Saturday, 28 July 2012

Reuben Hills - Surry Hills, Sydney

When I heard all the rave reviews about the salted caramel milkshake at Reuben Hills, I knew I had to give it a try. Be prepared to join the never-ending queue on a Saturday afternoon for brunch - managed to nab a seat after around a 15 minute wait.

The menu at Reuben Hills is a South American inspired one, with tortillas, empanadas and jamon making an appearance. 

With the funky decor and convenient location, I can see why the place is so popular

Coffee is usually needed to function on a Saturday

The salted caramel shake definitely lived up to the hype.  This was so good, and I almost finished it before my meal even came. So addictive!

Soft baked eggs - with goat's curd, wilted spinach, ranchero sauce and rye sourdough

Soft corn tortillas - with chicken and lime

This was my dish. My thoughts - not that pretty, but it was still nice. 

The highlight for me was hands down the salted caramel shake. I didn't think my dish was anything amazing, though the soft baked eggs received a thumbs up. 

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Miss Chu Tuckshop - Regent Place, Sydney

There seems to be more and more great places popping up at Regent Place, to grab a quick bite to eat. Miss Chu, or the Queen of rice paper rolls, is a recent welcome addition to the previously bare underground area of Regent Place (now also home to Assembly Bar)

Miss Chu has really been springing up all over town, including the Opera House. Regent Place is a small little tuckshop with limited seating, but is in a great spot compared to the trek to their original Darlinghurst location.

They have these handy tick box menus, so you can peruse at your own leisure and hand it in at the counter when you're ready to order.  These are presumably to make ordering a lot easier when it gets busy at lunch time peak periods. 

Mr seagull

Lychee and Banana & mint shakes - refreshing!

Free range pork belly stew - a substantial meal with hearty chunks of pork and lots of fresh greens

And of course, dumplings galore:

I have to admit, these dumplings didn't taste as good as I thought the ones at the Darlinghurst branch did. 

Roast duck and banana flower rice paper rolls saved the day, these were fantastic! 

Desserts to finish off the meal: 

Coconut mousse in pandan leaf

Lychee tapioca pudding

A convenient place to grab a quick and delicious bite to eat.  I'll probably forgo the dumplings next time in favour of more rice paper rolls/specials board options instead though. 

Misschu Tuckshop @ Regent Place on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

It's Chatime!

I seriously love my tea, with a huge stash at work and a overflowing selection at home too.  I have at least 2 cups a day at work, after my initial coffee hit in the morning, so I was pretty excited to be invited to see what happens behind the scenes at Chatime at Westfield Sydney. 

Chatime was launched in Australia in 2009, and compared to some of the other chains, offers a more authentic tea experience, using freshly brewed tea and high quality ingredients.  

I was especially impressed to find out that they use fresh Dairy Farmer's milk, not powder as I had assumed. 

Their new tea latte series

Interesting gadgets:

Tea brewer

Where all the brewed teas go, and are constantly refreshed every 4 hours or so

Pearls in the making

Fancy sealer gadget

After hearing about the brewing process each type of tea goes through, it was time to taste test!

We went from the lightest Brown rice green tea, which was a lovely blend of green tea and toasted brown rice to Assam black tea, the strongest in flavour.

Chatime's signature teas

Assam black tea - a special blend of quality Assam tea from India with the addition of locally grown Taiwanese Assam.  This combination of tea leaves creates a unique Taiwanese flavour, exclusively produced by Chatime tea specialists

Premium black tea - this premium black tea is grown around a famous place in Taiwan called Sun Moon Lake, and has a strong and intense flavour

Oolong tea - semi-fermented tea (meaning it has been exposed to oxygen for a short amount of time after the picking process, turning the leaves a lovely dark colour) It is strong and fragrant

Roasted tea - result produced half way between the process of making green tea and black tea, with the fresh leaves being baked or fried into the final product. 

