Tuesday, 16 September 2008

din tai fung @ world square, city

So at long last, J&I managed to get ourselves a table at Din Tai Fung up at World Square. I can't even count the number of times we've been outside the place and was turned away by the queue! There was still a queue this time but shorter - we were eating at close to 8pm on a Thursday night so I guess the majority of the crowd had come and gone; so just a 15 minute wait which wasn't too bad - during which we decided on what we were eating and marked on our order form (so that as soon as we sat down we just handed it over).

I suppose we did jump the queue a little by opting to sit at a shared table. This shared table ended up being a table of 4 pairs of people at each corner of a round table that probably would've seated about 10/12. We were hungry and the fact that we were sitting with randoms didn't really bother us too much.

Prawn Siu Mai. So cute but gobbled up so quickly!
Sweet & Sour Soup which came in a bottomless bowl. I probably had about 3 bowls of this, J probably 5? I still think it was better value than the small size which was just a tiny bowl and cost more than half the price of this big one.
Din Tai Fung's infamous 'Xiao Long Baos' which you can watch being made at the restaurant's front windows. The skin that encased the filling wasn't too thick nor too thin but also held within it a dollop of soup filling which I've read is what the best xiao long baos should have. Mmm...tasty!
This was the Peanut Flavoured Noodle which is a tad on the heavy side but still very tasty.

'Tantanmen' is meant to be another traditional Chinese dish. Din Tai Fung seem to have adopted a new take on this dish - the flavours were definitely different, usage of ingredients was also very different to any other tantanmen I've had before.
Taro Spring Rolls for dessert - yum!

What I found really spectacular about this place was the speed of service and how polite/attentive all the waiters were. Whilst we were there, the restaurant was at full capacity but it was a matter of minutes that our food started to arrive. Dirty/empty plates were promptly cleared. We weren't even chasing and they noticed how long our dessert was taking and chased the kitchen up themselves (after looking at our docket). I was impressed!

Admittedly, I echo other's sentiments that it is a little on the pricey side but definitely a place still worth trying. I picked up one of their business cards and was actually quite surprised to find the number of outlets they have across the globe and a good majority of them are in Japan. Wow!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

the great bagel company @ mac. centre

Mac Centre is generally where you'll find me on a weekend when I need to head to the shops and can't be bothered going far. It's not a bad shopping centre and really, I love it for the fact that it's so close and I actually manage to park in the carpark without too many dramas. More recently, I've loved it for the new retailers they've brought in and some of my fave stores are within easy reach - including T2, T2 teahouse, Borders and a fave of late, The Great Bagel Company for bagels!

This particular weekend, J&I decided to have bagels for lunch and managed to squeeze ourselves into a booth with the comfy cushion seats. Yay!
The best Blueberry Smoothie in the world! J reckons it matches my top. hmmm...
I had the BLAT Bagel with a serve of onion rings. The onions rings don't look like much but they were so addictively sweet and tasty; and were grabbed by the handfuls that it didn't take very long to finish.
J's Burger Bagel with Curly Fries. Loved both! (Yes, I eat not only my serve but J's too when we go out and eat - he also has a bit of mine)

Some retail therapy after our bagels. Found the panda bin at Howard's Storage World! It's so cute that I haven't been able to bring myself to use it. Finally resolved to buying a tin of English Breakfast @ T2 - was spending way too much money during the week getting it at Bourke St. bakery en route to work.
Back to bagels, there's actually quite a few on their menu to try. Not only that, they've actually got quite a lot of drinks, breakfast items, soups in a bun and so forth - it's not just about bagels! Been here twice now and so far, so good. Prices are reasonable and the meal is definitely more enjoyable when you grab yourself a booth.

makoto @ liverpool st., sydney

This was another one of those Thursday night dinners which to be honest, I actually quite enjoy - more or less it's the lead up to the weekend; just another day at work before 2 days off. Ok... maybe when I get home late I'm a little cranky on Friday esp. when there's still a lot of work to get through and I haven't had much sleep but nonetheless, there's a nice vibe happening on Thursday night with people out at the shops and like myself, hungrily anticipating the weekend and heralding it with a nice meal.

It'd been awhile since I'd been to Makoto in the city. Actually, after the first time waiting in a queue to get in (and be it either the city or Chatswood store), I just didn't think it was worth it. There's always places nearby where I can get a table straight away and really, I don't think it's worthwhile to wait that long for food. On the occasion, I will make the exception but I just think that we're you've been stuck in a queue forever, the minute you sit down, obviously the food will taste good but you're also chomping down on the food without really tasting it. On this particular Thursday night - my stomach was hungry for Jap and I was prepared to wait the 15 minutes to get a seat.

