Sunday, 27 May 2012

Review - Sambal Kampung

17th February 2012

Sambal Kampung
234 Little Bourke Street,

Cuisine: Malaysian, Chinese

Taste Rating: 8/10   Value Rating: 7.5/10

Sambal Kampung on Urbanspoon

We went for a quick lunch on a Friday, arriving at about 12.30 pm. The place was almost full but we managed to get a table. The dining area was fairly small. The ambience was dark but not unappealing.

We ordered Chef's Special Fried Noodle ($9.00), Fried Kueh Teow ($9.00) and Home Made Pan Fried Dumplings ($9.00 for 10). As it was a last minute decision to drop into this place, we were pleasantly surprised by how nice the food was and it vindicated our decision to eat here.

The Chef's Special Fried Noodle was really tasty vermicelli with noodles prawns, fishcake, calamari and vegetables, although it was a bit too oily. The Fried Kueh Teow with flat noodles, prawns, fishcake and clams was great - not too oily and had a good balance of flavours. We found the dumplings a bit sweet but otherwise the minced pork, prawn and chives filling was tasty.

On the whole, a good place to go to for Malaysian food that is delicious. The prices for the hawker style dishes were reasonable. We will definitely go back again.

Front of the Restaurant

Chef's Special Fried Noodle
Fried Kueh Teow

Chef's Special Fried Noodles

Fried Kueh Teow

Home Made Pan Fried Dumplings

Home Made Pan Fried Dumplings

Nice Cover on the Takeaway Menu

Monday, 21 May 2012

Review - India Delights

18th February 2012
(Addition: 21st April 2012)

India Delights
59 Mahoneys Road,
Forest Hill

Cuisine: Indian, Malaysian, Asian

Taste Rating: 7.5/10   Value Rating: 8/10

India Delights on Urbanspoon

We went for a late lunch on a Saturday, arriving at 2.40 pm. There were a few tables of diners even though it was way past lunch time. This place had opened just three months ago. The owner and the chef were previously from Rich Maha in Vermont.

If driving from Canterbury Road into Mahoneys Road, keep driving past the restaurant and there is a quiet car park on the left. There is the larger Forest Hill Shopping Centre car park opposite the restaurant, however, it may be harder to find a parking spot during busy Saturday lunch times.

We ordered  Chicken Biryani which was one of the weekend specials and Keow Teow Goreng. We also ordered a couple of takeaways - Mee Goreng and Thai Mee Siam.

Chicken Biryani is typically an Indian subcontinent dish but it is also popular in Malaysia and Singapore where it is called Nasi Biryani or Nasi Beriani;  'nasi' being the Malay word for rice. Keow Teow Goreng is another Malaysian and Singaporean dish, usually known as Char Koay Teow or Char Kway Teow; 'char' means fried and 'koay teow/kway teow' refers to the flat rice noodles used in this dish. Mee Goreng is a popular dish in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore; 'mee' means noodles and 'goreng' means fried. Mee Siam is a Thai dish (Siam being the old name for Thailand).

The Chicken Biryani was served in a metal thali (Indian serving dish divided into compartments). There were portions of rice, chicken curry, achar (pickles), yoghurt and a hard boiled egg in the middle of the dish. I liked the rice which had a wonderful spicy flavour. The chicken was juicy and the curry gravy tasty. I liked the addition of a hard boiled egg, which goes well with the curry gravy. The serve was generous and good value for $9.00.

The Keow Teow Goreng was a small serve, when compared to Malaysian restaurants in general. It did taste nice, with the bean sprouts having a crunch to them. Green vegetables were a nice touch and though not normally an ingredient in this dish, the additional ingredient was to my liking.

The two takeaways were eaten at home later. Travelling home in takeaway containers, they were slightly soggy from the steam but the taste was still fine. The Mee Goreng was yellow noodles with prawns, tomato pieces and an Asian lime which I really liked, instead of a regular lemon wedge. Is this Asian lime called kekla lime or calamansi lime? The Thai Mee Siam was rice noodles with fish cake slices, chicken, carrot strips and also an Asian lime - nice touch.

Overall, this is a very nice, affordable place for Indian food especially the curries. The Malaysian food was not too bad either. I would definitely go back again either to eat in and for takeaways.

21st April 2012
Bought a couple of  takeaways. 
Ikan Kembung (Indian Mackerel) which was marinated in a curry coating (and possibly baked but will check that next time). The fish was slightly dry. It also tasted fishy but this is typical of this type of fish, I believe. Watch out for the tiny fish bones!  The other dish was Malaysian Chicken Curry. This was a nice dish. The curry gravy was tasty - creamy and not too chilli hot, although I wouldn't have minded if it had been hotter. The chicken was tender and flavoursome, and boneless. In general, cut chicken pieces are used in curry chicken. The bones give extra flavour to the gravy. But boneless chicken is less messy to eat!

Front of the Restaurant
(Photo taken May 2012)

Menu Board
There is also a more comprehensive paper menu. 

Steamy Bain-marie
With a mysterious look.

