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In Café, Dining on
March 17, 2018

Bare Witness, Rhodes

Large Mocha ($4.80)

The sunny summer weather is perfect for cafés but when the mercury hits 40 and above, sitting outdoors or anywhere without air conditioning doesn’t make for the most enjoyable experience. This is where cafés like Bare Witness are perfect- it’s indoors yes, but the big open space with glass floor to ceiling windows facing the water means it feels like you’re still making the most of the great weather without constantly sweating.

Green Tea Frappe (7.50)

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In Australia, Café, Dessert, Dining, Travel on
March 7, 2016

Travel | Broken Hill: Bell’s Milk Bar

Before I begin, I’ll confess I did find this at the bottom of my ‘drafts’ folder, and may have forgotten to post about it. I’m leaving the best for last I guess?

One of the few remaining 50’s milk bars left in Australia, Bell’s Milk Bar is an attraction itself in Broken Hill. Not only is it fitted out with vintage 50’s style decor- there’s also a milk bar museum out the back!

And what’s a milk bar without milk shakes and spiders? Boasting over 50 different milkshake and spider flavours, the choosing one is definitely a difficult task. And for those who don’t have enough time to try all the flavours, they also have their flavoured syrups for sale so customers can recreate their drinks at home.

Vegetarian Lasagne ($7.95)

We popped by to check it out, but as we had no car our long cycle took left us quite hungry and wanting something a little more substantial than a milkshake.

There’s not much on the menu in terms of food, but there is a small display fridge of pies and other small snacks. The vegetarian lasagne is surprisingly tasty, and quite filling too as it consists mostly of potatoes.

Hawaiian Delite Milkshake (Sml $5.85)

Milkshakes are available in small and large, and after much indecision I settle for the Hawaiian Delite which is a blended mixture of pineapple, coconut and chocolate powder. It’s a rather refreshing combination, and I quite enjoy the addition of chocolate powder- just enough to add some sweetness and flavour without overpowering the classic pineapple coconut pairing.

Peaches and Cream Waffles ($7.95)

Because one visit wasn’t enough to try all the flavours we wanted to, we came back a week later to have another taste of the menu. We’d had our eyes on the waffles from the moment we read their menu online, but unfortunately their waffle machine had been turned off the first time we visited (they turn off their machines about half an hour before closing!) so we returned again at an earlier time to make sure we’d get a chance to try them!

Trash Spider (Small $5.65)

This time we’re after the spiders, which are mostly a mix of their flavoured syrups with soda plus a scoop of ice cream to top it off. I’ve had coke and lemonade spiders before, but nothing like the variety of flavours they offer on the menu here!

In attempt to try just about everything in one go, I try the Trash Spider- which is a mix of every flavour except for Sarsaparilla, Lemon and Ginger Beer (which is just as well as I’m not too much of a fan of those). I can’t say that I enjoyed this flavour combination too much- it’s a bit of a mess as you’d imagine.

Sarsaparilla Spider (Sml $5.65)

Sarsaparilla is a curious flavour offered on the menu- I’m not a fan of sarsaparilla myself, but my friend who ordered this seemed to enjoy it.

Bell’s Milk Bar  
Address: 160 Patton St, Broken Hill NSW 2880
Phone:(08) 8087 5380

In Japan, Travel on
February 17, 2016

Travel | Japan, Osaka: Waffles and Crabs and Ichiran Ramen


Our first meal in Osaka happened to be at the airport. This was a result of forgetting to order meals on our flight and surviving off only toasties and cup noodles for the 8 or so hours. Luckily for us, the airport had a pretty impressive selection of food outlets so we had quite a satisfying udon and unagi meal, although we gobbled everything up before I even remembered to bring out my camera.



So by the time we reached the city, we weren’t terrible hungry and only after a light-ish meal so we ended up at this small and cozy ramen restaurant for dinner. 


Maze Soba (700yen)

The menu was in Japanese but thankfully it had plenty of pictures so it made it quite easy to order. I had absolutely no idea what the maze soba was, but seemed like a good option seeing as it was posted all over the store on posters and signs.

