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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, 28 September 2016

All American Brunch @ Lily & Bloom, Hong Kong

Last month, we celebrated 12 years of marriage. It's amazing we've come this far together. At our wedding, I would never have imagined that in 12 years time, we would have lived in both Japan and Hong Kong, with three kids all born outside of Australia! We've done so many cool and awesome stuff together, and our latest adventure sees us trying to raise our kids (two of whom are under 3) in Hong Kong. This year, the anniversary date fell on a Sunday, so we took the opportunity to treat ourselves to a nice brunch with the kids at Lily & Bloom, who had just introduced their All American Brunch (HK$320) on Saturdays and Sundays. We'd been here previously a few years ago, and I had quite enjoyed the experience. I love the design concept based on the New York 1920s speakeasy, and there was plenty of space to move around. There was a play area set up on the 6th floor, but we didn't use it because it was on a separate floor and we wanted to eat!


There were two sittings for brunch, and I booked the 11am slot which was perfect because we practically had the whole place to ourselves and our noisy children can be their boisterous selves without too much embarrassment. Service was friendly and attentive, and the food was delicious. The All American Brunch included an appetiser buffet and a variety of small plates for sharing served to our table. The kids' a-la-carte menu was also available to order from, and I appreciated the flexibility as our 7-year-old was just uninterested in the brunch selection. The appetiser buffet was quite small, but quality of the dishes were good. There were a few salads, a charcuterie and a cheese board with some bread, as well as seafood on ice (smoked salmon, prawns and mussels). We particularly enjoyed the chicken salad, and I helped myself to multiple servings of smoked salmon. There was also an omelette station, where there was several types of omelettes to choose to be freshly cooked and served to the table. The dessert buffet looked delicious, and the chocolate fondue was a novelty.

Appetiser buffet:

The chocolate fondue fountain was the main centrepiece of the dessert spread. There was also pineapple upside down cake and creamy coconut flan:

Cupcake decorating station! Our kids are already hyperactive without sugar and artificial colours, so they only enjoyed the plain cupcakes

The boy's Hot Dog and Scrambled Eggs (two of his favourites in one plate) from the kids' menu:

The first of the sharing plates was the BLT Avocado Toast with toasted brioche bread, zesty jalapeno avocado mash, fresh lime, cherry tomatoes and crispy bacon. The 6-month-old loved this! She didn't seem to mind the mild spiciness at all:

Lily & Bloom Diner Corned Beef Hash with slow-cooked spa egg, crisped potatoes and corned beef:

Billy's Blueberry Pancakes with crispy bacon and breakfast sausage links:

Big Brioche French Toast with orange spiked classic maple syrup and fruit compote:

Omelette:

The cappuccino was disappointing as it tasted like burnt coffee with too much milk (so it was more a latte than a cap). Hubby's flat white was a bit better:

This was another enjoyable experience at Lily & Bloom.

[Prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

5th Floor, LKF Tower
33 Wyndham St
Central
Tel. +85 2 2810 6166.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Kid-friendly brunch spot @ Sprolo, Perth (Australia)

These days, my criteria for restaurants is that it must be kid-friendly. That must go without saying, with a hyperactive 7-year-old in cahoots with a rambunctious 2-year-old, and an ever-increasingly mobile 7-month-old. The alternative would be not to dine out at all, which is not an option. Not for me. (Of course, on the odd special occasions when we want to dine in peace without the rugrats, we will make it count and splurge at a fine dining restaurant.) The same criteria applies to our trips overseas too. When we met up with my friends in Perth who are now also mums of young kids, we had to go somewhere that was kid-friendly. Sprolo came on my Perth radar when my ex-classmate from university opened it two years ago, and mutual friends of ours raved about the coffee. The catchy name Sprolo comes from the barista's abbreviation of espresso ('spro') and 'yolo' (acronym for "you only live once"), which is quite appropriate for my ex-classmate who left his engineering career to follow his passion to open up a cafe and coffee roasting business. Sprolo has a small play area, and I suggested it to my friends who were keen to meet up for brunch there. I can confirm that the coffee is good. It's made from beans roasted in house by Blacklist Coffee Roasters. The menu was innovative and the food delicious, considering the fact that Sprolo is a cafe with no real kitchen. The exception was the scrambled eggs, which didn't look like scrambled eggs but resembled a fine spongy foam (I really can't think of a nicer description). The flavour was fine, but the texture and appearance didn't match scrambled eggs. It was my son's order, and he ate it all without any complaints. The sous vide machine on site ensured that the sous vide eggs came out perfect, and I would love to revisit for their famous Traditional Singaporean Breakfast with kaya (coconut jam).

Order and pay first at the counter:

And then wait for the food and coffee to be served at the table. The play area was good to keep the kids occupied for a short time:

Hubby's flat white (AU$4.20) was good, and I was curious about the Gula Melaka Caramel Latte (AU$5.50, with the option to add coffee). It was nice but too milky for me (I don't drink much milk, being lactose-intolerant):

Babycino for the little ones:

Hubby ordered the Smoked Salmon Waffle (AU$16.50) with cream cheese, oven roasted tomatoes and basil pesto. The savoury 3-cheese & chive waffle was delicious, and the smoked salmon was good quality stuff:

Scrambled Eggs on Toast (AU$12.50) - see what I mean by fine spongy foam? I must reiterate that it tasted fine:

Sous Vide Eggs on Toast (AU$12) - simply delicious (if you like eggs like this):

Sprolo is worth the visit just for the coffee alone.

Sprolo
138 Canning Hwy
South Perth WA 6151
Australia
+61 401 625 134

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

Friday, 9 September 2016

Brunch @ The Pantry, Hong Kong

Last month, after a movie at the cinema in the mall downstairs, we noticed that there was a new restaurant opposite the cinema. The menu at The Pantry seemed suitable for brunch, so we paid a visit for a brunch date (with baby). Everything was new, and I liked the clean design and bright interior. Once we were inside the restaurant, we saw how spacious and big it actually was. The menu contained innovative dishes like Waffle Benedicts and Buttermilk Chicken Waffle, which piqued our interest. There were plenty of staff so there was no shortage of attention. We've been back three or four times since (with all our three kids in tow), and we don't have any complains about the service. The food was good, service was great, and all our visits to The Pantry have been quite pleasant. It's worth visiting just for the poached eggs on a crispy waffle.

The entry way to The Pantry from the mall:

View from our table by the window:

Cappuccino (HK$45) is decent here. Hubby ordered the Peachy Coconut Smoothie (HK$58) without reading the description too closely, and was disappointed in how green it looked and tasted. The spinach flavour overwhelmed the peach and coconut flavours that he was after:

Hubby always order The All Day (HK$140) with ricotta pancake, scrambled egg, sausage, bacon, tomato and sauteed mushrooms. The pancake is so fluffy:

I always order the Waffle Benedict (HK$138) which comes with poached eggs, spinach, avocado and smoked bacon:

Making pizzas:

[Prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

The Pantry
Shop 2133
2nd Floor, Elements
1 Austin Road West
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 23488219

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Delicious Greek @ Greek on Cav, Brisbane (Australia)

My step-mother-in-law is Greek, and it's a guarantee that we will be very well-fed whenever we visit Brisbane. The foodie in me was looking forward to feasting on good authentic Greek food, and we weren't disappointed! The in-laws brought us to Greek on Cav, a very popular and bustling restaurant with a cheery setting. Service was friendly, and the food was delicious! I believe we had the Banquet course (AU$45 per person, minimum 4), and we enjoyed a wide variety of Greek classics like dolmades, souvlaki skewers and haloumi cheese. There was a lot of food, and I'm sure I didn't get to take shots of all of the food (too busy eating!). We were very full by the end of it.

Bright and cheery at Greek on Cav:

Taramosalata and tzatziki dips with warm pita bread. The 23-month-old loved the pink salty taramosalata dip and she wanted to eat nothing else:

The meat and seafood in the banquet course included lamb and chicken souvlaki skewers, Greek meatballs, chargrilled octopus, fish, braised scallops with sundried tomato:

The vegetarian items included dolmades, chickpea fritters, haloumi cheese, olives and baked lemon and oregano potatoes:

The banquet also included a dessert course, loukoumades with ouzo ice cream, but I didn't take a photo of it! The Greeks love their sweets, and the in-laws made sure we tried every dessert on the menu!

Galaktoboureko:

Risogalo (rice pudding), and baklava and ouzo ice creams:

Greek on Cav
Shop 4/377 Cavendish Rd
Coorparoo QLD 4151
Australia
Tel. +61 7 3397 2613

Greek on Cav Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato