Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yuyogi and Max Brenner

I met up with Calvin and Eddie for dinner and asked Kin along too since he had nothing to do that night. I drove myself and Kin to the city to meet the other guys. But we were really late because of the heavy traffic. I had decided to take the freeway and then go down Punt Road, not knowing that there was a footy match on that night so traffic through that small section into the city was a crawl. Anyway, Calvin and Eddie were starving so ate first. When we finally got to the city, they met up with us and went to Yuyogi and sat with us.

Yuyogi is just a small restaurant on Swanston Street. It's run by Chinese but they do Japanese food. It's not very authentic Japanese food and is more a cafe style of restaurant. Kin and I ordered the medium size Sushi and Sashimi Platter. We also each got a Beef Tataki and Takoyaki.

Here's Calvin on the left and myself.

Kin on the left and Eddie.

The Sushi and Sashimi platter was ok. Some of the fish was good while some weren't so good. I liked the thin calamari strips with these green fish egg things on them. I didn't know fish eggs came in green. Maybe its artificial stuff?

The Beef Tataki was good, with the sauce having a nice flavour. There wasn't too much beef though and a whole lotta cabbage.

The takoyaki, which I love in general, was quite good too. You could taste actual pieces of squid and the texture was soft and didn't taste too floury.

This restaurnt is good for a quick meal. The food is ok and the prices aren't too expensive. I overheard the table next to us where a lady said to her friend that it was a great restaurant and thanked her for recommending it. I don't know if she was being polite but its not exactly a great restaurant. It's more a simple cafe.

Overall Rating: 12/20, Food is ok for a quick meal. Not much for ambience as it is quite crowded in the narrow restaurant.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

After dinner, Eddie had a party to go to while Calvin, Kin and I walked over to Max Brenner in QV for some drinks and dessert. While Calvin couldn't finish his ultra rich hot chocolate, Kin and I tucked into some chocolate desserts.

Kin got the Mousse, which was actually very light and not too sweet. The white chocolate part blended very well with the dark chocolate part.

My Hot Chocolate Souffle was sensational. The soft souffle once broken revealed a stream of melted chocolate that oozed out. Then when you got to the centre, there was a small puddle of white chocolate. It was very tasty indeed, I must go back again for more.

Korea Gardens

Korea Gardens is located on the corner of Clayton Rd and Centre Rd. It is frequented by a lot of Korean people, so that must be saying something. The restaurant itself is quite weird in terms of the interior. The whole restaurant is located on the second level, with the entrance door located to the side. Upon entering the door, you have an empty area thats not really used. There are some raised areas on the side that is occasionally used to seat guests, but generally is empty.

The waitress brought over iced water immediately, which was good. When Kin, Paul and I were ready to order, there was a little buzzer on the table that you press to get the waitress attention. That's a cool thing because sometimes its very hard to get the attention of the staff. However, Paul accidentally lent on it once.

We ordered a Chicken Bimbambap and Sweet Chilli Chicken to share. The Bimbambap was a bit light on flavour. The beef bimbambap that they do is much better. I will get that one next time instead. The assortment of side dishes they give is quite a lot. The kimchi here is very good, and the seafood isn't bad either.

The Sweet Chilli Chicken was a huge plate of chicken wing drumettes battered and cooked with a sweet chilli sauce. I'm generally not a fan of sweet chilli sauces as they are more often than not bad, but this one was very good.

I've been to this place quite a few times and tried various things. Most of the dishes have been very good. It's no wonder actual Korean people are the majority of the patrons here. When the food that is being served is eaten by the actual same countries people, it generally means its authentic and good.

Overall Rating: 14/20, Food and service good but serving sizes way too small.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Shira Nui - Lunch Special

I had gone to Shira Nui previously and enjoying the food. Upon hearing from Elegantgourmand from the comments of this post that Shira Nui did an affordable lunch special, I just had to visit again. So I went there for lunch with my friend John.

I booked a table becuase Shira Nui is very popular, and I'm so glad I booked since they were totally full. We were seated and immediately asked for drinks. We opted for green tea and that was brought over in quick time. I ordered the Sushi and Maki Lunch Speical while John got the BBQ Beef Lunch Speical. I must have a Shira Nui Photo Curse put on me because everytime I have been there, I forget my camera. I had even brought it to work, but left it in my bag. Anyway, I whipped out my ever present mobile phone camera and snapped this photo.

The lunch specials come with Miso soup, very nice miso soup. We also got the usual free condiments, which this time included some noodles with cheese, I got eggplant and John got pickled radish and some green leafy pickled vegetable. My lunch special also came with a delicious Mushi. It was so smooth and tasty with the light soy sauce. The sushi and maki itself was fantastic. The sushi was ultra fresh, with each fish type having their own texture and flavour. There was a light dab of wasabi under each piece of fish. The maki rolls were good too, with the vegetable one to my liking even. The tamagoyaki was surprisingly good too. Usually the egg is way too sweet and taste rather plastic, but this one actually tasted good.

The lunch specials are good value I think. My special was $17.50 while John's BBQ beef one which came with a bowl of steamed rice was $15. We finished off lunch with the Green Tea Creme Brulee that I had last time and loved. It was just as good this time, and I love cracking the toffee shell (who's watched Amelie?). It's such a shame that while I worked right near the restaurant for a few years, I was afraid to go for lunch because I thought it would be expensive. Then just as I find out that its good value, our company will be moving away next week. Isn't life just ironic?

Overall Rating: 15/20, Lunch special good value for money. Service good as usual.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Hofbrauhaus (not sure how its suppose to be pronounced but I kept calling it Opera House all night for a joke, possibly due to the beer taking effect) is located on Market Lane in Chinatown of all places. It's a German restaurnat fashioned in the style of a bar. It has lots of wooden frameworks and is dimly lit. It also has these European type paintings and various art works around the place.

I had caught a lift from my friend John to the city. Just as he dropped me off on Lonsdale though, it started to rain very heavily. This meant that by the time I got to Market Lane, I was literally soaked. I went inside and my glasses fogged up, making trying to find everyone even harder. They were all seated right at the very corner of the restaurant so I couldn't see them at all. A quick phone call later and I located everyone.

I was already half an hour fashionably late, but was surprised to find that half the group hadn't arrived yet. I plonked myself down on the chair and dried my hair and glasses. The window overlooking the lane had a perfect view of Flower Drum's main entrance. I could do some celebrity spotting while I waited. One day, I must go to Flower Drum to see what all the fuss is about. Anyway, I grabbed a Hofbrauhaus beef as recommended.

The beer that arrived was this humungous mug containing a whole litre of beer. It tasted really good though, with a sweet flavour and a slight honey after taste I thought.

So while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive, I took some photos. Here are from left going clockwise, Kakada, Wei Ling, Ling, Jom, David and Justin.

When Ian, Thanh (yes there are many people called Thanh, guys and girls) and Amanda arrived, we ordered mains. Most people chose the Munchner Schweinshaxe, which sounds like some an order to decapitate someone but is actually the house special consisting of a )Pork Shank fit for a bear served with, what else, but sauerkraut and something called a potato dumpling.

The crackling skin on the shank is deliciously crispy. The inside consists of fatty smooth oily meat, still pink from slow cooking. The meat is very tender and falls off the bone. The sauerkraut with its acidic taste helps to break up all the fattiness. The potato dumpling tasted bad and was like eating flavourless chalk. I tried as hard as I could but just finish half the dish. I had already consumed a litre of beer, two beers earlier from work, a huge glass of wine at John's place so I couldn't fit in any more. Even my usual reserve spot in my stomach for dessert was filled up. The Apple Strudel was enticing me like a siren in the sea but I just couldn't eat any more. This was definitely a rarity, I can usually squeeze in some dessert no matter how full I am.

The service was good, with the waiters coming by quite often to check how things were going. If anything, they were a bit too good, removing plates very quickly even when you weren't quite done.

The atmosphere is much like a pub and noisy and boisterous. The band hadn't quite started up yet when we left. I also saw the dancers fitted out in their costumes sitting at a table but they would only start dancing later in the night. A shame that I couldn't get to see them in action.

Overall Rating: 14/20, Good place for something different occasionally. There aren't too many German restaurants in Melbourne I suspect. I won't be tackling their beers and main courses without assistance next time. I still want to try their desserts.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Hofbrauhaus on Urbanspoon

Japanese Cheesecake - Delicious

Whatever you want to call this cheesecake, it is fantastic. I call it a Japanese Cheesecake because the texture is like those that are advertised as Japanese Cheesecakes from the bakeries. Having never been to Japan, I don't know if their cheesecakes are like this one, but if they are, I'm going to eat lots of them.

I read about this recipe from Ellie of Kitchen Wench, who had in turn read about the recipe from Anh of Food Lover's Journey. Both Ellie and Anh say they love the cake, and for good reason I found out. Anh wrote that it is perhaps the best cake she has ever baked. Well, I brought one of the cakes to work and one work mate said that it was the best cake he had ever eaten. That's a big call.

This cake is definitely very different in how it is prepared to how it tastes. It's so light that it goes down so easily that you find yourself finishing a whole piece before you know it. This was one of the fastest disappearing cakes ever. Having baked it on Thursday, it was all gone by late Friday.

I won't bother re-writing the recipe. Just go to either Ellie or Anh's blogs and you have full instruction there. All I can say is that you must make it, it tastes great. Just a final note, the recipe requires cake flour. I had no idea what this was either. But a commenter on Ellie's post wrote that you can buy it in Safeway or Coles nowadays. It is called "Cake, Biscuit & Pastry Flour”, made by Anchor. It's a blue box for the plain variety. This flour is described as some triple milled flour with this and that. I can't remember half of it, but it's suppose to give a light texture to cakes and biscuits made with it.

I don't like black sesame that much so just added a little. I couldn't really taste the sesame and don't really know if you even need it. It's up to you what flavours you like and what to add. I think it tastes great without any added flavours.

EDIT: I've decided to post the recipe in case other people's blogs go down but mainly so its all easier to find when I want to make this recipe again myself.

Japanese Cheesecake


250g cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
100ml cream (35% milk fat)

60g cake flour
20g cornflour
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

1tbp black sesame powder

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
140g castor sugar

2-3 tbsp of fresh milk


* Melt cream cheese and butter over a double boiler. Whisk to combine. Set aside to cool. Add the cream and whisk to combine.
* Meanwhile, line and grease the base and side of a 8-inch spring form cake pan. Preheat oven to 160C (fan-forced)
* Sift the cake flour and corn flour to the cheese mixture. Add in egg yolk, lemon juice, sesame powder and salt. Gently whisk to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. At this stage, if your mixture is a bit too stiff, add in 1-2 tbsp of milk. The mixture should be similar to your normal cake mixture.
* Whisk egg white with cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon. Whisk until soft peak forms (don’t whip the egg white too stiff, the cake will be likely to crack).
* Add 1/3 of the egg white to the cheese mixture to lighten it. Then, gently but thoroughly fold the egg white to the cheese mixture. Be careful not to destroy all the air bubbles in the egg white.
* Gently pour into the prepared pan. Using foil, wrap the outside of the pan. Put the cake pan into a roasting pan. Add boiling water to half-way of the cake pan.
* Bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 min or until the cake is set.
* Take out, leave in the pan to cool. Serve at room temperature.

Peking Duck

I don't really like duck of any nature, but there is one exception where I can't get enough of it. That exception is Peking Duck. Unless you are very well off and can go and eat it all the time at Flower Drum, the next best option is to make your own I reckon. It's so simple but oh so tasty.

First, you need to go and buy yourself a Roast Duck. Rock Kung in Glen Waverley do a good roast duck. Go there on a Saturday and you can pick one up straight out of the oven (or whatever you call the big thing they cook it in). Then while you are in Glen Waverley, go to the Asian store and pick up some Peking Duck wraps, which are made of flour or something. Then all you need are some cucumber, spring onions, pickled vegetables and hoi sin sauce.

It is then just a matter of steaming the rice paper until they are cooked through. Then peel off each piece and spread a generous amount of hoi sin, put in a few pieces of duck, some of the vegetables and fold together.

Once all assembled, grab it and chomp into it. I don't know what it is about these simple combinations of flavours but I just love it. I ate about 10 of these parcels.

Oyster Recipes Part 2

After last times oysters post where there were quite a few suggestions for different recipes, I wanted to try some more flavours.

From left going counter-clockwise, I tried the following:
* Soy sauce with wasabi - this was ok but the regular soy sauce is too overpowering. I need to find some lighter soy sauce or cook the soy with some sugar or something.

* Lemon with tobasco - this was suggested by a couple of people and I have to say that I love it. I have eaten about quite a few with this flavour combo. The sour, salty and hot flavours work together so well.

* Lime, palm sugar, shallots, garlic, chilli and parsley - this combo is fantastic as well. So many flavours going around your mouth all at once. You definitely need palm sugar though in my opinion. It adds this extra dimension to the sauce that white sugar just doesn't have.

* Garlic, butter, shallots, lemon and pepper pan fried - A slight twist on the traditional garlic butter, but still very good. Eat it quick before the butter starts to harden though.

* Lemon and pepper - just a classic combo that you can never tire of.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cookies Chicken Part 2

When Kin and Jo did their last Cookies Chicken cook up, Paul didn't get to try them so they did another one. Rowena and Son also came along to eat some chicken.

Having learnt from the last time, this time we mixed the spices more thoroughly so that the salt would be mixed through. This gave better results as the chicken wasn't as salty. It was still good but I still preferred the chicken wings from last time. There are now Cookies Chicken store popping up around the place, such as in Ferntree Gully, Ringwood, South Yarra and other places I think, can't remember exactly. Look out for a store near you and try some.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Aux Batifolles

After going to watch the footy, Hawks versus Lions, with Justin and Adrian, we then met up with Kakada for dinner at Aux Batifolles. Previously I had written about my chance encounter with Kakada on MSN. Well we have since chatted some more and I suggested that we should meet up for a meal, which is what we did. I brought along my grade 2 and 3 class photos to see if Kakada really was in my class.

Lets see how good you all are at picking people from their younger days. Firstly, here is what Kakada (right) and myself look like as of today.

Here is our grade 2 class photo from Cabramatta West Primary School in New South Wales. Click on the photo to go to Flickr for a larger version.

I showed Kakada my grade 3 photo and she was surprised to find that she was in my class then as well. She left shortly after the start of grade 3 to come to Melbourne. I left early grade 4 to come to Melbourne. Again, clikc the photo for a larger version. I'm hopeless and couldn't pick Kakada, I could hardly even pick myself. Unfortunately the class photos back then didn't have our names, so I can't remember any of my old friends names, but I do remember some of the faces.

Back to the restaurant and food. We got to the restaurant about half an hour early, around 5:30pm. Justin had made a perfect parallel park, but when we found the restaurant was a bit further down Nicholson Street, he moved his car. Only this time, it took him about 3 gos to go straight into a car park about 3 spaces wide head first. When the restaurant opened at six, we went in after another couple had gone in. The waiters in their French accents seated us. Kakada arrived a few minutes later, so we were given menus. While we started to look at the photos, the waiter kept coming to get our orders, so we decided we better order first. They looked like they were in a bit of a rush to get us out, as we had been informed that we must leave by 9pm. For most of the night, we were rushed quite quickly through our meal.

The restaurant interior looks great and I love the photos on the wall and the artwork and mirrors. The whole place has a really comfortable feel with the brick walls and good lighting.

For entrees, I said we had to try the snails, since I've never tried them before. We got that as well as the Tasting Platter. I didn't know what to expect of snails, but in the end they tasted much like a mixture of clams and oysters. The snails in garlic butter tasted nice and I had more than my fair share since Kakada and Adrian didn't eat many. I was put off by them at all as I have written in my post about weird foods, I will try anything.

The Tasting Platter was good, with a salad with mustard dressing, smoked salmon on crispy bread, prosciutto, liver terrine, dill gherkins, cheese, jam onions, salami and roasted vegetables. The tasting platter was good, but I liked the one at EQ Cafebar more.

For mains, I got the Rabbit with pasta. Unfortunately, the rabbit tasted more like stewed beef. It was not half as good as the rabbit that I had at Enoteca Vino Bar, which had the flavour of rabbit and the texture to match.

Kakada had the Steak with red wine sauce which was served with baked potato cubes (not shown). It looked and smelt great but I didn't try any so don't know how it tasted. Kakada did eat it all so it must have been good.

Justin got the Venison with polenta. Again, the venison tasted like, of all things, Chinese Char Siu (roast pork). We both agreed that it was probably the star anise that made it taste like char siu. The texture was good, but seeing as I don't like star anise or char siu, I didn't like it much.

