Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Dumpling King

The dumpling cravings were SO real last week.
A friend of mine has been insisting that we visit Dumpling King so this was the perfect opportunity!

The part of the menu we were most interested in - the dumplings!

 Steamed vegetarian dumplings $8.80

This came out first, and we were absolutely ravenous! I really enjoyed the filling, particularly the shiitake mushrooms. 

 Steamed chicken and prawn dumplings $8.80

I wasn't a huge fan of the slightly soggy dumpling skin although it had a delicious, juicy filling. Probably my least favourite of the night.

Fried pork dumplings $9.80

My favourite of the three dumplings because of the crispy pan fried dumpling skins! The filling also tasted great although I could practically taste the fat in it.

Dumpling King provides a great lunch or dinner option when you're craving something greasy, unhealthy and ridiculously cheap! Great for uni students like myself who don't want to make a huge dent in their bank accounts/wallets with most dishes coming in under the $10 mark.

However, the service is rather appalling, with the waitresses practically ignoring you for the first 3 times you try to catch their attention and some of the food being brought out only after we asked for it. We asked for some soy sauce and chilli oil since they weren't already on the tables outside where we were sitting, and the waitress brought them both out and slammed them down on the table. In saying all this though, I definitely did not expect any spectacular service coming here and I don't think you should either. Come for the food though! I saw a really nice rice and tofu dish which I will definitely consider ordering when I come back.

Dumpling King on Urbanspoon

Monday, 29 September 2014

East Terrace Continental [2]

A firm favourite of mine for breakfast or brunch; ETC! This post features two of my past visits.

First visit

Having just come back to the city after hiking Mount Lofty on a Sunday morning, the bestie and I stopped by one of our favourite places for a quick feed. We were both craving poached eggs but didn't want anything too heavy, so we settled for this:

Fresh-fanned avocado $6.70
on wood oven toast with drizzled olive oil
+ poached egg $2

A quick, simple and satisfying meal. Perfectly poached eggs with a slightly runny yolk which was mopped up with the toast. So delicious! For some this may be a little bland, but a little salt and pepper will do the trick. Otherwise, add Hollandaise sauce for an additional $2, or just order Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine! Having wanted just a light meal, we didn't end up finishing all the toast, but I think this would make a pretty filling breakfast. 


Second visit

It's always important to fuel up before a hard day of studying, right? For breakfast, we stopped by ETC to find it much emptier than usual and Rio being the cartoon film playing on the wall. We'd considered getting something a little lighter but hey, it's SO difficult to say no to poached eggs!

Iced coffee $6.50

Mmmm ice cream to start off breakfast... #healthy
This wasn't my order, but apparently it had a very strong coffee flavour and was not overly sweet. It came out in a huge glass, so was definitely worth the $6.50!

 Eggs Benedict $12.60
with leg ham, tomato & Hollandaise sauce on English muffins
+ Hash brown $1.80

You can never go wrong with eggs benny! And I added a hash brown because.... just because :P
Toasty muffins topped with two delicious poached egg, 2 huge slices of ham and a tonne of Hollandaise sauce. Yuuum! There were also 3 slices of fresh tomato sandwiched between the muffins and ham which made them a little warm and soggy. Nothing a bit of Hollandaise couldn't fix! Seriously such a satisfying breakfast.

 Soft poached eggs $13.60
with prosciutto, spinach & Hollandaise sauce with a drizzle of napolitana sauce on wood oven toast

I have been here more times than I can remember and have honestly never been disappointed. I'm sure everything on the menu here is good! I love the fresh juices which are the perfect accompaniment to any meal. The service is fantastic and food always comes out within 10 minutes, even when every single table is full and it is super busy. It's also pretty good value, and you can fill up on a meal for around $15! Another favourite place of mine in the East End and I definitely recommend you try it out if you haven't already. Order anything with poached eggs. Trust me, they're always perfect :)

Check out my last review of ETC here!

