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, 19 July 2019

Comfy lodging and delicious Swiss food @ Hotel Bellevue, Murren (Switzerland)

I am still going through my photos from our trip to Europe last year, and I do hope to get through them all by the end of 2019! It had always been a dream of mine to visit the Swiss Alps, and last year we actually stayed on the Swiss Alps for two days! Choices on where to base ourselves on the Alps were plenty, and many online have raved about how scenic Murren is, so I booked us in to stay at the highly rated Hotel Bellevue in Murren. Service was excellent from the moment of my email enquiry, right up until we checked out and departed. It's a fact that Murren is car-free, so the complimentary pick-up and drop-off service between the station and the hotel was greatly appreciated, especially with our large group of three adults and three children, and the sizeable number of luggage that accompanied us. The rooms were well equipped and we slept comfortably and cozily each night. Our family stayed in a suite and my mum enjoyed her solitude in a single room. The suite had a back door directly out onto the snow, which delighted the kids. Breakfast was included in our rate, which is super convenient when travelling with three kids. The breakfast fare was lovely, and I loved the hot freshly made coffee each morning. We enjoyed one dinner at the hotel, and it was delicious.

The single room:

The living area in the suite:

The bedroom in the suite:

The breakfast room:

The view from the breakfast room:

Bread basket:

Fruit and bread corner:

Muesli, yogurts, cheese and cold cuts. There's even a pot of boiled eggs!

Swiss muesli with various cheeses:

The restaurant dining area:

Hubby's first taste of Ramseier Suure Moscht (Swiss apple cider), and the kids' first taste of apfelschorle:

Snow-covered scenery to be enjoyed from the dining room window:

Special order of sausage and chips for the boy to share with his sisters:

Mum's choice of deer fillet, smoked and pan-fried with a creamy mushroom sauce, glazed chestnuts, red cabbage, poached pears with cranberries, served with homemade spätzle:


Hubby could not resist finishing the meal with something sweet. This mixed berries tart was delish:

If you're looking to stay on the Swiss Alps, I can highly recommend the alpine village of Murren, and Hotel Bellevue is a superb choice for accommodation.

Hotel Bellevue
CH-3825 Mürren
Tel. +41 33 855 14 01

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Brunch @ The Hills Pantry, Melbourne

Earlier this year we signed the kids up to Saturday Chinese school, at a language school recommended by my cousin whose kids also attend the school. Our 10-year-old had received daily Mandarin lessons for five years at his school in Hong Kong, and I didn't want it all to go to waste. The school is also for his younger sisters to get a bit of exposure to the language, and the 3-hour duration allows me to get some productive work done without the distractions of childcare and household chores. When I first brought the kids to trial their respective classes, hubby came along for support, and when the 3-year-old was finally settled in the kinder class, we found ourselves with some time to spare, sans kids! We googled for the nearest cafe to have coffee, and found ourselves at The Hills Pantry for a quick brunch date. The location in a small shopping centre means that parking is easy to find, and it is a convenient place for a coffee break whilst getting the shopping done. The staff were friendly and the service was efficient. There was a decent selection of food to choose from, and the coffee was also fantastic. All in all, this is a great little cafe for good coffee and a bite to eat.

Hubby enjoyed his cappuccino and I loved my piccolo:

Hubby ordered the classic brunch dish, Eggs Benedict - poached eggs with ham and hollandaise. Can't go wrong with this one:

I could not resist the Smashed Avocado and Fetta on sourdough. There was the option to add poached egg, but it was delicious just as it was:

The Hills Pantry
Wheelers Hill Shopping Centre
190 Jells Road
Wheelers Hill
Tel. +61 3 9561 0022

The Hills Pantry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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