Friday, December 19, 2014

Ease Garden Chinese Restaurant, Dandenong by Obelix

The Olds have been talking about this restaurant for a while now in glowing terms.  As my mum is one tough critic, I figured Ease Garden has to be of pretty good calibre.  So for family lunch, my parents kindly invited us down to try it out for ourselves.

We ordered the following dishes which came with complementary soup and tong shui.

The complementary soup which was a combo of veggies and bone broth.  Very flavourful and not too salty (which is a good thing)

Sweet and Sour Pork.  I didn't try this but Kiddo had about four pieces so I'm surmising it tasted good and the meat was tender as Kiddo hates putting in any effort to chew anything,

This scallop dish was quite awesome.  Plenty of scallops and the bok choy was fresh and crisp.

This was the XO prawns.  Again plenty of veggies which I like to keep things healthy.  Not too spicy for a XO sauce which is good so it's more palatable for young and old.

Chinese vegetables with Beef.  Once again, the veggies were plentiful and crisp.  The beef was tender.

This was my favourite - the stir fried spinach in soup stock.  The goji berries were a nice addition.

This was the deep fried fish with a sweet corn gravy.  An old Chinese restaurant staple.

Lastly, we had the tong shui which was a white fungus with goji berries.  I don't normally drink tong shui as I find them too sickly sweet and claggy.  This one was very refreshing with the white fungus.

Verdict: we loved it!

As I did not pay for this meal, I don't know the break down of the costs.  However I was told it was $120 including tips for the seven of us.  This was a great satisfying meal and I will definitely come back.

Ease Garden on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Becasse, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Although I had my eye on the Tea Palace at the Emporium (which, if you haven't seen it yet, is like an homage to oestrogen - think, pink walls, gilt framed windows, textured wallpaper, cushioned chairs all in the style of a rather successful lady French bourgeoisie taking tea in one of her many sitting rooms in her McChateau), we decided to have lunch at Becasse.

Becasse is right opposite the Tea Palace.  Instead of the sugary, girly pink and pastel and gold colours that festoon the Tea Palace, Becasse is a strident example of sleek modernity and sharp, clean lines of silver, black and crisp white. 

We found out from the staff that the food at Becasse is really the food from Jones the Grocer (which is another cafe/providore in the Emporium).  We found that out because I asked the staff what the soup of the day was, and they said they had to ring downstairs to find out.  In this case, the soup of the day was roasted tomato and basil.  A nicely rich tomato flavour, with added oomph from the onions, garlic and basil.  It was served with a chewy slice of sourdough.  Perfect size for a light lunch.

Ms H went for a wedge of mushroom quiche.  While she liked the flavour and texture (smooth and rich filling with a thin, flaky pastry) she did feel that it was a tad lukewarm and could have done with a few more minutes under the grill to heat it up properly.  It was served with a nice crisp salad.

Although I was quite tempted, I didn't try any of the gorgeous cakes on offer.  Definitely for next time.

Verdict: we liked it.

A nice cafe for a light meal.  The quality is above average but I still feel it's a tad pricey.  But given that it's inside the Emporium, it's pitching at the right sort of clientele.  I feel it's more about having a smart-looking place to have a meal in between an epic shopping session.  Service is friendly and prompt.

B├ęcasse on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 15, 2014

Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie, Camberwell by Obelix

Laurent is an institute at the crossroads of trams known fondly by locals as "The Junction".  It's well situated on Burke Rd, Camberwell surrounded by a plethora of shops with parking at the rear which makes it quite a handy little spot to have a quick lunch or to pop in and be tempted by the delectable looking pastries.

Laurent Bakery certainly does knock up a good crusty baguette and some amazing looking cakes.

On this occasion, I ordered the pulled pork and coleslaw roll with relish and a cup of tea to wash it down with.  The bread roll was to the standard one expects from a French bakery, crusty yet slightly dense in the middle without being too stodgy.

The pulled pork was flavoursome with plenty of slaw to cut through the richness.

A nice cuppa to go with my roll.

Verdict: we liked it.

My only bone of contention with this place is that it charges a surcharge (of a couple of dollars extra) to dine in. My pulled pork roll and English Breakfast tea set me back $16.50.  The service was relatively quick given I was there during the lunchtime peak.  It was quite lovely sitting in the al fresco area which in fact is part of an arcade and watch the world go by.

Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hillcrest Dining Room, Revelstoke (Canada) by Bureaucrat

Leaving the beauty of the Rockies behind us (I felt a twinge of sadness when we moved from Mountain Standard Time to the bog-standard Pacific Standard Time) we continued our journey across British Columbia to get to Vancouver. 

Having travelled some ways down the Rockies, we took a much needed lunch stop at the Hillcrest Dining Room at Revelstoke.  We were given the plum table with at the windows that had glorious views of the surrounding mountainside. 

We were to indulge in a three course lunch, which featured North American cuisine – something that I was looking forward to trying more of.

First course was a crisp salad of mixed leaves and served w an apple-maple vinaigrette, strawberries and mint.  It was simple, fruity and appetite-inducing.  I felt like a Lady Who Lunches out on a spa day.

The main course was a delicious oven-baked fresh BC salmon w lemon maple, wild blueberry sauce, served w basmati rice pilaf and steamed veg.  I just loved the use of fruit in the savoury dishes - it really goes well together - the subtle berriness from the bluebs and the fresh sweetness from the salmon.  A delicious, healthy and filling meal - I loved it!

While I actually full by now, I felt I had to at least try some of the roasted hazelnut chocolate mousse – it was gorgeously thick yet airy and smooth.  The Lawyer scored big time as he got to polish of his serve of the dessert and mine as well.

To cap off a delicious meal, we got some tea as well.

Verdict - we loved it.

Super friendly, prompt service and really good, fresh food that was well made.  Great use of fruit and fresh produce here.  The Hillcrest Dining Room is a lovely spot and we wished we had more time to linger and soak up the atmosphere of the late summertime.

The Hillcrest Dining Room on Urbanspoon
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