Showing posts with label Melbourne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Melbourne. Show all posts

Monday, October 29, 2018

Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar @ Oliver Lane [Melbourne] - Skip The Long Queue At Chin Chin And Make A Detour For Some Pan Asian Flavours Sharing Plates


I frequent Melbourne at least 4 times a year but I seldom blog about the restaurants in Melbourne. As my trips were usually work related and I just want to grab something simple and go back to my hotel room to rest. During my latest visit to the city, since Maureen aka Miss Tam Chiak is in town, I decided to bring her to Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar at Oliver Lane. I have enjoyed the food there when my colleague brought me there for dinner once.

Kingfish Sashimi 4.5/5

The cuisine at Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar is inspired from Pan Asian flavours in the form of sharing plates. We started with the Kingfish Sashimi. The sashimi are topped with thai basil and toasted coconut. What makes the fish jump out of live is the green chilli sauce that is packed with depth and robust flavours. It hits the spot with the characteristic sweet, sour and spicy flavours in Thai cuisine.

Pan Fried Spinach & Water Chestnut Dumpling 3.8/5

Maureen and I have mixed opinion on the Pan Fried Spinach & Water Chestnut Dumpling. She likes the modern take with the Sichuan chilli oil which gives you a slight numbing mala kick. I like the interpretation bu I thought the dough was a bit too thick. A worthy note is that the dumplings are made freshly on order. We were seated at the bar counter and we can see the chef making batches after batches of dumplings right in our eyes.

Korean Fried Chicken Bun 4/5

Using the Chinese steamed bun, we tried both the Korean Fried Chicken Bun and Crispy Pork Bun. The korean fried chicken bun is sandwiched with tender chicken dressed in a spicy gochujang sauce while the crispy pork bun is paired with spicy kimchi & kewpie mayo. The bun is really soft and fluffy and it goes really well with the different fillings, elevated by the delicious sauces.

Crispy Pork Bun 3.5/5

If I am to pick a favourite I would probably go for the Korean Fried Chicken Bun over the Crispy Pork Bun. I find the crispy pork is too dry. It lacked that fatty texture underneath the crackling skin I was looking for.

Roasted Short Rib with Rendang Curry 4/5

For the big plate, we had the Roasted Short Rib with Rendang Curry. It comes with rice, achar and chilli sauce. The short rib is huge. It is cooked to a beautiful fork tender, which falls off the bone with ease.The rendang curry was creamy with a coconuty base. It is a well executed dish. However, I felt that the rempah lacks the fragrant that we get in Malaysia and Singapore. Maybe that is the acceptable standard in Melbourne.


Lucy Liu may ring a bell but the restaurant is not opened by the famous American actress that acted in Charle's Angle. If you are interested to know how the restaurant gets its name, you can find it on their website. If you are new to the restaurant, it offers set course menu as well as a la carte. Recommendation would be to go for about 3 to 4 small plates and a big plates to share.

Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar
23 Oliver Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +613 96395777

Opening Hours:
Daily: 11am - 11pm

Monday, May 29, 2017

Darling Street Espresso @ Moonee Ponds [Melbourne] - Neigbhourhood Cafe Offering Real Food Without Fuss


Darling Street Espresso embodies the essence of Melbourne cafe cuisine- real food without the fuss, just a street away from your home.

Split Shot 

Start off the day with a Split Shot (AUD$ 5) - one shot neat and the other made into Piccolo. How cool is that, to be able to appreciate the beans in both manners. On days when i'm indecisive, this solves everything.

20170330_102600_HDRProtein Bowl 3.8/5

Protein bowls are ubiquitous in Australia and every bowl which I had tried during my trip was interesting in its own way. The Protein Bowl (AUD$18) here is well thought-out. Supergrains formed the base and for greens you have asparagus and zoodles, which is basically zucchini noodles, that I believe will eventually become a hit someday. Beetroot was mashed into a tangy sorbet and a handful of crispy chickpeas for some fun. Not too raw for comfort, when there's a slab of halloumi and poached eggs to bring it closer to home. Fresh turmeric labna, a middle eastern staple made by removing excess whey from salted yoghurt is used to harmonise the ingredients. I thought that adds a homemade touch to this dish.

12 hr Smoked Pork Shoulder Brik 4.5/5

We had 2 specials of the day, and both dishes speak with sophistication and quality that I never thought could be found in a cafe. I love the vibrant colours and the artful plating. 12 hr Smoked Pork Shoulder Brik (AUD$21) was like a filo pie - tender and moist meat wrapped within a paper-thin and crisp skin. The orange and potato salad supports the richness of the meat while the kohlrabi and basil pesto lent a touch of bitter and nutty nuances to the overall taste.

Confit Duck Croquettes 4/5

Duck can be quite a tricky meat to handle in the realm of western cuisine which makes this Confit Duck Croquettes (AUD$19) even more outstanding. So just when you find rosti a creative replacement for hash brown, we have got something even more exciting. The crisp exterior cracked readily under my fork, revealing a moist mixture of duck and potatoes. Very well executed dish in terms of taste and pairing of ingredients, turning what is usually treated as a street snack into brunch to look forward to.

