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

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Revisit: Operator25, Melbourne

Happy new year to all! Last month was yet another incredibly busy month, with the end-of-school-year hustle and bustle including our eldest kid's graduation, and the usual busyness of the end of year festivities. We also hosted my in-laws from Brisbane who visited for a week to spend Christmas with us. One of our favourite places to bring our out-of-town guests is brunch at Operator25 and then a short stroll to the Queen Vic Market, which is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. We first visited Operator25 a few years ago when we met up with a cousin, during a trip to Melbourne while we were still living in Hong Kong. We certainly didn't know that we would be back for many more visits, and we have enjoyed every visit. The drinks menu are as innovative and creative as the food, and I especially love the beautiful latte art that accompanies the hot drinks. The menu changes seasonally, so there's always something new to try everytime we visited. It is a very popular brunch joint, so I always make bookings on days that Operator25 accepts reservations (on weekdays only for groups over 6), which is essential whenever dining out with children. The benedict creations and burgers are always excellent choices, and all the other dishes we've tried have also been fabulous.

Check out the latte art:

Kaya Matcha Latte - a sweet, beautiful combination of flavours from two different cuisines:

Hot chocolate:


Picolo latte:

Teriyaki Benedict - Teriyaki pulled pork on toasted brioche with yuzu hollandaise, mizuna leaves and wonton crisps:

Balinese Pork Burger - Balinese marinated pork belly, fried egg, chilli mayo, crispy shallots, coriander, cabbage and carrot slaw on brioche bun:

Citrus-cured Salmon with tapioca and polenta croquettes, yuzu dressing, compressed cucumber, fresh tomatoes, wasabi mayonnaise and pickled beetroot and a poached egg:

Japanese Open Omelette with octopus, wakame, spring onion, edamame, Japanese mayo and miso buttered toast:

Rendang Benedict - pulled beef brisket rendang on brioche toast, poached eggs, lime hollandaise and wonton crisps:

Korean Fried Chicken Burger - fried chicken on black brioche bun, soy garlic sauce, butter lettuce, kimchi mayo, pickled radish and spiced potato crisps:

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

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

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Birthday lunch @ Nobu [Crown Melbourne]

It has been an incredibly busy past few weeks, with a few November birthday celebrations in the family, lengthy dance rehearsals, and the arrival of a new baby in the family just a few days ago (my sister's not mine)! I myself celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago, and hubby arranged to bring me out for a birthday lunch. He was very secretive about his plans for the day, but he had to ask my sister to help collect our youngest from kinder and to look after her, forgetting to tell my sister that it was supposed to be a surprise. One thing that remained a surprise until we arrived was the location of lunch, which was at Nobu. Japanese cuisine remains one of my favourite, so hubby did very well in his choice. The Nobu brand is probably the world's most recognised Japanese restaurant, and we had the pleasure of dining at Nobu in Hong Kong where we enjoyed the fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with Peruvian ingredients. Nobu is located inside the Crown complex, a place that I quite enjoy visiting without having to set foot inside the casino. Service was friendly but professional, and our waiter was very helpful in recommending drinks and food. The contemporary timber decor and the lovely river views made for a stylishly cool setting for a celebratory meal. I finally got to try Nobu's lunch bento boxes, almost exactly two years after I first set my sights on them in the menu. The food was excellently executed with top quality ingredients, and hubby and I enjoyed every morsel of food.

Hokusetsu onigoroshi (devil killer) sake. Flavour profile: "dry and refreshing, savoury notes arise on the palate". I've yet to encounter a sake I do not enjoy:

Hubby's Mayura Gold Series Wagyu with Wasabi Salsa. That wagyu was everything a good quality wagyu should be - tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture with a beautiful flavour. This was a tasty dish, even the cauliflower had absorbed the flavourful broth and was such a pleasure to eat:

Nobu Signature Bento Box - clockwise from top left: sashimi salad with Matsuhisa dressing, Chef’s selection of assorted sushi, seafood ceviche, baby tiger prawns with creamy spicy sauce, black cod Saikyo miso, sautéed seasonal vegetables with spicy garlic sauce. Every bite was excellent:

Whisky Cappuccino with cardamon cream, toasted cinnamon crunch, espresso gelato and Suntory Whisky foam. Such a cute presentation, and so delicious:

Petit Four of matcha azuki bean donut and Earl Grey mochi ice cream, complete with a written birthday wish:

Nobu [Crown Melbourne]
Crown Riverwalk, Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman St
Southbank VIC 3006
Tel. +61 3 9292 5777

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

Monday, 11 November 2019

Cozy German-Swiss dining @ Restaurant Stägerstübli, Murren (Switzerland)

During our (too short) stay in beautiful Murren in the Swiss Alps last year, we ventured out of our excellent lodging for an early dinner at Stägerstübli on our final evening there. It is family-friendly with hearty meals to warm the body and soul up. The meat menu came with the choice of sides, carbs or vegetables and sauce, so between the three adults, we got to try different options. We found the service to be friendly and helpful, and the cozy and homely atmosphere was very inviting. I remember being satisfied and happy with our meals at Stägerstubli.

This was where I tried aperol spritz for the first time:

Can't go wrong with fish fingers and chips for the fussy kids:

Kalbsgechnetzeltes en Rahmsauce - sliced veal in a cream sauce, with rice and vegetables:

Lammfilet mit Knoblauchmayonnaise - lamb fillet with garlic mayonnaise, with rosti and vegetables:

Schweinsrahmschnitzel - escalope of pork with a mushroom cream sauce, with rosti and vegetables:

Dessert was a trio of delicious ice cream flavours:

Restaurant Stägerstubli
L. & R. Gertsch-Betschart
CH-3825 Mürren
Tel. +41 33 855 13 16

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Brunch @ Mamma Says, Melbourne

I love the fact that we are spoilt for choice for good food and coffee near where we live. Hubby and I make it a goal to fit in a quick brunch date once a month when the youngest is in kinder, and it always has to be somewhere nearby because the kinder session is only 2 hours duration. Mamma Says is a favourite amongst the locals on Station Street, located opposite another favourite. The menu contained the usual brunch favourites featuring eggs like a few varieties of eggs benedict, omelettes, and the big breakfast, as well as a couple more decadent selections like pancakes and french toast. There were also lighter options like toast, muesli and yoghurt, and more substantial mains for lunch like chicken parma, grilled lamb and steak sandwich. There are plenty of choices to suit a variety of tastebuds and appetites. We have been to Mamma Says twice now, and can confirm that is consistently great, whether for a quick coffee or a proper meal.

Delicious coffee:

Avocado Smash (AUS$19) mixed with feta, lemon juice and mint, with a poached egg and jalepeno on toast:

Hashstack (AU$18.50) with 3 homemade hashbrowns, bacon and a poached egg topped with hollandaise:

Mamma's Big Breakfast (AU$22.50) with eggs your way on toast with bacon, tomato, chorizo, mushrooms, homemade hash brown and aioli:

Atlantic Benedict (AU$20.50) - poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon, spinach and hollandaise:

Mamma Says
120 Station St
Fairfield VIC 3078
Tel. +61 3 9489 1112

Mamma Says Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 23 September 2019

Delicious Korean stews @ Masizzim, Melbourne

Recently I received an email invitation for me and a guest to try some of the food and drinks at a new Korean restaurant called Masizzim that opened up at The Glen Shopping Centre. This shopping centre is quite a drive from home, and the week day timing was a little awkward for my schedule, so I must admit that I did not immediately jump at the opportunity. However after having a chat with hubby about this invitation, he was keen to try, as we realised that we hadn't eaten Korean since we left Hong Kong in early 2018. I managed to arrange a suitable time to visit Masizzim, and boy, are we glad that we took this invitation! Here I must state that although we did not pay for this meal, I maintain the integrity of my blog to give honest reviews. So here is our experience as if we were full-paying customers. Our older two kids were in school, so our youngest got to come along and enjoy the experience. We were greeted warmly and welcomed by one of the restaurant's staff, who took excellent care of us for the hour that we were in the restaurant. We had previously informed the restaurant that we could only stay for an hour, and our waitress ensured that the food were served at a good pace. She also gave great recommendations on what to order.

Masizzim's interior is bright and spacious with a contemporary and distinctly Korean fit-out. Wood, slate, steel and stone feature prominently:

At our waitress' suggestion, we sampled some of the popular Korean drinks. The 3-year-old enjoyed the sweet Haitai Bon Bon grape drink with whole skinless grapes, hubby ordered the peach soju which he really enjoyed, and I got the aloe vera drink:

One of the things I look forward to in a Korean restaurant is the banchan, the complimentary and usually refillable side dishes to accompany the meal. We were served kimchi, seasoned eggplant, onion and fish cake:

Masizzim at The Glen is the first Australian branch of a Korean chain that has restaurants in Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok. Masizzim translates to 'delicious stew', referring to the restaurant's specialty of galbi jjim meat stews featuring slow-cooked beef or pork short ribs. These braised meat dishes are traditionally served during festive holidays and at high end restaurants, but Masizzim makes galbi jjim easily accessible to anyone for an any day meal. The restaurant's Korean founder uses his mother's original recipes, and imports the secret recipe pastes from Masizzim's Korean kitchen. The meat - pork, beef or chicken - are marinated in the secret recipe pastes, then cooked and served in an iron pot with the choice of udon or chewy glass noodles. There are 4 levels of spiciness to choose from, and we ordered level 2 spicy beef stew with glass noodles, which was pretty spicy even for us but still enjoyable. The beef was very tender and flavoursome, and we were pleased to see pieces of chewy tteok bokki in the spicy stew.

I ordered Tuna Rice Balls for the 3yo, which were fun to make, but she was more interested in the Squid and Leek Jeon (pancake). She enjoyed the savoury pancakes so much, she must have demolished at least half of it. She's actually quite a picky eater, and I was amazed to see that she did not pick out the green bits like she usually does. The tuna rice balls were delicious and it would be a great dish to order for my middle one who loves to get her hands messy (gloves are provided).

Squid and Leek Jeon:

The ingredients in a bowl for tuna rice ball (with glove and kim chi on the side, not pictured):

Hubby also ordered Stir-fried Spicy Pork Hot Stone Bibimbap, and the flavour was on point but lacked the burnt rice bits at the bottom which we have become accustomed to looking for in hot stone bibimbap. It was nonetheless still a delicious bowl of bibimbap:

For dessert, there are three types of bingsu on offer at Masizzim. I've never had bingsu like this before! We chose the Mango and Cheese Bingsu, which comprised of milky shaved ice topped with sweet juicy mangoes, cheesecake pieces and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. What a perfect way to finish a spicy meal! Hubby really appreciated the cheesecake chunks.

Masizzim is worth a visit if you're in the area. I just wish we lived closer so we could make this a regular jaunt.

Shop 1-002/235
The Glen Shopping Centre
235 Springvale Rd
Glen Waverley, VIC 3150
Tel. +6 1 3 4418 2805

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