Monday, June 20, 2016

The Kettle Black, South Melbourne

The Kettle Black is one of those cafes that you gotta check out at least once whenever you are in Melbourne. Whether it's for their instagrammable food or the stunning architecture and interior design of the cafe. For most of 2015, I've been wanting to go back to Melbourne to make a visit to The Kettle Black or their older sister cafe Top Paddock (sadly, still haven't been) so a brunch catch up with my Melbourne friend T was a perfect opportunity to check out the hype.

Long Black ($4.00)

It was not hard to miss the grand white terrace building standing out amongst the modernised towers surrounding it. Wasn't surprised when I spotted the queue in front of the cafe and being told that there will be a 45 min wait for a table for two. We were both fine and chilled around the area with take away coffee. What surprised us was when the staff informed us that the table was ready and it was roughly around 20-30mins wait at most. Neat huh?

Confit free range pork, compressed pear, poached eggs, butter emulsion ($19.00)

While this dish didn't look as pretty as some of the other dishes available here, it was very tasty for us. The pork was well cooked and seasoned, plus the runny poached eggs were on point.

Hotcakes with ricotta, berries, pure maple, double cream, seeds and nuts ($20.00)

No visit to The Kettle Black could be complete without trying their famous ricotta hotcakes! So much prettiness on a plate especially with all those edible flowers! Loads of sweet and fruity flavours coming from the rich hotcakes, various berries and the maple syrup. Personally I'm biased against double cream (sorry everyone), so T helped in eating that part. The serving size was incredibly generous that it could easily be shared between 2 or 3 people. Even had leftovers to take-away back to the hotel!

Service was efficient despite the usual busy atmosphere of the typical Sunday brunch in Melbourne. While the dishes lean on the pricier side there are a few dishes such as the hotcakes which certainly deliver on the value for money with its generous servings. If I lived in Melbourne, I would love to check it out again for a few of their other dishes such as their Cape Grim Beef Bun or the equally pretty Polenta Porridge

The Kettle Black
50 Albert Road, South Melbourne VIC 3205
(03) 9088 0721
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Sat-Sun and Public Holidays: 8:00am - 4:00pm
The Kettle Black Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hammer and Tong, Fitzroy

Hammer and Tong is one of those cafes that has been on my wishlist for a long while after hearing lots of raves from fellow foodies. Owned by Dennis Ferreira and Simon Ward (formerly at Vue de Monde), it has gained attention not long after it opened with their deliciously unique brunch dishes such as their popular breakfast ramen, soft shell crab roll, ox cheek benedict and the duck egg and candied bacon waffle. And heck, who doesn't love an all day breakfast menu?  

Long black

Housed at the former spot of Brix, the venue has that minimalist decor with the use of grey as the main colour. Although we arrived quite late, the atmosphere was still busy and lively. Thankfully we got a table very quickly since we arrived past peak lunch hour (lol). By this time I was on my 3rd long black coffee of the day. Still needed more energy heh.  

Chilli Scrambled Eggs

Chilli scrambled eggs was F's dish pick due to her love of spicy food. Didn't try much but from what I can recall, it had a nice balance of flavours with the chilli sauce on the main dish and the avocado on the side to ease the heat. Not sure if this is still on the menu as of now though.

Breakfast Ramen

Both CC and I had our eyes on the ramen as well as a few other dishes. Eventually CC was the one who settled with Hammer and Tong's signature dish. This consisted of 62c hens egg, bacon, mushrooms, spring onion and bacon dashi. We enjoyed watching our waiter pouring the broth into the bowl in a timely and delicate manner. The broth itself was light and the egg was well-cooked along with the al-dente ramen noodles. Would love to come back again for this dish.  

Soft Shell Crab Burger

After spotting this in many photos about this cafe, I was equally eager to try the soft shell crab burger. It may look small but it felt quite filling. Plenty of crispy, fresh and juicy soft shell crab to enjoy packed into a fluffy and toasted brioche bun with shredded sesame slaw, coriander, spring onion and sriracha mayo. This is certainly one of the best soft shell crab burgers I've had mainly because all those ingredients worked so well together in terms of its taste.   

Out of all the cafes I've been to in Melbourne in the last 3 years, this is definitely one of my top picks of places to go. Satisfied with the food and the service seemed decent for us as well. If I ever live in Melbourne, this would be one of those cafes I would be keen to go back every now and then.

Hammer and Tong
Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9041 6033
Hammer & Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ayam Goreng 99, Kingsford

Happy extremely belated 2016! It's been a while hasn't it? I'm still eating everywhere but work and personal commitments have been taking over my life these days to commit to writing. Thanks to those who have encouraged me to keep on going even if it may not be as regular as it used to. 

Recently, we attended a birthday dinner at Ayam Goreng 99 in Kingsford. Personally, I don't go out that direction as much as I would have liked to so it was an experience checking out the area for the first time. It was located minutes away from UNSW, which would have been perfect had I studied there. Unfortunately, most of us were UTS students...heh. Ayam Goreng 99 was definitely one of those old school restaurants that would have been around for a long time judging from the decor. If the massive crowds waiting outside are anything to go by, the food was certainly worth the wait.

Ayam Bakar - Charcoal Grilled Marinated Chicken ($6.50 per piece)

There was 11 of us, so we ordered all three versions of their signature marinated chicken - thigh and breast! My personal favourite was the charcoal grilled version. It may look charred and rustic on the outside but the chicken itself was juicy, flavoursome and tender. Also had a slight sweet and zesty tang from the marinated soy sauce coating. 

Ayam Goreng - Deep Fried Marinated Chicken ($6.50 per piece)

Didn't get to try this one but the friends enjoyed its crispy texture. Portions were generous but the lack of knife meant it was harder to cut and share bit by least for us. 

Ayam Goreng Kalasan - Fried Marinated Chicken Javanese Style ($6.50 per piece)

I did get to try the Javanese version which was sweeter than the deep fried variant. Compared to the grilled version, I thought it seemed to be on the dry side but it was still tasty and flavoursome especially with its smoked, crispy skin.

Nasi Goreng ($11.50) 

Consisting of fried rice with chicken, egg, meats and shallots, the nasi goreng was another highlight for me. Digged the colourful layout as well the balanced texture of the rice which made it easier to enjoy with a mix of different ingredients. We also ordered and shared a vegetarian version of the Nasi Goreng, which was equally tasty.

Sate Kambing - Lamb Satay ($10.00)

Most of us like our lamb and we already order too much chicken so we had lamb satay sticks on the side. If lamb ain't your thing, you will be pleased to know that it didn't have that gamey taste mainly thanks to its generous mix of sweet soy sauce and peanut sauce coated over the skewers. Didn't order enough of these so some of us had to share these sticks.

In the end, the bill cost us around $25 per head, which wasn't as bad as we expected (we ordered a couple other dishes but forgot to take a snap). Service was fast paced and we ended up getting full too quickly despite being too hungry waiting for a table. While Kingsford may be out of the way for me to go back regularly, you can definitely see the appeal on why Ayam Goreng remains popular with the locals for all these years. Hope to return again to do a proper taste of the Ayam Goreng or even get my hands again on the succulent Ayam Bakar.

Ayam Goreng
464 Anzac Parade Kingsford
(02) 9697 0030
Wed-Sun: 11:30am - 4:00pm, 6:00pm - 9:00pm 
Mon-Tue: Closed
Ayam Goreng 99 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato