Friday, June 29, 2012

Wince's Faves: Gami Chicken & Beer, CBD


How's err'buddy doin'? So today, we're back with another "episode" of the Wince's Faves series (Weee-heeee~~). This time, with......... GAMI!!!!! =)

For all of you who don't know much about Gami, let me enlighten you. To put it simply, the whole restaurant can be summed up in two categories: Korean Fried Chicken. And BEER. Oooooooh mama. And everyone knows that I love Korean food, but this is just a whole different category on its own.

Many months ago when I was still thinking about whether or not to start up a list of my favourite places to eat, Gami was one of the first places that immediately came to mind. I have honestly been here SoOoOoOoOo many times that I'd be crazy not to.

I always find myself coming back for different reasons, different occasions and most of all, different groups of friends. It's because of all these really different reasons why even after all this time, I can honestly say that I still am not sick of it ;p

It really is one of my favourite places to be in Melbourne and a place that's quite special to me. Today, I hope to show you why when it comes to Gami, it really isn't just about the Food.....

Here's a recap of a coupla things that I normally order:

Tteok Bok Ki -- $13
Stir fried rice cakes, fish cakes, vegetables and noodles in gourmet chilli sauce

Fried Dumplings -- $12

I like it when you get glass noodles inside Korean dumplings

Corn Cheese -- $9
Simply corn and cheese


To be brutally honest, you really have NOT been to Gami until you've had their Corn Cheese. Period.

Now, this was a dish that I've seen on the menu many, many times since I started going there but chose to ignore because the description only says "Simply corn and cheese". But then, my friend strongly suggested that I try, no matter how much I protested. I mean, if it's just going to be corn on a cob with some sprinkled cheese, why would I even wanna order that?

Then BAM.

Food hit the table and it was not what I expected at all.


Sweet corn kernels, swimming in a pool of delectable sauce made of mostly evaporated milk, then topped with a generous, unforgiving layer of the goooey-est and yummiest MOZZARELLA cheese that comes piping hot in a hot plate....


It is so good. So, SO good.

One of the most awesomest thing to put in your mouth. For me, this definitely falls under the "Most Awesomely Cheesy" and "Totally Unexpected Eat Your Own Words" category. Too much? I think not.

In plain words, it's just YUMMY.

Korean Style Fried Chicken -- $30
with sweet chilli and sweet soy garlic

First of all, I love it how every one has their own favourite flavour of Chicken at Gami. All completely up to taste and preference. A lot of my friends actually like the Original ones too. As for me, I like em all.

Best thing about Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) is the thick batter they use, which makes it CRUNCHY, not crispy. Just a nice bite, sound and taste. As with other KFCs, I love how they use the whole chicken.

Personally, I just love the sauce, batter and everything. Chicken comes out moist and tastes so good especially when you eat them with your hands. YUM.

Gami House Specialty Beer -- $42
for Oak (4000ml)

As if having the awesome corn cheese and KFC wasn't enough, we LOVE the Beer here too. It's light (but not in the diluted kind of way) and flavoursome. Just all round PERFECT to down it with the KFC.

Let's just say we've ordered so many of the Oaks over the years and still can't get enough. Besides being good, it's just an awesome thing to share with a group seeing as it comes in a "barrel" ;p

Some of the many, MANY group pictures we've taken here over the years... Fun times =)

To sum up, Gami to me is just a GREAT place to have dinner whether you're in a small group or big. Birthday/farewell/end of exam/midnight fried chicken craving/ or just a regular Friday night. I've done it all and many times over. Just a fantastic place to have a good time with your mates, overall.

In terms of just the KFC, some may say they prefer the ones at Hallah, but after being there myself, I honestly like the one at Gami better. Personal preference.

Also, it's convenient to host big party dinners cause they take bookings with no minimum charge and located quite strategically in the CBD. Price is reasonable. AND, they open Late... Which is a HUGE plus for my friends and I, who are always looking for a place to either chill or GO NUTS on weekends. This is why Gami is just as much about the food and beer, as it is the "atmosphere". And almost every group of friends that I have all know and like Gami, that's why we're always coming back with different people.

Heck, you wouldn't even believe the number of times we had Gami Delivery whether it's cause it's exams and we have no time to cook or whether friends and I are just hanging out at my place.

