Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cuppa Flower

I really love this concept of a flower cafe, where you can buy flowers and then also have food. Coming back from Japan, they have the best flower cafe with fresh flowers everywhere, but Japan has better everything pretty much. For Sydney standards, this cafe has pretty good decor and atmosphere.

food spread 

They added flowers to the table cause they saw me taking photos lol. They normally do put flowers, just was probably a bit slow to start the day. They were real, but weren't really fragrant.

fresh flowers

wish I could afford a fresh bunch at home

cake cabinet, I'm told these are only for dine in customers, as they sell out fast.

Japanese chiffon cake ft Totoro-$5

 
They're so cute!

Nice and light, wish I could make my chiffon cakes rise as high. Green tea wasn't as flavourful as the black sesame one, but both weren't that sweet which is always a plus.

Green tea latte (small)-$4.20

This is one of the prettiest coffee art I've ever seen, flower art to match the flower cafe! Tasted alright as well, not too sweet cause I prefer a more bitter green tea latte.

   
Ricotta pancakes w/ mixed berries, ricotta cheese, marscapone, maple syrup-$18.80

Love all the colours on this pancake board, makes everything super vibrant. The pancakes weren't the fluffiest or the biggest, but I really loved the added marscapone and berries to go with it, and ricotta to add some more creaminess. Didn't add the maple syrup since there was already some sweetness from the berry sauce, although I liked how they gave you a honey serving utensil.

Cuppa Flower Benedict: beetroot and potato rosti, bacon (or ham), 2 poached eggs, avocado, hollandaise sauce-$18.50 


#yolkporn

First time seeing beetroot rosti so decided to order it. The beetroot doesn't really add flavour, just more colour. The rosti wasn't fried in too much oil. Eggs cooked perfectly with an oozy yolk. I thought this dish was worth the price. You get a choice between bacon or ham, and also decent side of avo. I love the addition of an edible flower to help fit in with the whole cafe theme. 

kitchen 

outside

Come here before lunch on a weekday and don't have to deal with long weekend lines. Food and service was really pleasant. I do have to admit if anyone goes to Tokyo, Aoyama Flower Cafe is a must go, cafe filled with flowers everywhere and just smells amazing.

Cuppa Flower Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The most unorganised organised trip: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong

Hello friends, back from my 'budget asia trip!' Was way too busy eating over 6 meals a day to even touch Instagram, let alone this blog. Will catch up soon. Obviously I never got round to blogging about places to eat earlier in my 'Spontaneous Europe Trip,' and I don't think I'll have time for this time round, so I'll just do some thoughts here.

Originally it was just to try summer in HK (since I always go in winter) for around 3 weeks, and so I booked return tickets to HK. Then I wanted to see if anyone was free to go Taiwan with me since I can't really speak Mando, so my Dad and I decided to shout a younger cousin to go to Taiwan for a week, that was around 2 months before I left for HK. Then 2ish weeks before departure date, an aunt asked me if I wanted to go Japan and she'll shout for plane tickets/accommodation. Hence, why it's an 'unorganised organised' because ideally you would go from city to city, but I went back and forth from HK airport a few times.

This trip was more 'budget' since I didn't want to spend a lot of money in the outset as I already did a spontaneous Europe trip which was $$$ (well still cheap compared to other people doing Europe, but a lot more expensive compared to Asia). It was mainly food plus some sightseeing/shopping as I've already seen the main sights in Tokyo, whereas Europe was probably half food/sightseeing/museums.

Tokyo, Japan:
- Japan wasn't really on my 'to-go' list since I have been there before almost 10 years ago. Went with a tour group, and it was my first time going to a different country apart from HK and back then obviously I had no idea in how to plan things since I was just a super young teen, and I think we just had dial up internet...I remember going to Tokyo DisneySea and Fuji Q since that was my main goals to go on rollercoasters, and also seeing Mt Fuji, seeing fresh snow etc. Didn't eat that much and didn't really explore Tokyo a lot. Tbh now I'm older I also can't eat as much...
- Spent 8 days (6 full days) in Tokyo, and that still wasn't enough time! Ate over 5 meals a day, yet there were still some Jap food we didn't have time for, right until the last minute at the airport.
- Went with 3 other aunts and age range a few decades. So thankful and happy they managed to keep up with me. Walked approx 25 000 steps a day (and mainly walked a lot just so I had stomach space to eat more lol). 99% of people think you can't do my itineraries, but I usually prove them wrong.
- Successfully completed my itinerary except for going to SkyTree for night views, Jap Maccas/Mos Burger, and some Jap department stores.

- Japanese people are so, so polite! Still hasn't changed since my last visit. I feel that the whole world needs to learn manners from them. They are so thankful before and after your meal, don't rush you when you're eating even though there is a line of 2+hr wait behind you, and just very courteous.
-They are super clean as well! Our airbnb host even cleaned our luggage wheels, like I only thought my mum and Grandma does that. Even if you go to a tiny 9 seater restaurant in a small alley/quite neighbourhood, their toilets are still clean. I don't use any of the fancy options on their toilets cause I still think it's weird
- Craziest tax free store at the airport. Mainly because Jap food expires in around a week, so everyone buys their foods to take before their departures. Never seen so many people that crazy at Duty Free before, or a store that packed.
- They really like have wet tissues in packages.
- They separate their bins, but every food item comes with so much packaging that I sometimes wonder do they really want to try reduce their waste..? It is so, so hard to find a bin in the subways, and bins don't exist on the streets. Only the bigger subways have bins.
- Their English is pretty bad, even when you're buying tickets to touristy things. I think it's cause they learn English a lot later which gets me thinking, how do they survive when going on holidays? You can't speak Jap overseas, and mostly English is a universal language, so how do they get around...or maybe they don't travel that much overseas or just join tour groups...

- I think I slightly avoided going to Tokyo because I don't think I could deal with their public transport since it looked so confusing. After trying it first hand, I think it's manageable. The good thing is they have a letter and number assigned to each station, so can talk about a station without knowing the name with each other in different languages.
- I see Tokyo Metro as the cheaper subway with more destinations, but JR as a circle which goes to all the tourist destinations but more expensive. We got these cards which you could go on Tokyo Metro unlimited for only $6 a day, pretty cheap since Tokyo public transport isn't cheap. Only some destinations we took JR.
- Not many stations actually have barriers before boarding the trains. More JR, a lot less Tokyo Metro and only the big stations had a floor to ceiling barrier. Some had half, but most stations I went had no barriers

- Food was amazing! I would go again for the food. Didn't even have sushi that much, like only 2 meals out of a hundred...Savouries or sweets, I will go back one day....
- Although the inventor of MSG is a Jap person, Japanese aren't afraid to use it. They just know how to use the right flavours plus MSG, especially in sauces.
- So many Michelin restaurants which are affordable. Luckily I didn't watch MasterChef cause then I would have an unaffordable list of restaurants to go to.
- I didn't even spend that much money until the airport when I saw all those Jap snacks and cakes such as LeTAO and raw royce chocs which pretty much only survive for 4 hours, the perfect flight times back to HK, but way too long to survive back to Aus.
- Will be posting more food pics on instagram

Taipei, Taiwan:
- My friends won't joking about the humidity. You walk outside and just sweat like crazy like you're showering. I've never sweater that much in my whole life. Singapore, Malaysia etc doesn't compare with Taiwan. Shirt was wet which seeped into my backpack. You get used to it after a while. You try to find somewhere like a 7 eleven to sit and cool off in air con, then once you rest a bit, then you step outside and sweat like crazy, then repeat and try to find air con.
- Shopping centres are rare, didn't even go in one.
- No shame in using my UV proof umbrella in the sun. I got so tanned after a week in Taiwan.
- Their subway is quite easy to use. Most of them had barriers before boarding the train.
- I feel so filthy rich in Taiwan when buying food. Food was alright, but not as great, and not as many varieties. I think my favourite thin was mango shaved ice tbh. Not a big fan of deep fried stuff, but still tried it anyway.
- Was worried I would get food poisoning so when I did go to the 'small stores' it was recommended by a friend.
- I won my first ever toy from a claw machine! Then from a lucky drawer I won an even bigger soft toy. Jap claw machines are more rigged/harder imo.
- I probably won't go Taiwan any time soon. It's good to see, just not in summer, and didn't find food amazing. I just loved the prices.
- It's like a short HK, but with so many scooters, and they drive on the wrong side of the street. The cars turning won't give way to you when you're crossing the road, they just dodge around you...Better than Malaysia I guess since they don't even bother dodging and just head straight towards you...

