Thursday, November 28, 2013

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe, Melbourne CBD

Walking around the unassuming streets of Southern Cross Station, we discovered a little Japanese café just on Collins St. And with a name like Purple Peanuts Café, how could we not enter?

Tuna onigiri, $4.50
I couldn’t help myself but order the tuna onigiri. The little triangles looked too tempting. And at $4.50, how can you resist the cheap deal? We had a choice to douse it in chilli, sesame or teriyaki sauce and we went with chilli. The onigiri itself had been fried to give a nice brown hue so that the rice had crunch with every bite. The chilli sauce wasn’t that spicy, but instead provided more flavour which had me coming back for more.

Katkuni pork $9.50
Ah, pork belly, one of the fattiest cuts of meat but also one of the most delicious. This particular dish comprised of pork belly that had been braised over several hours so the fat simply dissolved on your tongue and the meat was so tender.  Ah,it was bliss to eat.

Goma bean salad, $4.50 for a small
Coz we had to make up for our unhealthiness from the pork belly, we got a side of vegetables too. Carrots and beans mixed through sesame sauce.

They also sell some interesting desserts like matcha tiramisu and green tea chocolate that they make themselves! A bit on the pricey side, but you wouldn’t expect things to be cheap if they were handmade.

We stayed for a while, discussing our group project and weren’t pushed to leave. It was relatively quiet though they still had a steady stream of customers. But I was very happy with the discovery of the pan fried onigiri – that is something I ought to experiment at home with! Maybe after I learn to make the actual onigiri first :P

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe
620 Collins St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000

Opening Hours
Monday - Saturday: 9:00am - 8:30pm

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Choc Pot, Burwood

I have personally been just a little bit of a chocolate addict for a short while now. Ok, I lie, it has probably been years. There's just something extremely comforting about it. It appeals to your sweet taste buds and it's oh so incredibly velvety as it melts in your mouth. Don't you agree? Luckily, I was able to indulge in my sweet tooth to celebrate the completion of my bachelors. Guess who's a postgraduate now! :D

Walking into The Choc Pot, a new chocolate bar located just opposite of Burwood Plaza, I couldn't help but be wowed by the deco. There were sweet little shelves and pots everywhere. And who doesn't love a faux brick wall just to make it look that little bit more special? :P

Though what I was really wowed by was Ash's background story to opening up this little cafe. We got chatting as he prepared our desserts for us and he told us a little bit about his background and how he dappled within many different courses in uni and finally ended up in the midst of a medicine degree. However, he found that it wasn't truly his calling and his passion and love for sweets and dessert conquered all. It was decided then and there that he gave up studying medicine to pursue his love of cooking.

It was upon discussion about his use of jersey milk and our combined knowledge of agriculture that I discovered he graduated from the same high school as me - one year before I went in for year 7. Small world, huh? The milk from Jersey cows is supposedly higher in fat content making the milk creamier and resulting in richer desserts - all the better for us dessert fanatics! I was very happy to hear that they used quality ingredients such as Cellbaut chocolate, free-range eggs and unrefined caster sugar and everything is made fresh from the man himself! I was informed that they underwent an intense testing period of all their desserts on the menu with their friends and family to determine whether it was menu-worthy or not.

White choc strawberry smoothie, $8.00
 On this sweltering hot day, the fruity smoothie was definitely a refreshing treat.

White chocolate pannacotta splice, $12.00
What made this pannacotta so special definitely had to be the pineapple and mint sauce. It was sweet but not overly sweet with a slight tang from the pineapple. I thought the white chocolate pannacotta would be a bit much paired with a fruity sauce but that was not the case and it paired together surprisingly well! So well that I pretty much poured that extra little jug of sauce all over the pannacotta. Yum.

Chocolate souffle with salted caramel, $12.00
The chocolate souffle had a lovely oozy centre that was wonderfully rich. How can chocolate not be so? And of course there's just a little extra serving of salted caramel on the side to make things just that little bit more indulgent.

I was very tempted to try many of the smaller treats in the cabinet but I will save that for another time. Perhaps after I've had a gym session down the road :P

Crystal Noir dined as a guest of Ashley & Deirdre of The Choc Pot. All opinions however, are my own.

The Choc Pot
7/1 Railway Parade
Burwood, NSW, 2143

Opening Hours
Monday - Wednesday: 8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday - Friday: 8:00 am - 11:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

The Choc Pot on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills

There have been too many new cafes popping up all over the place as of late. One that I have been dying to visit for the crab po boy I've seen spamming my Instagram was Paramount Coffee Project. And that is exactly where we went after handing in our final studio portfolio for my bachelor degree. Yay - time to celebrate the good times!

Peanut butter & jelly milkshake, $8.00
Sigh, milkshakes on cafe menus these days are so expensive. But exxy it may be, the milkshake still tasted delicious! I couldn't discern much of the "jelly" but the peanut butter flavour was like a explosion in my mouth. Hooray for peanut butter! There's something so addicting about peanut butter, but I can never put my finger on why...

Crab po boy, $18.00
This is definitely a burger that I've not seen until as of late but boy was it tasty. The brioche was buttered and grilled so that it was slightly crispy. The crab itself was definitely not as oily as some deep-fried soft shelled crab and I didn't feel heavy eating it despite us ordering two deep-fried items. The coleslaw and ranch dressing definitely brightened up the burger providing an element of refreshing tang.

Double fried chicken, $16.00
Hooray for yet another deep-fried item! These boneless chicken pieces were tender and still juicy inside while retaining the nice crunchy batter. The hot sauce provided was nice enough, but I preferred it without as there were spices coating it anyway. My only complaint would be that the coleslaw was quite bitter.

Philly cheese steak, $17.00
I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but for some reason I had a Reuben sandwich pictured in my head. But it wasn't - it was like a cheeseburger only with crunchier bread and fancier ingredients! Yes to gruyere cheese and sourdough :D

Sweet waffle, $15.00
What was upsetting about this was that the waffle got soggy quick from the rapidly melting icecream, but it tasted amazing. Peanut butter icecream, dulce de leche and topped with a sprinkling of hazelnuts - how can it be disliked?

I loved the industrial atmosphere of Paramount Coffee Project. I must say that as an architect student, I was very impressed by the concrete table that was mounted in the centre. Concrete is absolutely beautiful! I would go back alone just for the concrete :P That combined with the awesome food, you have one pretty rad cafe.

The Paramount Coffee Project
80 Commonwealth St
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:00am - 4:00pm

The Paramount Coffee Project on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Waitan, Haymarket

Say hello to the newest restaurant addition to Sussex St in Chinatown whose concept is to connect east and west, old and new like never before. If you thought house renovations were expensive, think again. The price tag for this creation was over $10 million! Thanks to an invitation extension from Krissie Vitasa of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, I attended the launch party for this lavishly fitted out restaurant. They sure did hit us with the wow factor first thing. We hadn't even walked into the restaurant before we were greeted by a long line of models at the doors!

But then we were greeted by this fella.

I have to say that I really loved the interior design of this place. This main dining area clearly has a lot of traditional influences, yet embraces the contemporary with an end result that is very stylish.

More intimate areas can be found in the Opium Den. No, it is not ACTUALLY meant for anyone to smoke in this area, but instead to provide a more private setting for smaller gatherings for a drink or two. The cushions and plush seats definitely help the area look very inviting.

Look at the production line go to get those Peking Duck pancakes out the door! Well, not really a production line - one chef and many waiters trying to get him to hurry :P Who doesn't like Peking Duck pancakes? These ones vary from any traditional pancakes you've had though. One particular difference I noted was that they used raw red onion instead of the traditional sprig of spring onion. The flavour profile is also different, having been cooked in a cherry sauce. You can see the oven over in the background. I spotted at least 20 ducks hanging inside, cooking! Duck Master Mr. Yuejin Ma was flown in specially from Beijing to cook up a duck feast storm in Waitan's signature brick oven.

Oyster Bar

Veuve champagne served at the bar
I was surprised with the Veuve champagne, which has a definite tang compared to the likes of Dom Perignon and it went down quite easily with the canapes being served.

Spring rolls with satay sauce
The spring rolls were stuffed with plentiful of prawns, and the chefs seemed to have ditched the traditional short spring rolls in favour of ones that are long, streamline and skinny. Much like our jeans in contemporary society these days.

Wagyu beef buns
I really enjoyed these as the wagyu beef was tender, wonderfully smoky, peppery and was lovely with the burst of flavour from the pickle.

Deep-fried quail egg with tofu
Quail eggs are so delicately bite-sized! The broth it was sitting on top of was very subtle yet had a beautiful flavour.

And just because all those normal sized champagne bottles weren't enough, they had to crack out the omega sized one! It definitely was amusing watching them struggle with trying to pop the cork :P

I've yet to try out their normal menu, though I am curious to see how they would fare with their food after blowing so much on decking the place out from head to toe. I think it's time you all see what this new and extravagant place is all about, so what are you Waitan for? ;)

405 Sussex St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
8218 1000

Opening Hours
Monday - Sunday: 6:00pm - 12 midnight

Waitan Restaurant on Urbanspoon