bao@Nevertoosweet dined at Tokyo Teppanyaki as guests of Groupon.

Tokyo Teppanyaki on Urbanspoon

%d bloggers like this: