Monday, June 20, 2016

The Kettle Black, South Melbourne

The Kettle Black is one of those cafes that you gotta check out at least once whenever you are in Melbourne. Whether it's for their instagrammable food or the stunning architecture and interior design of the cafe. For most of 2015, I've been wanting to go back to Melbourne to make a visit to The Kettle Black or their older sister cafe Top Paddock (sadly, still haven't been) so a brunch catch up with my Melbourne friend T was a perfect opportunity to check out the hype.

Long Black ($4.00)

It was not hard to miss the grand white terrace building standing out amongst the modernised towers surrounding it. Wasn't surprised when I spotted the queue in front of the cafe and being told that there will be a 45 min wait for a table for two. We were both fine and chilled around the area with take away coffee. What surprised us was when the staff informed us that the table was ready and it was roughly around 20-30mins wait at most. Neat huh?

Confit free range pork, compressed pear, poached eggs, butter emulsion ($19.00)

While this dish didn't look as pretty as some of the other dishes available here, it was very tasty for us. The pork was well cooked and seasoned, plus the runny poached eggs were on point.

Hotcakes with ricotta, berries, pure maple, double cream, seeds and nuts ($20.00)

No visit to The Kettle Black could be complete without trying their famous ricotta hotcakes! So much prettiness on a plate especially with all those edible flowers! Loads of sweet and fruity flavours coming from the rich hotcakes, various berries and the maple syrup. Personally I'm biased against double cream (sorry everyone), so T helped in eating that part. The serving size was incredibly generous that it could easily be shared between 2 or 3 people. Even had leftovers to take-away back to the hotel!

Service was efficient despite the usual busy atmosphere of the typical Sunday brunch in Melbourne. While the dishes lean on the pricier side there are a few dishes such as the hotcakes which certainly deliver on the value for money with its generous servings. If I lived in Melbourne, I would love to check it out again for a few of their other dishes such as their Cape Grim Beef Bun or the equally pretty Polenta Porridge

The Kettle Black
50 Albert Road, South Melbourne VIC 3205
(03) 9088 0721
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Sat-Sun and Public Holidays: 8:00am - 4:00pm
The Kettle Black Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hammer and Tong, Fitzroy

Hammer and Tong is one of those cafes that has been on my wishlist for a long while after hearing lots of raves from fellow foodies. Owned by Dennis Ferreira and Simon Ward (formerly at Vue de Monde), it has gained attention not long after it opened with their deliciously unique brunch dishes such as their popular breakfast ramen, soft shell crab roll, ox cheek benedict and the duck egg and candied bacon waffle. And heck, who doesn't love an all day breakfast menu?  

Long black

Housed at the former spot of Brix, the venue has that minimalist decor with the use of grey as the main colour. Although we arrived quite late, the atmosphere was still busy and lively. Thankfully we got a table very quickly since we arrived past peak lunch hour (lol). By this time I was on my 3rd long black coffee of the day. Still needed more energy heh.  

Chilli Scrambled Eggs

Chilli scrambled eggs was F's dish pick due to her love of spicy food. Didn't try much but from what I can recall, it had a nice balance of flavours with the chilli sauce on the main dish and the avocado on the side to ease the heat. Not sure if this is still on the menu as of now though.

Breakfast Ramen

Both CC and I had our eyes on the ramen as well as a few other dishes. Eventually CC was the one who settled with Hammer and Tong's signature dish. This consisted of 62c hens egg, bacon, mushrooms, spring onion and bacon dashi. We enjoyed watching our waiter pouring the broth into the bowl in a timely and delicate manner. The broth itself was light and the egg was well-cooked along with the al-dente ramen noodles. Would love to come back again for this dish.  

Soft Shell Crab Burger

After spotting this in many photos about this cafe, I was equally eager to try the soft shell crab burger. It may look small but it felt quite filling. Plenty of crispy, fresh and juicy soft shell crab to enjoy packed into a fluffy and toasted brioche bun with shredded sesame slaw, coriander, spring onion and sriracha mayo. This is certainly one of the best soft shell crab burgers I've had mainly because all those ingredients worked so well together in terms of its taste.   

Out of all the cafes I've been to in Melbourne in the last 3 years, this is definitely one of my top picks of places to go. Satisfied with the food and the service seemed decent for us as well. If I ever live in Melbourne, this would be one of those cafes I would be keen to go back every now and then.

Hammer and Tong
Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9041 6033
Hammer & Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ayam Goreng 99, Kingsford

Happy extremely belated 2016! It's been a while hasn't it? I'm still eating everywhere but work and personal commitments have been taking over my life these days to commit to writing. Thanks to those who have encouraged me to keep on going even if it may not be as regular as it used to. 

Recently, we attended a birthday dinner at Ayam Goreng 99 in Kingsford. Personally, I don't go out that direction as much as I would have liked to so it was an experience checking out the area for the first time. It was located minutes away from UNSW, which would have been perfect had I studied there. Unfortunately, most of us were UTS students...heh. Ayam Goreng 99 was definitely one of those old school restaurants that would have been around for a long time judging from the decor. If the massive crowds waiting outside are anything to go by, the food was certainly worth the wait.

Ayam Bakar - Charcoal Grilled Marinated Chicken ($6.50 per piece)

There was 11 of us, so we ordered all three versions of their signature marinated chicken - thigh and breast! My personal favourite was the charcoal grilled version. It may look charred and rustic on the outside but the chicken itself was juicy, flavoursome and tender. Also had a slight sweet and zesty tang from the marinated soy sauce coating. 

Ayam Goreng - Deep Fried Marinated Chicken ($6.50 per piece)

Didn't get to try this one but the friends enjoyed its crispy texture. Portions were generous but the lack of knife meant it was harder to cut and share bit by least for us. 

Ayam Goreng Kalasan - Fried Marinated Chicken Javanese Style ($6.50 per piece)

I did get to try the Javanese version which was sweeter than the deep fried variant. Compared to the grilled version, I thought it seemed to be on the dry side but it was still tasty and flavoursome especially with its smoked, crispy skin.

Nasi Goreng ($11.50) 

Consisting of fried rice with chicken, egg, meats and shallots, the nasi goreng was another highlight for me. Digged the colourful layout as well the balanced texture of the rice which made it easier to enjoy with a mix of different ingredients. We also ordered and shared a vegetarian version of the Nasi Goreng, which was equally tasty.

Sate Kambing - Lamb Satay ($10.00)

Most of us like our lamb and we already order too much chicken so we had lamb satay sticks on the side. If lamb ain't your thing, you will be pleased to know that it didn't have that gamey taste mainly thanks to its generous mix of sweet soy sauce and peanut sauce coated over the skewers. Didn't order enough of these so some of us had to share these sticks.

In the end, the bill cost us around $25 per head, which wasn't as bad as we expected (we ordered a couple other dishes but forgot to take a snap). Service was fast paced and we ended up getting full too quickly despite being too hungry waiting for a table. While Kingsford may be out of the way for me to go back regularly, you can definitely see the appeal on why Ayam Goreng remains popular with the locals for all these years. Hope to return again to do a proper taste of the Ayam Goreng or even get my hands again on the succulent Ayam Bakar.

Ayam Goreng
464 Anzac Parade Kingsford
(02) 9697 0030
Wed-Sun: 11:30am - 4:00pm, 6:00pm - 9:00pm 
Mon-Tue: Closed
Ayam Goreng 99 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

ACME, Rushcutters Bay

ACME has opened in late 2014 with high accolades from food experts alike almost immediately. In the 18 months since its opening, it has already been awarded with 1 Chef's Hat by the Good Food Guide Awards, a mention in Gourmet Traveller and Australian Financial Review's Top 100 lists and also Time Out's Restaurant of the Year 2015 to name a few. It was named after the initials of the four owners: Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr (who is also the head chef) and Ed Loveday. With all these talents collaborating under one roof, you know you are onto a good thing here.

The menu offers a modern take on Italian dishes with a fusion of various Asian cuisines with the unique combination of ingredients that you normally wouldn't expect at other Italian restaurants. The first dish I tried was the jatz, ham and comte. It may look and sound like a simple snack but the meaty and cheesy flavour tasted so delicious together. A different take on the classic cheese on crackers with ham. It's a delicious way to start the meal at ACME.

Jatz, ham, comte ($6.00)

The baloney sandwich is another snack that sounds relatively simple but is actually one of ACME's famous dishes. It's a grown-up take on a sandwich that you will most likely have brought to school back in those childhood days. While there's only one serving of this delectably stuffed roll, it will make you crave for more as soon as you're done.

Baloney Sandwich ($5.00)

Those who know me may know that I have a soft spot for any dish that contains breadcrumbs. So it was not surprise that the linguine, garlic and burnt chilli (topped with breadcrumbs!) was a must order for me. While the linguine had a firm texture and was bursting with loads of flavour, it was also spicier than I expected.

Linguine, black garlic, burnt chilli ($14.00)

Who says that you can't have eggs for dinner? I know I do (heh). And you can't go wrong with ACME'S signature macaroni with pig's head and egg yolk. Not only do you get the creamy egg yolk porn at its finest, you can also taste the al dente pasta as well as the crisp and succulent pig's head meat in this incredible dish. A must eat if you are dining at ACME!

Macaroni's pigs head, egg yolk ($20.00)

With its casual dining atmosphere, minimalist and spacious decor and friendly service, it was no surprise that ACME has made it to one of my favourite restaurants that I've been to. While the prices are on the more expensive side and the servings are smaller than you would like given the price, the distinct flavours and ingredients delivered a tantalising experience that has made me certain on returning again later on. Definitely one to try if you are ever in Sydney and want to try a modern approach to Italian cuisine with a bit of funk.

56 Bayswater Road, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011
(02) 8068 0932
ACME Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Brewristas, Glebe

Opened during the summer of 2015, Brewristas took advantage of the cafe seeking foodies who were itching for a place to brunch when nearly all the food establishments were closed for the Xmas break. I recall a few days when nearly my entire IG feed was flooded with pix of the coffee and food at this Glebe hotspot. Thanks to the recent extreme milkshake craze, the hype hasn't slowed down at all.

Frankenstein - smashed avo, home made tomato chutney, tortilla corn chips, sunny side up ($20.00)

The "Frankenstein" was literally a monster to our eyes. Despite its messy appearance, CC and I were admiring the avocado, tortilla chips and that nice round sunny side up. Stacked together on top of sourdough toast, this dish was unsurprisingly a huge mouthful to handle. Recommended to share between two people. While it is a dish for 1, it is possible to share between two or three people.

Porky Pig - honey jam Korean pancake, poached egg, bacon, spicy guacamole, mango habanero mayo ($16.00)

The funky names continue with the classic "Porky Pig". While it looked lighter than the previous dish, the honey jam Korean pancakes made it equally filling. While it had a kick with the mango habanero mayo and the spicy  mayo, it wasn't too spicy that it will blow your tongue off. With so much different ingredient combinations in this dish, you can sense so many different flavours with every single bite. 

Game Set Matcha

Like most of the extreme shakes at other cafes around Sydney, these bad boys are off the menu, though the waiter is more than happy to bring them up when you order. CC opted for the Game Set Matcha, which was creamy, not too sweet and easy to slurp down compared to what I've got. We also couldn't resist the adorable matcha button placed on top of the shake. 

The Clutch

I love my chocolate, so taking down a rich choc shake with thick swirls of nutella and stacked with a brownie slice and whipped cream wasn't a huge problem for me. It was a decadent drink that wasn't easy to finish especially if you aren't used to rich desserts. Couldn't help but giggle at the (angry looking) Freddos and Tiny Teddies stuck onto the nutella.

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

Not long after that visit, I was invited to an Instafoodie dessert event where we sampled a wide range desserts and shakes, thanks to Jason the shake-master (aka @insatiablyhungry on IG). Got my hands on the Mint Choc Chip shake, which was packed with an upside down mint choc chip ice cream cone. This wasn't as rich as the Clutch but it was messier to handle with all that cream dripping everywhere on the mason jar.

White Chocolate, Fairyfloss and Rosewater Shake

Didn't get to taste this shake but it looks too pretty to drink especially with all that pink.

Tiramisu Pot Plant (deluxe sized version)

At first you may think it's a plant but one scoop and it has gotten a whole lot sweeter! While it has its creamy texture, it was also light and fluffy from the lady fingers cake. This was also matched perfectly with the crumbled oreo chocolate "dirt".


If the shakes aren't bringing you to the yard anytime soon, don't fret, Brewristas does a good job with their house made coffee brew. They are also well known for their cold coffee beverages including their cold brew (with 6 espresso shots!), brewmonade and brew tea. This should be sweet for the warm weather creeping on us. Service has been very friendly so far during all of my visits and the food is certainly not your usual cafe fare. They also open late, which is perfect if you want to check out a cafe after work. Nothing suss.  

73 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW 2037
(02) 8021 1328
Mon-Thurs: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Fri: 8:00am - 10:30pm
Sat: 9:00am - 10:30pm
Sun: 9:00am - 5;00pm
Brewristas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Smooth Festival of Chocolate, The Rocks

How gorgeous is this view of Sydney on a warm, sunny day? No doubt, the weather was keen to join the festivities a few weekends ago where we celebrated our love of chocolate at the Smooth Festival of Chocolate at The Rocks. Sure it may have melted the chocolate but isn't the messiness what makes this indulgent sweet so damn good? More than 60k attending on its Facebook event with Adriano Zumbo and Anna Polyviou can't go wrong!

In the lead up to the event, I got the chance to sample a variety of sweets that will be available on the day. There was also lots of Tim Tams to devour between myself, the family and my Tim Tam obsessed colleagues. One of the sweets in the pack was the Tim Tam special edition Chocolate Banana flavour that will be available for a limited time only at Coles stores from next month. Minions will be thrilled!

Speaking of Tim Tams, I also got the chance to attend the sneak peek of the Tim Tam Temptation tent before it was open to the masses on Saturday morning. There was even a special appearance by Zumbo the man!

There was also the opportunity to watch your fave dessert chef working their magic in the demonstration kitchen. I only got the chance to check out Anna Polyviou and her superstar team making their infamous "Wag-Anna" - a twist on the classic old school Wagon Wheel.

Caramel Wag-Anna, Berried Wag-Anna, Ferrero-reveal N2 gelato ($20.00)

There was also The Chocolatier's Quarters where you can check out this delicious tree artwork made entirely of chocolate by Josophan's Fine Chocolate as well as a robot made entirely from Tim Tams and the chance to sample some more sweets from various producers.

Again, pictures tells more than words so enjoy drooling at all the chocolate in many shapes and forms! One of the highlights was the Zumbo teams competing with their dessert creation. While the Zumbo "cheeseburger" sold out super fast on both days, personally I think they're all winners.

Zumbo "cheeseburgers"

Zumbo "Kebabs"

Nutella ball cake by Zumbo

Black Star Pastry was also very popular with their dessert offerings including the "angel" and "devil" tacos, the chocolate torte and the famous watermelon cake with added white chocolate.

Cakes and sweet mini-tacos from Black Star Pastry

Making the crepes

Very cute cookies from Cookie Crazy


Cronuts from Queen's Pastri House

Oregano Scrolls from Scrollies by Oregano

Churros by Dos Churros

Various sweet delicacies from Choco Samta

Selected eclairs from Passion Tree

Tim Tam espresso martini at the VIP area

Because of the ridiculously insane hype of the overstuffed, extreme milkshakes of late, it was no surprise how long the queues were. Plus it was hot so a milkshake would have gone down a treat *cue a certain friend singing Milkshake out loud*. 

Those notorious extreme milkshakes from The Vogue Cafe

Well that's enough drooling for tonight. Even though it was so packed (unsurprisingly), it was still an enjoyable event where we got to see our fave patisseries creating some new desserts that wouldn't be available in store. Looking forward to more sugary action next year!

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie attended Smooth Festival of Chocolate, courtesy of Nova Entertainment. 

Smooth Festival of Chocolate