At the end of the day, we're not looking for anything "gourmet" or "fancy", we just want to be care-free . It's just good Korean Fried Chicken and Beer. Don't overcomplicate =)

That's why for me, whenever I have visitors who ask me to take them out for a true "Melbourne Experience", I say GAMI. True "STUDENT" experience in Melbourne, at least. Good food, good friends and lots of good beer. What more could you ask for? ;)

Gami on Urbanspoon Gami on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Premises, Kensington

Hey guys,

How are we doing? Just wanted to apologise and also thank you guys for bearing with me while I was on my mini-hiatus due to exams. And for that, I will be updating this blog more regularly than ever (at least for the next month) and you can expect a fresh new post every few days. I hope you stay tuned...! =)

As some of you may know (from Twitter), I'm now back at my hometown of Kota Kinabalu (in Borneo, Malaysia) for a month. Before I came back, people have been asking me why I'm back in KK again so soon. Especially cause they know I always travel as much as possible with friends during holidays and only come back for Chinese New Year.

Well, the reason for that is just so I can really spend a good amount of time with my family as I'll be graduating and starting work full time next year. Once that happens, I'll be limited to annual leave and won't be able to spend as much time with them like I can now as a student. Guess this is probably the last time that I can do just that. Also, I've really missed playing with my little baby nephew so I'm extremely glad I'm back to see the bub! So here I am, back again, and soaking up as much of the family and food lovin' as I can ;)

ANY-HOO, back to the post. Last year, my friend J and I found ourselves here at The Premises after our initial plan to try out Auction Rooms flopped (as the lines were crazy on a Saturday and it happened to be raining too lol).

So here's a recap of our meal that day...

Soy Piccolo

Soy Piccolo... My dead set coffee of choice for about 2 years now. So much so that I now find normal lattes too weak or diluted now haha.

Anyway, this was good. Pretty decent latte art for a soy (which tends to curdle), let alone a piccolo. But more than that, it had the full body flvaour that I enjoy in coffees.

Hot Salt Beef Roll -- $13.50
(with provolone cheese, hot English mustard and pickled red cabbage)

I liked this. Tasted just like corned beef but with the texture of pulled pork that we're used to. Another good thing was that the whole thing was warm. Bread, beef and all. That aside, the hot English mustard was such a joy because it contrasted everything really well.

Couldn't really taste the red cabbage in comparison to the salted beef and mustard but it did take the appearance to a striking new level. Really generous and meaty dish so was quite full from just eating half. Luckily we shared this between the both of us, haha.

French Toasted Brioche -- $14.50
(with a baked apple, sultana and cinnamon compote & vanilla bean creme anglaise)

BEST thing about this was the custard... Myyyy ohhhhh myyyy... I couldn't stop drowning my toast in it and it's great to see/taste the little specks of vanilla pods in it too. Mmm...

Everything else was alright. But personally, I like my French toasts quite plain and simple. Usually with just poached pears, drizzled with some maple syrup and that's it. But these baked apples are a good substitute for that.

Aren't the classic, old school, rustic "classroom style" tables by the window just awesome? Loved it

To cap it off, the food was alright, not bad. It was nice splitting half a savoury and half a sweet dish between two people. Did it "jump out" enough to make a strong enough impression that will make this place particularly come to mind when someone is asking me to suggest a place for brunch? Not exactly.

But, the overall experience was still pleasant so I wouldn't mind coming back here again with friends who'd like to try =)

Hope you're all doing well and I'll see you guys in a few days with a fresh new blog post! I've got a whole bunch of awesome stuff lined up that I can't wait to share...! =D

The Premises on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dognation, CBD

Tucked away in a small nook in one of Melb's laneways...

I think hotdog stands are one of the "in" things to hit the Melbourne food scene.

Anyone notice the trend that went from macarons (thanks to the likes of Masterchef and La Belle Miette), which led to the creative desserts/pâtisseries (at places like LuxBite or Burch & Purchese) and now, to hotdog stands (what with the increasing popularity of SnagStand, Phat Brats and so on).

But, hey. Not that there's anything wrong with "trends". In fact, I like how it reflects the ever-changing and dynamic nature of the Melbourne food scene.

I first heard about Dognation after seeing several friends post pictures of their signature "Tokyo Dog" on Facebook. The photos were unlike any hotdog that I've seen before and it honestly made me drool... So I went. And have to say... It was GOOD.

