Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lan Yuan Restaurant, Ryde

Top Ryde Shopping Centre isn't somewhere I would usually go to very often since it is nowhere near where I live or work. Despite that, I was pleased to hear that there's a new Cantonese yum cha restaurant to cater the Chinese local in that part of Sydney. A few weeks ago, I attended a special blogger lunch thanks to the lovely folks at Wasamedia to sample a range of dishes that Lan Yuan has to offer. 

Steamed chicken with bok choy

As with nearly all Chinese restaurants, it was no surprise that there was so many dishes to sample. Many of which, were The first was the steamed chicken with bok choy. While there wasn't much flavour, the meat was tender and well-cooked. 

Prawn Dumplings

Chicken Dim Sum

Very satisfied with their dumpling offerings. Both the prawn har gow and the chicken siu mai were juicy and firm. They were also made to order in a similar format to the food at Tim Ho Wan. 

Hokkien-style deep fried eggplant  

Found that the deep fried eggplant was very addictive thanks to the seasoned and crispy batter as well as the firm and juicy eggplant. Ended up eating a few too many of this dish.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sure the sweet and sour pork sounds like a dish you would spot at numerous Chinese restaurants but the one that I tried at Lan Yuan was delightful. This traditional dish has that lovely crispy texture combined with the sweetness from the sauce and pineapple.

Yuan beef eye fillets with wasabi sauce

At first, I thought it was just a generic beef dish similar to what I would get at home but then that wasabi kicked in. While it wasn't as lethal as that wasabi sushi in Wagaya's sushi roulette (a video of my luck with that roulette is actually somewhere on Youtube), it still had a strong kick, which made this dish unusual yet interesting.

Egg yolk tofu

The egg yolk tofu was soft in the inside and lightly battered on the outside. While I do like anything with egg yolk, I thought that this was actually quite salty for my preference. 

Shandong Chicken

By this point, we have only eaten the entrees and my stomach was slowly filling up. Our main dishes started with the roasted chicken, which was tender and succulent. I really enjoyed the taste of the chicken that rolled well on the tongue. It wasn't too flavoursome but the soy sauce and the texture of the chicken takes this dish up a notch.

Wok-fried Singaporean mud crab with vermicelli noodles

Out of the many dishes I've sampled, this would be the highlight of the day. While it was hard to handle with the lack of tools to open the shell for the hidden crab meat, this traditional Singaporean dish was full of wonderful, saucy and tangy flavours. The vermicelli noodle base added a crunchier texture to this visual feast. Would gladly make the long trip to Ryde for this dish alone. 

Fried rice with fresh prawns and scallop topped with crab roe

I normally don't care too much for rice but I ended up enjoying this version of the usual fried rice. With the scattered crab roe as well as the moreish prawns and plump scallops, this dish would be an ideal one to accompany some of the meatier dishes on the menu.

Sweet and sour barramundi

I was too full by the time I got to sample this plate. The crunchy skin and batter covering the barramundi lying on pool of sweet and sour sauce was surprisingly visually spectacular. It didn't came across my mind that there's a fish head in front of my face! 

Deep fried vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce

Deep fried vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce

I thought I was ready to throw in the towel but I knew I will regret not getting my hands on the fried ice cream. You get vanilla ice cream with the option of chocolate, strawberry, or caramel sauce. The smooth ice cream, the hint of coconut and the crumbed outer batter made me keen to devour more of this sweet treat. A nice way to end an epic lunch feast.

While Top Ryde is a bit too far for me to return on a regular basis, it's an ideal restaurant for a family outing or a catch up with friends. With a bar area at the front, there is a modern vibe to this venue in addition to the attentive staff. With its modern green decor scattered with bamboo and plants, the restaurant aims to create a calm atmosphere even with the busy and noisy yum cha crowds. You wouldn't even notice that the restaurant is inside a shopping centre because it really felt like the restaurant was holding well on its own with its serene atmosphere.

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined at Lan Yuan Restaurant, courtesy of Wasamedia. Opinions are however, my own.

Lan Yuan Restaurant
Shop 4005, Level 1, Top Ryde City Shopping Centre
Cnr Blaxland and Devlin Street, Ryde NSW 2144
(02) 9808 1030
Mon-Sun: 10:00am - 11:00pm
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Eating Around Melbourne - The Sweet Edition

I know guys. It's already been almost three months since my Melbourne trip and I still haven't finished reviewing everything. Some of the best memories of the recent Melbourne foodventures were the unique sweet offerings that you won't find in Sydney...yet.


While it's currently no longer located upstairs within the Queen Victoria Markets, you can find them stocked at various cafes around Melbourne including The Kettle Black, Top Paddock, Fifty Acres, Axil Coffee Roasters (to name a few) depending on the day. According to their website, they will be opening a new location on Bourke Street in the near future. After spending at least five minutes staring at the doughnuts, my pick of the whole lot was the Bullseye. While there was that sweet, tangy and fruity flavour from the berry compote, you just can't resist the vanilla bean icing and the soft shortbread crumble.

Bullseye Doughnut ($5.50)

Doughboy Doughnuts
535 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 (opening soon)


Till now, I am still craving for the doughnuts at Shortstop. You can find different types of doughnuts here ranging from raised (pillowy, buttery and slightly chewy), filled, cake and cruller. While there's the usual faves like vanilla bean and cinnamon and sugar (with cardamon); you can also find the more unusual flavours such as New Orleans Iced Coffee, Earl Grey and Rose, Boston Cream and Macademia and Orange Blossom. This time, I went out hard and ordered the whole lot...then carried that box with me around Melbourne for the next hour an a half till I stopped back at the hotel before moving onto Fitzroy. Their churro-textured "Cruller" are a must have for its flakey yet soft taste as you bite into them. Will definitely come back here next time! Craving right now!

L-R: Vanilla Bean, Earl Grey and Rose, Hazelnut Chocolate and Banana  

"Cruller" Donuts: New Orleans Iced Coffee, Australian Honey and Sea Salt 

Shortstop Coffee and Donuts
12 Sutherland Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Mon-Fri: 7:30am - 4:30pm
Sat-Sun: 9:30am - 4:30pm
Click to add a blog post for Shortstop Coffee & Donuts on Zomato 


We all remember the 7-layered lolly bag cake on Masterchef? Well I felt like a kid in a candy store when I stepped inside this wonderful place located on Toorak Road, pretty much the busiest street of South Yarra (it took FOREVER to get off the tram with all that traffic). Not only are these cakes, macarons and tarts so pretty, many of them are gluten free! Yesss. You can also find the cake tarts at its sister branch 'T by Luxbite' on Flinders Lane in Melbourne CBD on If only this is in Sydney. But then, considering the amount of Melbourne eateries branching out to Sydney lately, one can only hope. I'll let the pictures do all the talking. 

Endless Love - Lychee ganache, rose cream, lychee, fresh raspberries

Lolly Bag Cake

Chocolate Easter Freckles Macaron (available for Easter only...sorry)

38 Toorak Road, South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9867 5888
Mon-Sun: 10:30am - 7:00pm
Click to add a blog post for LuxBite on Zomato 


Chocolate, Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Tart

Apart from the high end shopping, South Yarra sure love their sweets. This store has more focus on chocolate with their cake creations and the signature tube desserts. Still felt like a kid in a candy store. Was getting into a sweet coma by this point of the day and sadly many of the treats here were best to have in store than takeaway so didn't savour as much as I would have liked. Though the chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel tart was scrumptious in its sweet and salty way. Again, I'll let the photos do the talking.

Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio
647 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9827 7060
Mon-Sun: 10:00am - 6:30pm
Click to add a blog post for Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Zomato 

This concludes my many recaps of my April 2015 Melbourne trip. I hope you enjoyed looking at the food porn as I did. Hopefully there will be more Melbourne trips coming up soon later this year so I can get into Huxtaburger, The Kettle Black, Top Paddock, Proud Mary, Patricia Coffee Brewers, Duke Coffee Roasters, Chin Chin etc. Otherwise, there's always next year... 

My idea of shopping!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Single O CBD Launch Event, Sydney CBD

If you are a CBD worker and a fan of the coffee from Single Origin Roasters but you don't have the time to check out its original Surry Hills cafe and the Botany branch, you will be very pleased to hear that it has now opened its doors on York Street in Sydney CBD. Unlike the other branches, Single O CBD is take away only, although you can chill out in the standing area on the side of the cafe.

Kombucha on tap - finger lime and ginger infused ($4.50)

Regular tea samples were offered at the counter throughout the evening. Apparently, Single O CBD is the first cafe in Sydney to offer the Japanese inspired Kombucha tea and the Cascara coffee cherry tea. While the Kombucha had a sparkling and slightly sweet flavour, the Cascara was bold, deep and intense. For the Single Origin coffee lovers, the cafe is currently serving their Reservoir blend (great with milk-based coffees), plus selected blends from Columbia, Tanzania and Ethiopia as well as the "filter of the week" for something a bit more random.

Sparkling Cascara on tap - coffee cherry tea ($4.50)

All the guests were treated to samples of delicacies that will be on offer at the cafe. My personal faves include their ham, cheese and pickled veg toastie, the mini bacon and egg rolls, braised beef sliders and the espresso buttered banana bread.

"Mr Croque" - leg ham, cheddar bechamel, pickled veg toastie ($11.00)

Avocado, fetta, cherry tomatoes, rye toast ($12.00)

A variation of the "Breakkie box" - poached eggs, flatbread, coriander salad, hummus ($12.00)

Braised beef cheek, pickles, slaw, brioche bun ($15.00)

Bacon roll, red eye mayo, fried egg, tomato apple ketchup ($12.00)

Banana bread, espresso butter ($6.00)

Thanks to the neighbouring bar "The Barbershop", we were also treated to their salted caramel espresso martini. There's a strong sense of coffee in this cocktail with a hint of sweet stickiness from the salted caramel. Sadly this isn't on the menu but I'm pretty sure The Barbershop will be happy to make it for you if you ask.

Salted Caramel Espresso Martini (not available at Single O CBD)

It's quite easy to miss Single O CBD due to its tiny space, but that's what makes hole in the wall cafes special. While the menu is limited, the cafe does all day breakfast, which is a major bonus if you don't have time to stop for a quick breakkie in the morning. My only qualm at this stage is that they do not have skim milk in case that's how you prefer your milk (which rules out nearly everyone at my office). Hopefully it will show up once the cafe settles in its new location. Despite that, it's a great way to discover or rediscover the excellent 3-cup awarded coffee that Single Origin Roasters has to offer in this side of the city.

Disclaimer 1: The Random Foodie attended the Single O CBD Launch Night as a guest. 
Disclaimer 2: The sample serving size of the food in this post does not reflect the actual size of the food served at the cafe. Prices reflect on the full size of the above menu items offered at the cafe.

Single O CBD
89 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9279 2677
Mon-Fri: 6:30am - 4:00pm
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