Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Vanilla Place @ Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya

We were looking for a cheap place to eat at Empire Shopping Gallery when walking past this open-kitchen cafe, we were greeted with the delicious aroma of stir-fried pasta. We checked the menu on display and in we went!
Lamb Kofta Sandwich
I can't remember the taste of this but I *think* the lamb kofta patties were cold which makes for a refreshing sandwich. They were flavourful on their own but the mint sauce enhanced its flavour even more. The salad tasted good with a vinegar-based dressing.
Spaghetti Seafood Pesto
The pesto pasta was absolutely fragrant when it arrived. The prawns were a tad small, unlike the medium-sized prawns shown in the menu but it was ok as the dish was quite cheap. They were very generous with the portion of spaghetti - small eaters probably can manage only half the plate. It was very yummy indeed and well worth its cheap price tag.
Overall, this place is worth it if you want a cheap satisfying meal...I remember we decided on this cafe because most of the dishes were under RM15 plus there was a lot of variety to choose from.
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Onion

The Vanilla Place
FK-01, 1st Floor
Empire Shopping Gallery
Subang Jaya
Tel: 03 5022 2198
Daily: 10am - 10pm

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Opera @ Empire Shopping Gallery

Switched places to Opera for dessert after the unpleasant experience at T'forty Two =.=
The mille crepe cakes in the display shelf caught our attention so we ordered that - chocolate and original - as well as a pot of chocolate stuff (this is what happens when you don't take pictures for name and price reference -_-").
Mascarpone Mille Crepe
I love the combination of the generous dusting of dark chocolate powder against the soft and milky crepe layers. Not overly sweet and rich as some desserts tend to be, it was a very good piece of cake. Tasted freshly made too.
I can't say the same for the Original Mille Crepe Cake though. As it depended on only the crepe and milky cheesy cream to bring about the flavour, I found it a tad bland. While the lack of sugar went well with the chocolate powder in the Mascarpone Mille Crepe, the lack of sweetness in the Original Mille Crepe was a minus point, for me at least. Some may like it for its subtle milk and cheese taste.
Unfortunately, I only have a picture of the Mascarpone Mille Crepe Cake. The Chocolate Pot was just as chocolate pots are - gooey, chocolatey, rich liquidified chocolate.
Verdict? I wouldn't mind returning to Opera for tea =)
PawPoints: 3 Paws
Pawket: Onion
LG05, Lower Ground,
Empire Shopping Gallery
Subang Jaya
Daily: 10am - 10pm

Thursday, 18 August 2011

T'forty Two @ Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya

Heard that this place was good hence we sat down for a drink while waiting for the others. The drinks and macarons were very tempting with very elegant names so I had an order of the Gorgeous Geisha.
Gorgeous Geisha
Doesn't the Gorgeous Geisha look pretty? The taste was out of this world unfortunately - and I don't mean that in a good way >.< It's a concoction of raspberry syrup and some other fancy stuff as is the requirement in most mushrooming dainty dessert places. What did it taste like? I hear you ask. A super concentrated mixture of sticky cough syrup and children's pebbly pink bitter fever syrup, that's what >.< I know I'm picky but my friends who were with me agreed unanimously.
Luckily the waiter was kind enough to exchange it for me. I scanned the menu but was wary with the other choices so I ordered an Iced Chocolate. It was a diluted Milo concoction. The mamak in a shack below my office tower makes better Milo Ais than this =.=
My friend who ordered some Turkish Apple drink commented that there was no hint of apple in the drink but instead tasted like lemongrass O.o
Beautiful macarons - one flavour for each of us. We had the Strawberry, Passion Fruit and Green Tea. It was our first time trying macarons and so we have no idea how they're supposed to taste like. But we agreed they were too sweet, a little sticky, flavouring was too strong, did not melt in the mouth - well you can guess we're not very happy with this place.
PawPoints: Tail
Pawket: Onion

T'forty Two
UK02, Upper Ground Floor
Empire Shopping Gallery
Subang Jaya
Daily: 10am - 10pm

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Grill'd @ Melbourne

Grill'd was one of our stopovers during our trip at Melbourne. We went there for a late dinner after our trip to Mt Buller and it was the perfect place for hungry people =)
Grill'd at QV Square

Artsy wallpaper
Either the designer is trying to say that the burgers are so yummy they'll take you straight to heaven or the burgers are so yummy, they've been elevated to the holy category. Well, either way, I agree with both concepts :D
So they say..
Black pepper grinder + tomato sauce bottle
The tomato sauce bottle is so adorable! It is a squeezable rubbery bottle and since it is shaped as a tomato, it really gives me the feeling like I'm squeezing out fresh tomato sauce on my fries =P Wonder where I can get this in KL...
Morrocan Lamb with Panini Bun (AUD 11.90) + Hot Chips (AUD 3.30) + Herbed Mayo (AUD 0.70)
The Morrocan Lamb Burger came with roasted peppers, tzatziki, salad and relish. I ordered the Panini instead of the usual bun. We also ordered a snack sized Hot Chips to share.
  • The Panini was well toasted and the crusty bun was very good to mop up all the juices exuded by the roasted peppers.
  • Grilled lamb pattie was thick and juicy and went extremely well with the relish.
  • Thick cut fries were obviously hand cut from fresh potatoes. They were crisp and full of potato goodness =) 
  • Herbed mayo was absolutely delicious...wish they sold a bottle of that here...
Mighty Melbourne (AUD 12.50)
JS had the Mighty Melbourne Burger which is basically a cheeseburger with bacon and fried egg. What I found interesting about the burger was the addition of a beetroot slice which provided a tangy accompaniment to the beef pattie.
I actually can't think of more words to describe the burgers since they were similar to The Daily Grind but the taste of the burgers at Grill'd is absolutely delicious and definitely in a league of its own, way above any burger place in Malaysia. Please do try it when you go to Australia, plus it is quite affordable at a little over AUD 10 =D
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Level 2, QV
Corner of Swanston St and Lonsdale St
Melbourne CBD
Tel: 03 9663 0399
Sun - Thu: 10am - 10pm
Fri: 10am - 11pm
Sat: 10am - 10.30pm

Thursday, 4 August 2011

+39 Pizzeria & Degustation Bar @ Melbourne

This Italian restaurant is one busy establishment. The first time we went there, we reached at 8pm and were told to return an hour later as the place was full. The next day, we made sure to reach a little after 6pm and it was already quite full - we were quite lucky to secure a table near the back of the restaurant.

I had no idea of the price as I didn't manage to find any reviews with the menu attached before we left for our trip so off we went. I should have guessed from its name "Degustation" that it would definitely not be cheap =.=
Salsiccia (AUD 25)
We decided on the Salsiccia Pizza which consisted of Italian Berkshire sausage, Porcini mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan and tomatoes. The pizzas come in one standard size only - SCUSA!
  • Pizza base did not taste very doughy but it was extremely hard to cut with a knife. Some customers just resorted to using hands. Definitely not the crispy kind of base as it was a little flimsy and soft with the amount of topping laden on it.
  • Italian Berkshire sausage slices tasted normal as were the fancy sounding mushrooms.
I guess you could say the pizza was good but I prefer Crust...
This restaurant is rated highly in the Melbourne gourmet circle and I can see why - good food, good wine, all staff imported from Italy as they were speaking to each other in Italian thus ensuring a very authentic taste to the dishes served. However, for some reason, I felt a little slighted by the waiter as he was attentive to the adjacent tables except us, probably because we just shared a pizza and had 2 glasses of complimentary water? Perhaps if I was earning AUD, I would have given the restaurant more pawprint stamps of approval <sigh>
Edited to add: To its credit though, I read in another review that the Salsiccia is, in the author's words, "a deviation from the high quality norm". We must have picked the wrong pizza to sample then. The author also did note its 2nd rate service while still managing to attract a loyal band of followers.
PawPoints: 3 Paws

+39 Pizzeria & Degustation Bar
362, Little Bourke St
Melbourne CBD
Tel: 03 9642 0440
Mon - Thu: 7am - 10pm
Fri - Sat: 7am - 10.30pm

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Dubrovnik Restaurant KL @ Solaris Mont Kiara

After hearing so much about Dubrovnik, we decided to head there for a bout of Croatian cuisine. It's very easy to find this place as the restaurant is facing the main inner road but the address will have you looking high and low for Block J =.=
Grand signage
Giant Croatian flag
A giant Croatian flag hanging on the 1st floor balcony welcomes you as soon as you step over the restaurant threshold.

Table decor

Complimentary starter
We were served some complimentary homemade bread and Ajvar which is some sort of sourish Croatian salsa. The warm bread which was cut into strips was a bit doughy and chewy. The salsa is not the typical sort found in Mexican restaurants as it was a little sour and in a paste form rather than the usual cubed tomatoes. JS enjoyed it but I didn't -_-"
Cevapi & Djuvedj (RM 36)
We had an order of Cevapi (minced lamb and beef sausages) and Djuvedj (special vegetable Croatian rice) with a side of salad and Ajvar. The seared sausages were very compact and even though there were only 6 of them, it filled us up very quickly. They were very fragrant, possibly had some spices and were still moist and juicy.
The fluffy Djuvedj tasted like it was boiled in some kind of vegetable stock and went very well with the cubed onions and carrots mixed into the rice. The Ajvar is meant to contrast the taste of the sausages.
Spaghetti Alla Buzara (RM 34)
After reading much reviews about this exceptionally good pasta, we decided to order it as we wanted to try more stuff (Lamb Peka is supposedly extremely good and was available the day we were there but it was a platter for 2).
The olive oil and white wine sauce pasta was nice but fell short of our expectations as it was similar to the typical Italian fare and didn't taste "Croatian" enough =P I love that lots of parsley was mixed into the pasta though =) The prawns were fresh and yummy but the downside was that they were not shelled >.<
Overall, Restaurant Dubrovnik is a fine place to go to for special occasions as the waiters and waitresses are well trained and very attentive and the ambience is quite romantic. As JS said, we had waiter of the month at our table =P

PawPoints: 4 Paws

Dubrovnik Restaurant KL
J-0G-14, Solaris Mont Kiara
No. 2, Jln Solaris
Mont Kiara
Tel: 03 6203 6780
Tue - Sun: 11.30am - 11pm

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ramen Ya @ Melbourne

We have always wanted to try ramen in tonkotsu broth so after reading about the hunt for the best ramen in Melbourne here, we decided to pop over to Ramen Ya when in Melbourne for a taste of the famous pork broth.
Ramen Ya

Name Card
The address I copied from the internet was different from where the shop is located so we were lucky to have chanced upon it on our way to the copied address otherwise we would have missed it altogether unless there is another branch numbered 350...
I love the interior which was decorated with giant vases of cherry blossom stalks!
As part of the set I ordered, genmaicha was served in a unique porcelain cup complete with tea strainer and cover. The design on the porcelain mug was very Oriental-ish and reminded me of ancient porcelain tableware in old Chinese shops. The genmaicha tea leaves had bits of roasted rice mixed in which gave the tea a much stronger aroma compared to instant genmaicha powder/ tea bags.
Cha Siu Ramen Set with Gyoza and Genmaicha (AUD 15)
  • Broth and noodles were good.
  • Cha Siu could have been better as they were not melt-in-your-mouth kind.
  • Boiled egg did not have runny yolk as expected to be the norm of Japanese ramen.
  • Gyoza was soft and small in size - you can easily pop the whole thing in your mouth. I thought they were nice but JS thought that he had tasted better ones.
Tsukune Ramen (AUD 11)
The ramen in tonkotsu broth with minced meat was okay only to me. Nothing special about it.
Takoyaki (AUD 6)
We could not resist ordering the Takoyaki after seeing it on the menu. The fact that the waitresses were from Japan added to our determination. The Takoyaki came with lots of bonito flakes but seemed to be missing the sprinkling of dried seaweed. The Takoyaki were soft with a moist center - much better than the Jusco Takoyaki in KL. Our only gripe was that there was insufficient filling (i.e. only a minuscule piece of octopus) and its small size.
PawPoints: 3 Paws
Ramen Ya
Shop 9 The Paramount
108 Bourke Street
Melbourne CBD
Tel: 03 9662 1001
Mon - Tue: 11am - 5pm
Wed - Sat: 11am - 9pm
Sun: 12pm - 4pm

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ahmet's @ Brisbane

Our friend brought us to Ahmet's for Turkish food since I preferred not to have any Asian cuisine. The place was packed with people on a week night and we had to wait for a while to get a table.
Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant

Baked Turkish bread glazed with garlic butter (AUD 6)
First up was the freshly baked Turkish bread glazed with garlic butter. It was a huge dough which was soft and moist. The garlic butter smelled so good but we were careful not to finish it as it would disrupt our appetite.
Apple Tea (AUD 6)
The apple tea was served hot and tasted like warm apple juice.
Lamb Guvec (AUD 23)
The lamb claypot casserole (but served in a metal pot?) came with a small container of Turkish rice sprinkled with what I presume is cinnamon powder. The rice was very fragrant and soft and the cinnamon smell was not strong. The casserole included eggplant, zucchini, onion, potato, celery, mushroom and carrot. Both the lamb and vegetables were very tender and fully absorbed all flavours of the broth. The tomato based gravy was absolutely delicious with rice.
Karisik Izgara (AUD 34)
The mixed grilled platter consisted of chicken, lamb and adana skewers and lamb cutlet as well as Turkish rice and a side salad. The adana skewer which is minced lamb with red and green capsicum, chilli flakes and parsley was very flavourful. The lamb cutlet and lamb skewer were marinated in red pepper, oregano and garlic and tasted good but was not exceptional. I enjoyed the chicken skewer (also marinated in the same spices) the most as the flesh was very moist.
Mousakka (AUD 24.50)
This dish is pure comfort food as the oven baked eggplant and minced beef in tomato paste went extraordinarily well with rice.
It is advisable to go in a big group and order to share due to the variety of dish choices available.

PawPoints: 4 Paws

Shop 10/164 Grey Street
South Bank
Tel: 07 3846 6699