It’s an impressive bowl of thick noodles with a soy-like sauce mixed in, a piece of tender chashu pork and a mountain of toppings. Of which I’m pretty sure included a quite a bit of pig fat. And a generous serve of minced garlic to give you hours of garlic breath.

But if you cast your mind away from how unhealthy it may be and how bad your breath will smell afterwards, mix it all together and you have yourself a very very tasty bowl of noodles. Perhaps a little on the salty side for my tastes, but still very tasty indeed.

Gachi Shouyu Ramen Kai (980yen)
And for the not so adventurous, they also do shoyu ramen. We were quite impressed with the soup base, as the shoyu ramen we’ve tried in Sydney are quite plain in flavour- this one was very moreish.


Gyoza (280yen)

And we couldn’t go past the gyoza, at only 280yen for 6 pieces! Very delicate dumplings with a crispy bottom and a delicious filling- we would have ordered a serve each if not for the fact that we were feeling quite full!

Maison de Gigi


It didn’t take us long to discover that three meals a day was not going to do it for us in Japan, as there’s food everywhere. A short walk down the Shinsaibashi shopping strip, and we find ourselves lured into this cafe from the display of waffles out the front.

Hazelnut Latte (630yen)


The three storey cafe sells mainly waffles but they also do some pancakes and crepes. You can buy takeaway waffles for roughly 150yen or you can opt to dine in, but there is a policy of ordering a minimum of one item per diner. 


The coffees look like coffee machine ones, with foamy froth and lack of coffee art. Whether or not it’s machine or barista made, we couldn’t figure out, but the coffee was surprisingly pleasant, especially with the hazelnut aroma. 


Liege Waffles (set, 980yen)

There’s a huge cabinet of the cute liege waffles at the front of the store and they do them in four different flavours. These are pre-made however, so they’re of the more bready texture.

Custard and Banana Waffles (780yen)

If you dine in, you also have the option of ordering the freshly made waffles which are definitely the better option- these come hot and are softer and fluffier than the liege variety. We love the presentation of the waffles, with quenelles of cream and ice cream, custard, bananas and chocolate sauce piled beautifully.



By the time we reached Dotonbori, we had an hour to spare before lunch so we hit the streets and tried some of the street food. 
There was plenty of takoyaki, but none quite as noticeable as the Dotonbori Kukuru Konamon-Museum which has a massive takoyaki holding octupus. We didn’t have time to visit the museum, although we did have enough time to join the long line for some takoyaki.


Watching takoyaki being made is like an attraction in itself- there’s something mesmerising about the way the chefs turn the little balls at lightning speed. The end result are piping hot takoyaki balls which are incredibly soft inside- quite unlike any takoyaki I’ve ever had elsewhere.
We also tried this takoyaki place further down the street which was a little less busy both out of curiosity and because we can’t have enough takoyaki.



They looked a little different, with less round balls and a more generous sprinkle of bonito…..but tasted pretty similar to the other ones!



There’s also a cute melonpan food truck towards the end of the street which claims to be the “second delicious melonpan ice cream in the world”. Not sure where they got that from, but I wonder where I’d find the one ranked number one?


The melon pan are heated and the slab of ice cream is sandwiched between the bun when you order. This makes for a great combination of warm bun and cold ice cream with a particularly crunchy outer layer. If this is only second best, now I’m really curious as to how good is the best?

Amongst the many food vendors on the street was this scallop store which only sold the one thing- grilled scallops.

Grilled Scallops (500yen)


They tasted even better than they looked- really fresh and sweet. And they were massive! 
Kani Doraku


And of course, we couldn’t visit Osaka without trying out the famous Kani Doraku- the main store of the chain. You can book online in advance but we turned up before lunch to get a ticket from the front, which designates you a time to come back when a table will be ready so that you don’t have to stand around waiting. 
Peach Sake Drink

We were advised by a friend to visit during lunch hours, as their lunch sets are much cheaper than their dinner. For a 9 course crab feast, their lunch sets are great value- we picked the Ruri set for 4320yen per person and the Moegi set for 3780yen to try a bit of everything.

Ordering is via their iPad system which is quite simple to use- tap your selection and you’re ready to go!

Boiled crab


All the required utensils are provided for removing the crab meat from the shells- I love how the section of shell is removed so all that you need to do is give it a bit of a scrape to remove all the meat. No nutcracker required!
The boiled crab is simple yet tasty- fresh crab meat is nice and sweet in itself, and although dipping sauce is provided, I prefer eating it without.


Raw crab tsukuri

We’re not completely sure we’d like the raw crab, as we’re not huge fans of raw anything other than salmon. Luckily it’s not as chewy or sticky as we’d thought, and rather sweet, although I don’t think we’re completely sold.

The claypot rice with crab is the last course, however, it’s brought to the table early to heat up and cook.

Grilled crab

The grilled crab tastes quite similar to the boiled version, just a little drier.

Crab tempura

What’s not to love about crab tempura? The pairing with okra tempura is rather odd, and though we’re not huge fans we’re happy to find that it’s not very slimy.

Crab gratin

The crab gratin comes in the cutest mini claypot with a crab painting on the lid. And a cute spoon too!

All cuteness aside, it’s an amazing dish, with crab meat blanketed in creamy cheese sauce.

Streamed egg custard with crab
Continuing on with the cute theme are these super smooth and silky steamed egg custards- a sort of Chawanmushi but with a crab topping instead of filling. 


Steamed crabmeat dumpling made with Yuba 
The crabmeat dumplings are bite-sized dumplings made with a delicate tofu skin wrapper, each beautifully presented in its own little bowl. 
Japanese soup

We can’t seem to figure out what the little colourful balls are- they’re a little like fish balls but not quite. Nevertheless the miso soup is quite enjoyable.

Claypot rice with crab

By the time we’d finished all the other courses, the claypot rices were ready. There’s a fragrant smell coming from the claypot when you open the lid, but unfortunately, the crab leg in the rice doesn’t impart as much flavour into the rice as we’d expected

Ice cream with green tea sauce

And onto arguably my favourite course of the meal- ice cream! The waitress comes with perfectly round scoops of vanilla ice cream, and then whips up the matcha at the table before pouring it onto the ice cream. It’s the perfect ratio of matcha to ice cream to balance the bitterness of the green tea to the sweetness of the vanilla.

Teppan Jinja


When dinner comes rolling around, we find ourselves on Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street looking for food. We’re lured into teppan jinja by the sight of the yakitori grilling and the friendly chef waving at us.


Beef, Chicken, Stuffed lotus root and Scallop with Miso Sauce


There are seats by the bar downstairs where you can see the grilling in action, however it does make for a stuffy environment so we’re taken upstairs to a private room. There’s a little buzzer in the corner to signal waitstaff to come when you’re ready to order. 
All items are priced per skewer and aren’t too pricey so it allows us to have quite a variety of food. I’m a huge fan of the stuffed lotus root which are nice and crunchy and have the perfect amount of mince stuffing in each of the holes. The scallops aren’t nearly as big as the ones we had in the afternoon at Dotonbori, however, they are sweeter and tastier with the thick miso based sauce on top. 
Asparagus Wrapped in Pork (250yen)

There’s menu also ranks their top choices by popularity, with asparagus wrapped in pork ranked number 1 so we had to try this. And we’re glad we did, though we’d rank the scallops higher than this one. The pork is cooked perfectly, without the asparagus being too soft or hard, accompanied by a light teriyaki-like sauce.

Prawn Toast (190yen)

The waiter recommends these prawn toasts which are mini bite-sized toasts. Whilst there isn’t a whole lot of prawn on the toast, there’s just enough to impart enough flavour to leave us wishing we had ordered more.

Ichiran Ramen

As delicious as the skewers were, it didn’t take us long to figure out that it would take a ridiculous amount of skewers to fill us up so we decided after round two of skewers to find something a little more substantial to fill us up.

And so we ended up at the legendary Ichiran Ramen. 
We thought we’d beat the queues by coming late-ish at night, but we find that there’s many more night owls than we’d though, with the queue starting from the entrance and snaking its way into the back of the store where the ordering machines were.


Luckily for us, the store is much bigger than it appears, with 8 or so levels and separated into sections with individual booths or those with tables.
Tonkotsu ramen (790 yen )
Each ramen is customised so you choose exactly how you want it from noodle texture to the strength of the broth. We can’t exactly remember how we ordered our one but it was perfect. The broth is so good it’s addictive, with a strong pork flavour without being too salty or overwhelming. We’re glad we ordered a kadaema to finish off the soup!

2-7-28 Nishishinsaibashi Chuo-ku Osaka Osaka
大阪府 大阪市中央区 西心斎橋 2-7-28 萬壽福ビル

Maison de Gigi
 2−2−17 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka 〒542-0085 , Japan
〒542-0085 大阪市中央区心斎橋筋2-2-17 

Kani Doraku Dotombori Honten
〒542-0071 1-6-18, Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

Teppan Jinja Dotonbori
1-6-4 Dotombori Chuo-Ku | Dotonbori Erika Bldg. B1, Osaka 542-0077, Osaka Prefecture

Ichiran Dotonbori
〒542-0084 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Souemoncho, 7−18, 1F

Travel | Broken Hill: Tydvil Bistro

There isn’t a great lot of places open at night in Broken Hill- the pubs are really the only the place to go. We’d been to Tydvil Hotel previously with friends for drinks but spied the waffles from the bistro at the last minute and decided to go for some waffles instead of a drink- and they were so good we decided we’d come back for a proper meal!
Tydvil bistro is a small dining area next to the pub. It’s nicely set up, but like any pub bistro the service is minimal- grab a table, grab some menus, order at the counter and wait for your food to come. They specialise mostly in steaks and schnitzels, with a complete menu dedicated to schnitzels and various toppings you can add on top. 


 Chicken Schnitzel with King Avocado ($23.50)

Seeing how popular the schnitzels were, we decided to get one each. The basic chicken schnitzel is $19.50 and comes with gravy and a side of chips and salad or roasted vegetables. But of course, we don’t want to boring like that so we choose from their 20 or so different toppings available.

It’s not everyday that you eat schnitzel with avocado so we try the King Avocado topping ($4). It bears a startling resemblance to a Hawaiian pizza, with a topping of not only avocado, but also bacon, pineapple, sour cream, sweet chilli sauce and melted cheese. And it makes for a rather large serving size too!
Because there is a heap of topping, you don’t really notice the avocado but the combination of all the flavours is quite tasty. We do find it rather salty though, as the bacon, cheese and schnitzel are all quite salty themselves! 
Chicken Schnitzel with Chef’s Special ($27.50)
And how can one pass a topping named ‘Chef’s special’? 
It’s a tasty combination of squid, chilli, lime and cherry tomatoes in garlic and white wine sauce. The sauce goes quite well with the perfectly cooked squid, with a slight zing of lime making it taste rather fresh. It does however, taste a little odd with the schnitzel as the heaviness of the schnitzel contrasts greatly with the lightness of the sauce. 


Belgian Style Waffle ($10)
There’s no dessert menu, but there are three different waffle flavours scribbled on the blackboard behind the counter. We’d tried (and loved) the strawberry and banana version last time, so we decided to go with the English Toffee variant this time, which comes with almonds, cashews and salted caramel. 
Be prepared to share, as their waffle portions are rather large, with three big scoops of ice cream. The waffle is nice and crispy, and we love the sweetness of the English toffee as well as the crunch of the nuts. Definitely a very satisfying way to end a meal!

Click to add a blog post for Tydvil Hotel on Zomato

In Asian, Australia, Café, Dessert, Dining, Restaurant, Travel on
March 31, 2015

A Short Trip to Melbourne


It surprises most people that despite having lived in Australia all my life, I’ve never ventured much out of Sydney. With domestic airfares being dirt cheap most of the year nowadays, it was about time that I started exploring other states, starting with Melbourne.

Because the trip was a sudden decision and we had bigger plans for another holiday further down the track, we tried to keep costs to a minimum and there wasn’t much of a planning, with last minute searches on Urbanspoon to decide our dining destinations for the day. Nevertheless, much fun was to be had in this exciting city!

