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“Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are” – Brillat-Savarin

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Brunch @ Tarts Cafe, Northbridge (WA, Australia)

One of the best things about going back to Australia for a trip are seeing my friends again and catching up (usually over good food). It is a bit of a shame that my blog posts are skewed towards restaurant visits, as some of the best meals we ate during our trip to Perth last October were from our friends' home kitchens! Going out to eat is fun and there is less to clean up, and that is what my friend and I did! She's a dear friend from high school, and we were hoping our group of four would have a nice catch up. The original plan was for those of us with kids to meet up during the day, and then do a girls' night out without the kids so that I could also see our working-non-mum-friend. Life with kids means that plans get changed a lot! One friend had to cancel the daytime-play-meet because of her two sickly kids, so it was just the two of us with our babies (who were both born on the same day and year!). She lives in the Mt Lawley area, which is enviably close to all the good cafes, restaurants and bars in the surrounding suburbs including Mt Lawley, and I was pretty happy when she suggested Tarts Cafe for lunch. My siblings and I had a fantastic dinner experience a couple of years ago, and I'd hoped for another chance to try the brunch/lunch menu. Nothing much has changed, and I love the cosy atmosphere at Tarts, the cheerful and friendly staff, and the beautiful looking slices, tarts, muffins and cupcakes in the cake cabinet. There is a nice variety of choices on the brunch menu, with several gluten-free and/or vegetarian options. I ordered the Chicken Panini (AU$11.90), which contained a superb combination of braised chicken in an Asian sauce, cashews, mayo, avocado and coriander. It was a generous serving, and it came with a steak knife which went unused as I favoured using my hands instead.

Delicious Chicken Panini:

After our meal, I picked up scrumptious-looking Lemon Tart for hubby, who loved it!

Tarts Cafe has become one of my favourite eats in Perth!

Tarts Cafe
212 Lake Street
Northbridge, WA 6003
Australia
Tel. +61 8 9328 6607

Tarts Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Dinner @ Zuma, Hong Kong

Hubby and I are making a bit more effort to go out on date nights. We got lazy for awhile there, opting for a night in with a movie or chat, and it got a little bit boring. On a recent Friday night, I left our sleeping kids in the hands of a capable nanny and met hubby after his work for a dinner date. He suggested Zuma since it had been years since we were last there, and Japanese food sounded like a fine idea to me! I've never been to Zuma in the evening before, and it had a different vibe to daytime. The drinks bar was hopping with after-work drinks, and the dining area was bustling too. It was a good thing I had the mind to make reservations a few hours prior, however all the tables were already booked and we could only have seats at the sushi bar. Entry is on the 6th floor, where the drinks bar is located, and we were shown downstairs to the dining area. It was a nice treat to watch sushi chefs do their thing while we waited for our food. The food was excellent, and our only complaint was the price! Alas I failed to bring my camera, so the following shots were taken with my Samsung phone.

The dining floor, as seen from the magnificent winding staircase:

The sushi kitchen as viewed from our seats at the sushi bar. The robata bar and kitchen were in the adjacent area:

Seaweed Salad (HK$85) - slightly crunchy and lightly dressed with a delicious sweet-salty-tangy dressing:

Zuma Uni Truffle (HK$180) - an interesting combination of the slightly sweet sea urchin roe with earthy truffle:

A combination of Hotate Sashimi (scallops, HK$95) and Ama-ebi Sashimi (sweet shrimps, HK$75). Very fresh and sweet:

Zuma Seared Salmon (HK$110) - beautifully done and perfectly seasoned:

At this point in our meal, there was a buzz in the kitchen as a huge slab of tuna arrived. This is the head chef holding up the tuna when he saw me taking a photo. He then proceeded to cut the tuna into different cuts based on the fat content. A waiter noticed how we took great interest, and explained that this was a rare occurrence as delivery usually happens very early in the morning when the restaurant is closed:

Japanese Sweet Potato (HK$85) from the robata menu:

Anago (saltwater eel, HK$95) - deliciously grilled to perfection:

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Zuma, and I do wish it was something we can afford to do on a regular basis!

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

Zuma
Level 5 & 6
The Landmark
15 Queen's Road
Central, Hong Kong
t +852 3657 6388

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Yummy Malaysian lunch @ Rasa Penang, Clarkson (Perth, Australia)

As I wrote before, we always look forward to eating delicious authentic Malaysian food whenever we go to Australia for a visit. When we were in Perth, my brother and his wife took us to Rasa Penang in Clarkson for lunch. This is about a 10-minute drive from where my family stay in Joondalup, and it was nice not having to drive so far for good Malaysian food. My brother and his wife are pretty picky when it comes to Malaysian food, so I knew that we were in for a good lunch. The eatery is located opposite the Clarkson train station, with a small amount of seating area for eating in, and there were plenty of customers ordering for taking away. It is clearly a popular business, run by a friendly Malaysian couple who was quite accommodating to our allergy requests. Prices were very reasonable (especially for Perth's high cost of living), with generous servings all under AU$11. We ordered a few dishes to share, and hubby and I were rather pleased with the food.

Rasa Penang, near the Clarkson train station (visible in the background):

While waiting for our food, I spotted in the drinks refrigerator a few bowls and takeaway containers of Chilled Tofu Pudding with Lychees. Subtly sweet and refreshing:

Roti Prata with Chicken Curry. Yummo!

A favourite in our family, the Chai Tau Kueh (fried carrot cakes). Rasa Penang makes this dish really well, and this was the very last plate of chai tau kueh for the day! My brother also wanted to order a plate, but he let us have this one since we are the visitors:

My sister-in-law ordered a bowl of Fish Noodle Soup (I did not taste it so I cannot comment on it):

Brother ordered Nasi Lemak - a perennial favourite of fragrant coconut rice with chicken curry, egg, ikan bilis (fried anchovies), peanuts and sambal (again I did not try this, but my brother wouldn't order it unless it was good):

One of hubby's most favourite Malaysian food - the Char Kuey Teow. Delicious fried flat rice noodles with lots of fresh seafood!

Another of hubby's fave Malaysian dish - Sar Hor Fun, stir fried rice noodles with egg sauce and generous serving of prawns, squid, pork and vegetables:

The sar hor fun is basically char kuey teow plus egg sauce. So good:

Rasa Penang fills the void for good and authentic Malaysian food in the far northern suburbs of Perth. Thumbs up!

Rasa Penang
Shop 3
304 Ocean Keys Boulevard
Clarkson, WA 6030
Australia
Tel. +61 8 9408 5554

Rasa Penang on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Revisit: Dinner @ Cafe Deco Pizzeria (Elements), Hong Kong

Our boy's favourite pizza restaurant in the mall downstairs had a refurbishment a few months ago, to add an 'al-fresco' dining area - presumably because it needed more room to accommodate its growing popularity. We visited Cafe Deco Pizzeria recently for dinner on a whim, and were seated in the outside area which was quite comfortable and brighter than the interior. The menu and prices has not changed in the past year, and I am happy to say that the quality of the service and food has also remained quite consistent.

The newly added 'al-fresco' to Cafe Deco Pizzeria:

The 6-year-old chose the gourmet-sounding pizza Apple Wood Smoked Salmon (HK$168) with mozzarella, capers, peppers red onion and dill aioli. This was a great choice, enjoyed by all, baby girl included who chewed on some pizza crust as her after-dinner treat:

Hubby selected Brown Butter Roasted Halibut (HK$188) served with garden vegetables. The halibut was very moist and flavourful with a beautiful crisped skin:

I brought the boy to the pizza workstation to watch the action. One of the chefs who was camera-shy (not in the picture) quite brusquely told me "No photos!" but I'd already gotten a couple of shots:

Cafe Deco Pizzeria is a great family-friendly option in the Elements mall, closely located to the ice-skating rink and cinema.

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

Cafe Deco Pizzeria
Shop 1005,
1st Floor Elements
(Kowloon MTR Station)
1 Austin Road West
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2196 8099