#47. Co Do and #49. Dong Que

With Semester 1 just around the corner, it was that time of the year to trek in and collect these babies…

My arms felt like they were going to break off, carrying these from the Law School, to the tram stop, on the tram, to the train… thankfully, a ride was available so I didn’t have to carry this load on the 20 min walk from the station…. *shudder* I was smart enough to save one of these as a self-reward though…

I think I may be coming slightly obsessed… lols, oh well, I guess there could be more expensive and worse obsessions…

Anyway, as aforementioned the semester is about to start so I’ve started getting a bit organised around the place and it’s time I start clearing up these pending posts for more exciting things to come… I hate being in limbo about things…kinda like, ‘let your yes be yes, and let your no’s be no’ but ANYWAY…

#47 Co Do

196 Victoria Street,

Richmond VIC 3121

(03) 9421 2418 ‎

From the date that I had down for this visit to Co Do, it must have been in early Jan when my aunty in Sydney had come down to visit.  It was a very warm summer day and I had just trekked into the restaurant having spent a lovely day with Miss Sunshine and got my summer subject reading (how ironic!).  The way to cool down at a Viet restaurant?

Being a newbie food blogger and an oblivious Viet church goer, I don’t remember the name of this drink but it is a sweet one with seaweed, lychee (?) and other assorted chewy things :P.

As stated on their storefront window and other advertising, their specialty is ‘Bun Bo Hue’ which is a special type of soup noodle dish from the region of ‘Hue’ in VN.  Naturally, that was my choice.

This was beautiful :).  Noodles were not too soft, the soup was flavour-some but not too overpowering or salty.  My dad who also ate the same dish said that it was close to being as good as the dish cooked by one of the ladies at church, who is actually from Hue :).

Definitely worth stopping by if you are in Richmond and looking for this dish in particular.  Some of the others had other dishes that were alright too but I was too busy scoffing mine down after I clicked this shot to take any more photos lols.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: standard prices for Viet food – $9-$12 a bowl

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#47 Dong Que VN

102 Hopkins Street,

Footscray VIC 3011

(03) 9689 4392 ‎


We’d never tried this place before but after visiting my grandfather who was at the local hospital at the time, we decided to escape the 40 degree heat before venturing back down to Richmond for their Vic St Lunar Festival celebrations.  Anyway, we stepped in here because my father said that there was a restaurant with the same name in Vietnam so if the owners of this place actually thought it could live up to the same standards, it was worth a try.

We ordered from the Signature Dish section:

First up was the Vietnamese Spring Rolls:

I’ve become accustomed now to eating Hanoi Spring Rolls now and don’t really like the regular ones now unless they are missed in with vermicelli noodles so these were definitely something I was keen to try here.  The skin is a lot thicker and chewy-er than the regular spring rolls and they are generally quite crispy on the outside if done well…. and they were here :).  Can’t remember what was in the filling but it was definitely a thumbs up from me :P.

The next one was something neither of my parents (or myself) had tried before- Steamed Rice Paper with Grilled Pork and Rice Cracker:

Definitely not your average Vietnamese dish… it was quite a nice combination though… with the crunchy sesame rice cracker with the silky rice paper on the inside.  The grilled pork was also nicely cooked, not too oily and the accompanying greens complimented everything well.  I should have opened it up to get a photo of the insides…but well, I’m still learning :).

For our last main we had the Grilled Fish Fillets with Rice-Vermicelli:

This dish has the special fish sauce, pronounced ‘Mum’ that is kind of sweet and sour with, as you can see, a fair amount of chilli…thankfully, my chilli tolerance has been increasing so I was able to handle it.

The fish itself was BEAUTIFUL.  It came on a sizzling plate so it was still cooking away while we finished off the other dishes.  The skin was suculent and the flesh was so juicy!

I’ve also taken to ordering avocado drinks at Viet restaurants lols.  This one was good because it didn’t have too much sugar.

All in all, one of the best dining experiences we’ve ever had at a Viet restaurant to date!  Would definitely come back again.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 10/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: standard prices for Viet food – $10-$13 per dish

♥ Ames

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#50. San Cho

298-302 High St,

Kew VIC

(03) 9852 9119

We celebrated the 1st month of my cousin’s little boy, Emmanuel over the weekend and of course, lots of food accordingly :).  Our CNY was a very low-key one so this little relo get-together for the little one made it feel more like CNY for me… plus, a few red pockets never hurt anyone ;).  As much as I loved receiving them, I’m looking forward to the day when I can give out some red pockets of my own if anyone gets my drift hehehe.

As per tradition, all guests were presented with eggs dyed red for the festivities and the choice of eggs are to symbolise new life (?).

Standard cold meat platter… I hadn’t eaten at all before this feast so it tasted particularly good :).

Instead of plain rice, the family hosting the lunch opted for abalone fried rice…I really liked it but didn’t realise that it was to be eaten with the main dishes that came after… and hence, I finished my own bowl before any other dishes came hehehe.

This was a very interesting tasting dish… because the menu was already set, I had no idea what the name of it was but it had an odd taste that took us a while to work out… turns out it had kumquat flavoured sauce… definitely not your usual Chinese seasoning, but interesting…

This was my favourite… again, I’m not sure what it was called but the egg based dish with rice noodles was so silky that I kept going back for more… it was very light too so made it more enjoyable.

Chow with fermented tofu flavouring… nice.

Steamed chicken…. standard I guess.  Was a bit dry for my liking.

Fish!  Not sure what kind… but it was alright.  I was kinda full by the time this came out… *shrugs*

‘Twas a lovely lunch, especially since I got to see my little (2nd) cousin for the first time :).  Probably not somewhere I’d go specifically to again but if I was in the area, it’s somewhere you know can’t really go wrong :).

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 7/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: bit hard to say since I wasn’t paying lols

♥ Ames

P.S. I think this will be my last post for a while… I probably shouldn’t have even written this but I’d just resized these photos so I thought I’d indulge a bit before heading full steam ahead for this essay!! Take care people :).

P.P.S. Though I haven’t written up every single one yet, this post also marks the completion of goal #21. from my 101 in 1001 list ! Woot !

Review: Kam Bo

Finally….

1 Mahoneys Road

Forest Hill VIC 3131

(03) 9894 7933

It was my parents’ 26th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago and amongst the little celebrations they had with family, my parents, my visiting Aunty from Sydney and I went out for ‘supper’ at our local and favourite Chinese Restaurant, Kam Bo (I think it’s translated as ‘Golden Treasure’).  Whenever we’re feeling a bit peckish on the way home, Kam Bo’s always a good place to stop by for late night congee :).  However, we had a number of favourites for the special occasion.

But first, the standard complimentary soup of the day:

It was a bit on the salty side but I guess it’s alway a bit hard to get it perfect when making in big batches.

We had Dad’s favourite entree, 2 quails for 4 people:

Always a great way to start a meal here.  It’s nice and crispy on the outside, and juicy and soft on the inside :).  And I love the capsicum and spring onion mix that has been fried with it.   The next one was one of my favourites, Minced Beef with Four Season Beans:

Just a really good staple to any meal here… love the XO Sauce flavour (I hope that is what it is…) and the crunch of the beans.  I could eat just this with rice and be satisfied :).  The last main we had is also one of my favourites (parents weren’t that fussy that nice so I got some say in the menu!):

What is this you ask?? It is the most amazing chicken ribs in the world!!! The batter is made of salted egg and flour and then deep-fried to make this lovely golden colour…. hence this is called Golden Fried Chicken Ribs… or something like that… lols.  I actually couldn’t find it on the menu but we’ve had it a few times so it wasn’t hard for my parents to just request it again in Canto to the familiar waiter :).  Love the place and will likely be visiting there soonish once I start doing late nights at uni again :).

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 8/10

Extra note: Other good dishes to try for entree  are San Chow Bow or pigeon (cooked the same way as the quail).  And like I said, congee of all sorts are good for supper :).

♥ Ames

All photos taken on my Canon G11.

#48. Caffe Moravia

662 Burke Road,

Camberwell VIC 3124

(03) 9882 0008 ‎

I know I’ve left out #47, but I’ve been keen to post up this one for a while :D.  And I guess these food blog posts will also be peppered with a bit of my own personal life through it…hope no one minds ^^’.

Date visited: 8th January 2011

My long overdue breakfast date with a blog buddy unfortunately turned into something more like a lunch, since my family had some home issues with the hot water that morning and I mistakenly counted street numbers on the other side of the road, only to realise (too late) that they didn’t coincide with the side where this little cafe was located on.  After U-turning, parking (thank God there weren’t that many cars that Saturday!) and apologising profusely to Ms. MoreBlindDates, we went in!

Still new at this taking-photos-for-food-blogging-purposes thing (and probably still a bit snap-shy in shops) so only one photos of the inside of the cafe.

I was looking for a place somewhere halfway between our own homes for easy commuting and Caffe Moravia popped up on GoogleMaps with a few good reviews, so I thought we’d give it a try.  They served breakfast until 2pm (?) so we were good to go :).  After some intense deliberating, we called over a waiter, only to be told we had to get up and place our orders… meh.  It soon became evident that I’m very new to the whole dining out for breakfast thing, as when asked how I wanted my eggs, I confusingly replied, ‘Ummm… sunny side up?’  Thankfully, the guy at the counter was nice enough to give me the options of poached, fried or scrambled and in my flustered state, I said fried (and mentally kicked myself for not going poached when Ms. MoreBlindDates’ dish came).

Caffe Moravia boasts excellent coffee so of course, as a (newbie) food blogger, I had to try one :).

Ms. MoreBlindDates had a skinny latte (?) and I had a cappuccino (aren’t you proud, Ange?).  Loved the coffee art and despite my cautious attitude towards coffee, I have to say I did enjoy mine :).  It was nice and creamy with just enough froth.  A jug of water and plenty of glasses are free to be taken and used by patrons near the ice-cream cabinet.

Food wise, we both had been eyeing the Egg Benedict ($11.50 on their website, but it hasn’t been updated since 2004 and I’m pretty sure it was about $13.50…?) but since I hadn’t eaten at all yet, I decided to leave that for my guest and have the Moravia Special Big Breakfast (~$19.50?).

Egg Benedict

Before I go on, I should just say that this was my first face-to-face meeting with Ms. MoreBlindDates (and one of the most natural first meetings ever I should say!) and when she heard I was giving food blogging a try, she graciously excused herself to use the bathroom when the food came so that I would feel less self-conscious about snapping photos ^^’.  Hence, she told me to make the point that if you do want to use the bathroom, ask the staff for the electronic password needed for entry at the back of the building.

Ms. MoreBlindDates let me try a bit of her Egg Benedict and I thought it was pretty good…? Definitely a fan of Hollandaise sauce :). I’m not sure what else I can say about this…

 

Moravia Special Big Breakfast

 

My choice really was a ‘big breakfast’.  I guess it was the standard kind of breakfast you would expect, with a corn and cheese fritter thrown in the mix.  The bacon was a bit too crispy for my liking but the lightly toasted sourdough bread made up for it.  Mushroom, tomato and spinach all cooked well and juicy :).

Service was quite quick and the staff left us in peace to leisurely chat for over 1 1/2 hours :).  I’d be happy to come back and try other things on the breakfast menu, especially their pancake stake or french toast, pictured on their website, which both looks enticing.  They have a wide variety of cakes and 20 different flavours of gelato made on premise, along with some interesting-sounding mains (e.g. Scallopine Pizzaiola) that I’d be keen to sample at another time, perhaps for dinner?  Maybe with Ms. MoreBlindDates ;).  ‘Twas a lovely brunch, thank you m’dear :).

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 7/10

Caffe Moravia

Open 7 Days From 7:00AM to 11:00PM (BYO)

♥ April

Review: Your Thai + Bonus

255 Swanston Street,

Melbourne VIC 3000

(03) 9663 8010 ‎

Date visited: 3rd January 2011

In the company of equally indecisive people, we eventually concluded that Thai food was usually a safe option so we headed into the crowded Your Thai Rice and Noodle Bar during their busy lunch hour.  I’ve come here a few times so their menu wasn’t a surprise to me but as mentioned earlier, making a food choice at these lunch places isn’t my forte (especially since they had photos of all the dishes in the menu as well!).  Anyway, we finally were able to make some decisions.  The friend sitting next door to me ordered Five Spices Chicken Ribs with Rice:

It is actually a Chinese dish (they had a number of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes on the menu) which she said tasted quite authentic, similar to the kind she has had at home before.  I went for the Thai Prawn Salad:

I found it quite refreshing after coming in from Melbourne’s summer heat, thought it was a tad too sweet for my liking.  The other two lunch buddies had standard Chinese dishes which I got a bit snap-shy to take photos of, but I did take a photo of this:

Satay Chicken.  Do. Not. Eat. This.  Incredibly dry and hence difficult to swallow… though, since I hate wasting food, I struggled through three of the four skewers… after drenching them in the satay sauce (which wasn’t bad I guess). Half way through my salad, I got a tad envious of the smoothies others had bought, so I ordered a Jackfruit Smoothie!

‘Twas nice but again, a bit too sweet and others felt the same about their drinks too.  Overall, if I’m ever in a jam with no place in mind to eat at, Your Thai isn’t a bad option.  Prices are reasonable but a hit and miss because of that satay chicken… never again!

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 6/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 8/10

**BONUS**

Not really that exciting, but when I came home that day, my relos had come to visit and one of my aunties brought us some snack foods she’d recently been introduced to:

Brie Cheese, Fig and Walnut Paste on CrackerThins = divine :).  I’ve always been a fan of cheese and crackers for afternoon tea (and by ‘always’ I mean, probably for the last couple of years, give or take a few) but I haven’t had this combo before and fell in love at first bite :).  Fig and Fennel Paste is equally as good too :).  Enjoy!

♥ April

Brunetti Birthday

198-204 Faraday St
Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9347 2801

http://www.brunetti.com.au/

I know I am behind in a few pending posts, but I have these photos edited and ready to go, so….

Date visited: 9th January 2011

Celebrated the coming of age today (well, yesterday by the time this is posted) and as always I had my camera charged and ready :).  The birthday girl selected to go to her all-time favourite Italian coffee/cake restaurant, Brunetti and I took the opportunity to try some of their macarons!  I walked passed them at least three times and sat down to deliberate before psyching myself up to purchase them!  I’ve only ever had homemade ones but since they seem to be all the craze right now, I couldn’t resist buying a few to see what all the fuss was all about… plus they had such pretty colours ^^:

Colours of the Rainbow - ANhan

I selected one Pistachio and one Passionfruit flavoured macaron and since I was feeling slightly greedy (I did share with the girls though!), I asked the girl behind the counter to recommend one and she suggested the Tiramisu ($2.50 each which is quite standard apparently):

Brunetti Macarons - ANhan

Since I haven’t had much experience with Macarons, my opinions on them aren’t really that descriptive yet but I can say that the Pistachio flavoured one definitely tasted of pistachio, the Passionfruit one definitely did well to recreate the correct tangy flavour however, Tiramisu did NOT taste anything like the Tiramisu taste we knew of (a few others tried it and confirmed my suspicions).  Other than that, the shell cracked somewhat well when splitting into separate tasting pieces and the buttercream in between was a good texture, balancing the taste of the cookies (attempting to sound knowledgeable…and failing).