Causeway Lane... The little alleyway between Forever New & ANZ Bank on Bourke Street

I had actually been to Dognation twice already with some friends before I received an invitation to come in again to sample more of their products and have a chat with the owner, SL, about their business, products, ideas and so on. Besides just tasting the food, I'm always eager to hear about people's ideas and inspirations behind the dish so this was an opportunity that I happily accepted.

Besides, my first two experiences there were so enjoyable that I'd be CRAZY not to have another go, lol...

Like the arrangement and display. Cute.

Dognation offered a very unique variety of hotdogs inspired by flavours from around the world. BUT, I had my mind set on the Tokyo Dog even before I stepped foot (nyehehe)...

Tokyo Dog -- $8.90
(taken with iPhone)

The Signature Tokyo Dog...!

Beef+Pork Sausage, wrapped in nori seaweed, topped with Miso-flavoured mushrooms, Wasabi mayo, Okonomiyaki (Jap BBQ) sauce and more nori flakes... NOM!!!

I honestly couldn't have imagined a better combo for this Japanese inspired hotdog. Every ingredient was perfect and delicious. I especially liked how even the Wasabi mayo had a "kick" and that they wrapped the entire sausage in seaweed so you can really taste it. Really enjoyed every bite. YUM.

Yeaaaaaahhhhh!!! Can you see the tasty mushroom bits too?!
(taken with iPhone)

A couple of people actually came up to ask us about this hotdog when we were eating this on a bench on Bourke Street... =D

Mexico City Chilli Dog -- $8.90
(taken with iPhone)

Delicious! First, I was quite surprised to find BEANS in my sausage but really enjoyed that. Also, the chilli con carne here itself was reaaally good... Bold, robust and good depth of flavour. Mince was really smooth too. SPOT ON. Heck, I kinda wished that I could have them on their own with a big bowl of pasta. You get the occasional "kick" from the jalapeños too, which was nice.

SO good.

As I was happily tucking away my yummy Mexican Chilli Dog, SL was just telling me about how it took him a long time, but he truly believes that he's finally come up with the perfect recipe for the mash potato and gravy to sell at Dognation.

"Would you like to try?", he asked.

I prolly wouldn't have come across as loopy if I had just waited 1.5 seconds to respond, as any normal person would...

Potato Mash & Gravy -- $2.90

I know that everyone's got their own mashed potato recipe and I've had some really good ones before... But WOW, this was exceptional! The sensation was somewhat unexpected but utterly delicious. Thick, creamy, BUTTERY, well seasoned and with a lingering aftertaste. It brought a smile to my face and I couldn't help but keep taking one spoonful after another until they were all gone... Sigh...

You guys have GOT to try their Mash & Gravy. SO delicious. Won't regret it.

Bionade (from Germany) -- $4.20
Jarritos (from Mexico) -- $4.20

SL also insisted that I take home some of their drinks to try, how nice...

The Elderberry Bionade tasted like a less sweet but carbonated version of Cranberry juice...

The Jarritos, however, I LOOOVED. And can see why it's his favourite too. It had just a nice amount of fizziness and it honestly tasted like REAL mandarins. Nice!!


To sum up, I really enjoyed the meals I've had at Dognation (even before the invite).

EVERYTHING was homemade and delicious. Flavours were great. Bread was warm, crusty yet soft in the middle. Even the sausages were grilled till the skins were snappy while the meat was still incredibly juicy. It tasted very high quality and homemade, as it should.

After talking more to SL, I now see why Dognation is thriving so well. First, they spent a LOT of time in the kitchen to improve all the recipes over and over again until they were completely satisfied with everything. I have to admit, they nailed it.

On top of that, everything was extremely well thought out. From developing each flavour, to making the perfect bread (with their bakery supplier) and sausages (with their butcher) for each product. Was also interesting to hear that even things like bun to sausage ratio or type of sausage casing used had been discussed and continuously improved. Finally, I also liked how intentional they were about having not more than 5 flavours on their menu and also serving MASH instead of your usual fries (to set themselves apart from their competitors)...

Overall, I must say that I really like this place and can totally see myself coming back (again) and recommending people to try... And as I've said before, if you do, please order their mash! ;p

After hearing about some of their potential flavour ideas and promos that they've got in the works, even I can't help but feel excited for them! Let's just say, that they sound seriously interesting and I can't wait. Once again, thank you SL and team at Dognation for the chat and a great meal.

