Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tutto Bene- Southgate, Southbank

We made a last minute decision and decided to head to Tutto Bene at Southgate for an impromptu dinner on Saturday night since I've been wanting to eat there for quite some time but never really bothered to make a booking in advance. I called them around 5 or 6-ish and managed to get a booking for 8.30pm that night. Sweet! This restaurant is well-known for its risottos so you definitely have to order at least one risotto dish if you are dining here. 

We shared a scallop hahaha. It must have looked pathetic to the other diners when we were both attacking this small thing. This was good- it was a half shell baked Tasmanian scallop with truffle oil infused potato and parmesan. Yum.

I got the Saffron, baby spinach and E.V.O.O ( I had no idea what this was till I googled it...guess? It's Extra Virgin Olive Oil! *faints- who would've thought that was the acronym huh?) confit of ocean trout with salmon roe. This was absolutely delicious with the right amount of creaminess, and the saltiness of the salmon roe really came through when eaten together with the half-cooked ocean trout and risotto. 

This was what I had when I visited 3-4 years ago. It's braised duck, porcini mushrooms and sage. Pretty ordinary and tasted like how a risotto should.

We shared a desert and it came realllllllly quick. On the menu the description for this was Slow-baked chocolate fondant cake with raspberry puree, crispy wafer pieces and double cream so we automatically assumed it'd take 20 minutes to bake. We had literally just placed our order for it and it came out in 30 seconds! When I dug into it I realised why it came so quickly. It wasn't the warm and gooey dessert I expected but this was pre-made and was a little cold from being in the fridge and then rested on the bench. I think that's how they meant it to be. Nevertheless it was still a good chocolate desert but I would've preferred something that created a warm chocolate mess on the plate!

This came with the bill- its a souvenir to take home. I'm guessing the cork is probably from the bottles of wine they open for their customers but I liked this idea since it somehow adds a personal touch to the dining experience.

Tutto Bene is a good place for a semi-casual dining experience as you can really feel the atmosphere buzzing with other diners having a good night out and enjoying their weekend.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

OOT(Sun)D!

I recently bought a new cardigan and have been wearing it to death- yes, 3 days in a row people! Isn't it pretty? I love that it was cheap but the boy disagrees. He thinks I have no sense of what's cheap and what's not...and I disagree with him on this point!

My favourite pair of awesome flat boots- which are absolutely made for walking. I've been looking for a pair of leather boots all winter and I finally found the perfect pair. 

Every girl needs a pair of love heart stockings...

Heading out to Proud Mary for a lovely brunch.

My hair's getting to the point where it's unmanageable. I can't wear it straight anymore because the bottom part of it is soooooo heavy so up it goes into a nest on top of my head.
Nice background...can you feel the vibe just from looking at it? I can just tell it's a lazy, hazy Sunday. 

Back to work tomorrow...I'm looking forward to getting this week over and done with so I can go to the Tim Burton exhibition next weekend! Hurry up Saturday!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Proud Mary - Collingwood

Waking up at 11am on a Sunday gave us the perfect excuse to head out for brunch at Proud Mary in Collingwood. It's housed in an industrial warehouse type setting with exposed bricks and beams.

This place is known to serve great coffee- the list is long with choices such as Clover, French Press, Syphon, Cold Drip, Filter..and then you've got your normal cap, lattes, flat whites etc. Just look at that huge machine! The baristas were busy pumping out coffees like there was no tomorrow and the crowd of people at the entrance waiting to get a table never ceased. 

The boy's usual cappuccino. 

I'm not a big coffee drinker but I decided to give the Cold Drip a go. Our knowledgeable waitress told us that with the Cold Drip, the coffee beans are brewed for 3 hours instead of the usual couple of minutes. I liked this and thought it made a nice palette cleanser. I also didn't mind the slightly hollow bitter aftertaste.

That little bottle in the middle with a tag on its neck says it's dried whole natural sugar cane juice made in Colombia. Interesting option if you didn't want to use usual sugar in your coffee.

I love homemade pastas and always jump at the chance to order it when it's on the menu so it's no surprise I went for the Ox Cheek Ragu. Delicious.

Cripy hash- with poached egg, spinach, bacon and bagna cauda. What's bagna cauda you ask? It's a mixture of anchovies, garlic and cream which I absolutely loved. The hash was delicate and fine, soft and buttery to the taste. 

This blew me away. Don't be deceived....they look like brownies but they're actually Cocoa bread and butter pudding served with rhubarb compote and amaretto mascarpone. This was light, yet delivered the chocolate punch I've been craving for all week. The almond flakes went really well with the amaretto mascarpone and lifted the dish up by giving it some crunch.

I better stop here...short post this time... I have to head off to church since I overslept this morning and set my alarm for tomorrow morning instead of this morning. Oops!

Proud Mary on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Outfit post!

I've been meaning to do a post for some time now to push the picture of my big face in the previous post to further down on the blog but I got bitten by the lazy bug somewhere along the way. I don't have any new pictures so I'll use the ones taken from my Sydney trip! In case you were wondering why my pictures are all different colours, it was because I used different cameras.

I actually bought this dress over a year ago (very pretty, it's got tulle underneath so it makes the skirt 'poof'' and the beading around the neckline and waist is just gorgeous) so I was a little worried about whether it would fit since I'm now a fatty boombah from all the eating I've been doing! Luckily it fit, phew. It was tight around the middle though, so after the meal I was struggling to breathe- uh oh. I'm thinking of selling this dress...I've sold a few things on eBay and it feels good knowing that all the clothes and shoes and bags I don't use anymore can make me some moolah. 

This...

..plus this...

...plus this...plus the dresses...equals...

Me!

I <3 the bow in the middle.

Us, getting ready to head out to Quay

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Passionflower, Sydney

We arrived in Sydney in the late afternoon so off we went for a quick bite before our dinner at Quay. Thanks to the boy's awesome map reading and direction skills we found Passionflower. If it were left up to me (even though I was the one hankering for it), I would have probably just said 'errr it's too far/ I have no idea where it is/ let's go somewhere closer/ let's just try it when it comes to Melbourne.' :D Yes folks, Passionflower will be opening in Melbourne in August. 
Me with the Playmate- lychee rose petal ice-cream with coconut jelly and strawberry syrup. It was meant to come with a floss of white cloud but mine didn't :( . I liked the unusual lychee rose flavour but didn't enjoy the coconut jelly nor the strawberry syrup as much. Too much sugar! I don't really have that much of a sweet tooth, to be honest.

As you can see I enjoyed this! I can't remember what it's called though. It came with a scoop each of azuki red bean, black sesame and sticky rice ice-cream topped with nuts and black sesame coated glutinous balls. The sticky rice ice-cream and glutinous balls were my favourite. Mmm I wish I had some right now...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quay- The Rocks, Sydney


I have been looking forward to dining at Quay for months and having it's executive chef Peter Gilmore appear on Masterchef for a Masterclass got me even more hyped up for our eventual visit. I mean, it's not everyday we have the luxury of dining at the highest ranked Australian restaurant in the world :) This has placed Quay in the illustrious and coveted S Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list at number 27. 

They have two options for dinner. You can either opt for the Tasting Menu which is basically a degustation of 7 courses, or you can pick your own 4 courses from their Dinner Menu. We chose the latter as we didn't want to stuff ourselves to the brim.

Quay offers spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The reason the sails of the Opera House are blue instead of its usual white is because there's an ongoing Light Show in Sydney. Glad we caught it because the Light Show ended on 20th June 2010!

Complimentary starter of tuna tartare with dashi jelly and some other stuff I can't remember. *shifty eyes. This was appetizing- a great way to start our meal!

The infamous signature Sea Pearls- beautifully decorated from L-R (top picture): Abalone in dashi jelly, Mud Crab with edible silver leaf, Octopus with smoked eel, Sea scallop, and Sashimi tuna with aquaculture caviar. I think my favourite was the sea scallop which tasted absolutely out of this world. The abalone came a close second as the slices of abalone were sliced thinly and provided some texture to the dashi jelly. Some elements of this dish were quite similar to our starter- especially the sashimi tuna with aquaculture caviar which tasted pretty ordinary. I think I rather enjoyed the Mud crab too but sadly, my poor memory is failing me at this point.

I picked this for my second course. It's a Confit of shaved South Australian squid, organic red core radishes, garlic custard, native violets, rosemary flowers and roasted squid consomm√© (description taken from Quay's website- as with all the other descriptions below). This was my favourite dish of the night. I love shaved squid and enjoyed how the different textures of the dish greatly complimented one another. The red core radishes provided the much needed crunch to this otherwise 'mushy' dish (for lack of a better word). The consomme was full of flavour, yet was clear and refreshing. 

The bf picked  the Butter poached quail breasts, chestnuts, truffle, bitter chocolate black pudding, milk skin and walnuts dish as his second course. This was milky and rich to the taste. Just look at the ingredients in this dish! He absolutely loved this and this was his favourite dish for the night. 

My third course was the Slow braised Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, Pedro Ximenez noble sour vinegar, perfumed with prune kernel oil. I've never successfully made crackling before so everytime I'm at a restaurant that offers crackling I usually pick that dish. This however, is maltose crackling which meant that it provided a sweet, caramel crunch...almost like toffee. The pig jowl was wonderfully tender and went surprisingly well with the soft poached prunes.

The bf usually tends to go for fish based dishes (based on my own observation :D) so it was no surprise he chose the Wild pink snapper, gently poached with wakame seaweed and smoked butter, green garlic, butter lettuce, celery heart, wild asparagus, leek seedlings, vongole juices. What did I think of this dish? Well...nothing that blew my tastebuds away?

Ahem, intermission picture courtesy of the trigger happy bf.

YUMMMMMMMMM this looks absolutely sinful and yummy. Eight texture chocolate cake featuring Amedei Chocolate. This was presented to us as a normal chocolate tart and the 8th texture is the warm, gooey chocolate that they pour onto the cake, right in front of us. It's so warm that it melts the top layer of the cake and sinks into the layers below. I can't say anything bad about chocolate desserts now, can I? They all taste absolutely amazing. 

I chose the Guava Snow Egg because it looks cute! Haha...doesn't it somehow remind you of a penguin nesting it's young? Well it does to me! The guava sorbet was very, very refreshing and provided that much needed tartness to the sweetness of the custard egg which came with a layer of toffee on the outside, not dissimilar to the toffee on my crackling. 

Quay provided one of the better dining experiences I've ever had. I've read reviews that stated the service was terrible and portion sizes small. Yes, the portion sizes are small indeed but I think they were good portions because if they were any bigger I wouldn't have been able to enjoy each dish thoroughly.  Service was impeccable, almost faultless. They constantly topped up our water and bread and even asked if we needed taxi service after our meal. And if you're there to celebrate an occasion they give you complimentary chocolates at the end of the meal. The whole meal was good, and if given the chance to dine there a second time I would be the first one to jump at it.

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