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Thursday, 19 April 2007

Happy Belated Easter!!

I haven't had such fun for a long time!

I rushed into Easter with all these things that I had planned to do, and ended with a whole line-up of other events... Surprisingly, because of these events I have some of the most unforgettable moments that I will store for the rest of my life...

This Easter break started with a warm Thursday evening out with friends, which I have already blogged. We went to Omah's and had great desserts. It is always enjoyable to catch up with friends over good wine and good food.

For Easter Good Friday, we went out for my Sister-In-Law’s birthday with Michael's family at Sung's Kitchen near the Victoria Market. This is the quirkiest Chinese restaurant that I've been to. The decoration is bright without being unbearable. There was a lot of pastel orange being used. It felt like someone's dining room that so happens to look out on to a side street. If you reserve a table, you will be greeted with a cute little handicraft reservation tab with your name on it. Then there are the bonsai plants, lovingly grown by the owner, that welcomes you on each table. I would have loved to show you photos of what we ate but just didn't think of it at the time. Here is a run down on what we ordered:

Double-Boiled Chicken Wonton Soup
Rare Beef Fillet with Vegetables
Cantonese Braised Duck with Bakchoi
Chili Atlantic Crabs
Garlic stir-fried Chinese Broccoli
Red Bean Fried Pancake

Sesame pearls in Almond Broth
Pumpkin Sticky Rice Cake (Complimentary)

Most of the dishes were very tasty, especially the ones highlighted in purple. Sung’s also has very interesting teas available. We ordered a delicious jasmine pearl tea, which was very aromatic and calming. They also have a wide range of Asian rice wine, if you’re walking home. Yumcha is available as well.

On Saturday morning, two girlfriends, their little girls and I had brunch at Sail on the Bay on Elwood Park... Unfortunately, with the kids in tow we were told off that we were making too much noise - Oops! The breakfast is ordinary ( I even found a small piece of egg shell in my poached eggs :( ) but the view is fantastic. I had so much fun playing on the beach with the girls… They are just adorable… I get to practice my limited Japanese with them as well. Great teachers!
Saturday Brunch at Elwood Park

After that, I began my preparation for my Taiwanese dinner at home. Three friends were coming over to taste my home cuisine. Thankfully, I am less nervous than before about cooking for people. I guess my confidence is growing.

My Taiwanese Menu

Taiwanese Grilled Garlic Sausages
Steamed Salmon Fillet with Skin
Garlic and Ginger Baby Spinach
Tempura Shitake Mushrooms with Tetsuya's Truffle Salt
Egg, Spring Onion and Seaweed Soup
Chili Soya Pipies

Gulf Station Pinot Noir 2006 (Provided by Dave)
Spare - Salty Egg Stir-Fried Prawn Butterflies (too much food so I cooked it to save for M and my dinner on Sunday.

The tempura shitake mushrooms with Tetsuya’s truffle salt was the outstanding dish if I say so myself! The trick is to use a mix of plain flour and okonomiyaki flour mix, cooled in the fridge. Also dip the mushrooms in corn starch before dipping into the batter, this will allow the corn starch to absorb any water in the mushrooms so you won’t get splatter.

Late late Sunday brunch was at Mart 130. I love this place, so easy to get to and so many parking spaces. Time just passes so slow in Mart 130. I swear we spent about 3 hours there having breakfast, waiting for our friends to arrive, watching them eat and chit-chat. After we filled our belly, we headed off to Monards to see what watch bargains we could find. Unfortunately, for Michael, the watches that he wanted were snapped up minutes after we arrived. “Well,” I reassured him “if there are so many people who have the watch, then it’s not that special after all, isn't it”.

Sunday Brunch at Mart 130

After having nothing to buy… we headed off to Yarra Valley for Bella Vedre at Badger’s Brook. Although we were too late for lunch, we met the owner of Cafe Di Stasio who suggested that we go to Medhurst, a new winery and cafe created by Mr. Wilson and his family.

Before Medhurst, we stopped off at Coldstream Winery to buy our Limited Reserve Pinot Noir and Reserve Merlot. Both wonderful treats for special occasions.

At Medhurst, we had long chats with Mr. Wilson about each wine on offer and we had a lovely afternoon "tea" there with olives, toasted turkish bread, smooth blue cheese, camerbert, chedder, crackers, capsicum and pine nuts spread, and BLT sandwich. Having enjoyed such wonderful hospitality, we bought seven bottles of wine, every one exquisite and made with passion and attention to detail.

Monday morning was the long-awaited yumcha with my girlfriends at Tai Pan Chinese Restaurant. My goodness.. What have I been missing going to the city places for yumcha. There were so many yumcha dishes that I haven’t had for ages and they are absolutely divine! Bring on the turnip pastry, bring on the steamed turnip cake, and bring on the silken sweet tofu with rock sugar and ginger syrup! In the end, the bill came to just under $20 per person - what a bargain! Thinking of going every week, LOL.

Instead of Sunday night, because they had other commitments, we went to Michael’s parents’ house on Monday. We were told in advance that we were having home-made Vietnamese spring rolls, which we rolled ourselves. The condiment was sweetened fish sauce (ngoc nam) with crushed and roasted peanuts. Delicious! Ending a long weekend with a warm and full stomach.

Monday Yumcha at Tai Pan / Home-Made Vietnamese Rice Rolls Dinner

Sung’s Kitchen

1180 Franklin Street
03 9329 2636

Food: Interesting Mix-Region Chinese Cuisine
Top Dish: Double-Boiled Chicken Soup
Atmosphere: Cozy and colourful
Service: Friendly and attentative.
Booking: Essential especially for dinner.

Sails On the Bay
15 Elwood Foreshore
03 9525 6933

Tai Pan Chinese Restaurant
239 Blackburn Rd
Doncaster East
03 9841 9977

Food: Quality Cantonese Cuisine
Top Dish: White Turnip Pastry for Yumcha
Atmosphere: Noisy and crowded
Service: Efficient
Booking: Recommended (especially for yumcha)

Mart 130
107a Canterbury Road
Middle Park
03 9690 8831

Food: Variety of Australian Breakfast
Top Dish: Corn Frittas with Avocado salsa
Atmosphere: Country Cottage / Playschool
Service: Friendly and helpful
Booking: Not essential

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