Tag Archives: What’s on this weekend

Springy Sunday

I know, I know, my posts have been irregular, but fear not. There is a reason why but I just can’t share yet. Soon. Anyway, I miss my Sunday posts. The weather has been gorgeous lately and this photo was taken walking home from a picnic at the Botanical Gardens. The lady just looks sooo relaxed basking in the sun reading her book, by the water with her mode of transport next to her.

What have you been up to this Springy weather?

image: Man of the House

A weekend away

Yes, it has been a bit quiet here of late.  Lots of things have been happening, much of it isn’t blog worthy. However, I did take a mini trip to Australia’s capital, Canberra. Before you roll your eyes (because I would), the place holds a soft spot in my heart for lots of reasons and last weekend I paid a visit and was presently surprised.

Lonsdale Street Roasters

I always, always start the day with a coffee, preferably a good one at that. Otherwise, I’m not human. Lonsdale Street Roasters provided me with that good coffee hit. Read other reviews here and here. Too bad it wasn’t here a few years ago, otherwise I might have stayed! Maybe. No. The food menu is limited, but provides some decent options like the ‘Cuban slow roasted pork chipotle coriander’ panini.

3/7 Lonsdale St, Braddon ACT 2612

National Gallery of Australia and National Portrait Gallery

In 2006, the Australian Government agreed to fund the expansion and renovation of the NGA. The expansion was three-fold consisting of the $20 million renovation of the existing building, the $68 million addition of further space, a new entrance and improved accessibility, and the $5 million landscaping of the surrounding area. That doesn’t even cover the cost of the art, though the total cost might only buy an insignificant Picasso. So I guess the renovation / expansion is value for money. The gallery expansion and landscaping makes a lovely stroll, pass the Australian High Court, to the National Portrait Gallery completing a new ensemble of arts and civic facilities in Australia’s Parliamentary Triangle.

Parkes Place, Canberra ACT 2600 – http://nga.gov.au/; http://www.portrait.gov.au/

The Brodburger

I heard so much about these burgers from locals, or adopted locals. I was warned the wait was long, but friends were well prepared with a picnic rug and a lovely lake view. In due course we got our burgers. The hype surrounding these burgers is such that is not possible for them to exceed expectations, but they pretty much meet the expectations. The ingredients are top notch and the all important patty is hand made. The flavours balanced very well. Man of the house ordered the over-the-top Brodburger Deluxe: 2 x A grade gourmet beef patties, flame grilled, 2 x eggs, lots of crispy bacon. Topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and Spanish onions. Includes homemade aioli and tomato relish.

I think he ate a cow.

Bowen Park Carpark, Bowen Drive/Wentworth Av, Barton ACT 2604 – http://www.brodburger.com.au/

A very big thank you to Ms C and Mr E for a fabulouso time xxA

images: Rummage: Warning Hipsters Ahead; Qantas: Travel Insider; Haycraft Duloy; Man of the house.

Something buttery and flaky.

On a rainy day, Man of the house and I went to South Melbourne to check out the Made in Japan’s KURA (warehouse) store. I love Japanese ceramics and when I visited a flea market in Kyoto, I loving bought a few bowls and brought them home. Sadly Man of the house has buttery fingers… and they were no longer… and the search was on for a few more bowls.

KURA has a great range of bowls/plates/dishes at reasonable prices with an extra 20% off, if you pay cash. I now have the perfect soup bowl and breakfast bowl (yes two separate styles of bowls, I’m not that fussy, promise).

Upon leaving, there was a new sign on the street, what was it? Was it a new homeware store, or clothing boutique? It was in a little alleyway, so it had to be good…. and it was.

Chez Dré has only been open for three months and yet, clearly word has spread, here and here and here. I walked past tables with what looked like yummy food, but I had a mission… the patisserie cabinet.

I love French patisserie. No. Seriously. I love French patisserie. Chez Dré had a beautifully lined cabinet fully of pretty patisseries, tarts and cakes a like. I tried the espresso eclair, lemon tart and chocolate croissant (not all at once, I swear). The eclair was to die for, the pastry and cream filling was the perfect ratio with pieces of thin chocolate on the top that adds a nice crunch. The lemon tart was not as perfect. The base and the consistency of the filling were perfect but the filling was too sweet as there wasn’t a balance of sweetness and tartness (gee, I’m a bit picky). The chocolate croissant was divine, buttery, flaky goodness… My only regret? I only bought one croissant. I should’ve bought the basket!! I will be back for more Chez Dré.

So, what are your favourite patisseries and where do you go to buy them? Will you be strolling to Chez Dré anytime soon?

images: e-yakimono; KURA; Chez Dré

A day away… and home in time for the Ballet.

A few posts ago, I wrote about my BFF (s) coming to visit. Well, they came and it was fabulous to have them here (am trying to convince them to move to Melbourne)! In a bid to showcase Melbourne further, I organised a little trip to Daylesford/Hepburn region. I heart Daylesford. Only 90 minutes outside of Melbourne, yet it provides an environment where one can forget about the city.

Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa

The Hepburn Bathhouse has been open to the public since 1895 though, I have only been going since 1998. The Bathhouse consists of ‘traditional’ communal baths in warmed mineral water pools, with a range of hydrotherapies including spa couches (surprisingly relaxing, despite looking like a torture chamber chair), aroma steam room and salt therapy pool.

This is my first time back since its renovation in 2008 and on first entry, it’s definitely a lot swankier now. There are a couple of other changes, such as breaking up the Bathhouse into 2 separate sections: The Bathhouse (relaxation and spa pools) and The Sanctuary (all the other stuff, such as salt therapy pool, spa couches, Relaxation Deck (wasted space in my opinion)), which means it costs more to enter both sections. The change rooms are a lot more functional than previously, though they are co-educational, which takes a bit of getting use to. The aroma steam room was lovely and had a relaxing scent.

However, the renovations seemed to have diluted some of the services. For example the water in the relaxation spa just wasn’t hot enough. I love entering a hot spa where the body is forced to relax and you can only sit for ten minutes or so before it gets too hot. Also, the salt therapy pool just wasn’t salty enough! I remember it being so salty the body would float on its own and scratches would sting. This time it was rather like… beach water and not the dead sea water.

I remembered the place quite differently, funny thing about memory… Nevertheless! It was wonderful to just float around catching up with my BFF. The views from the pools and the spa couches are just soothing with beautiful trees, plants and other nature stuff.

Surprisingly, we spent a long time at the Bathhouse including feasting on some tea and scones. Wandered the shops back in Daylesford, and still made it home in time for a costume change just before the ballet…barely. But that’s a story for another day.

What are your favourite spots within Daylesford/Hepburn?

All coffee, but does it include dining?

In my last post, I mentioned not getting out and about of late. So, when I did venture out I suddenly realised lots of new places to try. They all seem very Melbourne chic. Industrial, modern, yet warm and cosy and it seems interesting light fittings is the decorating theme of the day.

Pillar of Salt
541 Church St, Richmond 3121
Website: http://www.pillarofsalt.com.au/

I stumbled upon this place by accident, though I think it’s been around for a bit because you can read about it here and here. I went at an odd time (in between lunch and dinner) and wanted something light. The tart of the day was fantastic (based on a balanced filling and excellent pastry), served with a refreshing rocket salad, hit the spot. Great variety of food on the menu… Take a look at their use of colanders for light fittings, interesting… It’s wedged among all the furniture shops on Church St, which makes for a great pit stop when pondering decisions on sofas or carpet rugs.

Little Mule Company
19 Somerset Pl, Melbourne 3000
Website: http://www.thelittlemule.com/cafe/

I guess if Brother Baba Budan is too full for a sit down coffee (which is more often than not) head to Little Mule for equally good coffee, though the food is a bit average. Nevertheless, the coffee is good and the space is rather cosy, even if it’s shared with a bike shop, which makes for interesting decor. I think it’s more of a trendy bike shop rather than a serious bike shop as it doesn’t sell any lycra.

The League of Honest Coffee
8 Exploration Lane (corner of Little Lonsdale St), Melbourne 3000

A decent coffee place with a nice sit down atmosphere. They are a specialised coffee place that serve coffee in gadgets that usually belong in a chemistry class. However, if you’re like me and just order a straight up cap or latte than 65 Degrees around the corner on Exhibition St is still my favourite work coffee place. It has an old school cafe charm. No interesting lights here, just yee usual fluoro.

On my radar is Portello Rosso. It looks like a lovely Spanish tapas place tucked away in another laneway. The place looks warm and cosy with hearty meals.

Where are you dining this long weekend? Have you tried Portello Rosso or another place worth sharing?

images: Pillar of Salt; Milk Bar Mag; Broadsheet

Soothing Sunday.

Sunday is always good when it starts with a bit of a sleep in. Followed up some delicious yum cha (officially known everywhere else in the world as ‘dim sum’) at Shark Fin House*. Though yum cha is better in the ‘burbs, Sharks Fin House satisfies my appetite. I have to have the following dishes whenever I go, otherwise it’s not satisfying, like I’ve missed something.

  • Pork dumpling (siu maai): Small steamed dumplings with either pork, prawns or both inside a thin wheat flour wrapper. Usually topped off with crab roe and mushroom.
  • Rice noodle rolls (cheong fan): These are wide rice noodles that are steamed and then rolled, served with soy sauce. They are often filled with beef, dough fritter (like a friend doughnut, sooo good in Hong Kong), prawn, and barbecued pork.
  • Spare ribs: It is typically steamed with douchi or fermented black beans and sometimes sliced chilli (taste much better than described).
  • Taro dumpling (wu gok): This is made with mashed taro, stuffed with diced shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and pork, deep-fried in crispy batter.
  • Finally, the egg tart (daan taat): composed of a base made from a flaky puff pastry with an egg custard filling. The ones today was soooo flaky and warm, I had 2!

Afterwards we took a lovely stroll to the Royal Exhibition Building for Melbourne’s Affordable Art Fair, which was planned for the Saturday but spent a little too much time in Windsor/Prahran area… Ooops.

So stay tuned about a post on that. In the meantime, do you have a yum cha place you like? What are your favourite dishes?

*The Shark Fin Group has four restaurants, two are in the city, Shark Fin House and Shark Fin Inn. House, in my humble opinion trumps Inn, easily.

images are credited to: tummyrumbles.com and Mr Affair

Friday Frivolities.

Everybody seems to be in a better mood on Fridays, possibly because of the impending weekend and a cause for celebration or relief. However, did you know that in several Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, Friday is the last day of the weekend and Saturday is the first workday and that Iran has only one weekend day and we complain two days is not enough!

Anyway, one of my favourite labels, Gorman released a whimsical video for her Autumn/Winter collection. It’s very Gorman: girly, whimsical with a slight edge (the music and the darker features of the model). I might not like all the outfits, but I really like the concept. I have had my eye on the luscious scarf with the cute pom-pom on the end (check out the spotty bike, very similar to the one I blogged about here).

It will depend if I purchase anything here tomorrow:

Also on this weekend is the Melbourne’s Affordable Art Fair (19-22 May), and I was lucky enough to win tickets! YAY! I’ve heard so much from the previous years, but never was able to make it. So one day this weekend, that’s where I’ll be. Apparently, it offers something for every budget, with an extensive range of art available, from contemporary to traditional, emerging to investment. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing anything, but nevertheless I’m excited to see what’s out there and by the beauty of the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building.

Finally, for the those that like to take Sunday walks, show your support for Indigenous health and wellbeing by taking part in The Long Walk. Michael Long rallies participants to walk from Fed Square through Birrarung Marr to the MCG.