The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 31 May 2019

Lunch special @ Chu The Phat, South Brisbane

A few months ago, I was in Brisbane for one night, for the sole purpose of cheering on my younger sister when she participated in a dance competition. I managed to catch up with one of my friends from university, who is now based in Brisbane. We met for a quick lunch at Chu The Phat, which was conveniently close by her workplace and the convention centre where the dance competition was held. I liked the hip and modern interior, and staff was welcoming and very friendly. We liked the two dishes that was offered on the affordably priced $15 lunch specials, so we ordered one of each and shared them. Service was quick and efficient, which was great for my friend who only had a 1-hour lunch break. The food was delicious and flavoursome, hearty and wholesome, the perfect companions for plain rice. If I lived in Brisbane, I would most return for multiple revisits to explore the menu.

Outdoor dining by the entrance on Fish Lane:

Love the cool and awesome decor:

Braised beef shin, fermented chilli and baby turnip:

Pork and kimchi stew with tofu:

Chu The Phat
111 Melbourne St
South Brisbane QLD 4101
Tel. +61 7 3255 2075

Chu The Phat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Picturesque Swiss Alps - Mürren and Schilthorn

Around this time last year, we were in the snowy parts of Europe, specifically the Swiss Alps! For as long as I could remember, I'd always wanted to visit the Swiss Alps, but I'd always considered it to be one of those highly unattainable quest I would only dream about. When hubby suggested doing a big Europe trip between our overseas relocation, we knew that this would likely be our last trip to Europe in a very long time, so we tried to incorporate many of our bucket list in our itinerary. And the kids - lucky kids, getting to experience the Swiss Alps at such a young age - they loved the snow! Slipping and sliding and sledding and snowballing! We stayed in Mürren , a mountain village in the Bernese Highlands with a view of three mountains: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

We had the enormous challenge of travelling with three children and all the accompanying luggage that comes with travelling in between seasons. Here we are at the platform in Zurich awaiting to alight the SBB to Interlaken Ost for the next interchange:

At Ost Interlaken, we took the BOB to Lauterbrunnen, where we took the cable car up to Grutschalp for the train to Mürren. Along the way in the cable car, we enjoyed this breathtaking view:

In the cable car looking back on Lauterbrunnen:

After an almost 4-hour long journey from Zurich with several interchanges (which would already be challenging without the amount of kids and luggage we had), we arrived at Mürren, sitting at 1634m above sea level. It was every bit as picturesque and quaint as the pictures on the internet showed:

Click on image for a larger panoramic view:

The first thing the kids wanted to do after checking in at our hotel was playing with the snow! Such pure delight on their faces:

The next day we hopped on another cable car, bound for Schilthorn. Here's a view of the town of Mürren from the cable car:

A shot of hubby and the kids at the peak at 2970m elevation. The snow glare and chilly wind made it hard to keep the eyes open for the camera:

At Schilthorn summit, there are panoramic views spanning several mountain summits and the Bernese Alps. Click on image for a larger view:

Fabulous views wherever you turn. Click on image for a larger view:

Somewhere in the panorama above, there were a couple of paragliders:

Upon return from the summit, the kids enjoyed snow sledding on a borrowed sled:

Truly an amazing experience, and well worth the effort to get there. My only regret is not staying longer than two days, but unfortunately we didn't have the time to stay in one place, nor the budget as it was very expensive up in Mürren.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Delicious lunch and coffee @ C.H. James, Melbourne

One of the best things about living in Melbourne, is the abundance of good coffee everywhere. We are indeed spoiled for choice along Station Street near Fairfield Station, and C.H. James is an excellent option for a quick coffee or a leisurely lunch. I love the simple but classy decor, and the courtyard looks lovely too. The service was friendly and courteous, and my toddler was provided with a colouring page on the kid's menu and some crayons to entertain herself. The menu was innovative with plenty of healthy options to suit various dietary requirements. This is restaurant-quality food in a cafe, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

In addition to the cosy indoor dining room, there is an alfresco area:

Excellent coffee can be found here at CH James. The little one enjoyed her cup of babycino very much:

For the toddler, I ordered Phillipa's Apricot and Date Fruit Loaf with an add-on of a poached egg:

The Confit Pork Belly Benedict with cucumber kimchi, potato hash, poached eggs and chive hollandaise was a delicious mid-day indulgent meal. The hash made for a nice change from the usual English muffin base, and the cucumber kimchi was a surprisingly good accompaniment to help cut the fattiness of the pork belly:

Corn and Haloumi Fritters with poached eggs, romesco, charred leeks and salsa verde. Vegetables made tasty, and a good low-carb, gluten-free choice:

C.H. James
86 Station St
Fairfield VIC 3078
Tel. +61 3 9486 3484

C.H. James Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Great Japanese food @ Matsuya, Melbourne

There is a gem of a Japanese restaurant in our neighbourhood. It ticks all the boxes for what we look for in a good Japanese restaurant: fresh ingredients, authentic preparation and presentation, and delicious food. It's a bonus that it is a walk of less than 10 minutes from our front door, and there is even an early bird discount for dinner everyday - perfect for our kids who have early bedtimes. We have dined at Matsuya twice - once on a lunch date without the kids, and another time for an early dinner with the whole family - and have also ordered a takeaway sushi platter for one kid's birthday celebration a few months ago. There was a wide range of Japanese dishes on the menu, to suit even the pickiest of eaters, like my kids can be. The fish and seafood were always of excellent quality, and other dishes were delicious and tasted just the same as those we ate while we lived in Japan. The service was what one would expect of Japanese hospitality, and prices were reasonable for this calibre of dining.

The sake was really good:

The korokke was crispy without being greasy:

The gyoza had the perfect slightly charred base, with a skin that was not too thick nor too thin, and a delicious moist filling. This was the 10-year-old's favourite:

The 3-year-old loved the inari sushi, for the slightly sweet fried tofu skin and the sushi rice within:

The karaage was perfectly seasoned, not greasy, and the crispy coating contrasted nicely with the moist chicken meat. The 5-year-old favoured this dish:

Miso soup and salad that came with the sushi dish:

Seafood that looked and tasted fresh and lovely:

Chirashi don, one of my favourite dishes to order at a Japanese restaurant:

Katsudon, a nostalgic dish for hubby. It was delicious and he wolved it all down pretty quickly:

Ice cream mochi was a great way to end a delicious meal:

146 Station St
Fairfield VIC 3078
Tel. +61 3 9482 6088

Matsuya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Delectables @ Confiserie Sprüngli, Zurich

Last April, we were in Zurich for the first part of our epic European trip, and because I had been so busy and occupied with packing up 7.5 years of life in Hong Kong for our big move to Melbourne, hubby was in charge of the itinerary for Zurich. It was no surprise then that come lunch time, sweet-toothed hubby would lead us to Confiserie Sprüngli, a Swiss luxury confectionery manufacturer. This is the same Sprüngli as the world-famous Swiss chocolate brand Lindt (short for Lindt & Sprüngli), sharing the same founding father. This location at Paradeplatz is the confectionery company's headquarters, and upstairs is a cafe and restaurant, apparently a traditional meeting place for the elderly ladies of Zurich's upper class. It is a popular option for lunch, and hubby had the foresight to book a table in advance for us so we did not have to wait. Service was pleasant and efficient, and the menu had a nice variety of food. Our lunch experience at Confiserie Sprüngli was lovely, and even the pickiest eater in our family enjoyed the food.

On the ground level of Confiserie Sprüngli is the bakery. We had a brief walk-through, and the offerings were much the same as the branch we visited in the main train station:

The upper level is the cafe and restaurant space:

Big girl wanted pasta, so she got the kids' tagliatelle, with a separate container of cheese for her to add to her heart's content:

The boy and I shared the Club Sandwich Classic, with chicken, ham, fried egg, tomato, salad and mayonnaise:

My mum ordered the Pan-fried Halibut with tomato risotto and sauteed spring onions:

Hubby's eyes were on the Sprüngli puff pastries, and chicken was the meat filling of the day:

From the display cabinet, hubby selected two desserts: a streuselkuchen (crumb cake) with mixed berries filling...

... and a chocoladen-kuss (chocolate kiss):

Within the chocolate coating for the chocoladen-kuss, was cake with a custard-like filling:

We visited the shop branch at the main train station when we first arrived in Zurich, and bought a few things to try. There were plenty of delectable-looking delights:

A whole display cabinet filled with chocolate truffles:

The bunnies were a special edition of the traditional zopf bread. Such a nice introduction to zopf, and I became slightly obsessed with zopf, buying a loaf whenever I could even after leaving Switzerland and Austria:

The famed Luxemburgerli, Sprüngli's signature mini macarons, of various flavours and a cream filling. These are lighter than the traditional macarons, and smaller, which makes it easy to eat a few of them in one sitting!

Confiserie Sprüngli [Paradeplatz]
Bahnhofstrasse 21
8001 Zurich
Tel. +41 44 224 46 16