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Waffles

In Café, Dining on
May 30, 2018

Arthur Street Cafe, Baulkham Hills

You don’t find too many cafés with a simple name like Arthur Street Cafe anymore.

It’s simple and straight to the point. Just like the café itself.

Acai Smoothie Bowl

You won’t find anything gimmicky or particularly whacky on their single paged menu, but it’s simple classic café offerings are are what make it a local favourite.

We score an outdoor table, but there’s plenty of seating indoors if you prefer to stay out of the sun. But we’re liking the nice relaxed suburbian vibe. There’s kids playing throw and catch across the road and occasional dog walkers but it’s mostly quiet. It almost feels like I’m sitting on my front lawn.

Savoury Corn Waffle ($16.80)

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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
http://bellsmilkbar.com.au/

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.

Menyagaten

 

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.

Dotonbori

 

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.

 

Calpis
 
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!

Menyagaten
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
 http://maison-de-gigi.com 

Kani Doraku Dotombori Honten
〒542-0071 1-6-18, Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
http://douraku.co.jp.e.at.hp.transer.com/kansai/honten/

Teppan Jinja Dotonbori
1-6-4 Dotombori Chuo-Ku | Dotonbori Erika Bldg. B1, Osaka 542-0077, Osaka Prefecture
〒542-0077中央区道頓堀1-6-4道頓堀エリカビルB1

Ichiran Dotonbori
〒542-0084 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Souemoncho, 7−18, 1F
〒542-0084中央区宗右衛門7-181F
http://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/html/kin_douton.html 

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!
 

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