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, 28 April 2017

Cambodian @ Bopha Devi [Docklands], Melbourne

When we travel as a family, I always try to fit something in the daily itinerary that is for the kids. Travelling is tough on kids - sleeping on strange beds in an unfamiliar surrounding, being dragged every single day out to everywhere your parents wish to go, made to eat unusual food and exotic cuisines. So I try to give them something to look forward to - a trip to the park, to a playground, or playing with cousins (if visiting family in Australia). When we were in downtown Melbourne a few months ago, we made an impromptu trip to the Ron Barassi Snr Park for the playground. It was soon lunch time, and after a quick google search for nearby restaurants, we headed for Bopha Devi Restaurant in the Docklands area. It stood out in my search purely because it offered Cambodian cuisine, and I don't recall ever trying Cambodian food before. The staff was welcoming to our boisterous party of three kids, and the dining room was spacious and comfortable. The menu was quite extensive, and hubby ordered for all while I was busy putting #3 to sleep. The food were delicious, and the kitchen was careful with our allergy requests. I appreciated the chef came out personally to double-check our son's allergies.

A cool and chic interior:

Fried spring rolls:

Rice paper roll with prawns:

Beef Skewers in Lemongrass - popular with the boy:

Saramann - coconut cream, onion, broccoli, lime leaves, lemongrass, turmeric, nuts with rice. This came with a choice of chicken, beef, tofu or prawns, and you can see what hubby chose:

Cambodian food has much similarities to other South-East Asian cuisines. Bopha Devi has good quality food with friendly service in a comfortable setting - definitely worth a try if you're in the area.

Bopha Devi
27 Rakaia Way,
Docklands, VIC 3008
Tel. +61 3 9600 1887

Bopha Devi Cambodian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Easter Lunch (and kids' cooking class) @ Bread Street Kitchen, Hong Kong

I hope everyone had a good Easter! We have been back in Hong Kong for a week now, which meant we spent the long weekend here in HK. It would have been nice to spend it in Perth, but hubby had to be back at work last week, and it seemed mean to separate the family over Easter. On Sunday, we had an impromptu lunch at our family fave, Bread Street Kitchen. That hill up D'Aguilar to LKF with a pram is a killer, and those stairs are a little inconvenient with little ones, but we always have an enjoyable meal there. The staff is always warm and welcoming to our noisy bunch of three kids, and I just love the relaxed and cozy atmosphere. I also love the fact that kids get a full 3-course kids' meal for free with every main course ordered, which is such good value. There was a special Easter menu on offer on Sunday, which hubby really wanted to try and it required a minimum of two, so I obliged. When newly-appointed head chef Gareth Packham came over to our table for a quick chat, I was immediately taken by his amicable disposition. During our meal, one of the front desk girls came to ask our older two kids if they wanted to join the second cooking class (we arrived after the first class was already underway), making chocolate chip cookies! A free cooking class? Sure, why not? It was great! The kids had a lot of fun, and Chef Packham even asked one of his assistants to help with my 3-year-old, chasing me away to eat my lunch in peace. This was the first Sunday they held the kids cooking classes, and Chef told us that it will be on every Sundays from now. That is honestly a brilliant idea.

Woodblock Sharing Special with prawn cocktail, pork pie, and wild mushroom and asparagus quiche. Everything was delicious:

The 3-year-old (whose favourite colour is pink!) loved the egg!

Roast lamb and beef and limitless Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables:

The gravy, mint jelly, and horseradish to go with the roast, and humongous Yorkshire puds! The Yorkshire pudding was a bit crunchy, so it may have been overcooked (to be honest, I am not a good authority on Yorkshire pudding), but the kids loved it all the same:

Making Chocolate Chip Cookies, led by head chef. Check out my cheeky monkeys on the left stealing to eat the ingredients!

We got to enter the kitchen!! I was so happy! Even if it was just to put the cookies into the oven:

I didn't realise it at the time I took the photo, but that cook was preparing my daughter's fish and chips (pretty sure it was hers as it was almost 3pm and most everyone in the restaurant had already eaten):

The kids-size Eton Mess. So good with fresh strawberries and fresh cream and and crunchy meringue:

The Easter special dessert of peanut butter parfait, vanilla panna cotta and passionfruit gel with chocolate ganache.
Such a cute presentation

Bread Street Kitchen & Bar
Mezzanine Level, LKF Hotel
33 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2230 1800

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Brunch @ Operator 25, Melbourne

Hello again from Down Under! We're in Australia this week to spend time with family, particularly the sick and elderly. It's been a precious few days having the children make memories with their Perth grandparents and great-grandma. It's always good to see family. When we were in Melbourne over the last Christmas holidays, we caught up with one of my Melbournite cousins-in-law for brunch. (Coincidentally, this same cousin-in-law featured in my previous blog post.) Knowing that she eats healthy - relative to my cousin who is not shy about enjoying the more indulgent foods - I asked her to choose a healthy brunch place (in a small attempt to offset the unhealthy holiday eating). She recommended Operator 25, remarking that the menu is unique. And indeed, it was different to the usual brunch menu offerings. Operator 25 is very popular for breakfast and lunch, and it was full when we arrived on a weekday. It's not particularly pram-friendly, but there is a separate entrance for wheels. The atmosphere is the epitome of Melbourne chic cafe culture - a clean design with a well-organised space. Service was friendly and accommodating, and the food was delicious, good quality and presented nicely. All in all Operator 25 is a solid choice for brunch in the CBD.

My sister's Tea Tonic (AU$8) with rooibos red tea espresso, lime cordial, tonic water with lime wedgeS:

The 8-year-old's Scrambled Eggs on Dr. Marty Crumpets (AU$12):

My sister's Soft Shell Crab (AU$22) - tempura battered soft shell crab with enoki and soba salad, rice paper crisp,
laksa sauce

Cousin's Corn Fritters (AU$18), with tomato and cucumber salsa, snow peas, tomato chutney, fior de latte,
sesame seeds and poached egg

My Teriyaki Benedict (AU$19) was an interesting concept, with teriyaki pulled pork on toasted brioche with yuzu hollandaise, mizuna leaves and wontton crisps:

Operator 25
25 Wills St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel. +61 3 9670 3278

Operator25 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 27 March 2017

Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden

A couple of months ago, my cousin-in-law was in Hong Kong for an acting course. This was her second visit here, and she had already done all the touristy stuff on the first trip, so I suggested we go check out the Chi Lin Nunnery. I'd heard that it's a beautiful place, a tranquil sanctuary from the busy Hong Kong, and it's been on my list of places to visit in Hong Kong since forever. For some reason, I just don't feel like it's the kind of place to visit with kids, and I'm truly too busy on any given day to make the visit on my own, so I've never had the opportunity to visit the nunnery. It's truly quite a refreshing experience to go sight-seeing with a solo female as a solo female without kids. And more so when she is a professional photographer who used to do wedding photography as a job. Let's just say I'm not used to be the one in front of the camera, and it was actually rather enjoyable! She's got an eye for a beautiful shot, and it was great to have someone else also looking out for a good angle. The Nan Lian Garden adjacent to the nunnery was beautiful, and it was nice to escape from my busy reality for a short while.

A gold pagoda and a red bridge in Nan Lian Garden:

The pagoda and bridge stand out a lot with their vibrant colours:

With my pretty cousin-in-law:

The courtyard of Chi Lin Nunnery:

Juxtaposed against the city skyline:

Lotus flowers: