Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chin Chin

Chin Chin, Melbourne CBD
These days, conference seem to be the only opportunity for me to travel out of Brisbane. The EMCORE conference this year was held in Melbourne and together with MXM, we attended this full on conference focusing on emergency topics. Phew! Luckily we managed to dose ourselves with caffeine prior to the start of day.

Dinner became our priority as we spent almost all day listening to lectures. One of my 'to-go-list' was Chin Chin. I did warned him though that there is usually a long wait.There was no exception that night and we queued and waited for at least 1.5 hours before getting our seats. (Well, we did walked around and had some crepe before dinner)

Mr Benjamin Cooper, the head chef of Chin Chin had just made an appearance in MasterChef Aus that week. Imagine my excitement when I saw a glimpse of him in the kitchen! Chin Chin's menu is simple and straight forward. For an option of 'Feed Me' and at $69 per person, a selection of favourites will be served. However, we decided to choose our own selection that night. 

Chin Chin's Menu
For entree, I had my eye on the 'crab and pork cakes'. They were served with salted duck egg and tamarind nam prik. The salted duck egg flavour was quite mild, not what I expected. The combination of salted egg and tamarind nam prik is so new and interesting for me: a bit salty, spicy and sour. 

Crab and Pork cakes - $15
A dish like pad thai, is a must order for me in a Thai-influenced restaurant. I certainly could not resist ordering one in Chin Chin! Oh my! Both MXM and myself were so elated eating the flat rice noodles served with fresh prawns, bean sprouts, dried shrimps and chopped peanuts. The flavour of the noodles was well balanced and I certainly enjoyed the crunch of the bean sprout. Well done!

Pad Thai noodles with chopped prawn - $24
Can you see a trend now? We tried to order a meal from each section. For the GREEN STUFF, we had the green papaya salad. Caution ahead: It was spicy, too spicy for me! I do enjoy the freshness of the green papaya but there is actually bits of chilli seeds mixed into the dressing.... I had to give up after a few mouthfuls but MXM continued to push through, claiming it was torturous but yet it was exhilarating. LOL!

Green Papaya Salad - $16
Our non-alcoholic drink: thai basil seeds, with lychee and mint managed to soothe some of the spiciness. 

Among the CURRIES section, the duck curry tempted me the most and I know the combination of duck and lychee is yummy. Hehe! The red coconut duck curry certainly did not disappoint and we both agreed that was our favourite meal of the night. The meat was so tender, falling off from the bone easily and the curry itself was intense, well-balanced and flavourful. I could not ask for more!

Fragrant Red Coconut Curry of Braised Duck with lychees - $29
We were full at the end of the meals but I think MXM can read my face that I would like to have some dessert. Among the four options available, we both chose the coconut sago with sweetcorn ice cream, praline and puffed wild rice. Yum! It was moreish!

Coconut sago with sweetcorn ice-cream, praline and puffed wild rice - $14
Chin Chin is definitely a place worth visiting and waiting for. It is not a quiet dining place and having a loud voice will be an advantage as well as an empty stomach on visit. Although this place is busy, the staff members are polite and helpful and the meals arrived in a timely manner. Hope to return one day!

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Friday, July 10, 2015


Plenty, West End
One of the exciting part about my job is that I get to travel and work. Well, it can be exciting at times and sometimes not (especially when I am really really far away from home and do not possess a vehicle!). Good friendships are bonded during this work travel and finally Miss Jo and myself had the time to catch up!

Since she is relatively new in Brisbane, I brought her to West End market for a browse and then stopped at Plenty for some lunch. Needless to say, it was a busy Saturday and we had to wait for quite a while to get seats.

Unlike most cafes or restaurants, their ever-changing and seasonal menu is up on the wall. Trust me, it is not easy deciding on A MEAL, because they all sound so good.

Plenty's menu

After standing at the counter for at least 5 minutes, I finally decided on the duck egg, cotechino sausage with fried chickpea salad; with my usual flat white. As for Miss Jo, she went for the sweet option and had the twice cooked french toast with poached quince. Our drinks (flat white and cappuccino) arrived shortly and they were quite good.

Cappuccino and flat white

The meals in Plenty are all served in this huge white plate, making presentation clean and very palatable. My meal was beautifully presented and I really enjoy my meal. The highlight for me was the cotechino sausages. The balance of flavour in the sausage was good; and the chick pea salad made the dish more fulfilling. Yum!

Fried duck egg with cotechino sausages and fried chickpea salad
While my dish was colourful, Miss Jo's french toast was very simple looking. Do not be tricked though! This is probably the best french toast I had in life (maybe I exaggerated too much here)! It was really good. The toast was just soaked in this sweet milky liquid and it was so moreish. Oishii....

Twice cooked French Toast

Writing this post certainly bring me back to the past. How I wish I can be back in Plenty now.... Till next time when I meet lovely Miss Jo again!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rogue Bar and Bistro

Rogue Bar and Bistro, Newstead
Writing blogs jog my memory not only about the food I had, but also to bring me back to the  moments I had with my company. Rogue Bar and Bistro is one of my favourite restaurant although I had visited this place once only. Finally, the Mr and myself both had the time together for dinner at Rogue. Street parking is ample and it was so convenient. 

The menu in Rogue Bar is quite simple, mainly with the name of the protein for each meal. For example: pig, fish, poultry and many more... Reading through the menu, we decided on two entrees, two main meals and three side dishes. We do tend to order our 'frequent flyers' and there was no exception that night. For entrees, we had the calamari and the duck dumplings. 

The lightly battered calamari was cooked to perfection, really tender and soft. The squid ink aioli with the pickled onion were a nice addition to the dish. Delicious!

Duck dumplings
Well, what about the duck dumplings or wantons? They were crispy and I think we both enjoyed the flavourful filling. Wish we could have more!

Now for mains, the Mr had his eye on the beef while I finally decided on the chicken.

Oopsy, the lighting for Mr's meal is quite dark. The Mr is not a fan of mushroom and he certainly was not that enthused when he saw a mountain of sliced mushrooms on his beef! Ahaha! I was happy eat his mushrooms. The meat was cooked well, but was quite rare to my liking. Otherwise, not too bad.

As for my chicken roulade, I think they were cooked to just the right level. If the chef had taken it out a few minutes earlier, it would have been under cook. I thought this meal was all right. I did not enjoy it as I thought I would be. The pepita or sunflower seeds and sesame seeds added some crunch to the dish but I was hoping for more flavours.

We ordered chips (2 servings) and broccoli tempura as our side dish. Who would have thought that deep fried vegetable can be so tasty? I really enjoy the broccoli. I think it was steamed until quite soft and then deep fried. The contrasting texture of soft broccoli with the crunchy batter was amazing. It was one of my favourite meal of the night!

Well, we had a great time at Rogue, albeit a near heated argument at the start of our night. I am glad we managed to talk through the issues and certainly appreciate the Mr's patience. Hope to return one day and try their new menu! :)

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