East Terrace Continental on Urbanspoon

UR Caffe

A visit home from a good friend of mine who has moved to Melbourne for uni brought us to a cute little cafe on Melbourne Street for lunch called UR Caffe.

Spicy Corn Fritters
I've forgotten the price, sorry! I'm pretty sure it was around the $15 mark though.

I was having a late lunch so decided to go for something on the smaller side. These corn fritters were crispy on the outside with corn kernels in them providing a crunchy burst of sweetness in every bite. I'd say they were more on the peppery rather than spicy side, but I still enjoyed them. The fresh tomato and avocado were fantastic to balance out the pepperiness (if that's a word...) in the fritters.

A very enjoyable, simple dish that was very well executed. I would definitely order it again! I don't remember what else was on the menu but this was something that definitely caught my eye. I'll have to come back to try out the rest of the menu! I think this would be a great place to catch up with a small group of friends, or even to take your mum out to brunch! It's quiet and if you're lucky enough to go on a nice, sunny day, lots of natural lighting is let into the dining space through the glass windows, adding to the very pleasant atmosphere. Just be sure to avoid sitting where I sat, which is right in the front corner by the entrance, on a hot day because it sure gets toasty sitting in direct sunlight!

UR Caffe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Sad Cafe

My favourite time of the week - Friday lunch date with the bestie! A while ago, our destination was Sad Cafe in the East End, a place I've walked past countless times but never actually tried. Angela was super keen to try out the veggie burger since it contained her favourite, haloumi! 

Back: Veggie Burger $10
Sweet potato veggie patty with grilled haloumi, avocado, sweet capsicum, lettuce and aioli on a kaiser roll 

Front: Grilled mushroom pocket pita $10
Served with rocket, tomato chutney, feta and sweet capsicum, dressed in spicy aioli

Angela had only good things to say about the veggie burger. So many positives in fact that on the next visit, it's what I'll be ordering! I've also heard only positives from other friends who have visited and ordered the veggie burger.

I found my meal rather average. I did enjoy the combination of flavours together but there wasn't anything spectacular about it. If someone talked about a healthier, fresher version of a pizza, this is probably what I would picture. My favourite element was probably the spicy aioli which tasted great with the tomato chutney and mushroom elements.

A pretty decent first impression, with the only let down being that we were forced to sit outside on a super windy day because seating inside is quite limited. The service was quite average and at the minimum standard you would expect at any good cafe - not bad but not amazing either. I'll be back for that veggie burger!

Sad:Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

East End Providore

East End Providore has really become one of my favourite places in the East End this year and is somewhere I visit when I don't really feel like trying somewhere new. This post will contain 2 visits, both of which were superb (spoiler alert!)

First visit

Mork hot chocolate with coconut sugar $5
Salted caramel brownie $4

Ohhh those salted caramel brownies. Absolute bliss! A perfect afternoon treat. 
I think we should've ordered tea or coffee to have with these rather than the hot chocolates because they were so overwhelmingly rich. If you enjoy sickly sweet and creamy hot chocolates, then I think you would probably enjoy it but I definitely won't be ordering it again. I wasn't too sure why there was an emphasis on the coconut sugar because I couldn't really taste anything different about it. I also really love how the hot chocolates were presented; on a wooden board along with the glass of water and a small piece of biscotti. It's really the little details that really make a place special!

Second visit

Mushroom bagel $12
with goats cheese, pesto and beetroot relish
Latte $4

If you love mushrooms, you will love this bagel. Everything about this just worked perfectly together and I particularly enjoyed that beetroot relish to balance out the slightly salty mushrooms and pesto. I'd probably say it was one of my favourites lunches this year, just because it's so simple but very satisfying. I don't know what else to say, except try it out if you ever visit!

In the background to the left, you can see that one of my friends ordered the Australian buffalo mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, baby spinach & house pesto sourdough sandwich for $13. She said she really enjoyed it and even though I didn't try any of it, I can definitely say that it looked delicious and fresh!

The food has been great every time I have visited and the presentation is consistently fantastic. You can tell just by scrolling through their tag on Instagram! The service is fantastic and I always feel really welcome here. That sounds a little weird, but you'll know what I mean - just think of those cafes or restaurants where the floor staff will speak to you off-handedly and do nothing more than take your order and plonk your meal down before disappearing for the rest of your visit. The staff here are so friendly and check up on you throughout your meal, but not too frequently that it's annoying. Fresh produce and other goods are also sold here, which are definitely worth checking out. 
Great stuff, East End Providore!

East End Providore on Ebenezer on Urbanspoon

Monday, 22 September 2014

Bar 9 Central

I can finally cross Bar 9 Central off my list of places to visit. Yay!
Natalie, Angela and I decided to visit for brunch today in order to beat the hectic lunch time service.

Cute table numbers and menus presented in children's books

English breakfast iced tea served with lemon and mint $5

Green tea iced tea served with lemon and mint $5

Truffle Mushroom Ragu $18
Creamy ragu on toast with poached eggs and finished with truffle honey

I love mushrooms. I also love poached eggs. What could possibly go wrong?
I was really looking forward to trying this having seen photos of it and people raving about it all over Instagram. I happened to look over to the kitchen while my meal was being prepared and saw the chef heating up something that looked like really unpleasant grey-brown slop. Sound unpleasant? That's exactly how it looked. Only when he started plating up the food did I realise that the slop I saw was actually the mushroom ragu... 
Getting over the initial shock and disregarding the colour of the ragu, the overall presentation of the dish was great. Unfortunately, both Natalie and I found the mushroom ragu itself far too salty. Thank goodness we had both ordered those refreshing iced teas because it would have been a very difficult meal to eat! My favourite things were the poached eggs which had a delicious, runny yolk which was amazing over the toast.

Ham & Fried Egg Roll $11
in-house tomato relish, aioli & cheese

Oh, just look at that yolk oozing out! Angela really enjoyed this and couldn't fault it at all. It looked like it was on the smaller side so I wouldn't recommend ordering only this for lunch and expecting to feel full afterwards.

I think I'm still on the fence with this. A pretty disappointing experience today, but I'm so sure that they have way more to offer in terms of food!

Bar 9 Central on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Steven Ter Horst Chocolatier

For weeks and weeks now (months, probably), my best friend Angela has been raving about the salted caramel tart at Steven Ter Horst and how ridiculous it is that I haven't tried it. I knew it had to be good when she jokingly told me that she'd have to chloroform form and drag me there if I didn't go soon. At least I think she was joking...
She finally convinced me to go and we made it an afternoon dessert date with our other counterpart, Natalie! (#triplethreat ;) )

Citron House Made Iced Tea $7.50
Lemon, yuzu, earl grey & fresh mint

This was the perfect drink to have on a warm afternoon! We all really enjoyed this, although I have to say it tasted a lot more like traditional homemade lemonade than it did an iced tea. I couldn't taste any  of the tea at all.

Apple $9
Cheesecake mousse, whipped caramel and poached apple insert on an almond jaconde sponge

My favourite colour is green so of course this caught my eye immediately when I was looking at the cake display while deciding what to order. I was told that was the first day they began serving this as it's part of their new Summer menu which they are slowly introducing in store. They hadn't even put a description for it on display, yet. I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to try a brand new dessert! I found that it was very light and airy due to the cheesecake mousse with very subtle apple flavours. It wasn't too sweet, which I personally really enjoyed, and I think it would be perfect for someone who doesn't enjoy very rich and decadent dessert. Also, perfect for summer because it doesn't leave you feeling weighed down and sluggish!

Mascarpone Dream $9
Mascarpone mousse, praline caramel creameux, hazelnut daquoise & caramel glaze

Daaang this was good. Definitely more decadent than the Apple but still light because of the mousse. Our favourite part was the thin caramel layer sitting over the base which was chewy and ever so slightly salty. We'd definitely recommend this!

Salted Caramel Tart $8.50

Ah, finally, the tart! It was just what I'd hoped after hearing Angela go on about it for weeks. A thick, decadent layer of chocolate ganache sat on top of a layer of delicious, sticky, perfectly balanced salted caramel, all encased in a buttery pastry. I did expect it to be overwhelmingly rich but I think the slight bitterness of the chocolate ganache helped make it more enjoyable overall. I could probably eat a tablespoon of that salted caramel, too. 

I had a fantastic first experience here and wouldn't hesitate to come back! All the cakes look beautiful, taste amazing and are definitely worth that little bit extra over what you'd pay elsewhere for something average. Definitely a fantastic way to treat yourself once in a while!
The service was also fantastic with the people behind the counter being very friendly, patient and helpful, explaining the new menu items, then presenting them beautifully and bringing them out to us within a few minutes of placing our order. Steven Ter Horst is located in the perfect location on Rundle St for an after dinner indulgence or just an afternoon treat. I've also heard about their dessert degustations which sound incredible. Pay them a visit guys, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Steven ter Horst Chocolatier on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Bambi's Kitchen

The usual Friday lunch date with the bestie this particular week was at Bambi's Kitchen, formerly known as Horner & Pratt, a place we'd seen photos of all over Instagram!

Haloumi wrap (can't remember the price, but probably around $14 too!)
Sweet potato fritters $14
Both served with house salads

What colourful, picturesque meals!
I ordered the sweet potato fritters and I thought they were great. They had a great flavour and I could clearly identify the different ingredients in them. I think the fritters could be improved if they were cooked in a way that made them a little crispy on the outside. The contrast between a crisp outer crust and soft innards would make them even more satisfying to eat! I also enjoyed how fresh the house salads were, although I do think some of them could do with a bit of dressing.

Angela ordered the haloumi wrap which contains her favourite cheese of the moment. I tried a bit and it was delicious! Definitely something we would both recommend to those who love haloumi.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first time dining at Bambi's Kitchen and can definitely say that I will be back. I loved the home-y feel of the meals, especially how they were presented, and how cosy the dining space is. Although there are only a few tables upstairs, there is a lovely view of Rundle and Rymill Parks as well as East Tce through the large window which lets in a lot of natural light. The service is wonderful, with the staff being very friendly and accommodating. From what I remember, the menu isn't very extensive but what is on there sounds delicious. There were also some baked goods on the counter, like brownies and cakes, which we were eyeing but told ourselves we would have to come back for, as well as the fresh juices and coffee.
See you again soon, Bambi!

Horner & Pratt on Urbanspoon

Argo on the Square [2]

Having friends scattered across different universities is the perfect excuse for catching up over some good food! Not that an excuse is ever necessary when you just want to see a good friend, of course. The lovely Jenny and I were long overdue for a catch up, so we decided to visit Argo on the Square for somewhat of a healthier lunch.

Missango Smoothie $6.50
Fresh strawberries, mint, mango, yoghurt & milk

A refreshing start to my lunch! I couldn't taste any mango in it though...

 Heart 2 Soul Piadina $12.90
Haloumi cheese, roasted capsicum, grilled zucchini, baby spinach & artichoke basil pesto

The moment I spotted Haloumi on the menu, I set my mind on ordering it! I couldn't wait to dig in once it arrived. Unfortunately, I found it far too salty, with the roasted capsicum and basil pesto overwhelming the everything. It was all I could taste! Something I also noticed was that for each portion, one piece of bread was perfectly toasted whilst the other warm and soggy. A bit strange, and it further detracted from the enjoyment of the meal.

 Empire Wrap $12.90
Falafel, quinoa tabbouleh, avocado, mixed lettuce, hummus & Argo Australian Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar

Jenny ordered this beauty and was very pleased with it! It looked super filling which would be perfect for a long day at uni.

Small fries with aioli $5.90

So these were meant to be sweet potato fries which I absolutely adore from Argo's! There must've been a mix up in the kitchen because instead of the sweet potato goodness we were expecting, we were given regular potato fries. We didn't make too much of a fuss since they had already arrived about 15 minutes after our piadina and wrap, and sending them back into the kitchen to be replaced by sweet potato fries would have taken a further 10 minutes, according to the waitress! The fries were on the soggy side but at least they had the perfect amount of salt on them. The aioli tasted a little funky though, and not in a good way! The both of us agreed it tasted like a combination of bad aioli and tartare sauce, but without that tanginess. 

A slightly disappointing meal for me this time round, but I think Jenny definitely enjoyed her wrap! I'm rarely disappointed by Argo's (either on the Square or the Parade) so I will be back, but making a mental note to avoid this piadina in particular. I'd recommend the salads and fresh juices!

Check out my past reviews of Argo on the Square and Argo on the Parade.
If you ever have a bit of a craving for haloumi like I did on this particular occasion, visit Bambi's Kitchen (formerly Horner & Pratt) and order the haloumi wraps - SO good!

Argo on the Square on Urbanspoon

Monday, 8 September 2014

Ginger's Coffee Studio

Taking the bus to uni almost every single week day, I often past Ginger's Coffee Studio on Goodwood Road and had made a mental note to visit. One of my best friends and I were long overdue for a catchup so we decided to venture outside of our usual restaurant/cafe choices in the CBD.

We started with a coffee each while we had a chat and tried to decide what to order. I settled with the classic Eggs Benedict, while Natalie wanted something sweet instead and ordered French toast. We also ordered a bucket of fries to share!

French toast $16
With mulled apple compote, marinated raisins and cranberries, vanilla cream & maple syrup

Eggs Benedict $14
2 poached Claire valley eggs, baby spinach, dill hollandaise on sourdough toast

Bucket of fries $6

The food was definitely above average but I can't say I'll be rushing back for it specifically, especially when I can get the same thing at my various favourite places in the CBD. The pricing was what you'd expect and pretty standard. 

One thing I definitely loved was the service. We were seated immediately upon arrival and offered a coffee or tea while we browsed the menu. It came out in just a few minutes! It was also great that the space is used to exhibit art, which really added character to the entire place. There was also great music playing which further added to the relaxed vibe.

We'll meet again one day, Ginger's!

Ginger's Coffee Studio & Vintage Lounge Bar on Urbanspoon


A place that's been on my list of places to visit for quite a while now is Mamachau. I popped in once for a takeaway KFC bao but felt I definitely needed to return to try more of what's on offer. My friends and I stopped by on our way home from uni, keen to get our hands on the baos!

Small but super cute, complete with adorable drawings on the walls and only a few tables available to actually dine in.

The menu. I just love how cute it is! Look at Mr Bao :)

Meal deals and more menu items!


Asian Taco Meal Deal $11.50

I went with one of the meal deals so we could all share the lotus root chips. Each of the 4 of us ordered a KFC and pork belly bao. The lotus chips were waaay too salty for our liking, thank goodness I had a drink!

 Master-stock pork belly bao

The rich flavours of the pork belly went so well with the pickled mustard greens, all wrapped up in a super fluffy 'taco'! Seeing them make this on the spot, it was nice to see all the pork belly stored in the stock in a bain-marie. This was probably a reason why the meat was so tender and flavourful. (*cough cough* take note, Sit Lo). 

 KFC bao

 My favourite of the two, although the pork belly was still delicious! The crunchy chicken was lightly seasoned and complimented perfectly by the tangy mayo and slaw. The only improvement I would've liked would be to have the mayo squirted between the slaw and chicken rather than the bao and chicken. Sounds weird, but I think it would make a huge difference in blending the flavours from the three main components!

We definitely weren't disappointed with lunch and will most definitely be returning. In fact, we visited on Thursday last week and will probably be going again tomorrow! Such fantastic value, especially for us uni students. Next time I return, I will probably just stick to the baos, which are $3.50 when purchased individually. The service is also commendable, with the friendliest girls ever behind the counter!

Great first impression, I definitely recommend it.

Mamachau on Urbanspoon