There weren't that many photos from the meal. Here's one at the end of it - the plate of sushi J picked off the train...it had a scallop on top and was extremely tasty! I was actually very impressed with the variety of sushi they had that night. See all the dishes stacked up for proof!!
Green Tea Brulee (massive) which came with a sizeable scoop of Black Sesame Ice Cream - not so sure about the big pieces of fruit on the side; they were a little odd. We also had the Strawberry Daifuku which unfortunately went into my mouth before I remembered the camera.
J digging in.
If only Thursday night dinners could be a weekly do! Unfortunately, getting home after dinner does suck a little - it's really not that convenient and taxis are completely out of the question. The taxi ride home for both of us would be equivalent to the meal itself! Anyway, looking forward to the next Thursday night dinner (and yes, I do eat other things not just Jap!)

Saturday, 13 September 2008

dralion + bavarian bier cafe @ entertainment qtr.

This year's Cirque du Soleil performance 'Dralion' was unquestionably remarkable - with the added humour/comedy thrown in throughout that made the show not just spectacular but also entertaining to watch. There was more of a focus on the main acts, less happening in the background (which was a key feature of last year's 'Vareqai') and needless to say, unexpected acts which leave most gaping in awe. Mind you, we were almost tricked into believing that they had pulled someone out of the audience to make fun of them on stage (he ended up being part of the cast!!)

The Cirque Du Soleil Tents.
Myself and M.

After the show, we had dinner just next door - Bavarian Bier Cafe. It's advisable to make a booking as people started queueing up trying to get a table and most were turned away if they hadn't made a booking.

Myself, M and the beers - I should've known better but still insisted on ordering the Lychee beer (one of the 'Ladies' Beers on offer' - J ended up sculling the last half of it cause he didn't want to waste it but man, it was one sweet beer!).
J pretending to be the man that's in the logo on the schooner. I think they look alike!
The Munich Brewers Platter - essentially a tasting platter of all the favourites on their menu. Given we had 2 entertainment cards that entitled us to buy one, get one free - all four of us went for the platter (which is the most expensive main on the menu). Funny moment was when we ordered and had the waitress ask us, 'Are you sure? That's a lot of food.' (We were to find out soon afterwards...)
Group Snap.

Now that I think of it, I should've taken an after shot where we were all holding our stomaches and leaning against the back of the seats trying to breathe. You see... probably a quarter of the way through my platter, I was loosening up my jacket belt, 1/2 the way my movements had started to slow and really, 3/4 of the way I had eaten more than I should've (yet I pushed on and managed to get the plate down to a few scraps . I mean, we had been well warned in advance that there was going to be a lot of food - so strictly it wasn't completely unexpected (and well...now I know better and I probably won't be going back to order the platter unless I'm really really hungry).

And how nice is it that shops at the Entertainment Quarter are open till late?! After dinner it was a little bit of retail therapy and walking off the extra calories before we called it a night.

sushiya @ victoria ave., chatswood

The highlight of this evening were some GM sized pieces of sushi and the lady at the next table (who was with her family) kindly telling us that we might've ordered a bit too much food (erm...it was only 5 dishes?). Not that I took offence to the latter - as throughout the meal, we did occasionally talk across tables about how pretty the dishes are presented and what a lovely meal it was. I gather that she was a fellow foodie.

What I call the GM sized pieces of sushi - Look at it in proportion to my face! Perhaps a little too much rice but it did also mean very large pieces of salmon sashimi to top them.
One of their specials which the lady at the next table took interest in once it got to our table. It was a Smoked Salmon Roll topped with Capers and fresh Mango pieces. It does sound a little strange when you read it on the menu but it's not bad - the word to describe the taste I'd say is 'refreshing'.It was the arrival of the 'Sushiya' Hotpot that the lady next to us commented on how much food we'd ordered. This was the last thing to come and both J&I were a little shocked - the hotpot was only $25 and could've feeded 4 in itself. J claims he ate about half a chicken.

Needless to say, we were stuffed afterwards - and whilst I'd been perusing the dessert menu for the entire night (they have some nice desserts there!), I really couldn't fit it in. That second stomach I usually have for desserts was full and wasn't going to let me eat anymore. Boo! Next time!