Two hours of badminton later (I didn’t even make the entirety of it), we’re hungry, tired and end up at a part-cafe, part-bicycle shop to sate our appetites. There’s two daily specials, tuna salad and a pulled pork burger,and asparagus melt to share between the three of us.
Preserved lemon in the tuna salad provided a nice tang, though it eventually became a bit much for me with the addition of pickled i-can’t-remember-that-vegetable. Would have been better if there was some sweet pumpkin there. I like pumpkin.
Now that I look at the photo, that obscure green object with the burger kinda looks like a leech found its way onto the plate (its a pickle). Plenty of sweet pork and crunchy red cabbage; I enjoyed this one the most.
As for the melt, I’m just not one for too much cheese (it had scamorza as well).
My ignorant pursuit to tick places off my wishlist mean most only get one chance to jump onto the ‘potential returns’ list. The latter is further divided by price, convenience and a stellar menu offering/you-have-piqued-my-curiosity-circuit;Shandong Mama has definitely earned her place in the latter.
Friday lunch. They’re filled but there’s enough space for two until it’s brimmed. Regardless of what else is on the menu, I’ll always try pork dumplings first (they’re like my asian corn fritters). Ah but the call of the sichuan pepper beef is too strong and I submit ^^v
There’s about a 10 minute wait before the food appears before us. The dumplings are delicious. Thin, crispy skins that seem to have absorbed the juices and are flavoursome themselves. I confess that half way through the first one I stopped trying to register the different ingredients and kept a steady flow of food to stomach - ah they were so good!
The large chilies sitting by the side of the beef make it look scarier than it really is. This is great as well, each aromatic bite accompanied by a little spicy poke - I know where I’ll be taking my own Mother to eat at next :)
I’d prefer an option for smaller servings so I can cover more of the menu, but for once, I don’t mind making extra return trips :D
Reading Room Cafe Building P, Victoria University Footscray Park Campus
Closing to the day. Double burnt-tasting coffees. Floury, fluffy fritters. I like everything on the plate, but the main act only gets a pass from me. Those kernels aren’t sweet at all. If I remember correctly, they’ve also laid off the spices. Considering they’re deep fried though, it rules in the category for crispiness.
Huh. Did not realise there was a ‘38 Toorak Road’ and a ‘38 Toorak Road West’. We found the place anyway. L described her chicken burger as a messier version of Maccas and that pork just reminded me of a flattened version of lap cheong.
The macarons were really soft. None of them really provoked a reaction for me ^^; And the coffee was burnt.
On an unrelated note, today was infuriating. I’ve somehow managed to convert my sentiments towards someone into hatred, anger and irritation. They don’t deserve it, unless they realise what they’ve been doing.
The line at Seven Seeds was too long so we got a take away instead (the guy called me David -.-) and had a Thai lunch. Pork curry was served Lukewarm (though the meat was very tender) and the sliced cabbage and carrots were supposedly seasonal vegetables. Mother complained about the presentation of the vermicelli.
Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
Rare family dinner. The reason why I don’t enjoy fine dining is the inverse relationship between money and quantity (potentially quality too), but in this case, I was looking forward to their desserts.
Crispy little pig - How cute. Watermelon cubes, celery bits and some other pickled vegetables I don’t think I ended up identifying… Pork was indeed as described though sauce was overly salty. Watermelon tasted like it was left outside of the fridge for too long so it developed that ‘furry’ exterior. I guess I liked this more for the range of textures, from the crisp shell of the pork to its softer innards, the more resistant veggies to the crunchy celery and brittle crackling. It’s a party.
Roasted pheasant/heritage apples/parsnip chips Dry. The sauce really just slipped off ^^; Apples were bittersweet, much of the bitterness having mellowed out once I smeared it over the pheasant.
Ricotta cheesecake/yuzu/ginger/nuts/seeds Deconstructed cheesecakes are strange things. Sure it paves the way for better presentation, but in the end I’ll still be rebuilding it xD Overall, I thought it was secondary to the one at Henry and the Fox. Ricotta had that uncomfortable feeling associated with excess gelatine, yuzu was fine with it’s distinct tartness once mixed with the cheese and crushed pistachios provided its characteristic crunch to contrast with the biscuit. I have no recollection of any ginger, and the sorbet was a mistake. While it provided a nice cool touch, you don’t take a break from sour yuzu by having something with a similar twang ^^; Compare that to Henry and the Fox, where the sorbet wiped the passionfruit from the palate before it became too much, and I’d be eager to repeat the process of ‘cheesecake, sorbet, cheesecake, sorbet..’
Pork Katsu Set also came with rice, miso soup and black sesame sauce. The firm pork pieces weren’t very crispy and were lacking in juices so as to allow the sauce to shine. Forgot about the notes today too, so I can only offer a vague description about it tasting salty with a touch of sourness and distinctly of sesame - a fine support for the meat.
You can catch the barest whiff of wasabi in the crunchy salad - I do love the texture of seaweed.