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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cocolat (Rundle Street, Adelaide)

After finishing a lunch with friends at Nanyang Cafe, we went searching for some dessert, and we found ourselves in this Cocolat cafe on Rundle Street. There are two sizes of dessert, and of course I ended up having the full size. Both the cake and coffee.

Jaffa, full size.
It was wonderful. Both cake and coffee. But I was bursting at the seams. Turned out I came back here quite often...

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Malacca Corner (Central Market, Adelaide)

Since I did not have lunch material at home to make one, I had to go out and find one on my own. I hit the road in search of one, and the bus took me to the Central Market area. I wandered over to the joint I have known existed for as long as I can remember yet never tried it until this day. It's Malacca Corner on the eastern end of the Central Market. I looked at the menu with pictures on the wall and settled for this item, as I've never had one.

Head Hunter's (Sarawak) Laksa
The first thing I noticed was this subtle hint of cinnamon which was not a bad thing; just a little surprised. I knew it was a bit different from your regular laksa but. The noodle is of rice vermicelli; no thick hokkien noodles like the one from Nanyang Cafe. I actually prefer this noodle to the other one. Not too bad at all, and I wished I had come here sooner.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Sussex Hotel (Walkerville, Adelaide)

It's the last working day of the year, and some of us decided to go out for a lunch. We headed to Sussex Hotel in Walkerville; about 10 minutes drive away. It's your typical suburban pub. I decided to have a burger.


Sussex burger.
The burger was very good; beetroot spread added a good accent while bacon tasted smokey. Patty was not dry but not too fatty either. Chips were on the salty side though; full of chicken salt. Beer selection was of your typical suburban pub; major brands only. I really wished they had Vale Ale but no. So had to settle for a glass of coke instead.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ajisen Ramen (Regent Arcade, Rundle Mall, Adelaide)

It's the usual Thursday going out for lunch day. Because of an unexpected meeting with the boss, I was short for time. I needed something quick, and usually that calls for noodles. I saw that Ajisen Ramen opened a second location in Regent Arcade before and decided to give it a go. Being a chain, I didn't expect much from this place. Learned from a past mistake, I avoided anything too spicy. And I ended up getting...

A "Paiku" ramen upsized for an extra dollar.
 I avoided the Aso Volcano ramen as I had it before; my stomach is no longer lined with asbestos and I thought better not test it out at this time point. "Paiku" is pork belly cooked in soy based sauce (somewhat similar to teriyaki sauce) long enough to make it melting soft. There were four large pieces of this in a bowl. These were surprisingly good, and filling. The noodle is of straight type; every time I eat ramen at an Ajisen joint, I always think that curly noodles would be better suited as the soup would stick to noodles better (like the one from Tokyo Ramen in Central Market).

Gyoza.
 I like gyoza, and these were alright. Not the best ones I have ever encountered but wasn't too bad either. I thought these were better than the dumplings from Dumpling King on King William St.

 As I was after a quick lunch, I was happy enough to finish the whole thing (starting from entering the premise to leaving the premise after paying) in about 30 minutes. I guess I was a bit shocked to see an AUD19 bill for a lunch consisting of a bowl of noodles and a serving of dumplings though. One another thing that bothered me was mismatched heights of the chairs and tables. Chairs were way too low for me to sit comfortably and eat. Maybe they are designed for taller people...

Ajisen Ramen on Urbanspoon
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Lobethal Bierhaus (Lobethal, SA)

Our lab went out for a field trip to Lobethal Bierhaus; it's been planned for some time. We hit Barristers Block winery first then went to the Bierhaus. The back of the Bierhaus was more cellar door; for 3 boutique wineries (Scott Winemaking, Tillbrook Estate and Robert Johnson Vineyard). I ended up spending quite a bit on wines on this day; 14 bottles altogether. After making our purchases, we hit the front end of the microbrewery.


Tasting platter of the brew is available
14 bucks for trying out all the brew available at the Bierhaus. A rather good idea (at least for me as I don't process alcohol too well).

(from L to R) Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Red Truck Porter, Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Hefeweizen and Bohemian Philsner
I am not much of a beer drinker, but even then I liked the Stout, IPA and Hefeweizen (probably IPA the best). And meanwhile, we were getting rather hungry, and an empty stomach and alcohol don't agree too well (at least to me). And so we went on to have our lunch.

Chips. Plain and cajun spice varieties are available. AUD10.90 ea.

Pork belly. AUD27.90.

These went very well with beer. I think the pork belly did help in slowing down the effects of alcohol for me. Note that there two pieces of pork belly on the plate. It was very filling.

After the meal, one of the co-owner of the brewery showed us the brewing rigs around. Very interesting stuff indeed. The Bierhaus also offers bottled beer to take home however I ended up not buying any as I did have 14 bottles of wine to take home. They are also available from select local bottle shops and so I thought I could buy them there instead of lugging more bottles home. Though I must say I was rather tempted to buy that 2 litre carboy of IPA if only for the novelty of the bottle. I very much enjoyed the day. Kudos to the organizer.

