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

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Quintessentially Aussie @ Fairfield Park Boathouse, Melbourne

When we first moved to Melbourne in May, and I told my Melburnian cousins where we live, one of them asked if we had been to the Fairfield Park Boathouse. The same boathouse came up again in topic with a Melburnian friend, who used to work in the same area, and she again affirmed that it was worth a visit, though for her it was more for the scenery than the food. We fell in love with the place the first time we visited, and hubby describes it as "quintessentially Aussie". We have visited the Boathouse several times since, usually with out-of-town relatives and friends. The boathouse overlooks the Yarra River, and there are rowing boats, kayaks and canoes for hire to explore the Yarra River. The casual outdoor setting is great for those with restless and energetic children, and there are even 40-cent-kiddy-rides with the option of riding a horse, a giraffe, a zebra or a car!

Beyond the entrance are the first area of outdoor tables, the tearoom (where orders are placed), and a set of stairs down to the boat hire shop and more tables:

Down the flight of stairs is usually where we sit ourselves:

Beaut view of the Yarra River:

There's plenty of food on the menu to suit all tastebuds and appetites. Orders are placed at the tearoom, and then a buzzer is given to notify that the food is ready for pick up. There is a long wait for the food, and the price is relatively high compared to the cafes on Station Street in Fairfield, but we love the beautiful scenery and the food is delicious, so we don't mind the wait and cost too much for an occasional treat.

The Devonshire Scones with Jam and Cream ($11.50):

Beer Battered Fish and Chips with garden salad, lemon wedge and aioli ($26.50):

Boathouse Beef Burger with bacon, onion jam, crisp lettuce, cheese, mustard aioli, and chips ($26):

Lightly Fried Calamari with rocket, herb aioli, Spanish red onion, shaved parmesan, balsamic vinegar & lemon ($25):

Pork Belly with pumpkin mash, apple sauce, crispy pumpkin skin and water cress ($27):

Pulled Pork Roll - 10 hour slow cooked spiced pork shoulder with coleslaw, Carolina rub, barbeque sauce & chips ($25.50):

Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens
Fairfield Park Dr
Fairfield VIC 3078
Tel. +61 9486 1501

Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Cheesy lunch @ Raclette Factory, Zurich

Hubby was in charge of the itinerary for our first day in Zurich, and he led us to Raclette Factory for lunch. This casual diner offers the Swiss specialty of raclette in tapas-style portions at the counter, giving the opportunity to try out the different cheeses on offer. The menu was simple, offering some raclette classics, three varieties of tarte flambée and what they call 'raclette tapas' where you can choose two or more cheeses (including blue, goat, sheep and truffle) to go with your choice of sides (potatoes, bread, or mashed potatoes) and additional toppings (ham, bacon or sausage). There was also the all-you-can-eat option, which would be a great option for cheese-lovers! Raclette Factory was a good kid-friendly choice for lunch, and needless to say, the kids enjoyed the food very much.

The interior in wood and bright red is very Swiss in design:

Raclette Heidi, a classic with raclette cheese, potatoes, pickled onions and pickles:

One of the raclette specialties with sausages to appeal more to the little ones:

The Original Tarte Flambée with crème fraîche, onions and bacon:

Raclette Factory
Rindermarkt 1
8001 Zürich
Tel. +41 44 261 04 10

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Excellent lunch buffet @ Conservatory, Melbourne

Three weeks ago, I celebrated getting another year older. My birthday fell on the Melbourne Cup public holiday, which was a nice coincidence for a first birthday in Melbourne. The Melbourne Cup is a pretty big deal Australia-wide - I still remember my former workplace in Perth celebrating it with a lunch outing, but we weren't so lucky as to get a full day off like Melbourne does. My older sister's partner was given four free tickets to the Melbourne Cup on my birthday, but unfortunately he had to work that day, and my older sister had to look after her four kids, so my younger sister and I planned to leave the kids with our hubbies, and use the tickets with two friends. Neither my sister nor I have been to Flemington Racecourse for the Melbourne Cup, so we looked forward to dressing up and experiencing the event at the racecourse. Well, the day came, and the weather was bad with heavy downpour. I can't remember ever driving in such heavy rain before, and the rain did not cease until noon. We all decided on Plan B, which was a lovely lunch at Conservatory in Crown Casino. I was still happy with the backup plan, because it had been more than a decade since I'd been to Crown, and I had never stepped inside the casino before.

Lunch at Conservatory was an excellent buffet spread, which reminded me of the buffets we used to enjoy with our relatives in Hong Kong. There was a wide range of dishes to suit all kinds of tastebuds and a big appetite for Asian, Western, Eastern and Indian cuisines. The dessert bar featured a chocolate fountain and many sweet delights. The food were presented nicely and prepared with high quality produce, and everything was delicious. The main attraction of the buffet for me would be the seafood bar - the natural oysters in particular were delectable, and very popular so I wasn't the only one who thought so. At $109 per person for the lunch buffet, it was expensive, so it's definitely a special occasion treat. Despite the bad weather that curbed our original plan, I still had a fantastic birthday out with my younger sister and friends.

Beautiful interior design with gorgeous marble floors:

Large floor-to-ceiling windows with river views of the Yarra:

Hot buffet selection where the roast station is:

Asian section with a variety of dumplings, spring rolls, buns as well as a few Indian dishes and breads:

Salad selection:


My first plate was heavy on the seafood, and my second and third helpings also featured lots of seafood:

One of four sides of the square dessert bar, featuring a range of delectable sweets and cakes. The other three sides held fruits, cake slices, a chocolate fountain and ice cream:

My first plate of desserts:

I highly recommend a meal at Conservatory for a special occasion. It's family-friendly too, so bring the kids along!

Level 1, Crown Towers
Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street
Melbourne, VIC 3006
Tel. +61 3 9292 5777

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

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Beautiful Zurich

I'm finally sorting through my photos of our epic trip in Europe earlier this year. Still amazed that we managed to cover 12 cities and towns in 5 countries, a total of 2400km in 28 days, with 3 kids in tow! This also happened in the middle of relocating from Hong Kong to Australia, which in itself was already a huge challenge! Our first stop in Europe was Zurich, as it's the only city in Switzerland we can fly non-stop from Hong Kong. We arrived very early in the morning, and we spent the first morning walking around the town before we could check in to our accommodation. We joined a free walking tour the next day to discover more of the city. Zurich is beautiful, with plenty of gorgeous photo opportunities of the lake and the Alps. We were there only two nights before we moved on to the Swiss Alps!

The clean streets of Zurich:

I love the clean straight lines of the architecture, with St Peter's clock tower in the background. This clock tower has the largest tower clock face in Europe:

A view of Grossmunster, a Romanesque-style Protestant church:

The two towers of Grossmunster, Lake Zurich and the Alps in one view:

Even if I lived here, I would not get tired of this view of the lake and the Swiss Alps (click on image for larger view):

Fun entertainment on the streets:

Our lovely tour guide brought us to this fountain in front of a restaurant with historical significance, to inform us that all fountains in Zurich supply drinkable water. This particular fountain, on special occasions held at the restaurant, supplies wine for the guests:

The inner courtyard of the Fraumunster Church:

Beautiful wall painting at the Fraumunster:

The prominent clock tower of St Peter's is visible from many parts of downtown Zurich:

A view of the city from a high point:

Facing towards the Alps:

Stay tuned for more on Europe!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Pretty High Tea @ Cafe Blush, Melbourne

A few Fridays ago, on my younger sister's usual day off work, she and I had to get some official business done for my mum, and hubby took a few hours off work to look after our girls and nephew so that we could do it quickly. We were grateful that we could get it done kids-free, because we experienced some hiccup and delay, which would have been even more stressful if we had three kids in tow. After that was done, my sister and I headed into the city to reward ourselves with a nice lunch at Cafe Blush, which offers an all-day high tea set. The cafe had pretty interior setting, with blush-coloured walls and hanging potted plants. We both enjoyed the dainty high tea, which my sister found wasn't substantial enough for a satisfying lunch (it is after all meant to be a tea, not a full meal), but delicious nonetheless.

The circular lamps overhead was an interesting centrepiece that contributed to the lovely aesthetics of the cafe:

Pondering the menu which had a decent selection of tea:

My sister's Match Latte with cute latte art:

Yes, we also enjoyed the optional bubbly:

Cafe Blush High Tea: (top tier) mini chocolate chiffon, yuzu meringue tart, assorted macarons; (middle) tomato bread sandwich, chipotle prawn and avocado, roasted mushroom with smoked salmon; (bottom) dulce de leche cake, jam and cream for the scones:

The other side. The yuzu meringue tart was my favourite, because it reminded me of my time in Japan, where we frequently enjoyed the bright and zesty flavours of yuzu:

I loved the presentation of the dulce de leche cake, with evaporated milk inside the tube:

Cafe Blush was perfect for a girls' date!

Blush Cafe
Level 2, Emporium Melbourne
287 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC
Tel. +61 3 9654 8882

Cafe Blush Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato