Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tao's, Bulleen

Tao’s has an unique philosophy centred around fusion. At its core, the place appears to be Taiwanese, especially with its Chinese name, Oriental style décor, and menu containing Chinese characters. But it’s really a Taiwanese restaurant serving Japanese food, with French, Pan-Asian, and local Australian influences.  

It was a the perfect venue for T to have dinner with my parents (for the very first time). The menu provided T with plenty of semi-familiar dishes, just as it provided Mummy and I with a few novel combinations to ooh and ahh over. My dad, being cool the way he is, had actually recommended the venue. Perhaps because of its wide appeal, it’s also a popular choice for doing business and he had visited quite a few times previously.

Dad put us all on the banquet menu which gave us the option to choose an entrée, main and desert each. This is in contrast to most Chinese banquets where dishes are ordered to be shared amongst the table. I giggled a little at the fact that a standard three course menu was being marketed as a banquet menu to inspire patrons to observe a Western sequence and style of dining.









Tao's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ayam Chef, Southbank

Ayam Chef is located underneath a block of modern apartments on a side street, off St Kilda road. The side street is called Conventry St and the local area is classified as South Bank. Not South Melbourne. As we discovered by mistake, there is certainly a slightly larger Conventry St in an area classified as South Melbourne, less than 5 minutes away by car.

When we finally got to Ayam Chef, we were 30mins late for our intended booking, but they were still nice enough to have kept our table free. Dinner service was in full swing and the restaurant was almost full, and there were a few people loitering around waiting for takeaway.

The brightly lit interior, and the bright green furnishings give the place a really fresh feel, and with a little imagination, it almost felt like being in a neighbourhood shop in Petaling Jaya.

The menu featured many classics and most of my favourites, including coconut butter prawns, which I couldn’t resist ordering. However, with T in tow, I was glad to see that it also had a few Pan-Asian dish that would be more familiar to him.

Beyond appeasing T, I also thought this was a smart menu decision by Ayam Chef given its location in a culturally diverse neighbourhood where residents will have varying levels of familiarity with Malaysian and Asian cuisine.




For T, I ordered the san choi bao, and a homemade tofu dish topped with stri fry. Also, I was momentarily distracted in my perusal of the menu by a sizzling platter which whizzed past us, and as I always relish any chance to feed T red meat, I ordered some Cantonese beef for us as well.

Now let me pause here in my narrative to clarify something. Couple of things actually, the first being that we had been invited to dine as guests of Ayam Chef. But more importantly, we didn’t actually embark on an Herculean task of devouring an entrée and 3 main sized dishes between the two of us. Against my innate gluttonous tendencies, I asked for half serves, as I didn’t want to waste their food.

The service was efficient in the way that Asian restaurants can be, and we got our food in no time! Everything was fantastic, and I was especially thrilled with my coconut butter prawns which were golden and crunchy on the outside, and sweet and succulent within, with just a hint of creamy richness.






Ayam Chef on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Next of Kin, Elsternwick

Really new and really well designed, this cafe is nestled amongst a stretch of shops along Glenhuntly Rd, just before the Kooyong intersection. Next door are older shop fronts which stoically remained shut on a Sunday. 

It's definitely the new kid on the block, but it is in a good location, and has already built up a following. It's strategically located in the middle of a high dense residential area, and just beyond the hectic stretch of Glenhuntly Rd, which means that there is ample street parking nearby. Otherwise, there is always the trusty tram route 67 which stops almost at its doorstep.


Inside, the cafe has been decorated in a pretty cool kind of way with plenty of white space to showcase a bold clash between black and blue, bolstered the slightly edgy copper / bronze feature pieces.


I was quite taken with the menu, and especially the drinks. So much that I ordered three different drinks to make up my 3-course liquid breakfast. The cold brew with its mild flavours was refreshing and palate cleansing. I liked the addition of ice cubes, and relished the fact that refills were free. I counted the denser acai berry smoothie as my main, with its plethora of nutritious ingredients and sweet undertones. Finally, I had to have a Mork hot chocolate as my dessert. After I first tasted them, I vowed to myself that I would always order a cup if I saw them on the menu. The rationale behind this being that it is too dangerous to stock this in my home pantry thus I should reward myself whenever I get the chance.


Next of Kin on Urbanspoon

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