Lobethal Bierhaus on Urbanspoon
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Crepe's Story (Rundle Mall, Adelaide)

I was told of this crepe joint by a fellow scientist at work. I was told that it's more or less in Japanese style, and I was intrigued and immediately wanted to give a go. And so I dropped by one day after the regular Thursday lunch to see what all the fuss was about.

I love crepes. I love mangoes. I love ice cream. So what would happen when all three are mixed? Usually my motto is "too much of a good thing is wonderful".

Mango and ice cream crepe. With a spoon.

Sadly on this occasion, I was wrong. Mild temperature mango and cold ice cream wrapped in a hot crepe made everything lukewarm; resulted in melted ice cream, warm mango and cold crepe. Furthermore, eating this beast became a real problem as it started to drip all over the place. A lesson learned here was "do not mix hot and cold components in a crepe".

I went back there on another occasion seeking a re-match. And so my second go was a mango and Nutella crepe. No more cold components, learned from the previous encounter.

Mango and nutella crepe.
And this was great! Obviously it was yummy; did I mention elsewhere that I also love Nutella? And the whole thing stayed hot, and there was no mess. I did find it a bit pricey (for what it was) but I guess it's still within the "reasonable" range for a shop on Rundle Mall.



The Crepe's Story on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Mamak Corner (Bank St., Adelaide)

It's Thursday and it's going out for a lunch day. I heard good things about this joint Mamak Corner on Bank Street in the city. The last couple of times I thought of trying the place out, it was packed out. I'm not patient enough to wait in line when I am hungry and must eat; and so I moved on. Learned from the experience, I rocked up a little earlier; like before noon. And there were plenty of tables. I walked in and looked at the menu and was a bit surprised to see a pretty thin one. Pretty much rice dish only; not much of noodles. And I ended up having this;


Lamb curry and a glass of fresh lime drink

This was very good. It came out within 3-5 minutes after I sat down. The opening special set me back 12 bucks but for me it was well spent. Curry tasted as it should, and was spicy enough for me to work up some sweat but not exceedingly hot so you cannot taste anything else. The drink was soothing the heat of the curry. It was a good lunch, and I'll try out Nasi lemak next time I come by this place.


Mamak Corner on Urbanspoon
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Currant Shed (McLaren Vale, Adelaide)

It's that time of the year again. The Christmas season. Our research group usually goes out for a lunch for the occasion. And for this year... We went down to McLaren Vale. We hit a couple of wineries before lunch then went to the Currant Shed based on reviews on the 'net as well as word of mouths.

After we got there, we had a serving of nibbles to start with; pate, olives, dips and whatnot with two different kinds of hot bread. This happened outside under the shade. It was actually pretty good. We then moved to the tables for the lunch proper. We had some choices in the course but I chose as follows.

Slow cooked pork belly with a ceviche of scallop,
pickled strawberries and a Grenache reduction.

This was very yummy. Pork belly was done nicely with crunchy skin. Didn't know what ceviche was but found out it's citrus cured seafood with chilli accent. It's a bit different to how I usually have scallop (either raw or grilled). Pickled strawberry was also interesting.

We then went onto the mains.



Wagyu beef with roasted King Oyster mushrooms,
grilled radiccio,creamed potato and a shiraz jus.

The beef was done just right; very tender. This went quite well with the Shottesbrooke McLaren Vale 'Eliza' Reserve Shiraz. Shiraz jus was very good too. Maybe I would've preferred a little more rare but others on the table preferred it more cooked. Can't realistically expect to cater for everyone's taste in a situation like this (a party of 20+). Maybe we should've asked for sides as some of us felt it was lacking some green colours; we didn't think of it as it was not listed on our lunch menu (but available in the regular menu).

And finally we went onto the dessert.


Lavender creme brulee with pistachio shortbread.

Now, to be honest, I was a little disappointed. It tasted very good. It did have a hint of lavender note. The crusty caramelized sugar on top was okay. But for some reason I found quite a bit of oil separated out and settled between the custard and the caramel. I don't know why/how this happened but it felt oily. At least my creme brulee actually set to some solidness. Others on the table found theirs quite a bit runny. Again, we didn't know how that happened as mine was more on the solid side. It did go well with a cup of coffee though.

All in all, I really enjoyed the lunch. The restaurant was spacious, very green and had a very relaxing atmosphere.

The Currant Shed on Urbanspoon

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tasca Viva (Jetty Rd., Glenelg, Adelaide)

Out of the blue we decided to go out for a lunch on Saturday. I saw this review on 'Tiser about this Tapas bar in Glenelg and we decided to try there. We didn't make a booking for a table but we thought there had to be some free tables as we aimed to get there just before 12; as this joint offers breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturdays, we thought that time of the day is way too late for a brekkie yet too early for a lunch. Anyway. The place was pretty much empty; when we got there, a couple of people were leaving and we were the only customers after that. We decided to sit inside but sat at a table next to Jetty Rd. We liked the decor and the food; we went for chef's selection of Tapas #2 at $45 per person. Maybe a bit pricey for a lunch but hey. They immediately started to bring the food out and it started with...

House flavoured olives. 


Salsa and bread. 

Plate of cold cuts. 

There were also stewed chickpea, a couple of meat dishes and a few more plates of food. At the beginning, since we started so lightly, we were considering the possibility of leaving the restaurant somewhat hungry. In the end, just about every dish they brought out, we were wondering if that was going to be the last; as we were getting very full. We managed to hog down the whole lot somehow (and not wasted any) and left the place with a very full stomach. As a whole I didn't think the food was as good as Mesa Lunga. However the location, atmosphere and the service made up for it. If we come back here, we'll probably go for the cheaper #1 tapas combo and leave a bigger space for a cone of Royal Copenhagen ice cream across the street from this place.


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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kenji Modern Japanese (Hutt St., Adelaide)

A bunch of us decided to go out for a dinner on a Friday. We decided to go to Kenji Modern Japanese Restaurant on Hutt Street. I've been there a few times and they never disappointed me. And again, they came through.

We had Zensai mixed appetizers and also a serving of puffer fish as entree. Then went on to have some nice mains.


Slow cooked Barossa pork crackling.

Didn't get to taste this one... Bugger.  Got pretty full on other stuff before touching this dish. I've been told it's good. Yeah. I'm pretty sure of it. Next time.

Beef Tataki.

This was quite nicely done. "Tataki" means striking or hitting in Japanese, and in cooking terms a piece of meat or fish is seared on the surface then rapidly cooled often by dunking it in ice water. Served usually sliced and with condiments including ginger and soy sauce. Bonito fish fillet is often cooked in this way (traditionally seared by cooking it in rice straws). It was very good. As expected.

A plate of Tempura. Lots of them.

Tempura batter was done properly, not cheap, nasty and thick gluggy kind. You get the nasty ones by not paying attention; the batter should be made in ice water and kept on ice to stop developing gluten. Came with dipping sauce you dunk these guys in. Was very nice.

A Funamori with sushi and sashimi.

Meaning "served up on a boat" in Japanese. Usually serving seafood such as sashimi and sushi in this style. At Kenji, they use this triangular shaped porcelain dish instead of traditional little wooden boat. Again, nice selection of sashimi and sushi served up.

Then we went onto dessert.

Ice cream.

Banana and chocolate souffle.

I had the souffle which was nice and fluffy. It was all very good and very much enjoyed. Not the cheapest restaurant, but always worth the price (to me anyway).

Kenji Modern Japanese on Urbanspoon
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Takoyaki (Nanba, Osaka, Japan)

Got these little octopus balls from the street vendor next to Nanba Grand Kagetsu revue venue. 20 odd years ago, they would never put mayo on these things. These days it's put on almost as a default. I had to specifically ask not to have any mayo on it. My gourmet friend thinks that mayo can mask the mediocrity to bring the food to "edible" level as mayo coats taste buds with emulsified egg, essentially numbing them out. Anyway. These were pretty alright; maybe because this was my breakfast...

 
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Terminal 3 at Changi Airport

On the way back from Japan, I went through Changi Airport yet again. I was looking forward to the good rest at the airport hotel at Terminal 2 but unfortunately it was booked out. The guys at the reception of T2 hotel called Terminal 3 and they found me a room. I should have taken the skytrain to T1 then to T3 as suggested by staff rather than from T2 to T3; ended up walking a rather long distance to the hotel. Anyway. T3 hotel was still quite okay. 

T3 Transit Hotel room. SGD80 for 6 hours.
 After checking in and a quick shower, I went out to grab something to eat before hitting the sack. I went about in the T3 mall in search of that particular food, and this time, unlike on the way to Japan, found it.

Hainanese chicken rice with sweet tea. SGD8.
I was a happy chappy. I just went back to my room and had a fairly decent rest before headed out to board the plane to go inward bound.

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Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar (Frome St., Adelaide)

Heard good things about this place. Supposedly the owner/operator was a contestant on Masterchef. Not that I cared such things; as long as the food is good and the price is reasonable. So bunch of us headed into the city for the polenta experience.



Gnocci as an entree. Nicely done.
Had the right consistency according to the Italian sitting next to me..


Another entree plate to be shared by all of us.


Beef steak. Could've used a bit more of this. Very nicely done.


Polenta with spinach and gorgonzola cheese. Was tasty.


Special polenta with mushroom, pine nuts etc. Was tasty.


Banana donuts for dessert. To be honest, it was a bit boring, though it tasted good.

It came to about 45 bucks per person for 7 people. I had never had polenta before this night. Italian sitting next to me though kept insisting that polenta is for peasants... It felt like a very thick and well cooked rice porridge; ie. glue. Still. I did enjoy dining here.

Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar on Urbanspoon
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