Adrian had the Spatchcock with mash potato (dish at the back). The waiter did the hard sell on this special and kept insisting that we try it. Kakada, Justin and myself would not be swayed as we already knew what we wanted, but Adrian decided to switch from his other dish to this. It turned out the spatchcock was quite good, but did taste a lot like chicken to be honest. The Green Salad with walnuts and the same mustard sauce as the salad from the tasting platter helped to break up all our meaty dishes.

We got desserts to share. Justin chose the Upside Down Apple Pie. It was surpringly good, despite the appearances. There was a caramel type taste but you could still taste the apple. The honey helped to add another dimension to it.

My favourite dessert was the days special of Banana Pudding. Kakada had asked if there were any special desserts as the menu said there was. Despite the waiters inital assertion that there was none, she asked if he was sure. He went to check and came back to tell us there was the Banana Pudding tonight. The pudding didn't really taste like banana at all, but instead like toffee, which was equally good.

The most disappointing dessert definitely has to be the Profiteroles with chocolate sauce. The profiteroles were so stale and had gone all hard. They tasted worse than the on sale specials at Coles like Justin said. And what's worse, the vanilla ice cream was really bad too. It had huge chunks of ice in it. All the desserts were ruined by the awful vanilla ice cream. If you aren't going to make any effort with pairing up the desserts with something different and decide on using vanilla ice cream, at least use good vanilla ice cream. I know that even Peters Extra Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream from the supermarket doesn't form ice chunks even after repeated outing away from the freezer.

The service was quite good, and the waiters joked with us about Justin's attempts at using his limited French training and pronouncing the menu items in French. However, this was balanced by the waiters trying to rush us at every course. Even at the end when we didn't ask for the bill, they just gave it to us. I understand their need to turn over the tables, but they really were rushing us a bit too much.

In contrast, this table of 6 behind us consisting of more elderly patrons did not get rushed at all. Four of them arrived first and sat at the table for a good 40 minutes talking before the final two arrived. They then talked and drank for another 20 minutes before even looking at the menu. Also, they were rather posh too, in a bad way. When they first got to their table, one lady was like "There's no room here at all, I think we should rearrange the furniture". Then when she got seated, she asked Justin to move in a bit. But when she sat down, she never bothered to push her chair in. Her husband did the exact same thing and squashed Adrian right into the table. We ended up moving our table back a bit. We didn't take it too seriously, but it just shows how inconsiderate the other table were, thinking they were too good for everyone. Even when we left and were trying to get out, they clearly saw Justin and Adrian trying to get out but didn't bother to move their chairs in for a while at all.

Overall Rating: 12/20, The food was ok and didn't match the fairly expensive prices. Ambience and service was good, but we were a bit too rushed for my liking.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Aux Batifolles on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blue Fire

There are a couple of Blue Fire restaurants but we went to the one in Melbourne Central. The restaurants looks very nice when you first step in with the modern twinkling ball lights to the big grill right at the front. The tables are wooden tables nicely laid with clean white table cloth. As opposed to our usual lateness, we were actually early, and since the table wasn't ready yet, we took a seat on their huge ottomans and browsed the drinks menu.

Upon being seated, we ordered drinks. The waitress took drinks orders and went away. In turn, another waitress comes over and starts to take away the wine glasses. We all look a bit confused as we just ordered a bottle of wine. So we waited to see what she would do, and the first waitress arrives back and says that we ordered wine. After taking a sip of our T'Gallant Pinot Grigio, we see the next tables having the “Churrascaria”, which looked very enticing. Churrascaria is like all you can eat meat buffet except the "passadors" bring the meat right to your table and cut a piece for you.

First a plate of dips, bread and bruschetta arrive. Oh and the olives that Jo absolutely loved and polished off in quick time. She went for a second serve of olives as well. The bread was nice and crispy, but the dips were ok. The tuna type dip was rather bland. The spicy salmon dip was very spicy which overpowered the other flavours. Finally, the potato mash type thing was creamy but bland.

After the dips, the vegetables are placed in the centre of the table. This plate also acts as a beacon to attract the passadors to come to your table and serve you. This saved us the effort of waving our green cards (meaning we wanted more food) constantly. Below is a photo of the vegetables plate sitting high above the table for the passadors to see. In the background is Trang doing her best model pose.

