Monday, March 25, 2013

Simon's Peiking Duck, Box Hill South

The Peiking Ducks before us... Glorious and begging to be eaten!

Mr Simon giving us an intro to kickstart the meal...

Ever charismatic, cheeky and entertaining, he is...

Course #1: Peking Duck Wraps

Oooh Mama... Glisteningly beautiful

Step 1: Pancake

Step 2: Spring onions

Step 3: DUCKKK

Step 4: Sauce

Step 5: Wrap

Step 6: Hold your breath

Step 7: DIG IN!!!!

Course #2: Bean Sprouts with Shredded Duck 

Simple but delicious... Full of flavour and "wok breath"


Course #3: Duck Soup with Tofu and Preserved Vegetables

Always look forward to this course of the Peking Duck meal!

Doesn't get any better than this. Light but salty and sour and full of flavour

Cantonese Chow Mien (Fried Noodle)

Signature Fried Rice



How's everyone doing?? 

Sincerest-est-est apologies for the lack of update. I must say that working life isn't as easy as I thought. The past few weeks has been filled with way too much of early starts and late finishes at work. I'll be honest by saying that I am still trying really, really hard to settle down into the work life routine. Can't seem to be able to come back at a reasonable hour, cook and eat dinner at a reasonable hour, finish my chores etc etc at a reasonable hour... Besides that, almost every spare time that I have is spent catching up with friends, which leaves very little time for blogging... As I always say, "Work hard, play HARDER." I try not to show it but I'm physically and mentally exhausted 95% of the time but as weird as it may sound, I friggin' LOVE my job. I am so grateful for the people and environment that I work in. I'm learning SO much each day and having lots of fun doing it. Couldn't have asked for a better place to kickstart this new chapter of my life. Not going back to uni foreverrrr, that's for sure... Like I said, the only thing now is just trying to find that balance and sense of normalcy/routine amidst everything... Let's hope I get there one day.

ANYHOO, back to Simon's Peiking Duck. There was about 10 of us who went in 2 separate cars. Our group had arrived first and was asked to go ahead and place the order so that the rest could arrive just in time for the food. Not long after that, the 2 big plates of glorious, mouth watering ducks were placed before us. My group and I (having no self control as usual) couldn't help ourselves and sneakily started eating before the rest arrived hoping we wouldn't get caught. Evil, I know. Unfortunately, we weren't as stealth at this as we thought we were. As soon as the other group arrived, it was pretty obvious what we had done (food in our mouths, oil around our lips etc) so we tried to cover our asses and immediately protested by saying, "Nonono it's not that we started eating without you, the bird honestly only had 1 leg when it came that's why the drumstick is missing!!". Ooooops...

That said, everything that we ate that night was absolutely DELICIOUS. The duck was incredibly moist and the skin was so crispy. Crepe/pancake was thin, tasty and easy to handle. One of the better Peking duck wraps I've had! Piece after piece we ate till we could eat no more. The remaining 2 courses (bean sprouts and soup) were as good as it can be too. We also wanted to try their fried rice/noodle dish too and it was GREAT as well! 

Overall, was VERY happy with my meal here. Everyone enjoyed it a lot and you can see why. There's 2 places in Melb that everyone goes to for Peking Duck. One is Simon's Peiking Duck and the other is Old Kingdom. To be honest, I get really jaded when people keep asking me "Which one do you think is best? Which one do you prefer???" To me, why pick one and put down the other when the difference is SO miniscule that it's not like anyone can really taste the difference with their eyes closed. They're both good so can't we just enjoy them both? Although, if you reaaaally wanted me to be super nit picky, I'd say that I like the sauce for Old Kingdom and crepe for Simon's a little bit more. Everything else is just as good to me, especially the duck. So don't get too caught up with which one is "better", please. Even if it's not, it could just be an off night for the restaurant and I'd happily eat at any one of these places any day. YUM.

That's all from me, wishing everyone a great and blessed Easter Break ahead! Till next time... Peace!!

Simon's Peiking Duck Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 11, 2013

Omah's Nyonya Cuisine, Hawthorn

Pandan Leaves Crab - $45.90
Whole mud crab fried in fresh pandan leaves, lemongrass and tamarind in light curry paste sauce

Salted Egg Crab - $45.90
Wok fried in Straits Peranakan salted egg style. The creamy salted egg yolks combined with various condiments give this dish a savoury, yet subtle flight of flavours

School Prawns - $9.50
Served with our chilli infused mayo and shrimp paste dipping sauce

Crispy fried kangkong - $6.00
Served with Omah's coconut dipping sauce

Ginger Flower Duck - $22.90
Half a deboned duck pan fried to serve with a piquant sauce of chilli, Bunga Kantan (ginger flower) and a dash of lemon juice

Shiitake Mushrooms & Tofu - $17.90
Tender shiitake mushrooms served on a bed of silken tofu ringed with broccoli

Ikan Bakar - $24.90
Fish of the day (white barramundi) grilled with mild chilli paste, onion and okra on banana leaf

Birthday cake for our friend Yannick! =D

Came to Omah's one night after hearing so much about their famous crabs... Must say that I loved the ambience as soon as I walked in. Clean, modern, with a touch of attitude and the superposition of soft lightings throughout the restaurant made it nicely well lit overall.

Excitement filled the table as soon as they put down the 2 massive crab dishes in front of us to kickstart the night. Very unfortunately, this was where the food went completely downhill after that. Upon taking our first bite of the crab, yeah, must say it was utterly DELICIOUS. Fragrant and great flavours. But man, was it hollow or what! There was barely any meat on the thing. 2 crabs between the 7 of us (and that was already $90 right there)...  What's there to eat?

And everything else was just.... Weird. Like, very, very off. School prawns were alright but the ones at the bottom were soggy from the steam. Fried kangkong was chewy, doughy and the sauce that came with it was watery and sour... Weird. Combination of soy sauce for the duck and the sambal (Malaysian chilli paste) was just... Weird as well. The tofu skin was so thick that it was rather hard to eat. And finally, "best worst highlight" definitely goes to the Ikan Bakar, which is meant to be grilled fish with chilli paste in banana leaves. Gosh, the sambal didn't taste like sambal at all. In fact, more like Miso to me than anything else. Soooo weeeeeird... Wonder what went wrong there.

And look, I know it's a slight variation to the classic Malaysian cuisine because it's Nyonya but I've had Nyonya several times in Melaka/Singapore and this one here was NOT the same. And I don't even mind at all when people have their own take on cuisines but the flavours really just... OFF. I wish I could say I'd come back for the crabs anyway since I loved the flavours but after some thought... Think I'll pass. $45.90 PER CRAB that was meatless and hollow was not enough to get me back no matter how good your flavours are.

As hard as it may be for some of you to believe, "bad food" really does not equal bad meal in my books. Not at all. This bunch of friends are always great company and to be honest, we were more interested in the conversations than anything else. This blog post really is just shedding light on a very small aspect of our evening. It was my buddy Yannick's birthday that night, we were sitting for hours just chatting/laughing after our last course, went for Maccas down the road right after that (cause we wanted to try the Lamb Burger LOL) and got home pretty late too. Overall, fun night of just hanging out. Food wise? This place is not for me. Don't be hatin' cause it's just one person's opinion........

Omah's Nyonya Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Birthday Dinner at Melba Restaurant, Southbank

Sheer opulence and grandeur (without being overdone IMO) at the foyer of the Langham Hotel...

Let's just say I'm glad it wasn't a statue of a cupid... Couldn't get any tackier if it were

Fresh flowers... (Yes, I smelt it)

Night began with a stroll around the buffet area. This sashimi station immediately caught my attention and I knew right away that it was going to be a good night ahead... Right, I was


No holding back at the seafood counter

Tiger prawns... 
Peeled with a squeeze of lime and dipped in Thousand Island Sauce... Buffet faveee

Crabs.... Obviously

Just the pincers 

Oysters... No duhh

Salad and bread station... The only section of a buffet restaurant that I walk past very quickly without a second glance lol

Man frying up some Asian noodles...

First thing that caught my eye at the meat section... Beautiful, glistening duck!!

Take your pick

A coupla things here were pretty good, actually... 

Stunning sight
But me not being one with the sweet tooth as usual, did not feel compelled to have a taste

Plate of sashimi to kick off an epic meal... Joy

Cold seafoods at a buffet, one of my fav things to eat...

Roast leg of lamb, oyster kilpatrick, peking duck wraps, roast pork belly, roast beef...
Loved EVERYTHING on this plate!!!

Sorry my photos started to get pretty shit at this point, was honestly too busy stuffing my face

The Naan bread was AWESOME!! I had the cheese, garlic and chilli one... Yum++

Sorry, couldn't help it... The diehard Asian in me wanted to test what a plate of Char Koay Teow at a 5 Star Hotel would taste like... PASS

Not normally a fan of desserts at buffets (feel like it's normally just mousse after mousse after mousse, yawn...) but a coupla ones that I had were actually quite nice

Most probably my highlight of the night: M&M's NAAN!!!!!!!

Our table... =)

Capping off a great night, never too old to be goofin' around, I say... =)

My meal at Melba Restaurant at the Langham Hotel was a long, long anticipated one. I've been wanting to come here for the international buffet ever since my first year of coming to Australia back in 2008. In my mind, it's always been too expensive for my budget (at $80 a pop), but I thought heck, I've worked pretty hard the past coupla years and I think I deserved it...

I thought my meal at Melba was everything that I expected it to be, in a good way. Fair array of international cuisine with above average food. I thought they maintained the standard of food pretty well across the board. Granted there were a few very, very minor missteps that didn't quite tickle my fancy (like the oysters, mussels or noodles) but these are very much forgivable IMO. Buffets aren't easy to do.

We all still enjoyed 90% of the food very, very much. My highlights included the sashimi and seafood (of course), meat selection and of course... That incredibly weird but downright AWESOME M&M's Naan...! Crisp Naan bread with crunchy M&M shells and gooey chocolate in the middle... Blew my mind for some odd reason.

We honestly ate and ate till our heart's content and let's just say, the belt was not my friend that night. To me, it was a buffet with good standard (which is actually quite rare). Best thing about it was that 2 of our friends had the Entertainment Book, which gave us a total of $90 off our total bill... So, we only ended up paying $65/person (instead of $80) for the meal... WIN!!! So come here for a meal if you've got the Entertainment Card because it's really worth it.

Anyhoo, I couldn't have picked a better place to celebrate my birthday that night and am so glad to have these friends to share it with. Although I'll be staying off buffets for a while, I'm really keen now to check out the other buffet contender in Melbourne that also has everyone raving about: China Bar Signature in Burwood...

Melba at the Langham on Urbanspoon