Brekky Roll 3.5/5

When everything else is too fancy, this simple but satisfying Brekky Roll (AUD$13.50) will get your morning rolling. Well toasted brioche bun holding together the meaty Newmarket bacon, fried egg, cheddar, complemented by relish and aioli. Another homemade touch to that.

Cauliflower Falafel 3/5

Vegetarian options are readily available in cafes. I notice a few dishes with middle-eastern ingredients, Cauliflower Falafel (Aud 15.50) is definitely the most pronounced. Sandwiched in between the flat bread is the cauliflower falafel. I find it kinda dry, despite the eggplant kaunda spread.


Real food without fuss, in a equally simple and functional setting, no 'hipster' name tag to it.  That's what I love about a good suburban cafe.

Words and photos by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.

Darling Street Espresso
146 Athol Street
Moonee Ponds
Victoria, Melbourne
Tel: +613 93262212

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 730am - 4pm
Sat-Sun: 8am - 4pm

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mama Bear Cafe @ Flemington [Melbourne] - Warehouse Style Cafe With Exposed Brick Walls & Whimsical Graffiti Mural


My second trip to Melbourne was nothing but a journey about brunches and coffee. The Coffee Expo was the reason why I was here which gave me the chance to explore the cafes hiding in the suburbs of Melbourne! Something which I have missed in my last visit a few years ago.

Mama Bear Cafe at Flemington is just a few minutes walk from my accommodation. Its menu is quite extensive, offering many of the locals' favourites. Most importantly, it serves great coffees to the entire neighbourhood!

Open Beef Brisket Sandwich 3.5/5

When our Open Beef Brisket Sandwich (AUD$17.50) came, we were rather shocked by the huge serving.At the same time, it did look sinfully indulgent with the mushroom, beef, overflowing cheese sliding off the toast underneath which was way too tiny for anything. Buried in between were caramelised onion and worcestershire pickled cucumber. The brisket was really tender and the field mushroom was just as meaty. Topped with not one but two fried eggs, this is definitely enough for 2 small eaters. Less sauce would have been better though, as the dish is a little too wet and soggy.

Sweet Corn Fritters 3.5/5

I realised that the locals has a thing for Sweet Corn Fritters (AUD$17.50) which is not so common back home. I like how the fritters were being stacked up high into a tower with a tangy avocados cream as the base and comes complete with a poached egg. The sweet corns gives a chewy texture to the fritters and the surrounding vegetables - heirloom tomatoes, ribbon of carrot & zucchini lightened up the dish.

Acai Bowl 4.2/5

This is where I had my very first Acai Bowl (AUD$13.90)! Wow, I must say I do love every bit of it and Mama Bear does it just the say it should be done. It has the crunch from the toasted muesli and chia seeds, the mellow aroma of the coconut, the balance in taste with the combination of the acai, the tart berries and freeze-dried orange.

Belgium Waffles 2.8/5

We also had one of their special - Belgium Waffles with ham, bacon, banana, ice cream, fresh berries dressed with honey. Again, the portion was generous. There was enough sweet and savoury component in every bite. The grilled banana was a little disappointing as it was just too shrivelled.

Tumeric Latte 3/5

Colourful lattes is one of their signatures, with variants such as beetroots, tumeric. Tumeric Latte is quite a popular spice here, perhaps of its healing properties. It comes in a 5oz cup. Taste is slightly too mild for me.


I love the feel of this place. Its friendly and unpretentious service, a small cafe with just about everything to provide what the community needs to get their daily fuel.

Words and photos by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.

Mama Bear Cafe
528/531 Racecourse Road
Flemington VIC 3031
Melbourne, Australia
Tel: (03) 93760386

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am  - 330pm
Sat-Sun: 8am - 330pm

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Rudimentary @ Footscray [Melbourne] - Container Cafe With Seasonal Menu Straight From Their Garden


Container concept is not new but seldom I see one that is as comfortable as Rudimentary, which is nested at Footscray,a suburb in Melbourne. This is one of my favourite suburb cafes in Melbourne which I visited during my trip. Huge breathing space with an impressive garden with greens, fruits and herbs which go into making our dishes. Do note that menu changes according to season, what we had was Autumn menu. Very simple interior and furnishing, the kind of everyday cafe, as seen from their basic 2 toasts with butter and homemade seasonal jam alongside with their cup of coffee.

Steak & Cheese Baguette

The Steak & Cheese Baguette (AUD$14) is a very basic sandwich but the taste of the steak went beyond your usual fast food kind of sandwich. It was quite juicy and tender with oozy cheese all over it. The baguette is closer to a ciabatta which I thought goes even better with the filling. Just look at the charred portion of the bread! That adds characters to an otherwise ordinary toast out from an oven.

Coconut & Lime Panna Cotta

Somehow or rather, the Coconut & Lime Panna Cotta (AUD$16) is a dish within the mains and not in the range of desserts, perhaps like your brunch waffles or pancakes. It was my very first experience having panna cotta as a main and theirs made it a memorable one too. The contrast of colours in a myriad of red and orange was sense awakening. Every bite comes with a nice coconut fragrant on top of the creamy texture without being overly cloying. The salad on the side which consists of tangy and citrusy fruits, tart berries and crispy dried fruits was perfect in creating complementing flavours and textural contrasts with the panna cotta.