Shanghai Street Dumplings

My friend had mentioned something about dumplings being cheap and tasty, so we searched up the nearest dumpling place to our hotel, and ended up at Shanghai street dumplings, which proved pretty popular, with plenty of diners even in the late afternoon when we rocked up.

Dumplings In Chilli Oil $8.50


The menu includes so many dumpling varieties that it’ll make your head spin- we spent quite a bit of time choosing what we really wanted. The dumplings in chilli oil are exactly that- 15 cute plump dumplings sitting in a warm soup with a drizzle of chilli oil on top. I can’t say they were overly exciting, nor were they spicy (we ended up spooning plenty of the chilli oil they provide as condiments on each table over the top to add some flavour), but there was definitely enough to fill us up for a meal!


Homemade steamed Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (Chicken and Prawn) $9.8

The xiao long bao seem to be pretty popular, with almost every table having ordered one so we chose the chicken and prawn variety for a little something different. The pork versions did look a lot more enticing that these ones though, which were not as soft and delicate as we’d expected, nor was there much soup in these ones…..

We headed out to the Crown after dinner, where we did see quite beautiful night scenery which made me wish that I had brought my DSLR to capture it 🙂


Manchester Press

And what’s a visit to Melbourne without at least a couple of visit to their famous cafes?

There’s too many good cafes in Melbourne to try in one trip, so to narrow down our search, we chose ones within close walking distance of our hotel, which is how we ended up here at Manchester Press. It’s hidden at the end of a laneway, easily missed were it not for the crowd gathering outside, waiting for their takeaway coffees and breakfasts which. There’s also plenty of people sitting inside so we’re lucky to grab a seat on the long wooden bench near the counter.

Coffee here is apparently really good, but seeing as neither me nor my friend were coffee drinkers, I don’t really have much of an opinion on that. The latte art was beautiful though 🙂

Fruit and nut Bagel $13

The menu consists mostly of bagels, and luckily online recommendations indicated two choices so we didn’t have to spend too much time deciding between the options. My fruit and nut bagel is a beautiful splash of pink and green, with a toasted bagel, mixed berry marscapone, strawberries and pistachio. Although it’s under the breakfast menu, I found it quite sweet for breakfast though- I could easily have had it for dessert! That said, I did really enjoy it though!

Smoked Salmon Bagel $13

The smoked salmon bagel is quite a substantial serving, with a generous amount of smoked salmon on top of a bed of spring onion and chive cream cheese and toasted bagel, as well as a small side serving of salad. And it makes for a very satisfying start of the day!

Hosier Lane

I quite like exploring the many laneways in Melbourne, where you never know what you may find- funky bars, cafes, nice graffiti or some interesting shops. Unlike in Sydney, where a laneway is…..well just that.

Dip In Café


And I can’t tell whether all of Melbourne’s cafes are hidden in laneways or if we just happened to only choose those which were, but for brunch another morning, we headed over to another café hidden in a laneway. Dip In Café specialises in dips, but it seemed that their baked bread bowls were equally as popular from online reviews.

Shakshuka $13.9

The Shakshuka, which was a tomato based vegetarian filling with two baked eggs on top reminded me of café style baked eggs, just in a bread bowl rather than in a pan. It is a much larger serving than it may seem- you might not want to have your next meal until much later in the day!

Or you could always try to walk it off and squeeze in an extra meal somewhere in the middle!

With Melbourne’s free tram system in the CBD, we stayed mostly within the city, with much walking and tramming to cover most of the city within the first couple of days. The stroll along Southbank was surprisingly nice, with the nice water view and all types of interesting love locks on the bridge.

Cat Café

Melbourne’s Cat Café opened up not too long ago, the first of its kind here in Australia, so we decided to make a quick visit to see the cats, despite not being huge cat lovers. All of their cats are from rescue shelters, and we were lucky enough to visit on a day after three new kittens had been brought in.

There is a minimal entry fee to see the cats ($10 for an hour), but it certainly is a different sort of experience. They also have some food and beverages on offer, since it’s a café, but seeing as we were still quite full from brunch, we gave it a miss.

Chokolait Emporium

Apart from eating, we did do quite a lot of shopping in Melbourne, and I don’t know if I should be proud to mention this, but I did give H&M and visit every single day I was there (it was massive!). The shopping centres were rather similar to Sydney’s though so we didn’t stay there much.

We did make a visit to the Emporium though, for a chocolate fix at the Chokolait Emporium as we’d purchased a group buy deal online. It was great value, at $29 for more chocolate than two people can handle- two chocolate drinks and a chocolate platter.

There’s a choice between hot and cold chocolates so we went for one of each. The hot version was chocolate overload- so chocolatey that I don’t think I could have even made it to the chocolate platter if I’d drank that all myself. Definitely the perfect drink for a chocaholic though!

The cold version was easier to handle, being less chocolatey, despite looking the part, with a fancy chocolate drizzle on top.

And of course- the chocolate platter!

We’ve tried a chocolate platter at Lindt café in Sydney before, so we weren’t completely new to this. With four chocolate pieces, mud cake, mango and vanilla ice cream, it doesn’t seem like much, but it certainly fills you up a lot more than you’d expect. The handmade Belgian chocolate were nice and smooth, and we had much fun guessing what flavours they were, whilst the cake was pretty solid also. The ice creams served well to balance the chocolate so that it wasn’t too overwhelming, though it did mean that their flavours were a little overshadowed by the chocolate.

And for more beautiful Melbourne night scenery, we headed over to St Kilda to see some penguins, though it did take us a while to find. Which although it was cold and windy, meant that we did get to see the sun setting by the seaside which was quite pretty!

Walk right to the end of the pier and you might see a penguin if you’re lucky! We spotted two when we were there, including this super cute shedding penguin!

Chan Charlie Chan


Satay Chicken Skewers

For something a little different, we ended up at Chan Charlie Chan for dinner, which interestingly enough was situated within Melbourne’s RMIT university. It’s a nice and quiet spot as we visited before the University semester had started so there weren’t many students around but did make me wish that I had a nice Malaysian eatery around on my uni campus too!

The entrée of satay chicken skewers was small and cute, and quite tasty too with a nice nutty flavour.

Bak Kut Teh

Although it was summer, it was surprisingly cold on the week we visited, which made it perfect for having a warm soup. The Bak Kut Teh, served in a clay pot, wasn’t quite as strong as I would have liked it, but was quite enjoyable, especially with the crispy dough sticks it’s served with.

Chicken Curry Laksa

We enjoyed the chicken laksa also, which came with pieces of smooth, tender chicken on top. The laksa soup is much spicier than anticipated though!

Lemongrass Chicken

The lemongrass chicken is surprisingly tasty, with the lemongrass and other herbs imparting a unique fragrance to the grilled chicken. It’s great by itself, but we discover that it’s even better when you dip it in the sweet, vinegar sauce!

Cacao Green

And because every day should finish with dessert, we visited Cacao Green for our fix of waffles. They’re a froyo bar, but we found that we quite enjoyed their waffle, which were made to order- they’re soft and fluffy and a great size for sharing. Topped with a sprinkle of fresh strawberries, a drizzle of nutella and a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream, the strawberry and nutella waffle was definitely a winner in my books- nothing super fancy, but a flavour combination that’s sure to please.

We had a little spare time towards the end of our trip, so we squeezed in a ride on the Melbourne Star. There was barely anyone there, so we managed to get the cabin to ourselves. The 360degree view is quite a sight, and it certainly gives you a different perspective of the city!

It is a 30 minute ride, though it feels much shorter than that- much like the whole trip in general. Before we knew it, we were on a plane back home! Will definitely be back again soon to continue exploring this city!

Shanghai Street Dumpling & Mini Juicy Bun on Urbanspoon

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

Dip In Cafe on Urbanspoon

Cat Cafe Melbourne
375 Queen Street

Chokolait Emporium on Urbanspoon

Chan Charlie Chan on Urbanspoon

Cacao Green on Urbanspoon