 Cool, Dark Interior
Nice on a hot summer day
 Chicken Briyani
With Boiled Egg, Achar (pickles) and Yoghurt

 Keow Teow Goreng

Mee Goreng
with Asian lime
 Thai Mee Siam
with Asian Lime

 Ikan Kembung (Indian Mackerel)

 Flaked flesh of Ikan Kembung

Malaysian Chicken Curry
with boneless chicken

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Review - Shanghai Dynasty

23rd February 2012

Shanghai Dynasty
Level 1, 206 Bourke St,

Cuisine: Chinese, Shanghai

Taste Rating: 7.5/10   Value Rating: 8/10

Shanghai Dynasty on Urbanspoon

“Wow!” was what I thought when I first entered this restaurant. They have covered every centimetre of this place with opulence. There were chandeliers dripping with crystals, objets d’art, gilded ornaments, ornate furniture, wall to wall and floor to ceiling marble, and richly patterned carpets which matched the chairs and the plates. The main colour scheme was a rich gold which was set off by darker timber and navy colours. The style was Chinese infused with European influences. It was hard to believe that we were actually above a shopping arcade in the Melbourne CBD. Raymond the Maitre D’ had previously worked in Shanghai, China.  Polite and friendly, he showed us around the restaurant which was larger than it appeared from the outside. We kept on walking as room after room of beautifully laid out dining areas was revealed, rather like Alice in Wonderland! There was no shortage of function rooms for business meetings either.

We wanted to check out their “Quick Set Lunch” menus today. The set consisted of entree, dumplings, soup and a main dish for the incredible price of $18 per person (or $22 if a king prawn main dish was selected). The entree was Shanghai Three Cold Platter Entree. The dumplings were Steamed Shanghai Dumplings. The Soup of the Day was a noodle and tofu soup. For mains, we ordered the Sautéed Rockling Fillet with Ginger and the Sliced Beef with Seasonal Vegetables.

The service was excellent fine dining, quietly and efficiently carried out. The food was beautifully presented. The entrees were a cucumber roll, an omelette pork floss roll, and an interesting looking pork and vegetable slice. This third entree item reminded me of a stained glass window – it was a gelatinous slice with pork, broccoli and capsicum, which does not mean much until you look at the photo below. The translucent slice allowed the light to come through, hence my comparison of it with a glass window!

The Shanghai dumplings were very nice. The beef main dish was tender with a light tasting sauce. The fish was a touch too fishy – this, and the lapse in bringing out the rice until requested, were surprising because everything in this place was geared towards perfection. The soup was nice and delicate – with noodle pieces, tofu, beef mince and egg white. The Specials menus do change so check their website for the latest offers.

Overall, a memorable place to dine at, whether with friends or business associates. If you have guests to impress, this restaurant has a definite WOW factor. The atmosphere is quiet and dignified, the surroundings lavish, the food was mostly delicious and very well presented, and the service polite and efficient on the whole. I would go back to try other dishes on the menu.

 Entry to the Restaurant

Part of the Entry area

Maitre D's Desk

 Ornate Clock

Wall of Wine

Corridor to Dining Areas

One of Several Dining Areas

Patterned Dining Plate

Patterned Dining Chair

Chinese Tea 

Quick Set Lunch Menu

Shanghai Three Cold Platter Entree

Translucent Slice like a Window

 Steamed Shanghai Dumplings

 Noodle, Tofu, Beef soup

Sautéed Rockling Fillet with Ginger

 Sliced Beef with Seasonal Vegetables

Door to Function Room

 Dining Area outside A Function Room


Street View from one of the Dining Areas

 Larger Dining Area

Fish Tanks

More Dining Areas

 To Entry

 Hall Stand

Another Function Room

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

William Angliss Institute Bakeshop

Hi Everyone,

I love the Bakeshop at the William Angliss Institute for foods, tourism and hospitality. If you live in Melbourne, this is one of the best places to buy cakes, pastries and bread at an amazing price. These are made by the Patisserie and Bakery students of the William Angliss and sold at the small Bakeshop on campus. I'm surprised that many people in Melbourne have not heard of this place when I mention it to them.

Here is a photo of what I bought today - a box of freshly-made pavlovas and pastries. These are made by cookery students so the shapes are not always consistent or perfect, but the taste is usually good, with fairly good quality ingredients used.

Pavlovas and Pastries

Fresh real cream, meringue with fine yet firm texture

Apricot Cream Bun
Fresh real cream, bun texture is like a cake with syrup

If you have a long way to travel to get there, it is a good idea to ring up the Bakeshop to check what their stock is for that day. What they sell depends on whether, and what, the students are baking that day. Here are other photos taken at the Bakeshop today.

Daily Handwritten Price List

Cream Sponge Cakes, Pavlovas

Cream Sponge Cakes, Eclairs, Danish Pastries

Cakes, Braided French Bread

Cream Sponge Cakes

 Apricot Cream Buns
Mud Cake, Finger Buns, Cup Cakes, Jam Donuts, Cakes, Bread 

Bakeshop Counter

I didn't take a photo of this but there is also a small counter selling meat cuts prepared by students in the Meat Processing (Butchery) course.

Where is the Bakeshop?
     Building D,
     555 La Trobe Street,
     (Corner of La Trobe Street & King Street)

On campus you can also find a bistro and a restaurant where meals are prepared and served by students who are supervised by professional chefs. They have Buffets (3 course) and Special Buffets (all you can eat) several times a year - check their website for dates.

Oh, and MasterChef auditions are held here too.

So, get delicious foods for yourself and your friends. And get a good feeling that you are supporting the William Angliss Students!