Smoked Beef Ribs with Plum Puree, Cucumber Kimchi, Corn Bread

I rarely see a meat dish that is as neat as their Smoked Beef Ribs (AUD$19.50) with the different ingredients arranged side by side. Corn bread seems to be a common accompaniment for meats, as it appears a few times in other menus. The beef did look really smoked and almost to the degree of charred black but the inside was done right. The blood red plum puree was a sophisticated sauce to flavour the meat, along with an interesting spicy kick with the cucumber kimchi adding a crunchy touch. The portion of the ribs may seem much smaller than expected, not your regular american ribs with sauces all over the plates for sure, but I like the intimacy that a diner could have with this dish - savours every bite and appreciates every flavour that comes through.


I finally get to really appreciate what a seasonal menu is after seeing the garden, savouring the food using the ingredients straight from the garden etc.. Last but not least, the warm service and smile by the team. I wished I was really on a vacation and need not rush to my next destination. One day, I shall be back!

Written and photography by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.

16-20 Leeds Street
Footscray, Melbourne
Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 497058173

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 730am - 330pm
Sat-Sun: 8am - 330pm

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Melbourne Trip July 2011

I travel to Melbourne once every 4 to 6 weeks for work, spending about a week at Melbourne office. As the office is at the CBD area, my food experience was limited to the vicinity. Melbourne like Singapore has a rich variety of cuisines from different countries. During this trip, I got to eat Indian, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines.

My Aussie colleauge brought me to Flora Indian Restaurant on 238 Flinders Street. The restaurant was quite crowded during lunch time. I ordered Garlic Naan and Butter Chicken. I was impressed to find good authentic Indian cuisine in Melbourne.

Garlic Naan

Butter Chicken & Garlic Naan

I was looking for dinner along Swanton Street after work and walked into Rice Paper, a Vietnamese Restaurant on 245 Swanston Street. I had the Spicy Beef Combo Noodle. It tasted good but I was puzzled by the "combo" whereby it came with slices of pork.

Spicy Beef Combo

Pacific BBQ Cafe on 213 Lonsdale Street served nice roast pork. It was highly recommended by my colleagues, so I went to check it out. The roast pork was big and juicy with crispy skin. I enjoyed the generous serving which I do not get in Singapore.

Roast Pork with Rice

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Melbourne Trip March 2011

I was back again in Melbourne for another week of work. Dinner in Melbourne is a headache for me. Back in Singapore, I need not worry of what to eat everyday as I have home cooked dinner. I decided to check out Russell Street near my stay and ended up eating at Wanton House.

I had Beef Brisket with Wanton Noodle Soup. It was my first time encountering the combination of beef brisket and wanton. Since I love both, it was one stone hit two birds for me. The soup had a bit of herbal taste and it was pretty good. The beef brisket was soft and tender. The wanton was big and packed with fillings. Overall it was a good dish.

Beef Brisket and Wanton Noodle Soup

Friday, February 11, 2011

Melbourne Trip January 2011

I was back in Melbourne for work in January, the week before Chinese New Year.  Several friends have mentioned to me about Koko Black Chocolate so I took the opportunity to check out the place on my off day on Australia Day.

The apartment I stayed was only a short walking distance to the original Koko Black Salon at Royal Arcade on Bourke Street. I walked into the cafe and was greeted with a strong aroma of chocolates in display. There were a lot of kids with their parents and tourists at the salon too.

I sat myself on the 2nd level where I can have a view of the walking street below.

I ordered a cup of Belgian hot chocolate and a cake and biscuit plate. The hot chocolate came with a flowery pattern on the froth. The cup of chocolate was rich in flavour and aroma. Every sip was enjoyment.

The cake and biscuit plate was very good too. The chocolate cake was very nice and moist.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Melbourne Trip November 2010

I was back in Melbourne for 2 weeks in November. The office has moved to Chinatown area and there are a lot of good food there. One of the unforgettable food experience during this trip was the Vietnamese Beef Pho I ate at Mekong Restaurant at 241 Swanston Street.

The restaurant is quite popular and it was very crowded. I was surprised to find such good authentic Pho in Melbourne. It was as good as the Pho 2000 which I had in Ho Chi Minh City. The bean sprouts and basil was served separately from the bowl of beef Pho. You squeeze the lemon over the bean sprouts and basil, add the portion of your likings into the hot steamy soup and eat together with the Pho.

Lemon, Bean Sprouts and Basil

Beef Pho 4.5/5

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Melbourne Trip

I was away for the past one week in Melbourne for work. Located just opposite my apartment, there is a newly opened Nando's restaurant (was not there when I was in Melbourne  last year). Unlike the Nando's in Singapore, you need to order your meal from the counter. I was then given a waiting number and my food was served to me. Overall I felt that the chicken at Nando's Singapore tasted better.

My waiting number

Quarter Peri Chicken 4/5