When the meats start to arrive, Kin and I dig into the lamb that is firstly offered. The lamb was good, with the classic flavours of lemon and rosemary covering the tender still red meat. However, it didn't get any better from that point onwards. The chorizo which I was so looking forward to was spicy but without the rich flavours normally associated with chorizo. It was just like a Thai pork sausage that you buy from Safeway supermarket. The chicken flavour was ok but the meat was too dry. Similarly the beef was overcooked and dry, with the pork exceptionally dry. The seafood fared better, with the calamari being my favourite as it was nice and soft with a hint of spice. The swordfish texture was also good, still firm.

Service wasn't exactly good. We were served drinks after quite some waiting. Then we were just left there wondering what was happening as we had already ordered and could see the passadors keep walking past our tables without stopping for us. Finally after about 20 minutes, a waitress comes over and says that the meats are a bit behind and that they would arrive soon. They could have served us the dips first but that didn't arrive till just before the meats.

The ambience is good, but I think the food, the Churascaria anyway, is not up to scratch. For $49 for the Churrascaria, the food does not live up to the theatre of it. Most of the meats were not tasty, and seeing as they specialise in meats, I don't think the rest of the normal menu items would be that good. This would be a good place for large group functions as its roomy and the theatre side of it is good. But for a serious meal, I think its too expensive for the quality of food.

Overall Rating: 12/20, Good atmosphere, good place for large group functions. Food is not so good and too expensive.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Oyster Recipes

I love to eat oysters. Like most people, I found these slimy things rather disgusting when I was young, but nowadays I try to eat as much as my salary will allow. Recently, I read a post by Derrick about an oyster recipe book. This piqued my interest in trying different toppings for oysters.

Usually, the only way I eat oysters are with lemon and pepper, or a soy based sauce with ginger, garlic, spring onion and black bean. This time, I decide to try a few other sauces. I still ate quite a few with lemon and pepper, as that classic combination of flavours just goes perfectly with seafood and you can never go wrong.

I experimented some oysters with combinations of salmon caviar, salmon caviar with wasabi, wasabi and soy, a Thai lime and palm sugar dressing, soy with ginger, spring onion and sesame oil. They all tasted great, even the ones with wasabi. I like wasabi so my view is probably a bit biased.

Next time I need to try even more flavours, maybe some oyster shots with some form of alcohol or something. Does you have any suggestions of oyster recipes that you like and that I can try?

Sunday, August 05, 2007


After my previous meal with my good friend Calvin, we both said that we will make it a point to catch up say once a month at least. Well, this was our first meeting since then, nearly a year later. Gee how time flies. Things just keep going forward and unless you make a special effort to organise a meeting, it just seems to get brushed aside by everything else that goes on in your life.

We walked around the very cold city and decided on some Thai food. Krataron is located on Lonsdale Street amongst the few remaining Greek restaurants. The restaurant is nicely decorated and was full at the time we entered. It has two levels, with the BBQ section upstairs.

Here's Calvin, having lost about 7 kgs of weight off his already thin body since we last met. His job is very demanding and he works overtime all the time, not by choice but because he has to. He recently got a new job with a large company and is going to get paid a lot more. I'm so jealous but also very happy for him. Plus he shouted the meal, which was great. We've arranged to meet again in a month just before he leaves his current job (which is near my company) and I said I will shout next time.

We ordered Tom Yum Seafood soup. The entree size was only a small bowl so I told Calvin to eat it since I don't like Tom Yum that much.

The Papaya Crab Salad was good but very different. I expected bits of swimmer crab meat to be mixed in the salad, but instead it was those tiny crabs with their shells intact that have been marinated in salt water for about a month. It gives the whole crab this salty flavour. Mum used to make that and we would eat it with congee when we were young, so that brought back memories. I like this spicy salad with the crab.

We had Red Curry Beef with coconut rice. The curry was good but the beef wasn't as good as some other Thai restaurants. It also needed some more vegetables in the curry rather than just a large bowl mainly of liquid.

The Pad Thai was good, with the noodles cooked through and the sweet sauce not bad.

I also had some roti, which was ok but it cost another $1 for peanut sauce to go with the roti, which seemed a bit ridiculous. We also had Thai milk tea, which was very sweet but had that interesting flavour as usual.

The service was ok. The staff were extremely busy and rushing all over the place, but they did the best they could. I don't blame them in this instance but instead the ownwer for hiring too few staff. We usually got what we wanted after two requests.

Overall Rating: 12/20, Food is ok, service slightly lacking. Prices comparable to other Thai restaurants.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.