You can find out more about their menu, opening hours and location on their website: HERE

Disclaimer: Winston attended a tasting at Dognation as a Guest. All opinions are honest and based on own personal experience at the time.

Dognation on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Season the Bowl" Steak Recipe

Medium rare steak. Golden, crunchy DUCK FAT potatoes. Simple salad -- SET!

Hey guys,

How are we all doing? Just letting you know that I'm currently in the thick of my exams at the moment so I apologise for the less frequent updates and slower responses on blogs. As we all know, Life is all about balance and priorities so that's what I'm trying to do at the moment. For now, Exam comes first =)

First of all, I LOVE meat. The more, the merrier. Boy oh boy, do I looove my Steak or what. There's a handful or more of ways I like to prepare my steaks at home but this is definitely one of my favourite. The flavours are fresh and it's extremely simple to do. WIN.

I first got the idea of this recipe when I saw Jamie Oliver prepare his "Season the Board" Steak on Masterchef Season 2 (still my favourite season to date!). It looked absolutely mouth-watering. So I tried it out, liked it and have been using this method a LOT ever since. Jamie did it on a wooden board but I didn't have one big enough and found it more convenient to just use a bowl. Same same, to me. Anyone remember that episode when Jamie showed Jonathan and Callum this in London...?!

Any-hoo, I do hope you give this method a go next time you're serving up steak at home. I served mine with a side of simple salad and some seriously delicious DUCK FAT potatoes. And foahhhhhh where those duck fat potatoes damn good or what!! Friends and I couldn't get enough of 'em NOMMMMM.

Oh, oh! One last thing... Has anyone tried this Hibiscus salad dressing before? Believe me, I was apprehensive about it at first too until I tried it. It's got a slight nectary sweetness that balances out the sharp, acidity of the vinegar and is oh SO good.

Not sure where my sister got it from but it tastes fantastic and handy to have in the fridge. Now, I use it on almost all of my salads cause most days I'm too lazy to make my own dressing heeee...

Hope you enjoy this recipe and take care! =)


"Season the Bowl" Steak Recipe


1 handful of fresh thyme (chopped) *
3 bird's eye chillies (sliced)
5 cloves garlic (pressed) **
1/2 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
4 - 6 slabs of cooked steak

* I find the flavours of thyme work really well with this. Plus, the leaves are small enough to be cooked/wilted by the heat from the steak. Alternatively, use fresh herb of choice
** Highly recommend using a garlic presser as it squeezes out the juices and makes it really fine (so it's not too raw). Alternatively, mince really finely and press with flat part of knife


1. Place thyme, chilli, garlic in a bowl. Squeeze in the juice from lemon and add the olive oil. Stir briefly with a fork and set aside.

2. Once steaks are cooked (see "how to" below), place them in the bowl. Pour in juices from the pan and leave it to rest for 5 - 8 minutes. Mix the steaks around in the sauce evenly. Serve and drizzle some sauce on the steaks.

Cooking Tips: How to Cook a Medium Rare Steak


4 slabs of steak (approx 1" thick)
4 knobs of butter
Olive oil
Cracked salt and pepper


1. Heat a grill pan under low to medium heat for 10 minutes (or slightly less)*. Meanwhile, drizzle a bit of olive oil before cracking lots and LOTS of salt and pepper on both sides of the steak.

* I'm very careful not to use high heat on my non-stick pans so normally just leave it on the stove for 10 minutes or slightly less to get it really hot.

2. Once pan is VERY hot, place two steaks diagonally on the pan (e.g. pointing to top left corner of the pan) for 1.5 minutes. Immediately turn steaks 90 degrees (i.e. pointing top right corner) for 1 minute. This will create criss-cross marks on the steak.

3. Flip steak over and place diagonally (as before). Place a knob of butter on each steak and cook for 1 minute. Turn 90 degrees and cook for another 1 minute.

4. If layer of fats is present, tilt steaks vertically (fats side down) to cook or render for another 45 seconds. Take off heat and allow to rest on wire rack. Otherwise, place in metal bowl for the "Season the Bowl" recipe above.

- For a standard stove, my 1 inch steaks normally take about 2 - 2.5 minutes per side for a medium rare result
- You can use a standard non-stick pan too, but just stick to the suggested cooking time
- Adding the butter gives more sheen, flavour and jus to the steak.

For more Cooking Tips, click: here

Made these for my mates during last semester's exam... My kinda "brain food" lol!