The birthday girl treated us to a drink and cake.  I had an Iced Mocha:

We all agreed that the ice cream that they added in all the iced-drinks was super creamy and simply divine :).  However, the iced coffee was more like a vanilla shake apparently with too much sugar!  The cream machine(?) wasn’t working when they made up our drinks so they came afterwards in extremely cute and little milk jugs:

We had fun with them:

Cream Tower! - ANhan

The cake was a regular sponge cake and even though I was quite full from that iced mocha and those macarons, I was still able to finish my slice which was saying something about how good it was :).

They have a large selection of cakes, some of which are frozen for preservation, so definitely check if the one you have in mind needs to be thawed and give them a call beforehand so they can prepare it for you (something our birthday girl didn’t realise until it was too late).  I took a few more photos including one of my friends’ awesome frames:

But this was my favourite:

Rose in a Bag - ANhan

Definitely a good place to hang out and chat over a coffee, quite packed over the weekend but staff are a plenty and service is quick :).  Check their website for other stores around Melbourne.  Happy 18th Kitty!

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 7/10 (lunch menu and other savoury dishes were a bit pricey…)

♥ April

P.S. As mentioned above, sadly these photos have been tinkered with since I wasn’t used to shooting under tungsten lighting.  Need to get a program to start watermarking though…

#46. Dao Vien

22 Buckingham Avenue,

Springvale VIC 3171

(03) 9546 6564 ‎

Being an avid lover and follower of food blogs, I’ve decided to dabble a bit here as part of the move over to this new home :).  I’ve done mini reviews in the past as part of goal #21 of the 101 in 1001 project, but I thought I’d try my hand at it and see what happens…. so here it goes!

Date visited: 5th January 2011

We were killing time while waiting for my Auntie to finish her ‘beautification’ process at a family friend’s house and as we were in the area (and hungry!), Dad suggested to have ‘Banh Canh Cua’ which is a Vietnamese-tomato-based-crab-noodle-soup-kinda-thing and if you are ever in Springvale, Dao Vien is the restaurant famous for this dish in Asian circles.

It’s a bit dodgy looking on the outside, with lace curtains hiding the busy atmosphere of the shop from passerbys and once you go in, you are left standing to find your own table and if you don’t signal to the staff, you’ll be left waiting around (service is not an ingredient of most Vietnamese restaurants in Springvale… well, in most of Melbourne).  We actually saw one couple get up and leave in exasperation because no one came to serve them.  Being in the company of  seasoned Vietnamese restaurant patrons, we called over a member of staff (I have a feeling he was the owner of the shop) and placed our orders.  Here’s the thing with some of these Vietnamese restaurants.  Some only make a certain number of each kind of dish per day and when they are done, they won’t make anymore.  So sadly, we were advised that they had run out of ‘Banh Canh Cua’.   I quickly scanned the menu and picked out ‘Hu Tieu Tom Thit’ instead (I’m putting things in inverted commas since I’m not sure how to do the accents):

So as you can see, ‘Hu Tieu Tom Thit’ is a beef, prawn rice noodle soup dish which was quite good indeed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the dishes my parents had (I felt a bit awkward sitting cramped up at the corner table getting odd looks from other patrons) but my Dad had the dry noodle version of this dish and my mum had some spicy noodle soup that she couldn’t finish because of the spicy-ness.  She ate a bit of my dish and declared that they did the soup very well and authentically…and she ordered one herself :).  The soup was rich in flavour but not too salty which is can be the downfall in any Vietnamese soup dish.  Sadly, there was only one prawn in my bowl :(.  I’ll have to go back and try the ‘Banh Canh Cua’ one day… probably best to call in first to check if they still have any orders left because this is one place that is constantly overturning customers, especially during lunch hour.  Other than that, there’s are a lot of other Vietnamese restaurants to try around Springvale so I wouldn’t exactly make this a favourite, but if you are in the area, unsure where to go, it’s a reasonably priced place to have a quick bite to eat. 

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 6/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 5/10

Service: 3/10

Value for money: 7/10

So how did I go?

♥ April