Hong Kong
- It's like a home away from home for me. Been back here so many times know that I don't need a sim card to make my way around. I had around 2 full days then 4 half days but didn't bother getting a sim card.
- Most people don't like HK cause of the crowds and the streets aren't that clean in comparison, but I do love how they have so many department stores to help find aircon.
- Still had a decent amount there even though my stay was super short. I still haven't really done the famous hikes but it was way too hot/didn't have enough time. It's humid, but it's just bearable.
- I think when I was younger I just took relatives for granted, but now I'm older (and hopefully more mature), making the time to visit grandparents and other relatives. I guess I'm pretty lucky to still have all 4 grandparents. The oldest one is around 94, which is pretty impressive.
- The pressure to get a bf is real lel. Can I just be single 4 lyf?
- I felt that I gained more money than I spent in HK...Yay for Asian culture and red packet giving even if it's not Chinese New Year

Planes
- Never flying cheap planes again. I just wanted a more 'budget' trip this time, and wanted to see how it felt flying a cheap airline. Waste of time and the planes are actually quite noisy. Or maybe A380 was just exceptionally quite and so big that turbulence doesn't really affect it...
- Small cheap planes also fly slower. Eg. syd to sg 8.5hrs then to hk 4hhrs, but flying a non budget airline from hk to syd also just takes 8 hrs. instead of 14+hrs including transit time.
- Landing in Hk, the budget airline plane couldn't find a parking space so just dumped us in the middle of the airport. It was pouring as well and I sat at the back, but that meant that they finally organised some ponchos for us to walk down the stairs onto the tarmac to transfer to an airport bus, then transfer to the regular in airport subways to make it to the immigration part.
- Japan airline has the best plane food!

Before you ask, yeah, I do use my savings for food and travel. I'm pretty good at saving, but I save for holidays and once I'm overseas, I spend without giving too much of a 2nd thought.

Wow, these thoughts were a lot more extensive than my Europe post...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cafe del Mar

A relatively fancier dinner for a group catch up. As you would expect, restaurants at Darling Harbour with views and nice decor ain't cheap, but thanks to Dandelion for finding a voucher for us to use (ended up being around half price). I've been here before, but mainly at the balcony for some drinks and finger food. I remember the inside was really pretty and that hasn't changed, When step inside, it's sort of like an indoor trapeze with fancy lighting and decor. It's more formal dining, so lighting inside was pretty crap (soz for blurry photos). Also, didn't focus some properly since everyone was starving so didn't check if I took my photos properly lol.

 


they have so many types of fancy chairs


It’s expected touristy places like this restaurant in Darling Harbour isn’t cheap and portions were small, but it was pretty decent quality. Loved the decor with big chairs and relatively bigger tables.


food spread


We ordered from the a la carte menu, so we could share and try more dishes.

Squid was deep fried well with a good batter and not chewy on the inside. Really flavourful, and I have to admit the chilli did help elevate the dish to give it an extra kick. Lovely creaminess from the aioli.

yeah, I take photos of bread+olive oil+vinaigrette

Torched blue mackarel, spanner crab salsa, paprika aioli-$26

Mackerel had so many elements, each were delicious individually, as well as together. Yes, it is pricey for a few pieces, but the flavours really came through with the paprika and salsa, without having a super salty mackerel.


Angalotti of house made ricotta, pea, egg yolk, asparagus and hazelnut-$22

This pasta was cooked well, I just wished there was more filling. Used some bread on that sauce.



 
Titania chestnut fed pure bred bresaola (50g)-$18

I don’t normally order this stuff, but it sounded interesting on the menu. I can’t really judge it apart from it’s not as salty or taste ass artificial as the stuff from the supermarket delis.

   

Rabbit 2 ways, sweetbread ravioli, boudin blanc-$28

Tbh, wasn’t really sure what the 2 ways this rabbit was cooked. Both ways didn’t over cook the meat or made it tough/dry, This isn’t on the menu anymore.

We ordered 2 mains, since there were more vegetarian options in entrees, and entrees are cheaper so can try more things lel.

 
Confit Saltbush lamb belly, ricotta gnudi, summer greens, black garlic-$36

Lamb was so tender and loved the sauce with it, perfectly seasoned.

Brulée cannelloni of ricotta and mint, pumpkin toffee, zucchini flower-$26

This was one of our favourites. The filling was so delicious, wrapped in a nice thin pasta sheet. Again, wished there was more. I love zucchini flowers, and these ones had a light batter with a creamy filling. That ricotta filling had just the right creaminess, and the slight toffee flavour really highlighted the sweetness of the pumpkin. 

White polenta, grana padano-$12

Polenta chips were just a tad bit dry on the inside, but did have nice crisp. Would have liked more cheese sprinkled on top. I looooved the truffle mash, mainly because you could actually see and taste the truffle.

Truffled mash-$10

The mash was smooth and not grainy (not the smoothest I've ever had, but better tham your average mash). Did go a bit harder once it went cold from the butter, but I highly recommend ordering this side. Probably the best truffle mash I’ve had (not that I’ve had a lot, but I would imagine this one to be near the top).



open kitchen



inside bar


Cafe Del Mar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Grounds of Alexandria Take 4

It's sort of become tradition that we take our overseas relatives here I'm sure I've been here more than 4 times, but according to my blog it's my 4th time here. This place has expanded so much since my last visit. They are slowly taking over the other factories/warehouses, and using that space for markets on weekend or parking on weekdays. I didn't realise they had more parking next door, and drove into the main carpark, then where the old Salt Meats Cheese shop used to be for parking. Apparently it's easier to find parking on weekends since all the offices car parks and street parking are emptier from people not working there, but still crowded at the cafe...
  

Capp-$4

Still one of my favourite coffees in Sydney, despite the not average $3.50 a cup price.


drinks

           


Deconstructed Mocha-$7.5


First time having one of these deconstructed drinks. Yes, they are overpriced and you do make it yourself, but it's fun for the novelty. Pour in the coffee into the melted choc, then add in the frothed milk, top with sprinkles.


Chai Latte-~$6
Icy Latte: seasonal brewed coffee cold whipped milk-$7

The iced chai latte had a good hit of chai, the chai with spice rather than just being sweet. Icy latte was a bit sweeter than normal coffee, but a bit light because of the whipped milk. 

 
food spread


House Smoked Salmon on Brioche with charred kale, a soft cooked egg and hollandaise-$18


This looked quite interesting irl. Good amount of salmon on a lovely soft brioche. Loved the charred kale was a slightly crispy texture.


Grounds Brekkie Bowl: spinach, cucumber, avocado, other grains, hazelnuts, eggs, some dressing-$19


This is a seasonal salad, so I don't remember exactly what was in it, but it tasted very fresh. The metal bowl just reminds me of Korean restaurants...


Our Signature Avocado : Avocado, heirloom tomato, feta, pomegranate, za’atar, with The Grounds sourdough-$18


There's a lot more toppings added like pomegranate and za'atar, and more toppings added compared to when I had it last time. Not complaining. There's that bottom spread of avo, then even more slices of avo on top, yas to avocado toast and no home deposit.


The Grounds Big Brekkie: Serrano ham, smoked tomatoes, baby peppers, chorizo, roast pumpkin, avocado, poached eggs, labne and sourdough toast-$22


Another good favourite to share, although this does look a bit smaller than last time.

Maple Glazed Kassler Ham with tempura sweet potato & pickle sauce-$22


Interesting combo using some tempura. The ham was a bit on the saltier side rather than sweet. Yay for more poached eggs.


The ‘Ground’ Burger: Ground beef brisket, cheese, lettuce, dill cornichon and mayo on a toasted brioche bun, served with crunchy battered chips-$22


This has definitely shrunk in size, but the flavours remain the same. Love their mayo and crunchy chips. We even ordered an extra side of chips because they were definitely crunchy with good amount of potato inside.

Skillet pie-$23

I think this had slow cooked beef and pastry was nice and thin yet not too flaky. They have another pie now, but this sort of stuff worth having outside since can't make that pastry at home.


 

private room which you can see into the people making desserts



decor which like sitting in a rustic kitchen





 

6 for $36 or $7 each (from memory)
Pistachio olive oil, strawberry tart, raspberry cake + macarons, lime meringue tart, raspberry polenta cake with figs, Paris brest


The lime was was actually quite sour. I think we all loved the one with pistachio and the cake with figs. Really can't go wrong with taking some cakes home.



Red Velvet-$12


It was topped with fresh fruits such as half a fig, raspberries and a macaron shell. It's a decent size and definitely share it around. I think it's one of my favourite red velvets ever. I'm not a fan of cream cheese icing, but this was the first one which was actually not sweet. The cake itself had some raspberries jelly/sauce/actual fruit pieces, so more sour than that heavy, dense, chocolate red velvet flavour. Highly recommend.





Kevin Bacon is now so fat


Also apparently they now have some baby goats just last week, so time for another visit (just also need to check out The Grounds of the City first). The animals are perfect when taking infants here to see something different and an atmosphere not really found in Asia.

     

until next time


The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato