Friday, 28 February 2014

Bars March 2014 launch at Cafe Del Mar - Rooftop Terrace Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour

On Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Bars March 2014, courtesy of Pendulum Communications.  Held at the new Cafe Del Mar in Cockle Bay, I loved the venue, with it's open layout, chill out music, and gorgeous views of Darling Harbour, especially during sunset.

Parched March is Sydney’s only month-long celebration of bar culture in support of Animal Welfare League NSW relaunched as BARS MARCH for its fifth year! The new name says it all: a whole month of responsible drinking of fabulous cocktails in great bars – for a good cause. The launch was held at Café del Mar Sydney, with a huge event for over 300 guests, including top media, the bar industry, and pet pooches such as Fashion Dog and Oscar & Frank from the trendy optical brand. 
During BARS MARCH you can show your support by visiting participating venues and buying a BARS MARCHcharity cocktail, attending fundraising events and taking part in social media competitions. Highlights for 2014 include:
March 16th 2014: Puppy Prom at The Alexandria Hotel 1pm-4pm. Think Pretty in Pink, Grease or even Carrie ... with four legs! It's time for prom doggie style as Sydney's biggest beer garden welcomes everyone and their pooch pals to the waggiest school dance ever. With canine corsages, prom photos, and prizes for talent and looks, this is the prom where no-one's without a date, because everyone can bring a best friend. 
March 20th 2014: Mr CBD at The Argyle top floor 6.30pm- 10pm. It's back! The annual search for Sydney's Hottest Man in a Suit returns – with extra sizzle. At this grand finale our six finalists will strut their stuff while the audience bid for dates and to decide the winner. Money talks – so bid up big and know that you're flirting for a very good cause: Animal Welfare League NSW. 
 For more information, head to:

Cafe del Mar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Passion by Gerard Dubois - Wanchai, Hong Kong

I can never walk past a patisserie and not have a sticky beak at the sweet treats on offer. Whilst in Hong Kong, we dropped past Passion by Gerard Dubois in Wanchai several times for lunch, coffee & cake as B had to sort out his HK ID.

A lovely little corner cafe on Johnston street, the cakes and pastry display spans a couple of metres, which makes it hard to narrow down my choice! It does get quite busy during peak times, which makes it hard to see what is on offer. Definitely recommend going during early or mid-morning before the lunch rush.

Macaron display

Cake display


Since B is not one for sweets, he opts for something savoury and picks one of the salads on offer, nothing overly special but the salad is most welcome during our holiday period where we felt deprived of fruit and veg at times.

Caesar salad with chicken

I only have eyes for the cake, and lament the fact that I can only choose one option as B didn't want any cake - I usually like to order two, to share of course ;)


Pretty in pink raspberry croquant and mousseline

Fancy chocolate powder stencil pattern

The coffee is not bad, and comes with a pistachio biscotti

Peach danish

On my return visit, I opt for this deliciously flaky peach danish instead of a cake.

I hadn't been to HK during Christmas for a very, very long time! Forgot about all the adorable Christmas decorations that they have. These were at Times Square in Causeway Bay:

Passion by Gerard Dubois
74-80 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Pho Pasteur - Haymarket, Sydney

High on my rotation of places to eat for a quick and relatively healthy meal is Pho Pasteur in Haymarket. A no-frills Vietnamese restaurant on George Street which always seems to be packed. 

Grilled beef & spring roll with vermicelli

Pork chop special broken rice with egg

Grilled pork with vermicelli

It's nothing fancy and the seating can be cramped, but the meals are always tasty and fresh. Definitely one of my favourite go-to places when I'm feeling too lazy to cook, especially love the vermicelli combinations!

Pho Pasteur on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Hong Kong cheap eats

There are so many incredible dining options in Hong Kong. The amazing fine dining restaurants with sweeping views of Victoria Harbour, but when it comes to eating out in Hong Kong, I don't think you can beat the various options for cheap and cheerful dining.

Since it was winter season, it was the perfect weather for clay pot rice. There's nothing that warms you up faster than huddling over a warm pot of rice. Four Seasons in Yau Ma Tei is a very popular claypot rice restaurant. We had previously walked past at dinner time and there was a massive line that snaked all the way around the corner. The next time, we arrive at 6pm to squeeze into one of the remaining tables before a line started to form, so definitely get in early!

Chicken feet & pork rib claypot rice with extra chinese sausage

Claypot rice at Four Seasons start from $30HKD a pot. After browsing the web, it does appear that they have english menus stuck somewhere, but during our visit, they only had the chinese menu stuck up on the walls. 

Four Seasons claypot rice 四季煲仔飯
46-58 Arthur StYau Ma Tei

Nearby to Four Seasons is Mido Cafe, a Hong Kong style cafe (cha chang teng) that feels like you have stepped back in time to the 1960's. 

Beef with crispy egg noodle

Hong Kong style french toast

Red bean & coconut drink

Baked spare ribs rice

Mido Cafe
63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei

One thing you definitely have to eat whilst in Hong Kong is roast goose - so simple but so delicious! 

Roast goose leg with rice

Roast goose lai fun (a type of rice noodle)

Roast Goose King
119 Fuk Wing Street
Sham Shui Po

Or if you fancy soaking up the hectic Hong Kong night life, check out one of the outdoor dining options (dai pai dong) which are increasingly becoming rare due to health regulations. Most of these restaurants now have a store front - like this extremely popular Mongkok joint, who seems to have taken over several shopfronts to house all their customers.

The live seafood is scattered out the front in various tanks, and you can have a browse before ordering to see what looks good that night. 

Salt and pepper fried white bait

Entree platter with various intestines, pork neck and fish cake

Razor clams with garlic and vermicelli 

Siu Choi Wong - 小菜王

43 Fuk Wing street
Sham Shui Po

And just because anything served in a bread bowl is bound to be awesome:

Curry beef brisket in a bread bowl

This food court was where all the local workers gather for a feed during their breaks, with so many choices - though I couldn't go past the beef curry in a bowl. You even get a cup of curry to dip your warm and crunchy bread into! It was super filling though, best shared between 2. 

Mongkok cooked food market
557 Shanghai street, Mongkok

Friday, 7 February 2014

Crystal Afternoon Tea at The Lounge - Conrad, Macau

During my recent holiday, we decided to pop over to Macau over the Christmas period. We had an hour or so to kill before check in time, and it must have been fate as we walked past this especially tempting Christmas afternoon tea at the Conrad The Lounge in the Cotai Central complex. 

138 MOP for the set including a cup of coffee or tea - such a bargain!

Lush surrounds at the Lounge, Conrad - one of the many luxurious hotels housed in the massive Cotai Central complex. 

Watermelon juice 

Crystal afternoon tea

An impressive sight to behold, with many christmas themed goodies, including traditional stollen, christmas cookies, chocolate snowmen and christmas tree cupcakes! 

Strawberry and champagne jelly; white chocolate snowman

I'm especially enamoured with the white chocolate snowman - almost too pretty to eat! At first I didn't realise he was edible, until a quick twist of his mid-section reveals a mousse inside. 

Christmas cupcake and log cake

Smoked duck breast with spiced cherry jam on multi grain; Smoked salmon millefeuille  

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

The view from our room at the Sheraton

Quite a handy location as the Sheraton is also in the Cotai Central complex, which connects to a lot of other casinos, such as The Venetian.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Bay Tandoori - Waverton, Sydney

Bay Tandoori is a consistently great Indian restaurant in Waverton. Even after trying this place a dozen times or so, I had never actually dined in - always opting for convenient takeaway instead. 

Complimentary pappadums and mint yoghurt dip

These are a welcome distraction during the wait for the entrees and mains to come out, especially if you're starving!

Mango lassi

Cauliflower fritters

Cannot go past the crisp fritters for a starter. I always find that the crunch of the butter goes extremely well with cauliflower.

Garlic naan

Fragrant with a generous amount of garlic, these are put to good use in mopping up all the delicious curry sauce.

Vegetable korma

Butter chicken

A bit pedestrian, but these are usually my two 'go to' choices when I have Indian. I do have to say though that the takeaway sizes seem to be a bit bigger than the dine-in dishes, perhaps restricted due to their small serving dishes.

Bay Tandoori on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Grand Stage at the Western Market - Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

The Western Market is the oldest surviving market building in Hong Kong. Nowadays it has been refurbished and turned into a centre housing boutique shops and restaurants. One of these restaurants is The Grand Stage - a spacious and extravagant venue, popular with wedding functions. 

We visit on a weekday for some lunch time dim sim and it is a full house. Bookings are a must.

Fried vegetable pancake

Prawn and chive dumpling

Prawn dumpling

Quail egg siu mai

This is an old fashioned dim sim dish and not often found on the menu at the more modern establishments. A bite into the dumpling, reveals a perfect quail egg beneath the skin.

Hedgehog lava custard bun

These are cute and delicious - a lovely, crisp baked bun, oozing with hot and golden custard inside.

Birds nest milk custard in young coconut

A nice and light dessert. Desserts served in young coconuts seem to be the trend at every dessert place in Hong Kong at the moment.

A nice venue for yum cha, though the dishes are overall average, with some hits and misses.

The Grand Stage
2/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan