Thursday, 20 August 2015

Melbourne Trip 2015 - Queen Victoria Market, Jinda Thai, Middle Fish, and Pepper

Melbourne continues to be awesome.
Oranges from Queen Victoria Market

Continuing from my first post about the short trip, the frosty land has not stopped to amaze me. It may not have Sydney's Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but the museums, Flinders Street Station, unique Degraves Street, and arrays of vintage and op-shop wonders are really enjoyable to browse.

This post will cover the third and last days of this trip.

Queen Victoria Market

I don't think you could go to Melbourne without visiting Queen Victoria Market (QVM), especially because the boy & I love going to markets and explore. The historic landmark of the city does not only have amazing ranges of food items, but also souvenirs, fashion, and many more spread through blocks of the area. Google says it has 600 retailers, but it just seems to be a never-ending wonderland.

In short, it's quite thrilling.

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Myriads of shops


Fruit & veggies section



Handmade stuffed animals

Coffee shops are always within reach, and there is also the food court. Thanks to the boy's brilliant idea, we grab some brioche, jamon, chorizo, salmon wraps, cheddar cheese, and assorted olives and made our own deli spread. It was one of the best brunch I've had in my life.

I also couldn't find the American Doughnut Kitchen so I settled with Greek donuts which were cinnamon-y and fluffy.

Dried sausages and meat

Cold meat and cheese

Olives and dips

Deli brunch spread

Greek donuts


Corner of Victoria St & Elizabeth St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Web: Queen Victoria Market

Jinda Thai

Lunch was at one of the most recommended Thai restaurants in town: Jinda Thai. It is such a spacious restaurant with lots of natural light and lovely traditional decorations.

I should've ordered som tam with soft shell crab, but that day we sat down with the company of beef pad thai and gra pow gai grob (stir fried crispy chicken with chilli paste and basil). Both were satisfying and fulfilling dishes, although I prefer the latter as it packed more punches and heat.

Can't say the same to our appetizer of pork spring rolls though.

Next time I'm trying the salad and noodles!

Pork spring rolls - $7.9

Beef pad thai - $13.9

Gra pow gai grob (stir fried crispy chicken with chilli paste served with basil leaves) - $17.9


7 Ferguson St
Richmond, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: (03) 9419 5899

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Middle Fish

This one needs a special post. Coming soon.



This little, humble cafe is within walking distance of our accommodation, and since we had to go to airport early on our last day, we stopped by and sipped coffee at Pepper instead of rushing to the CBD.

It was such a great day with shining sunshine, and we had our last cups of coffee and hot chocolate in Melbourne which were both excellent.

My plate of shakshuka with chickpea, chorizo, tomato, poached eggs and crusty ciabatta was warm and beautiful both in appearance and flavour departments. The eggs benedict would satisfy every fan of yolk porn, and plus, they didn't skimp on the ham too.

The cafe provides breakfast all day, along with extensive lunch and burger menus. Winning.

Pepper, Flemington



Shakshuka - chickpea, tomato, chorizo and poached eggs with ciabatta ($15.5)

Eggs benedict - $14.5



44 Pine Oak Crescent
Flemington, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: (03) 9372 2726

Web: Pepper Cafe

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My only regret is that I didn't get to finish my itinerary list due to time constraint. Being hungover for two days in a row also didn't help to wake up early and chase up brunches. Oh well. More reasons to visit Melbourne again soon!

Also, if anybody is keen for pub/bar, I recommend The Croft Institute, which has science laboratory theme, completed with syringes in your cocktails. A bit of novelty wouldn't hurt.

I heart Melbourne.

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Monday, 3 August 2015

Melbourne Trip 2015 - Manchester Press, Huxtaburger, Nitrolab, and Brother Baba Budan

I finally stepped on Melbourne land.

The land of amazing food, unbeatable cafes and coffee, and the land where being a hipster is almost compulsory.

Three days trip to Melbourne is simply is not enough, I barely scraped the surface of the promise culinary gems, let alone went to every single places listed on my itinerary. Like seriously, my itinerary is 2/3 food. I almost did not dare to show it to the guy.

But I left with frozen hands, great satisfaction and solid promise to myself to come back again soon.

Alright. Here goes day 1. And before you read, a huge disclaimer: I am not a coffee drinker, and I don't know much about that particular field. I leave it to the experts and connoisseurs.


Manchester Press

Listed on the list on 65 Melbourne cafes to have breakfast at, and being recommended by basically everyone I talked to, I dared not to miss this one out. Manchester Press is the definition of hipster cafe, with eye-catching signs and wall arts, luring locals and tourists alike by their bagels and great selection of coffee.

It was not a petite cafe, but it was full house on a Friday morning.

Bagels were ordered, and we both took preference to my Chorizo (open bagel with grilled Spanish chorizo, spinach, sliced tomato and cheese topped with tomato relish). It was filling, and every bite was laced with the tamed heat and bursting flavour of the chorizo.

The guy's Reuben Rachel (closed bagel with thick cut smoked pastrami with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and pickle) was also enjoyable, although I was expecting it to be less shy in the flavour department. Dat melted cheese though.

Coffee was great, and my hot chocolate was legit.



Chorizo - $14

Reuben Rachel - $13


Cappuccino - $4

Hot chocolate - $4

Saturday brunch crowd


8 Rankins Lane
CBD, Melbourne VIC

Phone: (03) 9600 4054

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The reason of me not queuing for Huxtaburger's pop up in Sydney is because I have hold those babies in my own hands in Melbourne. We visited their smaller outlet in CBD, and put the Clair and Huxtaburger burgers on the order.

The Clair is the fried chicken burger, with juicy bird coated with crispy batter, sandwiched in soft bun. It was good, but Mary's still reigns supreme.

I leaned more towards my classic cheese burger 'Huxtaburger', which was jammed with juicy beef patty that still had pink blush in the middle, cheese, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and their special sauce. Every mouthful creates such joy in my heart.

The addition of cider made my heart sing too.

Huxtaburger's signage

The Clair Junior (mini chicken burger) - $7 (+$6.5 for large meal)

Huxtaburger - $9.5


Fullham Place
Rear of 357 Collins St
CBD, Melbourne VIC

Phone: (03) 9417 6328

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Nitro Lab

It is not at all surprising for me to see that there are nitrogen gelato places popping up in Melbourne just like in Sydney. Nitro Lab has two of my dream flavour: Tim Tam x Milo (mee-lo or mai-lo?) and Golden Gaytime. After consulting to the counter staff, I nodded to the latter.

It was magic.

Not as rich as the original Gaytime, but still very awesome with cookie crumbs and a pool of salted caramel in the middle. Every drop counted and licked clean.


Gaytime gelato


Shop T2 A
39 Kingsway, Glen Waverley
Melbourne, VIC

Phone: (03) 9590 6039

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Brother Baba Budan

In case you're wondering, the 'Brother Baba Budan' name comes from the 17th-century Kefi who took seven seeds of coffee from Middle East and introduced them to the world. He's basically a coffee lover's hero. The simple cafe, which is obviously all about the coffee, is unassuming with comfortable ambiance and invigorating aroma from the Seven Seeds blend they use.

I repeat the disclaimer: I am nowhere an expert or an experienced coffee drinker. Some of my Melbournians friends raved about this place, so we thought we'd give it a try.

All I can say is, I have never tasted coffee tasted so much like..... coffee. One sip and you know this is legit and those baristas behind the counter know their beans and coffee very well.

I did put some sugar into my takeaway cup and I'd swear some people around the communal table scoffed and gave me strange look.

Baba Brother Budan's mocha


359 Little Bourke St
CBD, Melbourne VIC

 Phone: (03) 9606 0449

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So far so good, Melbourne. Here are some non-food shots in case you're questioning if I came to Melbourne just to eat.

Flinders Street Station

Degraves Street

Shoes on string

Making art

Street art on Hosier Lane

Let's continue to day 2.

(Currency: $1 = IDR 9,800)

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Moon Park, Redfern - Sydney

It's Korean, but not Korean.
Fried chicken from Moon Park

Moon Park is a sweet gig from chefs Ben Sears and Eun Hee An, a Korean restaurant that provides so many twists in their dishes they almost as intricate as Home and Away's plot story. In a good way.

It's an one-hatted restaurant, so I stepped in with great expectation. Although no pictures of the interior taken, it is a petite restaurant without making you feel claustrophobic, with gorgeous decorations and stylish set.

We did not cover the whole menu, but we came close.

Ssam came first; little three rolls of cabbage filled with sweet and succulent strands of ox tail. It was a great bang to start the night.

Ssam - ox tail, seeds, chilli threads, sweet cabbage ($7.5 ea)

Memiljeon took the spotlight next. It was beautifully presented buckwheat pancake, with garlic chive and mackerel floss. Now, I have tasted any kind of floss: beef, chicken, prawn, pork, fish, you name it. Mackerel gloss, however, was a bit new for me. It was fluffy clouds staying on the salty side, but alas perfect accompaniment for the crispy pancake.

Memiljeon - buckwheat pancake, garlic chive, and mackerel floss ($15)

It may not show from this photo, but the BBQ octopus with potato cream, kelp oil, garlic chive kimchi tasted as good as it sounded. We made a few guesses regarding the white creamy matter in the middle of the plate ('sour cream?'), but it was unanimous decision that it was unbelievably creamy, surrounded by a ring of chewy and smoky octopus and interesting addition of dried seaweed that was picturesque.

BBQ octopus, potato cream, kelp oil, garlic chive kimchi ($24)

Having eaten ddeokbokki (spicy rice cake) for every single day whilst freezing my soul off in Seoul, I had great expectation on Moon Park's take of Korea's national street food. I know it was gonna be different, I didn't expect it to be this different.

Instead of the spicy punches my mouth was drooling for, there was this smooth peanut butter-y taste enveloping the chewy rice cake. Very subtle chilli hint from gochujang passed on every bite like a short, yet welcomed, wind breeze. Crushed peanuts jacket only elevated the nuttiness of the dish.

Ddeokbokki - deep fried rice cakes with gochujang and peanuts ($6)

It was tricky to share three pieces of spanner crab and black garlic on seed biscuit between the five of us, but it was a marvelous bite still. The crab was sweet and creamy; contrasted by the crispy biscuit and enhanced by the fragrant garlic.

Spanner crab and black garlic on seed biscuit ($7.5 ea)

.... let alone sharing two small pieces of ssambap (yangnyeom smoked eel and puffed wild rice in a big nasturtium leaf). Again, a stunning play on the texture yin-yang, with juicy eel and aromatic leaf.

Ssambap - yangnyeom smoked eel, puffed wild rice in a big nasturtium leaf ($7.5 ea)

Dotorimuk (acorn jelly, charred eggplant cream, zucchini namul, and cured egg) was probably my least favourite gem of the night. Don't get me wrong; it was still a complicated beauty with tangled great ingredients and flavours. I just dislike jellies.

Dotorimuk - acorn jelly, charred eggplant cream, zucchini namul, and cured egg ($19)

By this time carbs was in order. Bibimbap or mixed rice was a heaping bowl of rice, confit ocean trout, grains, kale namul (namul is seasoned vegetable dish - like pickled vegetables), laver, and egg yolk. It was a heavier affair compared to the rest of the previous dishes, but man oh man it was satisfying as hell.

The way the rice became sticky after the yolk was mixed...

Then the flaky and melt-in-your-mouth heaven that was the trout...

... all lifted up by the various other ingredients that may not seem important but played important parts to make the dish wholesome and kick-ass.

Bibimbap - a bowl of rice with confit ocean trout, grains, kale namul, laver and egg yolk ($32)

The pork belly braised with artichoke and chestnut in a mushroom and charcoal dashi was the only dish I did not get the chance to try due to four hyenas around me. While the dashi had really clean yet complex layers of flavour. The pork belly received two thumbs up and more from everyone around the table.

Pork belly braised with artichoke and chestnut in a mushroom and charcoal dashi ($34)

I saved the best for the last.

The fried chicken.

Four pieces of magnificent, glorious in gold fried chicken with a handful of pickled radish cubes and inviting sprinkles of black sesame seed. The bird itself was juicy, jam-packed with familiar but absolutely delicious flavour, and of course, the crunchy jacket of the batter that holds everything together.

Fried chicken, pickled radish, soy & sauce ($14 for 4 pieces)


In conclusion, although there were a bit of hit and miss for me, the restaurant deserves the hat for sure. Have I mentioned how great the service was? Thumbs up, Moon Park.


Currency: $1 = IDR 9,800

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Interesting fusion Korean dishes, service is impeccable, price is reasonable for a hatted restaurant, ambiance is very cozy.



Level 1, 34b Redfern Street
Redfern, NSW

Phone: (02) 9690 0111

Web: Moon Park

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