Jasmine green tea - one of my favourite teas, it is green tea that is scented with jasmine flowers. Once the jasmine flowers have bloomed, they are layered over the tea leaves during the scenting process

Brown rice green tea - combination of green tea and toasted brown rice, it has a strong scented flavour with a milk roasted rice aftertaste. I've recently been drinking a lot of the Japanese version, genmaicha. 

After tasting all of the teas, it was onto the endless toppings!

My favourites are the chewy coconut jelly and the lychee jelly. So fun to eat! 

Tea latte machine, customised to produce a variety of teas by catering to the different water temperatures. It was interesting seeing the machine work like a coffee machine, but making tea instead!

cold Oolong tea latte - very refreshing, would have been perfect if it was a hot summer's day! 

The bf's eyes literally lit up at the mention of a special summer menu durian milk tea.  I was secretly hoping that it wasn't available as I find it pretty disgusting (to say the least) but unfortunately it was so popular, that it's still on the regular menu.  For all the durian lovers, apparently it's pretty good! 

I stuck with a more conventional choice of coconut milk tea (one of their top 10 most popular choices) and paired it with sago.  I loved this combo! It reminded me of the coconut and sago dessert, but with a subtle tea flavour. Highly recommend.

Grapefruit tea with lychee jelly - another top 10 choice, and it was great too, a nice alternative to the milk teas and not too sickly sweet. 

I won't be back for the durian milk tea, but there's so many more flavours and combos to try!

Thanks to Deahna from Horizon Communication Group and Jessica from Chatime

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Muum Maam - Surry Hills, Sydney

I've been a bit slack with the posting lately! Rest assured, I've still been eating out, and there's many posts to come. 

What's not to love about a restaurant that calls itself Muum Maam, or Little Glutton? Sounds like my kind of restaurant! Tucked away on Holt street in Surry Hills, it's a full house on our visit on a Thursday night.
Pineapple fried rice with prawns, raisins and pork floss - a delish mixture of big, juicy prawns and sweet pineapple pieces
Cocktails time!! 

Caramel lychee caiprissma - a mix of fresh lychees, lemon, spanish white rum and scorched caramel and Ginger Highball - a Caribbean dark rum, mango liqueur, with fresh orange juice and ginger beer

Northern style crispy egg noodles and slow cooked beef curry - loved this creamy curry

Green papaya, tomato, lime, green bean and roasted peanut salad

What initially lured me to Muum Maam was seeing their dessert posts on Facebook... 

Monkey Balls - caramelised cashew surrounded by Messina's pandan and coconut gelato, coated in toasted coconut and white sesame

Gelato Messina? Hell yes!! 

Muum Maam is definitely one of the nicer thai places, offering some standard thai dishes, and some with a twist. All the dishes we tried were pretty fab, I'm keen to go back and try some more. 

Muum Maam on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Armchair Collective - Mona Vale, Sydney

Having to wake up early on a weekend to sign a lease all the way in Newport is made better when it's such a beautiful day with picture perfect blue skies. Naturally, I start trying to find a place nearby to have breakfast... we ask the real estate agent and she highly recommends 'The armchair place on Darley Street'

Wasn't sure what to expect, but thought it was definitely worth a shot from a local recommendation, and the initial impression didn't disappoint.  The place was packed which is always the first good sign.

After wandering back and forth trying to locate a seat, we finally found one and then had to figure out the ordering system - grab a menu and then go to the counter and order/pay and sit down with your table number.

Top marks for cafes  that do an all day brunch menu!

Oatmeal and buttermilk pancakes with caramelised banana and vanilla ricotta

Love the sweet berries and the vanilla ricotta added a nice touch

BRT - Bacon Rocket Tomato

A twist on the traditional BLT, this toasted sandwich has generous servings of bacon with rocket, tomato, chilli jam and aioli

And of course, a staple to any weekend breakfast - a much needed coffee

I couldn't help but peruse the shop, as they had so many cute bits and pieces all over the place:

You can see why they call it Armchair collective!

They even had a little makeshift floral section with gorgeous flowers for sale 

The Armchair Collective on Urbanspoon