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

Thursday, 5 July 2018

" set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land."

I can tell you that an international relocation with three kids takes a whole lot of hard work and patience, and I'm sure I would have grown many more grey hair than I did, if not for help from my mum, younger sister and bro-in-law during our first week in Melbourne. It is now about two months since we arrived in Melbourne, and it is only now that I can say that we have more or less settled into our new home. Though we often told our friends in Hong Kong that we were "moving back to Australia", Melbourne is still a new city for us to live in, and there is much to experience and explore. I would like to continue blogging, at the very least to document our epic trip to Europe where we covered 12 cities and towns in 5 countries, covering 2400km with 3 kids in 28 days - it sure took a lot of balls, guts and grit to make this trip happen! But for now, here's a shot of the kids and their dad playing in the backyard while I cooked dinner. The garden is the probably the one thing that the kids are most excited about this house, because it means they can finally have a pet dog.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Big News!

It's been a month since I last wrote in this blog, and a lot has happened in that time! For one thing, we have said goodbye to the apartment and city that we called home for the past 7.5 years. We spent two weeks packing and cleaning up (and throwing out many precious things), which was no small feat considering we also had to care for our three children. But that was eventually accomplished with many, many late nights and many, many cups of coffee drunk. It was especially difficult to say goodbye to our friends and all we had established in Hong Kong. The time we spent in HK was almost twice the time we spent in Japan, and we still miss Japan like crazy! Hong Kong will always remain a big part of our lives, especially our 9-year-old who also had to say goodbye to many of his good friends.

Our final day in Hong Kong was relatively clear with low haze and sunny weather! This shot was taken from the balcony just moments after we handed our keys to the landlord:

Right now, we are in the middle of our epic month-long Europe trip. In the past two weeks, we've spent a week in Switzerland, a few days in Munich, and currently in Austria. Loving almost every minute of it, but not enjoying the exhausting part of it that comes with travelling with three kids. I've been in photography heaven in almost every location we've stayed at, most especially the Swiss Alps! I can't wait to share the beautiful shots I've taken. Here's one taken from my phone, unfiltered and untouched.

On top of Mt Rigi, also known as the Queen of the mountains, where we had awesome view of part the Swiss Alps:

Stay tuned!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Sunday Because Brunch @ Armani/Aqua, Hong Kong

We recently had Sunday brunch at Armani/Aqua in Chater House, and it was a rather nice experience for our family with three kids! There are not many restaurants that offer a playroom for children, and Armani/Aqua is the only one I've been to that had one staff supervising the kids. This meant that I could leave my 4-year-old in the playroom to play or colour to her heart's content while I go back to my meal. This is major plus in my books. Obviously I'm writing from a parent's point of view, but kids or no kids, Armani/Aqua is also a nice fancy restaurant for Sunday brunch for non-family patrons too. I mean, check out the entrance:

(My phone camera couldn't handle all the dim red light, and it looks more impressive in real life.) The Because Brunch includes all-you-can-eat starters, as well as shared appetisers and main dishes that were served to the table. Kids under 5 eat free, and from 5-12 years is $198 with a choice of a main dish.

Comfortable setting with plenty of space between tables and chairs - another thing that's rare in Hong Kong:

The starters buffet set-up:

There were cured meat, fresh fruit, cheese, salad, seafood, sushi and sashimi:

Sushi chefs hard at work:

The pizza and pasta station:

Some of the small starter plates on offer:

There were oysters au naturel! I kept my first plate light:

Some appetisers to share were served at the table, a mix of Italian and Japanese including vol-au-vent, stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped asparagus, miso aubergine, soft-shelled crabs:

Mickey Mouse pizza:

Delicious penne pasta:

My son chose the mini burgers which looked delicious. I believe there was chicken, fish and beef burgers there:

The Japanese Share Mains - Prawn tempura with chili garlic sauce, and slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheek with truffle miso and Japanese barley:

The Italian Share Mains - Crispy suckling pig with hasselback potatoes, and Stone-grilled Angus beef tenderloin, heritage gremolata and buttered market greens:

The playroom! The supervising staff was braiding my daughter's hair at the time this photo was taken:

Kid's ice cream - vanilla flavour:

Armani Aqua signature dessert featuring both Japanese and Italian. The tiramisu was pretty good and the ice cream scoops were simple single flavours (black sesame, green tea and lemon sorbet) but they were enjoyable. The molten lava choc cake was delicious, and the middle centrepiece was really pretty:

2/F, Landmark Chater (Chater House)
8 Connaught Rd Central
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. + 852 3583 2828

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Delicious lunch @ Taylors Art & Coffee House, Swan Valley (Western Australia)

When we were in Perth last Christmas, my side of the family decided to do something fun and head out to do a self drive tour of the Swan Valley, led by my brother who knew where to go and what to do. We stopped in Taylors Art & Coffee House for lunch, where we ate delicious food and the kids had an open space to run around burning off their energy. It's a popular spot for a good reason.

Wide open space to enjoy the Perth sunshine:

There were kids climbing the tree (not part of our group!):

The frittata with seasonal fillings (AU$13) was fantastic and highly recommended:

The okonomiyaki (AU$17) was a tasty, and it was easy to get the kids to eat veges and protein:

Taylors Art & Coffee House
510 Great Northern Hwy
Middle Swan WA 6056
Tel. +61 447 441 223

Taylors Art & Coffee House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Sunday Brunch @ Hutong, Hong Kong

My aunt-in-law had only good stuff to say about the Sunday brunch at Hutong, and I was curious as to how a Chinese restaurant would do brunch. I'm used to brunch buffets as well as semi-buffets where you could eat all the appetisers and salads you want and order main courses. It turns out that at Hutong, the brunch is an 18-course affair, divided into appetisers (four dishes), dim sum (five dishes), hot dishes (five dishes) and dessert (four dishes). I thought it was a fairly good value at HK$428 as there was more food than we could eat. Hubby often has work dinners at Hutong, usually with colleagues visiting from other international offices, and I can understand why it's a popular choice. There's a great view of Victoria Harbour from the 28th floor, and the old Beijing-style decor is gorgeous. Service was attentive and professional, and the food was superb. Hutong is certainly a unique choice for a leisurely Sunday brunch.

Plenty of tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the views of the harbour:

The Hong Kong Island skyline:

There are several small private booths for large groups like ours:

The first four group of dishes, the appetisers, plus one special dish of beancurd skin roll for the kids. I loved the seared foie gras with osmanthus-smoked coddled eggs, but I think the others weren't keen on the fact that it was served chilled. The sliced squid with wasabi and cucumber salad in garlic-pepper sauce were enjoyable but not outstanding. The noodles in Sichuan chili sauce was delicious:

These mushrooms bao were pretty to look at, and so yummy too. Very light and fluffy texture:

The lobster wontons were superb:

The chicken guotie (potsticker) were perfectly done:

Though siu mai is an ubiquitous dim sum at yum cha, it's not one of our favourites. These crab siu mai, however, were fantastic and we loved them:

Stir-fried chicken with shallots and black bean sauce, and Kung Po fried cod fillets. Both were delicious, but the cod fillets were outstanding:

The soft shell crabs with dried Sichuan chilies packed a spicy punch, but it was moreish and it had me wanting more.
The pea shoots stir fried with garlic was a gentle accompaniment to the spicy crab

At this point we were all stuffed and so full, but we couldn't refuse dessert. These were steamed baos filled with egg yolk custard:

The crispy glutinous rice balls were a hit with the kids:

Delicious ice cream:

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

28th Floor
1 Peking Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
/Tel. +852 3428 8342