Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pho Flinders, Melbourne CBD

I randomly stumbled across this place when I ventured across to the other side of the city looking for food. It’s one of the few casual sit down eateries near the corner of Little Collins and Elizabeth Street, that was still open for dinner. I was surprised to find it there amongst the cheap retail stores, fast food outlets and convenience stores.
The customers are a mix of passing pedestrians, nearby workers and a handful of loyal customers judging by their familiarity with the menu.
Pho Flinders has another location, *drumroll*, on Flinders Street. However the Elizabeth store must be a franchisee store or the business has been recently sold, because the man behind the counter had no idea what he was doing, although he was trying very hard.

I got two rice dishes, a few rice paper rolls and a snack to take away. The food isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. The sauces were flavourful, and the dishes were tasty enough however my grilled chicken steak wasn’t crispy at all and the tofu and vegie stir fry didn’t contain the freshest ingredients.  Such things are perhaps slightly easier to overlook since the prices are more Springvale than Melbourne CBD. However, I don’t have many strong reasons to revisit.

Pho Flinders on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Espresso Extraction, East Melbourne

Having to catch the tram by myself in the morning is my least favorite part about staying out of the city, in the faraway suburb of East Melbourne.
Some days I’m late for the tram, and  I miss it. Some days the tram is too early for me, and I miss it. Other days, I’m early for the tram and I have to wait. So most days, I don’t even bother consulting the timetable before I leave the apartment and I find myself in one of the above scenarios anyway.
And that’s before I even get on one of those painfully packed boxes. On those days when I miss the tram, and see it clambering past as I’m rushing out the building, powerwalking along the footpath, impatiently punching the traffic lights, or frantically crossing the intersection, I would hang my head low in utter defeat and venture towards Espresso Extraction for a pick me up.
The coffees here are not fancy, but they are wholesome and full bodied. They also have a traditional breakfast menu as well as pies and sandwiches and cakes and pastries. In this age where cool reigns supreme, it’s nice to see that this shop of yesteryears is still surviving.
After my morning dose of caffeine and sugar, I tend to feel less frustrated when I struggle to climb aboard, struggle to step on let alone touch on, and struggle to find sense with the inefficient allocation of space inside the tram.
Even on those days when I’m not confronted with the heart wrenching trauma of seeing a tram pass me by, and I merely have to contend with the task of waiting, I can’t help but get frustrated. There is something about intrinsically wasteful about waiting which makes me think I’m later than I actually am. This morning, I had to wait 6 minutes for the tram, during which time I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. When I actually got to the office, there was hardly anyone else about and the rest of the team strolled in about a good 10-15 minutes after my ungracefully hurried stampede into the building.  
Espresso Extraction on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 26, 2015

Koko Black

I was extended an invitation to try out Koko Black’s latest summer menu and visited the Collins Street salon with J. J had confessed of her obsession with Koko Black many times, so I knew that I had a knowledgeable expert with me in tow. Her general love for desserts also armed her with extra credentials to review the new menu.
We arrived a few hours ahead of our scheduled appointment because I actually had a high tea session to attend in the afternoon.
The staff were happy enough to accommodate us and ran us through the new additions as well as some old favourites.
It was very very difficult to choose our orders as there were so many tantalising options on the menu. After much agonising analysis, debate, and contemplation, we decided on a Mango Spectacular, the Salted Caramel Delice and a Belgian Mousse. J sensibly ordered a tea so as to counteract the sweetness, and the staff generously brought me a Hot Chocolate Affogato.
The vanilla bean ice cream that featured in these desserts was an absolute standout in terms of flavour, texture and taste. Of the desserts, my favourite was the Mango Spectacular followed closely by the Salted Caramel Delice. The coconut crumble in the Mango Spectacular was addictively crunchy and I felt similarly about the gooey dollops of crunchy caramel toffee at the centre of the Salted Caramel Delice.
Thanks again to BeKnown and Koko Black for such a wonderfully indulgent experience.

Koko Black on Urbanspoon


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